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TALKING POINTS: Sad, but that's progress

Jim French
Jim French

Iconic department stores across the country are closing their doors, vacating shopping malls like they did downtowns years ago.

Carson’s, Bergner’s, Younkers and other familiar mall department stores will be no more.

Retail will survive and flourish no doubt with less overhead among other things and you won’t have to leave your home to shop.

It’ll all be right there online, at your fingertips. 

You won’t have to argue with a clerk at the customer service counter to make returns and you won’t have to deal with large crowds of shoppers and their bratty kids anymore.

Of course you also won’t be enjoying browsing the merchandise with your kids, grandkids or spouse, or trying on clothes in a cramped space.

Maybe some of our shopping focus will finally shift back to our locally owned and operated stores.


This is where progress gets ridiculous for some.

Accessing Facebook or whatever, uploading a boarding pass or sports or entertainment tickets or just browsing the internet is certainly convenient, but watching television programs, sporting events or movies on your phone?

Isn’t that what a television is for, especially the big new smart TV’s with the large screens?

Just venting.


Illinois law enforcement observed Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April with a $500,000 federal highway safety grant to step up distracted driving enforcement.

Anybody notice any difference on the streets and highways?

“Hey buddy, watch the game at home or at least park it to watch it.”

“Hey lady, stop texting and pay attention. The traffic light has now gone through three cycles and you haven’t moved.”

The message probably got through to more than few and saved some lives, although far too many will probably still learn the hard way.   


You might have read that Washington, D.C. is thinking about lowering the voting age to 16.

Why not? Many 16-year-olds could probably make wiser choices than some older and supposedly wiser citizens.

Are they mature enough to cast an intelligent ballot? Seriously, what’s the definition of intelligent when it comes to voting and following today’s political campaigns?

Would 16-year-olds actually turn out in significant numbers to vote and take part in the process?

That’s potentially a scary thought for some of today’s politicians no matter their age or intelligence, for that matter. 

JIM FRENCH, of Ottawa, is retired after 43 years in radio broadcasting, including 33 in Ottawa. You can reach him through The Times by emailing

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