Today’s news:

workers who don’t work

Starbucks slashed 2,000 jobs last year and is cutting another 1,000 now. Microsoft will dismiss 5,000 employees over the next 18 months. Intel plans 6,000 pink slips. Home Depot — 7,000. Caterpillar — 20,000. Sprint Nextel — 8,000. And on and on and on. Not a week goes by when we don’t read about layoffs from major corporations. What I haven’t read about are layoffs from the oversized staffs of elected officials. When the economy was flying high the politicians were given more funds to increase their staffs. Now that belt tightening has become necessary one would think they would be leading the way. If they are I haven’t heard or read about any Congressman from anywhere laying off one single solitary staff member. For that matter there’s a lot of waste that can be trimmed in just about every government office. Want to see? Get permission to take a walk down the halls of Queens Borough Hall. In office after office you will see five or more employees. One on the telephone, one actually working, and three or more huddled over a desk, jabbering away with a cup of coffee in hand. And, God Forbid, you should interrupt to get some attention you’ll get this response: “Just a minute. We see you. You’ll have to wait for her.” Then the big mouth will point to the gal on the phone while she continues her very important personal conversation. How do I know the conversation is personal? Just listen and you’ll hear “beauty parlor”, “mother-in-law”, “pizza”, etc. I honestly believe that they can dismiss one third of all of those “workers” and have the exact same amount of inefficiency.

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I just returned from a marvelously enjoyable afternoon at Fort Lauderdale Stadium where I watched the National League whip the American League in the Joe DiMaggio Legends’ baseball game. This twenty-first annual event helps fill the coffers of the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida. Many of our former heroes retired in the Sunshine State and are thrilled to be remembered by their fans. Art Shamsky, Ron Swoboda, Brooks Robinson, Oil Can Boyd, Blue Moon Odom, Amos Otis, Ed Kranepool, Minnie Minoso, Ron Blomberg, George Foster, Alvin Dark, Gene Michael, and on and on goes the list. There were about fifty in all of our National Pastime greats. I watched in awe and couldn’t help wondering 1) When did they get so old? And 2) So many of these idols never earned more than a couple of hundred thousand dollars in their careers. How many Billions — note - I said Billions with a capitol B — would they be paid in today’s market?

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With this economy sliding into the sewer it may be time for every one of us to cut out a few of our needless luxuries. You might want to start with your cable bill. Are you one of those who are paying more than a hundred bucks a month? I am STANGERSHBEIN@BELLSOUTH.NET asking, are all of those premium channels really necessary?

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