Take for example, Congress' rather quiet passage of a bill in 2012 that authorized commercial drones in American skies. The FAA is working on implementing regulations. Last year, Amazon floated a plan to deliver packages with small drones. Some could profit, but at what cost?
The U.S. government uses drones abroad to spy on, intimidate and kill foreigners. Did it even concern Congress that foreign countries, terrorists and even domestic extortionists may well use "commercial" drones in America for the same purposes?
In America's hijacked political system where private-sector money funds campaigns and Congressional and state legislative districts are gerrymandered to eliminate serious opposition, special interests count more than the public interest — far more.
Not surprised by local housing costs
Housing is expensive in Mountain View. Supervisor Joe Simitian and City Council member Jac Siegel would have us believe that our high housing costs are due to the so-called jobs-housing imbalance. I contend that the jobs-housing imbalance is a fiction.
The real reason Mountain View has expensive housing is that Mountain View is a highly desirable place to live: it is safe, it has great neighborhoods and good schools, and commutes out of Mountain View are often in the reverse direction. I work in Newark and have a better commute than many of my colleagues who live in the East Bay. These are all reasons why people want to live in Mountain View and are willing to pay extra to do so.
If the jobs-housing imbalance were in any way relevant, then Los Altos Hills, which has virtually no jobs, would be expected to have very low housing costs, not costs far higher than Mountain View's. One would also expect that the huge Madera complex would reduce the average cost of housing; in fact, the astronomical rents there actually increased housing costs.
The jobs-housing imbalance is not a problem and it doesn't need fixing. The only way to reduce housing costs is to make Mountain View less desirable than its neighbors. The current efforts to add to our congestion by packing in more and more residents seems like a good way to start that process.
Proposed cuts to food stamps
In regard to the upcoming vote on the Farm Bill, where cuts to food stamps are being proposed, I wanted to say that in a country as prosperous as ours it's outrageous that the Congress is considering cuts to programs which help the least fortunate among us.
There simply is no moral/ethical justification for this.
In light of recent statistics about millionaires in Congress, these sorts of proposals really do look like class warfare by the rich on the poor.
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