Erie, Pennsylvania Times News

July 21, 2012

No, no, no. We weren’t ready for the carpet bombing of negative political ads to begin so soon. Whatever happened to the election heating up after Labor Day? You know, as in Sept. 3, more than six weeks from now?

All right, legitimate political issues do exist. But, come on, repeatedly playing Mitt Romney’s atrocious singing of “America the Beautiful” — one of the best songs ever written — just isn’t fair to our ears or sensitivities. Some, like Tom Weindorf, are also upset that one of the country’s greatest anthems is in a negative ad at all, calling such a move “un-American.”

All of the attention, of course, means we’re a swing state in the Nov. 6 election, which is considered a dead heat in the latest polling. But annoying, nasty political ads is one heavy price to pay. Worse, negative political ads are effective, say the experts, and often negatively affect voter turnout because people are so turned off by Election Day. We can’t let that happen.

So let’s make a pledge. All of us should put a jar on the coffee table, and every time we see a negative political ad, we should put a penny or a nickel in the jar. And, within a few days, we’ll purchase the best earplugs that money can buy, or maybe enough for the whole neighborhood!

Please release me: Release your income tax returns, Mr. Romney. As the Washington Post noted this week, income tax returns are usually a private matter, protected by federal law. But not when you’re running for president.

Mitt Romney’s refusal to release more than one year of tax returns, and the promise of another, is of great concern to all Americans who value transparency and openness in government.

Whatever embarrassing and troubling things may or may not be found in his taxes cannot compare to the nagging question that Romney leaves us with: Why can’t he level with the American people about his private finances when he’s seeking the highest office in the land?

If President Barack Obama’s campaign distorts the findings, as Romney says he fears will happen, he can certainly respond to that. Not releasing several years of taxes, however, only fuels suspicion that Romney has something to hide. And will he be secretive in office?

Kudos to the clever: Mercy Center for Women cordially invites all of us NOT to attend its annual fish fry NOT to be held on ANY day in ANY month during ANY year. But please do send along a few bucks to help their excellent programs.

The appealing fundraiser also includes a checklist of options, such as: $50, I’m not available. I have a whale of a schedule; $75, Sorry, I have a date with Charlie the Tuna; $100, I can’t come, my sole’s just not in it, and so forth.

You may want to contribute, just for the halibut. If interested, send a check to Mercy Center for Women, 1039 E. 27th St., Erie, PA 16504-2919.

Little touchy, are we? Noise Free America, whose motto is “respect the quiet,” made a clamor of its own this week by awarding Erie’s “Roar on the Shore” its dubious “Noisy Dozen” monthly award.

“The obnoxiously loud event will feature entertainment by such musical legends as Chrome, Leaders of Men and Drunk in Memphis, as well as a Miss Roar on the Shore beauty pageant,” says a news release from the group directed by Ted Rueter. It goes on to complain about the event being an affront to the Noise Control Act of 1972, etc., etc.

Oh, come on, now, ye of little sense of fun. You’ve made it loud and clear to us that you like to pick on motorcycle rallies. Past winners of the Noisy Dozen award include the Sturgis, S.D., rally, the Fairfax, Va., Harley-Davidson rally and the Concerned Citizens for Motorcycle Safety rally in New York City. Sounds like good company to us.

High water mark: The Flagship Niagara League’s announcement of a Tall Ships Erie festival for Sept. 5 to 8, 2013, is welcome and wonderful news for Erie as we celebrate the Perry 200 Commemoration.

That is going to be a fun year.