Day: November 30, 2012

Nearly hit by car

To the Editor: Last Friday at 1:45 p.m. I was walking my bike across Dearborn Ave. when two young women in a Plymouth Neon car ran the red light and barely missed me. All traffic was stopped in both directions on River Road when out of the blue came this car as I was walking the last ten feet or so. The driver was looking down at her lap and I figured she was holding a drink but later I presumed she may have been texting. Is River Road safe? In Salem I see police patrolling regularly but nary a one on River Road. Lee Murray...

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Cliff remedy needs to balanced

By DON VOWELL How would you resolve the “fiscal cliff” problem?  In the election just ended one party said tax the wealthy and the other said cut social program spending.   Either choice left the deficit increasing. Sen. Jeff Merkley was in the morning paper making the logical case that, until federal revenues are equal to federal outlays, we will continue to have deficits.  He said the last time the nation had a budget surplus was when both federal spending and tax revenues were at about 20 per cent of GDP. Now, tax revenues are about 15 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and spending 23 percent of GDP.  In order to balance the budget, Congress must decide if tax revenues should be increased to 23 percent of GDP to match spending, or if spending should be cut to 15 percent of GDP to match federal revenues.  Both those options seem grim. About six out of every ten federal dollars spent goes to Social Security, defense, and Medicare/Medicaid.  If you consider this spending sacrosanct, then virtually all other federal spending would be eliminated.  Another dollar of the ten goes to interest payment on the debt and aid to the poor.  Balancing the budget by cutting spending would force you to strangle veteran’s programs, transportation, parks and resources, agriculture, regulatory agencies and everything else. Simply increasing taxes on the wealthy...

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On mercy, Obama is a gridlock of one

By DEBRA J. SAUNDERS President Obama likes to complain about gridlock in Washington and blame Republicans for keeping him from doing his job. As president, he has the unfettered executive power to pardon individuals convicted of federal crimes or commute their sentences. Yet, while his 2008 campaign called for a review of federal mandatory minimum sentences to reduce the number of needlessly warehoused nonviolent drug offenders, Obama has pardoned a mere 22 offenders who served their sentences and commuted only one sentence. When it comes to acts of mercy, Obama has produced his own gridlock of one. Political science professor and Pardon Power blogger P.S. Ruckman believes that no president since John Adams has shown so little interest in exercising the power of the pardon. Somehow the senator who opposed the waterboarding of self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed has become the president who hasn’t lifted a finger to correct the tortured punishment meted out to Clarence Aaron, when the 23-year-old was sentenced to life without parole for a first-time nonviolent drug offense in 1993 in Alabama. Ditto other victims of draconian federal mandatory minimum-sentencing laws. Obama’s piddling exercise of mercy baffles liberals. Eric Sterling, who founded the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation to combat the excesses of federal drug laws, helped draft as a congressional aide, noted that his co-believers aren’t asking Obama to free convicted killers posing a...

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