The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas on June 9, 2006 · Page 6
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The Hays Daily News from Hays, Kansas · Page 6

Hays, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, June 9, 2006
Page 6
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A6 THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION FRIDAY, JUNE 9,2006 Editorial Communication The fumes must be getting to my head ; Meeting a good start ; for city, county to explore : possible savings, efficiencies P rogress deserves praise these days when it comes to Hays city and Ellis County commissions opening a • conversation on anything, let alone the i extremely touchy issue of consolidation. I How much progress commissioners | made at their Wednesday meeting is de- I batable. ; Just meeting in the same room is an | accomplishment given their tense rela- ! tionship in recent years. But meet they ; should. They owe it to citizens and to | taxpayers who pay to sustain indepen- ' dent governments that often serve overlapping constituencies. Just meeting will stimulate coopera- . tion, exchange of ideas and identifica- , tion of efficiencies. Since they have not had regular joint meetings in three years, the commissioners had many topics to discuss. One of them was groundbreaking: consolidating functions of city and county government, if not complete consolidation. That is a big step anywhere, just to broach the subject. They even agreed to form a joint com- mittee to study consolidation. Committees sometimes can go nowhere, but at least a committee is a start. And so it goes with this whole process of city-county communication. Pessimistically, we might be tempted to identify motives and be dubious that any real efficiency will result. But, instead, the effort should be encouraged. Commissioners talked about meeting every six months with possibly the county commission chairman and city mayor meeting more frequently. That is not enough. The full commissions should continue regular meetings on a more frequent basis — quarterly if not bimonthly or even monthly. And about that joint consolidation committee: It should be charged with a genuine purpose and its ranks filled with proven leaders and visionary thinkers. It should be authorized not just to study consolidation but to outline a road map for doing it here. Of course we know that talk is just talk. This initial talk is progress, however, offering hope that it will lead to constructive action. Again, it is what citizen-taxpayers deserve. Editorial by John D. Montgomery . The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Daily News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the signed columnist, cartoonist or letter-writer. The Opinion Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. Internet's social adventure ; Technology is a temperamental crea- • ture. .' There are plenty of moments when it | is the bane of my existence and other ! times I genuinely believe I would suffer ; some sort of "episode" if I didn't have it. | My computer causes me some serious '. stress on many occasions, but I'm cer- ; tainly not going to throw it out. One of Mny computer pet peeves is not even !hard- or software related. It's some of ' r ,the people I am exposed tq when I iuge it., •'' 1 like to use a couple of instant mes- *saging programs and'I meet'a lotof 'pe'o-' *ple that way. However, more times than • not, I end up deleting them within 30 [seconds to a minute. | I get all types knocking at the prover- . bial door — perverts, people with short ; attention spans, bad spellers, people who • have never heard of punctuation, mar! ried men looking for flings and people ; who insist on typing in foreign Ian• guages when it's obvious I don't under! stand them. • Get the hint. Wouldn't I type back in Swahili if I could understand it? I'm surprised my "door" is still on its hinges as many times as I've slammed it. Once in a while, though, I find someone interesting to talk to. There are a select few I still chat with on a regular basis. Fainthearted, hide your eyes. I am about ready to divulge something embarrassing. 1 have used, occasionally throughout the last six years, an Internet dating site. And, ladies and gentlemen, I have met a few of them outside the confines of a computer. I don't think I'm in a minority in that regard, but I don't think many people admit they have done it. I tried to look for online polls about people meeting outside the Internet — not just for dating — but I was unsuccessful. After searching for a couple of hours, I found two very incomplete and undated polls not specific to dating or age. According to one poll, 5 percent of 435 voters had an online friend whom they later met in person. There was another that reported 38 percent of those polled have never met in person anyone they met online, while II percent said they have. Only 3 percent of those polled said they have met someone but had a bad ex- Stacie Sandall COMMENTARY perience. Forty-eight percent of the respondents had good experiences. I am riding the fence on that poll, myself.