Monday, January 24, 2011

How They Waste Time and Money in The Natural State, er Land of Opportunity, er wait what?

The State Legislature met to discuss the possibility of changing the state slogan back to "The Land of Opportunity."  I have no idea what the outcome was.  Supposedly, there would be "no cost" involved.  Oh, except for all the "Welcome to Arkansas" signs.  Oh, and all the pamplets, logos, web graphics, etc.  Oh, and then we have pesky little Travel Information Centers.  You know, the ones with the STONE-CARVED slogans that read "The Natural State?"  Yeah, those.  But, I mean, hey, we can get someone to just sand-blast those to a smooth surface and carve the new, er old, slogan into them for free, right?

Oh, and let's talk about that slogan.  There was a reason it was changed in the first place.  "The Land of Opportunity" no longer applied, er applies, to the Natural State.  Frankly, I'm not sure it ever did apply in the sense I would think most folks would take it.  Then again, when taken at its most loosely-referenced definition, I suppose there is plenty of opportunity - to see nature, to earn less than comparable colleagues in other states, to have high-speed internet in rural areas... Oh, wait, that last one doesn't apply.  In fact, in many areas of the state, the term "internet access" still means super-slow dial-up or super-expensive satellite.  Oh, it could also mean access at a whopping 1.5 megs... Whew! Don't hurt yourself there, pilgrim.

As it turns out, changing the slogan is not the only waste of time up there in "the Rock."  You see, Arkansas, and evidently our sister state, New York, is considering a ban on personal music devices and cell phone use while.. WALKING...  Yes, lady that fell into the fountain because you were too (preoccupied) to pay attention to where YOU were going, you have sparked national stupidity to the houses of law-making.  Seriously, didn't lawmakers already try to ban these back when Sony came out with that dangerous personal listening device called the Walkman??  Ludicrous.

You cannot legislate people into being smarter.  Oh, wait, that's what No Child Left Behind was for, wasn't it.  I digress.  Many states now have laws against texting and driving.  Do people still do it? Of course.  Will people still text and walk, or heaven forbid listen to (gasp!) music and walk?  Of course.

How do we keep people from getting hurt while they are listening to music?  We don't.  They get run over, they learn from the incident.  How did I learn not to run between two parked cars?  I tried it once.  I nearly got hit.  I never did it again.  See how that works?  I tried chewing tobacco for a while.  I found it gross and it made me sick.  I stopped doing it.  A child puts her hand on a hot stove even though she was told not to.  She gets burned.  She learns not to do that again. 

Wow.  Who knew?

Really... Here's a thought: Concentrate on ways to make Arkansas the state that DESERVES to have the slogan changed, THEN change the slogan.  Quit trying legislate people out of their FREEDOM to listen to music or to use their cell phones (or any other kind of phone).  I thought this was America where citizens had the freedom to be stupid and to, hopefully, learn from mistakes. 

Besides, how many people have died from personal listening device-related injuries?  Anyone know?  Anyone?  Yeah, that's what I was thinking....  The same number of people killed by the noiseless hybrids that sneak up on unsuspecting cyclists....

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