The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 23, 2001 · Page 8
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 8

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Monday, April 23, 2001
Page 8
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THE SAUNA JOURNAL MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2001 AS Tom Bell Editor & Publisher Opinions expressed on this page are those of the " identified writers. "' To join the conversation, -write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 I Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® Quote of ^ the day ^t's time to kick the bad drug liabitofoii'and costly energy." Esai Morales television actor speaking at an Earth Day event in Los Angeles Let us know A simple solution THE ISSUE Project Salim T. THE ARGUMOyr We must remember to share ^he need can seem overwhelming. The stories behind it downright depressing. But the solution is simple. It's something we all should have learned in kindergarten. Share. If you can afford to feed yourself and your family, it shouldn't be too difficult to pick up another can of beans, another box of pancake mix, an extra few jars of baby food, and join your friends, neighbors and co-workers in donating them to the 12th edition of Project Salina. And if you can't afford to feed your family — don't say it will never happen to you — you will be glad that Project Salina is here. The annual food drive benefits some of the community's more worthy charities, including the Salvation Army, Ashby House, Emergency Aid-Food Bank, Rescue Mission, Focus on the Future and Salina Youth Care. The idea behind Project Salina is to help those in need in a way that neither depresses nor overly burdens anyone. Much of the work of gathering donations of food items and funds is done within many of the city's employers, where workers compete, challenge one another and come up with methods from the ridiculous to the sublime to beat last year's results and the other guy Project Salina volunteers and those who run the benefitting agencies do the rest of the work, making sure that all the donations get to the people in our community who need it most. It stays here. It's allocated by the agencies that are in the trenches of human need every day. At Thursday's kickoff luncheon for this year's drive, Kathy Jackson, director of Emergency Aid- Food Bank, said that so many of the people who come to see her have reaUy reached bottom. Not only are they hvmgry, not only are their children hungry, but they have to overcome the pain and shame of admitting the need for help. For most people, that's not easy Most of us still expect to care for ourselves and our families, and feel bad, really bad, when we can't. But that's not nearly as bad as the rest of us should feel if, once those people face the fact that they need to ask for help, there's no help to be had. With Project Salina, help will be there. — George B. Pyle Journal Columnist Letters to the Journal are welcome but, like everything else -in the newspaper, are subject to being edited for space, nclarity and taste. All letters must Include a daytime y-telephone number for confirmation. • LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL Belief is not knowledge K andy Crosby now wishes to usurp the authority of families and churches that may not subscribe to her narrow view ("There is no molality without God," April 11), She again fails to under- srand that belief in God, any god, is a personal choice and involves faith, which cannot be tsjught. What Ayatollah Crosby wants would require our already overburdened teachers to take seminary courses in all religions. All faiths would have to be taught — even ones Ms. Crosby is against — since America does not have a government mandated national religion. ! Ms. Crosby is unaware there are major events, people and places mentioned only in the fiible and no other source, and many texts contradict others a'fid themselves. Genesis has two creation stories — neither of which, that I know of, can be supported scientifically. