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We're kind of fond of this Earth; it's home. We're not alone.

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It can be better to let the other guy go first. After seeing how it goes for him, we might not want to go at all.

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Bruce Oliver Brink, 79, died April 18, 2014, at Life Care Center in Mt. Vernon, Wash.
Florence Elizabeth Prose, 90, died on April 14, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Charles Jasper Solomon, 94, died April 10, 2014, in Ketchikan.
Janette Edna Powers, 85, died April 15, 2014 at St. Josephs Hospital, Bellingham, Wash., after a short illness.
Mark Edward Cooley, 55, died April 9, 2014, with his family by his side at their home in Des Moines, Wash. He was born in Portland, Ore., on April 10, 1958. He grew up in Butteville, Ore., on the Willamette River, and graduated from North Marion High School.
Esther Rita Brown, 53, died on April 10, 2014, at her home in Ketchikan.
2/25/2014
Leaner military

Bigger or smaller aren't the operative words; the key word is effective.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, along with America's other military leaders, propose a leaner and definitely more nimble military.

Of course, looking at the size of the military is at least in part a result of the need for the nation to reduce spending. But that's not the only factor in the decision. The nation's military leaders aren't fools; they know America needs a strong defense.

The Democrats will support the new defense budget being unveiled by Hagel; Republicans will immediately be alarmed.

But both need to listen to the military leaders. If they say that transitioning the military to the current times requires reshaping the forces, then it needs to be done.

That means bases and jobs might be on the line. But, other jobs will need to be filled: jobs in the new military, requiring new skills. Bases in strategic locations such as Alaska should be maintained.

But, specifically when it comes to defense of this nation, the politicians should set aside their politics, listen to the military leaders — give them additional funding, if necessary — and ensure that the defense of the United States is up to date and can be effective in any circumstance.