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Informed Personalities from Across the State, Across the Spectrum
Cary McMullen's picture
"By training and inclination, I am drawn to questions of faith, and many of my columns will address religious beliefs, especially Christian beliefs, and how they are expressed in the public sphere. I’m a follower of politics, with sympathies toward the center and skepticism toward all sides. I’m keenly interested in education and an amateur critic of the fine arts. My goal is for readers to apply the label 'thought-provoking' to whatever I write."
Friday, April 26, 2013 — Cary McMullen

A few years ago I was back in my home state of Texas visiting relatives. I drove I-35 between Fort Worth and Waco, a road I had traveled, oh, maybe 10,000 times, when I spotted a sign advertising kolaches at the exit for the town of West.

I pulled off at that exit and 20 minutes later drove away happy.


Friday, April 19, 2013 — Cary McMullen

It’s a pleasant Sunday in Lakeland, not too hot and not too cool. It’s a comforting end to a very long walk for about 150 farm laborers, who marched 200 miles from Fort Myers last month to put pressure on Publix Super Markets.

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the closest thing to a union that these impoverished, mostly immigrant tomato pickers have, has been trying for years to get Publix to...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 — Cary McMullen

There’s something distinctly American about praying at public events – graduations, football games and such like. Having witnessed too many of these prayers to count, I can’t say there is much religious or spiritual about them, but by golly, we Americans can be sure that – unlike the Brits or the Swedes or the Japanese – whenever we assemble, we’re going to be knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door.


Monday, March 18, 2013 — Cary McMullen

Sarah Palin was in town in Lakeland last week. She was the headline speaker at the annual Leadership Forum at Southeastern University, an Assemblies of God school. The Forum is aimed at pastors and Christian business leaders who pay mucho bucks to listen to famous and semi-famous politicians, business executives and celebrity ministers give motivational talks.

The event inclines toward a sentimental,...

Monday, March 04, 2013 — Cary McMullen

Is Rick Scott really our next education governor?

In his proposed 2013-’14 budget, Scott suggests that Florida classroom teachers receive an across-the-board $2,500 raise. He sent a letter to the chairman of the state Board of Education for presentation at the board’s Feb. 25 meeting outlining the plan, which would cost a hefty $480 million. The governor also recommended spending an additional $14...

Monday, January 28, 2013 — Cary McMullen

We are inching toward the hour when the Affordable Care Act – the health care law known as Obamacare – will become reality. And some of us have more than a passing interest in what that is going to mean for our own specific family situations.

The law calls for each state to have a health insurance exchange set up beginning next January so that individuals without coverage can find affordable policies....

Friday, January 18, 2013 — Cary McMullen

I recently went to see the movie version of “Les Misérables.” I was familiar with Victor Hugo’s classic story but not with the musical, and frankly I didn’t care for it. Way too overwrought for my tastes.

However, there was a line among the many (many) musical numbers that piqued my interest. It was the anthem of the revolutionaries, and it begins, “Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of...

Sunday, December 23, 2012 — Cary McMullen

President Barack Obama’s speech at the service for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School atrocity was one of the more remarkable recent moments in our national life.

To some, the speech may have seemed simply to be the president filling a time-honored role as national comforter in time of tragedy, but there was a tone to Obama’s speech that transcended both clichéd psychobabble and vague calls...

Friday, December 07, 2012 — Cary McMullen

Next time you buy a T-shirt at Disney World or Sears or Walmart, don’t smell it too closely. You might catch a scent of charred flesh.

The Associated Press reported recently that in the burned-out remains of the Tarzeen Fashions Ltd. factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, where a fire killed 112 workers, manufactured clothing and account books showed orders for several Western corporations, including...

Friday, November 23, 2012 — Cary McMullen

The saying goes that in politics demographics is destiny, meaning that the sectors of the voting public you appeal to will determine the outcome.

There has been a lot of analysis about how Mitt Romney and his fellow Republicans were doomed in this election because they lost Hispanics, women and other subgroups.