Archive for August, 2007

Ivory Tower

August 31, 2007

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” — from the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

“It is an eminently good thing that the anti-suicide measure would require medical specialists to keep track of veterans found to be high risks for suicide. But that’s to care for them as human beings, under that other constitutional right — to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” — from a New York Times editorial.

A lot of bloggers have commented on this example of the Times’ constitutional ignorance, but nobody I’ve read has made the obvious point that the Constitution is aimed at those values, even if the language doesn’t directly say so. The whole point of the document is to protect us from interference, including from the government, so that we may craft our own lives. Of course, our right to pursue happiness has long since been replaced, in the minds of people like the Times editorial board, with the right to have happiness.

The bottle made him do it

August 31, 2007

“I was so drunk I didn’t know what I was doing.” OK, says the jury:

A man who shot his drinking buddy to death was too drunk to mean it, a Lexington jury concluded. The attorney who swayed the jury, colorful Kentucky politican Gatewood Galbraith, spoke exclusively to WLKY.com after the verdict.

“I thought it was a fair verdict. It’s certainly in accordance with the law, as the jury was instructed,” Galbraith said. “There’s no evidence that there was murder. There was all kinds of evidence that it was exactly what they found him guilty of: second-degree manslaughter. It was a tragedy. But it was dealt with, I thought, at the proper level. I thought the father of the deceased was a class act, a class gentleman.”

This opens up a whole new world of “it wasn’t my fault” defenses. Whatever you do after drinking too much — shoot your buddy, kill a pedestrian with your car, rape your neighbor’s child — just have a few more drinks before the cops show up. It was the alcohol, not you.

Skewing the poor

August 31, 2007

I trust all of you understand some of the reasons reports of the “poverty” rate must be viewed with skepticism. For one thing, they reflect only income; things like food stamps and other government benefits aren’t counted — neither are stock dividends, for that matter. For another, those classified as poor in this country today have material comforts the rich in our past didn’t have and the relatively well-off in other countries still don’t. And the biggest problem of all is that those in the poverty lobby insist on spreading the lie that poverty is a permanent condition instead of a fluid one. The reason that “the poor are always with us” is not that the same people are always poor but that there will always be a bottom quintile, no matter how great overall wealth is, and that quintile will be “poor” relative to the other four.

Even taking all that into account, however, this still seems like an outrageous abuse of government statistics: 

College students driving luxury cars down W. University Avenue may not seem impoverished, but they likely are being counted as part of Gainesville’s poverty rate, which is more than triple the national average, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Tuesday.

Though statistics show that 32.3 percent of Gainesville residents were below the poverty line in 2006, an increase of more than 5 percentage points since the 2000 census, economists and even officials with the Census Bureau caution that the figures may only reflect part of the story.

The 66,000 students at the University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College – many of whom report little or no income because they are full-time students – may skew poverty figures for Alachua County, with a population of about 215,700 people. In addition, the relatively small population of the county may add to uncertainty about the actual rate

Pop the cork, Babe

August 31, 2007
“A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread–and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness–
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!”

— Quatrain XI of  the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam ,” translation by Edward Fitzgerald, 5th edition

I love the kitchen, so I’ll bake the bread. You bring the poems and find us a tree to sit under. But we have Circuit Judge John D. Tinder to thank for the better wine selection:

A federal judge has ruled unconstitutional an Indiana law that essentially bars most online and phone transactions by out-of-state businesses that ship wine to Hoosiers.

The law is unconstitutional because it bars wineries that possess wholesale privileges in other states from seeking a Direct Wine Seller’s Permit in Indiana, according to a 71-page ruling issued late Wednesday by Judge John D. Tinder of the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that out-of-state wineries could not be discriminated against, this seems like a reasonable interpetation of the Interstate Commerce Clause. My e-mail box was filled yesterday with missives from people decrying this decision, wanting me to be outraged because wine would be so more readily available, including “to the children.” A lot of them came from people who distribute alcohol in the state, who might just have another concern in mind. If anything other than alcohol were involved, the attempt to impede and control trade this way would be universally savaged.

By the way, if you think my opening shows I’ve gone mushy and romantic, better go back and read Khayyam again or read something about him. I wouldn’t call him a nihilist, exactly, but he was pretty much an existentialist obsessed with mortality and the transient nature of life. He celebrated the sensual because he thought that’s all there was.

