Reminder of the past sparks memories

Around Father’s Day we see ads telling us to buy a gift for Dad. The movie “Field of Dreams” goes into heavy rotation to spark memories. My own reminder arrives on my porch every morning, year round. It is the newspaper.

To attract my Dad’s ghost, I would have to build not a baseball field but a smoky bar of the kind where old-school newspapermen used to hang out. My dad wasn’t famous. He topped out as section editor for a small paper. It was no Pulitzer factory, just a good, honest newspaper. Dad was a storyteller whose writing never rose above journeyman level, but who nevertheless made his living getting the stories out. He preferred reporting but he became good at the managerial and administrative tasks out of financial necessity. Regardless of the lure of higher pay, he never accepted a position that would take him too far away from contact with the words and the ink.

Instead of baseball, we bonded over reading the newspaper on weekend mornings. I would take sports first. Dad would take opinion. Our version of playing catch was critiquing the headlines. I grew up and moved away, but I like to think that as he read his newspapers at home, and as I read mine in far-flung cities, we both stepped through a doorway into that pleasant world that existed for a time in a suburban sunroom, and in both our memories for years thereafter, and now just in my memory.

They haven’t made the newspaper equivalent of “Field of Dreams” yet, but I don’t need a movie to take me into my dream of Dad. All I have to do is open today’s paper, and I’m there. And I know that — to borrow a phrase — if I read it, he will come.

Christopher Jones

Eau Claire

Let’s all pay our fair share through taxes

I recently read a report in the New York Times that “at least 55 big companies paid zero federal income taxes last year (2020), according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Among them: Archer-Daniels-Midland, Booz Allen Hamilton, FedEx, HP, Interpublic, Nike and Xcel Energy.”

That last one hits close to home. It should be made public.

I also learned that, “Tax breaks for renewable energy are part of the tax avoidance scheme for several companies, including Qurate Retail, Xcel Energy, DTE, and Duke Energy.”

Here’s something that should be made public knowledge: the money collected from corporate taxes once helped pay for schools, scientific research, the arts, libraries, and roads and bridges. Today, those entities are suffering from a lack of financial attention.

Because, (duh), taxes are essential to functional physical and cultural infrastructure.

I both know this and believe in it, so I paid taxes in 2020.

Your response, Xcel?

Steve Betchkal

Eau Claire

Filibuster has no place in a democracy

The filibuster in the United States Senate is anti-democratic and is controlled by the tyranny of the minority. It is an abuse of the system of checks and balances of the three branches of government developed by the founders.

Basically a filibuster is a political maneuver that requires 60 votes to move a bill beyond debate to an actual floor majority vote. The U.S. House of Representatives and the majority of state governments in the United States vote on legislation with a simple majority. The problem with the U.S. Senate filibuster is that a majority of senators may support legislation that has passed the House of Representatives but the vote can be blocked by the minority of senators as long as they have at least 41 senators who refuse to move the bill forward for a final vote.

In democracy a majority vote at every level should rule the day. It should be noted that in the current configuration of the U.S. Senate, senators who are Democrats from their various states represent 41 million more individuals then Republican senators. The Senate filibuster, like the Electoral College, should be eliminated because in a democracy the will of the majority should rule the day.

Richard Boyum

Candler, N.C.

‘Left extremists’ bereft of common sense

Definition: sound judgement in practical matters, prudence, discernment, wisdom, insight, perception and capability.

The lack of common sense is quite obvious in our culture today. The “left extremists” seem to think their moral values, which include abortion; the elimination of the word ”God” from all schools, public and governmental institutions; banning the Ten Commandments from being displayed outside these same institutions; eliminating gender on birth certificates; allowing people to enter bathrooms by whatever sex they decide they are on that day; promoting socialism; and eliminating parts of our Constitution, make them superior to our forefathers and conservative ideals. All of the above gives meaning to the word “chaos,” which includes disorder, disorganization, confusion, havoc, disruption, uproar and tumult commotion. This is a good description of what the “left extremists” are trying to achieve in our country.

The lack of common sense breeds many unethical and morally wrong decisions to be made by people with their same beliefs. Our great country needs to accept the Judeo-Christian values it was founded on and practice, truth, love, kindness and obeying our laws. I encourage you to vote with your heart, thinking of the future of our young people. Get common sense back into our schools and governments. May God bless America and all it stands for.

Jerome Wolcott

Altoona

Some military branches get short shrift

I was heartened to read the Page One story, “Salute to veterans.”

I was perplexed, however, to realize that all the branches of the military were not equally honored (e.g. Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard). I was further perplexed to see a Gold Star mother, although suffering a grave loss, be honored in their place. After all, this is a vetarans memorial.

Then there is the issue of the legacy stone field. Will these stones be in place of the service-specific statutes? And will they also include the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard? Would not the money be more wisely spent honoring the “forgotten” services? And, if this memorial is truly for the “whole community,” why are so many veterans left out?

Candis Rudolph

Altoona