Rather a good exit – March 10, 2005

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

I couldn’t help watch Dan Rather’s final newscast on CBS last night – sort of like driving by a car wreck. I’m not normally a network news watcher. I’m either working at that time or if watching TV, usually have it tuned to King of the Hill, Simpsons or Malcolm in the Middle reruns.

In light of the onslaught of attacks this week from various pundits including Walter Cronkite (Ouch! That must have stung), and considering Rather’s history of erratic behavior, I was half expecting him to do so something really bizarre.

He didn’t, and despite my suspicions that CBS may have had him on a five-second tape delay, he appeared to handle his farewell well. I can’t say I’ll miss him because I didn’t watch him, but he has done some solid reporting over the course of his long career and I hope history looks kinder on him than his current standing.

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Managing editor Luefras Robinson is enjoying a well-earned vacation this week so I’ll be pulling double duty at the paper. While the hours are longer, I don’t mind it because I love spending time in the news department, writing stories and building pages. It’s what’s fun about this business and I don’t do enough about it.

I had one response at least to my little tirade here yesterday about the credit card bill – destined to become law. Surprisingly to me at least, it supported my position. While driving out to cover the Ciba opening it’s news building today I thought of something else I missed yesterday.

The dastardly bill literally makes the courts a collection agent for the credit card companies. It must be nice to have that kind of pull. We sell advertising at the newspaper to make a living, probably 90 percent of which is sold on credit. Invariably, we extend credit to the wrong people some times and end up writing off those accounts. It’s the cost of doing business, part of the price we pay for making a bad credit decision. So much of our time is devoted to collections. I can only imagine how much more profitable we would be if we had taxpayer-funded collection agents at our beckon call.

That’s my final word on it. Please vote against anyone who votes for it.