Understanding teens

March 22, 2011 I haven’t decided yet if I need hearing aids or what yet, after spending the day with my 14-year-old nephew, Avery. Maybe it’s just that 14-year-olds have a language all their own, and it’s called MUMBLING.Avery is a Mumbling Master. I mean, he’s got it down to an art. It’s enough to drive me crazy.

Defunding or defanging?

March 21, 2011 There was plenty of passionate poppycock on the House floor Thursday, as members debated the Republicans’ “emergency” bill to eliminate funding for National Public Radio.Although the bill passed, as did a proposal last month to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, neither measure will advance beyond the House chamber. And while most of the arguments from both sides tap-danced around the issues, a level-headed reassessment of federal spending for public TV and radio is overdue.

Program beneficial to all

March 21, 2011 “Every 15 Minutes,” a national campaign targeted at high school students that brings about awareness to what can happen by drinking, texting or careless driving, is one I’m so proud to see one Arkansas school take on.I feel fortunate to have been made aware of the event a month in advance at Southside High School and even more proud to have been a part of it last week thanks to Terry Watson, coach and Jobs for Arkansas Graduates specialist at Southside.

Beebe, GOP benefit short term from deal

March 21, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Maybe this marriage can survive after all.The deal legislative leaders struck with Gov. Mike Beebe to pave the way for the passage of $35 million in tax cuts offered something rarely seen in state capitols: an agreement that managed to give just about all parties something to smile about.

Lead or get out of the way

March 18, 2011 Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is getting away with murder because the president of the United States refuses to take action when that’s exactly what is called for.Gadhafi is thumbing his nose at the alleged leader of the Free World, leaving the crazed dictator free to slaughter his own people in a frantic effort to save his dictatorship.It is hard for me to examine President Obama’s current behavior without comparing it to a similar crisis during my father President Reagan’s administration, and the way my Dad handled it.

Government is clearly not transparent enough

March 18, 2011 WASHINGTON — The national picture for Freedom of Information laws, celebrated during national Sunshine Week (March 13-19), is a bit brighter thanks to two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions and some White House initiatives.But to give a twist on the old saying, “There’s a cloud in every silver lining.”

Killing me softly with your Kibble

March 17, 2011 A 2010 study by the Association For Pet Obesity Prevention says half the nation’s dogs and cats are overweight, and 20 percent are downright obese. This should come as no surprise to anyone who has danced to the Billboard hit “Who Let The Dogs’ (Waistband) Out?”These findings are alarming because, as with humans, weight issues produce other health woes, such as diabetes, arthritis, shortened lifespan and an uncontrollable urge to wear Speedos.

Vendor of smiles

March 17, 2011 This is not about politics or the economy, at least not directly. This is about lemonade. “Lemonade, lemonade, like grandma made!”For 26 years, Derrick Moore has been selling drinks at sports venues across the West, but quenching thirst is only part of his mission. Moore is arguably the nation’s top ballpark vendor of smiles.Fans attending games in Arizona, southern California and Nevada — over 250 events each year — often can’t remember the final score, but they never forget Moore’s deep, rousing call: “Lemonade, Lemonade, like grandma made!”

‘Engine Earth’ produces megatons of energy

March 17, 2011 Earthquakes apparently are on everyone’s mind these days — and for good reasons. The giant earthquake in Japan was so strong that it moved portions of the island nation’s east coast 13 feet, and the entire east coast an average of eight feet.But what really catches my attention is that it shifted the Earth’s axis a measurable amount as well as increasing the Earth’s rotational speed, shortening each day also by a measurable amount.Mind-boggling.

A boy with imagination

March 16, 2011  Dustin’s mother had locked him in his room for most of his 10 years, at least whenever he wasn’t in school. Because of that, his imagination was vivid and wildOnce his father gained custody of him, and he was free to come and go, it was obvious that his social skills were almost nonexistent. Dustin’s father said he didn’t care for church himself, but he felt his son could use it, and he asked us to take Dustin with us each week. I’m not sure if it was for Dustin, or because the dad just wanted some free time, but we agreed.