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To reduce prison growth, remember Texas

There’s much that policymakers don’t agree about these days, but something like a consensus is emerging about one issue: criminal sentencing reform. Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, moderates, President Obama, people who don’t like President Obama — many of them agree the United States imprisons too many people, and they even agree why that’s bad. Liberals agree with conservatives that locking up 2.3 million people nationwide is a waste of money. Many conservatives agree with liberals that it’s a waste of lives.

Cranberry sauce demands order

With Thanksgiving now in the rearview, guests gone and belts re-buckled, I have realized a few things about my family’s annual observance. Of course there are the memories, both saccharine and sad. There are the traditions and stories to be told.

Rookie’s bill would shine light on campaigns

Rep. Janna Della Rosa, R-Rogers, is a rookie, and she admits she made some rookie mistakes. During this past legislative session, her self-described rookie-ness got in her way as she tried to pass a bill that would have required legislative and statewide candidates to file campaign finance reports online in a searchable database. It failed in the House, 48-33, with 19 not voting, and never made it to the Senate.

A day of thanks

It would have been easy on Oct. 3, 1863, for President Lincoln — or anyone else — not to be thankful. The nation (or nations, depending on one’s perspective) was still mired in a terrible Civil War, and while the Union had enjoyed victories that summer in Gettysburg and Vicksburg, much bloody fighting remained. Earlier that year, Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, had been injured in a carriage “accident” caused by an assailant sabotaging the driver’s seat. Their beloved son, Willie, had died the previous year at age 11.

Realism in fighting the Islamic State

After a bloody series of terrorist attacks, the natural impulse is to respond with overwhelming force to make sure they never happen again. The 9/11 carnage prompted a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to smash al-Qaida, which carried out the attacks, and remove the Taliban, which furnished the plotters a safe refuge.

Woman’s pain pill addiction could be deadly, needs treatment

Q. We are going to visit my parents for a week over Thanksgiving. The only problem is that my wife is addicted to pain medication. Her behavior is so strange that I’m certain my parents will notice and be horrified. I’ve tried to talk to her about addiction, but she says I’m over-reacting. Could you please explain the dangers of pain medication? She won’t listen to me.

Xanax abuse can be addictive, deadly

Q. My doctor prescribed Xanax for me a few years ago for my panic attacks. I see two different doctors to get the drug since I run out. I only take three or four a day, but I’ve read that it can be dangerous, and it may be causing me to be forgetful. Please give me more information.

What’s really important?

In the midst of devastation and loss, amazing courage can often be seen. News reports show people standing in the midst of ruined homes, facing the loss of possessions and the work of a life-time. They bravely smile and say that life goes on. Neighbors pitch in to help strangers and their communities.

Free market requires moral code

Life, the pope is telling us, is about more than the bottom line. This past week has given two examples of why people should listen to his big economic message even if they disagree with some of his little ones. One involves a giant automaker. The other manufactures a little pill.

The Case for the “Right To Die”

Life is a gift that can also become an intolerable burden. For those afflicted with terminal diseases, the grim approach of death is accompanied by what, for some, is the unbearable prospect of pain, confusion and helplessness. If death can’t be avoided, they would like to decide how and when it comes.