11-10-2016 Letters and Commentary

TRI-CITY ANGEL RETURNS… I am pleased to announce the return of the Tri-City Angel to the Tri-City Record.

The “Angel,” in fact, has been a couple individuals at certain times that took it upon themselves to coordinate charitable acts at the holidays (and other times).

To be fair, even without an official “Angel” folks here at the Record, and their families helped others in need at Christmas, with gifts, clothing, and food. But as the word spread, so did the need and a concerted organizational effort is needed.

Thankfully, an individual, already with a giving spirit and organizational talents has offered to coordinate efforts here at the Record.

See the story on the front page for more details.

WIN A THANKSGIVING TURKEY… this week’s issue contains a popular Thanksgiving feature, the annual free turkey drawings. See Page 9 for the contest details and free drawing coupons.

GREAT ELECTION TURNOUT… I imagine the political commentators will spew much spittle and ink explaining the turnout for this year’s general election. Certainly, they will lay the blame (or credit) on Hillary or Donald depending on their political bent.

Not since Abraham Lincoln’s campaign in 1860 when many papers called him a “Baboon” and Southern states threatened secession if he was elected, has a contest such as we just experienced sullied the national landscape.

Now that it is over, and when the dust settles, the nation can join to heal the wounds and settles the differences and get together to solve all the issues brought out during the campaign.

I would like to think the great turnout was also over local issues from congressional races to school millages… there were many questions on the ballot that got out the vote, even as the voters might have had campaign burnout from 19 months of electioneering.

Thanks to all the election candidates for volunteering to serve their community and country.

Congratulations to all who won public office. I hope your term is wise and fruitful.

FALL FALLOUT… while we have been enjoying unseasonable fall weather with temperatures in the mid 70’s and blue skies, fall snuck up on us.

Overnight is seems the tree leaves browned and fell to the ground. For those of us unblessed with trees, the gusty winds scoured the crispy critters from the neighbors and piled them along fences and ditches.

Tuesday’s hint of rain kept me from torching the piles jammed into both ends of the culvert under my driveway; thankfully preventing me from another fiasco such as one 30 years ago.

In a flash of brilliance, I set fire to a carpet of dry leaves ankle deep in the front yard. A mild breeze moved the fire steadily across the yard to the chain link fence, where it soon stalled for lack of fuel.

It took but a few moments for my euphoria from inventing a new way to remove leaves without raking, to stupefied mortification realizing my domicile was now unreachable as an island in a sea of soot.

Every time I put my foot down, a cloud of leaf ash rose past my knees and painted my white Keds a sooty black.

Anne also put her foot down; I had to remove my shoes, socks, and blue jeans before getting off the side porch and into the house. The kids did not mind being stranded in their rooms, as it was a school night anyway.

Thankfully a merciful rain that evening turned the ash to mud and by morning there was no witness to my stupidity or the leaves… till the rest came down a day later to be removed the old-fashioned way.

It’s National Blog Posting Month

 Social Security Matters is Social Security’s blog and one of the best places for retirement and other benefit news. November is National Blog Posting Month, which means there has never been a better time to join the conversation with Social Security. The blog is our interactive center for engaging with you by answering questions and concerns in a way that benefits all readers and contributors. Social Security Matters also lets you provide meaningful feedback that can help us serve you more effectively.

The blog’s comment section allows you to voice your thoughts and ask questions. The conversation is growing every day. We are doing our best to serve you, and a big part of that is listening to what you have to say.

We regularly post items about disability. For example, check out this article focusing on transitioning into adulthood: blog.socialsecurity.gov/helping-young-people-with-disabilities-successfully-transition-to-adulthood. In addition, we shared information on ways you can protect your identity: blog.socialsecurity.gov/protecting-your-social-security-number-from-identity-theft.

Blog posts are not a one-way conversation. We would like you to share the items that interest you and your family and friends. Using your preferred social media, Social Security Matters lets you share our posts with the click of a button. In addition, you can subscribe to our blog and get Social Security news as it happens. Simply select the blue button titled “Get blog updates.”

We are updating our blog all the time, and not just during National Blog Posting Month. You can join the conversation too. Visit Social Security Matters today at blog.socialsecurity.gov.

Nuremberg armory

 Learning about history gives context. It helps us understand how we got where we are, how some things have not changed. History can be full of surprises too. Like learning where the Marine Hymn phrase, “…to the shores of Tripoli” comes from.

It was the late 18th century. North African pirates based in Morocco, Ottoman Tripolitania (with capital in Tripoli) and a few other North African countries known as the “Barbary States”, were continuing their Mediterranean (and beyond) piracy practiced since the 16th century. They acquired hostages (including Americans) for their slave trade and for ransom. Europe, and now the fledgling United States of America, were at their mercy. Tribute was paid to the pirates for many years to gain safe passage for their vessels. The U.S. did the same – until we could build up our Navy. Then things changed.

Under the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, allied with Sweden and Sicily, and using Berber mercenaries, we engaged in the first of two Barbary Wars.

Recent successful Spanish-American War experience had confirmed the need for a strong Navy. We could not stand by victimized and groveling any longer. See Micah 7:3-4 – the other shoe will fall.

Ultimately, on April 27, 1805, U.S. Marines advancing from Egypt, with naval bombardment support, successfully attacked Tripoli.

Hence the song.

History is rich with lessons.

Among my childhood memories of Nuremberg are seeing the bullet holes in the side of the apartment building where we lived, and watching my dad marching on the review grounds of the armory next door.

If it were not for the bullet holes, my dad would not have been there marching. I did not connect those two then, but I do now. Pirates and Hitlers need to be stopped. Focused intervention in the “fight for right and freedom” is sometimes required. Then, for a while anyway, there is peace. Thank you dad, and thank you all veterans.

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