On the road again

August 31, 2007

Boy, you can wait your whole life for an opening paragraph like this:

Indiana State Police arrested a Chicago man Wednesday afternoon after he was found driving completely nude and masturbating on the Indiana Toll Road.

He told police he was on the way to visit his mother in Ohio. No word yet on whether he is a Republican who preaches family values. Nah. If he were, that would have been in the first paragrah, too.

“Mom! I’m home!”

Move along, move along

August 31, 2007

A homeless man in Indianapolis is suing because police chased him away from Monument Circle:

It’s not clear whether the action was part of a recent police crackdown on the homeless Downtown.

“Officer Dittemore told him that it was now the policy of the Indiana War Memorials Commission to remove all homeless persons from the property controlled by the Commission and that the Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission and the Mayor of Indianapolis wanted to remove the homeless from Monument Circle,” the lawsuit says.

The man wasn’t arrested, but there was a clear implication that he would be if he returned. He apparently wasn’t doing anything overtly illegal — not aggressively accosting strangers for money or urinating in public — but merely sitting there, looking homeless. People sitting there not looking homeless — on public property, which we are all entitled to peacefully occupy — were presumably not asked to move along. This amounts to a de facto charge of vagrancy, a legal concept that has fallen out of favor for good reason. It is one of those selectively enforced laws that are ignored for most people and used only to target those whom society dislikes but can’t find a valid reason to bring into the criminal justice system.

Still. Before “the homeless” became embedded in the national consciousness, this country had a lot of vagrants, those who were “idle, refused to work although capable of doing so, and lived on the charity of others” — bums, in other words. Those bums are still out there in great number, along with those who wander the streets because they are mentally ill or consumed by drug or alcohol addiction. But we lose track of them because of our collective need to think all the homeless are ordinary families destroyed by an unfeeling capitalist society. Is it too much to hope for that we can sort out the homeless factions — and thus come up with targeted solutions — without going back to bad and selectively enforced laws?

Timely reminders

August 31, 2007

So, Geoff Paddock is one of the people who don’t get their reminders to renew their license plates. He forgets and is issued a ticket. He complains to the BMV and is told, well, it was one of our computer glitches, and it’s just a courtesy anyway, so quit yer whinin’. Paddock isn’t buying it:

 “But it’s more than a courtesy. License fees are a tax, and the least the state can do is to mail notices in a timely manner.”

We know that in our personal lives if we do somebody a favor long enough, it begins to be seen as an obligation, and we’re stuck doing it forever. Same thing on the macro level — if a courtesty is done long enough, it begins to be seen as a duty. I know I’m that way with people who have a claim on my money. I don’t keep track of anything — I get a bill, I write a check. If the bill is late, the check is late. I was tardy in making my fall property tax payment last year because I forgot it was due. The county puts the payment stubs for both the spring and fall payments in the same billing envelope, and we’re supposed to remember to hunt the thing up several months later.

The need for a reminder doesn’t make Paddock or me right, of course. What’s due is due, whether we’re nudged or not.

Justice delayed

August 31, 2007

Can you imagine being one of these 191 people, knowing you’ve been charged with something and worrying for eight or nine years when they’re going to come and drag you into court?

The Johnson County prosecutor today announced the dismissal of misdemeanor criminal charges against 191 defendants whose files were submitted to the Greenwood City Court in 1998 and 1999 but were apparently hidden by a former court employee.

“Prosecution of these charges is barred by law because of the lapse of time,” prosecutor Lance Hamner said in a news release. “Our dismissing of these cases is simply in recognition of the requirements of a law promulgated by the Indiana Supreme Court.

I wonder how many of these people have gotten in trouble again and how many have stayed on the straight and narrow. If I were in that situation, I think I’d be inclined to keep my nose clean. Perhaps we’ve discovered a brand-new deterrent.

Shoulder to the wheel. Just wanted to throw in one more cliche.

A lousy trade

August 31, 2007

Unfair! We get Mellencamp at the coliseum, but Bloomington gets:

 Rock icons Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello will perform Oct. 19 at Indiana University as part of homecoming week celebrations.

