Ross Mackenzie
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Comments direct or implied on items in the news big and small. . .

President Bush and many others continue cogitating on how to deal with a whacked-out North Korean regime now in the business of developing and testing nuclear-capable missiles. The president is talking economic sanctions. Questions persist about whether our anti-missile system could intercept a North Korean missile headed for the United States. Here’s an idea: Tell North Korea that on such-and-such a day, at such-and-such time, we will destroy its missile-launch sites. And do it.

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For the day’s staggering estimate, consider this: Nationwide, accidents caused by the Virginia white-tailed deer — about 200,000 in 1979 — have octupled, to about 1.6 million. Solution? Once again: Greatly expand the number of deer hunters can take (as opposed to the number they can keep), and require them to transport the overage to meat-processing plants for distribution to the poor.

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What’s a “tween”? A child 9 to 14 years of age — about whom, as school begins, this from The Washington Post: “The average American tween lives in a world of electronic opulence, inside his or her own media bubble. According to a recent survey by (cable network) Nickelodeon, 77 percent of 9- to 14-year-olds have TVs in their bedrooms, with about half this group enjoying cable or satellite access. Some 59 percent have video-game systems, 49 percent have a DVD player and 22 percent have computers connected to the Internet.”

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Over the summer the House of Representatives did at least two things right. It approved bills (1) granting the president a line-item veto and (2) exempting far more estates from federal death (or estate) taxes. Both measures now languish in the Senate, where they face death by Democratic strangulation.

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According to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: “The death tax hurts just about everyone. Congress’ Joint Economic Committee estimates that the tax’s existence drains about $60 billion from our economy each year. In all, the JEC estimates the estate tax’s net effect on our economy has deprived the American economy of $847 billion in investment. Not surprisingly, over 90 percent of all manufacturing firms consider the death tax a threat to their existence. . . . (And) it produces only about 1 percent of total federal income. Since its repeal will stimulate the economy and thus revenues from other sources, it might not have any real consequence for our government’s fiscal status.”

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Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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