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An offer police can’t refuse

If you’ve ever tried to hammer a screw into a board then you know there’s a high probability of breaking the screw. Sadly, that’s exactly what the United States has chosen to do with millions of people who have a mental illness. According to recent report in “USA Today,” American jails and prisons are overflowing with the mentally ill. By failing to provide adequate public mental health care, millions of Americans are simply swept into the dust bin of society.

Garner, Maverick and Rockford

The actor, James Garner died last week at age 86. Garner was beloved by several generations of film and television fans. In a career that spanned seven decades, Garner twice struck television gold.

Lights dimmed over long legs

Elaine Stritch once quipped, “I don’t think there’s any thrill in the world like doing work you’re good at.” If she was right, she led a life filled with thrills. Stritch, a mainstay of Broadway theater, died this week, at age 89.

Heading into overtime

The public outlining by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of his government’s negotiating position in the ongoing talks on its nuclear program was a tip-off that Tehran isn’t aiming to conclude a deal by the July 20 deadline. Instead, Zarif’s Monday interview with The New York Times, in which he described an Iranian position that was unacceptable to Western governments but better than Tehran’s previous, blatantly unserious offers, was designed to provide Iran’s interlocutors — and in particular the Obama administration — with a rationale for extending the talks for up to six more months.

Regulating e-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, now a $1.5 billion to $2 billion business, have become difficult to ignore. The electronic devices, which might look like cigarettes or cigars or even pipes, come with different battery sizes and burn a variety of vapors that might contain a greater or smaller amount of nicotine and a flavor enhancer, according to a February Times Record report.

Long legacy of modeling’s mother

The innumerable obituaries for Eileen Ford, founder of the storied Ford Modeling agency, contain a wide array of descriptive terms, ranging from predictable superlatives to not-so subtle critiques. Words like “imperious” and “disciplinarian” are common. As are “prescient” and “savvy.” Ford, who died last week at age 92 helped transform an industry and give rise to the age of the supermodel.

Justice, privilege and media attention

In our age of omnipresent news coverage it might be tempting to think that media furors over salacious crimes are a contemporary creation. The fact of history suggest otherwise. Ninety years ago today, May 21, 1924, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, committed a brutal murder that drew international attention on par with O.J. Simpson’s legal travails.

Forced to forget

Many people have a link or two they wish wouldn’t pop up when they Google their own names. They will appreciate the motivation of an audacious ruling the European Court of Justice handed down Monday. But the ruling could easily damage the flow of information on which the Internet depends.

Don’t be Lawrence of Arkansas

On this day in 1935, one of history’s most remembered motorcycle crashes occurred. Storied British warrior, archaeologist and adventurer, T. E. Lawrence — known more commonly as Lawrence of Arabia — crashed his motorcycle in an effort to avoid two young boys riding bicycles. Lawrence would succumb to his injuries six days later.

The mother of all battles

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.” The preceding quote from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche hardly seems appropriate as the opening sentiment in a Mother’s Day remembrance, but as history shows, Nietzsche’s dark thought may be more apropos than we’d like to acknowledge.

Venezuela in free fall

As Venezuela plummets toward economic and social chaos, the successors to Hugo Chavez are flailing in all directions. Some of their actions have the ring of pragmatism: With inflation nearing 60 percent and 30 percent of basic goods in shortage, the government recently modified its byzantine currency-exchange system to allocate more dollars for private-sector imports. Under pressure from Brazil and other Latin American governments, it has begun a political dialogue with moderate opposition leaders.