Short takes for Sept. 6

The ‘red line’

THUMBS DOWN: It seems as if President Barack Obama is trying desperately to avoid shouldering the responsibility of deciding to wage an attack on Syria by passing the buck – not just to Congress, but to the entire world. His “red line” stance has been criticized by the right to the point where it appears the president has felt the need to deflect criticism to just about everyone. “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line,” he told reporters on the first day of a four-day trip to Sweden and Russia to attend the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. We know this is dangerous ground for any member of Congress who intends on running in 2014, but that’s not the case for Obama. This is a time the president needs to lead and make decisions based on his principles and beliefs; in the end, either the blame or the acclaim will fall on him anyway. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but Obama has already made it clear he thinks the U.S. should step up and send a potent message to other countries that use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Now he must follow through, no matter whose red line it is.

Road construction: Grin and bear it

SIDEWAYS THUMBS: If you thought road construction season was winding down, think again. In some areas it hasn’t even begun yet. Starting next week, a major corridor into and out of Marshall will be under construction – a $2.3 million project on U.S. Highway 59 South that will likely stretch into November. But if delayed a commute is the biggest inconvenience that comes out of this, it’s worth it. The stretch of 59 from Marshall to U.S. Highway 14 definitely needs the attention.

Tragedy in Granite Falls

THUMBS DOWN: Our thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of Kara Monson, the Granite Falls woman who was shot and killed early Monday in her home, and to those with ties to her boyfriend who was critically injured in the incident. We don’t know the story that led up to this tragedy but we do know that it’s something that doesn’t happen around here too often. Keep the people of Granite Falls in your thoughts.

Thanks for your service, Len

THUMBS UP: We congratulate Len DeSchepper, owner and operator of Len’s Southside in Marshall for the last 44 years, on his retirement. DeSchepper is hanging up the gas pump soon and residents of the city of Marshall will surely miss his tireless service and dedication to his customers. Today we have technology that allows motorists to gas up without even having to step inside the store to pay, but what we’ve gained in convenience we’ve lost in personal connections, along with that full-service touch DeScepper has provided for four-plus decades. Whatever happened to walking into a gas station and interacting with a cashier if only for a few minutes? Those kind of exchanges, while not a thing of the past just yet, are fading away, and DeSchepper was the ultimate example of service with a meaningful, personal touch.

Remembering tornado victims in Tracy

THUMBS UP: What a nice story that developed – and this weekend, culminated – in Tracy when the city unveiled its new monument to honor the nine lives lost in the 1968 tornado. The city, and those who worked to make the memorial a reality, should be proud of their efforts.