Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Still A Pig

As we noted on Tuesday, there's a distinct difference between stupid and crazy. Right now, in politics across the United States, things may seem crazy - but the stupid is mighty strong.

For example, in Virginia, the statehouse recently passed a bill that would force colleges and universities to continue funding student campus groups that discriminate against others. This could create a situation where an African-American college student might have to pay university fees, just to see that money distributed to the college branch of the KKK - and we don't mean Tri-Kappa.

In both Alaska and Kentucky this week, parts of both state's legislatures passed bills attempting to ban the Federal government from enforcing Federal gun safety laws - which, constitutionally, neither state has the power to do.

In Texas, Republicans in the state legislature are attempting to punish a small school district for changing its own policies to be less discriminatory against gay and lesbian teachers and staff. This is happening during the same week the Supreme Court hears landmark cases surrounding marriage equality and voting rights.

Don't forget the national insanity of the sequester or the fact that after seven weeks of screaming about it,  former U.S. Senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel, was solidly confirmed to be the next U.S. Secretary of Defense on Tuesday – as we always said he would.

If you're thinking Nebraska might be immune from all the stupidity in lawmaking that seems to have infected our nation, we hate to tell you, but certain members of the Nebraska Legislature are now trying to deliver their own special brand of stupid.

In case you missed it, state Sen. Paul Schumacher of Columbus is rolling the legislative dice again, bringing forward a bill to the Nebraska Legislature,  LR34CA, that would expand casino gambling. Schumacher's bill wouldn't just expand the kinds of gambling allowed in Nebraska. It would attempt to change a provision of the state constitution, dating all the way back to 1867, that would pass control of gambling regulations from the people of Nebraska to members of the Legislature.

Schumacher has tried this political gamble before, as have others over the years. In 2004, there were two attempts to change Nebraska's gamblling laws. In 2006, just one. All three times, bills that would have allowed expanded gambling in the Cornhusker State were voted down by Nebraskans, by wide majorities.

That, of course, is the key - all three bills were voted down by Nebraskans, something that would no longer be possible if Schumacher's bill passed, and took the power out of the hands of Nebraskans while giving the final say to Nebraska state Senators.

Speaking for most Nebraskans, we don't think there's any way to dress this bill proposal up that will convince the average citizen that it's any better an idea than the last time this legislative pig landed on their doorstep. Social, criminal, and economic issues surrounding casinos haven't really changed much since 2006, and just because Council Bluffs, Iowa is courting a bid for a new Hard Rock hotel and casino won't likely change the minds of most Nebraskans.

The big money, in the guise of out-of-state interests, can dress that pig of an idea up any way they like. We highly doubt Nebraskans will be as stupid as legislators from Texas, Alaska, Virginia and Kentucky seem to be lately.

We might be crazy about some things in Nebraska - like football and volleyball. Thankfully, we're not that kind of stupid.