The Press-Dispatch

September 11, 2019

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C-8 Wednesday, September 11, 2019 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond Just another day with soulless leadership My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. Vaping: It's more than blowing smoke Minority View by Walter E. Williams Social Security Matters by by Russell Gloor Criminologists mislead us Confused about survivor benefits? Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 Continued on page 9 John Paul Wright, professor at University of Cincinnati, and Mat- thew DeLisi professor at Iowa State University have penned a powerful article titled "What Crim- inologists Don't Say, and Why," in City Journal, Summer 2017. There is significant bias among criminol- ogists. The reason for that bias is that political leanings of academ- ic criminologists are liberal. Liber- al criminologists outnumber their conservative counterparts by a ra- tio of 30 -to-1. Ideology almost per- fectly predicts the position of crim- inologists on issues from gun con- trol to capital punishment to harsh sentencing. Liberal criminologists march in step for gun control, op- pose punitive prison sentences, and are vehemently against the death penalty. In 2012, the National Academy of Sciences commis- sioned a study on the growth of incarcer- ation. It showed that from 1928 until 1960, crime rates rose slow- ly each year. A fter the 1960s, crime rates ex- ploded to unprece- dented levels of vio- lence until the 1990s. Prior to 1980, only 40 % of individuals arrested for mur- der were sentenced to prison and those that were served an average of five years. In 1981, less than 10 % of those arrested for sexual assault were sentenced to prison. Those who were sentenced served an av- erage of 3.4 years. Liberal crim- inologists probably believe that light sentencing for murderers and rapists is just. If criminologists have the guts to even talk about a race- crime connection, it's behind closed doors and in guarded lan- guage. Any discus- sion about race and crime sets one up for accusations of racism and that can mean the destruction of one's pro- fessional career. Wright and DeL - isi say that liberal criminologists avoid discussing even explicit racist examples of black-on-white Dear Rusty: My husband passed away in 2013 just a few days short of his 63rd birthday. I was 56 at the time and when I went in- to the Social Security office to no- tify them of his death I was told I would be able to get a partial draw when I turned 60. Two years after that I was told that I would never draw anything from his account as the rules had been changed, and since he had never drawn Social Security that his benefits were eliminated. I am 62 and intend to keep working but any information you have might be helpful. Signed: Confused Survivor Dear Confused Survivor: You've certainly been given some conflicting information, so I'll try to clarify. If your husband had ac- cumulated enough quarter cred- its to be eligible for Social Secu- rity, you are eligible for a survivor benefit even if your husband was not yet collecting Social Security (SS) benefits when he passed. To be eligible for SS, your husband would have needed to work for about 10 years for an employer which participated in Social Security pro- gram (meaning, both your husband and his employer paid SS FI- CA payroll taxes on his earnings). Most U.S. employers par- ticipate in the So- cial Security program. However, if your husband worked his entire career as an employee of a state or local government which does not participate in SS, or if he worked for the Federal government under their "CSRS" program, or if he worked for any other entity which didn't participate in Social Secu- rity, he may not have had enough SS credits to be eligible. But if he contributed to Social Security for at least 10 years and had at least 40 credits (can earn 4 per year) then he would have been el- igible for SS, and you would be eligible for a survivor benefit from his record. The rules haven't changed for any of this. If your husband was at least eligible for SS (not necessarily collecting), you became eligible for a survivor benefit at age 60 although it would have been re- duced by about 28.5% from what you would get at your full retire- ment age (FR A). You are still eli- gible for the survivor benefit but, if you take it now at age 62, it will still be reduced for claiming be- fore your FR A, and since you are still working you'll also be sub- ject to Social Security's earnings limit ($17,640 for 2019). If you ex- ceed the earnings limit, SS will withhold from future benefits $1 for every $2 you are over the lim- it, which would mean you wouldn't get benefits for some months un- til they recover what is due. If your current earnings are high, it may not be prudent to claim early SS benefits even if you're entitled to them. The earnings limit chang- es annually, is considerably high- er (by 2.5 