is so much to be grateful for
Nov. 24, 2011
On this Thanksgiving
Day, I’m going to make like an elementary school teacher,
who, in recent days, might have assigned her students the task of
writing about the things for which they are thankful. Except in
this case, the assignment is for me. (Grading is optional.)
thankful for the gift of salvation that God has freely and graciously
provided to me through the atoning work of his son, the Lord Jesus
Christ, at Calvary. I accepted that gift as an 8-year-old in July
1969 in Green Forest, Ark., and I have never regretted it.
for my family, my home, my employment and the other opportunities
I have to earn an honest living.
for my church and the time I have now to attend services regularly.
I’m thankful for my pastor, his testimony and his determination
to preach the Word of God rightly, honestly and without sugar coating.
I’m thankful that through my work, I can give back to God
and his church a portion of what he has provided to me.
for my health and well-being and the material things with which
my family and I have been blessed. (May God always teach us to separate
our wants from our needs, and may He teach us not to be wasteful
that I was born an American and live in the United States. I’m
thankful for the rights, freedoms and opportunities that this great
nation provides. I’m thankful for the men and women who once
served in the military and for those who serve now. Without them,
our freedoms might have been lost or today might stand in jeopardy.
for friendships, both new and rekindled.
for God’s magnificent creation — the seasons; the sunrises,
sunsets and everything in between; the beasts and creatures of the
field and of the sea; and all the wonders of nature.
thankful for the newest member of our family, granddaughter Kameron
Riley Marshall, who was born on July 18, 2011. What a good baby
she is and what a great joy and blessing she has been been —
to all of us. I never knew that being a grandfather would be such
a wonderful experience.
thankful that Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be just a one-a-year
thing. May we all be thankful in our hearts each and every day.
This is granddaughter
Kameron Riley Marshall, now 4 months old. She’s something
else to be grateful for this holiday season. (Joe Braddy photo)
The 2011 Gators
Nov. 27, 2011
Fla. — The oldest daughter invited me over to her place Saturday
night to watch the annual football rivalry game between “our”
Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles.
good thing I had the granddaughter (all decked out in cute little
Gator garb) to play with, otherwise I would’ve been a man
While the Gators
played a fairly good game on defense, the UF offense was worse than
inept, and the result was a 21-7 victory for the ’Noles on
The loss gave
the Gators and first-year head coach Will Muschamp a 6-6 record,
the worst for the program in many, many years.
With six victories,
the Gators qualify for a bowl game, but no UF fan should be content
with that. I’m certainly not.
If Muschamp and
his players have any respect at all for the UF football and its
rich recent tradition, they will decline a bowl invitation this
year — even if it’s to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.
That’s the bowl game that, if I’m not mistaken, was
created especially for the Gators in the “old days,”
when bowl committees rarely paid attention to the UF football program.
I fear that Muschamp
is out of his league as the head man for the UF football program.
It’s one thing to be the “coach in waiting” as
the No. 2 coach for the University of Texas. It’s quite another
to be the head coach at Florida.
We Gator fans,
spoiled or not, expect annual success, even excellence, from the
football team. Among the Gator Nation, a .500 season is anything
UF gave former
head coach Ron Zook (the man who followed Steve Spurrier) three
years to build his program and then summarily dismissed him —
and Zook had a better first season than Muschamp did. Will Muschamp
get more than two years to turn things around? We’ll meet
back here a year from now to talk about it.
Harold D. Braddy,
the editor’s father, was little more than a kid when he joined
the military in the early 1950s. This photo only recently became
known to the editor.
We love our
veterans — especially those close who served
Nov. 11, 2011
I would be remiss
on this Veterans Day 2011 if I didn’t say how much I am thankful
for our U.S. veterans — those who served our nation honorably
in the past and those who currently serve in war zones and in peaceful
stations around the world.
