Cheers: Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. Rather than allowing bureaucrats in City Hall to upgrade their office furniture on the taxpayers' dime, Berke ordered employees to find unused chairs and desks that the city already owns — or buy new furniture with their own money. Let's hope this frugal approach shows in the mayor's budget proposal when it's released later this summer.
Jeers: U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn. The congressman from the West Tennessee hamlet of Frog Jump called on his colleagues in Congress to reduce food stamp funding, accurately pointing out that charities and compassionate individuals should feed the poor, rather than allowing "Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country." It turns out, however, that Fincher pocketed $3.48 million in farm subsidies from 1999 to 2012. Apparently the hypocritical Fincher believes that taxpayer-funded handouts that benefit him are fine.
Jeers: President Obama's "Preschool for All" program. If the president gets his way, $75 billion over the next decade will go toward government pre-kindergarten schemes, including state programs in Tennessee and Georgia. In both states, taxpayer-funded studies have clearly indicated any benefits of state pre-k programs fade out by about the third grade, and the programs provide no long-term educational or socio-economic benefit for their participants. In other words, they're worthless government babysitting services.
Cheers: Tennessee state Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville. Dunn may be the only member of the Tennessee General Assembly with the backbone to consistently speak out in opposition to the state's pre-k boondoggle. While panning a program that is "for the children" isn't always popular, Dunn carefully studies research related to government pre-k and bravely and factually criticizes the programs based on their documented shortcomings.
Cheers: Finster Fest. Today and tomorrow, Summerville, Ga., will host the annual Finster Fest which celebrates the life and work of Chattooga County folk artist Howard Finster. The art and music festival will take place in Dowdy Park in downtown Summerville. Shuttles will take visitors to Paradise Gardens, the home of the late preacher, sculptor and painter, who may be the most important visual artist to come from our area.
Jeers: Polk County Circuit and General Sessions Court Clerk's Office. The Tennessee State Comptroller's Office discovered that $2,700 was stolen from the court clerk's office last year. State investigators determined the culprit was a deputy court clerk who resigned last November. It's disappointing when state auditors have to tell county officials that they've been had. Hopefully this will compel Polk County to keep a better eye on the public's money in the future.
Cheers: Myles Smith. The Lee University pitcher was selected by the Boston Red Sox with the 113th pick in the major league baseball draft. A local college star having the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional sports never gets old.
Editor's note: When this editorial feature first appeared last week, it was titled "Heroes and Zeros." Out of respect for those who truly are heroes, including those who serve in our Armed Forces and aid victims of disasters, the title is now "Cheers and Jeers."