• 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.

  • Welcome to the next 11 months of the permanent campaign for the presidency. In between elections this political circus never leaves town.
    It was rumored, though we’ve never found confirmation, that President Richard Nixon whispered to his wife after the swearing-in ceremony: Keep waving! The re-election campaign begins on the way to the White House.

  • Two weeks ago, we covered the story of a Tea Party Solutions meeting in which a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Ron McNeil, paid a visit and spoke.
    McNeil is one of about a dozen Republicans trying to unseat Democrat Bill Nelson.
    This was the major beginning of what will undoubtedly be a number of political gatherings and rallies as we prepare for the 2012 elections. We’ve already had some events concerning the sheriff’s race, but now things are starting to expand.

  • Despite my disdain for fairy tales and fictional happy endings, I was taken by Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” from first reading. I was captured again by the 1951 best ever movie rendition of the story, starring Alistair Sim.
    The seasonal life story of Ebenezer Scrooge is about an emotionally neglected childhood, a relentless rise to success as a money lender, and a lonely life of “humbug” after his only friend and partner, Jacob Marley, had passed away.

  • So now the feds want to take away my right to use my cell phone in my car, including a hands-free device. Talk about government intrusion into something that is none of their business.
    I’ll concede that sometimes talking on a cell phone that is not hands-free can be distracting. And I don’t believe anyone should be texting or checking e-mail while driving. The only things that should be allowed are by voice.
    But trying to ban a hands-free device is completely out of line.

  • We’d be disappointed but not surprised if local schools had to reduce classes to a four-day week. We’re already disappointed that motivated young people are not experiencing the first-rate academic and trades educations which were once available in many public schools.
    The lengths of U.S. school days and school years are among the shortest in the world. Yet based on billions spent, rather than results achieved, we have a national delusion that public schools are a top priority of local, state, and federal governments. Schools are, but education isn’t.

  • It’s obvious that Ocala and Marion County must be one of the most honest places on Earth. Where else could you put perfectly good lawn chairs out by the side of the main street in town, and let them sit there for a week, not expecting them to be stolen?

  • Sitting there Saturday night watching the Florida-FSU football game, I really got tired of hearing the announcers proclaim Florida bowl eligible.
    Let me ask you: Does this team really deserve to be invited to a bowl game? Is a 6-6 record enough to send a school on a bowl trip?
    The propaganda coming out of Gainesville is that it will give the Gators much more practice for the young players to get ready for next season. One announcer said “It’s like having an extra spring practice.”

  • We’re now inside one month of the Christmas holiday, and we have just passed the maddening Thanksgiving weekend with all the stories of shoppers trampling each other, even using pepper spray, to get what they wanted in the stores for holiday gifts.
    Many people sit back and read all those stories and wish they could be part of it … but their finances won’t allow it. Some are struggling to put food on the table, much less video games under the tree, if they have a tree.

  • Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, it was the worst sneak attack against the U.S. in history. It was 70 years ago next Wednesday that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, providing the impetus for the entrance of the United States into World War II.
    The war didn’t end until nearly four years later when  atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, bringing Japan to its knees while the U.S. was also winning in Europe.

  • During our endless election season the expression “free markets” never wears out. Some politicians believe and preach that free market is a national value worthy of inclusion with patriotism, motherhood, apple pie and baseball. The problem is there ain’t no free markets.
    The term “free market” as used by today’s politicians is a misnomer. Politicians use it a lot because it sounds righteous.

  • Sometimes, visiting some of the activities in Ocala makes you start thinking about some serious things. That was the case over the weekend when I went to Marion Woods to view a display connected to a Vietnam War prison, dubbed the “Hanoi Hilton.”
    Back in the 1960s, I guess I was one of the lucky ones. Because I was married and later, because I had a daughter, I didn't get drafted. I went as far as a pre-induction physical, and they made note of my allergies and hay fever, but I never heard anything again.

  • This Friday is Veterans Day, a time for us to honor all those who put on a uniform and serve in the military to help protect our country.
    Many people confuse this day with Memorial Day, which is the last Monday in May. Memorial Day honors all those who gave their lives in service of their country.

  • The Sheriff’s Office came out with its annual list of sex predators and sex offenders last week. The booklet lists 648 violators with their photos and home addresses, all of which are public record.
    Although, fortunately, we didn’t recognize anyone I knew, it did make for some interesting reading.
    The violators are broken down by Zip Code, which makes comparison of the areas quite easy.

  • The Halloween carnival at the Southwest District Sheriff’s Office property Monday provided some happy moments for a lot of children, but in my eyes there was one incident I had that left me feeling a little bit sad and angry at the same time.

  • This is Halloween weekend, the time for Trick or Treating all across the land. Children of all ages, sizes and shapes will dress up and look for goodies.
    The problem is that the caution that children are taught the other 364 days of the year usually goes out the window, as they approach strangers’ houses and unfamiliar neighborhoods looking for rewards.
    In this day and age, that’s not a good idea.

  • It was hardly more than a footnote on last week’s County Commission agenda, but the county accepted a letter from the city of Ocala pulling out of the negotiated agreement to combine emergency dispatch services. The county had little choice.

  • Three score and six years ago the Public Health Service brought forth upon this nation a dental discovery dedicated to the proposition that all teeth should be treated equally.
    Medical investigators had observed there was less tooth decay where water contained natural deposits of fluoride. The announced purpose of a national campaign to fluoridate drinking water was to make healthy teeth available to every citizen, especially young people.

  • On a sunny fall afternoon in the 1960s we were at the business offices of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at a gathering of suits for the purpose of finalizing a major building project. We had entered the building through a back door to avoid a gaggle of students and street-people exercising their first amendment right to demonstrate against the oppression of the day.

  • It was a deadly weekend in Marion County. First four people died in a crash in the overnight hours as a vehicle crammed with seven people headed from Tucker, Ga., to Miami rolled over in a single-car accident.
    Then another accident claimed the life of a man and injured a couple of small children.
    Of those 10 people, it isn’t known if three in the second wreck were wearing seat belts. It is known that only one person in the four-fatality accident was wearing a belt, and that person was not facing life-threatening injuries.