Wednesday, February 24, 2010


As Democrats in Congress, and the state-run media, continue to howl in outrage over the crimes of Toyota, I find myself wondering about the NEXT big recall.

What if it’s GM? What if GM is the next car company with faulty brakes or stuck accelerators? Don’t we have to wonder whether the car manufacturer that is now run by Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank and Harry Reid will come in for the same sort of media and Congressional scrutiny if their windshields start shattering on rainy days or their gas tanks start exploding?

At this point, the very LAST entity with any moral authority to investigate Toyota is the United States government. Isn’t this like investing Exxon Mobil with police power and asking them to determine whether Chevron is paying all its taxes? Isn’t it a bit like giving Glaxo subpoena power and telling them to check on whether Merck is following FDA regulations? Isn’t it pretty much the same thing as sending Pathmark investigators into Acme stores to look for health code violations?


Tuesday, February 16, 2010


A lengthy article in today’s Philadelphia Daily News described the political battle shaping up over the redistricting of Philly’s city council that will follow the 2010 federal census. For some years, apparently, there has been a movement to carve out a “Latino district” in order to ensure a permanent Hispanic fiefdom in the city.

What follows is the letter I sent to the Daily News.


To the editor:

Your article about the prospect of political redistricting in Philly from the coming census was an eye-opener.

It is a measure of how far we have gone down the road of politicizing group identity that no one in Philadelphia politics objects to racial and ethnic gerrymandering on the grounds it is fundamentally anti-democratic and un-American. It is simply an accepted practice. The only battles are among politicians on how best to ghettoize their constituents into convenient demographic enclaves.

The argument, I suppose, is that creating a "Latino district" or an "African-American district" or an "Italian district" somehow empowers these groups. In fact, the opposite is true. It merely relieves entrenched politicians of the need to treat us as individual adults with differing hopes, beliefs and values, regardless of who our ancestors were. Instead, once we are divided into neat little groups, politicians can assure themselves of long careers merely by pandering to the lowest common denominator of racial and ethnic differences. Real political debate on what is best for Philadelphia goes out the window. Instead, politics is a backroom process of dividing up the cookies among "MY Latinos," "MY African-Americans," "MY white river-ward residents," etc.

There is nothing new in politics, and this method of controlling the unruly masses was described in detail by Machiavelli five centuries ago. The division of people into groups allows the prince to rule them by doling out benefits, and withdrawing them, from this group or that. The groups then fight each other for crumbs rather than demand good and fair governance from the ruler.

We are people. We are Americans. We are Philadelphians. We are much more than our skin color or our last name. We are NOT primarily Latinos or Irish or African-American or Italian or Polish, and in 2010, it is insulting that Philadelphia politicians refuse, for their own convenience, to treat us as individuals who must be persuaded to vote for them rather than be manipulated to embrace our basest instincts.