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The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground. —THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1788

Chuck Schumer’s stupid pol tricks: The ‘cruise ship bill of rights’

Democratic National Convention: Day 2Behold the mind of the liberal politician — in this case of U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). How well does it work? You be the judge after reading the following except from an uncritical AP wire release picked up by the New York Post:

Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the cruise ship industry to adopt a ‘bill of rights’ to guarantee passengers certain protections while aboard their ships.

The New York Democrat says Sunday he’ll be asking industry leaders to voluntarily adopt the guidelines which include guarantees that ships have sanitary conditions, back-up power, medical staff and other standard procedures.

Schumer’s plan would also include the right to a full refund if a trip is abruptly canceled due to mechanical problems. [Emphasis added]

The bill is certainly timely. As AP notes, there have been three mishaps involving U.S. passengers aboard cruise ships in the past two months. The most recent was on Thursday when the ironically named Carnival Dream experienced lapses in elevator service and overflowing toilets.

So how would Schumer’s bill of rights have helped? It wouldn’t. It is hard to see how a “guarantee of sanitary conditions” would have prevented the plumbing aboard the ship from spewing out “human waste,” as some passengers complained was the case.

The “guarantee of backup power” would have been useless as well insofar as, according to ABC News, the Dream suffered “a malfunction to its backup generator.” Maybe the bill of rights could be amended to require cruise ships to have backups to their backup systems, and backups to those, and so on ad infinitum.

But what about the “guarantee of medical staff”? It’s a great idea, but it’s again ludicrous that Chuck Schumer thinks no one thought of it before. Each year, the American College of Emergency Physicians updates its “Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities,” which have been in existence practically forever. So rigorously are these guidelines followed by the cruise industry that in the rare event the chief medical officer aboard a ship becomes incapacitated at sea, the ship will radio for the nearest vessel, which will then “shadow” it until it can reach port.

Even Schumer’s insistence that passengers are entitled to a “full refund if a trip is abruptly canceled due to mechanical problems” is already SOP for the major cruise lines. Being in business in the private sector — something that Schumer has never been — these companies understand the power of bad publicity and take every precaution to make sure they keep customers satisfied.

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Howard Portnoy has written for HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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