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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 29 years."


Blogs are still abuzzing.....Local blogs (What? You donít know about them yet?) are still chattering about Republican County Chairman Gary Gillen turning the tables on the precinct chairs that wanted to tie his hands. In case you didnít know, Gillen has appropriated the traditional Lincoln Dinner, the partyís major fund-raiser, by forming a political action committee (PAC) to handle the logistics and funds for the Dinner, thereby circumventing the restrictions of the new by-laws.

In monitoring what many are saying on the local blogs, I have been surprised to see that the argument has degenerated to ďWho is a REAL Republican?Ē Now I donít know why I said that. Iím not really surprised.

Thatís been a tactic of a certain element in the Republican party from the national party down to the local level for some years now.

Why, it hasnít been too long ago that if you criticized the Iraq war, you were disloyal to your country and not a REAL Republican to boot. The crescendo of those criticizing from both parties has mounted to the point that mantra has been discarded.

Now, there are certain elements in the local party who are touting that if you agree with Gillenís actions, you are not a REAL Republican. You are a RINO (Republican in Name Only).

Just what in the Sam Hill is a RINO? According to this group, it is someone who doesnít support every candidate (good, bad, or indifferent) of the Republican party. According to them, a RINO is a voter that is pro-choice, pro-environment, and doesnít give a flip about gay marriage. It is a person that doesnít walk in lock step with their narrow view of what a Republican should be. Many in that group still believe that Tom DeLay is the second coming and would fall on a sword for him.

Hey, Iíve got news for you! A real Republican believes in fiscal responsibility, state and individual rights (as opposed to federal) and small government. He/she is anti-bureaucracy.

A group of so-called religious politicians have appropriated the party as their own and in a few short election cycles, changed the whole tenor of the party. Theyíve made social issues the thrust of the party, not fiscal issues. And if youíre not with them, why youíre not a REAL Republican.

I think the voters spoke this November, admittedly in other parts besides Fort Bend and I believe this will continue until Ď08, Letís face it. Do you want someone who believes in approaching Armageddon to have his finger on the nuclear trigger?

A Christmas story....Many times over the past (mumble) years that Iíve written this column, Iíve urged you to ďHave a Fort Bend Christmas,Ē ďShop Local,Ē and ďLeave your money at home.Ē In all honesty, Iíve had a selfish reason for doing this. Itís often said that retailers make their profits for the whole year in the Christmas season. Those local advertisers are what keeps this paper delivered to your front yard, and Iíve always believed in danciní with who brung me.

However, the number of really locally-owned business has dwindled as Fort Bend has grown and attracted many national retailers who in turn have offered competition that local businesses canít meet. They (local businesses) are still there, but you almost have to hunt for them.

My exhortation used to be that one saved gas by shopping locally, that sales tax money stayed at home, and that local people were employed. My goal was to keep shoppers out of Houston.

However, now all those conditions still exist when one is buying from a local national retailer. You save gas, your sales tax money stays at home, and local people are employed.

As our shopping habits changed from locally owned shops to national retailers, we really never developed a loyalty to the national companies. And lately, weíve certainly developed an alternative to crowded, anonymous shopping. Itís called the Internet.

Yes, my friends. Those same companies that ran our small businesses out of town are now being assailed themselves by Internet shopping.

Internet shopping is easy. Itís open 24 hours a day. Itís never crowded and your stuff arrives on your doorstep, which is about the most extreme form of saving gas.

Another advantage of on-line shopping is that you are not tempted to pick up other things as you are in an enticingly displayed store. The major disadvantage is that you canít pick up and examine the merchandise, something we all like to do.

Pundits have predicted for years that ďbig boxĒ retailers will lose out to the internet retailers who donít even really have to warehouse stock. They can simply round it up after you order.

Not surprisingly, most of the ďbig boxĒ retailers have aggressive web sites; however, the prices at their sites are not the lowest on the web although you can generally trust them to get the merchandise to you. Another advantage that large national retailers have on the internet, is most allow you to return unwanted merchandise to a local store.

Yes, shopping has really changed over the years and since I have no real loyalty to those large chains, it doesnít bother me a bit to shop on-line.

But if I can get my Christmas gifts from a locally-owned store whose owner is a member of the community and supports it in many ways every day, then Iím there.

And you should be too!


Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  December 27, 2006