Friday, June 4, 2010

Outrage All the Rage

Grab a newspaper, close your eyes, and point to a random spot, and you'll get funny looks from other people in the coffee shop.

But try it anyway. Chances are, your finger will land on some outrage. It seems reporters can't take two steps without bumping into someone who's outraged about something.

Take Referendum Question 1 on the June 8 ballot (I realize you newspaper readers will be reading this after June 8; I would have written something sooner, but the "Yes" campaign only got noticeably stupid just recently).

"Yes" signs have popped up urging us to "Reject New Taxes." Fortunately, this will confuse people who associate "rejection" with the word "no."

A better sign would have said, "Vote Yes if you like to complain."

For the record, a "yes" victory repeals new reforms to our tax structure. The law reduces income taxes and adds new items to the sales tax.

What the "yes" side does not mention is that the law cuts income taxes for most Mainers from 8.5% to 6.5%, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Many of the new sales taxes would primarily impact tourists. People from Massachusetts and New York probably aren't going to quibble over an extra few dollars on their hotel bill when they're spending $945 in gas to get here in the first place.

But if you must preserve your outrage over Mainers being the highest-taxed group of life forms in the entire galaxy, go ahead and sabotage the only legitimate effort we've ever seen to do something about it.

Meanwhile, outrage is fueling calls for more Instant Replay in baseball. What a terrible idea.

Half the entertainment value in baseball comes from umpires getting grief from players and nose-to-nose shouting matches from managers.

The instant-replay reactionaries point to the bad call by umpire Jim Joyce that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a Perfect Game (no base-runners allowed). With two out in the ninth inning, Joyce called a runner safe at first; slow-motion replays showed the runner was clearly a member of the Cleveland Indians, meaning the game should have been called off after the 7th inning under the Mercy Rule.

I don't understand the fuss. Everyone in the world knows what Galarraga did. Who cares what they print in the stat book? If anything, this gave him a chance to do something even more special - he effectively got 28 straight outs instead of the traditional 27 required for a Perfect Game.

Finally, on another outrageous note, it always amazes me how precious our constitutional freedoms are - until somebody tries to use them.

New York City officials have approved a plan to construct a mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. Reactionary conservatives are freaking out, unaware that there are millions of Muslims around the world who are not terrorists.

Have these people no sense of irony? Yeah, let's eschew religious tolerance because we're angry at people who attacked us for our religious tolerance.

Darn that pesky First Amendment! Whose idea was it to prevent government from discriminating for or against any particular religion? The founding fathers? What did they know, anyway?

A Washington Times editorial pointed out that there are nations in which it is a crime to convert away from Islam. Would you like the same rules to apply here for Christianity?

Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress have argued against paying for health care for 9/11 first responders, because we can't afford it.

But we can afford health care for members of Congress, right? That's not too expensive, is it?

I guess we ran out of outrage.

No comments: