We are letting down our vets
We have been a nation at war for more than a decade. Thousands of U.S. soldiers have died, and news of more casualties comes every week. Americans are going weary of the battle news, indeed of overseas entanglements in general. The administration has signaled it wants deep military cuts.
This would not seem to be the best time in American history to be a member of the armed forces.
Yet every day there are brave men and women who enlist to defend this country and protect its interests, knowing there will be hardships and they might even be called on to make the ultimate sacrifice.
What remarkable people these are, and how lucky we are to have them. It is fitting on this Memorial Day to honor and praise them.
We are, alas, letting many of them down.
Council studies tax abatements
Our thanks to Republican City Councilmen Tom Smith and Russ Jehl for asking that the council discuss the broader implications of an annexation request, specifically the issues raised by granting a tax abatement.
Council members seem inclined to grant the request of a dentist for the city to annex 1.5 acres where he wants to build an office complex, and also to go along with his request to make a tax abatement a condition of the annexation. And that’s fine – there will be economic growth at a negligible cost to the city’s budget.
But the granting or withholding of tax abatements often gets into very big money and a potentially serious impact on the local economy. Asking questions about the implications of a broad abatement policy can help shape that policy.
Already sick of campaign
Welcome to Memorial Day week, what once was considered the unofficial start of the campaign season for the fall election. You may now all go, “Oh, God, no, please no, anything but that!”
It’s fascinating that politicians gave themselves only a five-month window to campaign at a time when campaigning was a slow, arduous process. It took real time and effort to get the word out with such primitive means as campaign stops, billboards and newspaper ads. The easier it got to campaign, the longer the campaign season lasted. Politicians now have the ability to instantly contact everyone in the nation, and the presidential campaign has been going on for about two years. The result is that by the time what was once the starting point finally gets here, most Americans are thoroughly sick of the whole thing.
What to do about Syria?
The weekend massacre of 108 people, mainly women and children, is one more sign that Syria is ruled by brutal, ruthless monsters, not that we needed any more clues. There is a humanitarian crisis, and the United States has it within its power to stop it. Shouldn’t this nation get involved and do something, even if it means invading the country?
That is one of the hardest questions to answer in a non-empire-seeking nation, as every president from George Washington on has discovered. It is especially tricky for Barack Obama, who campaigned as the peace-loving alternative to that war-mondering George Bush clone John McCain but has been forced by reality to keep and even strengthen most of Bush’s anti-terror tactics. And his internal struggle is ours: when to engage and when to sit it out.
Tricky call on sex offenders
The best laws are those that clearly define a line between accepted and prohibited behavior, then punish those who ignore the line. The harder laws to defend are those that forbid certain activities because they might lead to illegality, especially if the activities involve core values protected by the Constitution.
Hoosier legal efforts entered that tricky territory in their attempts to restrict the movements of convicted sex offenders after they get out of prison – banning them from parks, for example, or prohibiting them from living within a certain distance of schools. The state’s latest effort – to ban sex offenders from social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, is under fire in a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and now being heard in Indianapolis.