Hoosier Voting

The Supremes issued their ruling today on Indiana’s voter ID law. By a vote of 6 to 3 the law will stand, it seems, until such a time as someone can show an actual case of disenfranchisement.

Justice Breyer, in his dissent, makes mention of the lack of public transportation in Indiana and the inheirant unfairness in asking poor people to make a costly trip to a BMV branch or their county seat to obtain paper work that might also be costly. There are 92 counties in Indiana, and I can say that 2 (Marion and Monroe) have decent public transportation systems. That leaves 90 that do not.

The voter ID law was passed under the guise of making our elections more secure and trustworthy – a goal that no one disputes. But when one looks at the electoral process in Indiana, serious problems like absentee voter fraud, grossly inflated poll books (from multiple registrations) and voting machines that lack physical, paper backups are left unaddressed. It’s like going to the doctor for treatment of a broken arm but instead, the doctor insists on taping up your ankle “just in case” you should happen to sprain it. The Indiana General Assembly – solving problems that don’t exist and ignoring those that do!

One more point and then I’ll be done: I keep hearing people keep say “you have to show ID to buy beer or get on an airplane so why not show it when you vote?” Purchasing booze and traveling in airplanes are luxuries; suffrage is a civic right. So quit equating them!

Geological Excitement in Indiana

Central Indiana is all abuzz about the (mercifully rare and moderate) earthquake that struck near the Illinois/Indiana line early today. What follows is my account of the fateful morning. Warning! The drama is at times, intense.

Around 5:30 the house starts to shake.

Alison: What’s going on?

Me: I think its an earthquake.

Alison: Oh.

We both roll over and go back to sleep.

Possible Answers to Prayer

Your petitions—though they continue to bear
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant,

relatively narrow scope and inadvertent
entertainment value—nonetheless serve
to bring your person vividly to mind.

Your repentance—all but obscured beneath
a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more
conspicuous resentment—is sufficient.

Your intermittent concern for the sick,
the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes
recognizable to me, if not to them.

Your angers, your zeal, your lipsmackingly
righteous indignation toward the many
whose habits and sympathies offend you—

these must burn away before you’ll apprehend
how near I am, with what fervor I adore
precisely these, the several who rouse your passions.

-Scott Cairns

via Confessing Evangelical

If you haven’t read any of the poetry of Scott Cairns, you need to. It’s wonderful in many ways, and I say that as a person not particularly inclined towards poetry. Cairns poems are examples of engaging and thoughtful Christian art.

Politics, Vodka, Metamucil

As more and more information comes out about the scale and scope of the systematic nature of abuse and torture by US officials, I find myself wondering – how long will it be before I can, in good conscience, vote for a Republican? Am I alone in this feeling? In every election in which I’ve participated, I have voted for a mixture of Republican  and Democrats, though generally more Republicans than Democrats (this is Indiana after all). It all depends on the individual candidate. But this time I feel that the GOP as a whole should be held responsible for the gross abuses of power over the last 7 or so years. I’m closer to just wanting to pull the Democratic lever and be done with it. Am I overreacting?  I guess it just boils down to the idea that I can’t consider myself a Republican as long as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are considered such. It’s too onerous.

Just to reinforce my disdain, from reading the conservative blogosphere this week, you’d think the most serious issue facing the nation was advertisements for intoxicating spirits. Either that or the lack of fiber in the diets of many who, clearly, have no sense of humor. Metamucil – it works wonders, people.

Of the Making of Books

There are many quirks in the book industry but none as ridiculous as the issue of publisher returns. Unlike normal retail where slow selling product is discounted until somebody buys, book stores can return unsold books to the publisher for full credit. This can create serious inventory issues for publishers, to say the least. One minute you’ve shipped 200,000 copies to bookstores, a month later half come back unsold. The publisher, who has spent great sums producing the books, is saddled with them again.

Bookstores are obviously happy with the system (generally) and see little reason to give up a perk that, to my knowledge, no other retailer enjoys. I’m not sure what might happen to a particular store I know if it actually had to pay attention to its inventory rather than over-order **stuff** that will not sell, only to ship it all back a week later. (The bookstore pays for shipping, both ways, so you can imagine the level of frustration among the bookselling staff as they watch their raises wheeled out the door in the form of tens of thousands of returns.)

However, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that a new Harper Collins imprint will end this arrangement. I look forward to seeing if the publishing giant can make inroads with a more sensible system, which, among other things, I think will free publishers to take more chances on authors not named James Patterson or Danielle Steele.