Walter Patterson Herald ColumnistThe news just keeps getting worse, especially on the economy.
Our economy grew only 1.5 percent during the last quarter, and this is a disaster. Because of this lack of growth, there are very few jobs, and nearly half of our people are on some kind of government relief.
Over half of this year’s college graduates cannot find jobs, and if you are a parent having invested literally thousands in your child’s education, this news is not comforting.
An economist by the name of Nouriel Roubini, known by his peers as “Dr. Doom” told CNBC that “My perfect storm scenario is unfolding now.”
In May, Roubini predicted four elements – “stalling growth in the U.S., debt troubles in Europe, a slowdown in emerging markets, particularly China, and military conflict in Iran – would come together to create a storm for the global economy in 2013.”
What are our political leaders in Washington doing about our economy? Anyone who pays attention to what is happening in our economy knows that we are in serious trouble, yet our leaders in Washington, the Democrats in particular, want to “tax the rich” and impose a entitlement program on the American people known as Obamacare. “Crash the economy at all costs,” is their motto.
Democrat Harry Reid is more worried about where the Olympic uniforms are made than he is about the $17 trillion debt that is dragging this nation’s economy into the gutter. Reid, also, makes the false claim that Mitt Romney, a free market capitalist running for president, has not paid income taxes in the past ten years.
This is the voice of a desperate man who knows that his president is in deep trouble with the American people and is trying every trick in the Democrat play book to find some way to discredit Romney. Try not filing income taxes for the next 10 years and see what the IRS does to you. Reid’s lies will not work. The Reagan Democrats, for example, are moving to Romney by as much as 20 points in some polls.
Yet the Democrat insanity continues. Obama refuses to allow drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and he is yet to approve the Keystone Pipeline, a project that could employ as many as 200,000 citizens. Mr. Obama continues to ramp up regulation on small business owners, and Obamacare, in addition to putting people who do not comply with the heavy handed mandates of the act in jail, has small business men and women literally handcuffed, unable to move, unable to hire new workers, unable to invest in their business because of the uncertainty brought on by this socialist act.
Speaking of Obamacare, one of the unintended consequences of this act is that it will bring about a doctor shortage. Already, 83 percent of practicing physicians have considered retiring from medicine and finding work elsewhere.
In an article published in Money and Policy, it was noted that “In the Island Empire, an economically depressed region in Southern California, President Obama’s health care law is expected to extend insurance coverage to more than 300,000 people by 2014. But coverage will not necessarily translate into care.
Local health experts doubt there will be enough doctors to meet the area’s need. There are not enough now. We might want to ask, “What does this mean for the Delta region of Mississippi. Will there be enough doctors to meet the need?” Of course not.
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama, a community organizer, does not have the knowledge to turn this “depression era” economy around nor do his cohorts in the Senate and House. There we have a collection of the most incompetent, inept, and corrupt individuals this country has ever seen. Some of them no doubt had their fingers crossed when they took the oath of office, because it is clear that they do not intend to “protect and defend” the Constitution of the United States.
If we can survive for another 90 days without economic collapse, we have a fighting chance. A new president who understands free market capitalism may be able to begin the long journey back to prosperity. But this group of Democrats love power more than life itself.
Don’t be surprised if Mr. Obama, in a desperate attempt to stay in office, initiates a war with Iran. If he does, you can “call the dogs and pour the coffee on the fire.” We’re done.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorIt was the middle of the night when my husband Jason darted out to my truck. He had to grab the only thing that would calm our son James.
His name is Jeppie. He is about a foot tall with a chubby belly that sticks out over his tiny feet. His once white hair is slightly turning darker and darker with the dirt it collects. His nose comes to a sharp point, and his black eyes shoot right through you.
That stuffed penguin has been James’ favorite toy for the past three years. It’s his best friend, his partner in crime. And there was no way he was being left out in the darkness when his place was in bed next to James.
We bought Jeppie at an aquarium in Tennessee during a family vacation. He went nameless for about a month until finally James came up with the name “Jeppie” on his own.
It can be very annoying at times when we have to turn the car around because we accidentally leave him at home. We always remind ourselves to pack him for our overnight visits or week-long vacation.
But despite our aggravation at times with routing our schedule around Jeppie’s location, it is kind of sweet the love that James has for a $10 stuffed animal.
Jeppie’s place in always against the pillows on James’ bed. He is an excellent traveler. And he has seen the majestic views of mountains and the breathtaking scope of the ocean all from the backseat window of the family car.
He always agrees with James and is usually open to any game he has in mind.
