Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our responsive government

How astute of Congress to call hearings on the matter of bird strikes. Just what was it that prompted these hearings? It was publicity, of course.

And how ironic that the pilot, crew, and air traffic controller were invited to testify this week. Why that’s the same week as the state of the union address.

Just exactly what does a pilot know about engines or geese? Well, not much. His testimony centered around the cut in pay that is typical for pilots, tied in to the safety angle of surviving the crash.

But someone from the FAA testified at the hearing and indicated that we have invested a great deal of money identifying the remains of bird strikes. Margaret Gilligan said:
“The FAA has an interagency agreement with the Smithsonian Institution to analyze bird remains at the Feather Identification Laboratory (National Museum of Natural History) to determine species identifications. In 2003, the FAA purchased a DNA sequencer to assist in building a DNA library and improve the identification capability of the laboratory. Airports can mail small remains from bird strikes to the feather laboratory at the Smithsonian. The laboratory then analyzes the remains and provides the species information to the airport and the FAA Wildlife Strike Database. Species information is vital for the airports and wildlife managers when considering appropriate mitigation measures. Additionally, engineers use the data provided on species weights to test new engine designs. The Feather Identification Lab identified over 700 cases for the FAA in 2008.”

In true form, Congress arrives on the scene to hold hearings when it is politically advantageous. The same missed signals are characteristic of our government. Think of the Fannie Mae mess and, of course, immigration. Always too little, too late. Always self-serving in nature.

From the book, “That’s not what we meant to do,” Steven Gillon explains the problem of subgovernments, unelected groups that really run our government:
“The vacuum of power has led to the proliferation of ‘iron triangles’ of power, in which subgovernments made up of interest groups, congressional committees, and corresponding executive agencies can shape and frequently distort the intentions of legislators…They are not under the control of the ‘general’ government and are able to make laws and policies without the assent of superior authority.”

When you add the tendency of the courts to redefine the law, you clearly lose the intent of what we normally think of as the laws passed by Congress and signed by the President.

That’s exactly what we are seeing when it comes to immigration. It is logical to think that we are subject to existing law until such time as Congress passes reform. Not so. We are subject to the whims of Homeland Security and the most recent court rulings. As we’ve come to find out, the laws on the books do not apply.

The only entertainment value comes when the environmental bureaucrats tussle with the aviation safety bureaucrats over the fate of the Canada Goose.

No comments:

Post a Comment