Bummer. Being angry won’t solve anything. I shall try to be amused.

Happy Fred Day

August 31, 2007

What a pal — Fred is going to announce on my birthday:

DES MOINES (AP) — Republican Fred Thompson, whose entry into the presidential race has been long anticipated, will officially launch his candidacy Sept. 6 in a webcast on his campaign site, followed by a five-day tour of early primary states, the Associated Press has learned.

It may be churlish of me to snub such a lovely present, but I still want to know what he stands for. Also on my birthday, the Pilgrims set sail from Plymouth, England, in 1620. Lof of history to live up to. I’d tell you how old I’m going to be, but then I’d have to shoot myself.

Volunteers

August 30, 2007

A veteran of the Iraq war calls for a return of the draft:

A deferment draft, however, is a different story, and ultimately counterproductive because of the acrimony it breeds. By allowing the fortunate and, often, most talented to stay home, those who are drafted feel less important than what they are asked to die for. At the end of the day, it was this bitterness that helped fuel the massive antiwar movement that pushed Nixon to end the draft in ‘73.

I don’t favor a Vietnam-style draft, where men like the current vice president could get five deferments. I am talking about a World War II draft, with the brothers and sons of future and former presidents answering the call (and, unfortunately, dying, as a Roosevelt and a Kennedy once did) on the front line. That is when the war effort is maximized. Quite simply, the military cannot be a faceless horde to those pulling the purse strings of our great economy.

The draft would even hasten a weaning away from foreign oil, I believe, if more Americans felt the nausea that I do every time I go to the pump and underwrite the people who have nearly killed me five times. This war on the jihadists needs to be more discomforting to the average American than just bad news on the tube. Democracies at war abroad cannot wage a protracted ground operation when the only people who are sacrificing are those who choose to go.

But the universal draft in World War II worked only because Americans believed the future of the whole world was at stake and were united in the shared duty of saving that world. A draft could only be reinstated if we had that kind of unity, and we’re far from it. Not only are divided on the current war, but we may be at the point where we don’t trust the government to be straight with us on any perceived threat. Even if a draft were possible, it would be riddled with loopholes that those who wanted to exploit could easily.

The draft takes people’s freedom; it is the most awesome power the government can have over someone not convicted of a crime. A free people view it with suspicion for good reason.

Trial by press

August 30, 2007

Richard Jewell, the security guard who should have been a hero but was labeled a terrorist, has died at 44:

The Jewell episode led to soul-searching among news organizations about the use of unattributed or anonymously sourced information. His very name became shorthand for a person accused of wrongdoing in the media based on scanty information.

Jewell, who was working as a sheriff’s deputy as recently as last year, was a security guard in 1996 at the Olympics in Atlanta. He was initially hailed as a hero for spotting a suspicious backpack in a park and moving people out of harm’s way just before a bomb exploded during a concert.

The blast killed one and injured 111 others.

Three days after the bombing, an unattributed report in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described him as “the focus” of the investigation.

Other media, to varying degrees, also linked Jewell to the investigation and portrayed him as a loser and law-enforcement wannabe who may have planted the bomb so he would look like a hero when he discovered it later.

I knew about the most infamous case of “media justice” before I even started on newspapers — when the Cleveland news outlets helped railroad Dr. Sam Sheppard into prison (espeically the Cleveland Press, which had one headline that is always mentioned: “Why isn’t Sam Sheppard in jail?”) .The case became the inspiration for “The Fugitive” TV series.

The press didn’t learn from the Sheppard case, and we didn’t learn from the Jewell case. Just pick up any issue of any newspaper from the last week. If you don’t see at least three examples, you aren’t paying attention. And in discussing today’s media, we have to include the blogs, which are making rush to judgment a specialty.

What happens when you do all that “soul searching” and can’t find one?

Woman’s work

August 30, 2007

Today’s quiz: What distinction does the Indiana Supreme Court have?

Answer: It’s the only state high court without a woman.

This will matter to those who think women still aren’t getting a fair shake in certain areas. Of course, having a representative on every state Supreme Court but one has to be seen as progress, even if it seems to make Indiana a little backwards.

It should not matter to our pursuit of justice. There is no “men’s view” or “women’s view” of the law. There is just the law and whether it is applied fairly and consistently.

