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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.

Your Best Life - Upper body training in women

In doing research for this week’s article, I came across some disturbing statistics. In a Framingham Disability Study, researchers found that 40 percent of women between 55-64 years old, 45 percent of women between 65-74 and 65 percent of women between 75-84 were unable to lift 10 pounds. I repeat — 10 pounds!

Don’t fight in the flesh

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”

Pray and believe God

Recently, I had the opportunity to catch a movie entitled, War Room. War Room was an epic movie. It reminded me of one of our most powerful weapons as Christians…. Prayer! Prayer, combined with faith in God’s word, is a means of communication with our Heavenly Father. It’s not a hit or miss deal.

Grief comes in stages

Q. I was the primary caregiver for my husband who died over three years ago, but I’m still mourning his loss all of the time. I think about him constantly, cry often, actually think I see him and dream about him. My children think I’m going crazy. They have encouraged me to get out and travel, but I don’t want to do anything. I guess I think I’m going crazy, too. What is wrong with me that I can’t let go of my grief?

On pot, can we keep up with the neighbors?

Canada was recently ranked the freest country in the world, but newly installed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t about to let it rest on its maple leaves. He won the October national elections after proposing something no major American presidential nominee has ever dared to endorse: legalizing marijuana.

A Japanese story made in Arkansas

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, U.S. Pres. Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. With his signature, all persons of Japanese descent were ordered from the West Coast to one of 10 internment camps, most of which were located in remote areas of California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, and Arkansas.

Book Notes: Digging into the Salem Witch Trials

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff’s “The Witches: Salem, 1692” delivers Salem 1692 — on the edge of a dark and dangerous wilderness — nearly fully fleshed. She’s a digger of detail and an original thinker. Her work is pleasingly comprehensive, insightful always, colorful and entertaining. She acknowledges early on that America’s “first crime story” is a vexing one. It perennially taunts but refuses to relinquish its essential DNA.