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Are you hearing people in high positions of authority say we are already well into World War III? Today I heard it several times on national news. It is surely a depressing thought, and we need the best brains we can summon to help us avoid terrorism against terrorism. If you are a hawk, you…

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After a natural disaster, we usually come together in a positive effort to mend the physical and emotional damage, but we are left with feelings of helplessness after an act of terrorism.

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The war had ended, the guns were locked in the supply shed and we were just waiting to go home.

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To narrow-minded and naive grammarians, truth is truth and honest truth is redundancy that ought not to be tolerated in educated circles. But I ask that you lend me your ear while I try to show you there can be a great difference in the two.

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He was superintendent, and I was a lowly assistant principal. He wrote textbooks and often published his views through other media.

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All the legendary Hopkinsville High School stories of Bobo Cravens, known only by Mrs. Ledford as Alfred Cravens, would fill a nine-pound hardback book, and I expect that he might have by now forgotten some of them himself. This one had slipped my mind until it came back to me in a pleasant …

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I am profoundly moved by Walt Whitman’s goodbye to Abraham Lincoln through his poem “O Captain! My Captain!” The poem starts, “O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won …”

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Most of us do not want a reoccurrence of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, but we also want to live in a nation that is not made up of barbaric savages. In many college classrooms today, students are fed a strong message that we are a bunch of brutes who practice (and seem to enjoy) torturing our…

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My beloved grandson took his own life the Sunday before Thanksgiving, right after my revered son-in-law had a heart valve operation in which his heart was taken out of his body to make repairs. Reeling under this double hit, I was hit again when my grandson’s gay companion last week took his…

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Unless subsidized by a church or a charity, an assisted living facility is a business that must make a profit to stay open. We who buy into assisted living are fortunate that we have a choice in where we spend our money. We consider the quality of the food, cleanliness, convenience and servi…

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I have a very hard time keeping up with my piddling little bank accounts because I am asked so many questions to prove I am who I am. I often have to produce a driver’s license, give my Social Security number, give a 16-digit account number for a certificate of deposit and give my date of bi…

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The balance between ability and need has been a guiding principle throughout my life, but it needs a considerable element of commonsense to make it meaningful.

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I surely applaud the stirring Kentucky New Era editorial against the cowards who acted with such malice and meanness against the family of Ronald McGee. I have a suggestion to make, however. I propose that we do a lot of talking about the matter and then try to go one step beyond talking by …

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Old age hits us with lots of problems, but it does offer us a few privileges that are denied to the young. We oldies are largely exempt from the standardized system of lying, which we call political correctness.

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I taught English for only a very brief time, but I became infected with a mania for pinning down the meaning of a word as much as possible. If we know that a missile from an enemy country is headed our way, that is clearly an exigent circumstance that does not allow time for consultation wit…

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I enjoy life, but with just a small sense of guilt that I am putting a burden on my retirement system, Social Security and Medicare. I sense that I lack the grace to fold my tent and leave without further burden to society. It is a bit like those who go through a war without injury and feel …

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Reader friends of the Kentucky New Era have been very faithful to keep in touch with me during my recent retreat into the Medicare system. After eight weeks of hospital and rehab service, I feel quite competent to make a few remarks about Medicare. On the whole, I have upgraded my opinion of…

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First, I wish to state that anyone who takes this essay seriously will be prosecuted to the full limit of the law or maybe even awarded a Nobel Prize — whichever seems most appropriate to the interpretation.

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Looking back over a long life, I see the stages that we go through in highly predictable ways. In our youth and teen years, we think that we are breaking free of old practices that have no sense to them, and that we are a new generation of free-thinkers.

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For a short time, I knew a couple who were deemed insane until you knew the full story of their lives. They had raised a couple of twin sons to age 16 and been proud of many achievements of the boys. Good students, good athletes and good citizens, the twins had brought great joy to them unti…

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The seeming invariability of the laws of chemistry and physics always reassured me, but in my lifetime some of the things once deemed immutable have been changed. With absolute certainty, my first college chemistry book asserted that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but in our li…

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In many ways, the Democrats want to solve one half of the problems we face and the Republicans want to solve the other half.

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I think maybe we have milked about the last drop of outrage from the Martin/Zimmerman case, and I am willing to leave it up to the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton to carry on the cause. I have been looking for an issue that both races can see as a common cause for concern, and I think I may have …

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I am not a fast enough thinker to find agreement or disagreement with President Obama and his administration. By the time I have considered his proposals and formed an opinion, he has usually changed his mind.

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We go through life with many vague ideas, and one of mine has been the difference between quash and squash, I know that judges are into quashing and wives into to squashing, but that is about as precise as I can get.

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Embedded in the human psyche is a strong desire to know where we stand. We depend on the concept of normal, which is very close to average in meaning, to evaluate our standing and we depend on objective tests to give us this information. I know that I am a little above average in height and …

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When we pass 90 years of life,  decisions become a little more limited. As I see life, we have four or five decisions to choose from after 90.We can retreat into ourselves and try our best to ignore the world around us while we wait for the end. We can observe the world around us and keep qu…

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President Franklin Roosevelt famously advised us that we had nothing to fear but fear itself. His remarks were timely and uplifting, but the whole truth can seldom be covered in one pithy statement.

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Just when I think that I have told every story that I know at least one time and most of them several times, the editor of the New Era Opinion Page comes up with a new idea of something for me to write about. Jennifer P. Brown is a nice lady, and she never gets all bent out of shape when I e…

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In the very short intervals between my long naps, I may have come up with an algorithm (whatever them things is)  to calm the frenzy of Republicans who think the IRS is searching deep into their pockets for a little more tax money.

