Speak Out 5/11/12

Friday, May 11, 2012

Great umpires

I have seen enough Cape Girardeau slow-pitch softball games to say without qualification that the quality of umpiring is top-notch. The hustle, professionalism, dedication and accuracy of the calls, as well as the well-deserved respect given the men in blue is heartwarming to witness. Though all of the umpires I have seen are outstanding, there is one who embodies all of the characteristics mentioned above and who, in my view, deserves a special Speak Out shoutout: Thank you, Michael Council.

Central scoreboard

This may seem trivial to many, but I have attended two Cape Girardeau Central High School track meets and on neither occasion has the beautiful, taxpayer-subsidized scoreboard been lit.

Good news

Good news. The U.S. economy is not slowing and is indeed picking up steam.

'Of Mice and Men'

The alleged excess of mice at Cape Girardeau Central Junior High may have been part of a plan to set the scene for a schoolwide reading of "Of Mice and Men."

Austerity measures

Two Speak Out economists are into it over whether the U.S. should adopt an austerity budget. As self-appointed arbitrator in this matter, I say this would be the worst time conceivable to adopt the austere Ryan budget, a budget calling for draconian spending cuts, ending Medicare as we know it, paying for the Bush tax cuts on the backs of the middle class and poor, ending tax deductions like that for a home mortgage, etc. Taking an indiscriminate meat ax to the budget when the economy is in the middle of an economic recovery would catapult this country backward into an era worse than Europe's historically disastrous period known as the Dark Ages.

Tipping note

To the person whose change isn't being returned by the waitstaff, may I suggest you do what a good friend of mine does. He writes the following note on a piece of paper or a napkin and leaves it on the table. "Because you kept my change, I could only assume you were accepting that as your tip." Then he leaves no other tip.

Social Security

How much do you contribute to the government for Social Security? Not only do you (as an employee) contribute to Social Security but your employer does, too. It's part of your salary, even though you never see it. It totals 15.3 percent of your income before taxes. If you averaged only $30,000 over your working life, that's close to $220,500. If you calculate the future value of $4,500 per year (your and your employer's contribution) at 5 percent interest (less than what the government pays on the money that it borrows), after 49 years of working you'd have accumulated $892,919.98. But at retirement, our government puts such contributors on a monthly allowance of $1,500 to $1,700.

Bread and circuses

The suicide of one-time NFL great Junior Seau came to my attention at almost the same time I had completed reading an article by perhaps America's most astute social observer, Malcolm Gladwell. In the article Gladwell made a convincing case for something reinforced by the Seau tragedy, the abolition of football. Of course, it will never happen because, as with the ancient Romans, we must have our bread and circuses.

Doing nothing

Kudos to the members of Congress who are currently being honest with the American people and admitting that at this time they are doing absolutely nothing.

Concession stand

Some may equal, but no concession stand service surpasses that of Cape's Shawnee Sports Complex.

It's all political

Rival political parties are always accusing each other of politicizing events, thus forgetting the truism that everything is political.

Look at Spain

The Speak Out economist who wrongly thinks an austerity budget would not be the ruination of the United States apparently closed his eyes to the country where this is happening: Spain. Perhaps he can be persuaded to see the ruination caused by adopting austerity budgets during economic hard times if he also takes a look at the situation in Ireland and Portugal.

Bowen column

In a desperate stretch of credulity almost beyond anything conceivable, Wayne Bowen recently accused the United States of abandoning its closest ally, Great Britain.

Plutocracy

The legalization of so-called Super PACs by the Supreme Court has erased all doubt that our representative democracy has evolved into a reprehensible plutocracy.

Romney speech

Someone has to straighten this out. It is embarrassing for Gov. Mitt Romney to visit key battleground states (Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia) and be introduced by governors of his own party who brag about their states being on the road to recovery. It makes it difficult for him to follow up on this with his standard gloom-and-doom stump speech.

Gone to the dogs

The proposals for improving Cape Girardeau have gone to the dogs.

Casino money

Instead of setting aside money for unforeseen projects (read: slush fund), why not reduced our state's high sales tax with the anticipated casino revenue? Stupid me, that would reduce the power of the city officials.

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