COLUMBUS _ The phone rang
and Buddy ran to check the caller
``It’s Uncle Chet!’’ he announced.
``Answer it,’’ I said from the living room, where I was tinkering with an old amplifier.
The boy said hello, and I waited.
``He says you can’t buy a waffle iron in Utica.’’
``An American-made waffle iron,’’ said Buddy, half into the phone, half to me.
``He says he tried three stores.’’ ``Here, let me talk to him.’’ I took the cordless handset.
``Did you know you can’t buy an American-made waffle iron anymore?’’ Uncle Chet announced.
``I thought you had a waffle iron,’’ I said.
``That’s Teflon- coated, and it smells when it warms up,’’ he said.
``Alice hates it, so we thought we’d get an old-fashioned, cast-iron one.’’
``And use it on the stove?’’
``Right, like Grandma used to.’’
``They’re the best kind,’’ I said.
``They still make ’em, but not America,’’ he said, ``and I’m not buying anything made in China.’’
``What do you have against the Chinese?’’ I asked.
``Nothing,’’ he said. ``It’s those traitors who moved our factories over there that I’m mad at.’’
``That, I agree with,’’ I said.
``So I’m not buying anything from a company that pretends to be American but has its factory overseas,’’ he said. ``The only way we’re going to bring jobs back here is to refuse to buy anything not made here, and I mean food, clothing, Sheetrock, you name it. If it isn’t made in the USA, I’m not putting a dollar toward it.’’
``Great idea, but you’re going to go barefoot this winter,’’ I said.
``No. New Balance sells American- made shoes.’’
``Yes. And Lodge is our last castiron cookware maker, but they don’t make waffle irons,’’ Uncle Chet said.
``Then get a used one, off eBay,’’ I suggested.
``Now there’s an idea,’’ he said.
``Hey, that’s an excellent idea.’’
``Now, how do we get everyone to buy American?’’ he asked.
``Get Obama to do it,’’ I said, ``although right now, he’s up to his neck in health care reform.’’
``We need ‘wealth care’ reform even more than health care reform,’’ Uncle Chet said, ``and the way to do it is to bring good-paying jobs here.
Manufacturing jobs; union jobs; jobs with benefits and security like in first-world countries _ like we used to have in our heyday in the fifties.’’
``Those were the days,’’ I said.
``When we led the world in manufacturing, workers were middleclass.
Two parents didn’t have to work; one could support a family.
But the upper class didn’t like that and launched a class war,’’ Uncle Chet said. ``They moved their factories to cheap labor markets, fattened their pockets and the American wage slave was sold down the river, where his kind of people don’t get jobs with security, pension and benefits.’’
``There’s a ring of truth there,’’ I said.
``All I’m saying is let’s fight back. Don’t buy anything from economic traitors. Buy American, wherever possible.’’
``They’re going to say you’re loony.’’
``Either we act now, while the American consumer still has clout, or the middle class is finished.’’
``You’re going to run up against the `free trade’ argument _ how our industries want to sell abroad, so we have to let others sell here,’’ I said.
``That argument is baloney, because we don’t make much of anything anymore,’’ Uncle Chet said. ``Today, I had money in my wallet and I was ready to spend it on an American-made waffle iron.
But from coast to coast, not a single American foundry makes them, and no one’s going to until we demand it.’’
Cooperstown News Bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace’s column appears every other week.
COLUMBUS _ The phone rang
and Buddy ran to check the caller
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories
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- Happy and sad memories of Jan. 7, 1966
- 1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories
- Cary Brunswick
It's time for warmer relations with Cuba
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- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
State's budget gimmick is hindering schools
Recently, the Margaretville and Roxbury boards of education joined their colleagues across the region and throughout the state in adopting a resolution calling on the state legislature to end the so-called "gap elimination adjustment."Continued ...
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- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
- Being a parent is a constant learning process
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- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
Local pipeline construction stirred controversy in 1964
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- Natural gas drilling efforts of the 1880s found little locally
- Beauty, grooming took center stage in Oneonta in March 1964
- Local news, opinion often mixed in 1889 newspapers
- Gasoline, demons and baseball were 'trending' locally in 1974
- Local pipeline construction stirred controversy in 1964
- Rick Brockway
It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
This has been a tough winter. In fact, it has been one of the coldest winters on record. Now don't get me wrong, I love winter and I always have. I've always believed that people who don't like winter don't have anything to do when the snow flies and temperatures drop below freezing. But I've never had that problem.
- Animals' behavior a sign of wild winter
- Opossum is unique in many ways
- It can be too cold sometimes
- It's tough to say what you really did see
- It's cold, but there's still plenty to do
- Sam Pollak
Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
Discuss politics or religion in any establishment that specializes in dispensing alcohol, and -- proprietors warn -- the discussion is highly likely to result in you waking up on the tavern floor and spitting out teeth, probably your own.Continued ...
- The world must think we're nuts
- Mistakes easy to take ... if they're not yours
- Celebrate 2013 with the annual 'Sammy Awards'
- The feds still aren't coming for your guns
- Religion should be a comfort, not a weapon
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner
An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues