• Washington bureaucrats and politicians turn on their innocence and righteousness when facts get fuzzy. A recent example was the go-round between the House and Senate over additional funding for FEMA - the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    Democrats in the Senate viewed more money for FEMA as an opportunity to affirm their righteous commitment to unlimited spending and vote gathering. They suggested an additional $7 billion for FEMA.

  • It seems that it’s becoming a regular occurrence to have something happen that makes me feel old. Of course, maybe that’s because I am old. But that’s another story.
    This past Sunday, 60 Minutes, the long-running series, said goodbye to one of its most identifiable personalities, as Andy Rooney signed off for the last time as a regular contributor. Of course, the world “regular” is vital here. He’ll probably be back from time to time.

  • Congratulations. Even though you may not realize it, you’re helping us celebrate a big week throughout our industry. How? By reading a newspaper.
    This is National Newspaper Week, a yearly event noted by the nation’s publications as a time to remind people that the best source for local news remains a newspaper.

  • Every White House administration likes to have its First Lady dedicated to a significant domestic cause. Mrs. Obama began gradually in 2009 by turning over some expensive grass and planting a victory garden in the White House back yard. At the time it was unclear whether her cause would be nutrition or farming.
    A concern arose when it was discovered that the first crop from Obama Acres might not be wholesome.

  • Last week, while on vacation, I had given thought to going to my high school’s 50th class reunion for the Class of 1961.
    Where most schools have the ceremony in the fall of what would have been your senior year, Bergen Catholic does it three months after the 50th anniversary of the actual graduation day in June 1961.
    I don’t travel as well as I used to, so I dutifully filled out the questionnaire but didn’t make the trip.

  • To recapture the White House in 2012, Republicans will have to defeat the most clever U.S. politician since Bill Clinton, who managed to get re-elected in 1996 despite scandals, investigations, and persistent political sniping. Like movies, political campaigns attract fans with hoopla and charisma.
    Last week, in his seventh call for an attack on unemployment since entering the White House in 2008, President Obama made an invigorating re-election campaign speech about jobs and economic recovery to a national audience.

  • One of the most moving ceremonies this past weekend remembering the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was the pregame event at Citi Field in New York before the Major League Baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. ESPN did a great job covering all aspects of the remembrance.
    A group called Tuesday’s Children, made up of youngsters who lost a parent on 9/11, took part, with each player taking the hand of a child as they came out on the field, and other children displaying a huge American flag in the outfield.

  • When I was a young sportswriter, I used to cover high school football games, and barely noticed the band. They were just something to listen to during halftime while I added up my first-half statistics.
    Then something funny happened. I became a band parent … for 12 straight years.
    No, it wasn’t one child who had trouble getting out of high school. I had three sons, four years apart, who were all band members, so when one graduated, there was another to take his place.

  • We’ve beaten a hole in our drum writing so often about political pork earmarks. Another category of frivolous federal spending is earmarks for eggheads.
    We’ve neglected examples of federal funding for goofy grants and silly studies – an annual ritual of granting money for research about which no one seems to ask: “Is that important? Is it necessary?”

  • Back quite a few years ago, there was a movie called “Home Alone.” At the end, the bratty little kid who captured a couple of burglars had a part in the subplot. He got his scary next door neighbor reunited with his son, enabling the older man to finally spend some time with his granddaughter.
    It was a great message about family love conquering other problems.
    Lost in all the memorials and remembrances that Sept. 11 brings, on the 10-year anniversary of the terrible attacks, is a celebration that occurs every year on the second Sunday in September.

  • This coming weekend is a time for solemn remembering of an event that everyone who was older than a toddler will recall forever … the attack on America by Osama bin Laden’s troops, including two planes crashing into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and another into a field in Pennsylvania.
    In that one, we all remember, the passengers revolted against the hijackers and gave their lives to stop a further attack on Washington, D.C.
    It was Sept. 11, 2001, and we all recall what we were doing that day.

  • The difficulty among the House, Senate, and president in reaching a debt and deficit agreement for the coming fiscal year was that they were discussing fictional numbers as if they were real.
    For decades federal budgeting and spending has been designed to obscure the ambitions and intentions of Washington politicians and bureaucrats. It’s called baseline budgeting. The object is to give the impression that legislators are providing more services without voting for more spending.

  • Many years ago, Labor Day was established to honor the working people of our land, and that is still the purpose of the holiday.
    Up north, it marks the end of summer, but down here it has little effect on the people because of the weather.
    For now, Labor Day is a bittersweet reminder of the hard times that we are going through economically in the United States.

  • As you may have guessed, I’m not a particularly big fan of school buses or school zones. There’s a letter from Kevin Christian of the School Board office in today’s paper, and he’s defending the delays on the first day of school.
    All right, I’ll give him the fact that it was the first day, and it may have taken a little longer to get children acclimated to make sure they knew which bus to take on the way home.
    Here are a couple of points, however.

  • Nothing good ever
    came out of Texas
     If we study early American history the poorest cattle  marketed in the 19th century came out of Texas, "Long Horns and Brahmins." Of course they created a lot of El Toro Poo Poo and are still doing it. Sam Rayburn could be the exception.

  • Last week we urged you to be careful around school buses. We warned you about the laws regarding traffic stopping for buses. But there are a couple of additional concerns, this time from the other side of the issue.
    First, the hours that our schools are making children wait for buses are ridiculous. Monday morning, while it was still dark, young children were out on the corners waiting. Some, fortunately, were with parents. To make the kids get out this early almost borders on cruelty to the young ones. At least let them stay home until daylight.

  • When it comes to the pesky critters at Tuscawilla Park in downtown Ocala, I’m really not trying to duck the issue. It’s just that I don’t know what’s going on with the web-footed creatures that dominate the area and why they have to be killed, especially if the description of their planned demise is accurate.

  • The mission of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is to provide nonpartisan analyses of government proposals, as well as information and estimates for the Congressional budget process. The CBO has been very busy lately, after two and a half years during which Congress and the White House were doing unlimited spending and not bothering with fussy budgets.
    CBO takes no political positions. Simply stated, CBO calls ‘em as it sees ‘em. They make every effort to maintain their reputation for impartiality.

  • The last couple of weeks in Marion County, we had our own little version of CSI, Law and Order, Covert Affairs, NCIS and whatever other cop show you watch all thrown into one.
    The occasion was the tragic deaths of four people in one house in the Northwest area. Two women and two children were found in a burning house on Aug. 5, and it was soon discovered that all four had been shot before the fire.
    After a few days, deputies arrested the boyfriend of one of the victims and accused him of four homicides and one case of arson. He was booked into the county jail.

  • 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.