What a pleasure it was to see former Commercial Appeal cartoonist Bill Day's art on the cover of the Flyer last week (May 6th issue). The absence of a local cartoonist at a major city daily paper is a travesty, but, unfortunately, it's symptomatic of what ails the CA: It's attempting to remain "local" while outsourcing much of its local talent — or turning them into "freelancers."
That said, I believe the die is cast and that the local Newspaper Guild has waited too long to take action. With its membership numbers down and its clout reduced to buying ads on the Internet, it's only a matter of time before it becomes totally irrelevant. I hope for Memphis' sake the CA does not suffer the same fate.
Tea Party Redux
Recently, The Commercial Appeal published a viewpoint article written by the local Tea Party chairman Mark Skoda. Skoda was very clear about how the party will evolve but was vague about its goals, beyond letting us know that Tea Party members dislike taxes and are for liberty and freedom.
I have some questions for Skoda:
What parts of government do you want to do away with? Will the Tea Party publish its demands or what its candidates will push for if elected?
Big government includes national defense, Social Security, Medicare, the FDA, the FAA, Consumer Protection Agency, the EPA, interstate highways, education department, NASA, the FBI, the CIA, and the IRS. And the list goes on.
What parts of "big government" should go away to ensure the liberty and freedom Skoda and his party want to protect?
Should the government get out of the disaster relief business? Do we need the federal government to protect us from companies only interested in their bottom lines? Or do they think Wall Street, Big Oil, Big Pharma, and others only have our best interests at heart? Will taking the country back include abolishing child labor laws, food inspections, worker safety laws? What about insurance? Should anybody be forced to have auto insurance? It's no different from forcing citizens to buy health-care insurance. Should we do away with caps on interest rates?
What about school prayer? Should we allow it, and, if we do, should it only be Christian prayer, or do we allow all prayers to ensure everyone's religious freedom?
What say you, Mr. Skoda? Since you claim your movement speaks for a majority of Americans, it's time to be more precise about your party's goals.
I'm puzzled and worried. What has happened to Tim Sampson? Has he gone off his meds? Is he having a bad case of writer's block? In last week's "Rant" (May 6th issue), he wrote 800 words and never once mentioned Sarah Palin.
Tim, you're slipping.
Biodiesel and Green Jobs
It's not a pretty picture to think Congress let the most successful incentive program it has ever created fall by the wayside. As of January 1st, that is exactly what happened.
Congress and this administration's focus on health care disrupted the intentions of the biodiesel and green jobs bill and will continue to eliminate U.S. jobs. Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that helps ease our dependence on fossil fuel. This green industry supports tens of thousands of jobs and promotes positive environmental benefits. Biodiesel is the only available advanced biofuel that can be mass-produced in the United States.
The biodiesel tax credit helped ensure the alternative fuel could be competitively priced with heavily subsidized petroleum, but Congress allowed that credit to expire. Now that this credit has lapsed, domestic production of biodiesel has plummeted to nearly a standstill. Idled plants have left our neighbors unemployed. Last year alone, the U.S. biodiesel industry supported 51,893 jobs in all sectors of the economy. Yet the successful incentive will expire at the end of the year.
This is a Congress that says they support American jobs, that says it supports green jobs, and says it wants to see economic recovery. If that is the case, they must act quickly to reinstate support for biodiesel.
This week it starts in earnest — the questioning. You can't escape it. It comes from your spouse, your kids, your parents — at the breakfast table, in the car, on the phone, via email: "What do you want for Christmas?" ...