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Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives is in a position that must have seemed unthinkable after November’s election mandate. The only way they’re going to make good now on their seven-year crusade to repeal and replace Obamacare is if Democrats help them.

For that to happen, Republicans will have surrender any notion of gutting the current health care law and actually work with the opposition party to craft something that makes people happy on both sides of the political divide. Otherwise, it’s status quo.
 ... Read More 
In one of his off-the-wall compositions, songwriter Paul Simon poses these questions and comments:

Why am I so soft in the middle? I need a photo opportunity. I need a shot at redemption. Why am I short of attention? And why are my nights so long? Where’s my wife and family? What if I die here? Who’ll be my role model, now that my role model is gone?
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, March 21
I’m not a big fan of the death penalty. I think having condemned inmates spend 20 years or more on death row while their appeals play out thwarts the argument that is a deterrent.

Inmate Douglas R. Meeks, for example, has been awaiting execution since March 21, 1975.
 ... Read More 
Anyone else out there sick of the slimy language that is taking over so many of our TV programs, movies, radio shows and our printed publications?

Anybody else feel like vomiting or putting your fist through the wall when you hear or read the “F” word for the 23rd time in the very same day?
 ... Read More 
WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump presented a radically different budget blueprint to Congress on March 16. The new plan would increase defense spending by $54 billion and fund the increase with targeted cuts in other discretionary spending.

What makes the $1.1 trillion budget truly unique, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters before the rollout, is that “we wrote it using the president’s own words. We went through his speeches, we went through articles that have been written about his policies, we talked to him, and we wanted to know what his policies were, and we turned those policies into numbers.”
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, March 14
I am a medical orphan. And I’m sure I’m not alone. Over the past three decades I’ve had to sever ties with many doctors because they stopped accepting my company health insurance or the insurance company stopped covering my visits to certain doctors’ offices.

Such aggravation is among many reasons why I’m a proponent of single-payer health care systems similar to those in other countries, such as Canada.
 ... Read More 
At the rate Americans seem to be going, the day will soon arrive when a new group will arise: N-AA. That stands for Non-Addicts Anonymous. Its members will share one trait: they are men and women who are not addicted to any substance, behavior or belief.

By that time, these people may be regarded as freaks, odd-balls, rarities. They may be shunned by the 90 percent of the population who are hooked on alcohol, illegal drugs, marijuana, sugar, opioid medical prescriptions, sex, TV, Facebook and sitting for hours while staring, head-down, at their iPhones and other gadgets.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, March 7
I grew up in Key West, Florida. Maybe it was the laid-back island life, but as a kid I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I still had not figured it out as a freshman at Florida Atlantic University until I took an introduction to engineering course. That’s when the desire to become an engineer ignited in me.

Don’t get me wrong. I grew up enjoying math and science. However, I did not know how that might relate to my education or a potential career until that first engineering course. We learned the basics of multiple disciplines of engineering through fun activities like building solar cookers out of pizza boxes and racing cars made from mousetraps. I was hooked. From that moment on I knew that if a girl from a carefree island could grow up to be an engineer, then anyone could do it.
 ... Read More 
Now that we have a new guy in the White House who promises to kick out all the liars and fake media, I hope he can shed some light on two of the oldest, most popular mysteries we’ve been living with. Namely, ghosts and UFOs.

The basic question is simple: do they, or don’t they, actually exist? Okay, at the outset let me tip my hat to the scads of believers who will cry out, “Of course they exist, you numbskull! Haven’t you seen all the TV programs about haunted houses and the extra-terrestrials with huge eyeballs landing in England and out west, capturing innocent victims and inserting supersonic probes into their EAOs (every available orifices)?”
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, February 28
These are times that try men’s souls. Women’s, too. Was there ever a time when times were NOT tough? I doubt it.

Even a few seconds after the Big Bang the new universe was filled with super-hot gases, and later came snarling dinosaurs and planets breaking off from one another. What a mess. And it never stops.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, February 21
State Sen. Greg Steube conjures up a fanciful picture of local governments “running wild” as they attempt to rein in the excesses of short term vacation rentals, although he in fact is the true avatar of overbearing government. This may not be immediately obvious.

