Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Three things to get off my chest

Today is a venting day. There were three things that I have been picking up through the different media outlets available that really have irked me, but I did not feel that compelled to write a separate article on each one. Thus, periodically, I will combine thoughts about multiple topics in one article to get it off my chest and move on from it. Yes, this my version of a controlled burn.

Topic One: Leave Senator Burris alone.

In their zeal to impeach and remove former IL Governor Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois House members conducting the impeachment investigation did not do a thorough job of questioning witnesses. Case in point, and not verbatim:

"Mr. Burris, were you in contact with any member of Blagojevich's staff prior to your appointment, especially concerning fundraising?"

"Yes."

"Moving on..."

Burris feeling compelled on his own to clarify, since after all, he was the state's attorney general at one time, filed an affidavit a day later to further explain any relationship and conversations he had with, as it turns out, the governor's brother. Burris was forthright in coming forward, he did not perjure himself.

Governor Quinn, be a man and move Illinois forward, stop using Republicans to do your dirty work. I expect you to support your junior U.S. Senator when he runs for the full term in 2010.

Topic Two: Death threats to Nadya Suleman

How much of an idiot are you to threaten to kill the mother of a child, let alone the mother of the longest surviving set of octuplets in American medical history, let alone the mother of 14 children. I am willing to bet some of those sick dogs claim to be Christian. You are more like King Herod than Christ. You remember Herod, don't you? He was the man who had the first born of Jewish families killed around the birth of Christ as an attempt to slay the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Savior of the world.

If you brilliant folks had some sense of intelligence, I would assume then that you would realize those children will be worse off without their mother. But it is obvious that you do not deserve to be amongst civilized human beings. It is my hope that the police are taking these threats seriously and the District Attorney will prosecute those individuals to the highest extent of the law available when captured.

I have been critical of Nadya Suleman's thinking process, but I would never want her to die. She has brought 14 children into the world and I pray that she is able to provide for all of them. My faith allows me to believe the children will get what they need, as a testimony to the God I serve. But as a citizen of this world, any person that is not capable of discussing an issue without resorting to threats of violence should not be allowed to walk freely in this society. If you are reading this and you were one the folks that had the need to threaten the life of another human being, may God have mercy on your soul.

Topic three: Red-light Cameras

People in Mississippi are seeing red about the new traffic light cameras that are being installed and operated throughout the state. The cameras are activated whenever the traffic light turns red. If you are snapped running a red light, you are then sent a ticket, based on the information connected to the car tag on the vehicle.

In Jackson alone, six hundred tickets are being challenged by citizens who feel that they were wrongly pictured. Get over it. While visiting Chicago, I found out I received a ticket. Since I was borrowing my father's car, he got the ticket. Oh, well, I got caught. The ticket is paid, we moved on.

Now I know Mississippi is know as the place where change dies a slow, painful death, but this is ridiculous. In our weekly Monday Morning Breakfast Club discussion, it came up that one the community leaders in the city claimed the the cameras were discriminating against Blacks. In case you did not know, Jackson has majority Black population of over 75 percent. Hmmm...what are the odds that the majority of those ticketed would be Black? I'm not a math major, but I have a basic sense of probability and automated, inanimate objects do not discriminate. People do.

So you are telling me that you would rather trust the judgment of a human police officer than a camera? Ok. Well, the Mississippi House heard your cry and voted to ban the cameras. The Senate will take up the measure next. The reason why this became a pressing legislative issue is that some key legislators got tickets from the cameras and could not get Sheriff/Chief McMillan to waive the tickets, primarily because a private company runs the service and gets paid handsomely providing that service.

Had the Legislature passed a bill when I was serving that would have allowed the cameras, there was language in the bill that would have set parameters on how much a company could charge for providing the service. Since federal law allowed the municipalities to use the cameras, they went ahead with them anyway and made their own financial arrangements with the service providers.

Also, as I reminded my former colleagues in attendance at the meeting, there may be federal funds attached to the cameras that may affect future transportation projects. However, losing federal funds is not an abnormal practice in Mississippi. I just wish that anger and resistance to change were not the driving force behind Mississippi public policy.

Ok, I feel better now.