Speak Out 8/14/06

Monday, August 14, 2006


IF YOU are an abled being, why wait 20 minutes in a drive-through line for a soda and cigarettes? Why not use your God-given legs to wait on yourself? Consider the parents who have small children or a sleeping baby in the car who may need a gallon of milk or loaf of bread. They can't leave a child in the car. To me, the drive-through is much more useful than for a pack of cigarettes.


IN THE most insidious anti-competitive, anti-consumer act in Cape Girardeau's history, the city council appeased established commercial enterprises by allowing them to again put up previously banned signs. By continuing the yard sign ban, the council stuck it to enterprising garage-sale entrepreneurs who are able to offer their wares more cheaply. This has nothing to do with the beauty of the city and everything to do with the bottom line. At least it exposed already established businesses and their chamber of commerce allies as anything but advocates of unfettered competition.

Eliminate sales tax

MARK OLSON'S characterization of the sales-tax holiday as political smoke and mirrors was perfect in accurately pointing out that retailers on that day are likely to forgo discount sales, knowing that the incentive for shoppers is the sales-tax holiday. Thus, consumers who take advantage of the sales-tax holiday might unknowingly well come out net losers at the cash register. If state legislators really want to do something for consumers, they would eliminate the regressive sales tax completely.

City rules

I MUST applaud the Cape Girardeau City Council for listening to the residents about the sign ordinance. However, I think the debate indicates that the council members have little faith in the judgment of the people. The council should know that people aren't going to push the rules as far as they can when the rules are reasonable and fit the needs of the city.

Bravery, integrity

THANK YOU to Cape Girardeau City Council members for listening to the people and changing course on the sign ordinance and the sales-tax holiday. Your actions show bravery and integrity.

All are punished

JUST THINK of all the space that would have been saved in Speak Out if anyone who had a yard sale had taken a few minutes to remove the sign from the corner or a neighbor's yard or street right of way. It's like the entire class being punished for one student's actions. How long did residents expect the city to clean up their signs left around town?

Entertaining TV

I HAVEN'T had a yard sale in more than a year and don't plan on having one in the near future. I also do not go to many sales. But the Cape Girardeau mayor hit the nail on the head when he said the council was the laughing stock of the community. My family was flipping channels when we happened to catch the council meeting. To my surprise, we watched most of that meeting. It was pure entertainment at its best. I am thankful we have a mayor who can recognize when a matter has gotten out of hand. I agree that signs in the right of way and on utility poles look tacky. But can't a property owner put what he wants in his own yard? What about a "Lordy, Lordy, Joe is 40" sign? Maybe that can be discussed. If so, I will be watching the council meeting again.

Not a good fix

THE CAPE Girardeau City Council voted to allow one banner per business in a commercial or industrial zone. The banner must be displayed on the wall or columns of the building. Some landlords do not allow this practice. Some buildings do not have columns. That means a large number of business owners will still be unable to enjoy the benefits of advertising in this manner. Thanks again, city council, for the fix.

Backpedaling mayor

A FEW weeks ago, Mayor Jay Knudtson defiantly stated that he and his council were standing by the new sign ordinance and the citizens would have to elect a new council and mayor to get it changed. In the last council meeting he reversed himself and said all he wanted to get rid of was tattered banners on Kingshighway and other signs were OK. Mayor Knudtson, how do you like your crow? Medium or well done?

Musical theory

REGARDING THE study that indicates a correlation between raunchy music and raunchy behavior in a child. There's a tiny hole in the theory. The chances are much better that the child is listening to raunchy music because he or she already is a deviant. Music does influence us, but it doesn't make or break our personalities. It sounds to me like the study was done by a parent who hasn't yet realized that he isn't parenting.

Connected issues

DEMOCRATS IN Congress who voted against the minimum wage did so because the Republicans cleverly tied it to a permanent tax cut for the rich. When the Democrats take control next year, they will separate the two issues and pass a meaningful minimum-wage increase.

Bunch of blooey

WHERE ARE THOSE 43,000 jobs Gov. Matt Blunt says he has created? Blunt says he got Missouri out of the red and into the black. That's a bunch of blooey, too.

