Congress doesn’t like making hard choices

August 17, 2011 If you were paying attention to the end-game of the debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington, you may have noticed something interesting. For all the partisan division over the details, there was agreement on one point: It’s safest politically to defer hard choices to the last possible moment — and maybe avoid them altogether.

Pastor finds worse things than joining Over-the-Hill club

August 17, 2011 A friend of mine said to me recently, “Old boy, how’s it feel to be a member of the Over-the-Hill gang?” I mumbled something as politely as I could, but on the inside, I was a little furious. I may be getting older, but I definitely am not old! In fact, I plan to get older every day.Once I got my blood pressure under control, I looked into this a little more closely. I am not quite sure I want a membership in such an organization. I checked out the dues and I am not quite sure I am up for it.

Incivility rising

August 16, 2011 “Those dirty lousy jerks at my company can put a sock in it!”“Ah, yes, you illustrate the findings of a new study by Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion: that incivility is growing in the workplace.”“My co-workers are almost as bad as the jerk politicians who are running our country into the ground!”“You illustrate another recent survey’s findings, by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate and KRC Research: that political discourse is also becoming less civil.”“The country’s going down the toilet. Nobody’s in the mood to be civil!”

Political grousing

August 16, 2011 Dear editor:President Obama should not be underestimated. I believe he is a cool person who does not show his emotions. It’s hard to know what’s behind the mask. People should not pay attention to what he says, rather to what programs and ideology he supports.

Wilson’s Creek re-enactment

August 16, 2011 Last week’s so-called “cool snap” couldn’t have had better timing for the Battle of Wilson’s Creek re-enactment, held last weekend at Wilson’s Creek in Republic, Mo. (near Springfield). I knew when Gary and I visited the battlefield with my mom and stepdad a couple years ago I wanted to go the re-enactment. We had never seen a Civil War re-enactment, but it was something on my “bucket list.”

PB sandwich: Fry it up

August 15, 2011 My first peanut butter and banana sandwich wasn’t fried.Some might venture to say that means I’m not a true Elvis Presley fan but more than a decade ago, the idea of frying something sweet like a grilled cheese didn’t sound good. Cheese is OK to grill. Peanut butter and banana, not so much.

Ledge update

August 15, 2011 LITTLE ROCK — Several members of the state Board of Education suggested newer and tougher standards for determining whether an Arkansas school district should be classified as being in academic distress.At a recent board meeting, members debated whether the current legal definition of academic stress is so diluted that it is meaningless.That would explain why some school districts never get placed on the academic distress list even though their students score very poorly on standardized tests. 

If the Tea Party were liberal

August 12, 2011 Just imagine there was a giant swarm of super-super liberal freshmen in Congress. They had given the president a “shellacking,” secured a large number of seats in the House of Representatives and had been on the job for eight months. Just a bunch of lockstep liberals clogging up the Capitol.

Extreme embarrassment

August 12, 2011 Extreme couponing is the latest craze to hit my household thanks to The Learning Channel show, “Extreme Couponing.” My mom and I used coupons years ago and did save quite a bit of money. I have forgotten why I quit couponing, though. Chances are I just got lazy or possibly I started earning more money that allowed me to quit the task that seemed like a second job.

Money squawks

August 12, 2011 Everyone has a story about getting ripped off by an airline, abused by the phone company, or hosed at the department of motor vehicles. And ever since the economy turned sour, we’ve all got grim tales to share about being beaten up by banks and credit card companies. Here are two of mine:My Chase Visa payment was due on the Fourth of July. As a patriotic gesture I took the day off to celebrate our independence and assumed that Chase was doing the same. I paid my bill in full, electronically, on the morning of July 5.