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John disagree with each other regarding the events surrounding the life of Jesus. And let's n<3t even try to discuss the natural science errors. Ms. Crosby throws out baseless statements as fact as to what is taught in our schools and is the least qualified per­ son to discuss the origins of morality "No parent teaches his or her child how to lie or how to cheat or how to hurt another." What fantasy world is she on? There have been societies that had never heard of the Christian God, yet murder, greed and other immoral concepts were foreign to them, until the missionaries corrupted them. The Pilgrims and other European squatters would not have survived in the "New World" if the indigenous people hadn't shown them compassion, and we're all aware of how that debt was repaid. Would Ms. Crosby cry "Foul!" if the truth were told about Christopher Columbus? A purported Christian, he used the authority of the Church to enslave the indigenous people, steal their land and food, rape their women, and wipe out an entire race in his quest for gold. Don't take my word for it. Read his journals and diaries. America has public schools and parochial schools — let parents choose what they want for their children. And Ms. Crosby needs to stop confusing belief with knowledge. — MICHAEL J. WALSH Salina T TORY NOTIONS Economy pulled over for speeding -4- Can a nation have a recession without a recession mentality? W ASHINGTON — God, a wit warns, is going to come down and pull civilization over for speeding. The stock market has done that to America's economy Time was, the economy drove the stock market. Now causation can work the other way, at least when the market controls confidence. However, although surveys show plunging consumer confidence, consumer behavior is producing a negative savings rate — spending outstripping after-tax income. Consumer spending is two-thirds of GDP, and in this year's first quarter such spending probably was 3 percent higher than in last year's first quarter. Today's economic events # constitute a $4 trillion puzzle, that being the amount of wealth (exceeding the combined GDPs of Britain, France and Italy) that has quickly come and gone among Nasdaq stocks. So quickly, all of the $4 trillion was here only on March 10, 2000, Nasdaq's apogee. Which may explain why Americans do not miss it more than they do: They hardly had time to become attached to it. The Wall Street Journal's Holman Jenkins recalls John Maynard Keynes' warning that low trading costs (Keynes never imagined online trading) in a context of abundant liquid capital make it too easy for investors to buy or sell on whim, rumor or perceived portents (Keynes never imag- T BY THE BAY GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post ined CNBC). Yet investors remain remarkably free from the volatility that was predicted because of the new demographics of stock ownership. A majority of households own stocks, and mutual funds have surpassed banks as the major repository of savings. Investors' money is still flowing into equities. Furthermore, the budget surplus may help divert more money from cautious investors to stocks. Such investors often have favored 30-year Treasury bonds, a species endangered by the government's reduced borrowing. Investor stoicism, as Gretchen Morgenson of The New York Times calls it, has been remarkable, considering that if the shares of Yahoo, Cisco, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Intel, AT&T and Microsoft were now to begin rising in price 15 percent a year, it would take them 20,10, nine, nine, seven, seven and six years respectively, to regain their recent peaks. Could it be that the birth, and the bursting, of the tech stock bubble came about because Jim Clark, Netscape's founder, craved a new boat? Journalist Michael Lewis, in his book "The New New Thing," says the decision to take Netscape public in August 1995 came when the company was 18 months old and had not earned a cent. But Clark, eager to finance a grandiose yacht, launched one of history's most successful share offerings. Thus died the axiom that tech companies went public only after at least four consecutive profitable quarters. Soon we were in the brief, giddy life of capitalism without profits, during which some investors decided that only pre-modern investors thought that the value of shares should be a function of the firm's future cash flows. Such investors became fixated on what are known in New Economy jargon as "nonfinancial metrics." Those are supposed ways of measuring value in a company when monetary measurements' do not show value. ' One such measurement is Web site traffic. Another is "engaged shoppers," mea-,- sured by (no kidding) page views per view-^; er per month. Then there is a company's, ability to claim shares of consumers', minds. Morgan Stanley research has re-!, ported that one company (; had a "leading mind share among con-,, sumers." This, translates the Times' Mor-. genson, means that "approximately 72 per-' cent of the total time spent by Internet users on real estate-related Web sites in.