The senator is apparently in thrall to an extreme property rights philosophy that makes the maximum extraction of revenue from one’s property the single virtue that trumps all others, including the right of neighbors to secure a peaceful existence for themselves. In many beachside communities like my own, there are areas zoned for tourism development (normally fronting the Gulf) and areas away from these zoned for single-family dwellings. The expectations of property owners in each district are not the same: in one they accept the hustle and bustle of tourism, in the other they desire the peace and quiet of a family-oriented neighborhood.
 ... Read More 
IS ANYONE ELSE GETTING TIRED OF the Alec Baldwin show on Saturday Night Live?

For more than a year now he’s been doing a sometimes-funny spoof on Donald Trump, complete with facial tics and cement hairdos. But the election results have been final for more than three months, and repetition seems to have set in. Baldwin is on the verge of committing the same sins SNL has been guilty of for many years: over-exposure and trying too hard. Whenever possible, humor should be served up with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, February 14
Marketing is a contest for people’s attention, and state tourism marketing is no different. However, the detrimental impacts of removing a powerful marketing mechanism mean a world of difference when your state budget revenue depends on your share of the market.

The proposed bill spearheaded by the House Careers and Competition Subcommittee that eliminates VISIT FLORIDA will have severe and irreversible impacts on the state’s hospitality industry. We must protect the tourism industry, Florida’s top employer and chief economic driver, not only for the industry’s 1.4 million employees, but for the local communities whose livelihood is contingent on bringing tourists to the Sunshine State. In 2015, more than 106 million visitors came to Florida, spending $108.8 billion and generating $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.
 ... Read More 
The recent TV documentary by actress Leah Rimini triggered some long-ago memories of the years in which I wrote several dozen Clearwater Sun editorials about the Church of Scientology.

The Scions (as we used to call them) arrived in Clearwater in 1975, pretending to be some other organization. Before long they were exposed by the Sun, Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares and others.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, February 7
I have spent a lot of words arguing that Tampa and Hillsborough County should welcome the ride-share companies Uber and Lyft instead of fighting to preserve a monopoly that has been enjoyed by traditional cab companies.

I still feel that way.
 ... Read More 
I once read of a depressed young woman who was trying to think of a suitable inscription for her tombstone. She finally decided the best one she could come up with was, “She read a lot of magazines.”

I may borrow that line for my own gravestone, if I ever bother to fool with it. As I review my life history I see a number of unifying elements (that’s a term you use when you’re an English major trying to write a description of a book you can barely understand). One of the threads that highlight my essentially run-of-the-mill life is the magazines I was exposed to by my parents and later through my own choice.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, January 31
People make mistakes. They do stupid things. Sometimes, they make bad choices because they are down on their luck and don’t feel they have another option.

But it is important to realize there is a big difference between people who do bad things to purposefully hurt others and good people who make an error in judgment because they are young, immature, or in a bad situation.
 ... Read More 
During the past 24 months, Donald Trump has shown the world that it isn’t a capital crime to say whatever comes into your mind, no matter how shocking or disconnected to the truth your statement may be.

In fact, a freewheeling, damn-the-truth style of speech could actually help a guy get elected to the presidency.
 ... Read More 
WASHINGTON - Hang on, friend. This is going to be a bumpy ride. President Donald Trump’s first full work week began with action and drama.

Trump had planned to assume office with executive orders that showed his commitment to making good on key campaign promises. He delivered.
 ... Read More 
Community Calender
• Thursday, March 30, 2017
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
CLEARWATER – A production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will run March 29 through April 2 in the Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater campus of St. Petersburg College, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater.

This version of Shakespeare's classic comedy will feature magic, mischief and some Steampunk fashion as the tale’s lovers escape into the woods only to find they are in the midst of a battle in the fairy world.

Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Matinees will be Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.

General admission is $10. Admission is free for SPC students, faculty and staff and high school students. For information, call 727-791-2548 or visit www.spcollege.edu /events /default.aspx.
 ... Read More 
Clothes Matter fundraising luncheon
ST. PETERSBURG – A “Clothes Matter” fundraising luncheon will be held Thursday, March 30, at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N., noon to 1 p.m.

The luncheon will benefit Clothes To Kids, a nonprofit organization that provides clothing free of charge to low income or in-crisis, school age children in Pinellas County.