times) in the year you reach your FR A and goes away once your reach your full retire- ment age. For your awareness, the survi- vor benefit reaches the maximum amount when you reach your full retirement age (but is reduced if you claim it earlier). You have the option to restrict your claim to sur- vivor benefits only, and you may want to do this if your own SS ben- efit from your lifetime earnings re- cord will be more at age 70 than your survivor benefit will be at Pursuit of the Cure by Star Parker Cuccinelli right to keep the focus on freedom The irony of Constitutional genius Lucid Moments By Bart Stinson A disclaimer: I am not an expert on vaping. However, I think I can claim a fairly good understanding of anatomy, histology, physiolo- gy, biochemistry, pathology toxi- cology, human behavior, patholo- gy, etc,etc. There goes the blowhorn again. I dedicated my life to these scienc- es. What has drawn my attention lately is about the news of deaths and severe illnesses from vaping. I'm fairly certain that many read- ers and followers of the news have gotten hold of these phenomenon that is happening to our nation and different parts of the world. So, curious me, I started doing some research and reading on vaping, just for fun. Who knows, I might try it once. But I won't in- hale. I promise. And I like to joke too. So vaping is the practice of inhaling and exhaling vapors using devices that would look like large pens or thumbdrives. They started as e-cig- arette or electronic cigarette devices that consist of a mouth- piece, a battery, a car- tridge where the e-liq- uid or e-juice is contained, and heating components which are ac- tivated by a battery. The e –liquid products contain propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liq- uid mixed with nicotine and oth- er chemicals and metals but no to- bacco. Some e- juices now have been mixed with THC or even CBD extracted from marijuana. Inge- niously, the e-juices have been made more attractive by add- ing flavors like man- go, fruit medley, or crème brulee. Sounds like a restaurant menu on the section of des- serts isn't it. I almost hear conversations on outlets that sell this product like this: "Hey, I'd like to buy your vaping product and make sure it's the one with the fruit medley fla- vor, and if it's available, throw in The left-wing media is having a field day distorting acting U.S. Cit- izenship and Immigration Servic- es Director Ken Cuccinelli's com- ments regarding the famous po- em emblazoned on the base of the State of Liberty. Discussing the Trump adminis- tration's new "public charge" rule, an NPR host asked Cuccinelli if the poem's words "give me your tired, your poor" are also part of the American ethos. "They certainly are," said Cucci- nelli. "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and will not become a pub- lic charge." The new "public charge" rule will expand the government's lati- tude to reject permanent resident status — green cards — to immi- grants seeking government aid, such as foods stamps, housing and Medicaid. Those media hosts pouncing on Cuccinelli show little interest in the crowning phrase of the po- em, "yearning to breathe free." CNN's Erin Burnett cherry- picked words from the poem: "wretched ... poor ... refuse." "That's what the poem says America is supposed to stand for," charged Burnett. Maybe that's what America is about to a left-wing CNN host. But to me and tens of millions of Amer- icans, America is about "yearning to breathe free." Cuccinelli explained to Burnett, who ignored him, that the first immigration law excluding those who would likely become a pub- lic charge was passed in 1882, the year before Emma Lazarus wrote "The New Colossus." Immigration is just part of the larger discussion dividing us so deeply today. Is "freedom" what primarily defines our nation, or is it welfare and redistribution of in- come? And if it's "freedom," what does this mean? Here is the great free market economist and Nobel laureate Mil- ton Friedman: "Why is it that free immigration was a good thing be- fore 1914" — according to popular opinion — "and free immigration is a bad thing today? ... Because it is one thing to have free immigra- tion to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both." "If you have a welfare state," continues Friedman, "in which ev- ery ... resident is promised some minimal level of income ... whether he works or not, produces it or not, well, then it really is an impossible thing" to have free immigration. In 1900, three years before Em- ma Lazarus' poem was posted on the Statue of Liberty, 2.8 percent of the nation's gross domestic prod- uct was taken by the federal gov- ernment. Today it is 23.2 percent, almost one quarter of our nation's economy taken and largely redis- tributed by the federal govern- ment. Those immigrating to the Unit- ed States in 1903, when "The New Colossus" appeared on the State of Liberty, were the "tired ... poor ... huddled masses yearning to breathe