WHERE ARE THE NICKELS?
The raw materials and minting of a shiny new Thomas Jefferson nickel, still worth half a dime despite inflation and global warming, come to $.08. That means the U.S. Government can strike 100 million five-cent pieces with face value of $5 million for a bargain-basement price of a mere $8 million. And we wonder why the national debt is an obscene $22 trillion?
Government waste aside, is it just me or have nickels become almost as rare as Interstate bridges in good repair? In our not quite cashless society, it seems like most cash transactions I conduct are of the $1.07 McDonald’s Diet Coke variety. Yeah, yeah, there’s also the occasional $2.19 Wendy’s Frosty or four-buck Dairy Queen Blizzard. But my cavities are not the topic. Nickels are.
Every week or so, I empty jacket pockets and change cups and toss my fistful of dollars into a handy repurposed Metamucil Jar Retirement Account. A while back, I noticed there seemed to be fewer nickels, and more dimes, than I expected. There was absolutely nothing scientific about my observation, but Peter Paul & Mary were suddenly stuck in my mind: “Where Have All the Nickels Gone, Long Time passing …”
So, help! I have to stop the stupid music. Have quick-vittle prices or sales tax adjustments thrown the coin universe out of balance? I like dimes as well as the next guy, even though I’m not a big FDR fan. But I kind of miss my 20 to the buck Tommy J’s.
LOSE THE PHONES
North Fork Schools are a small education district in the small town of Utica, Ohio, straddling the small counties of Knox and Licking. Utica’s claims to fame, besides being a wholesome place to raise a family, are the Velvet Ice Cream Factory and Utica Ice Cream Festival.
Journalist/author Patt Morrison and former New York Giant Todd Londot are perhaps the best-known people from the village of 2,000.
Today, North Fork Schools are attempting the near impossible: They want to separate students and their smart phones. School Board members will weigh a rule mandating that phones be kept in students’ lockers. Sounds to me like an idea way too logical to fly.
On one hand, you have a powerful computer, camera, recording device and telephone in every backpack and pocket. What could possibly go wrong? Off the top of my head, smart phones assist, if not encourage, cheating, invasion of privacy, bullying and inattentiveness.
On the other hand, you have kids and parents lamenting possible consequences, however fanciful, of possible occurrences, however fanciful, that might take place on the one day teachers forget their phones.
News of Timmy Lee’s broken collarbone, Janey’s lost pooch, Marty’s hilarious Facebook post, and even Aunt Polly’s embolism will keep until 3 o’clock or can be relayed from the school office. There was, after all, life before Apple.
Go for it, North Fork. Bring back learning in your schools. How’s that for a novel idea?
AOC DOING AMAZ(ON)ING WORK FOR CONSTITUEN
While celebrating defeat of big-bad Amazon’s brazen attempt to deliver 25,000 jobs to her congressional district in Queens and the Bronx, Democrat freshman Member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez left one question on the lips of thinking people: Did she really major in economics at Boston University? And if so, have any of her professors had their tenure revoked?
In a softball NBC interview, AOC not only kept a straight face, but smiled broadly as she explained the triumph of diverting Amazon’s jobs and $3 billion-plus annual payroll elsewhere.
She had vehemently opposed the agreement hammered out by Amazon, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio. It would have given $3 billion in tax breaks over 10 years to Jeff Bezos and his Amazon empire. With that break eliminated, AOC was giddy with ideas for spending the $3 billion in her district.
One problem, Congresswoman. There is no $3 billion. That was a planned reduction in what Amazon would pay while establishing its new headquarters. With the project now going somewhere people can add and subtract, Amazon will pay precisely nothing and hire precisely no one. And that makes you a hero how?
Let’s sum up: Thousands of construction jobs? Never mind.
25,000 permanent Amazon jobs? Gone.
Cavalier sacrifice of millions in new revenue to hundreds of small businesses? No worries. That guy with the bodega and his neighbors with the dry-cleaning business are probably fat-cat one percenters anyway.
All that, plus no Christmas cards from the Cuomos or DiBlasios. Nice work, there, AOC. Really nice work.