Patriotic purchasing

July 21, 2011 Is it unpatriotic for Americans to buy foreign-made products?Last summer, President Obama said: “I’m convinced we’re going to rebuild [the economy] better and stronger than before. And at its heart is going to be three powerful words: Made in America.”You’d think that would be a call to action — for government to encourage domestic manufacturing, and for consumers to aggressively support it.

Closing wrong borders

July 20, 2011 Sometimes coincidences can really dampen your spirits. This week I was driving around with a CD that features Johnny Cash lamenting “I don’t like it, but I guess things happen that way.” Then I learned that the Borders bookstore chain will be shutting down completely by the end of September.

Milking cows 101

July 20, 2011  Having a milk cow has many challenges, but the one that I like the least is the lack of freedom I have. She has to be milked twice each day no matter what, and not just anyone can milk her.I was reminded of this when summer came and I could wear short sleeve shirts while I was teaching. The first day I dressed that way, a young man came to the front of the room after class and timidly asked, “Professor Howard, did you get bit on your arms or something?”

Cost of success

July 20, 2011 Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, News Corporation, which includes American TV’s Fox News, is extensive to the point of global and is coming unraveled. At first the fallout from the phone and email tampering scandal seemed like it was going to be contained to a few people getting fired across the Atlantic pond. Perhaps there would even be some collateral damage to a handful of underlings, but something different is afoot here.

Mystery of being fourteen

July 19, 2011 My 14-year-old nephew is a mystery. Of course, I’ve never been a teenage boy so maybe that’s why I can’t relate, but he seems to give new meaning to “walking paradox.” For instance, he wouldn’t pick up a bug with his bare hand but wanted a python as a pet. He would eat cheese pizza by the truckloads but only from certain restaurants. He wanted a particular dog one weekend and when we finally found one the very next weekend, he’d changed his mind.

Are cigars endangered?

July 19, 2011 Are premium cigars next on the federal government’s hit list?You see, as part of the 2010 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the authority “to regulate marketing and promotion of tobacco products and to set performance standards for tobacco products to protect the public health.”Though the law does not automatically apply to cigars, the FDA can issue new regulations that make cigars subject to the law.Boy, does that have premium cigar advocates worried.

Ledge update

July 19, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  Arkansas shoppers can enjoy the state’s first sales tax holiday the weekend of August 6 and 7, when retail stores will not charge sales taxes on purchases of school supplies and articles of clothing costing less than $100.Accessories under $50 also will be exempt from the sales tax.  Shoes, boots and sandals will also be exempt if they cost less than $100.

Not your usual stop for food

July 18, 2011 Tuscan sausage pizza, grilled chicken burritos, marinara shrimp pasta, Belgian waffles and banana split pie.No, that’s not what’s for dinner tonight but it is what’s on the menu at one very recognizable restaurant chain in parts of the U.S.Being the hometown of Walt Disney World, every place in a 50-mile radius of Orlando, Fla. seems to require a theme and McDonald’s is no exception. Not only does the city and surrounding towns boast 25 themed restaurants, they take it up a notch by adding “bistro gourmet” alongside their burgers, fries and shakes.

Perception, persuasion versus truth

July 18, 2011 President Obama wants Israel to revert to the pre-1967 borders. That would mean handing some of Christianity’s most sacred sites over to the Palestinian government, which for all intents is controlled by one of the world’s most radical terrorist organizations, Hamas.Do you want them to control some of the most sacred sites of our Christian history?I didn’t think so.

Is this the end of magic?

July 15, 2011 I have never been as excited for a movie as I was for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.” Don’t worry; I’m not going to spoil anything. I’ll just say the last movie did the other seven justice and then some.