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Put ‘African-American’ label in the trash heap

Thank you Gibre George.

If you’ll permit a white guy to write about this subject, how pleasing it is to see that some younger black people aren’t fond of the term “African-American” when referring their race.

If a two-word combo ever equaled the sound of long fingernails dragged down a chalkboard, that is it.

An Associated Press article appearing in Monday’s edition of The Florida Times-Union credited Mr. George, who lives in Hollywood, FL, with starting the Facebook page Don’t Call Me African-American. “It just doesn’t sit well with a younger generation of black people,” the 38-year-old entrepreneur was quoted as saying.

Apparently a lot of people agree, and one can only hope that they are black people, both young and old. It’ll have to be blacks themselves who toss this offensive term into the ash heap.

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Now Boston know all about ‘us folks’

Well, we made it into the Boston Globe.

There it was, in the newspaper’s Saturday edition, a political piece datelined “Macclenny, Fla.”

When was the last time anyone in Boston saw that?

Globe reporter Michael Levenson spent some time last week roaming downtown collecting sentiments on this Tuesday’s GOP primary election.

His conclusion? Newt’s the man — at least in Baker County.

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‘Sense of the board’ needed on cuts in next year’s budget

There’s a time-honored practice used by Congress that conveys the sentiment of a majority of members. It’s not legislation and it’s not binding, merely an expression of the will of members. It puts the House and Senate on record.

It’s call a Sense of Congress resolution.

Now that the new year is underway, it’d be a good time for the Baker County Commission to consider what we’ll call a Sense of the Commission resolution.

The board should go on the record soon, a full half-year before 2012-13 budget deliberations begin, on what it expects from its department chiefs and from the county’s five constitutional officers.

How about this? A ten percent reduction from the 2011-12 budget approved last fall — across the board, every department.

The goal is to avoid a debate again this fall over whether — and how much — the county can dip into a reserve fund that has shrunk from $12 million three years ago to about half that.

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Public employee unions, thoughts on teacher pay

Recent comments on this page from readers (they continue this week) about unionized government employees prompt one to ask how we got to this point.

As we enter an age of shrinking public revenues amid calls for a drastic reduction in the role of government in our republic, we find ourselves debating over whether governors should be trying to bust up public employee unions, or greatly reduce their power to hold taxpayers hostage.

Remember that FDR himself, the patron saint of intrusive government, declared that public workers should never be allowed to form unions. Such a system is fatally flawed, reasoned this liberal icon, because public unions aren’t really bargaining with management.

FDR was fine with private sector unions, except when they threatened national security, and reasonable people concur that, despite the corruption endemic at the leadership level, labor unions cleaned up a lot of messes in the private sector.

The natural tension at the bargaining table when representatives of the workers meet with management representing industry owners and stockholders carries with it a certain grudging honesty.

When public employees bargain with agency management who are also paid by public funds, guess who’s not at the bargaining table?

You guessed it; the taxpayers.

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