Aug. 27, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Guest Observer Archive

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.

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.

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.

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.

Government Should Aid Businesses Based on Impact, Not Identity | Commentary

Obscurely nestled between the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the Brown v. Board of Education decision and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a much overlooked milestone. That is the 55th anniversary of the creation of the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, the predecessor of the Minority Business Development Agency as we know it today.

The Dark Money Complex | Commentary

There’s a scandal that’s been brewing at the IRS for years — but not the one you’re thinking of. This one has nothing to do with conservative groups.

Labeling Laws Should Be Consistent Across all Venues | Commentary

The Food and Drug Administration will soon issue final regulations detailing a national standard for what is known as “menu labeling.” This new national standard will require restaurant and similar retail food establishments (think grocery and convenience stores) of 20 or more same-brand locations to display calories on the menu, menu board or drive-thru, as well as provide additional nutrition information to consumers upon request.

Confronting a Crisis: Child Refugees at our Southwest Border | Commentary

The U.S. faces an urgent and mounting humanitarian crisis — in the past nine months, 52,000 unaccompanied Central American children have crossed our border without authorization. The desperate parents of these children have sent them on a 1600-mile trek north to escape violence, poverty and disease, all the while unwittingly exposing them to rape, abuse, trafficking, and other dangers, including death from starvation and exposure to the elements. After arriving on U.S. soil, their harrowing journey continues as the federal government scrambles to provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter while they wait to be processed through a system that is over-burdened and under-funded.

Ring the Alarm Bells Over Puerto Rico | Commentary

Puerto Rico’s government-owned electric power authority is facing a deadline Thursday to make $661 million in payments to Citibank and a consortium headed by Scotia Bank. The authority, Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, which goes by the acronym PREPA, had its rating cut by Standard & Poor’s on July 31 to CCC, or eight steps below investment grade and “vulnerable to nonpayment.”

First Step to Fix VA Can't Be the Last | Commentary

The Department of Veterans Affairs health care access crisis was a long time in the making. Many years of inadequate funding, creative accounting, budget gimmickry, and lengthy delays in passing appropriations bills stretched the VA’s capacity to the breaking point and made competent management of the agency next to impossible.

Save Medicare's Home Health Benefit | Commentary

The Affordable Care Act was sold to the American public with the promise of improved access to health care for all who previously could not afford it. In a September 2013 speech on the ACA, President Barack Obama recalled examples of Americans he had met during his campaign who, because of financial obstacles, had to unfairly choose between their home and their health care.

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