The State Of The State In Steubenville

Today Ohio Governor John Kasich gave the State of the State speech.  He broke with years of precedent and gave the address at a school in Steubenville, Ohio.

Amazingly, Kasich got ripped for deciding to give the speech away from Columbus.  Some groups said it was a waste of time and money.  One liberal “think tank,” ProgressOhio, criticized him for “breaking 200 years of tradition and running away to a small venue in hopes that no one will make the effort to travel there.”

ProgressOhio’s status as a “think tank” must be self-proclaimed, because there clearly wasn’t much thought given to their knee-jerk opposition to Kasich’s decision to take the State of the State speech on the road.  Since when does ProgressOhio care about “200 years of tradition”?  There’s nothing magical about having the State of the State speech in Columbus.  If you asked most Ohioans about the issue, they wouldn’t care where the speech is delivered — or even whether it is given at all.

Steubenville is one of many Ohio cities that has struggled in the past few decades.  Why not give Steubenville some time in the limelight?  Why not do something simple that brings visitors to town, causes them to spend some money at local restaurants and businesses, and focuses some attention on the Steubenville story?

I thought Kasich’s decision to give his speech in Steubenville was a small, but inspired, action on his part.  The reflexive opposition of ProgressOhio and similar groups, on the other hand, reflects nothing but the tiresome partisan politics as usual that most of us have grown to despise.

Provocative Lawsuits, And The Constitutional Rights Of Killer Whales

The BBC reports on a lawsuit by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals against Sea World.  The case argues that killer whales have rights just as humans do and that keeping such whales in captivity violates the constitutional prohibition against slavery.

The lawsuit is pending in federal court in San Diego and purportedly was brought by five killer whales as the plaintiffs.  The court held a hearing yesterday to determine whether the lawsuit could proceed.  The BBC article above quotes the lawyer for the killer whales as saying:  “For the first time in our nation’s history, a federal court heard arguments as to whether living, breathing, feeling beings have rights and can be enslaved simply because they happen to not have been born human.  By any definition these orcas have been enslaved here.”

I was sorry to read these news articles, because the principal point of such lawsuits seems to be to attract media attention.  No rational person, or lawyer, could really contend that our constitutional protections were written to protect, or should be read to extend to, killer whales or any other animal.  But such provocative lawsuits allow advocacy organizations, for the price of a filing fee, to gain a platform from which to espouse their views and then hope that any resulting news coverage will encourage like-minded people who read such articles to contribute to the cause.

The news media would do us all a favor by ignoring this kind of legal grandstanding.  I suppose I should, too.