Monthly Archives: September 2009

One facet of our economy is in boom time: frantic sale of guns, ammo

I will give you this: our current economy is certainly the strangest which ever puzzled me. It may rank as the oddest and most disastrous in history. (It’s the unemployment, stupid!)

Guns and ammunition seem to be pacing the so-called recovery. They lead cars and electronics, even food and shelter. In fact their sales have led to a missile-speed rise in firearms inflation. And the end is nowhere in sight.

One fact is easily understandable about the boom of the firearms and ammunition industries in the middle of a howling recession. Fear is Continue reading

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You speeka da English? It’s the best, most flexible language in the world

One of the most troublesome topics in politics today: Should English be enshrined as this nation’s official language?

That is an absolute, unqualified Yes! Dear friends, English is not only Shakespeare 2America’s native tongue, but it is also well on the way to becoming the world’s speech pattern. Over the globe some 350 million people speak English, and it often seems the rest try to.

I really was of two minds on this issue until I read The Mother Tongue (English & How it Got That Way) by Bill Bryson, an American journalist living in England and working for The Times of London and The Independent.

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Youth looks at age, reflects: Maybe it wasn’t so terrible back in the day

How each younger generation views its elders is always an amusing mystery. So I could barely choke back a laugh the other day when my granddaughter, Gwen, age 9, pulled a long face and said she was so sorry that I had been born into a “poor home” and had lived a sad childhood rife with deprivation.

“Wherever did you get that idea?” I asked.

“From dad,” she replied. (That would be my son, Justin.)

Then it hit me: from granddaughter’s futuristic perch my childhood in Wynne, Arkansas had truly been as needy as that of the lowest Russian serf.  I and my little friends had inhabited a dreary 1930s world without TV, computers, jet travel, space walks, cell phones, electric can openers, Barbie dolls, and the million other perks kids today clamor for. It mattered not that my family belonged to the top social class in town, the merchants. It didn’t count a fig that I had all the clothes, shoes and food I could handle, that any toy, game or book was mine for the asking, that I was privately tutored in social graces from piano to tap dancing to saxophone, or that travel to other states was on my summer vacation agenda. No, to them I was just fortune’s luckless urchin trapped in a cruel time warp, bereft of penicillin, pocket calculators and tummy tucks. Continue reading

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Go Tell It on the Mountain; a temple is razed and innocent blood spilled again

16th street churchI was here in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sept. 15, 1963, when that infamous bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church. It failed to wake me because I was sound asleep at home on a Sunday morning, eight miles away from downtown.

It had been a furiously busy month for my employer, The Birmingham News. School integration had come,  and Gov. George Wallace had defied a court order to admit blacks to white schools. This set off a series of demonstrations by blacks, which Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Conner immortalized by hammering them with police dogs and fire hoses. Wallace himself was zipping about the nation shooting off his mouth. A torchbearer in a powder plant, he confided to the New York Times that what Alabama needed was a “few first-class funerals.”

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