free." What America of- fered them was freedom, work, opportunity. They came, learned the lan- guage, became part of the coun- try and its culture, and participat- ed in building the great and pros- perous nation that America was to become in the 20th century. It's not to say that many who aspire to come to America today are not motivated by these things. But because welfare is so available now, in contrast to 1903, we must be careful. Not only is it costly to us but, despite the claims of pro- gressives, rarely is it compassion- ate. I know from personal experi- ence we should be offering those escaping oppression a free life, not more government. It is simple prudence to make sure that new arrivals to the coun- try become producers and tax- payers rather than consumers of I commute weekly to work at a very large out-of-state compa- ny with a lot of employee break- rooms, and a unionized workforce that bids on its job schedules and break areas, based on seniority. There is no systematic or invol- untary segregation and no discern- ible unfriendliness but, over time, birds of a feather tend to flock (and bid jobs) together. We have recur- ring Puerto Rican, Brazilian, Fili- pino, Dominican, Black American and Egyptian zones within the or- ganization. I get assigned to re- place absent employees in various work areas, so I work and take my breaks with all kinds of people. I overhear a lot of conversations, but they're usually not in my lan- guage. Last week I was in a most- ly-Black breakroom, so I actually understood what was being said. Although our company pipes CNN television news into its cus- tomer areas and employee break- rooms, there is surprisingly little political conversation, so far as I can tell. These are hardworking, sun-baked people, many of whom have second jobs. Their political attention is episodic, and they of- ten rely on the mass media or con- ventional wisdom for their opin- ions. But sometimes they surprise you. There was a very interesting exchange between a glib and pro- vocative young Jamaican immi- grant and his U.S. Black co-work- ers last week. It started out as a pretty stale argument about gun control and Americans' hasty re- sort to violence, then moved into a remarkably sophisticated discus- sion of our Constitutional protec- tions, and the Founding Fathers. The Jamaican scoffed at the U.S. Constitution. He said he couldn't respect any document written by slave-owners like Thomas Jeffer- son. I expected nods of agreement around the room. Earlier, one had spoken of his sense of loss and grievance because, due to U.S. slavery, he didn't know his grand- mothers' names. But these gun-owning Amer- ican men weren't willing to jetti- son their Constitutional heritage, either. They were paying attention after all. One picked holes in the Jamaican's bombast with a series of probing questions. If Thomas Jefferson had invent- ed fire, would the young Jamaican refuse to heat his own food? If Jef- ferson had invented cars, would he refuse to drive? What if slave-own- ers had invented the cure for leu- kemia? Would he deny his daugh- ter treatment? That would be pret- ty silly, but no dumber, and no more tragic, than giving up your Constitutional rights and protec- tions. People who work hard for every- thing they've got, and who have to replace whatever gets lost, like these men, get pretty good at not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Prim, eternally offend- ed soccer moms and Millennials may profit by their example. The Headlines were startling: "Colts Are Outta Luck"; Luck Re- tires; Where Are Colts Now Luck Is Out? " Papers across Indiana for many days ran countless front page stories about the saga of the Indianapolis Colts and Andrew Luck. I suppose for the sport mind- ed, this was a body slam. The news was unexpected with the Colt's front office saying just two days earlier that Luck was "doing well." However, keep in mind; it is just football. Luck's retirement did not change the lives of millions or threaten the peace of the free world. His retirement is just one in the cycle of players in all of sports to rise to the top and then retire. On the same page, a 15 -year-old boy was arrested for the fatal shooting of a broth- er 16 and his sister 15; also a woman shot and killed her boyfriend and his 3-month-old neph- ew and wounded his mother, and she then calmly called 911 and waited for the police. Nonetheless, these crimes and the pain caused among the fami- lies and community quickly fell away from the daily news; howev- er, countless stories of the Colts and Luck continued. Sadly, these are not isolated incidents. A fter every shooting, there are cries for stricter gun control with some advocates demanding the end to private gun ownership, then on with life, nothing more to see here, move along. Long ago the major media outlets edged away from hard news to soft news and feel good pieces. Likewise, networks Continued on page 9

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