• Last week was very busy for me. I spent a lot of time doing the paperwork involved in filing for an injunction … against myself.
    That’s right, I’m suing me.
    It’s all because some of our government officials seem to forget the first three words of the preamble to the U.S. Constitution; you know, the words “We the people.”

  • By Jim Yancey
    Every school day, more than 99 percent of our 42,000 students make great decisions and do what we expect them to – study, do their homework, participate in learning, and earn a good education. And most of the 23,000 students on our buses do the same. Unfortunately, we don’t hear about these students because they don’t generate many news headlines.

  • Many of us wonder why there aren’t any stop buttons for federal spending, deficits, and debt. One reason is that there are thousands of government employees working diligently to preserve and expand federal programs. Coincidentally their efforts ensure tenured employment and opportunities for promotions as more employees are hired to administer their agency’s “essential services.”

  • If Republican presidential hopefuls continue to abuse each other through a dozen more caucuses and primaries from Maine through Super Tuesday, their nominee will be dog meat come November.
    Mr. Obama is loading up on Republicans’ ill-conceived mutual nastiness. Rarely has one party’s potential nominees served up so many revelations of their rivals’ political vulnerabilities and defects of character.
    The basic disagreement among Republicans centers around who is a true conservative. The problem is conservatives come in 57 varieties and 28 flavors.

  • The story of the Four Chaplains is one that everyone should know and appreciate. The four men who gave their lives that others might live is among the most inspirational war stories available.
    It happened in 1943, when the four men of God were on board a ship that was torpedoed by a German sub. The ship sank rapidly, but several men were saved, some because of the efforts of the four men.

  • Many years ago when I was younger, I used to love driving at night when taking long trips. I always felt that you could see what was coming from a greater distance, and usually most of the people on the road were commercial drivers, in those days people who knew how to drive better than most.
    But I, and everyone else, have to be grateful that I wasn’t on the Interstate early Sunday morning in southern Alachua County.

  • Readers may wonder about the source of ideas for columns. We read newspapers and magazines. We rarely visit a blog (they’re disorganized). And we read books — most recently: “The Imperial Cruise,” a biographical telling of Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policies and “7 Events That Made America,” — turning points in U.S. history.
    One turning point was “Martin Van Buren Has a Nightmare, and Big Government is Born.” New York State Senator Van Buren would later become Secretary of State, Vice President, and President.

  • Time for my regular rant about voting in Florida, and it’s not what you might think. I go against supervisors of elections, editors and, yes, even some publishers with my election opinions.
    I received my sample ballot for next week’s Republican Presidential Primary last Saturday. It had all the usual stuff, including all the presidential candidates who have dropped out of the race since the ballot was printed.
    But there was something else that drives me crazy. It said that early voting had started, and it gave a list of early voting sites.

  • Amid all the tributes pouring in for former Penn State University football coach Joe Paterno, amid all the sorrowful vigils after his death last Sunday, amid all the flowers, etc., left for the family, there is one group of people that we feel must be remembered …  the victims.
    Paterno was by no means guilty of any physical crimes in the sex abuse scandal which has one of his former assistants charged with abuse of boys, but in Paterno’s own words, he should “have done more.”

  • 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.