Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Doing What We Do Best?

In yesterday's Wall Street Journal there was a revealing article regarding the 110th Congress. WSJ

Barring a burst of legislative activity after Labor Day, this group of 535 men and women will have accomplished a rare feat. In two decades of record keeping, no sitting Congress has passed fewer public laws at this point in the session -- 294 so far -- than this one. That's not to say they've been idle. On the flip side, no Congress in the same 20 years has been so prolific when it comes to proposing resolutions -- more than 1,900, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense.

With the mostly symbolic measures, Congress has saluted such milestones as the Idaho Potato Commission's 70th anniversary and recognized soil as an "essential natural resource." As legislation on gasoline prices, tax fixes and predatory lending languish, Congress has designated May 5-9 as National Substitute Teacher Recognition Week, and set July 28 as the Day of the American Cowboy.

Ok, so we know that the House and Senate are good at passing back-slapping, fluffy resolutions. Let's work with that since they've not been able to pass an ALS Registry Act. How about having a resolution passed that declares ALS a Terrorist of a Disease? Who could argue with that? Please hold that thought.

In this morning's Washington Post, there is an article on the data being gathered and retained on U.S. citizens' land border crossings. It's amazing. The Department of Homeland Security has an integrated source of information that includes all of the car, truck, bus, and train passengers moving between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico. Washington Post

The federal government has been using its system of border checkpoints to greatly expand a database on travelers entering the country by collecting information on all U.S. citizens crossing by land, compiling data that will be stored for 15 years and may be used in criminal and intelligence investigations.

Do you see the possibilities here? Pile our patients into vans and let's head to Canada or Mexico for a day, and make sure that the border crossing folks note that the people have the official Terrorist of a Disease.

OK, Senators. Everything in life is difficult for people with ALS. Clearly our country sees value in gathering and retaining data in order to find threats in our midst. Clearly our Senate can pass legislation, albeit much of it is of the fluffy resolution variety.

Please sit down and do something serious in September and pass the ALS Registry Act as part of the Advancing America's Priorities Act. It will even help with gas prices since our thousands of people with ALS won't be wasting fuel crossing the borders in order to be entered into a database.

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