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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.

Changes in son’s behavior could be schizophrenia

Q. My 22-year-old son has become very strange in the past two years. He will sit for hours doing nothing or he will become highly agitated. His behavior is causing serious problems in all aspects of his life. We took him to a counselor who found him to be normal and charming. When his condition worsened, we took him to a psychiatrist, who said he was likely schizophrenic, but that he needed testing. Our son refused to go back, and he won’t take medication. Can you help us understand this?

Benghazi continues to take toll

To concede the obvious makes sense in casual conversation but is considered a major misstep in today’s politics, the objective being to keep a party’s core supporters, its “base,” energized, entertained and otherwise engaged, and no matter the impact on independent, “swing” voters. So it would be a mistake for Republicans in the U.S. House, and their patrons, to simply disband the committee set up ostensibly to investigate the tragedy at Benghazi. Better to allow it simply to fade away than openly acknowledge what its Republican members so thoroughly demonstrated last week.

Listen, lead or both?

“Look, I imagine that there’s theoretically a chance that (we) all went from being radical extremist crazies to Washington sellouts in 12 hours. But maybe a more likely narrative is that we really think that this is a good step for the conservative movement.”

Hillary Clinton and gun buybacks

Barack Obama promised he wouldn’t take away anyone’s guns, but gun rights alarmists have spent seven years incessantly predicting he will. From his experience, Hillary Clinton seems to have decided to skip the part of the campaign that involves placating the National Rifle Association.

Something to think about

T he past couple of weeks I’ve been on the road a lot. I’ve eaten enough stratospherically priced airport food to contemplate a second mortgage. I’ve also enjoyed cramped seating, howling babies and weather delays. Even so, I managed to get back home safely, sound and exhausted.

Workplace bullying big issue, to be handled with care

Q. I think I’m being bullied at work for a problem I can’t control. I have to drop off my daughter at daycare and I sometimes run five or 10 minutes late. I’ve offered to work through lunch or stay extra time after work. There is no one else who can take my daughter. My boss is making comments about me behind my back, and other people in the office are ignoring me. I dread going to work. What can I do? Do I complain to management that I’m being bullied?