Elitist officials

THE MORE I watch our city council and mayor, the more I am amazed. It seems like they're holding court instead of having an open meeting. The more I watch them, the more elitist they show themselves to be. Our mayor made the comment that he and his cronies have called the police to remove an ice cream truck because it was in competition with the vendor sales at the ballgame. Our mayor is a business man and should know better.

Making exceptions

NOW THAT our mayor and city council have passed the sign ordinance, it looks like they are going to favor some exemptions to that law. I suppose it depends on who you are in this town whether you get one or not. The people having estate sales will get one, but those little people who have garage sales won't.

Drawing lines

A LOT of the trouble in the Mideast is the fact that the world powers years ago drew lines across their maps, setting up countries that made no good sense. In Iraq, instead of setting up three different countries for the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis, they tried to put them all together and they got nothing but a mess. The same way with Israel. Israel was set in the middle of an Arab area. Why don't they be practical and get out of there? George Marshall in the early 1940s thought Israel was not a good idea. The only reason it was formed was because Harry Truman thought it was a good political move. It has been nothing but a thorn in the side of the world since it was started.

Courthouse security

THERE IS no need for big-time security at the courthouse or the new federal building. A policeman at the door is sufficient. If someone is out to get a person, they could be followed home or wherever. My life is just as important as theirs. If you're scared of your job, get a different one.

County on move

THE COUNTY commissioners have moved the transportation office from Jackson to Cape Girardeau. They got the half-cent sales tax passed for county roads and sheriff before Jackson got its tax passed for a fire station. Now the county commissioners are in full speed to move courtrooms to Cape Girardeau by claiming the courtrooms in Jackson are insecure and unsafe.

Group learning

I WOULD like to see teachers quit using cooperative learning for group work. The students are not to be the providers of information. That is the teachers' job. The children who are conscientious get gypped because the unmotivated do nothing but copy, yet they get the same reward. Group work is time-consuming, teaches little and is educationally unproductive. That and excessive use of bonus points undermine the educational process.

Scary right-wingers

I GET a kick out of the Southeast Missourian. You are so right-wing it's almost scary. The only reason the minimum-wage increase was killed was the back-handed actions of the Republican Party trying to tie the increase with killing the inheritance tax for wealthy people.

Using stem cells

IN THE debate on stem cells, some groups say using embryos is destroying human life, yet these frozen embryos are not going to be used at all. They are going to be destroyed and will not help anyone. No taxpayer dollars would be used in the research to help people with life-threatening diseases.

Stinking habit

AN EMPLOYEE at Southeast Missouri Hospital is not happy with the new smoking ban. I am happy with the decision. I feel that it is a violation of my rights to have a nurse take care of me after she or he smoked a cigarette and stink of tobacco smoke. You can wash your hands, but unless you wash your clothing and hair you are going to smell like smoke.

Supply reasoning

I AM a teacher. I have an explanation for why teachers may be pooling supplies for classroom use. My students' desks are not big enough to hold all their textbooks, notebooks, pencil boxes (containing glue, scissors, markers, crayons, colored pencils, pencils and erasers), large box of tissues and wet wipes. Since all the students at least once during the year are in need of tissues, it makes sense to have an open box in the classroom. I have my students clean their desktops every week and when necessary after using glue or markers. Having a common pool of wet wipes is helpful.

Time to learn

THE PARENT who made the "Ready to learn" comment must've been angry. Did he or she discuss those concerns with a teacher or administrator? Doctors take time off from their jobs to attend conventions. They reschedule their patients. Unfortunately teachers can't do this. Remember, when someone goes to a convention, there is free time allotted to convention goers.

Teaching socialism

Regarding the complaints about buying school supplies that go into a common pool: that's because the schools are teaching socialism. They're not teaching capitalism.

No belt needed

I BOUGHT a belt for my 16-year-old son. The store charged sales tax on it and said that was the rule on belts. Yet I could buy a digital camera or MP3 player and not have to pay sales tax on those items. Moral of the story: Let your pants hang down to your knees while you are playing with an expensive toy. A belt is not necessary.

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