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.

‘(Bleep) My Stepdad Says’

December 14, 2010 After seeing the Twitter account, Facebook page, book and now TV show with Bill Shatner, “(Bleep) My Dad Says,” I’ve got an idea for all those too: “(Bleep) My Dad Deadpans.”No one deadpans like my stepdad, Ron.Maybe it’s because he’s a Yankee. Maybe it’s because he’s a former Marine. Or maybe it’s because he married two crazy women in a row, my mom being the latter of the two. (Just kidding, Mom!)

America’s 2nd Revolution

December 14, 2010 “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” —H.G. Wells, “The Outline of Human History”In a previous column I once asked, while discussing the ever-growing burdens producers are being forced to shoulder in order to subsidize the parasites, “So, where’s the snapping point? At what point of the trend do the producers simply revolt and refuse to play their perennial role of self-sacrificial serfs?”

For better or worse?

December 13, 2010 President Obama and those who voted for him could use a good marriage counselor.Like many couples for whom the honeymoon is a fuzzy memory, the President and some who embraced him adoringly find that the relationship has become strained. Each saw in the other what they wanted to see and now wonder how it all changed, when in fact nothing really did.

Believers’ Community play brings Christmas spirit

December 13, 2010 If I had closed my eyes I would have thought it was actor Jimmy Stewart himself on the stage of Believers’ Community Church of Batesville Saturday night.Clay Mitchell, portraying George Bailey in the church’s production of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” was that good. In fact the entire cast and crew of more than 30 put on an incredible show Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, and I am glad Luke and I attended one of the performances. The Batesville area has some incredible talent.