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Opinion

  • Social Security is no longer the threatening third rail of American politics. Until the reforms of the Greenspan Commission in 1983, politicians did not dare fiddle with Social Security for fear of being electrocuted by voters at the next election.
    Based on the Commission’s recommendations, Congress raised the retirement age and extended the solvency of Social Security for 75 years to 2058. Unfortunately they’ve been very short years. More reform is on the horizon, and Social Security has few champions.

  • Fishing is not my favorite activity … actually, I’ve only been fishing once in my life, as a boy, caught some little fish up at Greenwood Lake, New York, watched him squirm, told my father to put him back in the water so he wouldn’t suffer, and never touched a rod and reel again.
    But I once had a fisherman describe the feeling the first time he went out in season, in the early morning on a peaceful lake, with nothing to concentrate on, except what he was doing. He said it was pure relaxation.

  • I have noticed an old scam that is starting again.

  • New initiatives to eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse in federal programs are usually accompanied by expectations of significant savings just over the rainbow. Early performance reports however are subject to lengthy questioning by Congress as to why the new program isn’t accomplishing more – and faster.

  • Those who drive to work early in the morning will have to face a dismal fact beginning next week. It’s going to be darker, later.
    This Sunday morning (or Saturday night), we go through the annual ritual of turning our clocks ahead. In the spring, that means we lose an hour’s sleep, and that the sun rises an hour later.
    Of course at the end of the day, we get a little more daylight, but that also means putting the little children and grandchildren to bed while it’s still daylight.

  • If you are a veteran or spouse of a veteran and you are in an assisted living community, or if you have a relative who is a veteran or spouse of a vet, I’m going to tell you about a program I just found out about last week.
    Of course, a lot of you are smarter than I am, so you probably know about this already. But I didn’t, and it cost my dad thousands of dollars over the years he was in assisted living before he died.

  • Our recent column about the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was about further intrusion of our do-goody government into schools and homes. The Act created additional funding and policy for administration of the Department of Agriculture’s many food services programs – National School Lunch, National School Breakfast, Special Supplemental Nutrition, Child and Adult Care, and Summer Food Services.

  • The great divide in the nation was apparent in a small crowd at the County Commission auditorium last Saturday morning during a town meeting conducted by one of our local members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Ocala).
    The small crowd was largely pro-Stearns and anti-Obama, but those who were in favor of the administration weren’t bashful about making their feelings known.
    That resulted in a couple of shouting incidents which were ugly at times.

  • Wednesday was my cousin’s birthday. If you look at the calendar, you’ll know why that is such a big deal.
    Her birthday only comes once every four years. She was born on Feb. 29, I won’t say what year.
    I can remember it being awfully hard to explain to a 5-year-old why her birthday is a date that isn’t on the calendar and has to be celebrated either the day before or the day after. That’s a tough thing to deal with at an early age.

  • The pull of gravity, spin of our planet, or trips around the sun may cause the U.S. Supreme Court to render occasional decisions with predictable long-term unintended consequences.
    One such decision was Dred Scott in 1857. As you recall from high school history, Dred Scott was a slave owned by Peter Blow, who sold him to John Emerson, an army doctor. Emerson was posted to several states, including Missouri, where slavery was illegal and slaves were permitted to purchase their freedom.

  • Last week was very busy for me. I spent a lot of time doing the paperwork involved in filing for an injunction … against myself.
    That’s right, I’m suing me.
    It’s all because some of our government officials seem to forget the first three words of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution; you know, the words “We the people.”

  • By Jim Yancey
    Every school day, more than 99 percent of our 42,000 students make great decisions and do what we expect them to – study, do their homework, participate in learning, and earn a good education. And most of the 23,000 students on our buses do the same. Unfortunately, we don’t hear about these students because they don’t generate many news headlines.

  • Many of us wonder why there aren’t any stop buttons for federal spending, deficits, and debt. One reason is that there are thousands of government employees working diligently to preserve and expand federal programs. Coincidentally their efforts ensure tenured employment and opportunities for promotions as more employees are hired to administer their agency’s “essential services.”

  • If Republican presidential hopefuls continue to abuse each other through a dozen more caucuses and primaries from Maine through Super Tuesday, their nominee will be dog meat come November.
    Mr. Obama is loading up on Republicans’ ill-conceived mutual nastiness. Rarely has one party’s potential nominees served up so many revelations of their rivals’ political vulnerabilities and defects of character.
    The basic disagreement among Republicans centers around who is a true conservative. The problem is conservatives come in 57 varieties and 28 flavors.

  • The story of the Four Chaplains is one that everyone should know and appreciate. The four men who gave their lives that others might live is among the most inspirational war stories available.
    It happened in 1943, when the four men of God were on board a ship that was torpedoed by a German sub. The ship sank rapidly, but several men were saved, some because of the efforts of the four men.

  • Many years ago when I was younger, I used to love driving at night when taking long trips. I always felt that you could see what was coming from a greater distance, and usually most of the people on the road were commercial drivers, in those days people who knew how to drive better than most.
    But I, and everyone else, have to be grateful that I wasn’t on the Interstate early Sunday morning in southern Alachua County.

  • Readers may wonder about the source of ideas for columns. We read newspapers and magazines. We rarely visit a blog (they’re disorganized). And we read books — most recently: “The Imperial Cruise,” a biographical telling of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policies and “7 Events That Made America,” — turning points in U.S. history.
    One turning point was “Martin Van Buren Has a Nightmare, and Big Government is Born.” New York State Senator Van Buren would later become Secretary of State, Vice President, and President.

  • Time for my regular rant about voting in Florida, and it’s not what you might think. I go against supervisors of elections, editors and, yes, even some publishers with my election opinions.
    I received my sample ballot for next week’s Republican Presidential Primary last Saturday. It had all the usual stuff, including all the presidential candidates who have dropped out of the race since the ballot was printed.
    But there was something else that drives me crazy. It said that early voting had started, and it gave a list of early voting sites.

  • Amid all the tributes pouring in for former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno, amid all the sorrowful vigils after his death last Sunday, amid all the flowers, etc., left for the family, there is one group of people that we feel must be remembered …  the victims.
    Paterno was by no means guilty of any physical crimes in the sex abuse scandal which has one of his former assistants charged with abuse of boys, but in Paterno’s own words, he should “have done more.”

  • There was a song about school back in the 1950s from a singer named Chuck Berry. A couple of lines from the songs included “The teacher is teaching the golden rule,” and “Gee, but the teacher don’t know how mean she looks.”
    I never thought about teachers looking mean, but I always appreciated the work they did, and now I have one in my family. Over the years, government has taken over more and more, providing regulations that hamper the teaching profession.