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Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Ward County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas
Jan. 21, 1999
No rose-colored glasses needed
By Rebecca Jones
We all know a cynic. Heck, why make it singular? We
probably know at least two or three. Seems to me the world
is overrun with them- but, forgive me- that in itself may be
a cynical thing to say.
The amusing thing is, cynics never believe themselves as
such. They are (and I quote) "realistic". Should you make
the mistake of trying to discuss whatever it is they're
being cynical about, you'll find yourself accused of naivety.
Case in point: I work with a Supreme Cynic (you know who you
are) who's told me on numerous occasions that I see people
and the world in general through rose-colored glasses.
Earnestly he looks at me, and says, "Rebecca, you can't have
that mentality in life if you want to survive." At this
point in the conversation, I have to fight the urge to punch
him, and generally say something to the effect of, "Why?"
He laughs hollowly and looks away. I can tell he feels
sorry for me.
Why, I honestly don't know.
I just don't see the point in getting all jaded about
things. To do so, I think, would be an exercise in emotional
self-destruction. Why sneer at the sincerity of human
motives and actions? What's the point? How does it help
you to "survive"? Does it not just bog you down?
Maybe I'm a blockhead (I suspect the Supreme Cynic thinks
so), but I simply fail to understand the virtue of such
Sure, it's common enough to be hurt by someone you trust. I
do admit that from time to time you may fall prey to
someone's hidden agenda. But- and correct me if I'm wrong-
that's just part of life. It does not a smidgen of good to
say to yourself, "Right, that's it, no more trusting people
Exactly how is that supposed to help anything? The way I
see it, the only logical approach is to trust someone till
they prove you should do otherwise.
Cynics are the worst kind of cowards. They're afraid-
afraid to take a chance, afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to
reach out. The sad thing is, in doing so, they bypass all
the genuine people out there who would never disappoint them.
Isn't life itself a risk? The non-cynics among us know it
is, and embrace it anyway- no rose-colored glasses needed.
Besides... I wear contacts.
The public life of Martin Luther King was one of much
preparation and determination, as well as others in
following the footsteps of Jesus Christ. "The son of a man
who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. Who was
the greatest servant of all."
Martin Luther King diligently fulfilled the requirements, as
well as others, for servanthood. Not only in action, but
with the spirit of a servant. He focused on serving the
needs of others, no matter how menial the tasks, how
tiresome or what he had to do, he kept his eyes focused on
the footsteps of Jesus, and in his mind's (spiritual eye) he
saw the glory with its streets paved with gold. No other pay
day was necessary, just the main thing, is to keep the main
thing. The main thing being seeking the Kingdom of God.
Martin Luther King knew that man had inherited the nature
of Adam and as such, that his task had its own perit. He
also knew no cross, no crown, but was willing to keep
following as others have, Jesus' Footsteps.
He lived what he believed, that God had created all men
equal. That all men had a right to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness, regardless of race, creed or color.
There is no color line with God, believe it or not. He's
looking at the heart.
Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King. Who labored for the
Master, as others.
Every time I see the so-called "Partnership for a
Competitive Texas" advertisements on television and in the
print media that ask: "Why does it still cost more to call
from Odessa to Fort Davis than to call from Odessa to
Honolulu?", a couple of questions come to mind. First, why
are A.T.&T. and the other long distance carriers who are
financing these ads not identifying themselves? Are they
afraid the consumers will see through their real agenda if
they know who's really behind the ads? I can tell you that
their agenda is in their own best interests. They want to
increase their own profits. They are not in the best
interests of West Texas consumers. Why else would they
spend millions upon millions of dollars on these ads? To
protect the consumer? I think not!
Consumers should know the story the long distance companies
are ignoring in regard to access charges:
The Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) [not Southwestern
Bell or other local companies] in 1984 established a
telephone service rate structure that, by design, tied
access rates to local telephone rates. Tying the two rates
together was part of a public policy goal called "universal
service." The idea behind universal service is to keep
local rates affordable for most Texans. To do this, the PUC
sets local rates well below the actual cost of the service,
especially in rural Texas.
