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Verizon responds to queries about snooping

I’m a big fan of the CBS drama Person of Interest in which a giant super-computer operated by some shadowy government agency like the National Security Agency (NSA) charts every piece of communication that floats out into cyberspace via the Internet or cell phones or security cameras.

I also wondered from time to time whether such a thing was real. Wonder no more.

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Disagrees that GOP is ‘divisive’

Dear Editor:

I have been a Republican my entire life and a member of the Baker County Republican Party the last several years. I have watched with great pride as our local party grew from about 10 people at meetings to an average of 35-40.
I was surprised and disappointed that Joel Addington insinuated that we are “divisive” and “extreme” based on the opinion of one person. As with any group, political or otherwise, people come and go for a variety of reasons personal and professional.

Republicans believe in school prayer, a strong national defense, limited government and a balanced budget. We believe that government at all levels should not squander tax dollars. We believe Omamacare should be repealed and our border should be closed. We believe that life begins at conception and that we have a constitutional right to bear arms.

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Dumb ways lawbreakers get caught

File this column away in the “D’ya ever notice?” folder.

I’ve been writing, and many of you have been reading, what the business used to call the “police blotter” for more years than, well, more years than many of you readers have been alive.

Hometown crime has evolved somewhat over those decades. Now if you beat your wife, it isn’t “your business” anymore. Illegal substances people are caught with have transformed from moonshine to methamphetamine. In fact, I’ve seen more moonshine at Christmas parties than I ever saw seized by the authorities.

One constant remains and it has to do with what we’ll term “lack of foresight” when it comes to stupid things lawbreakers do to get themselves caught. Helping police do their job, if you will.

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Change your life; quit today

I’m a man of many vices — bad sci-fi and horror movies, pizza, beer, shoes, the list goes on. But one vice I kicked to the curb some five years ago was smoking.

I was never a heavy smoker. Even after 10 years I couldn’t puff away a whole pack in 24 hours without some help. I was nearing 30 years old and needed to get healthier, lest I end up six feet under before my time. That and the love of a good woman was enough motivation for me.

I’m not going to get all preachy on you about the dangers of smoking and other tobacco use. Suffice it say, tobacco use will shorten your lifespan. It’s a scientific certainty.

It’s also a certainty that while smoking rates in Baker County have fallen in the last decade or so, many folks still smoke. According to 2010 survey data, about 20 percent of adults, or one in five, reported smoking.

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