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Election night

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Posted by John McHale

I just finished voting for in this year's election. It only took five minutes and I kept thinking of the line from Chevy Chase in one of those Vacation movies: "Look, Russ! No lines!" Chevy wasn't referring to voting precincts though.

I was really expecting an hour wait, but it was smooth and over in five minutes. Unlike this photo of voters waiting in line outside a polling station in Georgia this morning. (Associated Press/John Amis)

There were other things to vote for besides McCain or Obama. As a former New Hampshire resident I was pleased to mark yes on lowering the income tax in Massachusetts. I do miss the freedom from income tax that I enjoyed in the "live free or die" state. Hopefully the rest of the Massachusetts commonwealth will vote to lower it too.

Aside from taxes another issue that is important to me is free speech. Both candidates would seem on the surface to be big First Amendment guys, but are they really?

McCain was well known for his campaign finance reform, which some say limits free political speech. Obama has been criticized for shutting down access to any journalists who don't endorse him or are skeptical of his policies.

It looks as if Obama will win so hopefully that was just campaign tactics and not signs of things to come. I hope he is also against the "fairness doctrine" that some of his colleagues in Congress are hoping to pass as a way of limiting conservative talk radio.

I myself don't listen to political talk radio, I prefer music or Howard Stern for some laughs, but either side should be able to express their views without those in power limiting their speech.

I'm also a big fan of just changing the channel if I don't like something on television or elsewhere. Live and let live.

This is where Republicans have been guilty of overreaching to limit speech; looking to censor radio and television programs that inlcuded subject matter, which made them uncomfortable.

One claim of censorship that rings false is that President Bush was some sort of fascist, crusading to put down any and all dissent. I think that claim is ridiculous. All you have to do is turn on your T.V. or open a newspaper to see criticism of our sitting president. It's everywhere. Can you imagine that in Russia or China? Never.

Maybe I'm biased as a journalist, but I see nothing more important than freedom of speech. My favorite phrases from the Constitution come from the First Amendment.

"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..."

Good night.

Post a Comment

Blogger RobEnders said...
That yes-vote wasn't for "lowering the income tax in Massachusetts"; it was for ELIMINATING the income tax in Massachusetts--an action that, had it passed, would have been an unmitigated disaster for a state which depends on a well-educated workforce for its very lifeblood. Journalists owe it to their readers to sudy what they are describing and to describe it accurately and in context. Paying taxes is, by the way, one way to be patriotic and support the country and our brave men and women in the Guard and in the active services. There's no other way to pay for them and their equipment (electronics or low-tech).

- Robert Enders, Lexington MA
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:32:00 AM EST  

Blogger John Keller said...
Robert Enders is right when he points out that paying taxes is a patriotic act. With that in mind, were supporters of the failed Massachusetts ballot initiative to eliminate the state income tax unpatriotic? I think the measure's supporters were asking themselves, at what stage do they become compelled to be so patriotic as to be working against their own interests. Massachusetts taxpayers are asking themselves how much abuse they have to take. They're being asked to pay the salary of State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, who's under arrest after FBI surveillance caught her stuffing bribe money into her bra. They still have to pay tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike 20 years after that roadway was all paid for. Get rid of the income tax in Massachusetts, and the kids will still go to school, the cops will still patrol their beats, the firefighters will still respond to alarms, and the roads will still get plowed in the winter. We do it in New Hampshire. Eliminate the Massachusetts income tax, however, and there might be a little less graft and corruption. I think that was the whole idea.

-- John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics
Wednesday, November 12, 2008 12:04:00 PM EST  

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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.