Cheers to Agnes Schwartz and others like who are helping ensure that the world never again experiences the horrors of the Holocaust. |
Heroic seems a huge word for such a diminutive figure, but the emotional punch she packs in the tale of her family's experience in Nazi Germany, is deep and lasting. No wonder that on Sunday, she was greeted by a standing ovation as she told her tale at the Quad-Cities Holocaust remembrance service, Yom HaShoah. Survivors of that dark time know the truth of Edmund Burke's warning: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." There is amazing power in sharing these stories and in lighting candles to honor the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi hate. Yom HaShoah also serves as reminder that willful ignorance helped such evil to spread and must not be allowed to do so again.
"The opposite of love is not hate; it is indifference," Rabbi Tamar Grimm of Congregation Beth Israel, Rock Island told a packed house at the Tri-City Jewish Center. "By gathering here tonight, we proclaim that we will not stand for indifference, but to combat indifference in its darkest corners."
We salute all who are committed to walking in the light.
Jeers to a business and job-killing bill to boost Illinois minimum wage to $10 an hours. Illinois $8.25 rate already ranks third-highest in the nation. This would make us No. 1, drive small businesses out of business and send others fleeing across state lines. Teens especially would be clobbered by loss of these entry-level jobs.
Then, there's this: The bill more than the doubles what businesses must pay tipped employees. In a piece for the Chicago Tribune, Dick Rivera, former chair of the National Restaurant Association, spells out what's wrong with that. As most who have worked in food services will tell you, it is gratuities, not salaries, which account for the bulk of their earnings. Tips aren't "handouts" from generous patrons. Americans expect to tip, and if they don't, the law already requires employers to make up the difference. Succeeding in the restaurant business is already a huge challenge. Labor costs consume a third of every food dollar, Mr. Rivera notes, which leaves owner-operators with a 3 percent profit margin after bills are paid, if they're lucky.
Where do they get money for pay hikes? From cutting jobs. According to economists from Trinity and Miami universities, for every 10 percent hike in wage rate, hours are cut 5 percent. Fewer employees means poorer service, which means fewer tips and customers and bigger salaries. For many restaurants, that spells the end.
Our tip to lawmakers: if you care about jobs, restaurants and small businesses, don't do pass this bill.
Cheers to the city of Rock Island for recognizing that high utility bills are making life tough on city residents. Municipal utility customers now have the option to pay those city bills in three installments. The new billing went into effect for the billing cycle that ended April 10. City officials initially had examined switching to monthly billing, but that would have cost $2 million in software upgrades. Instead, Rock Island will offer the installment plan. Best of all, the service won't cost residents a dime if they meet the payment deadlines. The 5 percent charge will be credited to the next bill. With higher bills from government-mandated upgrades, it's no wonder that a third of the city's 35,000 households paying for utilities paid their bill late at some point last year. The new system should help reduce that number.
Jeers to the Cook County circuit court judge who is set so atwitter by modern technology that he has banned electronic courtroom in about the trial of the man accused of killing members of Jennifer Hudson's family. We can only assume that the prospect of electronic postings on social media conjured up for Judge Charles Burns images of reporters shouting into telephones and banging away on manual typewriters.
He says he won't allow tweeting in his courtroom because he doesn't want to make a circus of the trial of William Balfour, the man accused of killing his ex-wife and the sister of the Oscar winner, their mother and the entertainer's 7-year-old nephew.
The judge should have done his homework. He didn't have to look far to see Twitter updates are harmless to the process. Judge James Zagel allowed them in the federal trial of Rod Blagojevich with no discernible effect on Justice. We've come a long way since the days portrayed in films like His Girl Friday. It's time judges like Mr. Burns joined in the progress.
Jeers to East Moline's Mike Boland for so quickly abandoning his seat on the Black Hawk College Board. The former state representative submitted his resignation shortly after he lost the Democratic primary for the Illinois senate. The longtime state lawmaker didn't give details of the new "opportunities" he said would not give him the time necessary to devote to the college, an important job in itself. Now BHC, not voters, must find a replacement who can help guide the college in these rapidly changing and economically challenging times.
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