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Published Articles by Doris Weatherford

Did You Notice?

·      The Times seems to be printing fewer of its Politifact analyses, a measurement of the truthfulness of politicians' claims.  If my impression is correct, I think the reduction must be because so many statements from the White House are plainly lies that they feared using the world's supply of red ink for "Pants on Fire."

·      Did you see the report that our obesity crisis is not so much based in fats as in the excessive sugar that manufacturers put in processed foods?  And another story that said 100% fruit juice correlates with cancer at the same rate as sodas, no matter if the soda is naturally or artificially sweetened?  Read More 

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Press Two for Suicide

With luck, I may get through this without my blood pressure spiking to dangerous levels.  And I know that you know the problem, too, so why bother?  But before it kills us all, I think we must organize to do something about modern "customer service."  At the moment I'm writing this, Hubby and I have spent an hour trying to return a message from someone at the VA hospital.  We can't get through to her or any other real person, even though she left an extension number.  The robot just says "invalid entry," and leaves us hanging.  Then we dial the main number again, where we are told to press two if we are having thoughts of suicide.  I may take them up on that, but I'd rather shoot the robot. Read More 

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Our Most Forgotten – Yet Very Important – War

My friend – and probably yours – Dr. John Belohlavek published another book a couple of years ago, but only recently got around to giving me a copy.  Called Patriots, Prostitutes, and Spies:  Women and the Mexican War, it's about that war of the late 1840s.  As John says, it probably is America's most forgotten conflict, even though it was a congressionally declared war.  It shouldn't be forgotten, especially because of our increasingly large Mexican population.  It's also especially important for Floridians because the Mexican War is closely connected to our wars against the Seminoles.  Professional army men under General Zachary Taylor (for whom downtown's Zack Street is named) temporarily gave up here, heading to Mexico and a new foe. Read More 

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Making Lawmakers Obey the Law

I'm a little late on this, but it doesn't matter because the issue goes on and on and on and therefore always is timely.  What I'm late on is quoting the Times' excellent business writer, Graham Brink.  He wrote back on May 18:  "Some things seem inevitable.  Snowbirds return, beach bars play Jimmy Buffett, and Florida lawmakers pillage the affordable housing trust fund.  They did it again this year, sweeping $240 million to other purposes, leaving just $85 million… This is the 12th year in a row that Republicans who control the state House have steered [away] at least half of the money." Read More 

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Quitting a Quorum

Did you see the item about the radical Republican lawmakers in Oregon who left the state so that the legislature would not have a quorum?  This is the tactic of little boys who take their marbles and run rather than finish a game they are going to lose.  The Oregon guys probably were surprised when the Democratic governor – the state's third woman in that office -- sent law enforcement to round them up to do their lawful duty.  This is outrageous behavior on the part of elected officials who have taken an oath of office, but it has happened before.  Read More 

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Another View of the Still-Relevant Past

I've written two books about American women and World War II, in which I've tried to make the point that Russian women (and men) contributed infinitely more than we to victory.  Yet I feel the need to provide this context again, as far too many people today have forgotten that Russia was our ally and Nazi Germany was our mutual enemy.  Indeed, we would not have won without Russia (or as it was then, the chief province of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics).  These Slavic-language peoples suffered tremendously more losses, both military and especially civilian, than we or our English-speaking allies.  Read More 

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Our Best and Brightest: The Origins

I worked for Betty Castor during her campaign for education commissioner in 1986, when the question of establishing a state lottery was on the ballot.  She (and I) hesitated about it, but did not object if it really would raise additional money for education.  Voters adopted it, and Betty worked hard to direct the flow of dollars to two specific, measurable programs at opposite ends of the school spectrum:  early childhood education and merit scholarships at our public universities.  Read More 

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A Plea for Historic Preservation

Willie Robinson died last week, his life's goal unachieved.  He was born in 1948, after African Americans had demonstrated great patriotism in World War II, but while his native Tampa still was very much the segregated South.  Because no hotel would rent a room to a black person, Willie's mother ran a boarding house at 851 Zach Street, conveniently near the train depot.  His grandmother, Sarah Jackson, had begun it early in the 20th century, and it was the only place in town where blacks were welcome to spend the night.  This was true even though some Jackson House guests were celebrities:  among them were musicians Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, and James Brown; the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stayed there when he came to Tampa in 1961. Read More 

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Remembering Memorials, Part 1

Yes, I know that Memorial Day has come and gone, and I didn't intend to write about it this year.  But I'm going to – and I'm going to ask those of you who send me e-mails to send your thoughts on what you think (and think that other think) about exactly what we commemorate in late May.  Especially, how do you think it differs from November 11?  The intent of the 4th of July is clear, but other holidays have gotten muddled in their meaning. Read More 

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Pets, Paper, and Plastic

Valeria, my longtime cat, follows a strict procedure policy for eating. 

·      Step 1 – Sit by the broom closet until Mom notices that she is hungry, even if the scary vacuum cleaner is in sight.

·      Step 2 – Run out of the pet door to the garage as soon as Mom gets a can of cat food.

·      Step 3 – Sniff it to make sure Mom isn't trying to poison her.

·      Step 4 – Stare out the garage door for potential thieves on the deck.

·      Step 5 – Eat.

 Read More 

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