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Columns

  • To buy or not to buy — is that the question?

    When the weather warms up, I start thinking about something scary. I start wanting to do something that may be a mistake. The thoughts swirl around in my mind until the weather turns cold again and it no longer matters that my only access to the outdoors is to leave my apartment and go somewhere else.

    Every spring/summer for the last three years or so, I start wanting to buy a house.

  • It's tough battling UV rays without my shades

    In the summer months, I pick up a new habit—wearing sunglasses everywhere.

    It almost becomes like an addiction as I sport huge black-framed sunglasses whenever I go outdoors. I find myself putting my sunglasses on before fastening my seat belt when I start my car. They stay nicely placed on my face until I come inside. That is when I nestle my sunglasses on the top of my head. Sometimes, they turn into a headband.

  • Coal is bad news for us and the environment

    I have a very extensive file of information about the environment. Actually its size evokes a groan in me this time of year when thorough file pruning is needed.

    One file folder among the many in the deep file drawer is devoted to coal.

    Now Kentucky has a lot of interest in coal — because Kentucky has a very large amount of it. It has been a major factor in our economy for a long time now. It largely accounts for our very low rates for

    electricity.

  • Where there's smoke, doesn't always mean fire

    When smoke started streaming underneath the hood of my car, my heart skipped a beat.

    Thoughts raced through my head as I watched the smoke waft past my passenger side window as I waited at the traffic light at the intersection of Stephen Foster Avenue and Second Street. “Is my car about to blow up?” “Is that smoke really coming from my car?” “Will I make it to work or should I stop now?” “Will it even go when I hit the gas pedal?”

  • Another victory for the rule of the law

    It shouldn’t be necessary for the Supreme Court to tell the president that he can’t have people taken into custody, spirited to a remote prison camp and held indefinitely, with no legal right to argue that they’ve been unjustly imprisoned — not even on grounds of mistaken identity. But the president in question is, sigh, George W. Bush, who has taken a chainsaw to the rule of law with the same manic gusto he displays while clearing brush at his Texas ranch.

  • It takes strength to find honor in corrupt system

    This year marks the 125th anniversary of the passage of the Pendleton Act, which set into motion the civil service system we know today — jobs being awarded on the basis of merit and candidates to be selected through competitive examinations. It also made it unlawful to demote or terminate employment for political reasons. Today, it’s estimated that more than 90 percent of about 2.7 million federal employees are covered under the system.

  • Machiavelli was right — arm the people

    Niccol Machiavelli, who was a sort of Karl Rove of his day, though with more integrity, said of the Swiss that they were “the most free and most armed people” of Europe. Get it? The connection between arms and freedom?

  • War, famine, inflation — Will we survive them?

    Any attempt at watching, listening or searching for recent news undoubtedly results in something that resembles the lead up to an apocalyptic film. War, severe weather ravaging nations around the world, the price of natural resources raising astronomically and food shortages beginning to seem like a plausible possibility in the near future top the newscasts. Times are tough and things are starting to look a little scary not only for third world countries but developed nations like our own as well.

  • Hotter than usual summer causes distractions

    Perhaps my brain has been scorched by the hotter-than-usual June we’ve been enduring. Or maybe I just need a few days off. Whatever the reason, I’m having trouble focusing on one topic, so here’s a hodgepodge of thoughts flitting through my mind.

  • Watching history be made and not made

    Last week, I watched as Barack Obama became the first black presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party on Tuesday.

    On Saturday, I watched as “Stephen Foster—The Musical” opened its 50th anniversary season.