Publisher’s Corner

JB Lester

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Good. My wife Niki and I had tickets to see Hamilton at the Fox Theater this past Spring, but like so many other things, the performance was canceled due to the pandemic. So Niki was very pleased to see that it was available with original cast as a movie on Disney+. I had my doubts about Hamilton only because I had heard it was done in rap and hip-hop style music. Since I didn’t understand or appreciate this type of music, I went into watching it with skepticism. After all, everyone raved about CATS and I found that musical dismal. Hamilton however took me to a place I have never been. The music, the cast, the choreography, the voices and the story were simply amazing. I took to rap like learning a new language and I got chills numerous times during the performance. We watched it for a second time with subtitles which helped me catch some of the fast-paced dialogue. For those of you who are rap-impaired, I strongly suggest you see this musical masterpiece. Phantom is still number one in my heart, but Hamilton is now number two and Music Man slid down a notch to third. All three musicals have etched a place in my heart and mind for all time. Guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. I am so glad I was “in the room where it happened!”

The Bad: I was shocked to learn recently that the state of Missouri has no labor laws requiring employers to offer a lunch break to full time workers. In this time of pandemic, stress and front-line workers often putting themselves in harm’s way so the rest of us can have our heath care, our groceries, and our sanity, would it be too much to ask for all Missouri workers to have a 20-30-minute lunch break? I know what you are thinking. Who the heck doesn’t give their employees a lunch break? Well, the state of Missouri doesn’t think it’s important enough to offer a lunch break with a labor law. And unless a worker sits down with the employer and makes it a part of their employment agreement, it doesn’t have to happen. I have been a small business employer for more than 40 years and I would never deny any workers a lunch break. In this time of human and civil rights, how can this be? Where are the labor activists when we need them? And now more than ever during a pandemic, it should be a priority to make sure our workers are given the opportunity to have a sandwich in the middle of their work shift. Employers can’t discriminate against you because of your race, gender or age, but you can be asked to work full time without a lunch break? Who is running this show?

The Ugly: The pandemic rages on. Positive cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. School districts and parents are deciding what to do with students this fall. Everyone agrees that kids need to get back to school. Some so-called “experts” say that kids are probably not carriers of COVID-19. What? That’s ridiculous. Every year when my grade-school grandson gets a cold, I catch it from him. Kids are carriers, period! If kids are going back to school, the districts better have plenty of money so they can implement needed safety protocols for students, teachers, staff and families. Otherwise the schools will become breeding grounds for new outbreaks. If students spend time learning online, school districts better make sure all students have devices like laptops or tablets and access to internet. In the mean time, do your part to fight this pandemic: wear your mask, social-distance, wash your hands and stay home if you can, especially if you are at high risk. People adapt, and can come back from the loss of a vacation, a concert, a political rally or a haircut, but you can’t come back if you lose your life. 

Stay Safe, Mask Up, Save Lives! J.B. Lester