HAPPY NEW YEAR! Well, at least we can hope it’s a happy 2014.
We faced a lot of problems here in the United States in 2013, adding to the superstitious beliefs that the No. 13 is unlucky.
However, as a guy who wore the No. 13 for his entire long, long softball-playing career, I can tell you luck has nothing to do with it. Many of the problems were caused by an inept United States Congress and a president who obviously was greatly misinformed by his advisers concerning Obamacare.
The people of this country are tired of the political abyss as every poll shows. Even stink bugs have a higher popularity rating than Congress.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, the problems in Washington are hard to accept and there is plenty of blame to go around for everyone.
But look for it to improve in 2014. No, not because the elected officials are really willing to work together. It’s only because with mid-term elections coming up next year, they need to make a good impression before people go to the polls.
However, there’s another problem that has the attention of everyone in this country, far more important than the woes of Washington. And it has stirred a great sense of fear sweeping across the country.
That’s right. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Everyone is worried if Phil Robertson will be returning to “Duck Dynasty.”
OK, I’m kidding and actually I don’t care. And many others don’t. Or shouldn’t. But for some reason, that TV reality series has captured a lot of viewers.
I’ll admit I’ve never seen it. And I probably never will because reality shows hold no attraction for me. But I’ve seen all the hype and photos of those guys who appear to be “ZZ Top Gone Redneck.”
In case you haven’t followed the story, Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family.
Phil was suspended from the show after he reportedly told a magazine reporter that gays are sinners and African-Americans were happy under Jim Crow laws.
The family claims that he was just following what is taught in the Bible and that he has a right to free speech.
OK. How many times have we heard that line about free speech? Paula Deen had a right to free speech also. In fact, everyone in this country has a right to free speech.
However, there are repercussions to everything you say. Or in the case of people like me – what we write.
And when a TV show relies on advertising, and advertisers drop their sponsorship out of fear of that people won’t buy their products if they support bigotry, then free speech is pretty costly.
This is an age of political correctness. Is it way over the top? Yes, it probably is. People are afraid to say anything anymore.
It will be interesting to see if Phil is allowed to return to “Duck Dynasty.” A lot of people – people who probably think like he does – are pushing to get him back on TV.
And if he does get his job back, maybe the family can hire Paula Deen to cook for them on the show. But it’s doubtful either will be back on the tube.
Yes, free speech is guaranteed by the Constitution. Regardless, you can’t duck bigotry.
The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for the Opinion Page. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! Well, at least we can hope it’s a happy 2014.
OUR VIEW: Hermitage is right wanting to have limits on billboards
We are inclined to agree with the city in this fight. Permitting billboards, whether digital or not, is not a good idea in commercial areas and could actually hurt overall business in the long run.
Dumbing down the SATs won’t be the right answer
Colleges will continue to call it the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Some of us will refer to it as the dumbing down of America.
Down 18 with under 5 left and win, you’re kidding, right?
Even the most ardent of Farrell supporters couldn’t fathom what was to transpire during the last four minutes of the Steelers' District 10 basketball playoff game last week. It was a comeback from the basketball dead for the ages.
OUR VIEW: Be careful – better yet, stay home
If you must be out and snow squalls hamper your vsision, pull off the road when and where it is safe to do so. The life you save may be your own as well as that of another driver.
OUR VIEW: Don’t imperil the students with a nearby injection well
We side with Saxton and the school board on this issue of fighting any well-drilling near the school. While the pros and cons of fracking are still being debated around the country, erring on the side of safety should be No. 1 when it comes to protecting children.
Holy broccoli! Obesity may be dropping among toddlers
I’ll have to admit that I was a bit excited to read a recent story in The Herald that carried the headline: “National drop in obese toddlers, study suggests.”
My wife baby-sits our granddaughter Kara on weekdays and she is definitely not obese. Among her favorite things to eat are cantaloupe, grapes and get this – broccoli.
Soundoff from Sunday, Feb. 23
Why no coverage of the Mercer County Democratic Committee governor’s brunch last Saturday? It was held at the Sharpsville VFW - just down the road from The Herald’s office. Four candidates showed up - some traveling from across the state in bad weather. Zero Herald reporters. I see there was (still) days of Valentine-type romance stories all over the front page ... zzzzz
When we needed a stitch, ‘Millie’ had it all sewed up
A lot of things happen in my life today that take me back to my fond days of growing up on the 1000 block of Emerson Avenue in Farrell.
It can be the simplest of things – which is only appropriate because in retrospect, things were uncomplicated in the 1950s and 1960s.
OUR VIEW: Hoping for best for rail project
We find ourselves dismayed at times when we learn of other interesting economic developments in areas outside of Mercer County. It leaves us and others in the county scratching our heads and asking. “Why not here?”
OUR VIEW: County commissioner’s role requires full-time commitment
Try this at work: Tell your boss you aren’t going to show up during the day because you have another job; you’re going to skip meetings, but you’ll check your e-mails often and catch up on some work on evenings and weekends.
PennDOT plan for freeway barriers falls short of mark
Here are some thoughts from a guy who is very glad to see that PennDOT has finally agreed to put up barriers on part of the Shenango Valley Freeway under the Oakland Avenue Viaduct.
It was always school work before play around the house
I was listening to the radio on my way to The Herald one day last week, and caught most of an ad sponsored by the state education association about how its members are trying to forge stronger bonds between students and their parents to help the education of our youth.
So-so interest by bar owners, could trim impact of new law
MAYBE THE recent news that a Pennsylvania law allowing legalized gambling in bars won’t affect private clubs and charities as much as first imagined.
Beatles’ legacy remembered, along with ‘day the music died’
Music plays a role in almost everyone’s life growing up. For most of us today, that ranges from doo wop to hip hop, depending on age of course.
You can tell the size of a winner’s heart by his eyes
The eyes can tell it all. As they did in the 1978 movie thriller, “The Eyes of Laura Mars,” in which fashion photographer Laura Mars is able to look through the eyes of a serial killer as he commits his crimes.
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