Day: July 11, 2014

If it’s hot, turn fountain on

The city of Keizer should see to it that the splash fountain at Chalmers Jones Park at the Keizer Civic Center is always operating during the hottest days, regardless of employee schedules. The fountain is turned on when temperatures reach 75 degrees. Last week during a very hot Monday and Tuesday the fountain did not operate because it was the days off for the temporary employee in charge of it. We certainly do not begrudge any person getting two days off each week. By the same token we don’t like to see a popular amenity such as the splash fountain go unused on days when kids of all ages seek relief from the heat and want some fun. Surely there is a second person in the public works department who can do all the duties the fountain demands when the first employee has days off. It is not just a matter of turning a spigot. Fountain guidelines call for pH testing several times a day to assure the water is safe to play in. This is a good use for the Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board new grant program. Since Palma Ciea Pool Club closed, there is swimming pool knowledge that can be appropriated for the days the person in charge of the fountain is unavailable. Though Oregon summers are temperate, our hot days seem very hot. Regardless...

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Under the good-jobs-report hood

By LAWRENCE KUDLOW Good news for the American worker: Employment in June surged 288,000, with a 262,000 gain in the private sector, easily beating the consensus forecast of 215,000 new payrolls. This marks the fifth consecutive monthly increase of 200,000 or more jobs, the best five-month stretch since early 2006. As for the unemployment rate, it dropped from 6.3 to 6.1 percent. Stocks surged on the news, with the Dow closing above 17,000 for a record high. And the good news doesn’t end there: The small-business household survey gained a big 407,000 while the number of unemployed fell by 325,000. These job gains were spread wide across the economy, as the diffusion index jumped from 62.9 to 64.8 percent. And although lower-paying retailers counted for a big 40,000 jump, higher-paying professional and business services increased 67,000. But there were some important glitches in this good-news report. For one, worker wages remained soft, rising only 2 percent over the past 12 months. And total hours worked are 2.1 percent ahead of a year ago, suggesting that overall income and nominal GDP are growing at a relatively slow four percent rate. Meanwhile, the U6 unemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who want better full-time jobs or folks who have given up, dropped only slightly to 12.1 percent. That’s still a historically high rate. And the labor-force participation rate was unchanged at...

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It is time to focus on internal problems

The steamiest topic here at home these days appears to be the immigration issue. Tens of thousands of Central Americans crossing into the U.S. along the border with Mexico has reached red hot status. Meanwhile, millions of Americans are equally upset over the U.S. return militarily to Iraq, our nation weary of war overseas with its futile loss and injury of service men and women and a drain on an national treasury.  So, in Iraq and elsewhere throughout the Middle East, why, oh why, do we continue to garrison much of the globe even as here at our country finds itself unable to provide for even the most basic of services to far too many of its own citizens? What shape and size would the world take on if we just stayed home?  Could we bring to a much desired end our apparent psychotic need to be the sole superpower and self-appointed global cop?  Of course the military-industrial complex would have to surrender profits of war-making but just imagine what we could do about our huge number of internal and external problems, re-directing our time, money and effort to immigration and drug crisis on our southern border and inland, too, soaring health-care costs, an ineffective education system that’s become one of the weakest in the developed world, an aging population and infrastructure, and an uncontrolled recession with millions still out of work. Should we turn our attention inward, we’d continue to be a large and...

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