I am especially
grateful for two veterans most close to me: My late father, Harold
Dean Braddy, and my younger brother, Dwight Richard Braddy (named
for a U.S. president and a vice president who went on to become
in the U.S. Marine Corps for a hitch that began not long after he
graduated from high school in the early 1980s. I remember traveling
up to Camp Lejeune, N.C., for his graduation from boot camp.
Also at the boot
camp graduation was Dad, who then was about eight years into his
retirement from the military. He was really just a kid when he enlisted
in the U.S. Air Force in the early 1950s. He was in the U.S. Army
when he completed more than 20 years of service in 1975, having
earned the rank of chief warrant officer. I’ve never known
for sure why, how and when the move from the Air Force to the Army
occurred, but it seems to have worked out OK for Dad.
Unless you count
my many years as an always-moving Army brat (twice the family lived
on base at Fort Riley, Kan.), I never served in the military. But,
I wanted to.
In the early
1980s, not long after my wife and I were married, I went down to
the Winter Haven Armory, inquired about joining the National Guard
and went to far as to pick up the enlistment papers. But, the wife
would have nothing of that and any talk of enlistment talk was off.
on this site about Dad and the unhealthy smoking and drinking habits
that I believe cut his life very short, but I couldn’t be
more proud of his military service and his two tours of duty in
the Vietnam war zone in the 1960s.
My many years
around but not in the military have left a soft spot in my heart
for the institution and for those who have honorably and bravely
worn the uniform.They have my undying respect and gratitude.
This photo of
Church, 57 Sixth St., N.W. (U.S. Highway 17), Winter
Haven, Fla., makes several statements. Can you count them? Go here
for a larger photo and a list of the statements. Below is a Nov.
20, 2011, photo of the church with a facelift construction project
almost complete. (Photo by Joe Braddy)
the big change,
Nov. 8, 2011
Today is the
eighth day of the month. Its also a Tuesday.
Exactly nine months ago, on the eighth day of the month, a Tuesday,
I worked my last day for the News Chief newspaper in Winter Haven.
It was a tough decision to leave my employer of many, many years
my employment comfort zone, if you will and it carried
considerable financial risk because I didnt have another job
But I took a leap of faith that everything would work out well in
Today, just as that day nine months ago, I have absolutely no regrets
about my big move my retirement from daily newspaper
editing and publishing.
There are several reasons really, but the biggest is that the job
was consuming me and in all ways negatively.
The regrets I have now are about all the things the really
important things that I ignored, sacrificed and missed out
on in my attempt to do an excellent job for my company, the newspaper
and the community.
Those really important things of life are faith, family, friendships
and even simple daily pleasures. And work, as my dear and late father-in-law
used to tell me, is just a means to an end.
I value work, especially the kind that is meaningful, enjoyable
and personally satisfying and enriching, but the desire of my heart
is to place more value on the God who created me, the Christ who
saved me and the people most close to me.
Once I made the decision to leave the paper, I made a promise that
at the very first opportunity following my last day of work there
that I would be back in church. And I kept that promise. I have
since realized how much I missed being in church, missed the singing
and missed the preaching and teaching. I also have realized how
very important all of those things are to my spiritual and personal
Now that Ive resumed regular church attendance, it truly hurts
when work yes, the Lord has blessed with many new opportunities
and new sources of income and other unavoidable matters interfere
with the service times.
Nine months ago, despite the uncertainty then ahead of me, I was
content and at peace for the first time in a very long time. Today,
because I value more the really important things of life
and because I know God will provide I remain that way.
And in the end, at least so far and at least as far as Im
concerned, everything has worked out. It has worked out quite well,
of USF Poly independence probably prudent
Nov. 10, 2011
Fla. — The future polytechnic university set for Polk County
won’t get immediate independence from the University of South
are steps USF Poly leaders can take to lead to eventual campus independence.
That was the
result of a 13-3 vote Wednesday by members of the State University
Florida Board of Governors.
set by the board for USF Poly independence include separate accreditation
for the branch campus, implementation of programs listed in Phase
I of its business plan, a threshhold of 1,244 full-time equivalency
students and minimum conditions related to campus construction.