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Whistleblowers seem to come in three categories: those motivated by love of truth and country, those motivated by revenge or self-interest and those with a mixture of both.

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A law without an enforcement provision or an incentive seems to be an exercise in futile rhetoric for those who really need the law in the first place. A law with no teeth is like a toothless dog, and I defy you to defy this contention; on the other hand, I managed my classrooms with suggest…

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As I sit and stare at a blank computer screen, I have a faint hope that some good idea will come to me, and I will write something that might bring readers a little closer together in harmony and friendship.

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One of the first things to look for in a terrorist attack is the motive of the terrorist. There are lots of motives out there, and we know about most of them —hate of many varieties, mental derangement that leads to a weird connection of violence and virtue, money, power, vengeance, religiou…

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In federal, state and local statutory and common law, the right to defend your property and your person was once almost universal. In my lifetime, we have done a complete turnaround on the defense of property. Now, if you shoot a man who is stealing your car, you can expect to be treated as …

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I have pondered the high school dropout problem for more than three-quarters of a century, and I have not heard much in the way of a new argument in all that time.

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Bob Woodward has gone from a great investigative reporter to a self-serving journalistic hack in the eyes of the same people who made him great in the first place. Is Woodward the same steady keen-eyed fellow who helped bring down Richard Nixon, or has he changed into something else?

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When you get down to the nitty gritty, the voter ID debate has two rather confusing sides. In Chicago, an effective voter ID law would prevent people from voting two or three times while in other places it would prevent certain people from voting even once. I guess you could say with reasona…

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I have been under the impression that we are going to cut spending to the amount that we collect in taxes and other revenue, but smarter people tell me that I am confused. They tell me that we are merely trying to slow down the rate at which we are going into debt.

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I repeatedly hear the word “sequestration” used by commentators on the present political scene. I have been sequestered as a jury member, and I have a little knowledge of the word’s meaning in chemistry. I know that it has a legal meaning having to do with the seizure of property in a contes…

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Some question has arisen concerning who is who in the picture that runs with my column (or is that who is whom?)  Well the better looking guy on the right is my dog Sit and the fellow wearing the hat is me.

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In 1928, when Al Smith and Herbert Hoover were candidates for president, I was 8 years old, but I already had a strong single interest in the outcome of the election. Smith was a “wet” who wanted to repeal the 18th amendment and restore the legal sale of alcohol. I had seen my father creepin…

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It is foolish to cry over spilt milk, but it is not foolish to look at why we spilt the milk and maybe to put the milk in a safer container in the future. Are we going to shrug off the safety of our diplomatic agents as too expensive to afford, and continue to depend on unreliable foreign ag…

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I have been invited to offer my opinion of what makes a good teacher, and the invitation has led me to some serious pondering. I believe  there is a minimum requirement of good sense, subject matter competence,  humanness and several other factors that could be considered as essential, but e…

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Some of the things that were drilled into my ears when I was young seemed to no longer apply to me. Always be respectful to your elders was an uncompromising dictum of my youth, but I hardly ever find anyone who is older than I. Hey, would you please change that I to a “me” as I am getting f…

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If you look carefully at the Internet, you will find that much of what passes for reasoning is unreasonable on the face of it. I suppose that you could find stuff that I write to fit into that category, so I want to be especially careful as I make a plea for clear thinking. I guess I am sayi…

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Compromise is a word with many different meanings and connotations. When we compromise our honesty, we are not generally doing a good thing. Going along to get along is generally a path for the weak. It is nuanced to mean self-serving, dishonest and craven. Nevertheless, we cannot all prevai…

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The people who run the Social Security office here in Terre Haute, Ind., have very wisely located the place so that it will be hard to find by old codgers who are confused by why they want to get there in the first place. I did finally find it, and I had my six-page document of required info…

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I can remember with clarity the Christmas of 1927. Everyone in my family got an orange, an apple and a candy cane. In addition, we each got a little extra gift that cost a quarter or less. My gift was a cap pistol.

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This year, for the first time in more than 30 years, I am going to itemize my tax deductions. With more than $30,000 in medical expenses as a starter, I would be foolish to do otherwise.

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There is a movement afoot to eliminate the term “Christmas tree” and replace it with the term “Holiday tree” in all government and media references. To some people, it is indeed a holiday tree, and I have no quarrel with that. In fact, I have no clue as to how a tree got into the celebration…

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In recent months, I've been very proud to work on an issue that every Member of Congress can wholeheartedly support - protecting our nation's children from abuse and neglect. The safety and security of some of our most vulnerable members…

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I've never been that great at goodbyes. I don't like the idea of soft-pedaling something or beating around the bush when simplicity will do just as well. I say that to tell you that this will be my last column.…

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It’s not a bad time to be a Kentucky sports fan. Kentucky basketball remains a title contender every year, and the football program looks like it’s here to stay. Last season, both were staples in the Top 25 rankings, a pretty good indication of their quality.

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For decades, Oak Grove has been the red-headed stepchild of Christian County. Mama Fort Campbell always let some of her soldiers stay with Oak Grove, but that was little enough, and she was busy making doe-eyes at Clarksville. Papa Christian County loved her, sure, but not as much as he love…

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Don’t call ICE to deport me, but the name you see at the bottom of this column isn’t my real one. Yes, it was the name I was given at birth, but something happened around the time I turned 7 years old that, to some people, changed it forever.