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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Is the Venerable WSJ Losing It?

My favorite newspaper is the Wall Street Journal. When staying in a hotel, I'll throw my free copy of USA Today, a news magazine of sorts that contains the occasional bit of news, into the garbage and seek out a WSJ. I've often said that the Wall Street Journal is so superior to every other daily publication, it is in a class by itself.

But yesterday's online version of the Journal seems to be less than "classy."

What do these titles and corresponding subtitles have in common?
  • Review & Outlook What to make "The Gates" in Central Park.
  • de gustibus BY TUNKU VARADARAJAN School children we were once taught the U.N. mattered. Not anymore.
  • Houses of Worship BY EDITH BLUMHOFER The don't think like Billy Graham. They think differently too.

If you didn't catch it, let me give you a clue: Eache ov thees entreis abuve haz a erer. Ken yuo tel waht thee erer iz?

I know I run the risk here of being criticized for having spelling errors or errors in syntax in this very weblog. But I think I do a pretty darn good job of proofreading and making corrections before I completely embarrass myself. And I don't have a staff of highly paid editors looking for mistakes either.

So, let me gently slap the WSJ across the face and politely ask them to fire the proofreader and get back to doing what they do best - flawlessly.

Say It Ain't So

I refused to believe it when I heard it on the radio. But it may be true. President Bush is willing to consider a tax increase to fix social security.
Supporters of Bush React With Fury to Talk of Tax Hike
BY LUIZA Ch. SAVAGE - Staff Reporter of the Sun


WASHINGTON - Some of President Bush's most loyal supporters were furious at him yesterday after he left the door open to a huge tax increase of the very sort that he campaigned against in the election.

Mr. Bush said he is open to making more wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax. The 12.4% tax currently applies to salaries up to $90,000. "The only thing I'm not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate. And all other issues are on the table," the president said this week.

The increase would inflate tax bills of people who earn more than that amount, and it would be particularly noticeable to self-employed people who pay both an employee and employer share of the tax. (link)
Somebody is going to have to help me with this. Here's a man who pushed through a much-needed - but temporary - tax credit for all Americans and has said that he will fight to have that credit - or tax reduction - made permanent. At the same time, he is willing to consider raising taxes - because that's what is involved here - to close the looming revenue/outflow gap in social security. It makes his tax cut seem a bit political, doesn't it?

I wrote a few months ago that, once you scrape away all the goofy schemes being tossed out with regard to private accounts, there are only three things the government can do to solve the social security problem. They are, once again:
  • Increase the age of eligibility to 70 or 72.
  • Reduce the monthly benefit to recipients.
  • Increase taxes.

Not only is the third - another tax increase - a bad idea on many levels, it worsens the pending problem that social security only highlights. If you consider the withholding from your paycheck a tax, actuaries have run the numbers and determined that there will not be enough taxpayers to support all us old people, when we get old. The ratio of payers to payees will soon be 2 to 1. That is unsustainable. To simply increase the tax burden on those same few individuals will only exacerbate the problem.

A tax increase will make the problem worse.

Somebody beam me up.

Lest We Forget

Time magazine has a touching article regarding the only soldier still unaccounted for in Iraq. The last anyone heard about SPC Matt Maupin, a gang of terrorist thugs released a video of very poor quality that purported to show his execution. Nothing has been heard since.
One member of the 160-strong company, however, will be conspicuously absent. He is Keith (Matt) Maupin, the only American soldier who is unaccounted for in Iraq. Ten months ago, insurgents ambushed a convoy guarded by the 724th and took Private First Class Maupin, then 20, captive. There have been conflicting reports on his fate. He was seen alive on one videotape, reported killed on another. Without proof of his death, the Army presumes he is still alive. His family fervently prays that is so. The months have ticked by, and Maupin has been promoted to the rank of specialist and turned 21. (link)
Though most everyone here in the USA quickly forgot about Matt Maupin, his friends and neighbors in Batavia, Ohio have not.

Because no one in Batavia, a sleepy village of 1,600 on the eastern fringe of Cincinnati, Ohio, knows where Matt Maupin is, he is everywhere. SPC MATT MAUPIN--OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND YOURS, the big electric sign at Jeff Wyler Auto Mall flashes once a minute. At the top of every hour, the local oldies radio station, WGRR, airs a booming jingle: "Joining you in all our prayers for Matt Maupin." Incongruous messages dot the strip malls along busy Route 32, which bisects Clermont County. PRAY FOR MATT MAUPIN AND FAMILY LARGE CHEESE $5.99, says the sign outside Snappy Tomato Pizza.

As you get closer to the Maupin home, several miles west of Batavia, his last name vanishes. OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH MATT, says the sign at Uncle Bob's Self Storage at the end of Schoolhouse Road, where he grew up. THINKING OF MATT, says the one at Willowville Elementary School, which he attended. Glen Este High School, from which Maupin graduated in 2001, has become a shrine of hope. Hundreds of red, white and blue plastic cups are stuck into chain-link fencing, spelling out his name and framing his picture. The winter weather has taken a toll on the yellow ribbons in town, but residents say replacements will come with the spring, along with nature's yellow displays of daffodils and forsythia.

"People have a tendency to forget," concedes Keith Maupin, Matt's father. "We're not going to let that happen."

We're not going to let that happen.

Pray for our friend and neighbor, Matt Maupin.