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home : columnists : frank phillips February 26, 2015

General Assembly should ensure funding continues
I see The Indiana House may be taking budget matters into their own hands and that could mean no cut to the Indiana State Library. Earlier, Gov. Mike Pence announced his budget goals which included reductions to the library including the end of the Genealogy Department and the INSPIRE online research tool.

It probably won't be a surprise that this newsman likes books and the information libraries contain. In this time of social media we need all the balance we can get.

I have mentioned several times how much I enjoy social media. This column is not contradictory, but the fact is, we need information that has been carefully researched, accurate and more than eight minutes old.

I am very uneasy when I hear comments like, "I don't need to read the newspaper, I have Facebook and Twitter." Much of the information on social media is rumor and none of it is well researched. No opposing viewpoints are presented.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Phillips talks this and that
Dear Montgomery County,

It's Saturday morning and a little past 5 o'clock. It's also Valentine's Day and that means Linda and I will visit Red Lobster later today.

This is going to be about a few things. I am too satisfied to get on my usual high horse and develop one topic for several hundred words. This will probably sound more like one of Hawkeye Pierce's letters to his dad than a newspaper column.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Can politicians and journalists be trusted?
Politicians and journalists can't always be trusted. That is not a new revelation but follow me and you may be surprised where we go.

Think of politics and my generation thinks of Watergate. Think of journalists and many people think of uncaring, unfeeling, wielders of power who cannot be touched by human feelings and who have too much power.

I used to joke we have more responsibility than surgeons. They can only kill a patient, we can destroy a reputation.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Did you hit the NFL where it hurts for deflategate?
OK. I'm over it. It's time to move on.

When the Colts lost to The Evil no good-nik Boris Badenov Patriots and we learned that the Pats balls were under-inflated I was incensed.

The Pats perhaps didn't do it intentionally but suspicion indicates someone in the organization was responsible, so I went to social media and expressed my outrage.

"Boycott the Super Bowl," I said.

A few in that Twitter/Facebook court of no appeal agreed with me.

"Make a dent in that god of TV sports, the ratings," I said. "That is the only way to say we don't condone cheating."

I doubt it made any difference. A half dozen or so people retweeted what I wrote. About 20 people read it. Many others expressed similar outrage but what is that against millions of Super Bowl fans?

I did see one story that indicated last year's Super Bowl ratings had dipped slightly from the year before and I wonder why.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
When is my business any of your business?
That question could be partially settled by legislation before the Indiana General Assembly.

Nineteen states have passed legislation that will potentially protect business owners from interference by government. Ryan McCann of Indiana Family Institute hopes to make Indiana Number 20.

I heard him speak recently about the so-called Hobby Lobby bill now before the Indiana Senate and expected to be introduced in the Indiana House in March.

The bill was prompted by the Hobby Lobby store chain's lawsuit that went to the U.S.Supreme Court. The company's owners won but they shouldn't have had to go to that trouble and legal expense. The bill would increase the burden placed on government to prove the court should force a business

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
What's next when it comes to communication?
The way we communicate is changing. Before you say, "duh," consider this.

Stijn Hendrikse (look him up, he's on Linked In) had a fascinating post I picked up in my Productivity group on Google+ about his son and the way young people have new priorities for being productive. His 17-year-old was involved in a nine-hour chat on Skype. But it was more like a group of kids hanging out together than what we older folks would consider a "chat." His son even introduced dad to the gang, as if they were all in the same room. But the Skypers were sitting in various places around the world. Some were doing their homework together and some of the screens online were empty as the people had temporarily left to go do other things.

That post made me think about what we perceive priorities to be.

My parents' generation had one phone until they moved into a two-story house and Dad had to hear the phone ring 24-7. He was a fireman on the railroad and would be called out all times of the day and night, so they had a phone installed on the second floor.

The phone had a high priority in our house. If it rang, we had to answer it! We had to drop what we were doing and answer the phone.

I remember Mom being outside in the summer, with all the windows open in those days with limited air conditioning. If the phone rang, she ran inside to get it. Even if she was visiting with Mrs. Gordon next door.

Fast forward to 2015.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Organization can be easy and beneficial
I want 2015 to be a great year! Don't you?

I know I must be at my best for that to happen and a large part of that is personal organization.

I did not always see things that way.

The other day, I mentioned to my wife that I really needed to straighten up our home office. After doing a double take (literally, a double take) she asked me, "Who are you?" For years she said I could not find anything on my desk at the office. I would tell her, "Leave it alone! I know where everything is!" And, of course, I didn't. Things got lost in the shuffle.

When I worked for a newspaper that I won't name (I am so embarrassed this happened . . . and it wasn't this one) I lost a particular document and swore I never received it. Years later, when cleaning out my desk, I found it. It had slipped beneath the folders in my filing drawer. How awful! I still cringe!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Frank has a good outlook for New Year
The new year looks like it will be a good one. Here's why:

1. The biggest reason is the resilience of Americans.

Remember Paul Harvey, the news commentator on ABC radio stations? He pointed out that if Americans have the freedom, we have the drive to get it done. If we don't know how, we will find out. We can meet challenges.

2. We will learn to accept racial diversity.

We are challenged by riots following the shootings of black suspects by white police officers and the death of a black suspect caught in a choke hold in New York City. I believe these situations will end in positive ways even though they bring back memories of the race riots in the '60s. They will end positively because Americans are much more sophisticated about the media than we were 40 years ago. We know the difference between legitimate outrage and the rioting and looting that is done by opportunists.

Back in the '60s, the popular media reported on riots and other racially motivated crime, giving no coverage of the other side -- those blacks and whites who tried to protect their community. When only the "black versus white" stories were told, bitterness was the result.

