Staff Editorial: Yay and nay

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By Editorial Board

This week has had its fair share of controversy. Here’s our take:

Yay to Mayor Richard M. Daily for considering a proposal to treat possession of small amounts of marijuana as a misdemeanor offense. Most small-time possession charges are dropped because of overwhelming caseloads and time constraints. By fining pot users, the city can generate some much- needed revenue and get back to solving more important crimes.

Nay to Jacksonville University for punishing a female student for “indecent behavior.” The female student had won a dance contest that involved using a stripper pole that had been installed in an on-campus apartment. While the University was right to discipline the male students for installing the pole, it was the female student’s choice to perform, and she did not disrobe during the event.

Nay to Cat Stevens being deported from the United States to London. The singer-songwriter, who converted to Islam and later changed his name to Yusuf Islam, was incorrectly identified on the passenger no-fly list. Isn’t it time Homeland Security realized that a blacklist of names is a poor way to identify terrorists?

Yay to Martel Miller and Patrick Thompson having charges of eavesdropping dismissed by Champaign County. The two men were charged earlier this month for videotaping police officers at routine traffic stops. Because the use of the footage was intended for a documentary, and because Illinois law states that footage intended for public broadcast is allowed, we felt the defendants were in the right.

Nay to the Republican Party for saying that a vote for Sen. John Kerry is a vote for the terrorists. Vice President Dick Cheney recently stated that a vote for Kerry would leave the United States more vulnerable to attack. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has commented on television that al-Qaida would fare better under a Kerry presidency, and Sen. Orrin Hatch has said the terrorists are going to do “everything they can … to try and elect Kerry” in November. It’s perfectly fine to run on a platform of better security, but telling voters that the terrorists are siding with Kerry is appalling.

Nay to a new study by the Action for Healthy Kids, a coalition of health and education agencies, for suggesting that childhood obesity causes millions of dollars in lost revenue for schools each year. While the report encourages schools to focus on healthy diets inside and outside of the cafeteria, we question whether correlation leads to causation. Absenteeism and lowered productivity can be caused by a variety of reasons.