To make up for the resulting local service losses the
telephone companies sustain, the PUC set access rates well
above cost. Long distance companies pay access charges to
Southwestern Bell and other traditional phone companies to
use their local lines.
Texas' intrastate access rate (12 cents a minute) is, in
fact, the third highest in the nation. But Texas' local
residential rate is the seventh lowest in the nation. And
the local business rate is the third lowest in the nation.
While the access rate in California (the example often cited
by critics) is 2 cents a minute, local service comparable to
Southwestern Bell's in Texas is $16 a month-at least $5 a
The long distance companies historically have not passed on
to consumers the total value of access reductions.
Moreover, typically those high-volume, preferred customers
on special promotional plans are targeted for savings. And
this August, AT&T initiated a $3.00 a month minimum charge
on customers' bills regardless if they make any long
distance calls. (In any given month, approximately 20 -30
percent do not.)
Bottom line, consumers in Texas historically have not reaped
the full benefits of reduced access rates. They have
benefitted from years of affordable local service rates made
possible by access subsidies. Any loss of access rate
support for local telephone service inevitably would place
upward pressure on local telephone rates.
Southwestern Bell Telephone
With 1998 gone and 1999 in full swing, much talk is centered
around the Y2K problem. For the uninitiated, that means Year
2000. That there is a problem with the older computer
systems understanding that it is 2000 and not 1900, is a
given. That the government and private industry are all
working to overcome that problem is also a given. But
whether or not that will happen by Jan. 1, 2000, no one
knows. If your home computer is not Y2K compliant, that is a
small problem; if the social security computers are not Y2K
compatible, that is a major problem.
Speculation as to what will happen at year 2000 ranges from
something close to the end of the world to business as
Banks are particularly concerned and with good reason. While
each individual bank may become Y2K compatible, it is also
necessary for systems affecting the industry, such as the
federal reserve, to bring their computers into compliance.
Some "end of the world" folks are advocating taking money
out of the bank and either converting it to gold,
non-perishable goods for trading or just having it around in
case it is needed and that causes concerns in the banking
Citing the way everything is tied into computers, these same
folks speculate that there could also be a failure in the
transportation industry, with public utilities and just
about everything you can think of. And in their worse case
scenario, a failure in the defense system that could leave
us vulnerable to attack from any enemy or combination of
enemies. Of course, with all that failure, the IRS would
most certainly collapse, providing a small silver lining to
the clouds of despair.
On the other side are the business as usual folks, those
optimists who believe everything will be compatible and the
world will never know the difference between 1999 and 2000.
That there will be problems seems a sure thing. According
to Senator Robert Bennett, chairman of the Senate committee
on the Y2K problem, the Health Care Financing
Administration, which pays the bills for 38 million seniors,
has tested just eight of its 103 systems. He also believes
90% of the doctors in private practice are unprepared and
nearly 65% of the U.S. hospitals have no plans to test their
efforts to prepare for Y2K. In addition, there are computer
chips in medical devices that could fail.
It is obvious that some systems will not be ready and there
may be some inconveniences because of it. But if humans,
particularly Americans, are anything, they are resilient and
innovative. Whatever happens because of the Y2K situation,
they will find a way to work around it.
Perhaps it would not be so bad to go back to a time when
people were more aware of their need for each other. If the
satellites all failed and there were no TV to watch, people
might visit more with one another and be more conscious of
each other's needs. If men exchanged skills instead of
money, if women traded fresh vegetables or canned goods
instead of always going to the store, if children used their
imaginations to devise play instead of accessing computer
games, perhaps the world could once again become a "kinder,
Ward Newspapers, Inc.
Joe Warren, Publisher
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314
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Copyright 1999 by Ward Newspapers Inc.