This all means
that the polytechnic campus will be under the wings of USF leadership
for quite some time.
probably a good thing. No good will result from rushing into independence
unprepared and without a solid foundation of facilities, curriculum,
programs, faculty and students.
also this matter: The name of the future independent school.
steps to independence will give USF Poly leaders time to come up
with a good and solid name for the school — something minus
What we don’t
want to have is something like Polk Polytechnic University, generating
PPU (Yuck!) for short, or even worse, something like Florida Polytechnic
University or just Polytechnic University.
Can you imaging
the fun people would have with PU or FPU?
Yep, the name
for and marketing of the school will have to be given a lot of thought.
A lot of thought indeed.
about the News Chief
If you have
the whim to read it, I’ve written a column about my almost-35-year
relationship with the News Chief, the Winter Haven newspaper that
celebrated its 100th birthday on Sept. 28.
appeared in a special section in the Sept. 11 issue of the News
Chief. It’s also online at http://tinyurl.com/6j82zt9.
version was edited down a bit to fit the space the News Chief had
for it. The longer version can be found here.
itself to thinking
the course of the past several months, I've almost totally shunned
the radio, CDs and other background noise while I'm traveling alone
in the old Buick sedan or the even-older Chevy pickup.
a world full of noise and distractions, I've come to value any opportunity
for quiet time. It gives me time to think, ponder, reflect and medidate
(with eyes wide open on the road, of course).
If I’m alone at home, the television is seldom
on. Is there really anything but Florida Gators football (and that
might be a stretch this season) worth watching? I’m a news
guy by trade, but even TV news and commentary, with its leftist
slant and just plain idiocy, is too maddening to watch, so I don’t.
I write this as perhaps a too-long and convoluted
lead-in to my main thought, which came to me during a Monday morning
drive to the dentist’s office in Winter Haven.
the radio off and the only noise being that of the Buick's engine
and the muffled outside traffic, it occurred to me during the drive
that a job, however necessary and appreciated, can really interfere
with the important things in life, such as family, church and the
truly meaningful things one most likes or wishes to do. And then
this statement came to mind:
your job gets in the way of your work, a change in your life might
be in order.”
I hope so. Worthy of consideration? Maybe. Just maybe. — JB
(Oct. 26, 2011)
(‘Bush 43’) gets some mobile praise
was in the family sedan the other evening, riding east on State
Road 540 near Eagle Lake, when we came up behind an SUV just ahead
noticed something small, round and black on the left rear glass
of the SUV and didn’t make out what it was until we were right
behind the vehicle.
was a sticker, about 3.5 inches in diameter. And in the middle of
it was a big “W” with the small words “Thank you”
2 and 2 together brought a smile to my face. It was a simple message
of thanks to former President George W. Bush (“W” or
“Bush 43”) for his eight years of service in the White
House and, presumably, for his tireless efforts to keep America
safe after the horror of Sept. 11, 2001.
the sticker’s message, I say “Ditto.” —
JB (Oct. 20, 2011)
excellent resource for conservatives and conservative ideas:
good source of news from, for and about the right: http://www.1776coalition.com/
interesting read on our great 16th president, Abraham Lincoln:
great and trendy technology:
great community project: http://ritzoncentral.com/
good movie: It’s a low-budget film called “Fireproof,”
starring Kirk Cameron. You'll cry — if you have any kind of
heart at all.
