The Outstater: Seasonal Bric-a-brac

December 27, 2015


TRYING HARD to take the advice of our friend Tom Huston to prevent our crank from becoming a crackpot, we begin with a bright spot in this oh-too-fleeting season. An Indiana homemaker wrote Aunt Millie’s Bakery to thank the consummate family-owned Hoosier company for its special Christmas packaging showing a young girl in prayer. An excerpt:

“I was making breakfast, worrying about the typical offenders: bills, the pets’ health, school, family problems, friends who are struggling with various things, etc. When I went to put the bread away, I noticed a picture on the front of the bag of a little girl praying. I’d never really looked at the bread bag before, so I found it odd. Was this a seasonal thing, or does Sunbeam always have that there? I looked closer and saw that the picture included next to it two Bible verse numbers in the tiniest, faintest print: Matthew 4:4 and Deuteronomy 8:3. So, of course, I look them up because I’m shocked that in a Christian-bashing society like this someone is allowed to put religious text on their packaging. Both of the verses said the following: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ After reading that, I can’t explain the sudden sense of peace and realization I felt. I was reminded that we don’t rely on just ‘bread,’ or money, or material things, but on the words of God which include faith, hope, and love among many others. When I was least expecting it and really needed it, God reminded me in a subtle but amazing way that He will provide all things that we need in this life, and will give us peace and joy if we just remember what is truly important. And He did it just with a bag of bread.”

From there, alas, the descent begins:

IN ALMOST PERFECT CONTRADICTION, AT&T produces a season television commercial featuring a voice humming “You Are My Sunshine” arranged around various warm seasonal scene and the company’s wishes that its customers have a merry — here it comes — “holiday.”

AN INDIANA LAWMAKER has shocked the GOP leadership by proposing to make a systemic change in public education rather than strike a pose. State Sen. Pete Miller would bypass the ruinous Indiana Collective Bargaining Act so that teachers could negotiate their own contract with schools rather than be subject to the collective bargaining contract negotiated by teacher unions. He says his proposed legislation aims to address concerns that the state is facing a shortage of licensed educators opting to work in the field. The proposal would allow schools to hire high-demand teachers in science, math and special education through individual contracts and at a higher pay rate. Outrageous.

THE PREDICTABLY SOFT-HEADED ASSOCIATED PRESS chose the Christmas season, with its theme of charity to man, to give voice to a growing movement (complete with its own nonprofit groups and spokesmen) to erase the stigma of — wait for it — dishonorable discharge from the U.S. military. Not only that, the movement would restore close to full benefits to such unfortunates. And please refrain from using “dishonorable” discharge; it’s a “paperless” discharge.

WITH THE LIST OF SERIOUS CHALLENGES facing our nation and state, the public conscience continues to be merrily preoccupied with the following: a) the myriad conflicting thoughts of the typical teenaged transgender trying to decide which commode to visit; and b) whether toymakers unfairly (and inexplicably) charge a premium for girl toys compared with boy toys.

AND FINALLY, the TIF shenanigans of Indiana crony capitalists have reached a point of excess in which a normally mild-mannered economist suggests they might draw the interest of county prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office. We note that some of the work revealing this sorry and perhaps criminally actionable situation was done by our Tom Heller, now featured in the current issue of the quarterly journal.

— Craig Ladwig


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