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Opinion

  • In the 19th century and the first 50 years of the 20th, many poorly paid, unmarried teachers, particularly females, lived together out of financial necessity. Whether their living arrangements were anything other than shared expenses was seldom questioned.
    Of course there were village busy biddies who would speculate in social circles about teachers living together, without any factual information on which to base whispered suspicions about sexuality. Gossipers feed on subjects which are none of their business.

  • My first encounter with a hurricane, that I remember, was in 1954. We had just moved to a house on a hill in northern New Jersey, a one-story with a basement, facing west.
    I remember hearing about this storm called Hazel that was cutting across the northeast on its way to Canada, after starting in Haiti where it killed 1,000 people. At that point, I had no idea where Haiti was, but I didn’t want something that could kill that many people coming my way.
    My parents said not to worry, that it was greatly weakened by the time it got to us.

  • The year was 1997. I was temporarily working out of state but came back to Ocala around New Year’s Day, visiting my family.
    We rode somewhere, I can’t remember where, and when we got to my parents’ house, which is now my home, I got out of the car and opened the door for my 82-year-old mom. She took my hand and got out of the car, but gave me a wistful look as she did so.
    That look sent chills through me … I don’t know why. I stayed at the house a couple more hours, then had to leave, driving by myself. That look haunted me for hours.

  • Most Congress people arrive in Washington with ordinary backgrounds and an agenda of noble intentions to do good for constituents and the nation.
    It doesn’t take long however for Congress people to become exceptional. To some extent it’s not their fault. It may be an effect of ingesting Washington air and water.

  • At last, one of those new roads that keep popping up all over Marion County opened up Tuesday morning as a road to somewhere … and an important one it is.
    The city of Ocala held a ceremony to unveil the sign to its new Ocala Business Park at Ocala International Airport, and with it opened Southwest 67th Avenue Road.
    The road now goes from State Road 40 south to Southwest 38th Street. The southern portion of the road has been in existence for some time; it is used as the entrance to the Ocala Regional Sportsplex.

  • Trying to follow this controversy concerning Munroe Regional Medical Center is really challenging for those of us who are just simple folk. All these tales of leases and taxes and rankings, etc., can make us dizzy.
    I do know one thing. If the Munroe powers-that-be succeed in getting a new tax on the ballot in November, it hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of succeeding, especially in this economy, even if there are some who are willing to pay a little more for the success of the hospital.

  • If you've ever watched the television show "Law and Order," you've seen scenes from the Appellate Court and the state Supreme Court where both sides make their oral arguments.
    They stand in front of a podium which has three small lights, green, yellow and red, well in sight of the speaker.
    When he starts, the green light is on. When time is almost up, the yellow light comes on, and when time is up, the red light glows, and the lawyer immediately says thank you and sits down.

  • If you are self-employed or retired you’ve already sent to the IRS your first estimated tax payment for 2012 - real money based on income you haven’t received yet.
    Meanwhile, living nearby are some of the 46 percent of Americans who paid no taxes for 2011 and are unlikely to pay any in 2012. Our system of taxation is mysterious and corrupt.

  • Over the past few years, it’s been obvious that some people have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Those of us who have websites and e-mails have been part of the effort to educate the public on the use of electronics.
    Now the federal government is getting in the act.
    As you can read elsewhere, beginning March 1, 2013, the feds will get rid of all paper checks for benefits, including Social Security. No longer will you be rushing to your mailbox on a certain day of the month to get that check and take it to the bank.

  • Oil For The Lamps of China is a movie that was released on my birthday in 1935. The story created an image of big oil as a business giant without a soul. Years later we discovered that the requirements for incorporation do not include evidence of a soul.

  • Slowly and steadily, the old school of television journalists is dying off, leaving the superficial stars of today, many of whom are chosen for either their ability to out-shout their foes, or because they look pretty on the tube.
    Another icon of the television news business left us on Easter Sunday, when Mike Wallace, best known for his “60 Minutes” segments, died at the age of 93.

  • Consider the plight of two athletic programs, each on a different level, each in a different sport, but both with the same problem ... a leader who doesn’t know when to keep quiet and doesn’t know when to tell the truth.

  • The Supreme Court has heard the oral arguments about the Affordable Care Act, (Obamacare) and the justices have held their preliminary closed meeting. The Court will hand down its decision in June.
    In the meantime, even though we haven’t read the 2000 pages of the Affordable Care Act, bloggers, talk-show hosts, and columnists are exercising their opinions about the life or death of Obamacare. We consider our right to have opinions as sacred as freedom of speech.

  • Many years ago when I was working in Palatka, being a sports fan, I used to go to the basketball games at St. Johns River Junior College, which become a community college and is now a college.
    I often wondered why a “community” college had so many out-of-town players.
    Those questions cropped up again when I moved to Ocala. One time I looked at Central Florida Community College’s roster, and there were several players from Russia. I sarcastically asked, “What community are they serving … Minsk?”

  • No recent president has been able to down size government, because Congress and federal bureaucrats are in constant pursuit of new funding for lengthy shopping lists of so-called essential services. An example is the 2003 National Do Not Call Registry (DNCR).
    How could such a simple idea be so complicated that it requires 27 pages of explanations – basic information, definitions, subscriptions, renewals, downloading, and assistance? Answer: Requirements and regulations are the life-blood of secure federal employment and appeals for additional funding.

  • Remember Casey Anthony? Before she was charged, there was an outcry for justice. People demanded an arrest. So the state attorney’s office filed charges.
    Trouble is, the prosecutors didn’t have every bit of evidence in its proper place. The resulting trial was a disaster for them, and Casey Anthony is now a free woman, much to the dismay of all those who pushed for her to be jailed.

  • Nothing inspires a steamed-up column more than confusion about the nature of our government. This steamer was generated by letters in the daily papers about capitalism and democracy, neither of which has any status in our form of government.
    Adding to the misconceptions, a headline writer used the words “democratic republic” as a title caption to a letter. That is not now and never has been our form of government. However the future is uncertain.

  • Last week we complained about the lack of openness in the federal process concerning a complaint filed against a sheriff’s candidate.
    Today we go to the opposite end of the spectrum, a comment on how one local community is being very open about the candidates for its homeowners’ group.

  • Four years ago, during the presidential campaign, we heard a lot of talk about a "bridge to nowhere." The votes for that project still haunt some politicians today.
    Well, those folks have nothing on Marion County. We have roads to nowhere, lots of them, being built.
    Yes, they're all supposed to connect up someday to form a western bypass, but meanwhile, there are some perfectly good roads sitting there unusable, because they don't hook up with anything.

  • Invisible, irrelevant
    I read an article in the Tampa Bay Times dated March 8 where the Democrats in the Florida House and Senate feel that they are invisible and irrelevant. While this is true they must realize that the general electorate does not read or understand politics especially Florida politics where the minority rules.