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All at sea

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All at sea

Arkansas judges and U.S. Senate candidates alike are confused about what they're supposed to be doing. Evidently our schools aren't spending enough time on civics.

A “tea party” candidate for the Senate, Tom Cox, told Little Rock supporters that he “will listen to you and do what the Bible tells me to do first and you guys second, and that's how you're supposed to live your life.” Whether that's how private citizens are supposed to live their lives is debatable. That it's not how elected officials are supposed to behave, not in the USA, is irrefutable. An American senator is obliged to listen to the Constitution, not the Bible. Government and religion are kept apart in America, and the country has flourished because of it. Government officials in Iran put religion first, if Cox wants to try for office there. The counting is not always reliable.

In Pulaski County Circuit Court, a 17-time convicted felon was sentenced to probation only — no jail time — for stealing $25,000 from a program to help  retarded children. This sounds like something from a “News of the Weird” column. Judge Herb Wright told the probably astonished offender “If I thought it would do any good, you'd be spending a substantial amount of time in prison.” Any good? Our criminal-justice system is based on the idea that doing justice is doing good. Crime demands punishment; a chronic thief who steals again must pay a debt to society. If all this is unfamiliar to Judge Wright, he can find help in Wikipedia.

 

Popular wisdom

A new poll from the New York Times shows that 72 percent of the American people want a government-administered health insurance plan, “something like Medicare for those under 65 that would compete for customers with private insurers.” Unlike conservative congressmen and commentators, the masses know that a state of emergency exists. Forced to choose between food and health care, one loses all illusions that things are going well.

With such great demand for a single-payer health plan, Congress should be straining to produce one, quickly. Instead, many lawmakers — all the Republicans, and Blue Dog Democrats — are keener to protect the profits of insurance companies than the health of individual Americans. The group includes Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who prefers an impractical, ill-intentioned “health co-op” plan to a government-run system that would produce better care for more people at less cost. Having assured us that rich people are unselfish (when she was arguing for abolition of the inheritance tax), she now advises that our friends the insurance companies deserve protection from competition. This is a good year to remind the senator she's talking nonsense.     

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