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Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015

Columns

Losing our way with 'phony urban legend'
It's been a year since Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, following an attack on a police officer. Despite massive protests and riots over false reports that Brown was assassinated with his hands held in the air, not a whole lot has changed...
Obama presidency's failures
A gentleman approached me in a grocery store this week and asked if I could confirm a rumor he heard about the president. In hushed tones, he said the president was poised to ignore the Constitution and seek a third term. And should the populace resist that controversial move, the rumor opined that the president would impose marshal law to quell any discontent...
'A Plan of Action' to build an Iranian bomb
The "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" between the U.S., European Union, France, Germany, UK, Russia, China and the Islamic Republic of Iran, with a stated purpose to "ensure that Iran's nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful" will provide Iran with the tools to enable it to transition rapidly to a nuclear weapons program at a time of its choosing...
Mayor's corner: Transportation Trust Fund
Our citizens will be asked Aug. 4 to cast votes on extending the existing half-cent sales tax for street improvements for an additional five years (2016-2020). This issue deserves a YES vote. The Transportation Trust Fund was originally established and approved by voters in 1995. ...
Remembering the Pie Lady, and her wonderful service
Maybe you knew Sally, even if you didn't know her name. She was a waitress -- not a server, and definitely not a waitperson -- from the old school. She was a fixture, over the years, at a number of area eateries. Sally was one of those women of indeterminate age. She could be 50. She could be 70. She never seemed to change. Or age. As it turns out, she was 77 when she died last week at her home in McClure, Illinois...
Heroes and jerks
It is not my intent to dirty my hands by writing a political column, but I also cannot stand by while jerks insult veterans, wounded vets and active military. Especially when those jerks themselves avoided and lacked the courage to serve. During a recent interview with Donald Trump by Frank Luntz at the 2015 Family Leadership Conference in Ames, Iowa, Trump made an offensive and disrespectful comment about John McCain's military service, when Luntz pointed out that McCain was a war hero who spent six years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese. ...
The statistical analysis of race
Race has always been a part of the Obama administration. And there's nothing wrong with that. As the nation's first black president, it's understandable that the issue of race relations and racial justice should be a part of this administration's policy...
Once you start remembering, it's really hard to stop
After waxing memory-wise about hauling hay and getting paid a dollar an hour, several folks had somewhat appropriate comments: "Joe, you were overpaid." "I hauled hay for $2 a day." "I babysat for 25 cents an hour. How much do babysitters charge today?"...
Slow withdrawals affect morale
I read an article on military.com about changes to the missions and operational policies for U.S. troops in Afghanistan before our departure. One major change is the Afghan government now requires troops get a search warrant before entering homes. This makes it difficult to find enemy troops who are sheltering in homes, and changes the war to a dangerous police action...
Misplaced blame in shooting
It did not generate headlines like the Michael Brown episode in Ferguson, but St. Louis police shot and paralyzed a 16-year-old at a St. Louis park Saturday evening when he tried to flee while holding a .40 caliber pistol. The tragedy is just the latest in a string of police shootings that has divided this nation along racial lines...
Immigration is huge issue in Europe
Illegal aliens clambering over fences. Truck drivers fighting off refugees attempting to hitch a ride. Terrified civilians trapped on major highways, surrounded by desperate asylum seekers. Coast guard units on the alert for illegal aliens arriving by sea. ...
A dollar an hour here, $15 an hour there, it all adds up fast
I'm not sure what to make of the efforts to increase the minimum wage in such large chunks. $15 an hour seems to be the target for most folks. Why? I could make a case that $15 an hour is no better than the dollar an hour I made when I first started working. I lived on a dollar an hour. A lot of folks today say they can't live on $15 an hour...
Celebrating people, accomplishments
Congratulations to Jerry Ford, who won this year's Southeast Missourian Spirit of America Award. His remarks were appropriate, charitable and well received. Kudos to the Cape Park and Recreation Department (headed by Julia Thompson), which adapted the best fireworks in years to the Arena, after the river flooding forced the move. Some say 10,000 people viewed the display from the adjacent roads, and park area...
National military strategy changes
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be retiring soon, and before his departure he gave a briefing at the Pentagon discussing the first update since 2011 of the National Military Strategy. According to Dempsey, the update was necessary because since the last update, "global disorder has trended upward while some of our comparative advantages have begun to erode."...
The crazy GOP field
The ever-increasing field of GOP presidential candidates has either become a laughingstock or a display of the diversity and depth within the Republican ranks. Regardless of your view concerning this rush of GOP candidates, even for die-hards, this early campaign is difficult to follow...