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Opinion

  • Last week we ran a story taken from a news release about a new rehab hospital obtaining a certificate of need for Marion County.

    In the article there was a statement, provided by the company that is building the new hospital, that Marion County was the largest in the state that did not have rehab available.

    Turns out, that statement was a little misleading.

    One lady called us and said that she had rehab at TimberRidge, inpatient care, and did very well. She also said there were various choices given to her for rehab in the county.

  • This is the year 2011, the 11th year of the 21st century (or 12th year, depending on whether you count 2000 as part of the old or new century).

    Will someone please send a note to the Ocala City Clerk’s office and let them know?

    Three or four times a week, for several months, we receive a fax from the city notifying us of the upcoming public meetings and events. It’s sort of a Sunshine Law thing, making sure people like us know when the meetings are.

  • For 20 years, Congress and the White House have pretended they were doing something about the mass migration of unidentified immigrants crossing our southern border. Quite the contrary. Washington was deliberately doing nothing.

  • The irony of the name can’t be ignored. This year, you don’t have to pay your taxes until Monday, April 18, because Washington, D.C., is observing Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15, which is the normal tax filing date.

    Actually, Emancipation Day is April 16, honoring the day Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act in 1862, but when it falls on a Saturday, it’s observed on Friday. Don’t ever doubt that our federal bureaucrats will find a way to celebrate a holiday on a normal workday.

  • There was a story floating around this past weekend about an armed robbery at a convenience store on State Road 200. Armed robberies like this happen all too often in this county, and members of the media have gotten to the point where we have to treat these items as relatively routine, especially where no one was hurt.

    That’s why it was surprising to see information about this robbery get out into the public, complete with the name and family situation of the clerk who was robbed.

  • On March 2, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the case Snyder v. Phelps that illustrates the difficulty of balancing competing claims to rights and justice in our judicial system.

    The court overturned a lower court’s $5 million tort judgment against Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, for invasion of privacy and inflicting emotional distress on the Albert Snyder family.

  • This Sunday, April 3, is a celebration that many veterans’ groups hope will grow; It’s Welcome Home, Vietnam Veterans Day.

    The county got a jump on it with a March 30 ceremony, according to a publicity release that arrived in our office on March 29, a little late for us to publicize. But we did get information from the VFW about something at their Clubhouse marking the occasion. It’s a barbecue dinner from 3 to 5 p.m. free to veterans on Sunday.

  • Have you ever heard a bunch of “Screaming Orphans?” No, that’s not a trick question. That’s the name of the group that entertained on Saturday, March 19, on the Downtown Square in Ocala.

  • Of all the deceits perpetrated by government, one of the longest running has been the fiction that FICA taxes are premiums on health insurance policies and retirement annuities – guaranteed by the largest insolvent insurance company in the world, the U.S. Treasury.

  • There were two stories coming out of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in the last week about the same issue. One had a happy ending, the other, sadly, did not.

    In the first, some deputies were in an apartment complex to serve a warrant when a man came running up to them holding a limp child. He said he had left the child for a moment to go to the rest room, and when he came back the child was in the water of the complex pool and wasn’t breathing.

    The deputies were able to revive the child, who evidently hadn’t been in the water that long.

  • Ordinarily, I ignore the dumb things that people circulate around the Internet. But I got this one the other day and it made me chuckle, so I decided to share it with all of you. Here goes:

    Only in America do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

    Only in America do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet drink.

    Only in America do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

  • Ever since Thomas Paine’s famous pamphlet “Common Sense” stirred our colonies to rebellion against the British crown in 1776, we Americans have harbored a delusion that we’re the keepers of a bottomless grail of “common sense.” We flatter ourselves.

  • Last week exposed me to a lot of Central Florida news, particularly the high speed rail. I spent four days in Lakeland, which is the heart of the fight for the rail money, as the mayor there joined with Orlando and Tampa to try to get the money the feds were offering.

    Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the plan, was challenged in court by a couple of legislators, and won that battle, as the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously that he had the right to reject the funds.

  • We’ve now come to the point where it stops being fun for our state legislators.

    For the next two months, elected officials will be in Tallahassee determining your future. These are the people we elected last fall, and their decisions will shape our state for a generation.

    If you attended the Legislative Delegation hearing a few months ago at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, you listened to the pleas from the audience for the exact thing that many people are fighting … money for special interest projects.

  • Sometime last year, I wrote a column about joining Facebook. I have suddenly realized that the social network is doing for me what I wanted it to do.
    Granted, there's a lot of garbage on there. I would never post all the personal stuff that some people put up.
    But, in those months since I joined, I have made contact with three long-lost cousins and tried for a fourth.

  • It has become customary today to think of and speak of Social Security and Medicare payments as being the same as financial assistance given to the impoverished and destitute. Nothing could be further from the truth. These payments are made to individuals as payouts no different than any other insurance policy payout. The only obvious difference is that employed persons have no choice in whether to buy these insurance policies.

  • Some columnists, especially those who like to throw some humor into their efforts, exaggerate a bit occasionally, especially when their columns are trying to make a specific point.

    Such is the case, I feel, with the Rev. James Snyder, who writes a column each week called “Out to Pastor,” which runs in our newspaper and several others in the area. He always writes with humor, leading into a spiritual message at the end of each epistle.

  • One of the things all newspapers are conscious of is getting names right. That’s why we feel sorry for those who have to edit stories about the recent uprising in Libya.

    Here are just a few of the references we found about the Libyan leader:

    Muammar Gaddafi (BBC and Reuters)

    Moammar Gadhafi (Wall Street Journal, Associated Press)

    Muammar Qaddhafi (The Economist)

    Muammar al-Gaddafi (Wikipedia)

    Moamar Gaddafi (ABC News)

    Moammar Kadafi (Los Angeles Times)

    Muammar el-Qaddafi (New York Times)

  • Catching up on some county issues:

    Televising the meetings

    I settled down at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening to watch that morning's County Commission meeting. Once again, it wasn't on Cox Cable 12, which puts its schedule on digital cable's guide and said that it was supposed to be on.

    This isn't the first time.