So I'm allegedly a racist? Hardly.
I simply presented the facts as I see them in a recent column about Hispanics' drinking and driving problems. I welcome new residents of any ethnicity as long as they are here legally and don't break laws, just as I get irritated at anyone of any background whose actions hurt other people.
I should also point out that a U.S. House bill passed in December would make a DUI conviction an importable offense for illegal aliens. Many House members were thinking along the same lines as me.
So, if my view makes me a racist, then I guess quite a few members of Congress are racists also, right?
The issue's all about personal responsibility, NOT racism.
Slobs destroy selves -- and WE pay: In other words, slobs, Gov. Bredesen -- the state's new Dr. Phil -- is fed up with you.
"People who take care of themselves should not have to pay extra for those who don't," Bredesen told state legislators Monday. "It's time to move past political correctness and instead to reward personal responsibility."
People with real medical needs which they haven't caused deserve all the help they can get. Sometimes I feel the average American is way too greedy toward others who need a helping hand. And I'm not knocking someone who smokes a few cigarettes a day, has a beer or two after they get off work and/or occasionally likes a hearty meal.
But some people go too far.
You know the kind: Those who live life in a non-stop cloudy haze of cigarette smoke while spreading their odors, both body and tobacco, around them. Those who have already eaten the average American's recommended fat intake every day by the time they finish breakfast. And, of course, they just have to guzzle their six-packs until they enter their daily drunken stupor or rage.
They destroy their health through their own bad habits, then get angry if others don't immediately come to their rescue with a smile.
Sure, we should all help our fellow man, but it's a little tougher for those fellow men who are obnoxious. They're the ones Bredesen is targeting.
Don't try to read anything into this about "body size." I'm talking strictly about health problems caused by poor habits, not about how much someone weighs. Weight isn't always an indicator of health.
No one should be judging people on their size, one of the cruelest attitudes in existence -- but another of Breseden's proposals is coming dangerously close.
Bredesen wants the state to fight juvenile diabetes, which is laudable. But...
"Some schools may want to work with body mass indexes and how to effectively use them," Bredesen said. I've heard of multiple cases where students' parents were sent notes they interpreted as saying, "Your child's too fat." No one needs that.
We don't need to destroy children's self-esteem while building their health. Handle this one with care.
Keeping records open: I was critical of State Sen. Jim Bryson recently for authoring a bill which would close accident records.
"I have asked the media representative here at the legislature to work with me on an amendment that would make the bill open yet protect individuals from unwanted solicitatons," Bryson told me over the weekend in an e-mail.
"The purpose of the bill is to protect victims from lawyers who use the accident records to pester accident victims."
Okay, Bryson's had his say. Let's see if he sticks to it.
David Melson is a Times-Gazette copy editor/staff writer. Responses welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org