At 3 a.m. a few nights ago, a man playing with his friend’s drone lost control of the device and it flew off, ending up on the White House lawn. No one was injured, though the Secret Service was understandably concerned. Flying a drone in Washington D.C. is illegal, but a law cannot address all the possible problems, as well as the opportunities, of this new technology. To spell out how drones can be used, where, and by whom, all over America, we obviously need new government regulations.

To deal with the bewildering complexities of modern life, our nation over the last hundred years has created the great executive agencies of the federal government: the Food and Drug Administration; the Centers for Disease Control; the Federal Aviation Administration; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and many others.

Would anyone in his right mind argue that we can abolish these institutions? When Ebola arrives — remember Ebola? — we need the best doctors and the best labs, well-funded and dedicated to our protection, not to quarterly profits and shareholder value.

To investigate and prosecute a Ponzi-scheme crook like Bernard Madoff, what, should someone hire a private detective?

Slaughterhouses are gross enough right now; imagine the wormy meat you’d have found before federal rules took effect! And the regulations that will be written to cover drones will afford proponents and opponents much time for comment. In the end, good sense might prevail. Still, we know what comes next, from the Republican choir: “My God! More Obama job-killing regulations! We’re killing ourselves!”

Health and safety have driven much regulatory activity. What about “subjective” needs like beauty? Is beauty wholly in the eye of the beholder, as Carl Gagliano believes? My original letter complained of legalized ugliness in Auburn, but ironically today’s OA News reports that a downtown alley will be transformed like Cinderella, to the tune of $865,000. I suppose I can only applaud.

Get Our Daily News and Sports Newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
Load comments