He’ll be on sick leave, probably

August 30, 2007

We can be ghouls:

The report that Owen Wilson, the 38-year-old comic actor known for his easygoing demeanor, had attempted suicide was shocking and sobering for both fans and the industry. And it left many people wondering how this sensitive situation will affect the in-demand actor’s workload.

How it will affect his workload? He tried to kill himself.

The ghoul of legend fed on human flesh, specializing in robbing graveyards of corpses.

Happy feet

August 30, 2007

I am learning more than I want to know about men’s restroom etiquette. The only rules I have known for sure are that there is no eye contact at the urinals, and there is no talking except for a brief exchange during the hand-washing process or a “How you doin’?” if you meet while one is going in and the other is leaving. Now I have to wonder about my stupid feet:

A foot-tapping ritual was a common thread in many of the 41 arrests reported during a four-month airport bathroom sting that snared Sen. Larry Craig.

An undercover officer would take a seat in a stall. Soon another man would sit in the stall next door and start tapping his foot, perhaps moving it closer to the officer’s. The officer would move his foot up and down slowly. The suspect might then extend his hand under the divider between the stalls, sometimes repeatedly.

That would be enough to get the man busted.

Sen. Craig has been, um, tap-dancing around this issue with pretty lame excuses: It was a misunderstanding, I just wanted to get it over with, it was the media’s fault, I wasn’t gay the and I’m not now. I think he’s missing the obvious defense: Restless Leg Syndrome!

Too busy? Sleep on it

August 30, 2007

But sleep is the leisure activity:

Americans who log long hours on the job find the time for leisure and other activities by cutting down on sleep, a study reports today.

“We only have 24 hours in a day,” says Mathias Basner, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

His study of 47,731 Americans found that people who worked more simply got up earlier or went to bed later — a practice that puts them at risk of sleep deprivation.

Get him outta here

August 30, 2007

We tough-on-criminals types have to answer for people mistakenly convicted — in capital punishment cases especially, but in all other prosecutions as well. The show-some-compassion crowd, though, has to talk about monsters like this guy, who beat his 3-week-old son to death:

The 24-year-old also said, according to a probable-cause affidavit released Tuesday, that he had trouble in the past controlling his temper, was into Satanism and that “there is something that doesn’t allow him to care.”

Something that doesn’t allow him to care. Is your heart melting? I don’t think he deserves to be on the planet. What would you do with him?

The long, long, long race

August 30, 2007

States keep moving up their primary contests:

Wyoming Republicans have jumped to the head of the pack in the nominating process, moving their delegate-selection conventions to Jan. 5 before even Iowa or New Hampshire vote.

While the move puts Wyoming first in the accelerated primary process, it is not expected to stay there as states continue to jockey for position. At stake for Wyoming Republicans on Jan. 5 will be 12 delegates to the national convention.

This means that the primary season, which we thought was going to go on forever, is quickly coming to an end (better hurry, Fred). We are likely to know who the two candidates will be by February. That will give us a nine-month presidential campaign — we are going to get so sick of those two people. We have heard a lot about “Clinton fatigue” and”Bush fatigue.” We’re going to want the next president to just go away and leave us alone even before he or she takes office.

Woman trouble

August 30, 2007

Are women really that dumb? “Oooh, what a pretty package! I must have it, so I will start smoking!”

Sleek packaging, pretty colors and rosy images reach out to female consumers from pages of a magazine. Their allure is not unusual for businesses seeking to attract customers. But in this case, the image portrayed is a mirage and the purchases could be deadly to any woman who doesn’t read between the lines.

You see, the product advertised is a brand of cigarettes.

From Vogue to Glamour, Cosmopolitan to Elle – just to name a few – their slick approach is deceiving. There’s nothing glamorous about lung cancer, a proven consequence of cigarette smoking.

Women members of the Indiana Senate, like those in the U.S. Congress, have united to condemn this almost predatory marketing practice.

And, come on, people. It’s female members of the Indiana Senate. “Women” is a noun, ‘K?

Show-offs

August 30, 2007

Gee, do ya think?

A Muncie city police officer may lose his job after an alleged joy ride with three Ball State University students. It did more than $10,000 worth of damage to his squad car, but it may do even more damage to his law enforcement career.

