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I suppose medical records privacy laws prevent us from finding out if Linc Chafee was kicked in the head back when he was shoeing horses for a living. If that were the case, perhaps it would explain his addle-brained response to a reporterâ€™s question on Tuesday of last week.
The question was how â€śundocumented studentsâ€ť (i.e., the children brought into this country illegally by their parents) were supposed to pay tuition at Rhode Islandâ€™s state colleges.
The night before, Chafeeâ€™s hand-picked Board of Governors for Higher Education had voted to permit these illegal immigrants to attend URI, RIC and CCRI and pay the rate charged state residents.
Never mind that polls show 80% of Rhode Islanders oppose this largesse and many of them attended the hearing on Monday night. The Board said it would not answer either their questions or those posed by members of the Legislature where similar bills had been bottled up for seven years. They were merely going to â€śgather informationâ€ť and listen.
Personal injury lawyer and North Kingstown resident Eva Mancuso, who is lobbying the governor hard for a judicial appointment, was seen applauding those who spoke in favor of the tuition break. Makes one wonder how impartial she would be on the bench if and when cases involving immigrant â€śrightsâ€ť or a crime committed by an illegal immigrant came before her.
One also wonders why, if undocumented students can get in-state tuition rates, out-of-state tuition rates exist at all. Doesnâ€™t a child of illegal immigrants from, say, Connecticut who is accepted at URI deserve to share in the same dream of a college education?
Paradoxically, there appears an article on page A-6 of this paper last week concerning a possible 9.5% increase in in-state tuition at URI. Presently, non-resident students pay $21,000 annually for tuition. Residents pay $10,000, which means Rhode Island taxpayers subsidize in-state students to the tune of $11,000 per year. Under the board of governorsâ€™ recently enacted policy, we will subsidize â€śundocumented studentsâ€ť by this amount.
If a student is â€śundocumentedâ€ť who is to say he or she is not a resident? Rather than pay the full ride at UMass or UConn a graduate of a high school in either of our neighboring states merely has to say she or he has taken up residence in The Ocean State. Nice, huh?
Governor Chafeeâ€™s answer to the aforementioned question was to say that he is â€śworking onâ€ť granting illegal immigrants a special driving permit so â€śthey can get to work or look for workâ€ť. Did anyone on his staff remind him that it is against the law for anyone to hire an illegal alien as s/he is referred to in Federal immigration statute?
n After calling on a joint session of Congress to pass his so-called jobs bill, President Obama hit the campaign trail repeating over and over between fundraisers that we must â€śPass this bill.â€ť
At the joint session a couple weeks ago, the President said he would tell us later how he intended to pay for the $450 billion package but he hinted at some kind of spending cuts. True to form, however, Obama came back a week later with a series of tax increases instead which he knows is unacceptable to the GOP.
Just why a spending bill roughly half the size of Obamaâ€™s first â€śstimulusâ€ť measure that failed to control unemployment is going to work now is unexplained. Nevertheless, he made a bunch of photo ops in swing states to promote the bill.
Mr. Obama is big on â€śgreen jobsâ€ť to the extent that his administration loaned $525 million from his first stimulus package to a California manufacturer of solar panels which was supposed to â€ścreateâ€ť over 4,000 jobs. This despite the fact that the administrationâ€™s own budget office advised him that this business model didnâ€™t have a chance.
The companyâ€™s website reads, â€ś[our] solar powered solutions offer strong return on investment and make great business sense.â€ť Less than a year after getting a half billion dollars plus of taxpayer money, this company, Solyndra, is out of business and its 1,000 workers are on the street.
Every country that has tried subsidizing â€śgreenâ€ť jobs has found that it doesnâ€™t work.
Overall, Obamaâ€™s Department of Energy made $36.8 billion in â€śgreenâ€ť loans which resulted in 3,545 jobs being â€ścreatedâ€ť. This comes out to $10.8 million per job!
Einstein defined insanity as trying the same experiment over and over again and expecting a different result. This should be the motto of the Obama administration.
Implicit in Obamaâ€™s rhetoric is that it is the Republican-controlled House of Representatives that is holding things up and keeping people on the unemployment roles. The next time someone sees our two Democrat United States Senators, would you please ask them why Harry Reid, who controls the agenda in the upper chamber, has not even scheduled a vote on the Presidentâ€™s proposal.
n Oh yes, Warren Buffet went on record as saying he thought Obamaâ€™s â€śBuffet taxâ€ť should only apply to him and the other 399 multi-billionaires in this country. Why then does he have a legion of tax attorneys and CPAs fighting the IRS about a few million he says he doesnâ€™t owe?
n About a month ago I was having a conversation with a few folks during which I opined that, if his own polls showed President Obamaâ€™s chances of reelection dwindling, it wouldnâ€™t surprise me if he suspended the 2012 election on the basis that our country could not stand a change of government in such a time of grave economic crisis. Those listening thought I was nuts.
The same day as Chafeeâ€™s comment (was a full moon out?) the Democrat governor of South Carolina, Beverly Perdue (no relation to Frank) made a speech during which she said, â€śI think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we wonâ€™t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that,â€ť Perdue said. â€śYou want people who donâ€™t worry about the next election.â€ť
Almost immediately her staff claimed that Governor Perdue was merely joking. Anyone who was there or listened to a replay didnâ€™t hear her or anyone in the audience laughing.
Then, on Wednesday last week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was speaking in Cleveland and said â€śThe unemployment situation we have, the job situation, is really a national crisis.â€ť and called on Congress to take steps to combat it.
I suppose there were some people in Italy when Mussoliniâ€™s Fascists seized power and some people in Germany when the Nationalist Socialistsâ€™ put a chancellor named Adolph Hitler in office who were called â€śnutsâ€ť too.
Richard August is a North Kingstown resident and a regular contributor to the Standard Times. His opinions are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.