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Guest Observer Archive

Taking Out-of-State Drivers for a Ride | Commentary

Labor Day marks the unofficial beginning of fall with back-to-school season, cooler temperatures and, for some, the long-awaited return of football. The National Football League season kicks off on Sept. 4 in Seattle with a rematch of the infamous 2012 “Fail Mary” game between the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. Believe it or not, this game holds a lesson for students of transportation and tax policy — both teams are known for their superstar…

President Obama’s 'Flexible' View of the Law: The DREAM Act as Case Study | Commentary

Since 2001, immigration advocates have pushed Congress to enact the DREAM Act. The bill would give lawful permanent residence status and work authorization to anyone who arrived in this country illegally as a minor, has been in the country for at least five years, was in school or has graduated from high school or served in the military, and was not yet 35 years old. Some version of the bill has been introduced in each…

Divestment-Investment Can Break Congressional Gridlock on Climate Change | Commentary

Once the lone province of climate scientists, the chorus warning of the costs of inaction on climate change grows larger daily, from former United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who warned Washington this summer of the coming climate bubble, to Desmond Tutu, who has urged institutions to divest from fossil fuels. Even the U.S. Congress, the week before August recess, introduced two big climate-related bills (in the House) and held four hearings on climate change. The tide is clearly shifting.

As LNG Export Applications Languish at DOE, Time to Embrace Congressional Action | Commentary

Following the Department of Energy’s finalization of its updated procedure for reviewing applications to export liquefied natural gas to countries without free trade agreements, the DOE now will only consider applications that have met the requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act before rendering a final decision.  Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz noted to Roll Call that any further changes to the regulatory oversight of LNG export applications would have to come from congressional action. Acknowledging…

Is the United States In or Out on Globalization? | Commentary

When Michigan Repulican Rep. Dave Camp’s comprehensive tax reform plan died earlier this year, so too did the hope that Congress would tackle America’s economic competitiveness problem anytime soon.

The United States Can’t Wait Until Central America Is Fixed Before We Secure Our Borders | Commentary

The relentless surge of illegal aliens pouring across our southern border is leading to the inevitable calls for the United States to take a lead role in fixing the economic and social problems that provide the impetus for many people to leave their homes in Central America (“U.S. Must Help Attack the Root Causes of Border Crisis,” Roll Call, Aug. 20).

Congress Take Note: 29 Million Diabetic Americans Wonder 'Who is Minding the Diabetes Supply Store?' | Commentary

You see the small, handmade signs at the intersections of streets across the country, touting “CASH PAID FOR DIABETES TEST STRIPS.”  Signs of the times? Perhaps, as ad hoc resellers of medical supplies provide a secondary market to someone in need of a few quick dollars while possibly flouting pesky safety laws. But it’s also an indicator of a larger-scale issue: the difficulty faced by federal policymakers in regulating a multifaceted industry crucial to the…

The Tea Party Grows Up | Commentary

The gleeful speculation of the “demise” of the tea party amidst disappointing 2014 primary results is giving way to a very different reality.

How Unnecessary Data Reporting Requirements Turned a $44 Theft into a $10,000 Federal Headache | Commentary

In June 2008, a thief entered a custodial room at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and took a bag of Ruffles chips, some Little Debbie Nutty Bars, and a set of two-way radios — a combined value of $44.88. Six years later, the same incident is costing the university $10,000, all because of a dispute with the U.S. Department of Education over whether the space where the theft took place was a closet or an office.

Congress Should Stop Using Taxpayer Money to Fund Radio Free Europe's Attacks on Our Allies | Commentary

Add Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty to the list of grievances about Congress’ and the administration’s use of America’s precious tax income. RFE/RL, together with Voice of America, cost American tax payers $750 million annually. Yet instead of the “objective news, analysis and discussion of domestic and regional issues crucial to successful democratic and free-market transformations,” it attacks allied nations that espouse these values.

Transparency: A Means to Making Government Work Better | Commentary

Polarization and gridlock in government has become a national meme, and some have speculated that government transparency contributes to the problem.

Congress Should Reject EU Attacks on Internet Freedom | Commentary

European lawmakers and regulators will tell you that their recent adventures into Internet regulation are aimed at upholding a “fundamental human right” to privacy. They’ll claim the right to be forgotten is not a “super right” trumping other fundamental rights. But in their headlong rush to protect Internet users from themselves, they’ve done just that and downgraded other fundamental human rights like the right to free expression.

Michael Brown: The Spark That Lit the Tinder of Racial Distrust | Commentary

An American city is under curfew, the National Guard has rolled in, and for the first time, Amnesty International has sent a delegation of observers to U.S. soil. It is a sad day for all Americans, and in Ferguson, Mo., people of all colors, including Asian Americans, have been affected. We do not know what transpired that led to the death of Michael Brown. We do not know if Officer Wilson’s actions were justified or simply reprehensible. But we have seen the turmoil and mistrust that has followed. And we have seen individuals cross from protest to criminality.

Want to Bring Together Congressional and College Leaders? Propose a College Rating System | Commentary

It was a just a year ago that a hurricane hit higher education. It was formed in the Office of the President and named “College Rating System.” It is on a path that means heavy rains in fall 2014 and even heavier rain and gale force winds in 2015. The aftermath will continue into 2018, when the results of the rating system are tied to federal student aid. Why create such a system? What data are to be used? How will it work?

U.S. Must Help Attack the Root Causes of Border Crisis | Commentary

Cristian Omar Reyes, an 11-year-old from Honduras, lost his father in March after he was robbed and murdered by gangs while working as a security guard protecting a pastry truck. Three others he knows were killed this year. “I’m going [to the U.S.] this year no matter what,” he told The New York Times in early July. If he follows through, Cristian would join the 57,000 children fleeing the “Northern Triangle” of Central America — Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — making the perilous journey to the U.S. that sparked the crisis on our Southern border last month.

Why the VA Should Look Toward Proven Health Care Solutions | Commentary

While it is not a secret that the Veteran’s Affairs hospital system has had inefficiencies for many years, the recent spotlight on veterans’ long wait times for basic medical attention has made headlines for good reason.

Norwegian Air International: What's Past Is Prologue | Commentary

Will U.S. commercial aviation travel the same path as U.S. maritime where flags of convenience cripple an important part of our economy?

A Highway Funding Plan that Could Work: Let States and Localities Decide | Commentary

Now that Congress has “patched” the Highway Trust Fund to save it from insolvency, it is time to get some clarity on a notable element of the Obama administration’s GROW AMERICA ACT that would lift the decades-old ban on tolling the interstates. Removing this ban would give states much-needed flexibility to tackle their growing transportation challenges. Yet critics of both tolling and the administration’s proposal are incorrectly suggesting that tolling is being proposed as a means of paying for the federal highway program.

Puerto Rico Is Rebuilding Its Economy for a Brighter Future | Letter to the Editor

Ring the Alarm Bells Over Puerto Rico, published Aug. 13, mischaracterizes the island and the positive initiatives enacted by the García Padilla administration.

Groundhog Day for Bad Ideas in Medicare Part D | Commentary

Some bad ideas never seem to go away.

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