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The Real Story on Arsenic in Your Water

Tuesday, 03 April 2001 12:00 AM

For people who don't bother to look beyond the sensational headlines, this sounds mighty bad indeed! Everybody knows that arsenic is poisonous! Everybody knows that you can die from arsenic poisoning! Why, it's absolutely outrageous that President Bush would do such a thing! He's a madman!

I purposely avoided conversation on this particular subject this week until I could get a little more information.

OK, here goes. So everybody knows that arsenic is poison, right? Fine. Do you also know that arsenic is found naturally in broccoli and other vegetables? Do you know that most groundwater already contains arsenic? Did you know that at low levels arsenic is virtually harmless to the human body?

Here's what happened. The National Academy of Sciences issues a report saying that there is too much arsenic in America's water supply. The EPA follows suit with a new regulation lowering the permissible arsenic in our water supply form 50ppb (parts per billion) to 10ppb.

Fine. Now, what would this cost, and how many lives would it save?

Cost? The water industry says it would cost about $6 billion in immediate capital outlays and about $600 million a year from then on.

That cost should be no factor, though, if huge numbers of lives could be saved. So, what's the toll in saved souls? The EPA says that by reducing the arsenic level in water we're going to statistically save about 28 lives per year.

Whenever you talk about saving lives through regulation, you ought to pay a little attention to just how much each one of those saved lives would cost. We could, for instance, save the lives of a lot of airline passengers if each passenger could be encased in an escape pod with automatic fire suppression systems and a decent parachute in case of a disaster. The cost, though, would be absolutely prohibitive. The EPA realizes this and has suggested a figure of "cost per statistical life saved" for its regulations. That figure is around $4 million.

So, what would the cost-per-life-saved be of these new EPA arsenic regulations? OK, get your official Clark Howard calculator out. The new arsenic regs would save about 28 lives per year – at a cost of $65 million per life. That's over 16 times the EPA's own suggest threshold limit!

So, now that you've learned a bit more, does Bush's rejection of the new EPA standards sound so horrible?

So why does this work so well? How can Democrats, union goons and mental midgets like Barbra Streisand succeed so wildly in demonizing George W. for a decision that actually makes sense? Easy, because the decision doesn't make sense UNTIL the facts are known. Facts – poison to the left and the liberal mental process.

So Arizona lost. Big deal. But once again we were treated to video of rioting students overturning cars and setting fires.

Just once I would like to read about strong disciplinary action being taken by a college or university after an event like this. Get the video, then identify every single person you can in that video. If you had your hands on that car when it was turned over – you're out. Pack your stuff. Your education at this university is over. Period. No questions. If your face is shown around that fire – so long! Time to apply to another institute of higher education.

Yeah – like we're going to get that type of a response from today's college and university administrators.

Tax Revolt: Dozens of small-business owners have stopped withholding taxes from their employees and have challenged the IRS to prove them wrong. "60 Minutes II" reports on a tax revolt that's a direct challenge to the way our tax system runs.

Well, Texas congressman Ron Paul has introduced a bill that, sadly, doesn't have a snowball's chance. He wants to end tax withholding.

Let's take a quick look at the way the AFL-CIO participates in and encourages the politics of envy and class warfare in America.

Here's a link to a page on the AFL-CIO Web site: http://cw2k.capweb.net/aflcio/letterstate.cfm?letter_id=1512

It's a letter you can automatically send to your favorite politician or journalist. Throughout this letter you can see one of the elements of this class warfare agenda. The left and the AFL-CIO are working to differentiate between "the rich" and "working people." The goal here is to promote the idea that wealthy people don't actually work for their money. And since they don't work for their money, it's no real big deal if their money is taken away from them and given to people who actually DO work!

If you want a good rundown on the entire leftist-socialist movement in the United States, there is no better place to start than http://www.aflcio.org/home.htm.

Before we move on, here's a quote from AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney about Bush's tax cut idea:

"My fear is that he is so determined to reward his corporate and ideological backers that he will ignore the needs of the vast majority of American people who make daily decisions between pork chops and peanut butter – as he pays attention only to those who must decide between a $190 and a $125 bottle of Bordeaux."

Nice, huh? We have two classes of people in this country. Those who work and have to decide between pork chops and peanut butter; and those who are rich and who's only problem is which wine to drink with their gourmet dinner.

