Posts Tagged ‘Joplin Globe


Values Are For Hard Times

The motivation for a blog is often obvious to my readers. This time, I offer to you the impetus behind this edition. A Joplin Globe guest columnist, whom I will not name to preserve his shame for other forums, offered some pretty words about ‘values’. He then reverted to the frequently-used technique of parroting a politician’s pandering. He restated Rep. Eric Cantor‘s demand: “I, for one, call for no federal deficit spending to rebuild Joplin.” His fellow Joplinites, many of whom suffered damage which he avoided, are left to wonder whose side Joplin’s ‘Tin Man‘ is on.

My Mother and Dad were Great Depression fiscal conservatives, who practiced that fundamental tenant of not buying luxuries with borrowed money. A few of you may even remember Del & Ben Stone – they gave me my introduction to Joplin when Dad was Postmaster from 1968-1970. They also understood the wisdom of paying for necessities, with some financial hardship, rather than to fail to support important priorities. They supported committments to projects which required investment before receiving a cost-effective return. These were some of their values – values which they applied to neighbors as well as to themselves.

My parents’ values are values that many Joplinites are exercising as they recover from the tornado disaster. Many people who have lost much are giving generously to their neighbors. Churches, synagogues, and mosques have been providing impressive amounts of aid. Groups and individuals across America have sent help to us. My daughter, Mariam, gathered donations and brought a truck and trailer from Indianapolis! As tremendous as these friends have been, the task of recovery is vast and difficult to overcome.

That task is important far beyond Joplin. Our citizens who were not directly affected have been disadvantaged by the general and widespread destruction. Neighboring communities have lost valuable resources that Joplin provided. Corporations in Joplin have customers across America and internationally who need their important products and services. These people understand that they incurred a deficit on May 22nd. That is the deficit which must be remedied.

Our nation has a substantial habit of accepting deficits to pay for important assets. Since the fall of the Soviet Empire, and the decay of its formerly-formidable military, we have maintained a large and vigorous U.S. military. We currently maintain a fleet of 18 Ohio-class fleet ballistic missile submarines. We have deemed it suitable to spend about $50 million each year to maintain each of these vessels – $900 million each year, for many years. This cost, alone, is more than half of the current annual federal deficit. We also deploy nuclear fast-attack submarines, additional Navy surface vessels and aircraft, ground forces, and an incomparable Air Force. Some folks have debated the suitable proportions of such expenditures.

That is the only suitable debate about rebuilding Joplin: what is the appropriate magnitude of public resources to invest? It is probably less than $900 million – total. That such investment must be made is beyond reasonable debate. We value both what we have lost and what will replace that which is replaceable.

We will rebuild Joplin based on values. Let us assure our neighbors that those values recognize the value of lives, jobs, businesses, and property as worthy of the temporary sacrifices which will lead us to a better future.

When President Barack Obama assured us, “Your country will be with you every single step of the way”, he may have been thinking of Matthew 25:40“Whatever you did for the least of these, you also did for Me.” May it be that, in the President’s words, “It’s what Joplin has taught the world”.


My Newspaper “Career”

I had a special 8th-Grade English class. It was also the school newspaper staff of Jarrett Junior High School. We had a cool teacher (gee, what was her name?) and, for part of the year, a student teacher. We were a bit more at ease than in 7th grade English, a class run with military precision and very dry humor by ‘Sarge’ Harsen.

There are several things about that class that won’t leave me. On November 22nd, 1963, I was walking down stairs to English when the news swept through the crowded hallways: President Kennedy had been shot.

Our teacher was very composed while informing us that the news was true, and that the President was dead. The student teacher cried. I still remember the exact place on the stairway where I heard the terrible news. I would like to go back to Jarrett on November 22nd, 2013, and step down that stairway for a photograph.

I was a rather mediocre journalist in 8th grade. Occasionally, I got to write the “Felix Flea” column. It was – can you believe this? – a gossip column. Felix Flea lived in an undisclosed location, unnoticed and unharmed, where he snooped on the kiddies. My contributions to his column were vacuous, because I had no idea what was going on! The best part of Felix Flea was making a “printing block“. This was an incredibly crappy (dangerous, slow) way to produce a printable graphic, long before computers made graphics artwork a ubiquitous activity. Take a look at the link. I am still amazed that I didn’t run a gouge up the side of a finger. Take a look at that link.

My association with newspapers resumed last year, when I endeavored to persevere in an open, uncontrolled forum. Yeah, right. It’s like being in a room full of insomniac 3rd-Graders who are high on Halloween candy and just finished watching Barney commit suicide. My editorial submissions received everything except substantive Comments. My offers as Comments fared exactly the same. This blog exists because I would rather be ignored (and what a fiiiine job you all are doing with that!) than be spoken to like a spouse in a marriage that is on the verge of transforming a Nuclear Family into a Nuclear War.

I relented recently, took a triple dose of Xanax, and watched the result of a Joplin Globe version of one blog. The Globe re-titled it ‘Judicial Activism is for Constructionists‘, from ‘Judicial Activism for Strict Constructionists’, because that’s what fit. There is nothing more important in journalism than filling the allotted space as consistently as an IHOP waitress fills salt shakers. You must never spill an extra “Strict” onto a second line, and produce about 3/4’s of a line of blank space.

Against all prior experience, after I had utterly conceded the concept that anonymous Commenters might offer anything of worth, came this hilarious example of simultaneous ignorance and perception. My response follows:

observation writes:
I don’t know why in the world the paper doesn’t put my post up if it posts all these others, but…. I think Stones’ picture that he runs with this peice is a hoot! Could you find a more pretentious, pseudointellectual look that “the thinker” pose?! Fits his writing to a “t”.

Jim writes:
‘Observation’, you made my day! It’s about time someone made that observation. I had come to believe that nothing substantive would arise in this forum. My #1 Grandson will also appreciate your contribution. He took the photo, and he wanted me to use it. I am as proud to use it as I am of him – he is awesome. I hope that you and other readers get the same joy from the kids in the family. Peace.

That’s all I have to say about my “career”. At this point, I have 1/2 column inch that I am supposed to fill. The only other requirement is that the words are spelled correctly. They might be, but not because my WordPress spell checker is useful. I avoid its recommendations, because it struggles mightily against grammar and syntax that weren’t offered in McGuffy’s Reader. Anybody got some extra “em”s that I can use to pad this out?

♥ Help for Haiti ♥


Basic Understanding

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
- Edward R. Murrow

Intellectual Property Notice

All original material Copyright James R. Stone 2010, except where specifically noted. Some images licensed under Creative Commons, or GNU Free Documentation License, or unlicensed and public domain.

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