It has been over 30 years since my family sold the daily newspaper it had owned for 84 years. Still, I have printers ink in my blood. I was involved with management of this newspaper for over 20 years. In the negotiations before the sale, the buyers promised to continue operations much as it had been. We had about 150 employees, were recognized by the industry as having the most penetration of our market over any other paper in the country, and made a good profit to boot.
That all changed. The cuts began almost immediately. I was still the publisher in name, but that soon came to an end. Within about 6 months of the purchase, I was out……. some are in and some are out.
To this day, I carry with me what I believe are inviolate principles of journalism. The first is to tell the truth and the complete truth. It is not the place of a “news” organization to editorialize when reporting the news. You would not know that now particularly with the electronic media. I cannot tell news from opinion most of the time. The second is to be the conscience of a community. That is, look out for your readers, look over the shoulder of politicians and those in government, and promote good things among the people.
Things changed from the old days. In the middle of the 20th Century, there were almost 2000 independent family owned newspapers in this country. This changed in the last quarter of the Century. Independent newspapers were bought out by newspaper chains. One reason this happened were the adverse estate tax laws. Newspapers had to be sold to pay inheritance taxes. Turned out this was not good for the owners or for the county.
In the old days, when owners lived in the same community as the newspaper, profit was not always king. There were intangible values that became as important once profit was at a reasonable level. The owners put back into the community in terms of time, talent, and money. It was more like family taking care of each other. Markets were more local rather than national.
The USA has suffered a loss. The “Fourth Estate” is not what it once was. Thomas Jefferson said, “Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe”. It should be added that the press must be both “free” and “unbiased” for all to be safe. We are not there now.
I am hooked on the X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent. YouTube clips from those shows put me to bed at night and wake me in the morning. I check out the clips to see which ones have viewing in the millions, then watch them. These shows have captured the hearts of the globe. They are one of the few positive shared experiences we have.
Yes, Simon Cowell has made a lot of money from his shows, but he has at the same time provided a path for hundreds of very talented people, who otherwise would have likely never come out of the shadows, to live their dreams. What he has done is nothing short of a small miracle.
If you have never tuned in, start with Ronan Parke, Paul Potts, Jonathan and Charlotte, Eugene Murphy Jr., Carly Rose Sonenclar, Ella Henderson, Jason Brock, Tate Stevens, Jahmene Douglas, Drew Ryniewicz, Josh Krajcik, and Susan Boyle. If these don’t put a smile on your face and maybe a tear in your eye, nothing will. Enjoy.
Tuned into the news this morning only to hear that Sarah Palin does not rule out the possibility that she will run for the Presidency of the United States of America at some point. My reaction…. she is delusional. Let’s face it. The only reason she ever got onto the Republican ballot was that Sen. John McCain was pandering for the female vote in the 2008 election. It didn’t work. “Hope and Change” won.
Palin should be satisfied that she has become a millionaire through the fortunes of luck. It was not because she was/is so skilled as a public servant. Yes, she was the governor of the State of Alaska for a time, but not even for a full term. And I remind you that the State of Alaska has fewer people than the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. A good chunk of Alaska is federal government land and/or so rugged only moose, wolves, and other wild animals live there.
I add, too, that even her daughter, Bristol, has become a millionaire. She became the spokesperson for the Candie’s Foundation, a teen pregnancy prevention organization and was paid some $262,000 in 2009 for that alone. Are you joking me. That and now she is a star on “Dancing with the Stars”. She cannot dance but she continues on from week to week through the votes of her adoring public. That, too, is a joke. Now, she has a book deal for reportedly over one million dollars. The joke goes on.
This whole episode beginning with the nomination of Sarah Palin for VP is a mockery of our way of life. There are plenty of dedicated, hard working, and competent people in the USA that deserve more. The comedy of the Palins turns my stomach.
In case it is not clear, our military is in trouble. Unless change in Congress happens, “sequester” – a set of automatic cuts in federal spending – kicks in on January 2, 2013. The automatic cuts would chop the Pentagon’s budget by about $500 billion (That’s with a “B”) over nine years. That is about $55 billion per year. This whole process came about via agreement between the White House and Congressional House Republicans in the ongoing fight over federal government spending. I think it has become a big “OOPS!” Many Republicans now want to cancel the sequester through legislation, stating that the mandated cuts would pose a serious threat to our national security.
Now that time is drawing near, the cheese gets binding. The agreement and affected worker contracts require a 60 or 90 day notice if layoffs are to happen. The White House is telling military industry companies not to issue such notices to workers. This is in violation of the law. The companies are between a rock and a hard place not knowing exactly what to do. The Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, said that under such budget restraints, the USA would become a “paper tiger”. If layoffs happen en mass in companies that produce things, it could take months or even years to rebuild the skilled workforce in the military industrial complex back to the point of today. At the same time, troop strength would drop from the present 569,000 active-duty soldiers today to 426,000, the lowest number since WWII. Not smart in today’s world.
