Columnists

Fri
20
Apr

Russ White: The week in Trump-ish

Russ White

Russ White

A social-media site that alternately makes me chuckle and cringe these days is titled “TWIT - The Week in Trump.” Today’s column is going to steal the concept.

***

How is it possible to achieve a “Wag the Dog” fireworks show by blowing up more than 100 cruise missiles on military targets in heavily populated, urban areas of Syria without inflicting a single casualty? Somehow, I suspect, the targets must have been notified it was coming?

As an aside, the cost of this hour of theater, performed because Syrian President Bashar al-Assad poisoned his own citizens, was double what it would cost to replace the pipes in Flint, Michigan. What does that say about our priorities as a country?

***

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is a perfect fit in the Drumpf Cabinet. He is as corrupt as the president himself.

Mon
16
Apr

Tanner Andrews: Going around in circles - again

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

New Jersey gets very limited respect. People make fun of the “Garbage State” and the myriad strip clubs dotting the eastern portion.

What most people know of New Jersey is what they see out the train window. Most are grateful to fly through there at 100 miles an hour. Commuter stops are quickly forgotten, as no one wants to get off and drive.

Jersey driving has a reputation, due to the traffic circles. There were once more than 100, waiting on unsuspecting drivers. The first, and probably the worst, has two six-lane roads and a two-lane road full of drivers fighting it out.

The New Jersey highway department is now trying to re-brand these things as roundabouts. Good luck with that!

The problem is not in the name. Call them roses, or skunkwork, they are still bad.

Traffic circles encourage wrecks. They also slow things down, interfering with the movement of traffic. Thus, many of the wrecks are minor.

Fri
06
Apr

David Rauschenberger: Current laws should have stopped killers

David Rauschenberger

Last week, I sided with children thrust into a political argument of epic proportions. And never misunderstand me. I’m all about freedom from tyranny.

Tyranny is one group of men defining, by force, another man’s rights. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a good handle on the Constitution. Ever since I was a young man, there were those who sought to fundamentally change our Constitution. They tell us it lives and breathes. It protects the murder of babies in the womb.

The death of our Constitution, my friends, is really what they’re selling. My rights aren’t inalienable. Democrats define them.

The left exploits any advantage. They twist our rights to fit their ideological outcomes.

Democrats say that my owning a weapon giving me standing against a member of our military was never the intention of the Framers. Democrats promote rude and disrespectful children who cannot be criticized for their political views.

Fri
06
Apr

Russ White: Women and children lead the way for education

Russ White

If this country is going to be saved from itself, it is going to be women and children who save it. From the Women’s March the day after last year’s inauguration, to the massive March for Our Lives on March 24, we are seeing the power of women and children growing and beginning to assert itself.

An arena where this growing wave is manifesting itself is public education. Seventy-five percent of public-school teachers in this country are women, and they are now fighting back against decades of Republican divestiture and neglect of our nation’s public schools, especially in deep-red states.

As with so much of the Republican agenda, public schools and teachers unions have experienced the “starve the beast” deprivation of Republican budgets aimed at forcing privatization onto the system. It has been a disaster in many of the poorest states in our country.

Thu
05
Apr

Larry French: You need to get involved early

SHOWING UP IS IMPORTANT — Citizens attend a meeting at Lake Helen City Hall about the proposed Automall development at Lake Helen’s western edge.

SHOWING UP IS IMPORTANT — Citizens attend a meeting at Lake Helen City Hall about the proposed Automall development at Lake Helen’s western edge.

BEACON FILE PHOTO

Have you ever felt strongly enough about an issue that you were compelled to speak out at a civic meeting?

Did you get the impression that the decision about your topic was already a done deal?

Welcome to the club. You’ve just realized the importance of timing when it comes to civic involvement.

When you become civically engaged in the decision-making process is key.

When it comes to growth and development projects, as with other topics, there is a process and a series of steps. If you become engaged in the early phases, you, as a citizen, have a greater potential to influence the outcomes.

Too often, concerned citizens will get involved at the end, after a topic has been through planning or zoning boards and is ready for a final vote by civic leaders.

Thu
05
Apr

Mark Barker: County irresponsible in handling of Old Jail

Mark Barker

Mark Barker

You may have noticed that Volusia County Manager Jim Dinneen and our elected marionettes on the Dais of Power in DeLand, occupy a perennial place on my blacklist each week.

Why?

Because of their pomposity and haughty condescension toward the municipalities — and their constituents — in matters large and small.

