Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are we too stupid?

The highway signs informing us that "Texting" while driving is illegal made me smile. I can see it now:

Judge: "Mr. Jones, you have been charged with texting while driving. How do you plead?"
Accused: "Not guilty, your honor."
Judge: "Officer Smith says he watched you texting on your cell phone for several minutes before stopping you"
Accused: "Officer Smith was mistaken. I was not texting. I had just filled up with gas and was using my phone's calculator to figure out how much mileage I was getting. That's not texting, your honor. "
Judge: "Case dismissed".

Maybe we just need a few more laws, like "Crocheting while driving is against the law" or "Spreading mayonnaise on a tuna sandwich while driving is against the law".

A police officer should use his or her judgement to determine if one is not driving with appropriate skill, attention and equipment. This is beyond silly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

We're Too Lazy

Facts can be deceiving at times. Recently the Providence Journal had a front page article about Rhode Island's high property taxes. Being fourth highest in the country isn't anything to be proud of . But what if our student performance were the best in the nation? Those property taxes would be a real bargain and a source of pride, as I see it.

The point is that spending (or any one single thing) in itself is not the only consideration when we form our opinions about our taxes or government or anything for that matter. There are often other, equally or even more important considerations which should be considered.

It's so easy to be lazy when we read the headlines and form our opinions and we pay a terrible price for this laziness.

Maybe it's just me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Are you with us?

Laura Lederer, adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center should know better. In her letter in the Providence Journal, November 16, "Defeat for prostitution" she writes, "while others (more than one might think) are anti-trafficking and pro-prostitution". She characterizes those who would legalize indoor prostitution as PRO prostitution.

Ms. Lederer makes the same mistake that so many of us make, that everything can be viewed as an either-or position. "You're either with us or against us" might have done more harm to our society than we will ever know. Can she not see that one could favor legalization of an activity between consenting adults and not therefor advocate or promote it?

Might I prefer that a woman have the legal right to decide on an abortion and still prefer that she make a different choice? Is it too hard to imagine that I could favor equal treatment for homosexuals and not, at the same time, personally prefer heterosexual relationships? Can I not personally avoid alcohol yet allow others to legally indulge?

The legislators who voted against the recent anti-prostitution law did not do so because they advocate prostitution and to suggest otherwise is an example of the same old canard, "You're either with us or against us". A law professor should know better. We all should know better.