Subscribe to Columns and Blogs RSS feed

Columns and Blogs

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 - Miracle drug

Imagine you went to your family doctor and were told, “I’m going to prescribe you a miracle drug.” You’d be skeptical, right? What if they went on to say, “It treats everything, it’s 100 percent effective, it works whether you are young or old, male or female, rich or poor and you can get it for free if you choose!”

Symptoms after car wreck could be PTSD

Q. I was in a serious car accident in November of last year. For a few months I seemed OK, but as the days began to get shorter this year, I have become increasingly frightened to drive. I’m staying home more, and I can’t drive on the expressway, which means I can’t drive to see my grandchildren. What can I do?

Do needy students merit more scholarships?

Let’s jump straight into the facts. According to a new report, “Closing the Gap,” by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, 94 percent of Arkansas’ state-funded college scholarships are based solely on merit — ACT scores, etc. — while 6 percent also are based on need. Only two states and the District of Columbia are weighted more toward merit. The national average, on the other hand, is 75 percent need-based.

Transgender students in the locker room

High school locker rooms are not places kids go to feel comfortable and relaxed. Baring your entire body to classmates and adults — friends, enemies, strangers, coaches — is a disagreeable obligation for most students. But for decades, the desire of adolescents for privacy has been deemed irrelevant.

Huckabee’s presidential real estate value

Former governor Mike Huckabee, proclaiming that he was the only contender to “own property” in Arkansas, returned on Monday to formally enter the presidential primary in the state where, until recently, he was trying to sell that property. The splendid home in North Little Rock, acquired at the close of his tenure, was, at least while on the market, evidently considered superfluous, and somewhat less splendid (by about $2.4 million) than his beachfront in Florida, where Huckabee lives when not campaigning. Presumably it is the domicile to which he will return within months. Whether Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio will repair to Florida, where they both also own property, remains to be seen. One of them will, certainly; perhaps both. But Huckabee will get there first.

I’ve Got a Secret

My favorite movie is the John Ford classic, The Quiet Man (1952). It stars John Wayne as Sean “Trooper” Thornton, a disenchanted American boxer who travels back to his birthplace, Inishfree, Ireland. His co-star is the red-haired beauty, Maureen O’Hara, who plays a strong-willed Irish woman, Mary Kate Danaher. O’Hara and Wayne starred opposite one another in five films. They were a perfect pairing.