That’s why.

Let me give you a recent example.

In early 2016, the County of Volusia and the City of DeLand — which is arguably the most progressive and best-managed community in the region — entered negotiations to swap a municipal annex currently being rented by the county for $50,000 annually, for the former Volusia County jail, a decrepit, now valueless county-owned building that occupies prime real estate in America’s best downtown.

One of the pinch points in these negotiations came when County Manager Jim Dinneen had the petty gall to demand a promise from city officials that the Old Jail “would be used for development.”

Thu
05
Apr

David Rauschenberger: Don’t ostracize kids who don’t demonstrate

The Pink Floyd song goes, “Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone.” Recent demonstrations against the Second Amendment don’t bother me in the least. The First Amendment is just as important as the Second Amendment. So, more power to those who would demonstrate. I think it’s time to define the kids to “leave alone.”

The future of our republic is cultivated in education. And not just in public education. The education of all our children is paramount. Our republic depends on it.

But, recruiting the kids for political protest is just another in a long history of political-indoctrination schemes in our halls of academia.

High school, middle school and elementary school used to be, for the most part, off-limits. It’s common knowledge that colleges and universities have always been where the left pushed their left-wing ideology.

Denying that there has been a recent expansion to those less than 18 years of age would be laughable and disingenuous.

Fri
30
Mar

Russ White: President reaps what he has sown

Russ White

Russ White

It’s said you reap what you sow. Our president is learning that lesson about the legal teams he is becoming ever more dependent on.

This president spent a lifetime bullying and intimidating people he entered into contracts with. He’s been sued more than 3,000 times and has had more than 200 contractor liens issued against him for failing to pay for work he commissioned. His response was always, “So, sue me.”

He would then use his team of bullying attorneys to stonewall litigants and used his deep pockets to wear them down and/or get them to give up and settle for much less than he had agreed to pay them. He’s left a string of good, hardworking Americans in bankruptcy with this thuggish, bottom-feeding approach.

That worked fine when he was a slimy real estate developer. It’s not so much the case now that he is the most visible human being on the planet.

Fri
30
Mar

Paper tariffs hurt our communities

What about The Beacon?
Newsprint tariffs threaten your local newspaper, too.
The Beacon has just been notified of a 10-percent price increase by our printer, Heart of Florida Printing at The Gainesville Sun.
“We have made every effort to postpone this drastic necessity,” Heart of Florida Prepress Manager Ken Gartin wrote in his letter about the increase, explaining that his newsprint vendors had recently notified him of “significant” price increases.
At The Beacon, which consumes an average of 3,825 pounds of newsprint each week, our three biggest expenses are people, printing and postage. Postage has already gone up this year, and now printing is taking a jump.
Price increases like this one will put some small newspapers out of business. That won’t be the case with The Beacon, but it does make our challenging job harder.
It’s our mission to inform, empower and strengthen the communities we serve, and we cannot do it without your support. We are grateful to the advertisers and subscribers who make this newspaper possible.
We’re going to manage this challenge as best we can to assure that the “people” part of our operation aren’t hurt. That means our employees, and it means you, too.
— Barb Shepherd, publisher

BY PAUL C. TASH

SPECIAL TO THE BEACON

You have read about the new tariffs on imported aluminum and steel, and on products from China. Now it seems our own business — newspaper printing and publishing — will take some casualties in a trade war over paper.

This month, the U.S. government piled huge tariffs onto the imports of newsprint from Canada, including those from our biggest supplier. As a result, the price will jump from $600 to $800 for every ton, and we use about 17,000 tons every year.

That increase is more than 30 percent, and would add more than $3 million to the Tampa Bay Times’ annual newsprint bill.

You can multiply our example across the American newspaper industry, which is already facing strong head winds. Historically, advertising provided the lion’s share of newspaper revenue, but in just 10 years, the recession and other market forces have cut those ad revenues by more than half.

Thu
22
Mar

Russ White: Will affair with porn star bring down president?

Russ White

Russ White

You know we are living in Bizarro World when we have to wonder whether our president is going to be unseated by a criminal/espionage investigation or by the lawsuits he is involved in over an alleged affair with a porn star. This absurdity wouldn’t even work as the plot to one of the reality-TV shows that are this president’s only true area of competence.

Last week saw the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe only hours before he was due to retire. The firing was done well outside the procedures normally engaged when an FBI agent has been deemed to merit termination, and occurred under an avalanche of improper presidential influence and pressure.

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