Government Officials and Flights – Abuse of Money and Power?

The dangers of making decisions too quickly, with too little information, or with too much emotion.

By Mark D. Harris

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, was forced to resign after revelations that he took charted civilian and military aircraft on trips that were of debatable value to the US taxpayer. The price tag was over $400,000 for the civilian flights and about $500,000 for the military airlift. Since his tenure in office was about eight months (10 February to 29 September 2017), Price spent over $100,000 per month for these flights alone; seemingly an impressive rate of burning taxpayer money. This appears to be prima facie evidence of corruption, or at least rank insensitivity to the needs and resources of the American people.

Price is not the only one. According to the New York Times[1], Secretary Ryan Zinke (Interior), Administrator Scott Pruitt (EPA), Secretary David Shulkin (VA), Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Treasury), and others also garnered criticism for flights from Las Vegas to Europe. These accusations are serious, as public service is a public trust and leaders must act with discretion. Several of these Cabinet members protested that they followed proper procedures, and they may have, but the damage remains. In this time of enormous Federal deficits, and national debts, leaders must not only be squeaky clean; they must appear squeaky clean.

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Are Drugs Addictive?

My daughter, newly gone off to college, had heard in her classes that drugs were not addictive. Here is my answer:

By Mark D. Harris

“Random question, I have a friend here who believes that most drugs are not actually addictive, is that true?… They said that especially weed was not addictive at all.”

Let’s set about answering it. First, as always, we must consider our definitions. I assume that when speaking of drugs you mean non-prescription use of generally mind altering substances (such as alcohol), some of which are often illegal to possess or use (such as cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, etc). If your friend has a different definition of drugs, please let me know.

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