in case you missed it | Work. Breathe. Die.


Work. Breathe. Die.

Closing Gitmo. Bringing our troops home from Iraq. Ending military tribunals. Real health-care reform. Global climate change. The list of reasons to be disappointed in President Obama keeps growing. Now we can add smog to the roster.

Obama withdrew proposed regulations that would have protected the breathing public from the harmful health impacts of smog after industry greedheads and GOP knuckle-draggers raised a stink, claiming the rules would kill jobs and harm the already weak U.S. economy.

The regulations would have reduced concentrations of ground-level ozone, the main component in smog — that brownish-yellow haze that lingers over cities and which can cause a host of lung ailments, including asthma. The goal wasn’t to harass industry, but rather to protect human health.

But Republicans were having none of that and did what they did any time Obama has threatened to move the United States forward — blocked, bullshitted and bullied. Human health? Who cares? If they had their way, they’d dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency altogether, a move they believe will save money.

Great. So money saved, jobs created.

Now, who’s going to work those jobs when the earth is so toxic that we’re all dead?

Those damned kids!

Every year, the rest of the city has to hear the complaints of University Hill residents, who perennially shake their canes at students throwing house parties and keeping the neighborhood awake at night.

The University Hill homeowners aren’t going to take the injustice of living next to young people sitting down, never mind that they were most likely aware of the university’s proximity when they bought their houses. During the past few years, The Hill homeowners have managed to shut down any business that wants to serve alcohol after midnight, and from time to time, they have managed to convince the city to crack down on student partying. They even have one of their own — Hill resident Ken Wilson — serving as deputy mayor.

The problem is, the steps that Wilson and homeowners want the city to take will not solve any problems. Homeowners are now complaining about the city’s new registered-party system, which debuted last fall. The program allows students to register parties with police, and should the police receive a complaint about the party, officers will call the students and ask them to shut things down before sending an officer to the premises.

Homeowners complain that it lets too many naughty students off the hook, and Wilson dutifully placed the issue on the City Council agenda.

Party registration saves limited police resources by allowing officers to focus on policing serious crimes, rather than luxury problems such as noise complaints. The program empowers

students by giving them increased responsibility, positioning them as members of a community instead of pests needing elimination. Ostracizing students with Draconian enforcement strategies will do nothing to stop them from drinking, but treating them like responsible adults just might stop them from partying loudly, especially if you politely ask them to keep it down. Repealing the program would be a step in the wrong direction.