After being whipsawed from a warm promise of spring back into the glazed depths of winter, I’m lacking the mental stamina to stick with one point for an entire column.
So here are some random thoughts on some random subjects.
The sky still hates us – I’m not going to dwell on the weather. You’ve heard enough. But am I the only Corridorian who sobbed softly upon waking up to the sound of sleet pummeling our bedroom windows very early Monday?
Just hours earlier I was driving with my sunroof open and a Cubs spring training game on my radio.
A thought occurred to me in the dark. If I left now, I could easily be standing on a lush, green tee box by sometime on Tuesday.
Instead, I heroically delivered my wife to her job in Iowa City on Monday morning. And evidently the Iowa DOT picked I-380 to try its new costsaving “no plow, no salt” program.
Cell phones yes, smokes no – It looks like a bill taking aim at drivers who talk on cell phones or send text messages will crash and burn ahead of a Statehouse deadline this week.
A lot of people would like to see some sort of crackdown on idiots multitasking themselves into our back bumpers. So why is the bill dying?
A good rule of thumb to remember at the Statehouse is that lawmakers usually won’t ban things they themselves do. Busy legislators often drive and yak on their mobiles, so they’re not about to make it a crime.
It took legislators, many of whom enjoy tipping back a few cold ones, several years to lower the blood alco hol limit for drunken driving, despite the threat of losing federal road funds. Legislative leaders who are raking in campaign contributions are rarely interested in meaningful campaign finance reforms.
Most lawmakers don’t smoke, so it’s no wonder they raised the tax on cigarettes last year and are now moving to ban smoking in public places.
It’s not going to affect them.
So you might wonder why the overwhelmingly straight Legislature doesn’t move to enact a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage? Because that would break another, stronger rule of thumb.
If there’s a way to plausibly avoid action on a controversial issue, then do nothing. In this case, leaders are letting the Iowa Supreme Court handle same-sex marriage.
The silent treatment – Rick Smith’s great story Monday morning on the Cedar Rapids City Council’s reluctance to respond to public comments at its meetings left me shaking my head.
Why are so many people who seek public office frightened of having to engage in a public debate? I know confrontation can be uncomfortable, but what part of your oath of office guarantees comfort? The fact that you have a rocky relationship with a handful of perpetual critics doesn’t override the importance of an honest, public give-and-take with citizens.
Never mind that sitting there like a stony-faced Politburo while people describe their government-related troubles looks silly and feeds the notion that our politicians don’t really care. And it’s that idea that feeds the ire of your critics and breeds the sort of confrontation you seek to avoid.
Say something. You’re politicians. It can’t be that hard.