Money squawks

August 12, 2011 Everyone has a story about getting ripped off by an airline, abused by the phone company, or hosed at the department of motor vehicles. And ever since the economy turned sour, we’ve all got grim tales to share about being beaten up by banks and credit card companies. Here are two of mine:My Chase Visa payment was due on the Fourth of July. As a patriotic gesture I took the day off to celebrate our independence and assumed that Chase was doing the same. I paid my bill in full, electronically, on the morning of July 5.

A black eye deserves, at least, a Purple Heart

August 11, 2011 June 1, 2009: one young man, age 23, stands accused of murder; another young man, simply put, no longer stands.Carlos Bledsoe (aka Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad) was sentenced Monday for the shooting death of one Army private and the wounding of another just outside a military recruiting center located in a strip mall in Little Rock. The prosecutors, who originally asked death for death, were thwarted in mid-sentence by a guilty plea.

Some more new experiences in Batesville

August 11, 2011 Batesville is a city of trees and steeples, evident from the view seen in the picture window out of which I look as I type these words on my laptop computer. What a great city this is!My experiences in my new hometown continue, especially close encounters of the culinary kind:

Lessons from Berlin Wall

August 11, 2011 Fifty years ago (on Aug. 13), under the cover of darkness, East Germany broke ground on the Berlin Wall, which became one of the most iconic symbols of violence and exclusion the world has ever known. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the images broadcast around the world of Germans climbing the wall and dancing together before they began tearing it down piece by piece marked the rapid decline of Soviet-style Communism. It also raised hopes that a new borderless world of democracy and globalization was dawning.

30 years ago: The Middle Class died

August 10, 2011 From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer.

Dynamite in small packages

August 10, 2011  It was my first practice with my baseball team of 5- and 6-year-olds. As Brin stepped to the plate for her first time at bat, I heard her father yell, “Don’t forget, Brin, dynamite comes in small packages. Show ’em how it’s done!”

More on RFID

August 9, 2011 Dear editor:This note is not intended to be legal, political or theological. It is simply an attempt to clear some misconceptions that were mentioned in a recent letter to the editor concerning the Affordable Care Act of 2010. I am concerned that some will be frightened by the allegations mentioned in the letter which are simply not true. One should have the religious belief of their choice. However, when making decisions on the issues of their health care, it should be based on accurate information.

Info is ‘bogus’

August 9, 2011 Dear editor:The other day, you published a letter from someone declaring that in 36 months, according to “Obamacare” we would all be running around with RFID chips implanted in our bodies carrying all kinds of personal information. This tweaked my interest because I wouldn’t put anything like this past the present office holder. I suspected somebody was writing to see his name in print, so, I wrote to our Congressman, Senator Boozeman, and received this reply:Dear Mr. Jones:

Lady Justice, open your eyes

August 9, 2011 Should Justitia remove her blindfold?Named after the Roman goddess, we know her better as Lady Justice: guardian of our courts. The scales she holds remind us to weigh evidence with care; her sword indicates that punishment must fit the crime. And her blindfold connotes ... well, what?It’s generally accepted that the blindfold represents impartiality. Our system of justice, in theory at least, treats everyone equally and each situation fairly.

Carnival over, thank goodness

August 9, 2011 I am so glad this past week is behind us. The week of the White River Water Carnival is always hectic — so much so that the Guard staff is usually dragging into work on the Monday morning afterwards — but this year was especially so since my dad and stepmom had flown out to California, leaving two of my dad’s kids (me being one, of course, since I live just next door) splitting the duties of collecting mail, feeding animals, watering flowers, etc. You know the drill. As it happened, my and Gary’s day fell on trash day, so we got an extra duty in there ... oh, well.