Sunday, April 29, 2007

Take your plates and stick em.....

Sometimes I get confused on the difference between a strawman and a red herring. I’m not sure what the latest ICLU suit over the “In God We Trust” license plates would qualify as. Maybe neither. I do remember hearing Michael Cloud make the statement once that “if you can get people asking the wrong questions, it doesn’t really matter what the answers are.”

Apparently Mark Studler and the ACLU are asking why he has to pay a $15.00 administrative fee for his environmental license plate while people who choose the IGWT plates are exempt from such a fee. There are other questions we should be asking. The first would be, why would someone that wanted to donate $40.00 to an environmental cause use the BMV to make that donation, knowing that the state was going to keep nearly 40% of your donation? Wouldn’t a more prudent solution be to send the $40.00 directly to the organization of your choice, put an environmentally friendly bumper sticker on your SUV, and cut out the middle-man altogether? You won’t find much that the government does efficiently, and redistributing our money is no exception.

Secondly, we need to ask why we are buying license plates to put on cars that we bought to drive on roads that we paid for. And why does it cost more to get permission to drive a new Cadillac on our roads than an old Volvo? All of the necessary funding for our roads should come from gas and wheel taxes, and that would work out a lot better if they would use the money raised from those taxes on the roads, instead of spending billions on unrelated pork projects. And vehicle ID numbers are already in place if we need to determine origins and ownership.

Instead of the ICLU asking the State of Indiana to charge more people more money for more types of plates, they should be asking why the state is issuing license plates at all.

And in the interest of efficiency, we should send our donations directly to the organization, university or cause of our choice, slap a bumper sticker in our back window as a show of support, and give the BMV and ICLU a break.

Lord knows they need it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Same old same old....

It was like driving by an accident. I couldn't help but look. The leading Democrat candidates faced off in a forum/debate tonight. Dennis Kusinich was awfully proud of his pocket copy of the Constitution, and insisted that the government should adhere to it. But listening to him, I suspect he has torn out some of the pages, and added some new ones of his own.

All of the candidates, save Mr. Gravel, had some grandiose plans for the citizens in healthcare, education and energy plans. Still, that haunting question kept coming to me.

How much is it going too cost, and who is going to pay for it?

Unfortunately,the answer is still the same. Nobody has any idea how much it's going to cost, but we all know who's going to pay for it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Let's not make it too easy...

Jo Ann Stewart, Wayne County Voter Registration Supervisor, talked about the Vote Center program at the LPWC Convention Saturday evening.

The Vote Center program will reduce the number of polling sites, expand the number of days the polls are open, and allow people to vote at any polling site in their county.

I understand the reasoning. It's getting harder to find locations that meet ADA requirements. There are entire townships in Wayne County that don't have an acceptable building. And it's getting harder to find pollworkers, and the ones they're finding aren't getting any younger. I suppose having the polls open for a week, and allowing people to vote where it is most convenient would make it easier.
I suppose that's a good thing.

But there is also talk of "vote by mail", where ballots would be mailed to voters, and the mailed back to the clerk.

We are currently seeing the results of people who vote without giving it much thought. What kind of a mess would we have if able-bodied voters won't put forth the effort to even leave their home.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Not in my house, thank you...

Thirty some odd years ago I picked up a little extra spending money by tending bar of an evening at a neighborhood tavern. Last call was whenever the crowd thinned out, and the owner would tell the patrons, “That’s it folks. I don’t care where you go, but you can’t stay here.”

Recent events, and the reactions to them, brought that statement to memory. Radio personality Don Imus made some crass racial comments on his program a while back. The firestorm that followed had some people calling for an apology or resignation, or both. Others, though to a lesser degree and not as boisterously, argued that Imus was protected by the First Amendment, and should not be censored.

At about the same time, some participants of an internet forum operated by a local newspaper, where readers can express their views on various topics, took offense to the moderator’s efforts to curtail some of their more colorful and meandering comments, and claimed that their free speech rights were being violated. Many of the offended participants then moved on to another forum, where postings often became even more colorful, and sometimes a little more meandering.

There seems to be some confusion about who can place restrictions on our speech, and where those restrictions can be enforced. When Fred cleared the customers out of the bar, he wasn’t telling them that they couldn’t have anymore to drink. He was simply telling them they weren’t getting another Miller High Life in his bar.

Likewise, if MSNBC and CBS decide to fire Don Imus, they won’t be telling him that he can’t make racially insensitive remarks. They will simply be telling him that he can’t make those comments on their network He’s still free to make insensitive comments somewhere else. And if a newspaper forum and it’s moderator decide to require that posters on that forum should keep their comments civil and on topic, that doesn’t mean they have to remain civil and on topic anywhere else.

The First Amendment protections were put in place to prevent the government from stifling your right to holler, cuss and carry on about anything about anything that upsets you. But it does not and can not give you the right to do that in my home, or the Palladium-Item forums, or in the CBS studios. In those places, you are a guest of the property owners, and subject to their rules.

Just as the displaced bar crowd could find a place for another beer, I’m sure Don Imus will find another outlet for his particular brand of journalism, and people that use less inhibited vocabularies will discover less inhibited forums.

We all have the right to say things we shouldn’t say. We also have the duty to respect other people’s property, and the duty to fight like #!*& if the government decides to get involved with our hollerin’, cussin’, and carryin’ on.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

What's in that Kool-Aid, anyway.....

I ran across this humorous article concerning Mike Pence's Farmers Market in Iraq the other day. It's pretty funny if you've a couple of minutes to read it.

When I first heard Pence comparing the safety of a street market in Iraq to a farmers market in Indiana, I thought he must surely consider his constituents to be among the most gullible people in the world. But then I received a letter from Congressman Pence, and it changed my way of thinking.

The letter was sent asking for financial support of the Madison Project, which purports to oppose the big spending habits of the newly elected Democrats in Congress. Pence claims that the way to reduce spending is to elect Republicans. After reading the letter, I realized it's not that he thinks we are gullible. I think he actually believes what he said.

Here is man that can walk down a bombed out Iraqi street, wearing a flak-jacket, surrounded by soldiers and BlackHawk helicopters, and believe that he's at the LPWC garage sale in Hagerstown. Here is a man that can look you in the eye and tell you the Republicans are opposed to excess spending, when the national debt more than doubled under Reagan and will double under Bush. (It's set to hit $9 trillion this July, or $50 trillion depending upon which government agency you believe).

And Hoosiers will re-elect him again in 2008.

Maybe we are that gullible.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's a mad, mad world...

Excuse me please, just needing to vent.

From the "imagine that" department:

- Mitt Romney, the Mormon, is the only leading Republican presidential contender that is still on his first marriage. Reminds me of the 2004 Indiana Governor's race when the only candidate that hadn't smoked marijuana was the Libertarian.

-Two of SJR-7's most ardent supporters, State Senator Brandt Hershman and Advance America's Eric Miller, are divorcees. SJR-7 supposedly would protect the sanctity of marrige. Go figure.

-Locally, some folks are concerned that a manure spill into a Randolph County stream might find it's way to the Whitewater River and contaminate Richmond's latest sewage spill.

From the "Natural Selection is a Good Thing" department:

-I saw this morning that a man had to be rescued from a tree after he had climbed it to save his bird. (Where's that "Police Academy" guy when you need him?)

-Last week a woman became ill after consuming a large quanity of dog food while trying to convince her pooch that it was actually human food. She's lining up to sue the dog food company.

More to come...