Mitt Romney advocates a strong military. He says he will restore budget cuts if they happen and even raise the defense budget by some $150 billion a year. Romney believes the United States of America should have a military second to none; in fact, one so powerful that no nation would take the risk of challenging it. I think most American citizens believe the same way.
On the other hand, periodically there are stories about military projects and production that are not needed or are carried on only to please some Senator or Representative. This must stop. We cannot waste any dollars, military or otherwise. All waste and pandering must be rooted out and ended. Weapons systems and development should be judged by professionals, not politicians. We expect our military to protect this country and its interests around the world, yet we handicap it with politics.
We have yet to see if the sequester can be avoided. Any compromise must come after the November election during a lame duck Congress. Good luck.
Count me in on the side of those who want photo identification at the polls for everyone that wishes to vote. The argument by the liberals and ACLU just does not fly. They claim requiring a photo ID for voters will prevent millions of young people and minorities who are legal citizens of the United States of America from voting. Bologna. Identification is required for driving, cashing a check, boarding an airplane, buying alcohol, buying tobacco products, and more. It is even required to buy some over the counter medications like Zyrtec D. In fact there is even a nationwide data base for those type of meds.
Every state that has enacted a voter ID law has been careful to provide a means for people to get one easily. If individuals cannot handle the “inconvenience” of getting a free ID after proving citizenship, I am thinking voting is not on the plate either.
The argument goes like this: “Minorities, poor people, college students, and seniors are less likely to have driver’s licenses than other Americans, often live miles from the nearest DMV or post office, and may lack transportation”. I am sure that if any of such individuals would contact an office of the political party of their choice, transportation would be provided for them to obtain both identification and for getting to the polls on Election Day.
The one thing we do want to prevent is someone voting twice or voting under the name of some dead person or some other fraudulent way. A member of my family witnessed firsthand rampant voter fraud in Texas in the Democrat primary when Hillary Clinton was running against Barack Obama. In the United States of America, every citizen’s vote should count and no phony vote should. Elections do matter. Fraud is unacceptable. Requiring voter ID will not discourage anyone who is a legitimately eligible voter.
A small Midwest hometown just buried one of its own, Sgt. Bradley Atwell. He was killed in Afghanistan by a group of Afgan insurgents who had dressed as U.S. soldiers and made their way into Camp Bastion, a U.S. military base there, where they attacked our soldiers. We, the people of the United States, have now lost over 2000 of our finest men and women in uniform in that God forsaken country. We have been fighting there for over 10 years. The Russians were there 10 years before us.
My reaction to the photos and stories of Sgt. Atwell and the heartache felt by his family, friends, and community has been one of sorrow and anger. Bradley Atwell is a hero. He and all who are in the military or who have ever been in the military deserve our highest respect and deepest thanks. It is our leaders who must be questioned. It is those who send our troops all over the globe who must answer. It has recently been reported that we now have troops in well over 130 countries around the world maintaining bases, doing humanitarian work, and fighting.
It is the ones in which we are fighting that must be the most questioned. We do not seem to learn. Viet Nam was a disaster. We left there having about 54,000 Americans killed and who knows how many maimed. We went to war in Iraq for what turned out to be nothing. There were no weapons of mass destruction, never were, and Iraq had nothing to do with the attack on the Twin Towers in New York. President Bush knew that. Iraq was never a threat to the United States of America. We went there because Bush and Cheney wanted us to. That war resulted in about 4500 deaths of our soldiers with over 30,000 wounded. What a waste.
The war in Afghanistan really became President Obama’s war. He announced a total withdrawal date. The real question is why wait. Why not just get out of there now. It does not matter whether we get out now or stay another 10 years; that country and its people are primitive and will stay that way. They have no oil which is really our only national interest in the Middle East; that and Israel. The Taliban will take that country back 100’s of years as soon as we leave. The only presence we really need there should be covert with Special Ops and/or CIA attacks when people who have the potential to hurt the United States are identified. Other than that, time to leave and come home.
We must face facts. The Afgans don’t like us. The Pakistani’s don’t like us much either. Then there is India. They are the ones who should be most concerned and the ones who, if military action is called for, should step up to the plate. Pakistan and India both have nuclear bombs. They need to work out their own destiny. The United States cannot and should not be the world’s policeman. Under President Obama, we have done much to create a Middle East with few friends of the USA.
Finally, we simply cannot afford to be at war. In case no one has looked recently, we are broke. Our national debt is sky high and climbing. We do not have the money to hand out to others around the world. We need to be taking care of our own first. If resources are left over at some point, then aid can be given to other countries. Our leaders are failing us. They have failed the thousands who have given their lives to protect us. Time to say, NO MORE.
We don’t think of it much, but honey bees are vital to our own survival. They do their thing each year without direction from human beings. They pollinate all sorts of plants that we depend upon like tomatoes, apple trees, watermelon, Kiwifruit, nuts, cucumbers, cherry trees, and many more. The problem is that honey bees have been dying off in droves. Billions of bees have disappeared in the United States with estimated losses as high as 30% and counting.
