Coaching a Peewee Football Team to Victory Won’t Make Your Dad Love You More

Ken Belson, writing for the New York Times, brings us an infuriating story entitled Pee Wee Football Game With Concussions Brings Penalties for Adults.

It was a peewee football game in central Massachusetts where five prepubescent kids got concussions in the course of a single game. Two got hit so hard on the first play that they were pulled from the field. These are kids as young as 10 years old and five of them were diagnosed with concussions. The winning coach blamed the losing coach for not coming to him and forfeiting during the course of a game.

I’m not one for treating kids as delicate flowers, but when the coaches allow the game to proceed in a way that five kids get concussions in a 52 – 0 blowout, the coaches are no longer teaching the kids anything of value. I don’t know if their dads didn’t love them enough or what; but at that point, the coaches are compensating for some deficiency in their own lives.

It’s not the Super Bowl. You’re out there to encourage the kids to get some exercise, learn the value of team work, learn to compete, develop your motor skills. Maybe the coaches would say this incident falls under the category of “learning to compete” but based on the score and the number of injuries, it wasn’t a competition, it was just one group of kids under the supervision of adults delivering a beating to another group of kids directed to receive the beating by another group of adults.

And now five of the kids have sustained head injuries that have at least the potential of affecting them negatively for the rest of their lives. Hell of a way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Ripped From The Headlines School of Government

Rep. Steele is in the news for suggesting legislation in the wake of the Casey Anthony trial.

Republican Sen. Brent Steele of Bedford said current law requires people who discover a dead body to report it within three hours or face a misdemeanor charge that can land them a year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

Steele wants lawmakers in the 2012 session to determine whether felony charges are appropriate.

When your only tool is a hammer, the whole world looks like nails. That’s why I think legislators sometimes seem to think legislation is the appropriate response to isolated incidents that may grab headlines but aren’t necessarily a problem affecting the general population in any significant way. Or, as a buddy of mine put it, “today’s headline is tomorrow’s legislation.”

The Indiana BMV Sucks . . . but you already knew that

So, I was in an auto accident back in mid-June; very minor stuff. I was stopped at a red light, and a guy rear-ended my car, some healthy damage to the back corner of my car, but nothing else really. It was a hassle, but everyone in the chain has performed admirably; with one notable exception.

The guy who hit me, apologized, was very nice, and was insured. The Lafayette Police Department officer was on the scene promptly, and took care of business efficiently. I called and reported to my insurer but indicated that I was going to get my car repaired under the other guy’s insurer, State Farm. The State Farm claim rep didn’t give me any hassles, just asked where I wanted to get my car fixed and hooked me up with a rental vehicle. It was a Saturn, so I took it to Bob Rohrman Collision, and they took a look, wrote up an estimate, and got it fixed within a couple of days.

The LPD officer had advised me that I’d be getting a notice from the Indiana BMV asking for proof of financial responsibility – apparently they are requiring that of everyone who gets in an accident under IC 9-25-5-2, regardless of fault or lack thereof. Eventually, on July 30, I got the notice from the BMV with the form for providing proof of insurance. It instructed me to give it to my insurer who was to complete the form and provide it to the BMV prior to September 7, 2010 to show that I was, in fact, insured at the time of the accident. On August 16, I called my insurance adjuster on the claim and faxed the form to her. On August 17, she faxed and mailed the verification.

So, imagine my surprise this weekend to receive a Notice of License Suspension dated September 7, indicating that they had suspended my license because they had not received proof of financial responsibility. First thing this morning, I called my adjuster with some concern. Her response, “Oh, they do this all the time.” She provided me with a copy of the fax confirmation sheet, showing that she had, in fact, faxed the copy to the BMV. They got it 3 weeks early, couldn’t process their paperwork, but could spit out a license suspension notice.

So I have absolutely followed every rule in this situation – I had insurance, I was not at fault for the accident, I turned in proof of insurance well advance, and the Indiana BMV is still screwing with me.

Any legislators who happen to read this thing – here is a nice hanging curve ball to knock out of the park politically. Nobody likes the BMV, they have a system that appears to be very broken (from my adjuster’s reaction, I am far from the first person in this situation), and an angry electorate would presumably enjoy seeing an unresponsive bureaucracy raked over the coals a bit. As for a good legislative fix – perhaps mandate that the BMV is not permitted to suspend any licenses under this provision until they have processed all certificates of compliance received by the bureau on or before the particular due date.


HB 1097 – Halloween Enticement

Rep. Walorski has introduced HB 1097 which won’t convince anyone to drop the “Wacky Jackie” tag anytime soon. It’s a hyper-specific piece of legislation that creates a new Class D felony which prohibits someone classified as an offender against children from “participating in Halloween” between 4 and 10 p.m. on October 31.

Participating in Halloween means handing out candy, turning on a porch light, or displaying a pumpkin.

So, if I have this straight, for 6 hours a year, turning on your light = felony.

I’m getting visions of sex offenders taking off work and rushing home in a panic because they forgot and left a pumpkin on their porch.

SB 18 – Texting While Driving

Senator Holdman has introduced SB 18 which is designed to curb the scourge de jour – texting while driving. I should probably create a “ripped from the headlines” legislative category. Every year, it seems there is an issue or two that captures the media’s attention for awhile, thereby making its way into a legislative agenda.

In this bill, a new section is added to IC 9-21-8 which says “A person may not use a telecommunications device to transmit a text message or electronic mail message while operating a moving motor vehicle.”

This bill highlights some of the difficulties in drafting legislation. Sometimes it’s tough to keep up with technology. The bill changes the definition of “telecommunications device” to include “The term includes a: (1) wireless telephone; (2) personal digital assistant; (3) pager; or (4) text messaging device.” But, at times, you’ll find the difficulty of keeping up with new technology is really a matter of confusing the bottle with the wine. Often enough, even if the drafter recognizes this problem, there isn’t much to be done if the courts or the legislator are focused on the bottle.

In this case, the problem being addressed is the fact that the driver isn’t paying attention to the road. Whether the attention is focused on a text message, a cell phone, a book, a CD case, a map, or a screaming child isn’t terribly important in terms of the actual risk of driving while not paying attention. But, the way the politics are set up and probably the way the case law has developed, simply attempting to penalize “driving while distracted” probably would not be effective, even though that’s the real problem.

What are you in for?

Representative Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) and Representative Sandy Blanton (D-Orleans) plan on making it a crime for adult male tanning salon employees to spray tan nude minor females.

A state lawmaker says he plans to sponsor a bill next session that would bar adult males from applying spray-on tans to female juveniles at tanning salons.

State Rep. Bruce Borders, R-Jasonville, said he was shocked by a recent case where an adult man who works at a tanning salon applied a spray-on tan on a nude 15-year-old girl.

All too often, it seems to me, legislators introduce general legislation based on particular cases. Is this really a common problem? More to the point, is this really *criminal* activity? Because why? Because a man saw a young female’s body? There is no evidence of lascivious intent or any harm to anyone.

As a business owner, I wouldn’t allow my male employees to be alone with or involved with underage females. As an insurer, I wouldn’t insure a business that operated in such a fashion. As a parent, I don’t want my kids naked in front of adults except for the occasional doctor. But is this or should it be criminal behavior? Should we lock people up for this? I don’t think so.