The Duck Stops Here

You’ve probably noticed how the media gets stuck on a word, or a phrase, and in no time at all, it is hovering on the lip of every pontificating pundit on the Sunday morning chitter chatter shows.

I first noticed this phenomenon when David Stockton, former Secretary of the Treasury, denounced Ronald Reagan’s economic policy by declaring. “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it probably is a duck.”

Clearly, without coming right out and saying so, he was implying the proposed budget was a dead duck. Stockton was fired soon after delivering his shockingly disloyal opinion.

Dead ducks are not what any one wants — even as economic indicators. Sitting ducks are something else again. (A variation on this duck business lately has become, “If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck — shoot it.”)

Some time ago a terrible controversy about apples erupted. There was furious suspicion of behind-the-scenes hanky panky. Yet another scandal had surfaced.

Washington Fuji Apple

Washington State Fuji Apple

It had been revealed on the Sunday evening program, 60 Minutes that apple growers in Washington State were using Alar to promote the growth of their fruit.

A representative of the US Food & Drug Administration was invited to cower before star correspondent and unofficial finger wagger Mike Wallace, who more or less accused the government of planning to poison all the innocent little children throughout the land.

The first words that tumbled from the lips of the hapless scientist were: This is a par-a-dox…” He got out not one word further. He had aroused the ire of the nation that thought, (incorrectly as it turned out), he was belittling the problem by describing the impending disaster as simply “a pair of ducks.”

In so doing he cooked his goose. Apple pie, the salt of the earth, was clearly endangered. The nation howled.

As voters’ confidence in Congress continues to unravel, it is reassuring to learn there are still a few (food) visionaries in the world…


Create Jobs for USA

Starbucks is planning to do something inspirational to restore our faith in our institutions.

Here’s the idea: Starbucks Coffee Co. next month (November 1) is planning to ask customers to pay $5 or more toward a national fund for community business lending in a move aimed at creating jobs.

The Seattle-based coffee chain is partnering with the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), to launch the “Create Jobs for USA program.

And, starting Nov. 1, Create Jobs for USA will begin accepting donations online or at Starbucks’ nearly 6,800 locations throughout the U.S.

Donors who give $5 or more will receive a red-white-and-blue wristband with the word “indivisible” inscribed.

Starbucks said all of the proceeds will go to the OFN to help fund loans to businesses. The coffee company also will contribute $5 million in seed money from its Starbucks Foundation.

“Small businesses are the backbone of America, employing more than half of all private sector workers — but this critical jobs engine has stalled,” said Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. “We’ve got to thaw the channels of credit so that community businesses can start hiring again.”

I’m sending in my contribution right now. How about you?

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