It's time for another gut-churning, thrill-a-minute episode of Ask Boomer With Attitude, brought to you live from Charlotte, N.C., where people who use the most water pay a lower rate than those who conserve. This time, one of the questions was made up; see if you can pick it out.
Dear BWA: How are the terrible disasters in Japan relevant to Charlotteans? — Curious Fan
Dear Curious: Thanks for asking! The main way the Japanese horrors are relevant is probably that the Japanese are human, we Americans are human, so it gives us a chance to feel empathy, count our blessings, send aid, etc. Another mark of relevance, unfortunately, is that Charlotte is situated between two nuclear plants. Ever wonder what would happen if there's a nuclear accident at McGuire? Luckily, the county has an evacuation plan. Unluckily, the plan is pretty much fantasy-based. It assumes that roughly a quarter-million people could be evacuated from the 10-mile zone around McGuire in under eight hours. The feds, however, say it would only take one to four hours for a radiation release to travel 10 miles. The county plan also apparently assumes that Charlotteans outside the 10-mile limit wouldn't hear about the accident via radio, television or cell phones. Those folks would trigger mass evacuations that would bring on the all-time traffic jam from hell, and prevent those closest to McGuire from escaping. In other words, if a Japanese (or Three Mile Island) type nuclear accident happens here, we are all basically S.O.L. Makes ya think, huh?
Dear BWA: I gues (sic) you think your blog [titled "Doof of the Week"] about state rep Glen Bradley's proposl (sic) for N.C. to get its own [gold-backed] currency was funy (sic). You and all the other money-wasting liberals will laugh out of ther (sic) other side of your stupid faces when the dollar collapses. You're an idiot! — No name given
Dear Spelling Champ: Yours was one of several similar messages I received. Who knew so many North Carolinians are pining to have official N.C. currency? Bradley, who also proposes to exempt N.C. agriculture and guns from federal regulation, is one of today's crop of states' righters and fringe dwellers who seem to think the U.S. Constitution was all about having as little federal government as possible — quite a trick, considering that it was written to establish a more powerful central government after the failure of the original Articles of Confederation. But you'll never convince guys like Bradley or Spelling Champ — heck, they've read a coupla books about it, and even a couple of libertarian pamphlets! Surely that outweighs 200 years of court decisions, right? Now, what was that old saying about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing?
Dear BWA: I read your article against the voter ID bill [published March 23]. I don't understand how you can be against a law to ensure our elections aren't being stolen. — Supporter of Voter ID
Dear Supporter: Hmm, and here I was thinking I'd explained it pretty well. Here's a lineup of reasons: The voter ID bill is a solution searching for a problem and a waste of money during a time when we're laying off teachers. Real incidents of voter fraud — that means someone reported it, then elections officials investigated and confirmed that actual voter fraud took place — are nearly nonexistent (5 votes per million in N.C., according to the state Board of Elections). The area where most voter fraud does take place — absentee ballots — isn't covered in the bill. And even though Robin Hayes, head of the state GOP, said in an ad that "in the past two elections, there have been hundreds of voting felonies, cases of double voting and absentee voting fraud and even dead people voting," the actual facts simply do not bear out those claims. What's more, citizens who are more likely not to have a photo ID — the elderly, students and the poor — tend to vote Democratic. I have to agree with voter ID opponents who say the bill is less concerned with solving a problem than with suppressing the Democratic vote in 2012 and keeping President Obama from winning the state again. For a fuller dissection of the reality behind some of the pro-ID folks' arguments, check out a thorough article by Mark Binker of the Greensboro News & Record at www.news-record.com/blog/53964/entry/113958.
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