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Opinion

  • 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.

  • Tea Partiers (TPs) are entitled to a celebration for progress with two important issues in their “Contract from America” agenda — to restore fiscal responsibility and limited government in Washington. Resolution of the debt/deficit deadlock may be one small step for the TPs, but it’s a welcome breakthrough to many Americans who are tired of out-of-control government growth and spending.
    The Tea Party is a populist uprising which has infuriated the leadership of both major political parties.

  • Just a couple of weeks ago, we told you about an Ocala-area family that was going to appear on the television show “Family Feud.”
    The information, provided by the producers of the show in
    California, was very specific as to the time and date – it was to be on the air on Aug. 4, last Thursday, at 6 p.m. on WRDQ, which is affiliated with the ABC outlet in Orlando and carried on various cable systems.

  • Remember Earmarks? That’s a harmless sounding name for a sophisticated form of political corruption.
    Earmarks are directions from members of Congress telling agencies to spend funds on pet projects, organizations, and companies or to provide exemptions from taxes and fees.
    Campaign contributors and supporters are frequent beneficiaries of earmarked spending.
    Responding to press and public pressure during the last election, incoming House Republicans pledged a moratorium on earmarks.
    It turned out the moratorium had only one ear.

  • U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, stuck to his guns this week and voted against the compromise bill to settle, at least for now, the debt ceiling battle in Congress.
    On his website, Stearns said he backed the plan put forth by Speaker of the House John Boehner.
    The problem is that the Boehner proposal was never going to pass. It is surprising that, with all of his experience, Stearns failed to recognize this while embracing the art of compromise to avoid a financial crisis in America.

  • Nobody’s talking officially, but store employees are telling people that they are losing their jobs.
    The place is Kmart at Shady Oaks, at the corner of Southwest 27th Avenue and State Road 200 (College Road). Signs have popped up saying the store is going out of business, with signs on the pillars outside the facility saying “Store closing sale.”

  • The term “skunk works” originated in the comic strip “Lil Abner.” It meant a job nobody wanted. The expression morphed into meaning high technology research and development projects done in secret by a small group of scientists or engineers looking for a radical solution to a problem.

    A skunk-works group of bi-partisan U.S. Senators have worked diligently behind closed doors for months seeking a formula which might solve the national debt and deficit problem. They’re known as “The Gang of Six.”

  • Honest, I heard some guy on a TV station say this: “Our national nightmare is over.” So was he talking about the debt ceiling crisis, the government shutdown threat?

    No, he was talking about the National Football League lockout.

    I like sports as much as anyone. The only pay packages we subscribe to in my house are the Major League Baseball Extra Innings package and the NFL Red Zone (no HBO, Showtime or junk like that).

    But a “national nightmare?” Come on.