Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sin Taxes and Similar Nonsense

Does anyone else see the irony in so-called sin taxes?
The health officials and TV commercials beat an unrelenting drum to get people to stop smoking cigarettes. But wait, cry the politicians, don't do it until we build our beautiful new stadium.
That's because their beautiful new stadium will be paid for by slapping an additional tax on cigarettes. It's happening again right here in River City.
But just suppose the quit smoking and drinking campaigns were successful and overnight everyone in the country tossed their fags away and became teetotalers. Think about it. No more money pouring in from taxes on tobacco. No more money from taxes on beer and booze. Panic would ensue. Who's going to fund all the projects? The non-sinners, of course, and would they ever be screaming about it. They might even be begging the sinners to go back to their old ways again.
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Since the nationwide ban on smoking in public places went into effect, smoking by teenagers has increased significantly. Not here, in Ireland. They have called a conference to discuss the matter. Oh, for Pete's sake, the reason why is obvious so who needs a conference or a study? It's called the Beans-in-Ears syndrome. Remember back when a modicum of common sense remained and parents knew better than to tell their kids not to put beans in their ears? Or their nose. Why? Because the kids would immediately start hunting around for beans to put in their ears. Or nose. Any rational human being knows the best way to get kids to do something is to tell them not to. That also applies to a great many adults. Think back to Prohibition. People who had never taken a drink of whiskey in their lives were suddenly searching for a speakeasy. Human nature, that's the problem, and humans tend to do what comes naturally.
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Times are changing in Ireland, that bastion of the traditional household - a man, a woman, their children. A recent census revealed that fewer than one in five Dublin households was comprised of a husband, wife and kids.
What happened? Ireland became prosperous. Today it has one of the leading economies to be found. It wasn't that way when the British occupiers did their best to keep the Irish dirt poor. When the occupation ended 85 years ago conditions took an upturn and since then have continually improved. The lesson to be learned is this: When money is tight, families remain together because they have little choice in the matter. There were far fewer divorces in this country during the Great Depression. When money flows more freely, so do people. Sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes it isn't.
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The Republic of Ireland also is a bastion of the Catholic church. Abortions are outlawed, of course. Not so in England. Recently the Irish government began allowing women to go to the UK for abortions rather than seeking a back-alley practitioner. You can outlaw them but you can't stop them. That's just the way it is.


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