For breakfast out: Fred’s Southern Kitchen, 1551
Third St., S.W. (U.S. Highway 17), Winter Haven. The breakfast buffet
is wonderful — even after the $5 special has run its course.
supper out: The wife and I tried the new Manny’s
Original Chophouse at 1100 Third St., S.W. (U.S. Highway 17), in
Winter Haven the other day. And I like it — well enough to
recommend it here. If it hasn’t done so already, Manny’s
will eat (pun intended) into business at Winter Haven’s Longhorn
Steakhouse, a place with great food but always-rising prices.
marquee outside a local personal storage business: “Land
of the free because of the brave.” (It’s on bumper stickers,
local church sign: “In the dark? Follow the Son.”
church sign: “Questions are in life. Answers are
another area church sign: “God isn’t withholding
anything from you. He’s holding it for you.”
open invitation to attend: http://centralbaptistchurchwh.com/
To the Central Intelligence Agency and its drone strike teams teams
for taking out another bad guy. A missile fired Friday (Sept. 30)
from an aircraft piloted remotely by the CIA over northernYemen
killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the fiery U.S.-born Islamic jihadist and
propagandist for al-Qaida. The world is a better place without al-Awlaki
and certainly a better place without Osama bin Laden, the long-sought
al-Qaida leader killed in a lightning strike by U.S. Navy Seals
in Pakistan in May. Yea for the good guys! Yea for our side in the
fight against Islamic terrorism!
irony of it all
This piece of
art, created in the wake of the recent protests against corporate
America and Wall Street, is making the rounds on the Internet. It
shows well the irony of the protests and the hypocrisy — idiocy?
— of most of those doing the protesting. We have a few things
of our own to say about these protests, so check back soon. In the
meantime, go here
for a larger version of this illustration.
Hussein Obama is the president of the United States, but can Americans
trust this man to keep the nation strong, well defended and free?
(U.S. government photos)
cue, ‘Obamaspeak’ follows failure of budget ‘Super
Nov. 27, 2011
JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III
HAVEN, Fla. — Recently, President Barack Hussein Obama proposed
a “Super Committee” to provide the nation that which
Congress could not. Namely, a federal budget that would simultaneously
reduce America's $15 trillion indebtedness while continuing the
expansion of Barack Hussein’s entitlement programs.
definition, there could be no budget acceptable to both the Sociocoms
(aka “Democrats”) and alleged conservatives (aka “Republicans”).
There should be no surprise at this ideological impasse. It came
off as planned by the Sociocoms.
pleasant, full of interesting sights
10 , 2011
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — I’ve mentioned a
couple of times on this site the five-day-a-week drive to my “day
It’s about 25 minutes one way, but it’s
not a bad drive. On the contrary, it’s very pleasant most
of the time.
For much of the journey, I take the easternmost leg
of the Polk Parkway (State Road 570), the approximately 10-mile
section that runs from Winter Lake Road (State Road 540) north to
The end of the section, from about Mile Marker 21
to Mile Marker 24 (I-4) has been under construction for quite some
time. It’s been interesting to watch since mid-May the daily
progress of the work as crews widen the parkway and put in a major
interchange leading west to the future University of South Florida
Polytechnic campus (which, for now, will keep its USF ties) and
east to Berkley Road, north of Auburndale.
the truth about Social Security? Is it a Ponzi scheme or is it a
perpetually viable and dependable financial safety net for older
Americans? (Illustration by Joe Braddy)
Security (1935-2011): Where is the rage?
Oct. 8, 2011
JAMES W. MacMEEKIN III
HAVEN, Fla. — Recently, there has been some controversy regarding
the administration of Social Security. One Republican presidential
candidate had the audacity to suggest it was a Ponzi scheme. Another
Republican presidential candidate suggested otherwise.
Let history be your guide. Since 1935, when President Franklin D.
Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, the trillions
of working-men and women dollars, placed in trust for their eventual
retirement have, indeed, been faithfully doled out to retiring workers.
several decades, more dollars flowed into Social Security than required
for disbursement. Naturally, our elected officials (aka “politicians”)
couldn’t help but notice the mounting pile of (formerly) silver
certificates. They were fast to take advantage. Rather than expose
these silver certificates to the vagaries of the (gasp!) stock market,
where, from one day to the next, who knew what fate awaited the
a photo dating back to at least January 2009, U.S. military personnel
stand respectfully around flagged-draped coffins resting aboard
a cargo plan in Dover, Del. The coffins contained the bodies of
servicemen killed in Iraq. (U.S. Department of Defense handout photo)
flags rekindle thoughts of Charlie Jackson
Sept. 29, 2011
Jackson had served in World War II on the deck crew of an aircraft
carrier. The noises encountered in that work led to him wearing
hearing aids later in life.
