Cracking down on drunk drivers
THUMBS UP: It's been a very quiet session at the Legislature, but one good move the House made Monday was approving legislation that would make some convicted drunken drivers blow into a device before driving. A bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Karla Bigham aims to keep drunken drivers off the road by making them install breath-activated ignition devices on their vehicles. The device tests the alcohol level in a person's breath and prevents a vehicle from starting if the level is above 0.02 blood-alcohol content. The proposal passed the House unanimously. Anyone caught with lower blood-alcohol levels could choose between the device and other penalties. There's always room to get tougher on drunk drivers - especially repeat offenders - but this is very much a step in the right direction.
A star sits
THUMBS UP: Good move Roger Goodell and the National Football League slapping Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with a six-game suspension. Goodell has become known as a zero-tolerance-type commissioner and proved it with the Roethlisberger suspension, especially considering the star quarterback was cleared of all the sexual assault charges against him. The Steelers actually wanted to suspend Roethlisberger before the league took action, but didn't, fearing a sure appeal by the NFL players union. Roethlisberger, who has thrown out more apologies than footballs the past couple of weeks for his off-field conduct, is the first NFL player suspended by Goodell under the new conduct policy who hasn't been arrested or charged with a crime, and that sends out a strong warning to other NFL players that the mere accusation of wrongdoing could put them on the bench for a long time.
Plant a tree
THUMBS UP: There are plenty of reasons - some scientific and ecological, some personal - for us to plant as many trees as possible. That's why Marshall Municipal Utilities is almost giving them away for the 15th year. MMU customers can purchase Colorado Blue Spruce, Maple Rubrum and Little Leaf Linden trees for $1 through Sunday. That's a great investment for the future, as planting trees will eventually lead to more shade, which can cut down on electricity usage. More importantly, it's good for our environment.
Life in Louisiana
THUMBS DOWN: Just when you thought it was safe to live in southern Louisiana, here comes another disaster - not a natural disaster, but a disaster all the same. The April 20 explosion that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast has sent thousands of gallons of oil leaking into the ocean. And it's well on its way to the coast, threatening the Louisiana economy and businesses still recovering from Katrina. You can surely expect the price of gasoline will spike pretty soon now, too. But worse yet is the environmental impact this huge blob of oil could have as it contaminates water in the Gulf.