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Opinion

  • When a top political candidate comes to visit your area, it’s a public relations boon, especially when someone like vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan opens his comments by saying what great Florida weather he was experiencing.
    But Ryan’s visit to Ocala last week has me thinking of some things, just coming up with some questions without answers. So let me present some of those to you.

  • Experience means been there; done that

     

  • An election message that’s worth repeating

     

    There are a lot of people who immediately think “no” when the prospect of a new tax appears on the ballot. They don’t take the time to figure out how much, or how little, it would cost them, or how much the rejection of that tax could affect their lives.

  • Ordinarily, we’re not big proponents of early voting, or of absentee voting when it’s not absolutely necessary.
    However, this year may be different.
    Because there are 11 Florida Constitution amendments on the ballot, and some of them are wordy, the ballot is two pages, 14 inches long, both sides.
    If everyone waits to vote on Election Day, that could be a disaster. We have visions of people waiting a very long time while those ahead of them try to read through the ballot and figure out which way they are going to vote.

  • About a dozen or so years ago, I was sitting in my newspaper office in New Smyrna Beach when a man came in to see me.
    He was dressed in rough-looking clothes, and had a long beard that looked as if he hadn’t trimmed it in months.
    I immediately stereotyped him as, well, you can guess, especially since I found out he was a veteran, and we’ve all heard stories about down and out vets.
    His name was Tom Ryan, and it turned out he was one of the nicest people I met over there, and one who was most dedicated to what he was trying to accomplish.

  • There are little things in life than can have a major effect on your concentration, your thought process, your lifestyle.
    Last week, my cell phone died.
    I won’t tell you the brand, but this cell phone could do more things than just be a “phone.” Still, you had to maneuver around the screen with a little button, then press that button to make your phone do anything. If you wanted to type something, the keyboard was so small that a kindergartener probably would have been frustrated.

  • Regardless of how you feel about U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, there was one thing that could be said for him.
    He was from Ocala and gave Marion County its own representative on Congress.
    The loss last week in the Republican Primary eliminated Stearns from contention and, because of redistricting, means that Marion County will no longer have a representative in Congress from here.
    That doesn’t seem right for a county that’s 15th in the state in population and third in area (behind Collier and Polk).

  • The other day, I was watching a baseball game on television and a commercial came on. It was an attack ad by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) against Republican nominee Connie Mack.
    It was about 11 weeks before the November election. I think I nearly cried. You mean we have nearly three months of this to go.
    I was so glad to walk out to my mailbox last Tuesday, election day, and get nothing but a couple of bills (of course, you can throw the political ads away, you can’t do the same with the bills).

  • No one can ever accuse me of being a golfer. I have played one round of golf in my life, and shot a 103. Oh, did I mention it was a nine-hole course?
    That was back when I was 16 and my dad tried to teach me on a simple little course at a place called Mystic Islands, New Jersey. My dad was good at a lot of things, but he didn’t succeed at this one, although it probably wasn’t his fault.
    That’s why I’ve grown up rarely watching golf on television, except for the majors and the TPC at Sawgrass, which I personally attended once.

  • We’ve all been hearing a lot lately about voter purges, where the state is trying to make sure that all voters are legitimately registered and are American citizens qualified to vote.
    For some reason, some people think this is a bad thing. They don’t see to care that some votes are being cast illegally. It comes back to that old cliché: What part of the word “illegal” don’t you understand?”

  • In the 19th century and the first 50 years of the 20th, many poorly paid, unmarried teachers, particularly females, lived together out of financial necessity. Whether their living arrangements were anything other than shared expenses was seldom questioned.
    Of course there were village busy biddies who would speculate in social circles about teachers living together, without any factual information on which to base whispered suspicions about sexuality. Gossipers feed on subjects which are none of their business.

  • My first encounter with a hurricane, that I remember, was in 1954. We had just moved to a house on a hill in northern New Jersey, a one-story with a basement, facing west.
    I remember hearing about this storm called Hazel that was cutting across the northeast on its way to Canada, after starting in Haiti where it killed 1,000 people. At that point, I had no idea where Haiti was, but I didn’t want something that could kill that many people coming my way.
    My parents said not to worry, that it was greatly weakened by the time it got to us.

  • The year was 1997. I was temporarily working out of state but came back to Ocala around New Year’s Day, visiting my family.
    We rode somewhere, I can’t remember where, and when we got to my parents’ house, which is now my home, I got out of the car and opened the door for my 82-year-old mom. She took my hand and got out of the car, but gave me a wistful look as she did so.
    That look sent chills through me … I don’t know why. I stayed at the house a couple more hours, then had to leave, driving by myself. That look haunted me for hours.

  • Most Congress people arrive in Washington with ordinary backgrounds and an agenda of noble intentions to do good for constituents and the nation.
    It doesn’t take long however for Congress people to become exceptional. To some extent it’s not their fault. It may be an effect of ingesting Washington air and water.

  • At last, one of those new roads that keep popping up all over Marion County opened up Tuesday morning as a road to somewhere … and an important one it is.
    The city of Ocala held a ceremony to unveil the sign to its new Ocala Business Park at Ocala International Airport, and with it opened Southwest 67th Avenue Road.
    The road now goes from State Road 40 south to Southwest 38th Street. The southern portion of the road has been in existence for some time; it is used as the entrance to the Ocala Regional Sportsplex.

  • Trying to follow this controversy concerning Munroe Regional Medical Center is really challenging for those of us who are just simple folk. All these tales of leases and taxes and rankings, etc., can make us dizzy.
    I do know one thing. If the Munroe powers-that-be succeed in getting a new tax on the ballot in November, it hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in you-know-where of succeeding, especially in this economy, even if there are some who are willing to pay a little more for the success of the hospital.

  • If you've ever watched the television show "Law and Order," you've seen scenes from the Appellate Court and the state Supreme Court where both sides make their oral arguments.
    They stand in front of a podium which has three small lights, green, yellow and red, well in sight of the speaker.
    When he starts, the green light is on. When time is almost up, the yellow light comes on, and when time is up, the red light glows, and the lawyer immediately says thank you and sits down.

  • If you are self-employed or retired you’ve already sent to the IRS your first estimated tax payment for 2012 - real money based on income you haven’t received yet.
    Meanwhile, living nearby are some of the 46 percent of Americans who paid no taxes for 2011 and are unlikely to pay any in 2012. Our system of taxation is mysterious and corrupt.

  • Over the past few years, it’s been obvious that some people have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Those of us who have websites and e-mails have been part of the effort to educate the public on the use of electronics.
    Now the federal government is getting in the act.
    As you can read elsewhere, beginning March 1, 2013, the feds will get rid of all paper checks for benefits, including Social Security. No longer will you be rushing to your mailbox on a certain day of the month to get that check and take it to the bank.

  • Oil For The Lamps of China is a movie that was released on my birthday in 1935. The story created an image of big oil as a business giant without a soul. Years later we discovered that the requirements for incorporation do not include evidence of a soul.