A terrorist shot and killed 49 innocent Americans in Orlando June 12 morning. After the carnage, the political food fight started.
On the right, people fault Islamic extremism. When President Obama refuses to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism” that gives conservatives a chance to pounce. I know I’ve been one of them. We argue that if politicians aren’t willing to use the term Islamic extremism, then they can’t defeat it. It’s true: You have to know who your enemy is, before you can vanquish your enemy. But using the right words is not a game-changer.
This is our Paris. This is the week we mourn together. As one nation. This week we know no party, we know no prejudice. This is the week we all as Americans suffer loss together, come together, and resolve together that we will not fall to the architects of terror.
The mass shooting in Orlando is now one more defining moment of our time. One more defining moment of terror. And one more defining moment in the fabric of modern America. Innocent brothers and sisters were targeted by evil, in the name of a radical Islamic jihad against America that despicably perverts religion to justify taking the life of an innocent people.
“The Whore of Mensa” was among the best things Woody Allen ever wrote. It told of Babcock and his desperate hunger, not for sex, but for a woman so bright and educated she could talk (and listen) for hours about T.S. Eliot, nuclear physics, cosmology, Freud, J.S. Bach and dozens of other lofty subjects.
Babcock gladly paid thousands of dollars to an intellectual call girl, but then became ensnared in a blackmail scheme.
Gov. Rick Scott recently convened a higher education summit. Minus the educators.
The Commissioner of Agriculture was there. The COO of defense contractor Northrup Grumman was there. The head of the state Dept. of Economic Opportunism was there. So was the state university system chancellor, the Senate president, assorted business types and three head football coaches.
A week or so ago I watched the annual Memorial Day concert on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. It was a well-done performance, and made me proud to be an American and a veteran. Viewing the TV production with me was a neighbor lady, Ruth.
When the Beach Boys took the stage and sang “The Sloop John B.,” Ruth turned to me and said, “What’s a sloop?” I replied, “It’s a kind of slanted soup. It’s served only on sailboats that are heeling over in a rough sea. It’s tricky to eat, let me tell you.”
There is no doubt in my mind that Bill Cosby did a great deal of what his female accusers say he did - i.e., drug and sexually assault them. There are dozens of accusers with similar stories, and the tales go back for decades.
I confess, I didn’t pay much attention to the story until one night, while channel surfing, I caught Cosby doing his comedy act and felt a cold brace of certainty that this man really hates women. Stars can have their pick of willing females; Cosby perversely preferred to trick, dope and violate unwitting victims. His goal was not his own satisfaction so much as their debasement.
Free English lessons PINELLAS PARK – Free English lessons for adult speakers of other languages are offered Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the parish hall at Sacred Heart Church, 7809 46th Way.
Everyone is welcome. For information, call 541-4447.
Alzheimer’s support group LARGO – Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and Ruth’s Promise Adult day program are sponsoring a Practical Grace in Alzheimer’s support group, meeting fourth Tuesdays, 9:30 a.m., in the Prince of Peace Chapel, 455 Missouri Ave.
The group will next meet Tuesday, April 26.
Practical Grace in Alzheimer’s Care is a support system designed by Dr. Cate McCarty, dementia coach, to close the gap between maintaining meaningful faith membership while navigating Alzheimer’s and related dementias. As a follow-up to the recent Practical Grace seminar at Prince of Peace, Ruth’s Promise has expanded their ministry to offer this support group to Alzheimer’s caregivers.
The adult day program is available for respite during the meeting provided caregivers.
English classes MADEIRA BEACH – English for students of other languages is being offered by Pinellas County School Monday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Madeira Beach Fundamental School, 591 Tom Stuart Causeway. Cost is $30 a semester.
Attendees will have an opportunity to learn and to practice English with a teacher, with computers and with other learners.
Mad Beach Strong Eight Run Club MADEIRA BEACH – The Mad Beach Strong Eight Run Club meets Tuesday nights at 7:30 at Mad Beach Craft Brewing, 12945 Village Blvd.
All runners are welcome.
Rare Plant Network gardening club auction PINELLAS PARK – The Rare Plant Network gardening club will host an auction on Tuesday, June 28, in Friendship Hall at the Good Samaritan Church, 6082 Park Blvd.
A preview will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the auction set to start at 7 p.m. Up for bid will be rare and unusual plants grown by members and adapted to the local ecosystem. The event also will feature a 50/50 opportunity drawing. This will be a cash-only sale.
The club also will collect donations of nonperishable food items for the food pantry.
Seminole-SPC Toastmasters open house SEMINOLE – Seminole-SPC Toastmasters meets Tuesdays, 6:15 to 7:30 p.m., at the Seminole Community Library, 9200 113th St. N. The group will hold an open house Tuesday, June 28. Guests ages 18 and older are welcome. This event is free and open to the public.
This personal development program is ideal for supervisors and leaders - or those aspiring - to learn vital leadership and communication skills.
The open house will feature a presentation on “Controlling Your Speaking Fear,” which will be followed by a regular Toastmasters meeting including speech evaluations and Table Topics.
Smoking cessation class LARGO – A free smoking cessation class will be offered Tuesday, June 28, 6-8 p.m., at the Bardmoor YMCA, 8495 Bryan Dairy Road. The two-hour class aims to help smokers quit any form of tobacco through an in-person group class and free nicotine replacement therapy.
The program is sponsored by Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center and Tobacco Free Florida. Funding is provided by the Florida Department of Health.
The class is free to both YMCA members and nonmembers. Space is limited; to register, call Nicole Kelly at 813-929-1000, ext. 204.
Tobacco cessation class LARGO - The Tobacco Free Florida Area Health Education Center offers cessation class Tuesday, June 28, 1 to 3 p.m., at Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, 8751 Ulmerton Road, Largo.
This in-person option of Tobacco Free Florida's 3 Free & Easy Ways to Quit, can double a participant's success rate of quitting tobacco. The program covers all forms of tobacco and participants learn important strategies and skills for quitting, in a friendly, respectful and supportive group setting.
The group class, called Tools to Quit, is a two-hour session led by trained tobacco cessation facilitators who use an evidence-based methodology to guide the group members toward a successful quit attempt. The facilitator also explains the health risks associated with tobacco use, the benefits of quitting, symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and the triggers that can sabotage the quitting process.
The Free Tools to Quit class includes follow-up support and teaches coping skills to prevent relapse.
Group participants will also learn about Nicotine Replacement Therapy products that can help during the quitting process, and receive free NRT while supplies last and if medically appropriate.
To register for a free tobacco cessation class, call Katie Murphy at 813-929-1000, ext. 208, or email email email@example.com.
For information on the Tobacco Free Florida AHEC Cessation Program, visit
Water arthritis classes PINELLAS PARK – Water arthritis classes are offered at Skyview Pool, 9040 54th Way N., Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:40 to 9:40 a.m. Cost is $2.50 per person.
Doing arthritis exercises in the water provides added resistance for a great workout. Classes will focus on gentle stretching, balance and movements. Swimming not required. Exercises done in shallow waters. Call 369-5694 for more information.
Electronics class TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Recreation Division is offering a new electronics class to assist participants in learning how to operate their electronic devices properly on Wednesdays, 6 p.m., at the Tarpon Springs Community Center, 400 S. Walton Ave.
The class costs $7 per class or $24 per month. This class will demonstrate basic tasks through both one-on-one training and group demonstrations. Bring your own electronic devices.