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Holiday tip: Shop local, give smart

Well, if you’re reading the paper, it’s a good guess that you survived Thanksgiving with its temptations to things that are bad for the heart like rich, heavy desserts and sitting next to dyspeptic Uncle Phil. Coffee and a piece of pie for breakfast? Check. Nap for lunch? Check. Leftovers and football this afternoon? Check, check.

Middle East medicine too late

Not since the early days of the Cold War has American society faced as large an existential crisis as it does now. We know from high school civics class the nation we ought to be. Sadly, international terrorism and xenophobic hate speech from the political margins is turning us away from those simple, but noble ideals.

Council makes right decision

At its most recent meeting, members of the Pine Bluff City Council voted to reject council member Thelma Walker’s proposed ordinance to increase the tax on hotel stays. While opposition was motivated by different reasons, the council arrived at the correct decision. Whether a general rejection of new taxes or a vote against an ill-conceived measure, this was a step in the right direction.

Republican tax fantasies

The Republican presidential candidates have not rallied behind Ben Carson in his clash with the news media, but they should be grateful to him. His misrepresentation of reality on matters concerning his past has distracted attention from his rivals’ misrepresentations of reality on a matter concerning the nation’s future: tax policy.

Opening the Great Wall

Often likened to an immense dragon flowing across the mountains, deserts and grasslands of northern China, the Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On this day in 1970, the Chinese government finally opened the Wall to tourists. Previously only the Badaling section near Beijing had been accessible.

Warren’s Lifeline to the vulnerable

As has been widely reported, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) has proposed legislation that would give every senior citizen and disabled veteran in America a check for $580. Warren bases her proposal, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act, on a couple of twined ideas — ideas that have merit and are worthy of support.

Chris Christie: Not just a memory

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Chris Christie bills himself as the candidate willing to speak the truth even if his audience doesn’t want to hear it. Opening his talk at Beck’s Sports Grill, he wastes no time inviting a negative reaction.

Combatting the Spice of death

If you didn’t know better, you might assume the silver foil package contained some kind of candy. The colorful graphics and branding certainly suggest as much. The names also have playful or dramatic overtones: Scooby Snax, Puff, Dreamz, King Kong, Joker, Geeked Up, Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks… among many others.

Right-wing rhetoric helping both parties’ major candidates

I swear, if I was a Democrat running for president I would divert as much of my campaign treasury as I could to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Arkansas’s own Mike Huckabee. If I was any Democrat angling to see my party’s nominee win next year I would do the same. Moreover, if I was a Republican trying to set my party aright (but cantered still to the right) I would send all three money, knowing, as do the Democrats (and independents), that not Trump nor Cruz nor Huckabee has a hope of the White House and that their campaigns will serve only to soil the eventual GOP candidate and thus hasten a much-overdue reconsideration of what the party should represent.

Same debate a half century later

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed a bill creating the national Medicare and Medicaid programs. The ceremony was held at Independence, Missouri, the birthplace of President Harry Truman. Truman, who was issued the very first Medicare card, had lobbied unsuccessfully for similar programs during his time in office.

Enabling change 25 years later

Imagine that you have just graduated near the top of your class at an elite collegiate engineering program. Now imagine you go out into the world only to be repeatedly rebuffed by prospective employers. Their reasons for your rejection? You credentials are first order: good school; good grades; good recommendations. It’s none of those things. It’s because you use a wheelchair.