[. . .]

Officer Jason Lyons and two other Muncie officers were at a Village Pantry at about 1:00 Tuesday morning when three female Ball State students approached them, asked them for a ride back to campus and Lyons agreed. Investigators say the three got in the back seat of Lyons’ squad car.

He starts basically just showing off,” Winkle said.

I can sympathize with the officer. It’s tough to have a job that’s a chick magnet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into a group of college co-eds and invited them back to the office to watch me type. Things sometimes got out of hand, then, before I knew it, I started showing off, my keyboard was in pieces, and I had some explaining to do.

The write stuff

August 30, 2007

Our students suck, not to put too fine a point on it, and they suck the most at writing:

Despite ramped-up efforts to improve high school students’ writing skills, the state’s average writing SAT score still lags behind the national average by 11 points. 

Indiana’s average scores followed the national trend and fell slightly this year, but all of the state’s average scores are below the rest of the nation on the most common test to predict college success.

“Overall, they’re very disappointing,” said Stan Jones, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education. “There’s no good news here, especially in the writing scores.”

Indiana’s average reading score was 497 — 5 points below the national average. The state’s average math score was 507 — 8 points below the national average. And in writing, Indiana’s average was 483, compared with the national average of 494. 

I’ve watched the steady decline of Hoosiers’ writing ability for 30 years, as reflected in letters to the editor. I haven’t seen a reduction in the number of people who really express themselves well — those have always been few and far between. But an alarming number of people no longer seem able to string two coherent sentences together. And it’s going to be an uphill struggle to improve things. Young people today know they can give and receive information without writing, and the texting they do is nothing but grotesque shorthand conveying banal superficialities. The only way to learn to write is to write.

Some believe it doesn’t matter, that this is a natural evolution in communications, as the digital revolution replaces all hardware with dancing pixels. No need to write Cousin Fred a letter; just shoot him a video birthday greeting.

Maybe in 100 years, this will be so, but not in the shorter term. We sponsored a letters-to-the-editor contest for middle and high school students for about a dozen years, and I’ve talked to scores of classes. I told every one of them that any students who do just one thing — learn to write clearly and concisely and with the tiniest bit of flair — can then write their own tickets in whatever fields they choose. I’ve met many teachers who are up to the task — they care and are willing to spend the extra time it takes — but they need all the support we can give them.

Good Knight!

August 29, 2007

Would you send your kid to play basketball under Bobby Knight?

He says:

Knight’s disciplinarian mindset failed to attract local Indiana high school phenoms such as Shawn Kemp and Zach Randolph in a state where playing in Assembly Hall is a childhood dream.  Top athletes simply refused to play for a madman and submit themselves to four years of brutality.

In the modern basketball landscape, players do not have to put up with that sort of physical or psychological abuse.  Despite his coaching legacy, there are countless other coaches these days that can teach today’s youth the game without leaving strangle marks around their necks. 

She says:

Bobby Knight’s name is synonymous with greatness. His accomplishments far outnumber the mistakes he has made out of passion. His numbers speak for themselves and his integrity by not recruiting in the wrong way is very admirable especially in this day and age. If you have a son ready to leave home for work or school, you will not be there to protect or take care of him. If your child were good enough to play division 1 basketball you would want someone to take care of them in your absence. To that parent Bobby Knight represents everything you would want in a person shaping your son’s early adult life. 

Interesting juxtaposition. I’m with him.

Knight always said he was preparing the kids for life, but he was fond of studying the campaigns of great generals. He often seemed to be like a drill sergeant getting his players ready for some kind of war, not a career of selling insurance or cars.

Two events

August 29, 2007

aaaaameet1.jpgOn the left, attendance at a meeting at Wayne High School Tuesday night, held for parents who might want to ask questions about the school’s “academic probation” status. At right, same school, same night, same time, attendance at the girls volleyball game between Wayne and Norwell.  You can click on the photos to make them bigger and get the true sense of people’s priorities. (News-Sentinel photos by Brian Tombaugh)aaaaavball.jpg

Ha, ha, ha

August 29, 2007

The best kind of laughter is the self-deprecating kind, when we acknowledge our foibles and limitations  and weaknesses and are willing to laugh at ourselves. That brings us closer to an appreciation of the human condition — we are then able to understand those faults in others. The worst kind of humor is directed at those “others” — the people who are not like us and are thus deserving of our scorn and derision. We don’t have to understand anything, except that we are better than them. Such laughter says more about us than the people we laugh at.

