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Is there a Mormon issue in the 2012 election?

Historically, religion and Presidential politics have never been that far apart.  Thomas Jefferson, never one to follow the crowd, took some heat for his views on religion.  In fact, he was so free thinking, that he even wrote his own version of the Bible.

 Abraham Lincoln, while a deeply religious man, was criticized for not aligning himself with a particular denomination.  In his era, to many, this was deeply disturbing.  A century later, John F. Kennedy, a Roman Catholic, had to convince a still skeptical America, that, “…he wouldn’t be taking his orders from the Pope.”

In 1976, Jimmy Carter introduced America to yet another religious phenomenon.  Carter was a born again Christian.  35 years ago, for many, particularly the media, this was a new concept.  Now, in 2012, there is a new religious twist in American politics.  Two of the leading

Read more: Is there a Mormon issue in the 2012 election?

In a small, scale model: A long ago ship come to life

As I write this I am looking at one of the most unusual and now most treasured gifts I could have asked for.  It’s a small, finely detailed model of a ship.  And no, it’s not an aircraft carrier, a battleship, a destroyer, or a minesweeper.  It’s a survey ship called the U.S.S. Sumner.  My Dad served on it during World War II and his memories of that ship, and his time as a member of its crew, were some of the most precious of his life.  My Dad died 25 years ago and I have tried over the years to keep some of the memories of this quirky, but beloved little ship alive.

 Of course, there isn’t much left to go on.  The post war draw down was fast and the Sumner was scrapped in 1946.  Save for some photos, and a wonderful ship’s

Read more: In a small, scale model: A long ago ship come to life

You don’t have to be out of work to be living on the edge

There is one stark reality about our current economic situation. Namely, that you don’t have to be out of work to be living on the edge. And what’s more, the number of people teetering on that edge seems to growing larger and larger. True, the economy may be recovering, but for many, the normal sense of security that comes with an improving economic situation remains elusive.
For some, living on the edge has been “situation normal” for most of their working lives. Often, they’re simply called the working poor. Most are hard to count since few are on any kind of relief or assistance. Many work at jobs that pay more than minimum wage, but not much more. They

Read more: You don’t have to be out of work to be living on the edge

Goodnight, Marshall Dillon: Gunsmoke actor dies at 88

Like most boys in the early 1960s I loved westerns. And, oh by the way, at age 52, I still do. But in days gone by my affection for the genre was rather intense. I was very proud of my toy six shooter and its accompanying Winchester rifle. I wore my cowboy hat everywhere and I had a host of “Johnny West” action figures. I was hooked and fortunately the major television networks were ready to comply. In 1965, while Peyton Place may have brought in record audiences, it was the TV western that dominated network programming. And at the top of the list, as something of the jewel of the TV westerns of the era, there was Gunsmoke.

It starred a strong-willed, straight-talking sheriff named Matt Dillon, his love interest, but not quite love interest, Kitty, the always wise “Doc,” and of

Read more: Goodnight, Marshall Dillon: Gunsmoke actor dies at 88

Medicare deserves a bi-partisan solution

During the debate over health care reform, one of the cries from its opponents, and at times, from its supporters, was that we simply couldn’t have a direct payer system. Words like un-American, anti-free enterprise, and oh yes, dangerous, were repeatedly tossed about. But many Americans are often surprised to know that America has had a classic, almost European style direct payer system for 46 years. It’s Medicare and it’s the primary source of medical coverage for Americans over the age of 65.

It’s a complicated system, and I don’t begin to fully understand it. Most recipients, as I have found, don’t understand it either. And doctors are only a

Read more: Medicare deserves a bi-partisan solution

Election 2012: The GOP’s Presidential Parade of Pygmies

The Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries, separated by only a couple of weeks, are less than eight months away. Both of these critical events set the stage for who is going to be the nominee of the major parties. This year, the Democratic choice is already settled. Barack Obama will be the nominee of the Democratic Party. However, what’s truly disconcerting, and seems to be breaking the mold on all the conventional wisdom, is the run up to the Republican nomination. So, far, it’s a race, that well, is barely a race at all.

By this same point in 2008, Hillary Clinton was already engaged in what would turn out to be an epic contest with Barack Obama. Their campaigns were fully staffed, each was already stumping Iowa, New Hampshire, and a host

Read more: Election 2012: The GOP’s Presidential Parade of Pygmies

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