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Tuesday, September 1
Let’s circle back to Jeb Bush’s National Urban League address from several weeks ago, because if a big, pointed word must be used, it is “symptomatic” of Republican racial complacency.

(It’s best to exclude Ben Carson, because like all black Republicans from Allen West to Tim Scott, he momentarily forgets that he is black. Colorblindness is infectious, you know.)

Bush told us that after his close loss to Lawton Chiles in the 1994 gubernatorial election he went through one of those “transformations” that recovered his sense of humanity: He converted to Catholicism, he began volunteering at the local Urban League (he cares!), started a local charter school (he seriously cares!).
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Picture this: you are a 14-year-old about to enter your freshman year of high school. You have tons of chores to take care of during the next week. Suddenly you are told by your teacher, “You must read ‘The Odyssey’ before school begins, and be ready to discuss it.”

How do you respond? I’ll tell you. You say to the teacher, “You are a sadist who should be sentenced to clean-up duties in the stall of the Trojan horse for the next year!” Except that you say those words in Greek, which the teacher doesn’t speak.

My twin grandchildren (I’ll call them Bacchus and Diana) are facing the assignment described in the first paragraph above. They are outstanding persons (as your grand-kids are, too, I’m sure) - bright, disciplined and ready to tackle any homework handed them. They’re cool with the Odyssey assignment. At 14, I would not have been.
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I like animals. I’ve had dogs all my life, even a few cats. As a child I had pet turtles, lizards, snakes, salamanders, frogs, toads, mice, hamsters, and once even a baby alligator. Chalk up horses, cows, pigs, chickens and other critters as an adult.

They all enjoyed a safe haven, more than enough food and all the love and attention that made them feel contented.

In recent years, however, some animal enthusiasts have taken their affections beyond normalcy. PETA ... People for Ethical Treatment of Animals ... is a prime example. Back in 2002 a PETA spokesman was quoted as saying that people who eat meat are guilty of domestic violence.
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Tuesday, August 25
Bill Clinton’s drive for political self-preservation is legendary and, I think, one of the most damaging successful impulses in modern U.S. history.

If Bill Clinton possessed any sense of shame, he would have resigned from office in August 1998 when, after a half year of lies and denial, he finally admitted having an inappropriate relationship with Monica Lewinsky. If Clinton had slunk out of the White House, the 2000 presidential election likely would have been between a sitting President Al Gore and GOP contender George W. Bush.

Incumbency and the absence of Bill Clinton would have resulted in a Gore victory. No U.S. invasion of Iraq with all its disastrous consequences. No Chief Justice John Roberts. No Justice Samuel Alito.
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In 1973 a French writer, Jean Raspail, published a book called “The Camp of the Saints.” It was a futuristic novel, picturing the time when millions of starving, diseased, dark-skinned people from east Asia would commandeer a fleet of old merchant ships and sail them to the Mediterranean. There, just offshore from the French Riviera, the hordes disembarked and invaded - so to speak - their new adopted homeland.

The result, in the novel, was chaos. Residents of the coastline abandoned their homes and fled inland. Only the military remained. Similar invasions occurred elsewhere in Europe. The emigrants had no desire to assimilate into the existing nations. All they wanted were the blessings of western culture.

The rightful inhabitants resisted this shock wave as best they could, but the invaders won. The old civilization was destroyed. A new world was established, and it wasn’t pretty.
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The deadline to submit letters pertaining to the Nov. 3 election is Sept. 18. No letters will be published after Sept. 24 unless they are in rebuttal to another letter. Candidates’ supporters may submit letters, but no letters from candidates will be published, unless they are in rebuttal to another letter.

Elections are taking place in the city of Seminole and in St. Petersburg, which is outside Tampa Bay Newspapers coverage area.

For more information about the elections, visit
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Tuesday, August 18
“Conservatives Furious at Fox, Say Trump Wasn’t Treated Fairly,” read the Newsmax headline Friday. Talk-radio show host Mark Levin told Breitbart News it was “outrageous” that moderator Megyn Kelly questioned Donald Trump about his coarse language - “fat pigs, dogs, slobs” - referring to women. Levin complained it was “a National Enquirer debate, not a Republican debate,” with too much “opposition research.” Political analyst Dick Morris detected a “disturbing” trend at Fox. The conservative blog Media Equalizer offered that many conservatives “thought they might have been watching MSNBC by mistake.”

So this is what happens when Trump meets up with the “news” part of Fox News. Conservatives frequently complain about liberal media bias. Then they complain when conservative media practice journalism.

The Trump-Kelly feud is like crack for cable TV news. CNN’s Jake Tapper started Monday’s “The Lead” by noting that conservatives wanted the media to cover such stories as Democratic politicians turning on President Barack Obama’s Iran deal, a trip made by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps chief Qassem Soleimani to Russia in defiance of a U.N. Security Council ban or “black lives matter” activists shouting down Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. But after The Donald told CNN that he could see the blood coming out of Kelly’s eyes - and “wherever” - Tapper suggested he had no choice but to lead the show Aug. 10 with Trump’s tirade.
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Is Donald Trump stretching the limits of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech? In a 1919 Supreme Court decision, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that our Constitution does not give a person the right to falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

But does it give a political candidate the right to make insulting or demeaning remarks to a journalist who asks tough questions? Apparently so.

Any journalist who isn’t ready to be slimed by a politician should find other employment.
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America’s doctors have long since made their peace with Medicare, which marked its 50th anniversary last week, but its oldest and most implacable enemy, the ideological right wing, is still bent on destroying it.