It’s a rare week in which there are two such targets of scorn that capture the public imagination. This was one of them.

Miss Teen South Caorlina had a blonde moment and gave a ditzy answer to a question about Americans’ geographic ignorance. She had the guts to go on the “Today” show and try to redeem herself with a better response. But in the meantime, she had been seen by millions on YouTube and made a symbol of everything from the failures of public education to the obvious mental defects of pretty 18-year-olds, by people who wouldn’t want to admit they have had moments of public anxiety in which they said the wrong thing.

At least she got bipartisan scorn, which might not be a comfort to her but at least can be separated from the political bile this country is suffering from. Larry Craig has been pounded by the Schadenfreude of liberals always on the search for Republican “family values” conservatives who get caught practicing what they preach against. But what does such laughter say about the supposed compassionate understanding of the laughers?

The liberal view of homosexuality is based on two claims: an empirical one and a moral one. The empirical claim is that sexual orientation is inborn, a trait over which one has no control. The moral claim is that homosexuality is no better or worse than heterosexuality; that a gay relationship, like a traditional marriage, can be an expression of true love and a source of deep fulfillment. Out of these claims flows the conclusion that opposition to gay rights is akin to racism: an unwarranted prejudice against people for a trait over which they have no control.

For the sake of argument, suppose this liberal view is true. What does it imply about the closeted homosexual who takes antigay positions? To our mind, the implication is that he is a deeply tragic figure, an abject victim of society’s prejudices, which he has internalized and turned against himself. “Outing” him seems an act of gratuitous cruelty, not to mention hypocrisy if one also claims to believe in the right to privacy.

According to the Statesman, the blogger who “outed” Craig did so in order to “nail a hypocritical Republican foe of gay rights.” But there is nothing hypocritical about someone who is homosexual, believes homosexuality is wrong, and keeps his homosexuality under wraps. To the contrary, he is acting consistent with his beliefs. If he has furtive encounters in men’s rooms, that is an act of weakness, not hypocrisy.

Defenders of “outing” politicians argue that the cruelty is not gratuitous–that politicians are in a position of power, which they are using to harm gay citizens, and therefore their private lives are fair game. But if the politician in question is a mere legislator, his power consists only of the ability to cast one vote among hundreds. The actual amount of harm that he is able to inflict is minimal.

Anyway, most lawmakers who oppose gay-rights measures are not homosexual. To single out those who are for special vituperation is itself a form of antigay prejudice. Liberals pride themselves on their compassion, but often are unwilling to extend it to those with whose politics they disagree.

Stop improving things!

August 29, 2007

Sometimes, I understand people who just want to get as far away from civilization as they can:

He built a fence, a retaining wall, a patio and a few concrete columns to decorate his driveway, and now Francisco Linares is going to jail for it.

Linares had been given six months to get final permits for the offending structures or remove them as part of a plea agreement reached in January, when he pleaded no contest to five misdemeanor counts of violating the Rolling Hills Estates building code.

[. . .]

The 51-year-old bought the nearly 1-acre property in the 4600 block of Palos Verdes Drive North in 1998. After tearing down an adobe house on the site and building a 3,000-square-foot French-style home, he began landscaping.

When Linares asked the city to repair the white three-railed fence behind his house, he was told it was on his property and his responsibility. So he replaced the termite-infested planks. Then the city reversed itself and said Linares had illegally built the fence on city property.

In October 2004, the city charged Linares with three misdemeanors: for not taking down the fence, having a retaining wall built higher than a 2-foot restriction and for erecting stone columns without a neighborhood compatibility analysis. Later inspections found eight other violations, including a lack of permits for plumbing and grading.

It’s difficult to say sometimes what makes a community, what special combination of common goals and individual pursuits (all guided with a gentle hand) makes us feel a place is special. But it’s certainly easy to see why a community isn’t there when “the rules” become more important than just leaving someone alone to live his life, especially when what he is doing improves the commonweal.