Thursday, January 22, 2009

In the Midnight Hour

Billy Idol's iconic "Rebel Yell lyrics" inspired me this morning.

In the midnight hour she cried- "more, more, more"
With a rebel yell she cried- "more, more, more"

In the midnight hour babe- "more, more, more"

With a rebel yell she cried "more, more, more"
More, more, more.

Damn, they just don't write them like that anymore.

Billy's expression in this photo pretty much sums up my attitude about the regulations being reviewed by the Obama administration.

There's a lot in the news recently about the Bush administration's so-called "midnight hour" regulations. I've read some great pieces at The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The Guardian, among others.

Let's be clear: these types of "midnight hour" actions didn't begin with George W. Bush, and they probably won't end with him. They're not inherently bad. The federal government is in business to regulate myriad issues and it's inevitable that there will be some loose ends to tie up at the end. (Cliche spotters, give yourself a point!) But the evil in some of these particular regulations is significant, and I'm awfully relieved that our new President is scrutinizing them closely. He's not the first to do so. Previous leaders have blocked the implementation of their predecessor's regulations.

I find it telling that the groups seeking the defeat of most of these rules are public interest groups. And I wasn't joking when I categorized the regulations as evil. When you damage the environment, health and safety, you're a villain.

The Center for American Progress identifies some rules here:
There are rules
  • that relaxes enforcement against factory-farm runoff
  • that permits more waste from mountaintop mining to be dumped into waterways
  • seemingly designed to protect pharmaceutical companies from being held liable for marketing products they know are unsafe
  • that makes it more difficult for workers to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • that reduces access of Medicaid beneficiaries to services such as dental and vision care
  • that could limit women’s access to reproductive health services.
Not scared yet? I discovered a thoughtful analysis of several of the regulations at The Gavel. I'd encourage you to check out the link to learn more.

1. INCREASED POLLUTION FROM POWER PLANTS The Bush EPA wants to allow increased emissions from older power plants while also rolling back existing air quality regulations for national parks and wilderness areas. The result: more pollution and decreased air quality and visibility.

2. UNDERMINING THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT Proposed regulatory changes to the Endangered Species Act would "undo more than 30 years of progress," according to experts.

3. JEOPARDIZING AMERICANS’ CIVIL LIBERTIES Americans’ privacy rights could be severely undermined by a Department of Justice proposed rule that would empower state and local police to collect, share, and retain sensitive information about Americans, even when no underlying crime is suspected.

4. REDUCING RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES The Department of Justice’s proposed rule would make dramatic changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act - weakening accessibility standards and reducing enforcement efforts.

5. RESTRICTING ACCESS TO CRITICAL CARE FOR MEDICAID PATIENTS The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has proposed a rule that would restrict outpatient hospital services Medicaid would cover for our nation’s most vulnerable Americans.

6. INCREASING ROAD HAZARDS BY WEAKENING TRUCK DRIVER LIMITS The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is again planning to expand by 10 percent the number of hours a truck driver can drive without adequate rest, threatening the safety of all drivers.

Millions of women can see their health threatened under the Bush Administration plan.

8. EXPOSING CHILDREN TO MORE WORKPLACE HAZARDS 14- and 15-year-olds who would be allowed to work under a Department of Labor rule could face life- and health-threatening dangers.

9. "SECRET RULE" UNDERMINES HEALTH PROTECTIONS FOR WORKERS 80 noted scientists have questioned a Department of Labor rule - developed in virtual secrecy - because it could potentially damage workers’ health.

10. FINANCIAL ADVISERS ALLOWED TO PROVIDE INVESTMENT ADVICE - REGARDLESS OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST This Department of Labor proposed rule would jeopardize the retirement security of millions of American workers because it would allow investment consultants to conceal their conflicts of interest.

11. UNDERCUTTING THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT Fifteen years after the enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), this Department of Labor proposed rule would make it more difficult for workers to exercise their leave rights.

I don't know about you, but I'm sure glad that we don't have to expect any more, more, more of this kind of rule-making.

We're embarking on a much better time. A happier midnight hour that puts a sparkle in a whole lot of eyes. Enjoy this little groove with Wilson Pickett to celebrate with me!


Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I flinch at each line, wondering why anyone would want to turn a profit without considering the long term ramifications of being so damn careless.

I am watching carefully, to see just where we land in this new administration.

Carefully, and with renewed hope.

Bee said...

There was a scary article in Rolling Stone, too. "Bush's Final F.U."

There is just so much BAD to undo.

Frisky Librarian said...

I loved Billy Idol in my teens!

I still can't believe Obama is really the president.

What you are experiencing now is probably similar to what Australia went through in November 07 when we had a change of Government after 11 years of conservative rule - though on a much greater scale because the whole world is watching and rejoicing along with the US.

It's an amazing time to be alive - tough, but amazing.

Sue Jacquette said...

First can I commend you on the proper use of the word myriad. It's a pet peeve of mine when not used correctly. Secondly, you HAD to know it was coming. I imagine Little W wringing his hands, waiting for his chance to give the country and the world a great big raspberry and a two fisted middle finger wagging. He didn't overturn Roe V Wade, he had to give in on global warming, he didn't catch Bin Laden, he didn't get cheap oil from Iraq, his deregulation policies backfired on him, he basically failed by all of his own standards. Peace out, W.

Threeundertwo said...

Just amazing. I am so optimistic for better environmental protection under this new administration.