Tickets begin at $50, which is the cost of a weekly wardrobe. Table sponsorships begin at $400.

For information about the luncheon, or to discuss sponsorships, call Jennifer at 727-441-5050, ext. 122.

For information about Clothes To Kids, or to make an appointment to shop, call 727-441-5050, or visit www.ClothesToKids.org.
 ... Read More 
Kiwanis Club of Seminole meeting
SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Club of Seminole meets every Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at the Holland G. Mangum Recreation Center, 9100 113th St. N. All are welcome to attend. For more information, email kiwanisclubofseminole@gmail.com.
 ... Read More 
Member-Guest Tournament golf tournament
BELLEAIR – The Belleair Country Club Women’s Golf Association will conduct the 2017 WGA Member-Guest Tournament, “Endless Summer,” Thursday through Saturday, March 30-April 1 at the Belleair Country Club.

The tournament begins March 30 with a tapas party and continues March 31 with 18 holes played on the West Course. The final day of play will be April 1 with 18 holes on the East Course.

Entry fee is $200 per person for WGA members and includes carts, food, prizes and gifts.

For information, call the pro shop, 727-442-0229.
 ... Read More 
Tai Chi and Qigong classes
ST. PETE BEACH – Tai Chi and Qigong classes are presented Mondays, 11 a.m.; and Thursdays, 12:30 p.m., at the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach.

This class is designed to reduce stress, inflammation and disease associated with stress, as well as improve postural alignment and flexibility. The class combines specific movements, coordinated breathing and a calm focused mind used in traditional Chinese medicine, Tai Chi and Qigong practices that will improve health, vitality and longevity.

No prior experience is necessary. The cost is $5 for adults or free for SilverSneakers. Visit www.spbrec.com or call 727-363-9245 for more information.
 ... Read More 
• Friday, March 31, 2017
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
CLEARWATER – A production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will run March 29 through April 2 in the Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater campus of St. Petersburg College, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater.

This version of Shakespeare's classic comedy will feature magic, mischief and some Steampunk fashion as the tale’s lovers escape into the woods only to find they are in the midst of a battle in the fairy world.

Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Matinees will be Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.

General admission is $10. Admission is free for SPC students, faculty and staff and high school students. For information, call 727-791-2548 or visit www.spcollege.edu /events /default.aspx.
 ... Read More 
Caregivers conference
SEMINOLE – A conference for caregivers assisting those living with dementia will take place Friday, March 31, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at St. Petersburg College’s Seminole campus Library Annex in the Conference Center, 9200 113th St. N.

This conference is geared towards family caregivers, volunteers and healthcare professionals. Registration is required at solutions.spcollege.edu. For more information, call Maria Winer at 727-393-7711.
 ... Read More 
Senior investment club
ST. PETERSBURG – A senior investment club conducts discussions every Friday at 10 a.m. at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N.

The free club is open to the public and will feature discussions on anything related to investing. Share your best picks or your worst picks. Ask questions, give your opinion. It’s all about education and fun.

Call Sally for more information at 727-893-7101.
 ... Read More 
Spring Campout
LARGO – The Spring Campout will kick off Friday, March 31, 4 p.m. and conclude Saturday, April 1, 10 a.m., at Bonner Nature Park, 14444 143rd St. N., Largo.

The campout will feature a cookout, wildlife show, s'mores around a campfire, breakfast and much more. Cost is $10 per person. Children 2 and younger are free. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Campers must bring a tent and camping gear. The deadline for cancellations is March 24.

For information and to reserve your spot, call 727-518-3047.
 ... Read More 
• Saturday, April 1, 2017
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
CLEARWATER – A production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” will run March 29 through April 2 in the Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater campus of St. Petersburg College, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater.

This version of Shakespeare's classic comedy will feature magic, mischief and some Steampunk fashion as the tale’s lovers escape into the woods only to find they are in the midst of a battle in the fairy world.

Performances will be Wednesday through Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Matinees will be Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.

General admission is $10. Admission is free for SPC students, faculty and staff and high school students. For information, call 727-791-2548 or visit www.spcollege.edu /events /default.aspx.
 ... Read More 
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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