• Once again those big yellow buses are ready to travel the highways and byways of Marion County, taking children to and from school.
    Classes for public school students begin on Monday, Aug. 22. Some private schools, including big ones such as Trinity Catholic High School and Blessed Trinity Elementary School, have already started.
    Therefore, it’s time to review some of the most misunderstood traffic rules on the books in Florida.

  • Tea Partiers (TPs) are entitled to a celebration for progress with two important issues in their “Contract from America” agenda — to restore fiscal responsibility and limited government in Washington. Resolution of the debt/deficit deadlock may be one small step for the TPs, but it’s a welcome breakthrough to many Americans who are tired of out-of-control government growth and spending.
    The Tea Party is a populist uprising which has infuriated the leadership of both major political parties.

  • Just a couple of weeks ago, we told you about an Ocala-area family that was going to appear on the television show “Family Feud.”
    The information, provided by the producers of the show in
    California, was very specific as to the time and date – it was to be on the air on Aug. 4, last Thursday, at 6 p.m. on WRDQ, which is affiliated with the ABC outlet in Orlando and carried on various cable systems.

  • Remember Earmarks? That’s a harmless sounding name for a sophisticated form of political corruption.
    Earmarks are directions from members of Congress telling agencies to spend funds on pet projects, organizations, and companies or to provide exemptions from taxes and fees.
    Campaign contributors and supporters are frequent beneficiaries of earmarked spending.
    Responding to press and public pressure during the last election, incoming House Republicans pledged a moratorium on earmarks.
    It turned out the moratorium had only one ear.

  • U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, stuck to his guns this week and voted against the compromise bill to settle, at least for now, the debt ceiling battle in Congress.
    On his website, Stearns said he backed the plan put forth by Speaker of the House John Boehner.
    The problem is that the Boehner proposal was never going to pass. It is surprising that, with all of his experience, Stearns failed to recognize this while embracing the art of compromise to avoid a financial crisis in America.

  • Nobody’s talking officially, but store employees are telling people that they are losing their jobs.
    The place is Kmart at Shady Oaks, at the corner of Southwest 27th Avenue and State Road 200 (College Road). Signs have popped up saying the store is going out of business, with signs on the pillars outside the facility saying “Store closing sale.”

  • The term “skunk works” originated in the comic strip “Lil Abner.” It meant a job nobody wanted. The expression morphed into meaning high technology research and development projects done in secret by a small group of scientists or engineers looking for a radical solution to a problem.

    A skunk-works group of bi-partisan U.S. Senators have worked diligently behind closed doors for months seeking a formula which might solve the national debt and deficit problem. They’re known as “The Gang of Six.”

  • Honest, I heard some guy on a TV station say this: “Our national nightmare is over.” So was he talking about the debt ceiling crisis, the government shutdown threat?

    No, he was talking about the National Football League lockout.

    I like sports as much as anyone. The only pay packages we subscribe to in my house are the Major League Baseball Extra Innings package and the NFL Red Zone (no HBO, Showtime or junk like that).

    But a “national nightmare?” Come on.

  • If you’ve been to a doctor’s office lately you probably had an opportunity to read a magazine or two - or three. Whether the magazine was focused on news, sports, gardening, mechanics, cooking, fashion, or humor, it included at least one advertisement suggesting a medication you might want to discuss with your doctor.

    It’s important to answer honestly the questions which medication advertisements suggest. For example “Do you have too much fat in your blood?” or “Do you want to get a better grip on life?”

  • The weekend was a little rough around here. Late Friday, Pauline Moore, our former office coordinator and inside salesperson, died at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness after a fairly short battle with leukemia.

    When I first came to this paper from Levy County two years ago, there was Pauline at the front desk every day greeting people with a smile. She always used to call me “kiddo,” and at first I thought she couldn’t remember my name. Then I realized she called everyone that.

  • Has the long-running political controversy in Washington really been about debt and deficits, spending and taxes? Yes and no. The real conflict is about our two welfare states – the visible and the hidden.

    The visible welfare state had two periods of growth. The first was the great depression (1929-1941). During the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt, the Social Security Act was adopted.

  • A recent guesstimate of the number of civilian employees working for the federal government is around 2.6 million.      It’s not unreasonable to assume more than two and a half million employees should be able to keep track of how trillions of federal dollars are being spent.

  • Now that the “trial of the century” (another one) is over, we can look back and see how the verdict evolved. From my view, this was a botched prosecution from the start.

    Consider how it began, with numerous witnesses who were friends and acquaintances of Casey Anthony and workers from nightclubs, including “shot girls.”

  • There are a lot of people who like to go to the movies. We can see the advantage of having a theater downtown in Ocala, where people can participate in the activities on and around the square and take in a show.

    The Marion Theater has a group that is trying to revitalize it, and they’re working hard to get it done.

  • Downtown was a mess last Friday afternoon. There was a big “Cars 2” event planned for Magnolia Avenue, in front of the Marion Theater, starting at 4 p.m.

    About 3:45, a monsoon hit the area. Trees bent, winds howled, rain pelted down, for a good half hour. I sat in my car about a block away from the activities and waited for the storm to pass.

  • Does it matter that Representative Anthony Weiner resigned his Congressional seat? Not really. The frequency of Washington sex scandals tells us the voters of 9th District of New York should be able to find another politician just like Weiner, dedicated to their needs, while secretly pandering to his eccentric behaviors – until he gets caught.

  • The Florida House and Senate redistricting committees on Monday begin hosting the first round of joint public meetings. The Florida Legislature redraws state and congressional districts every 10 years following the publication of the U.S. Census.

    Members of the public will have several opportunities to make their vision for redistricting known to committee members.

  • This seems to come up every year, and, frankly, I don’t understand why it is such a problem. When you leave your car in your driveway or carport overnight, make sure you lock the car.

  • “Job” has many definitions – work, occupation, profession, employment, and others. When a headline reads “Obama says he will focus on job creation,” we know we’re being jobbed.

  • Many people, including those who cover politics for a living, feel that some politicians must go to political school and take a course called “avoiding the question.”

    Last week, as he spoke to the State Road 200 Coalition, State Sen. Charlie Dean from Citrus County showed that he was very adept at that part of being an elected official.