Sep 29, 2005

"It would send a message" [LINK]

Another crazy letter in the Globe:

With all the teeth-gnashing and handwringing about gasoline prices, I find it difficult to understand why we haven't yet talked about a solution that is right under our noses: reinstating the 55-m.p.h. speed limit, as was done in the '70s. Not only did it bring gas prices down; it also saved lives. It would be both quick and easy to implement. We are at war, yet where is the sacrifice? I am tired of having people pass me at 75 on the highways with ''Support Our Troops" bumper stickers mocking me as they leave me in their dust. I believe the best thing we can do for ourselves and our troops is to continue to provide a strong economy at home, and driving at 55 would surely help. It would also send a message that we are, indeed, willing to sacrifice a bit.
There are at least three problems here:

  1. This is Boston, for crying out loud. Changing the nominal speed limit has no effect on the actual speed limit. Saying it would be easy to implement is clearly wrong; what's easy to implement is putting up the new signs.

  2. What would happen if people actually obeyed the lower speed limit? The author explicitly identifies this as a sacrifice, but does not specify what that means. It means time wasted on the road when I could be doing better things. How much does that cost the economy? Well, here's a clue: "reinstating the 55-m.p.h. speed limit, as was done in the '70s."

  3. What is the point of sending a message, anyway? Aren't we already sending a message that we are willing to sacrifice our young soldiers, and willing to maintain a massive military presence in the Middle East? Just who are we trying to impress, anyway?

Sep 26, 2005

Zombie Attacks Feared in Kentucky [LINK]

In Lexington, Kentucky, an 18-year-old student at George Rogers Clark High School was taken into custody and now faces second-degree felony terrorist threatening charge after his grandparents discovered writings that outlined acts of violence against members of the school. Poole responded that the writings in question were a short story he was working on for English class that was "about a high school overran by zombies." Regardless, police say any threat made against a school is a felony in the state of Kentucky.

Sep 23, 2005

"Mingling church and state" [LINK]

Okay, it's been a while since posting, but this letter to the Globe sure got me going:

Many religious leaders support same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, this weekend promises to bring throngs of parishioners to pulpits where priests and ministers will be encouraging everyone 18 and over to sign a petition to support a popular vote on banning gay marriage. Churches pushing these petition drives are mingling church and state to such an extent that their tax-exempt status should be be questioned. Contributions to gay marriage advocacy groups are not tax-deductible. It is unconscionable for religious figures to coerce a congregation into signing this petition....
Yes, some religious leaders support gay marriage; totally irrelevant. No, it is not a mingling of church and state for church members and their leaders to express their opinions in the public square. Note the implicit threat in bringing up their tax-exempt status: you'd better shut up! If there has been any encroachment, it has been from the realm of politics, upsetting entrenched societal norms. Finally, to sign a petition based on the word of your pastor is not to be coerced any more than it is to be stopped on the street by someone with a clipboard. Think of it: you're already there for an hour of often excruciating boredom. Is that coercion?