Honey bees are crucial to the cultivation of a full 1/3rd of our food here in the USA. This means that with the loss of honey bees the security of our own food supply is at risk. What is the problem? It is called in scientific terms, “Colony Collapse Disorder”. One of the highly suspected causes is the use of pesticides called neonicotinoids.
One such chemical is “Clothianidin” which is produced by Bayer CropScience, a German Corporation. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, which happen to be among honey bees’ favorite foods. This class of pesticides needs to be banned if bee colonies are to survive. The EPA is dragging its feet on this matter.
France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany have already banned Clothianidin. The United States needs to follow their lead. The EPA wants to wait until 2018 to finish their review of the pesticide’s safety but our honey bees cannot wait 6 more years. Stop the threat. Do the ban.
I am having serious difficulty understanding why anyone of the Jewish faith would support President Barack Obama. His policies toward the Middle East have done nothing but put Israel at more risk. Now Iran and Egypt are both rattling sabers at the United Nations meeting in New York. Obama has been so wishy-washy on the whole Israel matter, they have no reluctance about flapping their gums in defiance. I wonder if it takes a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for the United States to get the message. We are approaching that point.
We just saw the death of our Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. It turns out the attack was preplanned and had nothing to do with the movie trailer about the Prophet Mohammad. The attack came on September 11th…… daaaaaaaaaa!!!! It does not take a genius to see that may be important. Yet the Obama administration continued to insist the attack was in response to a movie as were all of the demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Denial extraordinary.
The naked truth of the matter is that our only real interests in the Middle East are oil and Israel. Always have been. After those two, I really don’t think we give a damn, and maybe shouldn’t beyond being sure no one has the capability to attack the United States of America. That we must assure.
Let’s face it. The extreme radical Islamists cannot be reasoned with and do not respond to “diplomacy”. They do not live in the current age but rather live in a barbaric time that existed over 1000 or more years ago. The treat women like chattel. I heard just today that most universities in Iran have now banned women from studying engineering and science. Back to the burqas, you women. Stay in your place. The crazy men rule.
Finally, you Jewish folks…… think hard before pulling the lever for Barack Obama. He is not the person you want if you want to assure Israel survives.
The Kokomo (IN) Tribune’s Guest Columnist on September 24th, Judy Dugan, went a bit overboard with her criticism of Mitt Romney while detailing her dependency on federal and state entitlements. She said she and her husband are and have been “dependent on federal and state entitlements”. With the exception of Social Security benefits including Medicare which I fully agree she and her husband are entitled to since they funded them during their working period before retirement, I point out that any other entitlements she has received have been at the expense of someone else. Entitlements are not freebies. There is no free lunch. By the way, contrary to her claim Social Security income is not taxable, it is.
A federal mortgage deduction means someone else has to pay more to make up for that. Forgiving a student loan means someone else has to pick up the tab. Any federal or state credits for anything mean someone else has to foot the bill or we as a country just continue to deepen the government debt now over 16 trillion dollars.
And Ms. Dugan just does not get it about the capital gains tax and dividend taxes. Taking those taxes to lower levels or eliminating them altogether puts more dollars into the funding of business development and expansion which means more jobs for many more people. She complains about anything that puts more money into the hands of the “wealthy”.
Let me tell you a little story. The State of Florida increased significantly the tax on yachts several years ago thinking the “rich” should pay more. Sales of yachts went down significantly putting the workers who build those boats on the street. The same for those who sold the boats, serviced them, worked as crews on them, sold fuel and supplies for them, and for all who were employed at harbors that housed them. In short, the money spent by the “rich” put people to work. Raising taxes put people out of work. That is pretty basic economics. Florida quickly eliminated the tax increase.
Since Ms. Dugan is now among the retired, it would be wise if she enrolled in an economics course at Ivy Tech State College which is “free” of tuition for those over 60 (another entitlement which must be subsidized by taxpayers).
In an editorial on Tuesday, September 18th, the Kokomo (IN) Tribune took the position that requiring the children of illegal immigrants pay out-of-state tuition at state-supported colleges and universities is “unfair to immigrants”. They forgot an adjective. The headline should have read, “Law is unfair to illegal immigrants”.
The opinion piece went on to criticize Indiana Representative Mike Karickhoff who is from Kokomo and a co-sponsor of the bill passed by the Indiana General Assembly establishing this requirement. For one, I applaud his efforts.
One allegation in opposition to the measure is that “many undocumented students have been living in Indiana much of their lives and their parents actually have been paying taxes to support the state’s public institutions of higher learning”. I don’t know how this is possible without additional falsification of such as a Social Security number since that is required to file a tax return. Illegal immigrants don’t qualify for a Social Security number. If they have one, it would be yet another violation of law. Further, it is common street knowledge that a substantial portion of income received by illegal immigrants is in cash and never reported by either the recipient or the company that illegally operates this way.
Decisions do have consequences. The illegal actions of parents do not exempt their children from the consequences of violation of law by the parents. It should not be up to the taxpayers to subsidize non- Indiana citizen students which is what the Tribune is proposing. This is not offered to out of state students who are United States citizens. It makes no sense to offer reduced fees to students who are not citizens of Indiana or the United States.