The Edmond Sun


May 31, 2013

HEY HINK: America needs an engine replacement

EDMOND — Recent headlines have me remembering an incident from my adolescence. When I turned 16, I knew if I wanted a car, I’d have to pay for it. I started looking for the cheapest heap I could find. To my delight, I found the car of my dreams on a lot near my home. It was a red and white ’54 Ford with a beautiful paint job and white sidewalls. It was, as we said back then, “real cherry.” The price was too high, but dad knew his way around a car lot and I knew he could get the dealer to come down.

I don’t remember how long it was before I could get pop to take me over to make the deal, but I died a thousand deaths during the wait. Someone else was sure to buy that car before we could get over there. When we finally showed up at the lot, there she was, appearing to my adolescent eyes as the most glamorous magnetic mechanical creation in the history of manufacturing. And she had to be mine — all mine.

The lot owner was all smiles and cigars and assured us that in the automotive universe we’d never find a better car for the money. He didn’t need to convince me. I could tell by looking. Pop walked around the car — studying. The owner ignored me and followed pop keeping up a steady stream of chatter. Pop knelt by one of the beautifully sleek rear fenders to look at something. He glanced up to make eye contact with the salesman and something passed between them that was over my head. That’s when the dealer turned his attention to me. He started drawing word pictures of me pulling up to my girlfriend’s house in this beauty, or me driving her to the stadium with my friends aboard.

Pop asked him to start it up. It was loud, but that was fine with me. In fact, I loved it. Pop opened the hood, took a look, thanked the man and said “Let’s go.” I was heartbroken and eager to argue, but pop said we’d talk about it later. The salesman followed us to our Plymouth suggesting he might come off the price to allow for a new muffler. Pop thanked him again and we drove away. I was furious and frustrated. Pop was amused. I went through my whining routine about how, if I was going to spend my own money, I should be able to buy what I want. After he heard me out, pop said, “Let me tell you about that car. If you still want it after you know the facts, it’s your headache.”

The body was rusted and painted over. The engine had not been properly lubricated and the rods were knocking. The loud motor noise was intended to camouflage the fact that the engine was on its last legs. Couldn’t we fix the motor? “Son, by the time you hear the rods knocking, she’s too far gone.”

What does this have to do with recent headlines? Let’s start with the rusted body. A sharp trader made cosmetic adjustments calculated to fool a gullible buyer into purchasing a poor quality product.

Recently, the voters of South Carolina re-elected Mark Sanford. Today, Anthony Weiner is a legitimate contender for mayor of New York. Both these man committed shameful betrayals of the public trust. They lied to their constituents, their friends and their families. They held their nation up to ridicule. They compounded their deceitful acts with conduct that can only be described as low and cowardly. Today, they’ve painted over their underlying corruptions. Sadly, voters are too willing to fall for the fancy paint job. Even when they’ve seen the disgusting defect with their own eyes, they can’t focus on anything but the glamour.

About those knocking rods; we’ve now learned that the Internal Revenue Service has exploited its vast enforcement powers to discriminate against American citizens who express views unacceptable to “the Bureau.” Just as an engine that is poorly lubricated will ultimately fail, powerful government agencies that are poorly supervised will ultimately betray. Is it me, or are there bureaucratic rods knocking all over this country? Engine repair won’t do. We need to replace the motor.

So, whatever became of that car? Well, I didn’t buy it. I knew the guy that did. He drove it a couple of weeks and blew the engine. Instead, I spent a couple of hundred bucks and got a ’61 Falcon. Not so “cool,” but ultimately worth the money. Thanks for the lesson, pop. I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is an Edmond resident and retired attorney.

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  • Bangladesh’s sweatshops — a boycott is not the answer

    One year ago this week, the eight-story Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka, killing 1,129 people. The building’s top floors had been added illegally, and their weight caused the lower stories to buckle. Many of the victims were young women who had been sewing low-priced clothes for Western brands, earning a minimum wage of about $9 a week. It was the worst disaster in garment industry history.

    April 24, 2014

  • Loosening constraints on campaign donations and spending doesn’t destroy democracy

    Campaign finance reformers are worried about the future. They contend that two Supreme Court rulings — the McCutcheon decision in March and the 2010 Citizens United decision — will magnify inequality in U.S. politics.
    In both cases, the court majority relaxed constraints on how money can be spent on or donated to political campaigns. By allowing more private money to flow to campaigns, the critics maintain, the court has allowed the rich an unfair advantage in shaping political outcomes and made “one dollar, one vote” (in one formulation) the measure of our corrupted democracy.
    This argument misses the mark for at least four reasons.

    April 23, 2014

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 23, 2014

  • Free trade on steroids: The threat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    Many supporters of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade agreement are arguing that its fate rests on President Obama’s bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan this week. If Japan and the United States can sort out market access issues for agriculture and automobiles, the wisdom goes, this huge deal — in effect, a North American Free Trade Agreement on steroids — can at last be concluded.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Chicago Tribune: If Walgreen Co. moves its HQ to Europe, blame Washington’s tax failure

    The Walgreen Co. drugstore chain got its start nearly a century ago in downstate Dixon, Ill., before moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and eventually to north suburban Deerfield, Ill.
    Next stop? Could be Bern, Switzerland.
    A group of shareholders reportedly is pressuring the giant retail chain for a move to the land of cuckoo clocks. The reason: lower taxes. Much lower taxes.
    If Walgreen changes its legal domicile to Switzerland, where it recently acquired a stake in European drugstore chain Alliance Boots, the company could save big bucks on its corporate income-tax bill. The effective U.S. income-tax rate for Walgreen, according to analysts at Swiss Bank UBS: 37 percent. For Alliance Boots: about 20 percent.

    April 21, 2014

  • Sulphur a future major tourist destination?

    Greta Garbo says, “I want to be alone,” in the 1932 film “Grand Hotel.” That MGM film starred Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery and a young actress from Lawton named Joan Crawford. It told the stories of several different people who were staying at an exclusive hotel of that name in Berlin Germany.
    It was critically well received and it inspired more recent films such as “Gosford Park” and television shows such as “Downton Abbey” in that it detailed the relationship between powerful and wealthy people and those who served them. The film opened amidst much fanfare and it received the Oscar for best picture in the year of its release.

    April 21, 2014

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Why poverty across the world matters to Americans

    A child starving in South Sudan should matter to Americans. That was the message delivered last week by Nancy Lindborg, whose job at the U.S. Agency for International Development is to lead a federal bureau spreading democracy and humanitarian assistance across the world.
    That world has reached a critical danger zone, with three high-level crises combining military conflict with humanitarian catastrophes affecting millions of innocents in Syria, the South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
    But back to that child.

    April 18, 2014

  • Government leadership complicit in overfilling prisons

    One of the thorniest problems facing any society is the question of what to do with transgressors. Obviously, the more complicated a culture becomes, the more factors come into play in trying to figure out what to do with those who choose not to “play by the rules.”

    April 18, 2014

  • My best days are ones normal people take for granted

    It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen.
    “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me about sleeping late. For a few months after I was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, I often slept 15 hours a day. The doctors said my body needed to heal. It must still be healing because I hardly ever see 8 a.m. anymore.

    April 18, 2014


Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

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