Thursday, January 26, 2006

Give the kids a break, will ya?

I encouraged folks to use open records laws more often, but I forgot to add that if the government won't give up the goods you may have to sue them. That's what Students for Sensible Drug Policy is doing. They asked the US Department of Education under the Freedom of Information Act for the names of everybody who was how many students were turned down for financial aid because of a drug conviction; bully for them. The feds won't give them the standard fee waiver for nonprofits, SSDP's Tom Angell writes, because "they claim it could lead to drug legalization and that we might somehow profit!" The Department of Ed wants to bill them $4K for the information.

What a load of BS - why should their nonprofit merit less consideration than every other 501c(3)? I guess all the farm animals are equal, except some are more equal than others.

Good luck, guys!


Anonymous said...

Unless I am mistaken, SSDP is just that; a non-profit. How can they possibly benefit monetarily? They cannot sell that information for obvious reasons; the most they could do is contact each person on the list (which would be prohibitively costly for them to do so and therefore is unlikely to occur).

This is just one more case of the increasingly obstructive and/or unresponsive nature of government.

And this latest outrage is more evidence that it seriously requires restructuring - as in kicking the top bureaucrat's smug arses out of their departmental chairs and reminding the rest that they are, indeed, public servants...and they had bloody well better start acting like it, unless they want taxpayers chasing them with torches and pitchforks.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

It really is quite arrogant, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Scott, I figure it's symptomatic of American government in general; the tendency on the part of civil servants to forget that the money in their budgets does not shower down like rain from On High, or that their pay does not pass mysteriously from an unseen source into this dimension as if from some other plane of existence, but comes from the wallets and purses of hardworking citizens.

In forgetting this, those 'public servants' invariably begin to take on an attitude that smacks of that same arrogance you mentioned; they believe that they are somehow superior to those whom they have (in reality) pimped themselves for a buck to. (I don't recall asking any civil servant to take the jobs they do; they offered themselves.) They have voluntarily taken the bread of The State, while somehow thinking that they have no need to be civil to the bakers. The end result is spectacles like this...or worse.

Taken to the logical conclusion, at every level of government, you encounter a cavalier attitude towards the concerns of the citizenry that in other countries I've lived in would have sparked street demonstrations, strikes, etc. that would have led to the fall of governments, as the citizens of those nations have had past acquaintance with where that kind of cavalier - and dangerously dismissive - attitude of government towards the populace leads. Call it the 'fascist innocculation'.

Once you been exposed and survived, the antibodies remain. The key, of course, is surviving the exposure. I fear that America is even now being infected with that particularly nasty germ, and the disease is presently in it's early stages. If enough people awaken to the fact that our 'body politic' has been made ill from it, we stand a chance of avoiding the worst aspects of its' usually highly destructive outcome. Pinning these bureaucratic wonks' ears back for their effrontery would be a good start...