I first met Charlie when he moved into my neighborhood in Maine.
It turns out he had known my wife Bette when she was a girl back
in Massachusetts. In those days, insurance salesmen, like a
lot of salesmen, came to one’s house to collect time payments.
He also took a part-time job as a policeman in the next town.
As chance would have it, Charlie rescued a boy from drowning. When
the story broke in the newspapers, he lost the insurance job he
had held for 18 years. The company had a policy of not allowing
employees to hold a second job. Those were tough times.
As a result, Charlie became a full-time police officer and, before
too long, the department's chief. In time, he relocated to Maine
as chief in two other towns. His last position was as executive
director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, a job he held
with distinction. He spearheaded the erection of a monument next
to Maine’s statehouse to honor officers who lost their lives
in the line of duty.
We became good friends. Charlie was a very energetic, well-organized,
decisive and hard-working man. In 2008, he lost his life to cancer,
the only thing that could ever slow the man down. Close to the end,
because of a mix-up when his doctor was out of state on vacation,
he had to wait 16 days for a bed to open in the Maine Veterans Home
I lived with him those 16 days to help him out and never heard the
man complain. Interestingly, after he was admitted, I had my left
knee replaced and found myself just two doors down the hall from
him while I had my physical therapy. We enjoyed each other’s
company for several weeks at meal time. The Maine Veterans Home,
one of six private rehab centers in the state that contracts with
the VA, served fine meals, in addition to its comprehensive therapy
After several days of being too weak to come out for meals, Charlie
died. There was respectful hush on the ward and in the open cafeteria
as his body was moved out of his room by gurney on the way to the
undertaker. I was surprised to see his body bag covered with our
nation’s flag. I have seen many flags on caskets, but one
rarely sees a deceased person exit a medical facility room, let
alone with a flag as a respectful cover.
The flag should not have surprised me. The MVH is a first-class
institution. It gave me a lump in my throat to see it. To this day,
a casket flag reminds me of Charlie, and the lump returns.
Murphy of Maine is a winter resident of Frostproof, Fla. He can
be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Keep watching this space
and see the bird as it takes on new personalities in a series drawn
by James W. MacMeekin III. (Exclusive rights are granted to PolkCommentary.com
for publication of this cartoon series. No other publication is
permitted without written consent of the artist.)
impossible can always be broken down into possibilities.”
— Author unknown
cement of this union is the heart-blood of every American.”
— Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), American
patriot, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S.
Thanks be to
God for his unspeakable gift. — 2 Corinthians 9:15
man ever complains of want of opportunities.” — Ralph
Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), American essayist, lecturer
“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I
know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.” — Lee Greenwood,
singer, “Proud to Be an American”
will work unless you do.” — John Wooden
(1910-2010), college basketball coach
doesn’t kill you won’t hurt you. — Author unknown
(but it sounds like a Yogi Berra-ism)
sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity
in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill,
former prime minister of Great Britain
yourself this question: ‘Will this matter a year from now?’
” — Richard Carlson, writing in “Don’t
Sweat the Small Stuff”
not to become a man of success but a man of value.” —
Albert Einstein, mathematician and physicist
you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long in
the first place.” — Unknown
will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our
people.” — George W. Bush, 43rd U.S.
was first an amateur.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
(1803-1882), American essayist, lecturer and poet
“Work spares us
from three evils: Boredom, vice and need.” —
in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
— Henry David Thoreau, American author
is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t
pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for,
protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” —
Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. president (1981-89)
only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
— John Powell, British statesman
person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten
out almost every other area in his life.” — Billy
Graham, American evangelist
is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” — Author
with wise people, you will become wise yourself.” —
Menander, Greek dramatist (342-291 B.C.)
devil is not afraid of a Bible with dust on it.” — Unknown
teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting
themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.”
