"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers." ~ Richard Feynman
Federal Register Watch
What freedoms have you lost this week?
The Federal Register is the official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents. This column attempts to summarize the highlights (or lowlights) of the Federal Register during the preceding week.
Instructions for subscribing to the Federal Register can be found at the end of the column.
MARCH 31, 2003:
FOREST SERVICE - MEETING OF THE NATIONAL TREE-MARKING PAINT COMMITTEE
The purpose of the National Tree-Marking Paint Committee is to 'discuss activities, improvements, and concerns related to the handling and use of tree-marking paint by personnel of the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management.'
According to the Forest Service, a field trip will be held on May 6 and is designed to supplement information related to tree-marking paint. This trip is open to any member of the public participating in the public meeting on May 7-8. However, transportation is provided only for committee members.
Should be fascinating. A can't miss opportunity for all!
APRIL 1, 2003:
CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNITY SERVICE ' $600,000 IN GRANTS AVAILABLE FOR THE PRESIDENT'S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARDS PROGRAM
The Corporation announces the availability of up to $600,000 in grant money over the next three years to a single organization selected to provide administrative and technical support in the development and implementation of the President's Volunteer Service Awards Program.
Apparently, the one thing that is not voluntary about this program is the taxpayer money that is confiscated to implement it.
APRIL 3, 2003:
COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION ' $100 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR THE FARMLAND PROTECTION PROGRAM
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Program of 2002 amended the Food Security Act of 1985 to include the Farmland Protection Program. The program, designed to allow the federal government to acquire conservation easements on farms and ranches to protect the land from 'urban sprawl,' provides up to $100 million in financial assistance for fiscal year 2003.
Eligible land includes 'farm and ranch land that has prime, unique, or other productive soil, or that contains historical or archaeological resources.'
According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, 'there continues to be an important national interest in the protection of farmland. Land use devoted to agriculture provides an important contribution to environmental quality, protection of the Nation's historical and archaeological resources, and scenic beauty.'
Apparently, one of the most important interests in protecting farmland via taxpayer funds is to preserve the jobs of the government bureaucrats who implement these types of programs.
FARM SERVICE AGENCY ' FARM MARKETING QUOTAS, ACREAGE ALLOTMENTS, AND PRODUCTION ADJUSTMENTS
The rule amends regulations that govern how marketing quotas, allotments, and acreage are maintained, monitored, divided, and reallocated.
These regulations determine an agricultural producer's ability to market certain crops and their eligibility to receive marketing loans, support prices, and other Commodity Credit Corporation and Farm Service Agency program benefits. This rule is the result of the horrific Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, the legislation that was overwhelmingly supported by Democrats and Republicans alike.
Soviet-style central planning of the nation's agricultural production, courtesy of the federal government. One would assume that the failed communist policies of the past and present in countries throughout the world would reveal the inefficiency of central planning, but the federal bureaucrats have yet to figure that out.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION ' DO-NOT-CALL IMPLEMENTATION ACT
This ruling is intended to protect the privacy of consumers by governing unwanted telephone solicitations through the establishment of a national Do-Not-Call list.
I wonder if I can add the Internal Revenue Service to my Do-Not-Call list? I no longer require their 'service.'
APRIL 4, 2003:
PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS ' NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH
President Bush proclaims April 2003 as Donate Life Month, calling on citizens to sign organ and tissue donor cards to meet the needs of those awaiting transplants. According to the President, 'the current rate of donation is inadequate to meet the growing needs of our fellow Americans'. He cites the 81,000 citizens that are currently on the national organ transplant waiting list, and the 17 people on the list who die every day waiting for a transplant.
Yet the President could immediately end the suffering of those waiting for transplants if he really wanted to. How? By legalizing the sale of human organs.
Creating a market unfettered by government intervention always results in surpluses of goods and services, no matter what the good or service is. Yet, the sale of organs is widely opposed on a moralistic basis, and those who are offended by the idea of someone else selling their organs will often seek government force to prevent them from doing so. Sadly, this will result in a continuous shortage of organs and tissues for donation, prolonging the unnecessary suffering of many citizens.
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