Friday, January 13, 2006

Did You Know?

Effective Jan. 1, the city workers who manage New Albany's stormwater drainage system have been severed from the accounts of the sewer utility. City Council established a stormwater quality management account from which these workers are paid. Whether a user fee to fund the account has been collected or not has no bearing on whether these workers get paid. It is the account to which their payroll is charged that matters. That account has been established and budgeted.

So for those who continue to insist that these workers are STILL a drain on sewer finances - stop the lying!

Actual Malice

One can often forgive ignorance and confusion, even the willful kind. But a reckless disregard for the truth and willful defamation becomes not only unforgivable, but actionable.

Volunteer Hoosier is a progressive Web log, advocating for our ideas. It is also an independent journal that tries to inform with factual news and to urge readers to join us in our efforts to spread the word that Floyd County and New Albany CAN and WILL be better each day, each week, each month, and each year.

There is always a tension between free debate and civil discourse. The boundaries can often become blurred. But an accusation of impropriety, ill will, or lack of vision fall far short of alleging criminality.

Recent recklessness on a slanderblog known to regular readers of this space has crossed that boundary. Although the site in question has developed a reputation for being consistently wrong in both its factual assertions and in its predictive role, allegations of criminality have now been made.

Most officeholder, and many activists, learn to live with the stones cast by their political enemies. But even politicians have a limited right to seek damages when they are defamed with "actual malice." Lawyers will tell you that the term "actual malice" has little or nothing to do with "honest hatred" or any other lay term. It is a legal term of art, with very specific meaning. Those who publish news or commentary, whether it is their own opinions or the opinions of others, are not protected from the consequences of disseminating slander and libel if they know it to be false or show a reckless disregard for the truth.

Holds true for blogs. In a different world, politicians might have to surrender their rights to be free from false accusations. In a different world, maybe "blogs" could be exempt from the standard, and thus free to publish accusations of any stripe.

But when a person uses legal terms to accuse, they had better get them right.

Let's say Politician C has an affair. Though that might be distasteful and a blot on the character of the politician, it doesn't regularly rise to the level of a crime. To then accuse C of rape, simply for political advantage, would be actionable. Truth might be a defense, but we already know it was an affair, not rape. The slanderer would be liable for damages as proved.

If the rape charge damages the reputation of C, there is no "get out of jail" card simply because C is a politician. Nor because the slanderer uses a Web log to make the accusation.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

For most of us...

The presidential visit on Wednesday was an occasion for us to bite out tongues, grin, and bear it.

But for one local young progressive, it was a moment he'll remember for a long time.

And now you can capture for all time the sight of Mr. Steve Laduke sharing a stage with George W. Bush. Steve's in the tan suit coat at the extreme right of the pic.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Apology: Abject

I must admit that I fell for it.

I have done a disservice to my readers.

During the past several months, I have considered the blatherings of a certain scandal-blogger, one who has only infinitesimal allegiance to the truth, one who has truly sold out to a political agenda designed to relegate the municipality of New Albany to the wastebin of history, as legitimate.

Although I disagreed, almost incomparably, with every utterance from this schizophrenic mouthpiece for the forces of regress, I still credited it with intent.

I recant. I seek absolution.

The most recent posting from this bibulous Internet outlet makes it clear that, all along, we have been had. The fleeting Web log known as Speak Out Lout (pardon, Loud) New Albany has demonstrated, even for this gullible mind, that its congenital contempt for progress was, is, and always will be an exercise in satire, designed to narcotize the incumbents in NA Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4 into the belief that their unforgivable neglect of the public weal was accepted by no fewer than four residents of this notable city.

The endorsement of the feeble efforts of CM Steve Price makes it clear, even to this feeble mind, that it was all just a joke. That, even for one moment, I acknowledged it as an expression of "a" viewpoint amongst the citizenry of this storied city, is my shame.

It was all a joke. Good one, Laura. I bow to you. Your latest posting makes it clear that you've been pulling our leg all this time. That you have enabled the sub-literate to excrete their addled versions of reality must have been, all along, part of your master plan.

Although I don't pretend to understand your master plan, the subtle way in which you exposed the truly damaged minds who inhabit the body politic was, indeed, masterful. $$$$$$$$, concern taxpayer, Yvonne Kersey et spouse, Messrs. Brambleberry and Lucchese, EriKKK, and all were exposed for the inveterate prevaricators they are. That you corraled others into this web was, I'm sure, an exercise in acceptable collateral damge, and I'm sure they will forgive you.

As for me, I can say only "brava" for the performance piece you produced. I am humbled that it took me this long to realize that you weren't serious, even for a moment.

I eagerly await your next posting. It can only advance the cause of the ordinary resident of New Albany to root out the dementia, and expose the bacterial 'pinions of the "families" beholden to the Coffey-Price-Schmidt-Kochert "Gang of Four."

Your exposure of this cancerous element is to be applauded. I could not have orchestrated a better way to show the people of NA the true choices facing them in 2007. Gracias.