Monday, May 30, 2011

Rapture Prediction Leads to Letters Column

HARBESON: The emailman delivers> SOUTHERN INDIANA — I’m a little embarrassed because I don’t have a regular column prepared this week. I thought that whole Rapture thing was going to happen over the weekend.

Oh sure, I knew I’d still be here but I also figured chaos would reign long enough that a newspaper column would not be necessary for a while. Oops!

So, I’m relying on my readers to be my personal saviors. Let’s hear what a few of them have to say.

In a column on the subject of vouchers, I pointed out that government officials were celebrating choice while the system itself was still completely controlled through compulsory funding and compulsory attendance.

Several people had a few thoughts to add.

From Tom — “‘School choice’ is one of those subjects that just bugs the (nicely descriptive term deleted) out of me. I’m always running into people who claim that vouchers or tax credits are ‘a move in the direction of freedom,’ and who can’t understand that simply giving people a putative range of choices within a bad system is a way of strengthening that bad system, not weakening it.”

From Jill — “I hope the majority of responses that you receive are about how people hadn’t thought of those aspects (compulsion and coercion — not to mention ‘reform,’ which makes me cringe) of our education system before. Hopefully, you have turned on some ‘light bulbs’ in the minds of your readers. Education is definitely a hot-button issue, and the politicians know it (as they’re always hiding behind children).”

And one more from Fred — “Although many are going ga-ga over the voucher system, I wonder how many have looked far enough ahead to see the potentially negative effects that it will have on the private/parochial sector when they have to adhere to ‘government regulations’ in order to earn government dollars?”

I wrote a column pointing out how the new coffee shop in the New Albany Public Library proves that people are willing to pay for what they use, which generated this response from Dan: “You make it sound like people have to pay to get coffee at the library. Is that true? Are they discriminating against the coffee-poor? Or are they catering to the coffee-rich? (I always get this mixed up.) Clearly ... tax dollars ... should be spent to provide coffee-equality!!!”

In the same column, I discussed the idea of moving from the current coercive funding model to one where library funds are raised through voluntary means. This led to some brainstorming from Christa: “Lots and lots of churches have libraries with no coerced funding. I imagine other community organizations would also create libraries if there were no public libraries. One of my favorite ‘libraries’ is the genealogy collection at our local historical museum which is provided by a private, not-for-profit society.

“And someone could just put books in the Redbox for 99 cents per night (or maybe per week) ... Amazon should just start something like Netflix with real paper books (not just e-books).

“... There are lots of solutions in the free market ... Actually those of us who have to buy the PLAC card are used to paying a sort of subscription to use the library. It’s really not a stretch at all to think that others would pay as well.”

Finally I received several responses from people who think they solved the puzzle of where Clarksville’s lost car engine and Charlestown’s lost receipts for the JayC gift cards ended up. This theory from Tom may be the most likely: “My guess is whomever took the engine is using it as a paperweight to hold down the receipts for 950 gift cards.”

Now that’s what I call a government solution.

— Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson is thankful for readers who are willing to be her personal savior by providing column content.

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