In the 1970s, race riots broke out in the southern Illinois city of Cairo. In a matter of a few short years (some told me it was months) a thriving community nestled on the peninsula where the Mississippi and Ohio rivers come together lost 80 percent of its population. It went from 25,000 to 5,000 seemingly overnight.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
All dogs (and other furry friends) go to heaven
Not long ago the Pope was confronted by a little girl who was concerned about her dog. Her beloved pet had passed away and she was concerned about his eternal destiny.

The Pope listened to her question and then assured her there is room in paradise for all of God's creatures.

This time of year we tend to think of family and friends and that includes our four-legged chums.

I can't say if dogs are in Heaven but when I remember the dogs I have known and loved, I wouldn't be surprised.

I think that if dogs have souls it came about something like this.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Find out who your 'friends' are
When one of our readers learned I had fallen for a Facebook scam they replied, "I can't believe anyone falls for these things." But I did! I know, after writing about all kinds of scams, robberies and other crimes for the past 30-plus years, you would think I would know better. In my defense, the scammers are very cunning and readers as well as the police ask us to warn people from time to time, so here goes.

According to one law enforcement official, people tend to be more gullible during the holidays as we are filled with love of our fellow man . . . and an urgent sense of needing more money for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Congress takes action 70 years too late
Did you hear about the Nazis who were drawing Social Security? Don't wait for the punch line. It's not a joke and sadly it wasn't one of the lead stories reported last week.

On Tuesday and Thursday of the same week as the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. House and Senate passed nearly identical bills that would close a loophole allowing the Social Security Administration to cut off benefits from those who admitted being World War II Nazis or who were convicted of war crimes as Nazis, if it is signed by the President.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Accept and enjoy Christmas, don't explain
Over the weekend I remembered a feature that ran in a newspaper years ago. For some reason I began thinking about children's letters to Santa Claus and how cute they were. We used to print them in the kids' original handwriting, misspellings, bad grammar and all.

With all the trust their little hearts could muster, they would write their letters to Santa, not intending to share them with anyone who read them in our newspaper but probably not caring because they just knew Santa was going to see them and answer their requests.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Enjoy the day and you'll feel better
Have you ever considered the connection between the Thanksgiving holiday and good mental health? I am writing this less than a week from Thanksgiving Day. Yesterday, I completed a story about beating the winter blues for my local newspaper. We all know that some people do not handle the holidays very well. The brighter the lights, the dimmer their outlook on life.

I interviewed Sara Ritter, chief clinical officer of the Hamilton Center, and did some online research for the article. A common thread that ran through all the information was that if people are to fight the blues and even depression, they must get outside themselves. One way to do that is to volunteer. When we help others we forget about ourselves and what we lack. Another way is to spend time with people.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
My TV show will be gone in a Flash
Have you seen "The Flash," the new TV show from DC Comics? It's on the CW network and it's about a man who becomes a super-fast superhero following a laboratory accident.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I appreciate the working man now
I have a new appreciation for the American working man and woman.

I'm talking about the person who works with their hands for hours on end every day, making products that their employers will sell. From Sept. 26 until Nov. 7 I was part of that workforce.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
I recently have seen some real life and death issues
Now that the election is over, let us turn to real life and death issues.

I opened Facebook this week to read this entry:

"Megan has cancer and the doctor says she has six months to live if we don't have surgery immediately."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Halloween brings ghoulish tales
Here's a true Halloween tale for you to think about this week.

Halloween means different things to different folks.

A young lady I know found out through some mischievous and possibly illegal means that her boyfriend bought her an engagement ring and that he plans to propose this week, on Halloween.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Being Frank about Social Security
Everybody works at something.

Often, we hear about those who are taking advantage of the system, getting what they shouldn't get from our hard-earned tax dollars.

They work at it as surely as when you and I go to our jobs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Survivors are the bravest people
Some of the bravest people on earth are breast cancer survivors.

I know. My wife is one of them.

In 2008 she went through multiple surgeries related to breast cancer, including one surgery that was made necessary because she was dismissed from the hospital too soon after an operation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Never wait in line when your neck is bleeding
I walked into the doctor's office with blood running down my chest, dripping onto the carpet.

"Can someone help me?" I asked, ignoring the patient ahead of me in line at the window.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Crawfordsville holds a lot of my memories
I have a lot of happy memories of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County and while I'm not out of the picture yet, I will no longer be covering news in the area.

Two of those happy memories were created this past week in ways I would have never expected.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
We need to control the wreckers
I think I know what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was talking about.

Many years ago I set out to read "The Gulag Archipelago," Solzhenitsyn's work about the Russian Revolution.

Even though the translator had a good style, the paperback version I was reading was not easy to read. It was difficult to learn of the hardships experienced by the Russian people after the overthrow by Communists.

It was just as difficult to read about "the wreckers."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Trust is not a four-letter word
Trust is too big to be a four-letter word.

For the past few months, everywhere I turn I am confronted by lessons on trust.

Does that ever happen to you? Do you ever find yourself being reminded of some idea over and over and over?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Winter warnings are like opening a gift and finding socks and underwear
Kids are back in school and the going-back-to-school heat wave is expected to pass in a week or so.

It seems like a good time to look to winter and the excitement that comes with a big whiteout storm. I know, most of us dread the idea of big winter storm but I've always found the forecast of one to be exciting. Sort of like opening a big Christmas present to find socks and underwear inside. Oh, well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014
We can be proud of Nucor
Montgomery County has been home to Nucor Steel for 25 years. Wow! It doesn't seem like it.

You can read the news stories in today's Paper and see how Nucor has grown and you can read comments that indicate what it means to the county.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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