Convicted sex offenders in the California community of Simi Valley have sued to overturn limits on their participation in Halloween activities. Local ordinances prohibit registered sex offenders from displaying Halloween decorations, answering the door to trick-or-treaters or having outside lighting after dark on Oct. 31. They are also required to post signs on their front doors reading, in 1-inch letters, “No candy or treats at this residence.” The lawsuit alleges the regulations violate the sex offenders' First Amendment rights. The group's attorney, Janice Bellucci, told a local NBC affiliate, “It's similar to Jews in Nazi Germany who had to wear the yellow star on their clothing.” Baloney. What the Nazis did to Jews was a crime against humanity. The only thing comparable in this scenario is not the limitations on sex offenders on Halloween, but what those criminals did to their victims, including children.
Where's the hope?
Barack Obama promised “hope and change” four years ago. The latest U.S. birthrate statistics indicate that hope continues to be lacking. There were fewer than 4 million births in this country in 2011, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a decrease of 1 percent over 2010 and the fourth straight year of decline. It's easy to read too much into any set of statistics, but our sense is that couples, particularly younger couples, are having a tough time seeing the upside of having children during this extended period of slow economic growth and high unemployment. The birth of a child is the ultimate sign of hope for the future. The continued slide in U.S. births reflects the opposite.
Nothing to sneeze at
A report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranks Oklahoma City the seventh most difficult place to live with allergies; Tulsa ranks 19th. Those rankings are based on an analysis of pollen sores, the number of allergy medications used per patient and the number of allergy specialists per patient. The AAFA estimates 366,000 Oklahomans have asthma and over 479,000 have nasal allergies. The AAFA notes legislation filed this year could have negatively impacted those allergy sufferers by requiring them to get a prescription for all medicines containing pseudoephedrine as part of an anti-meth effort. That bill failed. We were among those concerned the proposed law would increase cost and inconvenience for honest citizens without an offsetting long-term improvement to public safety. The meth epidemic is one reason so many pseudoephedrine products sell in Oklahoma, but that isn't the only cause. Oklahoma has a lot of allergy sufferers as well.
Looking good in Utah
The resilient spirit of Brigham Young is evident today in Utah. While many states are hurting in this economy, Utah is doing well. The city of Provo, home to Brigham Young University, is helping the cause by growing three times faster than the national average and keeping its unemployment rate below 6 percent. The city has half a billion dollars in construction projects under way. As a state, Utah has done such things as cut the individual tax rate, lower corporate taxes and eliminate some burdensome business regulations. It also replaced its fixed-benefit public pension system with a different plan. “I don't think there's any great secret weapon to what we've done,” Republican Gov. Gary Herbert tells stateline.org. Other states would be wise to take note.