On Wednesday, one week after losing all five primaries in the Northeast and one week prior to the “must win” Indiana primary, Ted Cruz took the unusual step of selecting Carly Fiorina as his running mate.
Donald Trump has won 954 delegates and is only 283 delegates short of the 1,237 needed to win the Republican presidential nomination. Cruz has won 562 delegates and has no path to winning the nomination outright even if he sweeps all the remaining contests.
Six months remain until Election Day on Nov. 8. During this half-year, our beloved land and our frayed sensibilities will be assaulted by a continuing wave of political news, oratory, propaganda, lobbying, slogans, promises, distortions and outright lies - all of it aimed at placing a solitary, vulnerable mortal into the most powerful and perhaps the loneliest job on earth.
Political junkies will relish this pre-election tsunami. But many of us less-addictive mortals are victims of the strange belief that life is more important than politics. Here are some suggestions of how we can withstand the avalanche of political hogwash that’s coming our way:
As he panders for the youth vote, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders promises free tuition at public colleges and universities because, he says, “a college degree is the new high school diploma.” Rival Hillary Clinton supports President Barack Obama’s plan to make community college tuition-free - that is, publicly funded. Beware, America: Imagine how expensive college tuition will be if Democrats somehow manage to make more of it “free.” As for value, if Sanders has his way, you can expect the college degree to be the new high school diploma.
On the other side of the aisle, GOP presidential hopefuls rarely talk about “college affordability.” The issue is not on front-runner Donald Trump’s main issues pages. Ditto for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Ohio Gov. John Kasich suggests that one way to make college more affordable is by encouraging “more students to earn college credit while completing their high school courses” to give them a “jump on their college careers” and a break financially. Republicans wisely are pushing personal fiscal responsibility as the main answer to rising tuition and fees.
Watching President Obama’s visit to Cuba, and having visited Cuba myself in 2015, I can tell you this: Any person with a heart and conscience who visits would realize that the Cuban workers who serve the buffets or carve the meat for tourists likely cannot afford the meat themselves.
Continuing the U.S. embargo or “bloqueo” (blockade) has not only negatively affected their government but more importantly has resulted in economic strangulation and hence decades of physical hardship for the Cuban people.
Are you a longtime fan of the German composer Richard Wagner? Neither am I. But occasionally I switch on one his operas just to expand the high culture region of my normally dried-up cerebellum.
A few days ago I watched the PBS Great Performances TV presentation of Tannhauser. Or most of it. It was almost four hours long, and my attention wavered when I realized that 20 minutes had been devoted solely to Tannhauser’s answer to the goddess Venus, who had asked him, How can you forsake our jolly romps and return to that goody-two-shoes Elisabeth and her virtuous ways?
During Easter 1997, I went to Mexico City as a player with the Sarasota International Cricket Club. Our club has hosted a cricket festival every Thanksgiving since 1992, and SICC was responding to a frequently offered invitation from the Mexico City Cricket Club by way of reciprocation.
At a reception held for us at a British Embassy annex, we were warned against taking the ubiquitous VW taxis in the city, since abduction of foreigners was a frequent occurrence, and indeed, the captain had himself been abducted with his wife and held for three days whilst his bank account was drained by usage of the PIN number for his credit card.
Until I was an adult I didn’t realize the extent of the sacrifices my Scoutmaster made for our troop in Lakeland.
On a camping trip, I became ill late in the evening, suffering from chills and a fever. The Scout who shared my tent sheepishly went to the Scoutmaster’s tent, did his I-hate-to-bother-you routine and gave him the bad news.
“Algebra I is the most critical course students take in high school, and the ultimate gateway to success in higher education.” Do you believe that statement? I don’t.
The declaration above was the lead sentence in a recent full-page advertisement by a company that sells DVDs and CDs aimed at lifting the intellects of Americans willing to spend the time and money needed to complete the courses.
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.
Bromeliad Auction PINELLAS PARK – The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society will host its annual Bromeliad Auction Tuesday, May 3, 7:30 p.m., at Good Samaritan Church, 6085 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park.
There will be both active and silent auctions and auctions of bromeliads and some bromeliad-related items such as artwork, posters, ceramics, and books. The bromeliads will represent a range of different genera and the plants are typically excellent specimens and often unusual or hard to find.
CLA Estate Planning workshop CLEARWATER – CLA Estate Planning will host a free workshop Tuesday, May 3, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Clarion Inn & Suites, 20967 U.S. 19 N.
The workshop will provide valuable information on securing one’s estate and retirement planning. Guests will receive a workbook and information regarding the pros and cons of wills and trusts, how to avoid probate, long-term health care concerns and tax reduction planning.
Seating is limited. To RSVP, call 866-252-8721.
CLA Estate Services is a firm devoted to assisting area residents in protecting their assets and ensuring their money lasts.
Community Conversation SEMINOLE – Pinellas County is hosting a Community Conversation Tuesday, May 3, 6-7 p.m., at St. Petersburg College, Seminole campus, in the University Partnership Center Digitorium, 9200 113th St. N., preceded by an open house from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
The public is invited to join County Commissioners and the county administrator to discuss county services and important topics such as housing, social services and transportation.
Held in partnership with St. Petersburg College and Bay News 9, the Community Conversation offers an interactive venue for citizens to talk about issues, with the convenience of social media, online video streaming and blogging. Residents also can participate in the event via phone and by watching live on PCC-TV or SPC-TV.
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.
Gulfport Market blood drive GULFPORT – OneBlood of Florida will conduct a blood drive during the Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market on Tuesday, May 3, 9 to 11 a.m., at the Gulfport Public Library, 5501 28th Ave. S.
Blood and platelet donors will receive a free wellness check-up, including blood pressure, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screening, as well as a free T-shirt. Blood drive organizers hope to revisit the Fresh Market again during the summer if enough donors are able to participate on Tuesday.
The Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market is a year-round open-air market featuring fruits, vegetables and a wide variety of other foods; hand-made arts and crafts; bath, body and wellness products; live music and more. More than 70 vendors and exhibitors participate each Tuesday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Starting in May, summer hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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.
Military Order of the World Wars meeting CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars meets for lunch on the first Tuesday of each month at the Belleair Country Club, 1 Country Club Lane.
Social hour starts at 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch and a short program.
Military officers who are retired or are on active duty or former officers and their spouses or widows are invited to attend. The MOWW also welcomes new members.
To make reservations or to inquire about becoming a member, call George Smith at 786-5578.
Osteoporosis seminar ST. PETERSBURG – Bayfront Health family medicine practitioner Dr. Marijo De La Cruz will host a program on osteoporosis on Tuesday, May 3, noon, in the Sheen Conference Center at Bayfront Health, 701 Sixth St. S.
May is Osteoporosis Awareness Month. De La Cruz will discuss signs and treatment options for osteoporosis.
Pasta and dancing CLEARWATER – The Italian club of Greater Clearwater will host pasta dinners each Tuesday, monthly, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at 200 S. McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater. Dancing also will be held on some Saturdays. For information, call 791-8698.