I’d be a bit miffed too:

Indianapolis Star headline this morning: “IU dean upset over Hasbro’s goof on Pyle doll – Box with GI Joe figure of war correspondent says he graduated from Indiana State University.”
Now I didn’t go to school at the Big Campus in Bloomington, but I did major in History at the Similarly Large Campus in Indianapolis, and it does seem pretty stoopid that a big toy company’s research department couldn’t get something this simple correct. Indiana State University is smaller than Indiana University, boasts Larry Bird as its big contribution to professional sports (Bird quit IU because he thought Bobby Knight was too hard to play for), and is in the town of Terrible Huts…er, that is, Terre Haute.

How do you balance the budget in Indiana?

“This is primarily a gambling bill,” Rep. Eric Turner, R-Gas City, told House lawmakers after distributing a list of 103 industry lobbyists. “Twenty-six of 77 lines in the synopsis of this bill have something to do with gambling.
“What message will we send to Hoosiers when we turn to gambling every time we need money?”

What message indeed.
(This is from the Indianapolis Star article linked below.)

I should probably note

that I don’t usually get to read the paper until after dinner (or even the next day). I telecommute so I’m rarely out of the house before noon, and I don’t subscribe to the paper (gives me a reason to leave the house for something:). Anyway that’s why it took me so long to tumble to this news story about the state budget. Mea culpa, caveat emptor, cave canem.


The Indiana House passed a budget. You’d think it was a kidney stone as long as it took. But the Senate may need a second special session to pass it…being a more deliberate body it doesn’t pass things as quickly. That kidney stone must be the size of a boulder.


Let’s face it. I’m not a big smoker. I don’t smoke cigarettes; I prefer a pipe or a cigar. (And one good reason to overthrow Castro would be to get those nice fat Cuban stogies back on the market.) But it really frosts me that the Indiana legislature actually thought that passing a law that said (in part) that throwing a lighted cigarette butt out of the window of a moving vehicle — and having the intestinal fortitude to make the fine “up to $10,000” — at the same time that they couldn’t come to an agreement on a budget. Which is more important?
Apparently Indiana State Representative Richard Bodiker, D-Richmond, thought keeping honest citizens from tossing lit butts out the window trumped actually coming up with a budget to keep the state (which is in a truly nasty budget crisis) in the black. Or maybe the $10K fine was his idea of raising money on the backs of litterers…I don’t know. At any rate, Bodiker was driving home one night when someone tossed a butt out of a passing car. It hit him in the head and landed in his lap, and he almost lost control of his car. Thus his brilliant idea to penalize people who were already breaking the law (littering is a $42 fine in the state of Indiana). “‘I don’t think they did it intentionally,’ said Bodiker, 60, a retired diemaker. ‘It’s thoughtlessness.'”
Yeah, no kidding. Maybe I was supposed to think anti-smoking forces targeted you because they knew you were dumb enough to bring this bill to the House?
“Rep. Jim Atterholt, an Indianapolis Republican and co-sponsor of the bill, said he had thought about the danger of a cigarette flying into the back of his car, where his three young sons ride.
“He knows the new law might be criticized as unworthy of attention when votes can’t be found for fixing the state budget and tax restructuring.”
Again: Gee. No kidding.
(the quotes above are from an article in the Indianapolis Star from May 20, 2002 — INSIDER: “Tossing cigarettes inconsiderate, illegal” by one John Strauss. The article used to be linked here, but the link no longer points to this story. Go figure.
A friend of mine who is a confirmed smoker had this to say:
Stupid people make stupid laws. A cigarette butt flipped accidently into this legislator’s car, and voila! Now we are all subject to a $10,000 fine if we’re caught doing it? Once again, another case of the anti-smoking jihad in action. They grab their pitchforks, light their torches and set out into the hills to make sure that if someone out there has the affrontery to actually enjoy a cigarette, the least society can do is make them miserable over it. Of course Governor O’Bannon signed the bill. Think of it – if there is a $1.3 billion shortfall in his budget, all he needs is to fine 130,000 smokers $10,000 for flicking a butt out the window, and he’s got his budget problem licked!
Next, they’re poised to double the cigarette tax during the special session. Some geniuses want to raise it to $1 per pack, in the hope of generating $556 million in NEW TAXES per year, and another $15 million in sales taxes. That’s out of your pocket, and the pockets of those who can least afford it. Don’t forget that smokers already pay MORE than non-smokers for insurance, and pay MORE state and federal taxes. Yet they die on average just 2 years before non-smokers (and if you want to be a cold-hearted statistician about it, the additional costs in health care for treating smoking illnesses are more than offset by the savings in government services resulting from smokers dying 2 years earlier).

If you happened to be watching The Fox Report on Friday, May 31, 2002, you would have seen a short blurb on the new law. It included my friend and several others having a word or two against. Unfortunately Fox cut my comment about this being no different than an unfunded mandate, given that this was just one more thing for our already overworked police officers to keep track of.
I don’t know if you knew it but once long ago the Indiana legislature came very close to decreeing by law the value of ‘pi’. True. And the value wasn’t 3.14159…

Homeland Security:

Sure, why not a cabinet post? Ridge gets the power to make real change; Congress gets the power to subpoena his testimony. Sounds like a win-win.
I loved Rush’s idea yesterday on how to get control of the Senate back — appoint Charlie Schumer as the first Secretary of Homeland Defense 🙂
God knows our borders are porous, our various levels of government don’t talk to each other, and we spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about why we didn’t prevent 9/11 when we should be looking ahead to what might happen today or tomorrow. I liked Peggy Noonan’s column on this today. She said essentially what I’ve been saying ever since the congressional investigation started. I’ve long been of the opinion that the several Pearl Harbor investigations that occurred before the war was even fairly begun were a mistake, and primarily aimed at discrediting FDR (who is not my favorite president by a long shot, but you simply don’t do this sort of thing while a war is on). The present hearings seem focused on assigning blame to the President and his men more than they are on making real working changes. Maybe we do need a reorganization, but we don’t need congressional finger-pointing to obscure and obfuscate the central issue.

Indy Journalism:

I’m also going to be keeping an editorial eye on the Indianapolis Star. A one-newspaper town the size of Indianapolis is a bad thing and it shows quite often.