Friday Feb. 8, 2002
On Burlington's closure
To the Editor:
There is much speculation over the cause of the Burlington plant closing in Stonewall. Some lay the blame on unfair competition from Asian markets. Others are certain NAFTA, and relatively cheap Mexican labor are the culprits.
One gentleman I met in Jackson, who had never had ties with Burlington, suggested that Burlington's downfall was due to the diversity in its work force.
Make no mistake, I quickly assured him that that was a lie. During my 44 years in the workplace, the last 15 of which I spent at Burlington, I have never seen a classier group of workers anywhere than at the Stonewall plant. And that goes for management as well.
In my own humble opinion, the Burlington closure is just one of many symptoms of an underlying cause which is closing down our national economy at an appalling rate.
During the past decade, America rode high on the greatest tide of economic prosperity in its history. But to whom did we give the glory? James Carville who could play the Adversary in "The Devil and Daniel Webster" without makeup summed up national sentiment well with his infamous one-liner, "It's the economy, stupid!"
So we abandoned all national morals in favor of the economy, and gave the credit and glory for it all to Man instead of God.
When we dance to the Devil's fiddle, we will always end up paying more than the tune is worth.
Meanwhile, the cause of Burlington's demise will continue to be debated among many, but its effect will be obvious to all.
Retired Burlington employee
Enron a wake up call'
To the editor:
Participants in the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System as well as individual Mississippi investors have lost millions of dollars of retirement savings as a result of the Enron accounting scandal. Enron should serve as a wake-up call to anyone considering restricting the rights of Mississippi citizens in this state's civil justice system.
The types of insider profiteering now unfolding in the news media and congressional hearings are at the expense of Mississippians from every walk of life.
The lesson is this: From the top of the economic ladder to the bottom in this state, Mississippians need the protection of the courts, not protection from them.
Richard T. Phillips
What are our education targets?
To the editor:
I just read in the newspaper that our education system doesn't have enough money to operate as planned. So, what's new?
Today, could our military win a war without "smart" bombs aimed at specific targets? Could we build enough "dumb" bombs to obliterate a target, with certainty? It's unlikely because smart bombs, to some degree, replace the need for large ground forces, which we no longer have. Each dumb bomb has no specific target, only the hope that if enough are dropped one might accidentally hit a target.
Such is the case now with our education system. We have no specific targets at which to aim smart bombs, so we keep building as many dumb bombs as we can with as much money as we can spend hoping to hit some unseen target. We will never have enough money to build enough dumb bombs to make the education system effective. It's impossible, since we have no clear targets at which to aim.
Before we can even consider education smart bombs we must first determine education's target. Now, one absolutely, positively does not exist. Is the target job preparation, college preparation, social integration, basic literacy, ethnic integration or jobs for educators?
Once we determine education's target we can build effective smart bombs. Till then, there will never be enough money. It's impossible!