Unused thoughts,
 2018 edition

As I sit in my quiet, desolate office the day after Christmas, I’m enthusiastic about my column for LEO’s 52nd issue of the year (and our 28th year of publication). While other news media are publishing and airing year-in-review, self-congratulatory gibberish and tacky New Year resolution lists, this is my opportunity to get rid of my unused (random, sometimes silly) thoughts — a therapeutic exercise to purge what didn’t get attention (and for good reason). So, in no particular order, final thoughts for 2018:

Recent reporting that confirms Donald Trump’s fraudulent medical exemption from the Vietnam War draft is a reminder why Muhammad Ali was “The Greatest” and an example of what we used to be considered leadership. Let’s compare the two:

Ali declared himself a conscientious objector and, because of his peaceful religious beliefs as a Muslim, refused to fight in an immoral war. He gave up several years in the prime of his professional career, went to jail for his stance and, ultimately, was unanimously vindicated by the U.S. Supreme Court for his position.

Trump had a doctor fake a foot condition to get him out of the draft.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t have dodged like The Donald, but Ali is a hero who was willing to sacrifice his freedom for his beliefs — Trump is a liar, who has no beliefs.

Next, taxes should be thought of as incentives. And America incentivizes all the wrong things. America should place enormous taxes on things such as sugar and cigarettes. One-third of adults in America are obese, costing $190 billion, or 21 percent of annual healthcare spending, according to a National League of Cities study. It estimates this will grow to $550 billion over the next two decades.

Over 37 million adults smoke cigarettes, costing about $170 billion in annual healthcare costs — plus $156 billion in lost economic productivity — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those numbers would be astronomically higher if only smokers paid for the cost associated with smoking-related healthcare. But, because healthcare is a shared cost in America, we all have an interest in lowering these numbers, encouraging people to live healthier lives.

The same goes for taxing gas and other carbon dioxide-producing fuels and activities, such as ranching for beef consumption.

America needs to start using the tax code to incentivize a better future.

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Next, maybe one of the funniest things to happen at LEO this year is that a source at the Courier Journal told us that even Joe Gerth’s friends think he’s a “dick.” We tend to disagree, but boy, is that hilarious.

I hate that “lip syncing” is not called “lip singing.”

Statues commemorating people should be easy and obvious… not traitors, racists or xenophobes. If they represent an unfortunate, misguided part of our history, then move them to a place with proper context or to a dump, but not where they are seen as celebrating wrongheadedness. If any of that requires too much debate or consternation, plant a tree instead.

The biggest failure of the Greatest Generation was bringing up the worst generation. Baby Boomers really shit the bed on leading the planet.

I believe the phrase “shit the bed” was an accidental evolution resulting from people who didn’t know the etymology of the phrase “spit the bit.”

Dude, vaccinate your kids. It’s 2019, and your booger-picker shouldn’t be the host that takes down Western civilization.

Penultimate thought, I grew up in a time when an overriding rule was: You punch Nazis in the face… figuratively, of course. But, a Wisconsin high school is looking the other way while its Hitler youth club decides to take a white nationalist, Nazi salute class photo. Those kids need to understand that, when they get into the real world, there are consequences.

Finally, Bevin sucks.

Happy 2019!

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