He has been transformed into a pirate. A dinosaur has taken him down in battle. Monster trucks have rolled over his tummy. He has even been thrown into a ceiling fan every now and then, but he survived to tell the tale.
He has been the only one who cold calm down a tantrum. And he is the perfect sick buddy when a cold or fever takes over a good play day.
Jeppie is James’ best friend. And he has been through thick and thin with him.
James has plenty of other stuffed animals. He has a tiger named Cotter. There is a soft elephant named Ellie. Our daughter Elsie’s penguin Pinky has even made an appearance or two.
But there is just something about Jeppie.
I had a favorite stuffed animal named Piglet. It really was an animal designed after Winnie the Pooh’s best friend, Piglet.
Piglet has been in my life since as far back as I can remember. He isn’t really filled with cotton stuffing but rather those sandy, bean-like fillings like many older dolls and animals. He had a red and white striped shirt with green pants. Two small pig ears stood straight on his head. And he had two black eyes right above his snout.
I still have Piglet to this day. Somehow he managed to keep up with me in this journey of life.
However, his filling is a little looser these days. His once vibrant shirt is faded, and his green pants are starting to look more yellow. His perky ears tend to flop more against his head. One black eye fell off but a grandmother’s sewing needle put it back on, even though it’s not quite balanced with his other eye. And there is a huge coffee stain on his face that never washed off.
He may look rough, old and tattered to some children by today’s standards. But to me, he is still the way I imagined him.
His ragged appearance is the sign of a toy that was taken everywhere. He was repaired when needed. He was brought to the dinner table. He was shoved under bed sheets. He was left outside a time or two. He was loved.
James had Piglet out on his bed the other day. Being a rough boy, he was tugging kind of hard on Piglet’s leg.
“No, don’t do that to him,” I said, picking up Piglet. “He’s too old for that. Maw Maw and Paw Paw gave him to me when I was a baby.”
Placing Piglet on top of James’ dresser, I smiled at his crooked eye. Maybe Jeppie will remain with James into his adult years.
Leaving the room, I glanced back at Piglet. And for a second, we had an understanding.
And with that, James pulled Jeppie tighter into his chest.
Jason Patterson Editor & PublisherIt always makes my day when someone calls to say they enjoyed something they read in our newspaper.
It’s not that I need an ego boost or anything, but it’s good to know when you’re doing something right. When someone enjoys something enough to take the time to let you know about it, you know you’re really on the right track.
People are much more likely to call when they don’t like something. That’s fine too, because complaints help us improve when there’s a problem or at least let us know what’s on the mind of our customers.
The same thing is true with most businesses. While you’ll occupationally hear someone rave about the great service they received somewhere, it seems like most people are more likely to complain when they receive bad service. It’s just human nature.
I was talking to a friend recently about his vacation, and he kept talking about how great the customer service was everywhere he went in the town he visited. It was clear that it really made an impression on him.
That got me to thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if Yazoo had that kind of reputation? It seems like that would be a fantastic way to keep visitors coming back.
We’re already on the right track. Most of the business experiences I have in Yazoo City are outstanding, and most Yazoo business people go out of their way to be friendly and make you feel at home.
As chairman of the board of the Chamber of Commerce, I’m always trying to think of ways to help Yazoo’s business community build on its strengths. It recently occurred to me that one way to accomplish that goal is to recognize some of the people who are doing things right and hope that they will serve as an inspiration for others.
In an effort to reward those who provide excellent customer service and serve as great representatives of our community, the Yazoo Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Customer Service Award. Individuals selected will be recognized in The Yazoo Herald. All winners will be placed in a drawing for a pair of tickets to the annual Chamber Banquet in November and a free year subscription to The Yazoo Herald.
Anyone who provides good customer service in Yazoo County is eligible. Individuals representing the Chamber will select winners based on their experiences while doing business in Yazoo. To ensure that the awards go to those who deserve them the most, winners will be chosen based solely on judges conducting actual business transactions.
The goal of this promotion is to provide much deserved recognition to the people who help make our community warm and welcoming for both locals and visitors. We also hope that it will help remind business people throughout our community of the importance of providing quality customer service.
Our first award (which appears on page 2) is a little bittersweet because while we’re pleased to recognize her, we’re going to miss seeing her smiling face in the mornings. Bobbie Fears recently retired after 27 years of service at the Shell on Grand Avenue.
Her great attitude has always been contagious. I’ve been accused of being a little grouchy before I get my first cup of coffee in the morning, and on some mornings when I have to get to the office extra early I’ll stop by and grab a cup of coffee on the way. I always left with a smile on my face after dealing with such a sweet lady.
