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The Alcohol Creeps Closer

January 8, 2008 at 3:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

The City Council is pondering decreasing the distance that restaurants that sell alcohol must be from homes. The current restriction is 100 feet; the new proposal is 25 feet. 9 South Chargrill, situated very close to homes at 9th and South Streets, is one of the primary reasons for the proposed change. Future businesses in older parts of town would also benefit.

I support the change. In fact, I would drop the distance altogether except in situations where harm to the neighboring residents is likely. After all, 25 feet is not very far. Heck, 100 feet is not very far. Not far enough to make any substantial difference, anyway.

Who here will defend the current 100 foot limit? Or going the other direction, who’s with me for getting rid of the distance requirement and instead relying on other types of regulations that better deal with the type of impact a business can have on a neighborhood?

Drunk is Not Insane

January 8, 2008 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Hey, whaddaya know? It has only happened a couple times, but this morning I learned that I agree with Attorney General Jon Bruning on another topic: eliminating the insanity defense for a voluntarily intoxicated person. The insanity defense as a whole is a tricky subject, but in my mind, eliminating this piece of it is a no-brainer. A person who makes the decision to alter his state of mind must take responsibility for his actions while in that altered state.

As for the insanity defense in general, well, good luck to the politicians who wade into that mess. “Insanity” isn’t what it used to be. The more we learn about the brain, the fuzzier the distinction between sane and insane becomes. Heck, even the concept of free will is thrown into question. Seriously, check out some of the research sometime. It’s fascinating stuff. Anyway, we as a society are in a pickle. Any line we try to draw between “sane” and “insane” for the purposes of the law is arbitrary and therefore flawed. But if we don’t draw a line—that is, if we get rid of the insanity defense altogether—we will undoubtedly find that lumping together all mental health statuses on the same moral plane is fraught with its own unpleasantness and ethical quandaries.

Ahh, the brain. It’s always fun to think about what’s going on inside somebody else’s noggin. I wonder if we’ll ever know for sure?

The First Since Hurricane Andrew

January 7, 2008 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Many of you may have missed this story since the local media’s weekend coverage isn’t its strong point. Early on Friday morning, Officer Travis McClintock shot and killed Scott Gannon, who was armed with a knife. KLKN is reporting that Gannon was shot twice. The last fatal shooting by a police officer in Lincoln occurred in 1992.

I have been reading a lot of horror stories from around the country about police officers—and, in some cases, entire departments—behaving badly in situations like this. The officer used too much force, the department covered up or manipulated evidence, and so forth. Fortunately, there aren’t really any indications at this point that Officer McClintock overstepped his boundaries. Likewise, I don’t have any reason to doubt that we’ll get the investigation this situation demands. Indeed, most of the conditions that tend to lead to the terrible things I’ve read about seem to be absent from LPD. Thank goodness for that.

Any time a police officer uses force in apprehending a subject, it’s a matter of public concern. We have to have high standards for our officers, just as we have high standards for how the rest of us should behave when interacting with them. Relaxing those standards leads to, well, the Atlanta Police Department. Let’s be sure to demand the full and open investigation of this shooting, and let’s continue to insist that the use of force by police be rare and applied only when necessary. And let’s hope that it’s at least 16 more years before another LPD officer has to make the decision to use lethal force.

When to Plow

January 4, 2008 at 2:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Personally, I strongly approve of Lincoln’s policy of not plowing residential streets unless more than four inches of snow falls. Most of the time that policy works out in our favor. True, occasionally we’ll get a situation like we have now. Mix some ice, a little snow, plenty of cold weather over a long timespan, and a dose of shade, and you’ll end up with side streets that are either ice rinks or bumpy messes. I choose to look at those situations from a glass-half-full perspective: at least it forces drivers to slow down in residential neighborhoods.

Do you think Lincoln’s policy is a good one? How would you amend it? (And how would you pay for your amendments, if necessary?)

Men at Work

January 4, 2008 at 2:05pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

You know how sometimes when you drive through a road construction zone day after day, and it seems like nothing ever gets done? I don’t get that feeling while I drive through the construction on I-80 between Lincoln and Omaha. And in fact, the builder is 274 days ahead of schedule. Here’s hoping they keep up that pace all the way to Lincoln.

Road Spy

January 3, 2008 at 2:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Did you know you can snoop on local traffic from your web browser? If only the refresh rate were closer to 1 second rather than 15 seconds, I might stare at those things all day.

Thinking Warm Thoughts

January 3, 2008 at 2:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Somebody at InterLinc is thinking warm thoughts: on the homepage there’s a link to buy pool passes for the upcoming season. I suppose stores start putting out bathing suits in the dead of winter, so why shouldn’t the city get into the act?

Deja Vu All Over Again

January 3, 2008 at 2:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I, for one, can’t wait to go through yet another round of smoking ban madness. Here, let me summarize the three sides for you:

Nanny staters: It’s for your own good!

Anarchists: Stay out of my life!

Average voters: Huh?

My money is on the nanny staters winning this one before the end of the session. But there will be just enough input from the anarchists and the average voters to murk things up a bit. What’s your prediction? What will Nebraska’s smoking ban, if any, look like?

After You Smarter Than the Farmer’s Almanac?

January 2, 2008 at 2:42pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

According to the Journal Star, last year’s weather pretty typical, in your standard atypical way. Who dares to make a prediction about this year’s weather? Can you beat the Farmers’ Almanac?

Speaking of the almanac, they say Nebraska will face “stormy” conditions between the 20th and 23rd of this month. Get ready for some scooping.

Negative Impressions

January 2, 2008 at 2:29pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was a little surprised to read the article the other day about Culler parents fighting the school’s negative image. I guess I didn’t realize it had a negative image. Come to think of it, I can’t really recall Culler having any sort of an image at all. Several of my family members said the same thing.

Besides, I can’t keep up with all of the schools in town any more. There are just too many of them.

Upcountry

January 2, 2008 at 8:49am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

image

I finally made it out of the Big Mango and am currently upcountry in the northeast, close to the Mekong River and right on the border with Laos. These tri-wheel taxis will take you across one of the newest Thai-Lao Friendship Bridges into Laos. I was on the Lao side of the bridge when I took this photo.

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