Sunday, January 07, 2007

My 2007 Wish List

Schools are all back in session and everyone has gone back to work after the holidays. Most of those who made New Year resolutions have already broken them by now; after all, it’s been almost two weeks.

Most people think nothing of the fact that we begin a new year in the dead of winter. The ancient Babylonians started their new year in March, when spring arrives and everything is beginning to come back to life. That makes more sense.

But thanks to the second-century Roman Senate, new years begin at the most ludicrous time of year to start one, January 1.

I don’t make New Years resolutions because I know I probably wouldn’t keep them anyway. But I do sometimes make a list of what I would like for those in power to accomplish during the upcoming year.

So here are a few things I would like to see happen during 2007 at the local, state, national, and global levels.

Starting locally, I would love to see the population of Edinburgh and Blue River Township start to grow as fast as the rest of Johnson County. According to the latest census, every town and city in the county grew rapidly except Edinburgh, which actually lost population.

A new subdivision in Blue River Township would help. And, like I’ve said for the last 15 years, if people won’t come to Edinburgh, take Edinburgh to the people. Annex more land where people already live, like Talberton Addition and Pleasant View. Population growth, however it is accomplished, helps municipalities garner more federal dollars and helps put them on the map.

At the state level, I would love for the Indiana General Assembly to do what more and more counties and cities are already doing. They should pass a state-wide law banning all smoking in any building where the public congregates. That should include bars and bowling alleys.

It also should be illegal to smoke cigarettes in any enclosed space where children are present, including private homes and vehicles. It’s a form of child abuse.

Nationally, I hope the new democratic congress will quickly overturn Pres. Bush’s ban on funding for embryonic stem cell research. We are years behind where we could be in that area.

Almost 80 percent of Americans support embryonic stem cell research. Last year Congress passed legislation approving federal funding for it, but our knucklehead-in-chief vetoed it. He’ll veto it again, but hopefully, the vote this year will be veto-proof.

It would also be on my New Year’s wish for Congress to realize the error of its ways and repeal the No Child Left behind Act. It is a travesty for American education that schools have to spend so much time, effort, and money trying to educate those students who are incorrigible or incapable that we have virtually forgotten about the ones who need most of the attention, those in the middle.

And, globally, it would be nice if scientists and governments on a world-wide basis would come together to make a firm commitment to develop alternative fuels. The continued burning of fossil fuels will eventually kill civilization as we know it. We don’t really have a choice if society is to survive. If it’s not already too late, now is the time to set a firm timeline and put a real plan in place to switch our global fuel consumption to something other than crude oil.

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