http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/todaysopinions/rss.xml en A trip worth taking http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/trip-worth-taking <p> As we observe Black History Month, I find myself reflecting on a recent trip that taught me more about the history of our nation, including some of the cruelest times imaginable. It was a visit to Memphis, Tennessee, to the National Civil Rights Museum, and it was a trip well worth taking.</p> <p> The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his life fighting for equality. He did so until his death on April 4, 1968, in Memphis.</p> A good conversation http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/good-conversation <p> &ldquo;One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know at least somebody&rsquo;s listening.&rdquo;</p> <p> Franklin P. Jones (American Businessman, 1887-1929)</p> <p> I&rsquo;ve always tended to talk out loud to myself when I&rsquo;m writing. You know, just to see how things sound, and such. As I get older I tend to do this more and more. You may not know it but they say this is a sign of great &ldquo;genius&rdquo;.</p> <p> &ldquo;Who says that?&rdquo;, you ask.</p> Journalism at its finest http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/journalism-its-finest <img src="http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/sites/www.thespringfieldsun.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/img_8801edit.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" /><p> Journalism is a tough profession.</p> <p> You hear a lot about what you did wrong &ndash; even if you did nothing wrong at all &ndash; and rarely hear about what you got right.</p> <p> But I got an email Monday morning telling me that one of my articles had an impact on Washington County.</p> <p> Which one, you ask? It was the article about the road signs being stolen around the county.</p> I'm a careful man http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/im-careful-man <img src="http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/sites/www.thespringfieldsun.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/ken_begely_33.jpg" alt="Ken Begley" title="Ken Begley" align="left" hspace="6" width="85" height="85" /><p> I&rsquo;m a careful man.</p> <p> I always take my time when I&rsquo;m making a big decision. I weigh the pros and cons. Do some research and background checking. Make sure that I&rsquo;m right, then I move ahead.</p> <p> The kids asked me the other day when did I know their mother was &ldquo;The One&rdquo; that would bear my children and share my life.</p> <p> I told them: &ldquo;30 days after I met her.&rdquo;</p> <p> Renee said &ldquo;You mean that after only knowing momma for 30 days you were sure she was &ldquo;The One&rdquo;.</p> Misconduct can go both ways http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/misconduct-can-go-both-ways <img src="http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/sites/www.thespringfieldsun.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/jeff_moreland_3.jpg" alt="" title="" align="left" hspace="6" width="50" height="85" /><p> Sexual misconduct.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a phrase we hear in the news almost daily, and it&rsquo;s getting to the point that there&rsquo;s a new, high-profile name attached to the words each time we hear them.</p> <p> Personally, I have no toleration for people who abuse others in any way, and sexual abuse is a particularly disturbing accusation. If a person is found guilty of such a crime, I feel the full extent of the law should be applied when it comes to doling out punishment.</p> The Lord is with you http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/lord-you <img src="http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/sites/www.thespringfieldsun.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/ken_begely_29.jpg" alt="Ken Begley" title="Ken Begley" align="left" hspace="6" width="85" height="85" /><p> &ldquo;The Lord is with you.&rdquo;</p> <p> Angel Gabriel to Mary</p> <p> The quote you see above was spoken by the angel, Gabriel, to Mary announcing the coming of Jesus Christ. Mary was about to conceive a child without ever knowing a man. God knew, as good a woman as Mary was, she would still need his help, his divine protection, for the road that was ahead of her.</p> <p> Divine protection.</p> Good guy finishes first http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/good-guy-finishes-first <img src="http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/sites/www.thespringfieldsun.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/ken_begely_28.jpg" alt="Ken Begley" title="Ken Begley" align="left" hspace="6" width="85" height="85" /><p> It&rsquo;s one that makes you proud to stand up and say, &ldquo;Yes, I come from Washington County, where we have good people that make a difference.&rdquo;</p> <p> Today I want to talk about one such young man that is making a difference. His name is Michael Hilton Mann.</p> Smokers are going to smoke http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/content/smokers-are-going-smoke <img src="http://www.thespringfieldsun.com/sites/www.thespringfieldsun.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/nick_s_copy_3.jpg" alt="Nick Schrager" title="Nick Schrager" align="left" hspace="6" width="67" height="85" /><p> I&rsquo;m a former smoker. I smoked a pack-and-a-half a day for 11 years before finally kicking the habit in January 2013.</p> <p> That makes this January my fifth year as being smoke free.</p> <p> Despite this, I still get cravings; especially when I smell someone else&rsquo;s cigarettes. When I&rsquo;m stressed, it sends my &ldquo;I need a cigarette&rdquo; craving to DEFCON 1. I literally hear missile alarms and see quick flashes of red sirens pulsating in my brain as my fingers twitter around, longing for that familiar feeling of a cigarette in my hands.</p>