While one circus came to an end, another one went on tour last week. One circus was a spectacle to behold while the other can’t help from being a spectacle wherever it goes. It’s a train wreck you can’t quit watching.
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ended its 146-year run as the “Greatest Show on Earth.” The reason given was declining attendance and high operating costs.
The circus fought a running battle with animal-rights activists, who contended that forcing animals to perform and transporting them around the country amounted to abuse.
The company removed its famous elephants from its shows in 2016, but ticket sales continued to decline. The circus couldn’t compete with iPhones, the Internet and video games. A dog riding on a horse just wasn’t cool enough. Hordes of clowns piling out of a tiny car couldn’t hold our attention.
The other circus of course was President Donald Trump and his entourage touching down in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican to say “hey” to various leaders and Pope Francis. The circus then moved on to Brussels for an international confab.
I won’t comment on the political nature of the trip. Plenty of journalists and analysts have done that. I can only observe that wherever Trump went, it felt awkward and he seemed uncomfortable in the role and seemed to overcompensate with his tough guy persona. Maybe his supporters like that but I find it somewhat embarrassing and off-putting.
If he keeps up his tough guy act, we may not even need a wall on the Mexican border. They will be scared to come in.
Meanwhile, his administration can’t seem to escape the intense scrutiny from the media over the connections to Russia. Some say he won’t serve out his four years.
Live from New York
“Saturday Night Live” premiered on NBC on Oct. 11, 1975. I was a junior in college at UCA in Conway. We didn’t have the convenience of recording the show, but we rarely missed it. I have been a loyal viewer for all of those 42 years.
The most recent Arkansan portrayed on the show was Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee and deputy press secretary for The Donald. The show portrayed her somewhat as a poorly dressed bumpkin and described her mother, former Arkansas First Lady Janet Huckabee as a “big Southern hamburger.” Kind of mean.
It got me to thinking of the people I’ve met who have been portrayed on SNL: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, George W. Bush and now Sarah.
Most of them have not been flattering portrayals, but being portrayed on the show is definitely a reflection of your status and fame.
Little Sarah has hit the big time, but, as most presidential staffers find out sooner or later, it can be a cruel world.
Bits and pieces from City Hall
Mayor Mike Watson has introduced an ordinance to ban smoking on walking paths and trails owned by the City of Maumelle. Good idea. They city shouldn’t have to clean up butts, so to speak.
Mayor Watson also called for the reading of a resolution “endorsing federal legislation requiring large-volume Internet vendors to either collect and remit any relevant state and local compensating use tax on Internet sales or that Internet vendors provide the state and all relevant localities sufficient information regarding an Internet purchaser to allow state or local government to collect such local compensating use taxes.” What the resolution seeks is to require the collection of sales taxes on Internet purchases.
I asked the Mayor about it and he responded with these comments: “As required by current laws, a purchaser is required to remit a use tax for any purchases from an out of state vendor. Most citizens don’t do that currently, so a new law taxing Internet sales would place the burden back on the seller to remit those taxes.
“The municipalities are losing tax revenue if a customer purchases an item off of the Internet instead of a local store. As Internet sales continue to increase, the revenue losses will continue to grow.
“If a local business closes due to lost sales to the Internet, local employment is also affected which can affect the local economy.”
So far, our state legislature has resisted collecting this tax on Internet vendors such as Amazon, even though the Web-based companies take business from local vendors who are forced to collect the tax.
I hope our legislature will wake up and gather this low-hanging fruit.
Memorial Day at Lake Willastein
I did attend the Memorial Day service at Lake Willastein on Memorial Day. It was a very nice tribute to our fallen servicemen and women. I would estimate 200 or so folks turned out, including a lot of kids, a TV station and several veterans. I hope Maumelle will always celebrate this special day in this manner.
A note to high school and college graduates
The following list is what the world owes you now that you’ve graduated:
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.