Mrs. Fears is now enjoying a much deserved retirement, but she has been a great representative of our city’s business community and set a wonderful example for others to follow.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorThe teacher gave me a stern look when she handed me my report of the War of 1812.
I knew it only meant one thing that dreary day years ago at Natchez High School.
“I expected more from you,” Mrs. Minor said. “I can tell you just rushed through this. Take your time next time.”
At the top of my page there was a huge red “F” complete with a circle. Mrs. Minor even put a frowning face at the top.
Going over my report, Mrs. Minor also added a few question marks, corrected names. She even put “where are you going with this” on one paragraph.
Shoving the paper into my book bag, I took a huge sigh. As much as I tried to act like I wasn’t worried about grades, I really did care about them. I usually made all As, but I hid them from my classmates. For some reason, I was almost embarrassed by it.
But a “F”? This was a first, and I didn’t like it at all.
And the fun didn’t stop there. Mrs. Minor insisted that we take our reports home to get them signed by our parents.
“We haven’t done that since elementary school, Mrs. Minor,” Scott yelled from the back of the class.
“I know, but maybe it will motivate some of you to care about your work,” she said, sliding her glasses over her head. “And don’t think about trying anything sneaky. Conferences are next week, and I will be sure to bring it up.”
I have heard that many parents don’t go to teacher conferences today. But 12 years ago at Natchez High, most did go. More importantly, my mother did.
I debated on what I was going to do all day. I just knew Momma would kill me when she saw that bad grade.
I could fake an illness. But then Mrs. Minor would tell her about the poor report at their conference.
I could get my aunt to sign it. But then she would run and tell Momma as soon as I left the room.
I could beg Mrs. Minor to rethink her request. But then she would probably bring up the spit paper war that occurred last Friday after the highly motivational pep rally.
And worst of all, I knew that Momma would ground me for the weekend. I had my heart set on going to Amber’s pool party.
And there was no way around Momma when she grounded you. She took up all car keys and canceled all her plans to make sure you stayed at home.
I finally came to a decision on the way home from school. I would forge her signature. I have seen it enough to know how she does her name. I had it down to the little loop she does on her “K.”
If Mrs. Minor brought it up during the conference, the signature would be so good that maybe Momma would believe it herself. Perhaps it was a paper she forgot about.
It’s amazing how smart teenagers think they are when they are really missing a few screws in their great plans. But at the time, I thought I had it under control.
That night in my room, I practiced a few lines on a blank piece of paper. It took a few minutes, but I had it down perfect. With confidence and gusto, I signed that report like I was signing the Declaration of Independence.
I almost skipped down to the dinner table that night. I had everything in order. I even reminded Momma about the conference next week with sheer confidence, almost to the point of arrogance.
I almost came out of my skin with excitement when she told me she changed shifts at the hospital that night and was working the graveyard shift. She wouldn’t even be able to attend.
I hopped into bed that night with such relief that I slept like a baby. The next morning, I came down with that same excitement. Everything was working out as I planned, and I would be able to enjoy sheer teenage bliss this weekend at Amber’s party.
I even took the time to iron my navy blue school uniform shirt. And I never iron.
Grabbing my book bag, I looked for Momma to tell her goodbye. I was actually going to arrive at school early to hand over my report to Mrs. Minor.
“You got something you want to tell me,” Momma asked, looking over her coffee cup.
My heart sank to my feet. My stomach began to toss and turn. I think I even broke out into a sweat. Anytime mothers ask that question they know something.
“No,” I whispered. “Why would I have something to tell you?”
“Let me ask you again, Jamie Lynn,” she responded. “Is there something you want to tell me.”
I was doomed. She asked me for a second time and called me by my first and middle name. That’s never good.
Throwing my book bag on the ground, I pulled up a chair at the table. It was like one of those old police dramas that come on the television.
“What do you know,” I asked.
Within seconds, Momma grabbed a load of crumpled up papers and placed them on the table. It was all the sheets of paper I spent all afternoon practicing her signature. Apparently, I didn’t shove them in the trash far enough, and she found every single one when she took out the trash.
“It’s funny how all of a sudden you have taken an interest in my signature,” she said.
Yes, I was grounded. No, I didn’t go to Amber’s party. Yes, Momma saw my failing report. And, yes, she moved her shift around just so she could make the conference.
That day taught me two things: be honest and never think you can pull one over on Momma.
Momma came to visit me last night, and she asked me to fill out a check for her. I grinned at myself when I even signed it for her.
I haven’t lost my touch.