Ron Wolff: Government is simply the institutionalization over time of the collective will of the people at any given moment, established with at least one essential objective in mind: the prevention of the inevitable chaos that would result in its absence.
Ron Wolff: Los Angeles County Supervisors have been aware for years that several of their largest departments — Juvenile Probation and Children and Family Services among them — are dysfunctional. They claim to care — but the problems persist. There is one thing a leader does in urgent times — take urgent action!
Ron Wolff: FDR spoke about “four essential freedoms” on January 6, 1941, naming 1) freedom of speech and expression; 2) freedom of every person to worship in his own way; 3) freedom from want; and 4) freedom from fear — which he explained was related to a reduction of armaments and the lack of physical aggression against any other country in the world.
Ron Wolff: I don’t quarrel with the Boy Scouts’ right to determine its own membership qualifications, although I think what they’ve done is short-sighted in the least and actually downright bigoted. (Other organizations serving young people — the Girl Scouts, Campfire, Boys and Girls Clubs, and probably a host of others — have seen the light.) What I don’t understand is the desire to celebrate and applaud discrimination, unless of course you approve of those views yourself.
Ron Wolff: All of our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, now spanning about eight years (twice the time it took to win World War II), have not resulted in an ability to keep would-be terrorists outside our borders or foil their plots in advance (no doubt with some exceptions).
Ron Wolff: If PG&E believes so strongly in democracy, shouldn’t it let its shareholders vote on whether to support a campaign like this? Don’t hold your breath. If capitalism thrives because it promotes market efficiency, what’s wrong with letting governments operate utilities if they can do it better than private enterprise?
Ron Wolff: In Los Angeles County, child abuse hotline tips flow in at a rapid clip. Responsibility for investigating them falls to the Department of Children and Family Services. The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 18,000 cases are unresolved within the mandated time limit of 30 days, at least in part because there are simply not enough social workers.
Ron Wolff: Democrats pushed health care reform, according to Will, because of liberals’ tendency to “lunge to maximize government growth.” Presumably, it was irrelevant that insurance companies were acting like bandits, taking policy-holders’ money and then withholding services when people got sick, and that millions of Americans were dying prematurely because they didn’t have access to quality medical care.
Ron Wolff: The logical question to ask is: How much is the CEO of Massey Energy Company compensated for setting the tone and establishing the philosophy that “violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process”? According to the New York Times , CEO Don L. Blankenship earned $11.2 million in 2008, about twice what he earned in 2006.
Ron Wolff: I can’t help wondering how much more I (and millions of other Americans) could be earning from our stock portfolios if the billions of dollars paid in executive compensation (based on rationale that is marginal at best) were distributed to the shareholders.
Ron Wolff: How ironic (and unfortunate) it is that Toyota’s massive current crisis was caused, by its own admission, by a switch from the traditional Japanese model of high quality to the Western desire for growth and profit.
Ron Wolff: Meanwhile, millions of people look for work. No, they’re not all trained to be police officers, probation officers, electrical engineers, or teachers. But many of them could be. And most of the rest are either qualified or COULD be qualified to perform tasks that provide society with useful — even necessary — services.
Ron Wolff: Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies — when they’re not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they’re all “in.”