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Economic growth is missing ingredient

This year’s Republican presidential race has generated an unusual number of unusually bad ideas — Donald Trump on Muslims, Ted Cruz on carpet bombing, Marco Rubio on male footwear. It has also has produced one of the best: Jeb Bush’s 4 percent plan.

Flimsy, shallow and a bother just to watch

If you’ve seen one movie based on a Nicholas Sparks romance, you’ve seen them all. Like the others, “The Choice” bleeds sap and treacle. And the story, even by Sparks’ standards, is so lame I wanted to punch the movie in the face, so to speak.

Making plan for mom with Alzheimer’s should start with conversation

Q. I think my mother, who is in her late 70s, is showing signs of Alzheimer’s. She is increasingly forgetful, and has become negative and nasty. She was never like this. My two brothers think that there is nothing wrong with her because they only visit once or twice a month and then stay for an hour or two. I’m with her on an almost daily basis. How can I convince them that she has a problem that we need to address?

End-of-life talks tough, but necessary

Q. I am in my late 70s. Although I have no life-threatening illnesses, I want to talk to my children about my end-of-life wishes. When they were here over the holidays, they absolutely refused to talk about it. They will be back in February, and I am determined to have the conversation. Please give me some advice on how to approach 40-year-olds who won’t have a discussion.

Dastardly deeds and fun with food are the right recipe for ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’

Back in 2008, DreamWorks Animation scored big with “Kung Fu Panda,” a sharp-looking, action-packed, lovable little movie about believing in yourself, father-son relationships, master-student relationships and the funny side of overeating. It pulled in a massive $632 million around the world. Three years later, the same studio continued the same story with the same voice cast (Jack Black played the lazy but excitable and humorously annoying title character) in “Kung Fu Panda 2,” which earned about $34 million more than the original.

Why ‘dieting’ is harmful

I really dislike the word diet, or more specifically, what it stands for. The root of the word is derived from the Greek diaita, which means “way of living.” Used in that context, I have no problem. It can mean: the way in which we eat. But, the vast majority of the time, that’s not the way the word is used. In our world, a diet typically refers to something temporary, associated with weight loss. And in this context, here’s the real skinny on diets: none of them truly work.

The power of the spoken word

As a child you may have used the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”

Could Ted Cruz be disqualified?

If you attend a presidential campaign event, you may come across someone wearing colonial garb or an Uncle Sam costume or body paint. But a Ted Cruz rally in Iowa last weekend featured something possibly unprecedented: guys dressed up as Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Anti-abortion witch hunts at work

There is much news about one of the most controversial issues of our day. Since it competes with the noise that invariably accompanies any discussion of it, especially in a presidential election year, it can be difficult to peel the details free of the decibels. The issue, yes, is abortion: a shameful if legal practice, some sincerely believe, and some more sincerely than others; though the question at hand is apportioning the shame among the political class.

Anti-abortion witch hunts at work

There is much news about one of the most controversial issues of our day. Since it competes with the noise that invariably accompanies any discussion of it, especially in a presidential election year, it can be difficult to peel the details free of the decibels. The issue, yes, is abortion: a shameful if legal practice, some sincerely believe, and some more sincerely than others; though the question at hand is apportioning the shame among the political class.

Why would Cruz insult New Yorkers?

When it comes to votes, the state of New York is a gold mine. In the 2012 presidential election, more than 11 million New Yorkers were registered. By itself, New York accounted for half of Barack Obama’s margin of victory in the popular vote over Mitt Romney.

Your Best Life - Add life to your years

​Just this morning I was speaking with a member who recently lost his mother. As he talked about her situation I made the comment that “medical science can add years to our lives, but only we can add life to those years.”

Opiod addicts face difficult path to recovery

Q. Our daughter, who is in her late 40s, has become addicted to pain medication. She was taking it as prescribed for injuries received in a car accident, and now she is taking eight or nine pills a day. Could you please explain the dangers of these medications so that she and others will understand the problems of pain pill addiction?

‘Ride Along 2” just a carbon copy of the first film

Rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube and stand-up comedian Kevin Hart are a promising comedic duo. It’s just too bad the material falls woefully short of their abilities in the buddy-cop comedy “Ride Along 2.” Director Tim Story’s follow-up to the 2014 original, is more of the same. I shudder to think how awful the movie would be without its two stars.

Your Best Life - Gender differences in metabolism

We often think that men and women are as different as apples and hammers, when actually, we are very similar metabolically. About 90 percent of daily energy expenditure is due to muscle mass, fat mass and activity level. Women do tend to have slower metabolisms than men, but the difference is primarily a function of muscle mass and body size, not gender.

Winter doesn’t have to make you S.A.D.

Q. Starting in January each year, I get very depressed. I think I may have a low-level depression, but I deal with it effectively other times. In the winter, however, I don’t want to go to work, do things with friends or get out of bed. Why does this keep happening and what can I do about it?

El Chapo Got Caught. So What?

All across America last weekend, panicked drug users rushed to their dealers to stock up on marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine for fear of running out. The arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the biggest drug cartel in Mexico, was sure to cause a sudden shortage of illegal substances in this country.