George Washington, American patriot and first U.S.
“When you invite trouble, it’s usually quick to accept.”
— Quoted in “P.S. I Love You,” compiled by H.
Jackson Brown Jr.
time is never found again.” —
Benjamin Franklin, American patriot, statesman
with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for
it is better to be alone than in bad company.” —
George Washington, first U.S. president
Wisdom is the
principal thing; therefore, get wisdom; and with all thy getting,
get understanding. — Proverbs 4:7 (KJV)
had to specify, in one word, why the human race has not, and will
never achieve its full potential, that word would be meetings.”
— Dave Barry
I wish the
buck stopped here. I could use a few.
husband is often a wife’s full-time job.
Sign in a police station:
It takes about 3,500 bolts to put a car together; but only one nut
to scatter it all over the road.
with no humor is like a job that is no fun.
neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than
this current administration.” — Former New Mexico Gov.
Gary Johnson, a libertarian-learning GOP candidate for president,
speaking during the Sept. 22 Republican “debate” in
Orlando. (We hear that radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh used a
similar line earlier in the day.)
you hear about the two radio antennas that got married? The wedding
was terrible, but the reception was excellent!
hard to meet expenses ... they’re everywhere.
know you’re getting old when you stoop to tie your shoes and
wonder what else you can do while you’re down there.
A perfect summer
day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds
are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
philosophy: If it ain't broke, fix it ’til it is.
For good and
bad, for better or worse, a vehicle bumper sticker usually will
be a reflection of the person behind the wheel.
Here is what
I saw on the bumper of a white sedan I parked next to recently in
front of a Walmart store in Winter Haven:
of being born again, why not just grow up?”
I take from
that the owner or driver of the car is ignorant, just mean or some
obviously has no idea what being born again — “saved”
in the Baptist vocabulary — means. He or she doesn’t
understand that a person who is born again actually is very mature
— mature enough at least to realize that there’s no
way a person can earn a home in Heaven by his or her own accord,
by his or her own deeds or behavior.
what else the bumper sticker tells me: The person responsible for
it has an anti-Christian disposition and a life that requires some
kind of divine intervention.
If there was
ever a time to have a Bible tract to stick under the windshield
wiper of a car, that was it. — Joe Braddy
a bit scary
Dr. Ron Paul,
a Republican member of Congress from Texas and GOP presidential
candidate, is warning Americans about a truly frightening new invasion
of our personal privacy and liberties by the federal government.
You can read
about it here:
VIPR Venom on Tennessee Highways
FBI tool is alarming
we learn that the FBI soon will activate a nationwide facial recognition
service that will allow local police to identify unknown subjects
is one of four states that will serve as testing grounds for the
alarming new technology this winter.
You can read
about it here:
to launch nationwide facial recognition service
Are you ready?
preached a powerful message this glorious fall morning (Sunday,
Oct. 2) in Polk County, Fla. It was about the absolute certainty
of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
line to the message was this: Are you ready?
a question that has to be asked. — JB
to Him belong
It was a blessing
on a recent Sunday morning (my birthday, no less) to witness the
baptism of not one, not two but five little girls at church.
The girls were
giddy with excitement as they hopped into the baptistry pool.
And, after giving a public “Yes” to the question “Have
you accepted Jesus as your personal savior?” each was “buried
in the likeness of His death” and “raised in the likeness
of His resurrection.”
get anyone to Heaven, the Bible teaches, but it is commanded by
Jesus as a symbolic and public acknowledgement that one has received
Him by faith as lord and savior.
Christians rejoice when anyone — young, old and anywhere in
between — is saved, but it is a particular joy to see children
commit their lives to Jesus when there is so much life and service
to the Lord ahead of them. — JB
“He was there all the time ... waiting patiently in line.”
– From “He Was There All the Time,” a contemporary