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Opening Arguments

License to pander

Boy, if Republicans as well as Democrats are piling on, that must mean the political class realizes how peeved people get at bad BMV service. Guaranteed 30-minute service? Longer hours to handle more people? What a brave stand.

I have to say, though, that I like this a lot better than Pat Bauer's plan to turn the whole shooting match over the the secretary of state:

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Fish-in-a-barrel time

The first two paragraphs of a story about new Census data:

The number of Indiana residents living in poverty increased 13 percent from 2004 to 2005, according to new census data, but advocates say even more people are struggling to make ends meet.

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Soylent Green is people!

Well, for goodness sake. Any environmentalist in this country can tell you that the only way to combat the dwindling amount of landfill space is to recycle:

Tirana residents are trying to put off dying until the government and city officials end their row over space shortages in the Albanian capital's graveyards.

Posted in: Current Affairs

Colts and dolts

The Indianapolis Star wants the state to bail out Indy over the Colts debacle:

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Busted

A brave citizen finds the courage to report a heinous crime:

A daily special at a Lincoln Square restaurant has triggered the first -- and only -- official complaint stemming from Chicago's controversial ban on foie gras.

A caller to the city's 311 non-emergency system complained that foie gras was being served over the weekend at Block 44, 4365 N. Lincoln. The restaurant is not refuting the claim.

Posted in: Current Affairs

Keeping on

While we wallowing in the "what went wrong with Katrina" reminiscences this week, let's not overlook the continuing debacle:

Posted in: Current Affairs

Theirs to lose

I think this is true:

Democratic insiders, who months ago thought their chances of winning a majority in the House were no better than even, and that the Senate was a lost cause, have become far more optimistic. Now, they say, winning the House is a lock, and the Senate is within reach.

An eyeful in Vermont

Some young people in Vermont seem to have discovered something other legal scholars have overlooked:

"I think most of Vermont wants Vermont to be nude," said Hannah Phillips, 15, who added that she has not disrobed. "People have a basic human right to be naked if they want to."

Posted in: Current Affairs

A truly evil plot

Gas_1 Where are the front-page stories, the TV reporters asking people how their lives have been affected, the calls from politicians for immediate action, the letters to the editor from the conspiracy theorists? Gasoline prices have dropped dramatically, even drastically, in the last couple of weeks.

Elevator folk

I don't care for the politics of either Bruce Springsteen or Pete Seeger, but I've always liked their music, so I was looking forward to Springsteen's "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions." But I had to give up at about track 5, and I haven't listened again. I like my folk songs rough and raw, and this sounded like elevator music. The songs were allegedly done in one take to capture a "spontaneous" feel, but they surely sounded rehearsed to death. And the 12 musicians sounded like an orchestra -- violins, horns and a grand piano on folk music? Come on.

Posted in: Music

Condomania

The Indianapolis condo market is booming:

. . . the Downtown condominium market is alive, kicking and guzzling Red Bull.

Supply is high. Dozens of condos are open or in the works.

Demand is even higher.

Posted in: Hoosier lore

We'll always have Paris

Remember "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America"? Here's a project that's really ambitious -- "10,000 Reasons Civilization Is Doomed." There are only about 2,700 things on the list so far, but the Web community is invited to make additions. With that many annoying things listed, there are bound to be some we disagree with, but it's hard to argue with No. 1: Paris Hilton. I've stopped worrying about her, frankly. Even if she disappears, we'll get somebody else exactly like her. The culture demands it.

Posted in: Current Affairs

Creepy Christmas

Better hurry. Only 117 shopping says left:

It's that special time of year again, when the first plush Santas, singing snow men and blown-glass Christmas ornaments begin to appear on store shelves.

[. . .]

Labor Day, Columbus Day and Halloween, much less Thanksgiving, are now mere speed bumps on the highway to Christmas, folded into the 115-day month of Septoctnocember.

Posted in: Current Affairs

Not a police state yet

Common sense on balancing safety and civil liberties in the fight against terrorism:

What we have tried to do, in the wake of watching 3,000 of our innocent fellow citizens incinerated before our very eyes five years ago, is to try and find ways of protecting ourselves against foreign and domestic terrorist threats. It seems to me we've done so with a great deal of respect and attention to civil liberties - even though the process has been awkward and clumsy at times.

Posted in: Current Affairs

Exit strategy

If something so clearly isn't working, isn't it time to change course?

Prohibition has failed to stamp out markets and quality, or increase street prices for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. The drug war kicked off by President Nixon in the 1970s costs $40 billion or more a year. It is a massive, embarrassing, destructive failure.

Brrrrrrrh!

Whenever we're standing around at work griping about the weather, I participate only halfheartedly if the "this heat is unbearable" topic comes up.  No matter how bad summer gets, I hate winter so much more. (Bring it on, global warming). I don't believe the claims of Farmers' Almanac that its forecasts are accurate 80 to 85 percent of the time (the dirty little secret of meteorologists is that when they're talking about the weather more than 48 hours out, they're just making it up).

Posted in: Current Affairs

Uniform approach to education

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Gun violence

This is a pretty comprehensive look at the state of gun laws and pretty evenly balanced in presenting the views of both gun supports and gun-control advocates. But it veers into wishful thinking at the end:

Posted in: Hoosier lore

Reality bites

A lot of people are getting exercised over the latest twist in the "Survivor" TV series, apparently believing it will set back efforts at "racial harmony through diversity" 100 years:

LOS ANGELES - Get ready for a segregated "Survivor." Race will matter on the upcoming season of the CBS show as contestants will be divided into four tribes by ethnicity. That means blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians in separate groups.

Posted in: Current Affairs

Good eats

As we do occasionally, my sister and I decided to try a restaurant we'd never been to before. Indianapolis Monthly raved about it, it had "bistro" in the name; what could possibly go wrong? We were both underwhelmed. It turned out to be one of those self-consciously trendy places that put the haughty in haute cuisine. Elaborate presentations, painfully ostentatious decor, waiters and waitresses dressed better than we were. The portions were tiny, the vegetables exotic and the sauces adventurous.

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