Hey, Sweeney. The next time one of your precious union members needs a job, tell him to go apply for work to someone trying to decide between pork chops and peanut butter.

If you needed further proof that government schools don't give a rat's derriere when it comes to educating your child, here it is.

Thomas Edison Elementary School in San Francisco used to be the kind of school that "parents fought to get out of," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. I say "used to be" because in 1998, a company called Edison Schools came in, privatized it and renamed it the Edison Charter Academy. The New York Times says that since Edison took over the school, the proportion of students scoring in the upper half on national math and reading tests has doubled. And the number of students scoring in the lowest ranks has been cut by one-third.

That's great, right? Kids at Edison Charter Academy are learning, and their test scores show it. The kids get their future handed back to them and San Francisco looks good for allowing Edison Schools to take charge. It's a win-win situation, right?

Not if you're a member of the San Francisco Board of Education. A recent investigation alleges Edison discriminates against black students, sends special education students to other campuses, and hasn't provided the school district with records that track the public money the school uses. At a school board meeting last Tuesday, the board voted 6-1 to give Edison Schools 90 days to fix these "problems." If the board still finds problems, the school will lose its charter and revert to government control.

Parents of children at the Edison Charter Academy attended last week's meeting and begged the board not to revoke Edison's contract. More than 80 percent of the academy's parents have signed a petition asking the city to keep Edison Schools.

And opponents of Edison Schools have failed to provide any concrete evidence that Edison has forced students out to increase test scores.

Oh, and let's not forget that this is the same school district whose loose finances led them to spend $30 million in voter-approved construction funding for other things, like salaries. Audits show that over the past eight years, the district has routinely spent money it didn't have. And this week, the district passed up a $50 million federal technology grant because it couldn't even pony up the 17 cents per federal dollar.

The bottom line is that a private company beat government educators at their own game, and the school board doesn't like it one bit. So they're going to do their best to sack Edison Schools and protect their monopoly on San Francisco's children.

It wasn't a very good week for Edison Schools.

The company also wanted to privatize the five worst-performing schools in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan – but was stopped cold. But it's not the school administrators who sent Edison down to defeat, it's the apathetic, government-addicted parents that nixed this proposal.

Only 2,267 of nearly 5,000 eligible parents cast votes last week. And Edison Schools required "yes" votes from a majority of all eligible parents at each school. Mayor Rudy Giuliani wants the school board to allow Edison to take over the 20 worst schools – with or without parental approval.

Kenneth Wilson is the father of a kindergartner and a first-grader at one of these dreadful government schools: Community School 66 in the Bronx. On Thursday he said, "We hate Edison because they're going to come in here as a business. Each child is a dollar sign." Wow! A true candidate for Parent of the Year.

Sorry ... how is that different from a government-run school? And is it somehow diabolical for a for-profit company to want to operate as a business? Is there something about a company that makes it less qualified than the do-nothing government educators who currently run the show?

If Kenneth Wilson and the other parents put that much stock in the ability of the government regime to teach their kids how to read and write, they're deluding themselves.

Every parent who sends their kid to a government school should sit down and try to think of a single thing the government does well – besides tyrannize freedom-loving individuals.

Our benevolent imperial federal government can't do anything right. So why should you think they're qualified to educate your child?

ABC News needs better copy editors.

On last Thursday's "World News Tonight," White House reporter (and Clinton flack) Terry Moran ridiculed George W. Bush for using the term "energy crisis." That's because, as Moran said, "there are no gas lines and the price of crude oil is actually declining."

The very next night, anchor Charles Gibson plugged an upcoming story by saying, "When we come back, America's energy crisis. Gas prices are soaring and they'll get even worse this summer."

So one night there's no energy crisis and Dubya's a dunce ... and the next night there

Which is it, ABC? You can't have it both ways. And you've just shown the world that you're more interested in slamming the Bush administration than reporting the facts.

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For people who don't bother to look beyond the sensational headlines, this sounds mighty bad indeed! Everybody knows that arsenic is poisonous!Everybody knows that you can die from arsenic poisoning!Why, it's absolutely outrageous that President Bush would do such a...
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Tuesday, 03 April 2001 12:00 AM
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