If you were a politician who shared that purpose, how might you go about it?

You’d harp on how the trust fund is running out of money, with no possible solution except to deny Medicare to those who don’t already have it. You’d exempt those already on the rolls, but those who aren’t would have to settle for something less.
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Tuesday, August 11
I tiptoed into the world of Facebook recently with trepidation. Suddenly, my friends are multiplying like dust mites.

Not sure what possessed me to enter this realm. I was perfectly content to communicate by phone or email. But nobody seems to use either to communicate anymore. So now I have one of the world’s 1.32 billion active Facebook accounts.

I read that the most talked about topic on Facebook ever was the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Makes sense, but I’m sure some political topics will soon Trump that.
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Community Calender
• Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015
Book Time at Brooker
TARPON SPRINGS – Book Time at Brooker will be offered Thursday, Sept. 3, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., at Brooker Creek Preserve, 3940 Keystone Road.

Designed for children ages 3 to 5, this free program connects attendees to the wonders of the natural world. In addition to hearing a great story, children will participate in a craft, game or other hands-on activity related to the story that is read. Space is limited.

Preregistration is required. Call 453-6800 or visit
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Sunset Beach Music Series
TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Recreation Division, Florida Hospital North Pinellas and Sun Toyota New Port Richey present an evening with Slickside Thursday, Sept. 3, 7 to 9 p.m., at Sunset Beach. Slickside specializes in blues, classic rock and country rock.

The Sunset Beach Music Series will be held February through November on the first Thursday of the month. The event is free. Overflow parking and shuttle will be at Tarpon Springs High School. Refreshments will be available to purchase.

Pets and alcohol are prohibited. Sunset Beach is located 1800 Gulf Rd. For more information, visit or call 942-5628.
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Aquatic fitness classes
ST. PETE BEACH – The St. Pete Beach Recreation Department is again offering aquatic fitness classes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, June 10 to Sept. 22, from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. at the St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive.

The cost is $5 for St. Pete Beach residents and $6 for nonresidents. Silver Sneakers members are welcome. Aquatic fitness provides muscle toning and a cardio workout with the benefits and support of the water.
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Caregiver Coffee Hour
SEMINOLE – The Alzheimer’s Association, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter’s Caregiver Coffee Hour meets first Thursdays, 3 to 4:30 p.m., at Maria’s Adult Day Care Center, 7821 Seminole Blvd. in Seminole.

The Caregiver Coffee Hour is an educational, emotional and social support program for family caregivers. Caregivers meet in a comfortable and confidential setting to chat with peers about issues pertinent to their dementia journey.

A Heidi Crockett, licensed clinical social worker with Aging Care Advocates, and volunteer support group facilitator with the Alzheimer’s Association facilitates the program.

RSVP appreciated for coordination of seating and refreshments. Call 578-2558 or email For more information, call 393-7711 or visit /flgulfcoast.
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Oil painting classes
INDIAN SHORES – Oil painting classes are held Thursdays, 1 to 3:30 p.m., at the Indian Shores Municipal Building, 19305 Gulf Blvd.

Classes are for both beginners and the more experienced intermediate artists. New students begin with basic fundamentals and move toward working independently from their own photographs or subject matter. Class time consists of a demo, an instructional time, painting time, and  critique time. Instructor Betsy Schoepf works with each student individually.

Students will learn about paints, brushes, color mixing, composition, and all of the basics needed to form a foundation in traditional oil painting.  Individual creativity is emphasized.

The class fee is $25 per session. The class is continuous. No membership is necessary. For more information, call 595-1083 or email
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Parkinson’s Support Group meeting
LARGO – The Parkinson’s Support Group will meet Thursday, Sept. 3, 2 p.m., at the Heron House, 2050 East Bay Drive. The group meets first Thursdays at Heron House. For information, call 559-7776 or 596-2167.
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South Pasadena Community Band’s first rehearsal
SOUTH PASADENA – The South Pasadena Community Band’s first rehearsal for its upcoming season will be Thursday, Sept. 3, 7:15, at the South Pasadena City Hall, 7047 Sunset Drive S.New members are welcome.

The band is made up of volunteers who love to play and share their music with the community. Currently, the band has about 45 members. New members are being recruited. The band is particularly in need of percussionists.

The South Pasadena Community Band’s first rehearsal for its upcoming season will be Thursday, Sept. 3, 7:15, at the South Pasadena City Hall, 7047 Sunset Drive S.

For information, call John Hoover at 398-9639 or visit
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Starkey Parkies support group
LARGO – The Starkey Parkies host a monthly support group meeting first Thursdays, 1 p.m., in the second floor café at Grand Villa, 750 Starkey Road.

The group welcomes people with Parkinson’s, care partners, family and friends. Refreshments will be served. For more, email Theo Betjemann at
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• Friday, Sept. 4, 2015
Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings
Ceilidhs, traditional Gaelic social gatherings, are held every Friday night from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Scottish American Society of Dunedin, 917 Louden Ave.

The cost is $3 and $5 for nonmembers. The social club is dedicated to the preservation of Scottish culture, offering Scottish country dancing, line dancing, holiday dinners and parties.

Call 734-0757  
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Friday Night Dinners
LARGO – Friday Night Dinners are served 5 to 8 p.m., with music by Karaoke DJ Bill Johnson, 7 to 11 p.m., at American Legion Post 119, at 130 First Ave. SW. in Largo. The cost is $7.25 and includes shrimp, four-piece chicken and all-you-can-eat fried fish served with rolls, french fries and coleslaw.
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Community Focus Online
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