Not so fast on Obamacare
Now that the Supreme Court has given the green light, some governors seem eager to get Obamacare implemented. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, for example, says that not only will he push the legislature for quick action, he might even issue an executive order to get part of it done.
Some are more cautious. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, after calling President Obama’s health care law “dangerously misguided,” would say only that the next step would probably be up to the General Assembly. Don’t bother me about it, in other words.
And some governors seem downright hostile. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he is not going to phase in any part of the plan just now.
All things considered, we’d recommend something closer to Walker’s attitude than Quinn’s. The law has almost too many components to count.
Tested again by nature's wrath
Every four years, it seems, we must have our patience tested, our resolve and fortitude put on the line and our faith in ourselves and each other pushed to the absolute limit.
No, not the presidential elections. Mother Nature’s quadrennial reminders – do her showy hints have to be so brutal? – of just who is in charge here.
In 2008, it was an ice storm during one of the coldest weeks of the year that threatened to ruin Christmas by knocking out power to 124,000 people, including 58,000 in Fort Wayne, for several days.
And in 2012, it was a thunderstorm during the hottest week of the year, featuring 90-mph-plus straight-line winds that threatened to ruin the Fourth of July by leaving millions without power in a great eastern swatch from Indiana to New Jersey.
Our strength is in our optimism
Americans on this Fourth of July are overdosing on the one thing America cannot survive: pessimism. There seems to be a feeling abroad – deeply felt if not always articulated – that things are bad and getting worse.
But if this nation can be defined in one word, it is optimism. It’s what the country was founded on, what fueled its growth and development, what has shaped its beliefs and defined its values.
The people who made this nation, the writer Bernard DeVoto once noted, were neither visionairies nor utopians but realistic, hardheaded people “who understood the dynamics of freedom and saw that if they were loosed in an empty continent an augmentation would follow for which nothing in the past could be an adequate gauge. From then on not the past but the future has counted in the United States.”
Keeping score of all the bans
Most of us were so focused on the heat wave and power outage Sunday that we let a new Indiana law sneak in on us almost unnoticed. July 1 was also the effective date of the statewide ban on most smoking inside buildings.
Hooray for the public health. But it wasn’t much of a reason to celebrate, alas, for those who value common sense and coherence when comes to the state’s approach to home rule.
If you’re keeping score, there are now both a statewide smoking ban and a Fort Wayne smoking ban.
If you live in Allen County, come to think of it, you have a third ban to deal with, because county government came with its own rules.
Do we really have to follow all the bans? Yes. But how do we do that when there are contradictory provisions in all three?
Good start on open government
The start of Indiana’s statewide smoking ban got so much attention that another important new law taking effect July 1 went almost unnoticed. As of that date, Indiana public officials who violate public access laws could face fines of $100 for the first offense and $500 for every one after that. “The Legislature has sent a message to state and local government officials that they mean business when the government should operate transparently,” said Hoosier State Press Association Executive Director Steve Key.
Don’t let Key’s enthusiasm – the HSPA lobbied strongly for the law – lead you to believe this is just a press issue. Certainly journalists want more-open government, but citizens need it. This law won’t guarantee accessibility, but it can put us on the path to greater public view of government actions.