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Opinion

  • When asked if he had any political affiliation, humorist Will Rogers used to quip: “I am not a member of any organized party. I’m a Democrat.” If he were alive today, Rogers could claim membership in either of two disorganized parties.
    Republicans didn’t learn much from their disorganized politics under presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, which led to the Great Depression (1929-1939). During those three presidencies, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress (1921 to 1933).

  • When I was a kid, living up north, I always wondered how, on Feb. 2, some silly little animal in Pennsylvania could predict the weather.
    It was Groundhog Day, and supposedly if the groundhog saw his shadow and scurried back into his hole, there would be six more weeks of winter. If he didn’t see his shadow, there would be an early spring.
    The biggest celebration is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In fact, a cult movie starring Bill Murray was made in 1993 featuring this festival and, indeed, a festival has built up around this holiday.

  • When I was a young boy in Catholic school, we sang a hymn, “Long live the pope his praises sound, again and yet again; his rule is over space and time, his throne the hearts of men.”

    The pope in those days was Pope Pius XII, and I always thought that Pius was a strange name, and it was even stranger that there had been 12 of them. Of course, he was followed by John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who is still pope today.

  • At this writing congressional lawmakers are reported to be “cautiously optimistic” about producing a new immigration law. That’s Washington talk meaning the effort could collapse if Congress or the White House has an ego tantrum.

  • Quick now! On Interstate 75, where is Exit 341? Anybody? That’s what I thought.
    Electronic signs have popped up on all major east-west roads near the Interstate in the past couple of weeks, with large letters blinking at you: “Exit 341 closed 02/11/13.” Then it flashes to something about detours.
    To me, these signs prove one thing, that there is a major disconnect between government bureaucrats and the common man, residents such as you and me.

  • In a nation where the words “race fans” assume either the pounding of hooves at the horse races or the roar of the engines at NASCAR tracks, it’s a stark contrast when people attend bicycle races.
    It’s the sound of silence as bikes quietly zip along the streets where the race is being held.
    The silence of the sordid side of bicycle racing was broken last week when Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner and Olympic silver medalist, sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

  • Reportedly, there’s a Legislative Delegation meeting on Jan. 8 at 1 p.m. at the college’s Klein Center. I say reportedly, because the only place it’s shown up on is the “Sunshine notice” put out by the County Commission anytime more than one commissioner might be at some sort of function together.

    So far I have received no notice of the meeting from chairman Dennis Baxley or any other legislator, nor have I seen it publicized anywhere else. So, I would suggest calling before going.

  • Well, we knew it all had to end sometime. The world is evolving, and one of these days everything will come to a conclusion as we know it.
    I’m talking, of course, about the Mayan prophecy that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, or 12-21-12.
    Of course, none of the Mayans who made that prediction about 1200 years ago or so are still around to see if it comes true. Their world ended long ago.

  • Just when you think you’re going to have a nice, positive, post-election column, something happens to gum up the works.

    I guess I can still legitimately praise George Tomyn and Dr. Diana Greene for the school superintendent campaign they ran.

  • Sometimes the calendar can be a little bit unfair with its listing of dates, holidays and remembrances. Take this week, for instance.

    Thursday was Nov. 22. Because it was the fourth Thursday in November, it was Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the earliest date it can be. It was a day for giving thanks for all that we have in this great nation, whether you agree with everything that is going on or not.

  • When a top political candidate comes to visit your area, it’s a public relations boon, especially when someone like vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan opens his comments by saying what great Florida weather he was experiencing.
    But Ryan’s visit to Ocala last week has me thinking of some things, just coming up with some questions without answers. So let me present some of those to you.

  • Experience means been there; done that

     

  • An election message that’s worth repeating

     

    There are a lot of people who immediately think “no” when the prospect of a new tax appears on the ballot. They don’t take the time to figure out how much, or how little, it would cost them, or how much the rejection of that tax could affect their lives.

  • Ordinarily, we’re not big proponents of early voting, or of absentee voting when it’s not absolutely necessary.
    However, this year may be different.
    Because there are 11 Florida Constitution amendments on the ballot, and some of them are wordy, the ballot is two pages, 14 inches long, both sides.
    If everyone waits to vote on Election Day, that could be a disaster. We have visions of people waiting a very long time while those ahead of them try to read through the ballot and figure out which way they are going to vote.

  • About a dozen or so years ago, I was sitting in my newspaper office in New Smyrna Beach when a man came in to see me.
    He was dressed in rough-looking clothes, and had a long beard that looked as if he hadn’t trimmed it in months.
    I immediately stereotyped him as, well, you can guess, especially since I found out he was a veteran, and we’ve all heard stories about down and out vets.
    His name was Tom Ryan, and it turned out he was one of the nicest people I met over there, and one who was most dedicated to what he was trying to accomplish.

  • There are little things in life than can have a major effect on your concentration, your thought process, your lifestyle.
    Last week, my cell phone died.
    I won’t tell you the brand, but this cell phone could do more things than just be a “phone.” Still, you had to maneuver around the screen with a little button, then press that button to make your phone do anything. If you wanted to type something, the keyboard was so small that a kindergartener probably would have been frustrated.

  • Regardless of how you feel about U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, there was one thing that could be said for him.
    He was from Ocala and gave Marion County its own representative on Congress.
    The loss last week in the Republican Primary eliminated Stearns from contention and, because of redistricting, means that Marion County will no longer have a representative in Congress from here.
    That doesn’t seem right for a county that’s 15th in the state in population and third in area (behind Collier and Polk).

  • The other day, I was watching a baseball game on television and a commercial came on. It was an attack ad by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) against Republican nominee Connie Mack.
    It was about 11 weeks before the November election. I think I nearly cried. You mean we have nearly three months of this to go.
    I was so glad to walk out to my mailbox last Tuesday, election day, and get nothing but a couple of bills (of course, you can throw the political ads away, you can’t do the same with the bills).

  • No one can ever accuse me of being a golfer. I have played one round of golf in my life, and shot a 103. Oh, did I mention it was a nine-hole course?
    That was back when I was 16 and my dad tried to teach me on a simple little course at a place called Mystic Islands, New Jersey. My dad was good at a lot of things, but he didn’t succeed at this one, although it probably wasn’t his fault.
    That’s why I’ve grown up rarely watching golf on television, except for the majors and the TPC at Sawgrass, which I personally attended once.

  • We’ve all been hearing a lot lately about voter purges, where the state is trying to make sure that all voters are legitimately registered and are American citizens qualified to vote.
    For some reason, some people think this is a bad thing. They don’t see to care that some votes are being cast illegally. It comes back to that old cliché: What part of the word “illegal” don’t you understand?”