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Smart Talk

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What’s up with nimrod?
During a U.S. House of Representatives debate last week about a domestic spending bill, First District Congressman Marion Berry called Republican Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida a “Howdy Doody-looking nimrod.”

What on earth is a nimrod? How badly was Putnam attacked? We found the answer in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia: “Nimrod” was Bugs Bunny’s name for Elmer Fudd, the dimwitted hunter in the Loony Tunes cartoon, and it means stupid or obnoxious.

We can excuse Berry’s breach of decorum. The bill being debated slashed basic social programs for health care, education and poor people, cutting about 220,000 people off food stamps and allowing states to impose new costs on Medicaid beneficiaries, producing $50 billion in savings that will be offset by a new tax cut for the wealthy. Not a single House Democrat voted for the bill, which passed 217-215. No nimrods there.

Jobs don’t follow cuts
President Bush’s tax cuts have not produced the new jobs that were promised, according to a study released by United for a Fair Economy, a national nonprofit group “that spotlights the growing economic divide in the U.S.”

“Contrary to what President Bush and his tax policymakers are saying, tax cuts do not automatically create jobs,” said Liz Stanton, director of research at UFE and a co-author of the report. “Tax cuts are just one of many things that can affect job growth.” Among the report’s findings:

• The administration promised its tax-cutting policy would create 5.5 million new jobs from June 2003 to December 2004, but only 2.6 million were created, less than the 4.1 million new jobs that would have been expected from normal growth without special economic stimulus.

• The weakness in job creation during an economic recovery that the U.S. is currently experiencing is unprecedented since World War II.

• The percentage of workers holding good-quality jobs (defined as those paying at least $16 an hour, providing employer-paid health insurance, and providing a pension) has remained flat at 25 percent.

• Black employment is 89.6 percent, compared to 95.2 percent for whites.

• On average, Latino workers make $10,000 a year less than whites, and the gap is increasing.

Depends on the dressing
A sample of prices for Thanksgiving meals in Little Rock:

Aydelotte’s restaurant, North Little Rock: $24 per person for turkey, $26 for salmon, $28 for prime rib.

Camp David restaurant in the Holiday Inn Presidential Conference Center: $22.95 for adults, $19.95 for persons 62 and older, $14.95 for children 12 and younger.

Boulevard Bakery take-out meal: $34 for turkey for 8-12; $22.50 for tray of vegetables for 8 to 10.

Arkansas Farm Bureau: $30.81 will feed a family of 10 at the holiday table — $6 less than last year.

Union Rescue Mission: Donation of $8.95 will help feed 5 peo-ple, $16.11 will help feed 9, $32.22 helps 18 and $53.70 helps 30.

Arkansas Foodbank: A contribution of $1 feeds 6.

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