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Random thoughts of the day

By Scott Tibbs, January 16, 2008

♣ There has been a lot of discussion in the newspaper about the Elm Heights neighborhood recently, but I think the focus of this discussion should be shifted. It is certainly reasonable to question Elm Heights residents, who benefit from living close to a major university yet seek relief from the negative externalities of that benefit. I can't blame the Elm Heights Neighborhood Association for using their First Amendment rights to petition government for policies that benefit the neighborhood. The main question should be whether city government should place obstacles to the use of a public street for the benefit of a certain neighborhood. If city government does have a role, how far should they go and are city policies fair to all residents? Lost in the debate over political activity by Elm Heights is a significant public policy debate, and that is unfortunate.

♣ Character is an issue for Presidential candidates, and more Americans (including me) should have listened to warnings about the character of disgraced Ex-President Clinton in 1992. With the multiple scandals that took place from 1993 to 2001, those same warnings apply to Hillary Clinton. I do not believe, however, that past drug use by Barack Hussein Obama is a legitimate campaign issue. Whatever mistakes Obama made in his youth, he recognized that he was headed to destruction, turned his life around and became an American success story. I have no intention of voting for Obama, but exploiting his past drug use now reeks of political desperation and qualifies as an unnecessary and uncivil personal attack.

♣ Mitt Romney's victory in Michigan is an important victory for conservatism if only because it weakens John McCain, who was the driving force behind legislation that actually regulates the content of political speech. McCain's contempt for the First Amendment is dangerous enough in a time of peace. He is even more dangerous during a time of war where we have already sacrificed civil liberties. If McCain wins, he will lead the Republican Party to a well-deserved defeat in November.

Ian Thomsen asks whether Indiana Pacers player Jermaine O'Neal could "provide the low-post scoring to turn around" the Chicago Bulls, who are having a disappointing season. While O'Neal's numbers may be down this season, I cannot imagine the Pacers being so foolish as to trade a former MVP contender who has consistently been a reliable source of 20 points and 10 rebounds to a division rival. If O'Neal is going to be traded, it will most likely be to the Western Conference. A Chicago Bulls front line that features both O'Neal and Ben Wallace is a scary thought for other Eastern Conference teams.

♣ While the story of a man who wrote an obscene message in the memo line of a check to pay a parking ticket might be amusing, it is also disturbing. Is dropping the F-Bomb in a check enough to merit a disorderly conduct charge? The answer is no. David Binner's protest may have been immature and uncivil, but it should not be criminal. I agree that an apology is due here. The government should apologize to Binner for overreacting in a much more childish and uncivil manner.