May 22, 2013 - Like most Americans (save soldiers, police, emergency personal, hospital folks and some reporter types) I did not work this past Monday, Memorial Day 2013. When writing this column I walk/walked a fine line of writing it in the present, but in the past tense. I am writing/wrote this column the Friday before Memorial Day.
Argg! I am confusing myself trying to explain. At any rate, I hope you all had a wonderfully reflective holiday. I hoped/hope you talked to those younger than you on why we take a day off work -- a remembrance of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice when called to defend these United States.
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I was driving to work one day last week -- and it must have been Monday or Tuesday based on the road I was traveling -- when I heard a report on the clean-up in Oklahoma after that massive tornado caused the loss of life and property. It was a British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) rebroadcasted on a Michigan's National Public Radio (NPR) station. It was the end of the report that stuck with me.
With his British accent, the reporter said something like, "It's astonishing to see Americans after (such a disaster), their can-do spirit. Americans are the best when things are the worst."
I took it as a compliment.
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At the beginning of last week -- and that was Monday -- as I was driving to work, I noticed the gas prices at stations as I drove by. A big, dark cloud followed me to work. Over night, the prices had jumped 10 cents or more. A few stations had their cheap gas selling at $3.99 a smackin' frackin' gallon!
Oh the gears inside my noggin' were spinning. Of course the prices jumped! Corporate greed in the oil industry means all gas prices automatically rise just before Memorial Day (or any other traveling holiday).
Some computer geek needs to simply chart gas prices as compared to holidays over the past decade.
I don't want any other information; no spin doctoring on why they went up (or down). I just want to see prices before the holidays, on the holidays and after the holidays.
When you get that information tallied and put into a nice presentation, e-mail me and we'll show it to the world!
So, as I said it's Friday before the holiday and a full four days after the price gouging. I googled "gas prices in Michigan" expecting to see links to info reinforcing my afore mentioned observations. Here's what I found that (at the time) was the latest news:
Big drop in gas prices has Southwest
Michigan motorists smiling a bit
What the heck?! How can/could this be? From Kalamzoo Paul Morgan reported, "As Southwest Michigan motorists enter the long Memorial Day holiday, they will find many gas stations selling regular in the $3.70s. Just three days ago, when gas prices skyrocketed up to $3.99, that didn't seem possible. But the big increase has led to just as big a decrease and gas prices in the area are almost back to where they started at the beginning of the week, according to the list of stations on GasBuddy."
So much for my whining. But, I still can complain because Morgan ended his report with this, "The average price in Michigan is $3.89, which is still 22 cents higher than the national average."
So there, all you Suzie Sunshiners can put that in your pipe and toke it!
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One last thought on America, in light of the US Attorney General's war on journalism (I won't go there, you can do the research and see what he's unconstitutionally done to squash investigative reporting), is the plight of news reporting.
In 1992 Carl Berstein wrote a piece for The New Republic, headlined, The Idiot Culture. I recommend looking it up and reading the whole thing, but here's the bottom line -- he blames folks you might not expect. The media, itself, needs to look in the mirror.
"Our political system is in a deep crisis; we are witnessing a breakdown of the community and the community that has in the past allowed American democracy to build and to progress. Surely the advent of the talk-show nation is a part of this breakdown. Some good journalism is being done today, to be sure, but it is the exception and not the rule. Good journalism requires a degree of courage in today's climate, a quality now in scarce supply in our mass media."
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com