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America’s No. 1!
The USA is now officially No. 1! It took the Reagan Revolution 30 years to achieve, but yes, we finally made it. The United States now has the highest level of income inequality among the entire world of economically developed nations, by passing hell holes of economic disparity like Russia and Mexico. When Ronald Reagan was elected, the 1 percent earned 10 percent of all income and controlled 20 percent of the nation’s wealth. Today, they take home 20 percent of all income and control at least 40 percent (some estimates are at 60 percent) of all of the nation’s wealth. 
In 1980, when Reagan was elected, the US was the largest creditor nation in the world, the largest producer of manufactured goods in the world, the largest importer of raw material in the world. Twelve years later, the US was the largest debtor nation in the world, the largest importer of manufactured goods in the world, and the largest exporter of raw materials in the world. Now, the economic consequences of that destruction of America’s wealth has completed the cycle. We are once again the two-class society of the Third World which we exited in the 1950s. Way to go, conservatives, you have taken us back to the robber barons of the 1890s.


Competition is good
Lincoln College in central Illinois cut tuition costs by 24 percent two years ago.  The tuition dropped from $23,000 to $17,500. This year, Concordia in St. Paul, Minn., cut their tuition $10,000. Converse College in South Carolina has announced they will cut their tuition by 43 percent. Newburgh Theological Seminary College of Indiana announced a freeze on tuition costs and a $500 reduction. 
Lincoln College was experiencing a declining enrollment and trying to survive a sluggish economy. The decision was to make some adjustments in order to become more competitive with colleges across the nation.
Across the country, higher education has become a buyer’s market. Colleges costing $20,000 to $40,000 a year have become out of reach for the average American. Prospective students have become reluctant to embrace a lifetime of debt when affordable education is out there with a little searching.
Neighboring colleges will be forced to pay attention. More Americans will have options. Education at a more affordable price could become a reality.
I hope the government will not notice this recent college cost-cutting trend. They will figure out a way to mess it up. Currently, there are multitudes of higher education options in America. Universities abound throughout our country. Many have maxed out their financial obligations. Competition will eventually make many of the schools cut some of their costs and offer better tuition rates.
Could our government learn something from this trend? What if we had 200 major medical insurance companies competing state to state? One big insurance company under the thumb of the government is a losing scenario for Americans. What if we only had one automaker? What if we had only one appliance maker? What if we had only one cable news network? What if we could only buy oil from Saudi Arabia? What if we only had coal and no natural gas? Or, what if we only had natural gas and no coal? 
Whenever we are limited to one utility company, one gas station, one grocery store, one medical provider, one source of energy or just one of anything we are up the creek without a paddle.
Regardless, if it’s college tuition or anything else, options and competition are good for America.


A little disheartened
I started in this job with the sole intention of helping humans become more appreciative of others, to be a little more empathetic and even sympathetic toward people who were in real need. I did this by giving strangers little things, usually handmade items — sweaters, socks, wooden toys, stuff anyone could make — which were all put together by me, my wife and our friends in our little hometown located just above Alaska.
The idea was to show people that someone cared about them, that others — people they didn’t even know — were concerned enough about their well-being to actually give them something fun or useful at Christmas time. It was my hope that people would learn from this practice and, in turn, start giving gifts of their own to others less fortunate than themselves.
By and large, I’m happy to say, this occurred. But something else happened as well. Yes, people became more giving beings, but they also turned into a few other things as well, namely selfish, greedy, exploitive and extremely materialistic creatures driven by commercialism and corporatism. These days, it seems a simple gift of the heart is just not good enough for some, who must possess the most expensive gifts imaginable for the whole tradition of giving to even matter to them. This is so wrong, not what we intended at all.
My friends and I are so fed up that this year may be our last. I just wish people would remember that it’s not the size of the gift that matters; it’s the thought and spirit behind the gift, whatever it may be, that really counts.
Oh yeah, Merry Christmas.
Ho, Ho, Ho. 


from the web:
Re: “The Final Word,” Nov. 21
Perhaps the Cuban Embassy may have encouraged [Lee Harvey] Oswald to carry out his fantasy. I think Cuba was too afraid of assassinating Kennedy, for we would have retaliated with tremendous destruction. Oswald was not stable mentally or the expert shooter that anyone would rely on him. He alone assassinated Kennedy. With the president parading in an open car, anyone could have tried to kill him. 


Letters wanted:
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Your film reviewer ruined the opening of the Inside LLewyn Davis film. That scene he describes of the opening performance and then the quick confrontation in the alley to follow totally diminishes the impact for those of us who haven't seen it yet. Now we know what's coming and the contrast is gone. Think before you write dude.

posted by jacknn on 12/15/13 @ 11:26 a.m.
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