- September was spent on Homestore's properties." However, what often is missing.", from these recondite measurements is. how, if at aU, they translate into revenues, not to mention (and often this is not men-' tioned) profits. The Wall Street Journal first used the phrase "Internet bubble" in 1995. In 1996'^ Alan Greenspan put the phrase "irrational' exuberance" into our economic lexicon". But what exuberance is rational nowadays? Earlier this month there was a remarkable one-day rally when Nasdaq surged 8.9 percent, the Dow 4.2 percent. This happened for two reasons. Dell Computer; announced that it would hit its quarterly revenue target — but that target had been lowered in anticipation of the first quar-- ter-by-quarter decline in the company's, sales in seven years. And an uptick in thfr^ number of persons applying for unemploy:;: ment benefits suggested that the economy:^ was slowing and thus the Federal Reserveg might again cut interest rates, which it did?; on Wednesday 'f. The market's eager response to suchl^ meager good news does not indicate a; recession mentality. Can there be a reces-; sion without one? Probably not. U.S. trade deficit is made in China IVIaybe we should have sent Wal-IVIart and Nil<e to get our people out of China W hen Charles Kernaghan heard that the Chinese had detained a U.S. Navy spy plane, "I thought we should send Wal-Mart and Nike over there to get the crew out." Kernaghan is director of the National Labor Committee, an international workers' rights organization based in New York. More than 15 years of monitoring the labor practices of United States-subsidized factories in Latin America and Asia have taught him where the real power lies in U.S.-Chinese relations: Not in any embassy or government office, but behind the dollar signs of trade. Like many folks who pay attention to the underbelly of the global economy Kernaghan couldn't help but marvel at the irony of a story that broke last week, just before China released the 24 Navy crew members. According to a vice president for Kmart, the spy plane incident had inspired a deluge of messages at the chain's Troy Mich., headquarters STEPHANIE SALTER San Francisco Chronicle ^ from customers demanding that Kmart "quit doing business in China." Said the ex6c. Dale Apley in the New York Times: "They're not going to buy things made there anymore." If regular customers of Kmart, Wal- Mart and other retail giants had an inkling of reality, they'd know that a boycott of China would fairly clear the shelves of their favorite stores. Wal-Mart alone is the largest importer of Chinese-manufactured goods in the world; it contracts with thousands of factories there. For Kohl's Department Stores, a 338-store, Wisconsin-based chain, China is the main country of origin for goods. "All the big U.S. companies are in there, feeding at the well of the Chinese workers' 20-cent-an-hour wages and total lack of rights," said Kernaghan. "That plane going down really gave the American people a wake-up call about how the Chinese government operates. For years, our multinational corporations have run cover for this vicious regime." How much cover? Sixty-two percent of all shoes and sneakers imported to the United States are made in China. So are 83 percent of all toys and sporting goods, 54 percent of all leather products, 76 percent of all umbrellas, 30 percent of all furniture, and one in four caps and hats. "This is something no one is talking about around U.S.-China relations — the enormous trade deficit," said Kernaghan/"Last year, the United States exported $16.3' billion worth of goods to China, but we'" took in $100.1 billion from them. While Eu- ' rope and Japan run trade surpluses with China, China accounts for almost one-' quarter of our worldwide trade deficit." In 1999, the United States took in 42 per-' cent of all Chinese exports. And the imbal-.; ance is only growing. In January the trade ; deficit between us and them ballooned 19.3 •' percent. "That's $7.2 billion in a month!" said Kernaghan. Meanwhile, our investment in China is increasing; in 2000, nearly half of all di- ; rect foreign investment in China — $40 bil- lion — came from U.S. firms. This past Jan-- uary alone, we sank $2.2 billion there. In, other words, U.S. investment not only funds a repressive regime and sweatshop labor, it's helping to enlarge our trade; deficit and increase the number of manu-,; facturing jobs lost here — 271,000 in the ' first quarter of 2001. , The Bush administration can do all the,, tough talking it wants on China, said Ker-^ naghan, but the truth is: "We don't want to • threaten the trade relationship. Look at!, the message that was sent by the U.S.., Army's black berets being made in China and Burma. You want another irony? The island where the plane went down? Hainan? A U.S. company, Loral, is building a radar system there — for the Chinese government." By G.B. TRUDEAU • s/R. PONT youz am IN PP06RAMS UNPGWINe YOUR CiAiM fosimmeer, K^ieF, PBOPte MJonr a/75/N7SM9MV0 0UN6m7HA *70O M/UfON / BW {OKUAHOMA iUHAT

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