Gongol.com Archives: February 2007
Brian Gongol

February 7, 2007

News Nebraska considers a statewide smoking ban
Blanket smoking bans just don't seem very market-friendly. Let restaurants and places of business identify themselves as non-smoking or not. Many travelers certainly have done enough to pressure hotels and motels into offering guaranteed smoke-free rooms...so why not allow the same sort of consumer demand to drive smoke-free conditions in places like restaurants and workplaces, too? Outright bans on smoking open the door to other outright bans -- like bans on perfume or peanuts, both of which also cause breathing problems for some people. Few regulators have shown the discipline to distinguish real hazards from nuisances.

Iowa At last, someone moves to improve higher education in Iowa
HF 175 would force the state's universities and community colleges to get together and streamline the process for people to go from the community colleges into four-year programs. It's about time. Next up: Make it easier for people to get advanced degrees.

Iowa Enfranchising 17-year-olds
Iowa SF 104 would give 17-year-olds the right to vote...in school-board elections only

Iowa Two more years! Two more years!
Members of the Iowa House want to give themselves two more years in office each election cycle, by stretching the term in the House from two years to four, under HJR 2. One question: Why? Yes, the perpetual campaigning is annoying, but it also keeps public servants accountable. Related: HSB 1 (to raise pay for some defense attorneys) is now HF 189, and HSB 9 (creating a "center for governing excellence") is now HF 223 and SSB 1161.

Socialism Doesn't Work Dear Chicago: Please give up your bid for the Olympics
The Second City is earnestly trying to get the chance to bid for the 2016 Olympics. Because Chicago is a great town, it should give up the race right now: The Olympics are a first-class way to run a great city into the ground. London is proving that right now with its plans for the 2012 Games, which could cost three times the original budget. Hosting the event just isn't worth it. Iowans should be concerned about Chicago's bid: What happens to Chicago happens to all of Illinois, and what happens to Illinois is bound to have an effect on Iowa.

The American Way "Our best defence against terrorism is our belief in liberty and tolerance"

News Should major universities have farm teams for new professors?

Graphics Graphic of the day: Sprout
Submitted to Illustration Friday and open for comments. Related: An inexplicably hilarious cartoon bunny.

Computers and the Internet New Office vulnerabilities

News Chemical plant explodes in Kansas City
Interstate 35 closed and a large area evacuated; subsequent explosions have also occurred, though the fire marshal didn't know what chemicals were involved

Water News Water management area completed near Plattsmouth

Business and Finance Management lesson from Coaches Smith and Dungy: Don't scream

News Your iPod or your life
New York lawmaker wants to ban the use of any electronic device (including MP3 players, cell phones, and Blackberries) in a crosswalk. While it's certainly good common sense to pay attention in a crosswalk, making this sort of thing a law would simply lead to the criminalization of what lots of people already do, which in turn erodes respect for the law.

Threats and Hazards Hint: If you don't like emergency room, don't threaten to blow up the hospital's helicopter

Science and Technology Oregon state climatologist may lose title over global warming
He doesn't think global warming is caused by humans, but the governor does and wants someone to say so. While there's a lot of compelling evidence that human behavior has changed the environment for the worse, the global warming debate is getting ridiculous. Whether human-caused climate change is all a myth or a reality, there are plenty of good reasons to change some of our behaviors related to energy consumption and the resulting pollution, so we should start offering prizes for good ideas from which everyone would benefit and quit with the name-calling.

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