-I've met several people in person that I had met online, arid have had a' • fewib'ad'and g6od experiences. In fact, I wouldn't even be in Kansas right now if it weren't for meeting someone on the Internet. My Hays friend, Mae, and I met in a chat room in 1999 and began chatting on an instant messenger. I lived in Nebraska at the time. We got to be good friends, and when I needed to move in 2000 — long story — I didn't have a whole lot of options. I asked Mae to help find me an apartment in Hays and I would move the following month. She thought I was joking at first, but when she found out I was serious she found me an apartment on Main Street. The hardware building, at that time, had four very nice apartments upstairs. I moved the first week of March. Six years have passed, and I live in La Crosse now, but we still maintain a good friendship. She is even "Aunt Mae" to my son. I have had a few rough experiences, notably one in May. For six months I talked to a guy in Egypt, Samir, and we became very close friends. He was my guide when I went to Egypt for a week this May. The first two days were great, but after that he was a very different person than the Samir I knew before. I won't get into details, but I will say that he has some serious issues. Needless to say, we aren't talking anymore. Tonight, I'm meeting someone I met online to see "X-Men: The Last Stand." I figure if he's not one of those guys that talks through movies I'll be OK. However, he does have this strange fondness for armadillos. Stacie R, Sandall is a reporter for The Hays Daily News. My seeming life of luxury went bankrupt the other day when the better half called in the note. She has learned not to beat around the bush with me; nuance and vaguery fly over my head with the greatest of ease. It's not like she's bossing me around (not in my castle), but she of- • fered this rather direct suggestion earlier this week: "We need to Finish this project by Monday." The project in question is repainting the bedroom and bathroom. Routine stuff. No problem envisioning a freshened look that matched our tastes. But vision is a long sight away from completion. We started back in April to give ourselves plenty of time before our self-imposed deadline. Actually, it was a guest- imposed deadline — my parents. In true do-it-yourself fashion, I had to go to the hardware and paint stores to stock up on supplies that do-it-your- selfers are supposed to have. That's what is supposed to make it financially advantageous. At some point in the future, I'll probably save lots of money if I ever decide to scrape wallpaper glue again. (But I won't, because that job is awful). Anyway, the stripped walls needed patching, sanding, taping and priming before the paint could be applied. As you might have surmised, we've been taking our time with the project. Anything that remotely resembled an excuse to procrastinate was acceptable. Hadn't made Jello in awhile? Done. Offer to walk the neighbor's dog? Fine. An extra-long walk, three more holes of golf, a drive around town to refamiliarize our- Patrick Lowry COMMENTARY selves with the landmarks, a nap — all sandwiched in between the cursing and muttering that accompanies hard labor. If I can survive the fumes and sleep deprivation, clean-up should begin at approximately 11:55 p.m. Sunday. • • • Before any of you think I'm the weird one, let me tell you a thing or two — gel- la? • I just discovered this week that the local phrase for making a car spin in circles on ice is not "doing doughnuts" like it is in the rest of the country. Here it's called "cutting kitties" or "turning kitties." The best explanation anybody offered for the origin was how the action resembled a cat chasing its own tail. The "cutting" part was not explained. • Even though the late great Vernie Mermis was known for his chili soup, I still don't comprehend why northwest Kansans insist on the contradictory term. Isn't it either chili or soup? • In preparation for this year's Wild West Fest, which will have even more protection for visitors to the beer garden, festival-goers should thoroughly scrub their arms before arriving. Instead of hanging onto one's ticket for the event's duration, a band-or bracelet of some kind — the sparkly kind — will be affixed. You'll need to keep it on until Uncle Kracker crunches his last note. • The third annual Flatland Blues Festival in Russell, in addition to offering great blues out here on the plains, will be remembered for three things: too few people in attendance, a rock 'n' roll act that was good but it wasn't the blues, and the enthusiastic middle-aged man who didn't leave much to the imagination while dancing in his short shorts. • Gina Riedel over at the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce has mastered the art of PR. Her board recently changed the way directors are put in place. Instead of having members vote on them, now the directors themselves will vote on them using secret ballots. Gina's spin said the change will"... allow membership to have more input on who represents them on the board." That's a glass-is-half-full approach if I've ever heard one. • Where else but in northwest Kansas can more than a thousand bikers roll into town on their Hawgs and not make anybody nervous? My, how times have changed — for the better, I believe. The public is invited to check out many of the events during the Harley Owners Group's Hays invasion. It should be wild and wooly down at the Brass Rail on Saturday