Simplicity, brevity and short words, we are told, are the ingredients of good conversation. No doubt about it. I’m trying to learn from the teenagers the essence of this bit of wisdom. They’ve got it down pat.
From the multitudinous government bureaucracies to the minions of private (nonprofit?) agencies to the likes of talk show host Bill “I am looking out for you” O’Reilly, we are privileged to enjoy a freedom from any responsibility of making our own decisions and provided an escape clause from the consequences of our actions.
Although most of my family lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and at least a couple of them, including my son, used the ill-fated, collapsed bridge across the Mississippi River on a daily basis, none of them were involved in the tragic incident.
Our discussion today is about a crisis that some experts say began 20 years ago this month with a speech in the Field of Blackbirds, where in 1389 a Serbian army lost to an Ottoman army but where 20 years ago a man named Slobodan Milosevic declared the unity, the independence and the pride of Yugoslavia.
Teacher reviews in the various states seems to be a big issue these days. Here in Missouri teachers must spend a five-year probationary period before they get job security. In Nebraska it’s only one year. Why such a discrepancy? And why the need for teacher reviews at all?
The big political question is whether affluent America is under full sail out of the Republican harbor or just drifting due to displeasure with the Bush administration.
Corporate bottlers are overseen by the Food and Drug Administration, which requires them to test their water sources only once a week — and the results are kept secret by the corporations.
On Tuesday, your Missourian published a story about the refusal by leaders of Columbia Public Schools to provide a list of property owners they contacted during the search for a site for a high school. The article appeared on the front page, below the fold, but with a headline large enough to grab your attention.
Was this news? It’s a valid question. Let’s face it.
Taxes. We hate them. Unfortunately, society cannot survive without them. We hate paying property taxes and the 7.55 percent Columbia sales tax tagged on to most purchases. Yet the services we receive in return, including trash removal, snow removal, filling potholes and police and fire protection, are usually worth every penny.
One development I have noticed in my perhaps not-so-gracious, advancing years is the growing plethora of news reporting that appears to lack a corresponding increase in relevant information or any apparent endeavor to seek out meaningful alternatives.
I can’t think of anything that would arouse my interest in the 2008 presidential campaign. The contenders have already raised millions of dollars, so that lets me know that business-as-usual is already taking place.
When it comes to the war in Iraq, we hear a daily count of civilian and military casualties. A report came out (last) week from Oxfam, the international humanitarian organization, and a national council of non-governmental organizations in Iraq with some new, equally disturbing numbers. This report is called “Rising to the Humanitarian Challenge in Iraq.”
It’s not every day that you get a headline like “helicopter crashes” in our fair town. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure the last time I saw one of those birds flitting above the tree line. But crash we had on Tuesday.
When a friend, standing short in stature but a giant in the world of local politics, quietly but firmly “yells” at me, I listen. Her displeasure concerned my article on the City Council’s lack of progressive and positive growth for this large town. She wants to hear about things the city does right.
As a retiree who is enjoying his twilight years — if that downhill side of life can be deemed idyllic — I have a lot of time on my hands. Having little interest in creative hobbies, i.e. watercolors, stamp or coin collecting, scrapbooking or taking naps, I find myself instead watching, listening to and reading the opinions of others provided by the normal media outlets.
As much as gardeners love to be outside working in their gardens, only a few like the heat and humidity — and insects — of the summer garden here in Missouri. And while there is always great expectation and enthusiasm for gardening as spring springs out, there is also something to be said for fall gardening if one can handle its unique problems.
Now is the time to wage a major campaign against nuisance. We are in an unendable war, we are being poisoned by food and injured by products from we don’t know where and our rights are being protected by a Department of Justice whose reputation is suspect.
Byron Scott, guest moderator: It’s midsummer in case you haven’t noticed. The corn is as high as the Rogers and Hammerstein elephant’s eye, and so is the price of gasoline.
To return to an old theme, the biggest engine driving Columbia’s economy is the university. When it suffers, we all suffer.