"Profiling' could have saved lives
Aaron Alexis, who slaughtered 12 people Sept. 16 at the Washington Navy Yard, was a mentally ill man with a grudge against the Navy. Yet he walked right into the guarded facility because he had a government security clearance.
If ever there was a situation in which “profiling” could have saved lives, this was it. Yet the government agency providing mental health treatment for Alexis, the Veterans Administration, apparently did not notify the Navy. Why? The question is one both the Pentagon and Congress should be asking.
After the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood, Texas, one might have expected the armed forces to be more vigilant regarding threats inside its ranks. There, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who had publicly expressed his enmity toward the military, was not impeded in any way as he planned his deadly rampage.
'Openness' is a difficult promise
Democratic Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz’s promise of “greater transparency” in her work on a new school grading formula is most appreciated. But voters shouldn’t hold their breaths waiting for a magical new era of candor and openness. “Transparency” is one of those promises that are easy to make from the outside but hard to follow once somebody actually holds offices. It’s like “Read my lips, no new taxes.”
We don’t have to look further back than Ritz’s predecessor, Republican Tony Bennett, to see the dangers of too little transparency. The formula Bennett forged was, on the surface, as aboveboard as it could be – a simple A-to-F grading system; who couldn’t understand that? But how those grades were arrived at turned out to be so dense and convoluted nobody could say what the grades really meant.
Legislators to be held accountable
Eric Miller, executive director of the conservative group Advance America, says Indiana legislators are being asked to answer a survey saying where they stand in the fight over putting a same-sex marriage ban in the state constitution. The responses will then be made “available to citizens around the state,” who then can base their voting decisions on those stands.
Meanwhile, the newly formed Freedom Indiana Coalition, backed by Eli Lilly and Co. and Cummins Inc., among others, will inform Hoosiers about which legislators support the coalition’s efforts to stop the amendment and its negative effects on “their lives, families, friends, businesses and the state.”
Goodness. Legislators will be asked how they stand, and they will be held accountable for their stands! Why, that almost sounds like the legislative process, doesn’t it?
Dealing with voter rejection
Brown County should take a lesson from Fort Wayne Community Schools on how to deal with voter rejection: Don’t give up. Instead, give the voters something they will find more palatable.
Officials in that southern Indiana county wanted to spend $4 million on a courthouse renovation project, which would have made the building safer and compliant with accessibility guidelines, as well as adding additional office space. But opposition mounted to the project, and a petition drive against it was organized. A counter-petition drive in favor of the proposal followed.
The votes have now been counted, and the wishes of Brown County residents are not ambiguous: Only 182 petitioners were for the project, and about 1,400 were against it. Officials now must wait a year before bringing an alternative proposal before voters.
What was Cruz really up to?
A lot of people are having trouble understanding why Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz undertook his 21-hour harangue against the evils of Obamacare. The votes just aren’t there to defund the Affordable Care Act, so why drive into a political cul-de-sac that in the end will not change one vote or spend one less dime?
Even Indiana’s Republican Sen. Dan Coats and our seven Republicans in the House focus on Obamacare and slight the larger context. Yes, Obamacare is terrible, even worse than originally thought, says Coats, but it isn’t worth risking a government shutdown in trying to defund it. Yes, say the House Republicans, it is worth the risk of a shutdown.
But Cruz was not trying to kill Obamacare any more than Wendy Davis was trying to prevent late-term-abortion bans with her filibuster in the Texas legislature.