Reflections of Oil Trough City Hall

December 20, 2010 The loss of the City Hall and Community Center in the recent fire at Oil Trough was a devastating blow to the small town. It was made even worse when we learned from the fire investigating team that it was arson. We have to wonder why anyone would do something so terrible to the people of Oil Trough.

Letters to the Editor; Safety first

December 17, 2010 Dear editor:This holiday season if you catch a buzz, catch a ride.The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest on the nation’s roadways and also one of the most dangerous, due to a high incidence of alcohol-related traffic crashes.That’s why I’m joining with other national, state and local highway safety and law enforcement officials to remind everyone this holiday season to always designate a driver before each holiday party or event involving alcohol.

Letters to the Editor; Church and state

December 17, 2010 Dear editor:Recently in a debate between two political adversaries, one mentioned that the wall of separation between the church and state was not in the constitution. Her political opponents ridiculed her that anyone would even hold to such an idea.

Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends

December 16, 2010 An apropos saying, “Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends” was recently tweeted across the cyber world of Twitter, but apparently the message did not connect with entitlement-loving Democratic Party Progressives currently unhinged over the recent proposal to extend Bush tax cuts.In a rare moment of self-mutilation, the Democrats have begun to eat their own in their condemning of Obama’s Tax compromise rather than indulging in their usual and most boring anything-Palin diet — and to that I respond with a hearty, “Bon Appetite.”

FEMA: Be prepared for quakes

December 16, 2010 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, on the 199th anniversary of one of the largest earthquakes ever to strike the U.S., the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Campaign is encouraging all Americans to prepare for earthquakes and other disasters by making a new year’s resolution to “Resolve to be Ready” in 2011. It only takes a few simple steps to prepare for emergencies, and anyone can visit www.Ready.gov to learn more.

Crying Game

December 16, 2010 Honestly, what’s with all the crying on Capitol Hill? Judging by the flow of tears you’d think Republicans had recently suffered some kind of horrible defeat.Thanks to YouTube, just about everyone has seen how John Boehner, incoming House Speaker, cried uncontrollably on “60 Minutes” when grilled by Lesley Stahl. As I recall, Boehner burst into tears when Stahl asked something like, “Can we start taping now?”

Freedom of Deplorable Speech

December 15, 2010 Pastor Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church congregation — also known as the “God Hates Fags” picketers — have no place in a polite society. But we don’t live in a polite society. We live in this one. And in this one we are guaranteed the freedom of speech.If you’re for free speech, which I am, you’re proclaiming you can be offended and be reasonably OK with it. Freedom of speech isn’t just saying what you want to say, it’s also letting other people say heinous and indefensible things and accepting the government’s inaction on the issue.

Comebacks to stupid pickup lines

December 15, 2010 Phil, my roommate, stopped me as I gathered my books to go study at the library. “Don’t you think that maybe you study too much?”“I doubt it,” I replied.  “I need to keep good grades so I can retain my scholarships, or I won’t have enough money to pay for college.”“I’m glad my parents are paying for my college so I don’t have to worry about that,” Phil said.“You know, it really wouldn’t hurt for you to put a little more time into your schooling,” I told him.Phil laughed. “Maybe we could both learn from each other.”

Who are the poor in spirit?

December 15, 2010 During this time of year — true, some now labor to label it “correctly” — most of us give more consideration to those we would call “the least of these” than we might otherwise do. Such commendable conduct is in keeping with the spirit of “the season.” Even those who eschew calling it Christmas intrinsically understand it to be linked with a spirit of giving — and of peace, both in the soul and among neighbors.

7 tips for miserable holidays

December 14, 2010 For every person looking forward to spending the holidays with family, there’s another one, or five, who are dreading it. For some, time with extended family is practically purgatory. I’m lucky. I like my family; in fact, I love them. Yet as I listen to people grumble about their awful in-laws, crazy sister or cheapskate uncle, it strikes me that some people aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about.