night. • Despite adding go-kart tracks and veterans' cemeteries, things stay pretty much the same in WaKeeney. Which is a good thing if you're a big fan of Christmas. It's even better if you frequent the Western Kansas Saloon. Great stuff! Patrick Lowry is the executive editor of The Hays Daily News. TV anchor offers help for Americans John Stossel, ABC's "20/20" anchorman, has a recently released book about the various untruths we accept, many from the media and academic elite. The book is appropriately titled "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity." Being a longtime media insider, Stossel is well-positioned to talk about the media's gross lack of understanding that often becomes part of the conventional wisdom. Stossel gives many examples; let's look at a few. We're sometimes presented with television scenes of starving people, and it's often blamed on overpopulation. Ted Turner warned, "There are lots of problems in the world caused by too many people." News articles warn of "the population bomb" and the "tidal wave of humanity," and people call for subsidies for birth control. Btossel says that one writer, worrying about Niger, said that birthrates must be reduced drastically or the world will face permanent famine. Viewers and readers are left with the idea that the problem is the number of people, but that's nonsense. Niger's population density is nine people per square kilometer; however, population density in the United States is 28 per square kilometer, Japan 340, the Netherlands 484, and Hong Kong 6,621. One would have to be brain-dead to argue that high population density causes poverty and starvation. A better argument is oppressive and corrupt governments. Outsourcing destroys good jobs, and the new jobs created are inferior hamburger-flipping jobs. This myth is creat- A community is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. You can be part of the discussion by participating In the Reader Forum. Please limit your submissions to 600 words. They will be edited for length and clarity. They must tje signed and In- Waller E. Williams ClMMENTMV ed by the likes of CNN's Lou Dobbs, who said, "This country has lost the ability to feed and to clothe itself, to build its own automobiles, to provide its appliances, its electronics, its computers." CNN correspondent Lisa Sylvester chimes, "The United States has been hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs." First, since 1992 there's been a loss of 391 million jobs; however, during those years, America created 411 million new jobs, for a net gain of 20 million. A Dartmouth University Tuck School of Business study found that companies that send jobs abroad ended up hiring twice as many workers at home. Most new jobs created are higher-paid. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that two-thirds of the 30 fastest- growing occupations require high- skilled workers such as environmental engineers, software engineers, and service jobs in education and health care. As to the gripe about the loss of manufacturing jobs, I wonder how many textile workers ever wished to themselves, "I hope my little girl grows up to be a sewing machine operator?" I'm guessing their wish is their little girl becomes a nurse, a teacher or an accountant, all service jobs. Hardly a day goes by without some iMftrFtnmiwllcy elude a name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. We reserve the right not to print a submission. We do not accept for publication on the editorial page poems, consumer complaints, business testimonials or kind of warning that mankind's use of fossil fuels, especially in the United States, is causing global warming. Stossel looks at the numbers. Half of this century's global warming happened between 1900 and 1945. Stossel asks, "If man is responsible, why wasn't there much more warming in the second half of the century? We burned much more fuel during that time." By the way, if there's global warming, it might be a godsend. According to Harvard astrophysicist Sallie Baliunas, added carbon dioxide helps plants grow. Warmer winters give farmers a longer growing season, and the warming might end the droughts in the Sahara desert. There's another consideration. For the past 800,000 years, there have been periods of approximately 100,000 years called ice ages, followed by a period of 10,000 years, a period called interglacial, followed by another ice age. We're about 10,500 years into the present interglacial period, namely, we're 500 years overdue for another ice age. If indeed mankind's activity contributes to the planet's warming, we might postpone the coming ice age. John Stossel's "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity" exposes the false basis for the public fright often caused by an uninformed media and academic elite. Exposure is precisely what's needed because politicians use public fright as a means to gain greater control over our lives. Walter E. Williams Is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., and a longtime syndicated columnist. group letters. Mail them to Reader forum The Hays Daily News, 507 Main, Hays KS 67601 .You also can send them by e-mail at read»rfprum® Please include an address and daytime telephone number.

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