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Opinion

  • Our view of the recently passed Florida voting law is influenced by the patriotic example of my foreign-born grandparents. They worked hard and waited patiently to become U.S. citizens. Thereafter they never missed an opportunity to exercise their privilege and obligation to vote.

    They were working class people without high school educations. They never owned a home, an automobile, or a television. They died broke and left only their good character.

  • This Sunday is the annual celebration of Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June, in which we honor dads with their special day.

    Father’s Day was slow to catch on, although it was first celebrated in the early 1900s to honor the fathers who died in a mining disaster in West Virginia.

    It was informally kicked around but gained momentum and national observances during the next 50 years or so.

  • The weather around the country is getting crazier, or so it seems. After a wild winter, the spring has turned violent, and now other things are happening.

    My cousin in St. Louis felt an earthquake Tuesday morning, which also happened to be her birthday.

    Now when I think of St. Louis, an area I am very familiar with from my childhood visits to my grandparents and aunt and uncle, I think of two weather items … hot and cold.

  • A recent column in USA Today was titled “Don’t believe the hype about our national debt.” They gist of the article was that Washington spends too little, not too much.

    The author of the hype alert was Sally Kohn, founder of Movement Vision Lab, a think tank dedicated to making the world safe for radical ideas - as if it weren’t already. Ms. Kohn appears on many TV and radio talk shows.

  • Next Tuesday, which coincidentally happens to be Flag Day, the next Ocala Honor Flight will take place.

    World War II veterans will be flown, free to them, to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II Memorial and other attractions.

    It’s a great program to honor World War II veterans from around the country. It has taken hold here with a number of vets taking advantage of the trip.

  • This is a yearly column, updated with latest information.

    This is a big month for many young people in Marion County, as they leave high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.

    Graduation ceremonies are scheduled or have already been held for local high schools, a landmark day for a few hundred young adults who are ready to venture out into the world.

  • Ever wonder what two million federal employees do with their work time? Thousands of them are writing rules and regulations intended to promote our general welfare, as suggested in the Constitution. Their work output is so voluminous it’s often referred to in pounds rather than pages.

    Federal rules and regulation writers are very thorough, as if they’re being paid by the word. For instance, as to food packaging they specify the height and width of the letters on various kinds of containers.

  • It seems that the longer the economy struggles, the more the scammers go to work.

    A gentleman named Bob Murphy came into our office the other day and followed up with this letter.

    “We received a phone call yesterday from a blocked phone, with a man stating something about us winning a so-called lottery and/or $35,000 cash.

    “I immediately questioned this since we had not entered any contests of this nature. He mentioned Publishing Clearing House and Reader's Digest and if we shopped at Walmart.

  • The oversized post card came in the mail a few weeks ago with those two dreaded words on the outside: “Jury summons.”

    I was summoned for May 23, this past Monday, at 8 a.m. at the Marion County Justice Center. There was a whole list of items that I could use to get out of serving, but none of them applied to me. I really didn’t mind, so I got up Monday morning, actually later than usual, and went downtown.

  • Political discourse gets confusing when liberal left-wing loonies refer to themselves as progressives and rigid right-wing radicals masquerade as conservatives.

    A recent article in the SF Weekly illustrates the confusion: “San Francisco’s progressive Board of Supervisors is now more moderate.” Progressive? Moderate? San Francisco is the do-goody home town of liberal looniness. Lately they’re considering cell phone radiation rules, and they’ve decided it’s OK to be naked but not drunk in the Bay to Breakers annual run.

  • This weekend is one of the most solemn on the American calendar, as we celebrate Memorial Day on Monday, this year falling on the traditional date of May 30.

    Hardly any American family can trace its history without finding that it was touched somehow by what Memorial Day marks, the loss of American lives in war.

    Across the nation, we honor those who died fighting to preserve our freedom, whether it be long ago or in the more recent years.

  • The  U.S.  government  refers  to  “Title  X  Funding”  as  the  sole “federal program devoted entirely  to  ‘family planning’.”    “Family  Planning” is  the euphemism  used  as a vague expression  in  place of  the  direct  meaning  of  Title  X  which is   the funding of  abortion. 

  • With a lot of fanfare and a huge truck, the county opened the new Northwest 44th Avenue earlier this week. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a beautiful four-lane road … to nowhere.

    Now there is one argument I can buy. If you build this beautiful road with easy access to U.S. 27 and subsequently the Interstate, it could attract industry, and that’s a good thing. I won’t argue that.

    But don’t give me this story about a bypass, or beltway, or whatever you want to call it. I have several problems with that.

  • A constitution is a written document agreed upon by the people of a state or nation to establish the character of their government and the principles and limitations under which it will function. Amendments should be few and seldom.

    The U.S. Constitution has only 27 ratified amendments. In Florida amendments have become a semi-annual ballot sport. It’s not unusual to have a dozen amendment petitions circulating in search of supporters.

  • Sometimes you cover things that hit close to home. Such was the State Road 200 Coalition meeting Monday.

    The speaker was Terrie Hardison, executive director of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Florida, Inc. Her talk made me wish I had heard her speak about a decade ago, when my father was still alive and living in assisted living.

    There were so many things that she spoke of that I could relate to. The thing I noticed the most was that, under the lead of my giving wife, we apparently did a lot of things right.

  •           Senator John McCain’s support of President Obama’s decision not to release pictures of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden was prompt and correct. McCain’s experiences as a prisoner of war and as a member of the Armed Services Committee have honed a mature attitude about defense and security matters.

  • One of the great lines of any movie comes from “A Few Good Men,” when Jack Nicholson is being trapped into saying he ordered a “Code Red” against an inferior Marine. He shouts out, “You can’t handle the truth.”

    In Marion County, Code Red has a different meaning, and it means you get the truth from emergency officials.

  • Sometimes sports and real life cross paths, and the result can be an emotional outburst, in a good way, of thousands of Americans.

    Sunday night, my Mets were the game of the week as they traveled to Philadelphia. The game didn’t start until 8 p.m., and like many others, I could only make it through six innings, then hit the “record” button and went to sleep.

  • Sometimes we’re moved to write a column which is likely to infuriate a few readers and aggravate others. Opinion writing can be a tricky business.

    Letters to editors about the gotcha cameras at certain intersections in Dunnellon have generated an issue with legs. In other words it won’t go away. And it shouldn’t. It’s an example of local democracy in action.

  • Rarely is everyone in agreement that an expensive new building built by a government agency should sit idle as much as possible. But that’s the case in our area.

    Last Friday, a luncheon took place at the Marion County Emergency Operations Center at the main Sheriff’s Office. It was an information session to let the media, public information officers of various governments in the county and city officials know what would happen in case of an emergency, such as a hurricane.