The Joplin effect
February 29, 2012
You know how kids seem to be glued to their cellphones but, thanks to a Missouri law, at least not texting in their cars. Next summer 2012, according to Lee Koo, community manager of cnet online, kids will be able to text in the shower. Apparently, Japanese electronics firm Fujitsu is coming out with a waterproof handset starting with the European market (apparently it's already a commonplace feature in Japan).

The city of Joplin wants everyone to know that Standard & Poor's has just released Joplin's credit rating of AA-, offering no change from before the tornado struck. Joplin preserves its credit rating by keeping a lot of cash on hand and borrowing a minimum through the use of municipal bond funding. That's because there's a lot of very conservative old guys on the city council. They'd rather hold on to the money for a rainy day rather than floating bonds at a very favorable rate of 2-21/2 percent (to be paid back at very inflationary dollars) in order to make the city a nicer place in which to live.

I got a laugh when I googled Standard & Poor's. A bunch of people have given the credit rating agency one star out of five. They apparently lost money on investments that S&P had not downgraded under their old rating system. "What an oddly apt name except you got it backwards," reports "Kevin."

The EPA recently awarded a whole bunch of companies for reducing emissions outside of their operations and for exemplary leadership in response to climate change. Some of these companies include IBM, Campbell Soup, Hasbro, Intel and SC Johnson. The EPA has been criticized by Republicans for going hog wild to reduce our carbon footprint. Most Missouri Republicans apparently don't even believe in global warming, let alone asking business to spend money protecting the environment. (Tell that to a polar bear whose home base is shrinking.)

I have to give Sen. Ron Richard (R-Joplin) credit, though, for at the very least, introducing SB 619. He wants to modify the current statute to include a wind or tornado disaster, mandating that insurance companies pay claimants for the total value of an insurance policy for the loss of or damage to a home from any disaster covered under the policy without claiming a diminished value on the property. If your house is insured for $80,000, then that's what's paid out to chiseling, no need to provide extensive inventory lists.

My office has received hundreds of calls from people fighting with their insurance company to get the full value of their policy in the wake of the disaster in Joplin," Richard reports. "That is not right, pure and simple. People who have lost everything should be able to get the full value of their policy so they can begin the process of rebuilding their lives."

Branson officials commenting about citizen's response to the apparent F-1 tornado that struck their city said, "There was a bit of a Joplin effect." Some have misinterpreted the remark. They have admitted that there was "noting like the Joplin tornado." What they were saying was that people didn't seem to take the approaching extreme weather seriously. For those who are wordsmiths, "Joplin effect" is a cool addition to the English language.

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