I am still trying to work out what Toyota has to apologize for on the sticking gas pedal issue. Let's assume that all 2,000 reported acceleration problems were all due to "defects" in Toyota vehicles. Some 8 million cars are being recalled for repairs. That is a "defect" error rate of 0.00025 percent. Or one out of every 4,000 cars.
Imagine. You have been sworn in as president of the United States and it is your first Christmas in the White House. What a year it has been. Now some worried-looking aide enters the room. You wonder. Is it war in the Middle East? Unrest in Iran? Earthquakes in Peru?
The new year has seen itself in without any assistance from me for a number of years. My being sleepy and grumpy on the first day of a new year is a poor start. I don't make New Year's resolutions as a general rule. But, a bout of nasty health issues this past year made me realize that having goals for the new year might not be a bad thing. Nothing terribly dramatic but simply reminders of what I can do to make 2010 different from 2009.
I resolve to do something that shows how much I care ...
It is hard sometimes to enjoy Christmas day for thoughts of returns, exchanges, thank-you notes and the 10th turkey salad sandwich in the near future. It may not be your first thought, but I think you should give yourself one more Christmas present this year, a present that will continue giving all year.
It isn't a present that will come with a 2-year minimum contract or a first year special rate of any sort. It also doesn't require monthly or quarterly "convenient payments." Whoever invented the term "convenient payments" had a very twisted sense of language or humor.
Over the years my appreciation for Christmas has changed. In the now dimming memories of childhood, there was the surprise and delight at what Santa had brought. As I grew older, a greater appreciation for the season, particularly when reaching the age where mistletoe was of interest.
Christmas came early this year for me. I was elected president of the Friends of the Newton County Library, starting in 2010. My involvement with libraries started many years ago. My first after-school job was working in a public library not much larger than my living and dining rooms combined. To paraphrase Charlie Brown, it was a "very sincere little library."
I don't often agree with Jim Marshal, but for the most part find his comments at least thoughtful and interesting. His plan for ending the use of private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid to pay for healthcare and how it would lower costs leaves me puzzled. Marshall wants to end government coverage for the elderly and poor and private insurance for the rest of us as well.
I don't want to use anyone else as an example so I will use myself. Unlike some people who support healthcare reform, I actually have private insurance that I would most likely ...
In a simpler time, it was common that families had only one bathroom. A close friend of mine reports that when she was 3 or 4, old enough to bathe herself, her older brother needed to use the bathroom while she was taking a bath. He explained that she should close her eyes and it would be all right.
As adults we recognize that as "magical" thinking. Closing her eyes really didn't make the situation any different. I mention that now because the current administration, which started with promises of keeping all eyes open, now rues that choice.
I recently had problems with my refrigerator, which is about three years old and was the top of the line model when purchased. In the course of getting it repaired, I came into contact with two very different repairmen who worked for the same company.
The one phrase I have not heard in any debate over government policy in my lifetime is: "I don't know." From the Cuban missile crisis to the latest debates over heath care, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have never encountered a question for which they have no answer.
The health care debate is not helpful when it includes charges of racism and "citizen concern" over future deficits. What is being lost in all that "noise," to use a generous term, is a basic understanding of how insurance works.
At its heart, insurance is about shared risk. For any group, we can project how many people will get sick, be diabetics, get the flu, give birth, etc., in any given year. Some will need very little medical services, some will need a lot. But in large enough numbers, the cost of covering all the services that any of us ...
Someone said to me recently that I was too critical of Newton County government. Reading back over my columns, I can see how a quick read might leave that impression.
The folks you get when you call on the phone, work the front desks. Those who labor out of sight usually only see us when there is a problem. Both are more helpful and courteous than we often deserve. So, how does that square with my comments about the continuing failure of our local government to be transparent, etc.?
I was surprised that County Commissioner Tim Fleming [R] thinks that recently "found" budget savings should go toward retaining Newton County employees. All organizations, including governments, should hire or retain staff only because they are needed to advance the goals of the organization. Only family businesses can sometimes afford the luxury of handing out jobs because a family member needs one.
My concern is that the sum of $100,000 can be so easily "found" in the present Newton County budget.