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Spring cleaning: Thinking clearly about today

As I See It

Little thoughts and tidbits to challenge and indulge. Hope you enjoy.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Last week, we observed the 30th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Amidst the violence that is now the American way of life, it seems like eons ago when Dr. King so strongly advocated non-violent social change.

“Society” is a constantly shifting, moving target and, therefore, change is inevitable. We need more leaders like Dr. King who would help us establish a peaceful “middle of the road” racial co-existence without hate and violence. Sadly, racial combativeness in pursuit of fame and fortune has gained acceptability. Right here in central Mississippi, political careers that obviously depend on continued racial demagoguery for survival are being nurtured by a manipulated populace. Shame, shame.

Stock Market

Corporate earnings are disappointing but the market continues to rise. The money pouring in from retirement plans must be keeping the price up beyond what appears reasonable based on the facts. Time to re-evaluate the old portfolio.

That there will be a market correction in the reasonably near future is a foregone conclusion. When and how deep is a question for a philosopher, which I am not.

Is it time to sell-out and buy bonds? That is a question that each must answer for himself. In my situation, I can sustain a probable short-term dip in the market better than a certain, permanent capital gains tax hit. Were the taxes not an issue, I would look seriously at real estate investment trusts as a way to diversify into real estate without the bother of actually owning property. Real estate has been “out of favor” for about 10 years and the contrarian in me says it could be a watermelon patch ready for picking.

Abortion

Abortion-on-demand proponents say that the law should have no say over what one does with one’s body, it’s a private matter. There doesn’t seem to be an argument that the choice results in the death of a living creature. Could the same logic be applied to other situations? “Your honor, I was just wiggling my trigger finger when I shot Bubba and what I do with my body is none of your business, it’s a private matter.” Just a thought.

Paula Jones

Even though I am not a Bill Clinton fan, I was glad the Paula Jones case was thrown out of federal court. This whole new area of sexual harassment has opened up a playground for pernicious females seeking financial remuneration and willing to do anything to get it. It’s just another playing field for the world’s oldest profession.

No doubt, sexual harassment has occurred and should be punished. Let me say in the strongest terms, I don’t believe that anyone should be mistreated and I do not condone un-gentlemanly conduct under any circumstances. However, in fairness to males, we need some definition of what it is and what it ain’t so we don’t become “victims” of blackmail by some bimbo out to turn a fast buck.

Just about everybody knows what stealing is, what murder is and what extortion is. Nobody, I repeat, nobody, can come within a country mile of defining sexual harassment and that should not be.

Country Music

I have been an ardent country music fan since the late ’50s. I have sadly witnessed its decline over the last few years. The masculine themes and voices of Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard have been supplanted by the politically correct, sensitive male clap-trap of white-hatted, operatic-quality performers who have fooled women into believing that men are different in the ’90s. In the immortal words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, men are men are men.

This column is somewhat void of a central theme. However, if I could depart with a serious thought, I would suggest that social change is inevitable and can be accomplished peaceably or violently. If promoted by violence, it will be answered with violence. All Americans have suffered a void over the past 30 years following the silencing of Dr. King’s pleading for peaceful turmoil. Christians have just celebrated the supreme sacrifice made by God’s messenger some 2,000 years ago. Like Dr. King, Jesus of Nazareth was also committed to peaceful turmoil. To what do our lifestyles indicate that we are committed?

Thought for the Moment

Computers in the future may…perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons.

— Popular Mechanics, 1949

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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