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Friday, April 18, 2014
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Author Archive: Scripps Howard News Service

Uruguay goes first on marijuana

Uruguay has volunteered to be the canary in the cannabis field. The small – population 3.4 million – Latin American nation has voted to legalize the growth and sale of marijuana. The country’s senate narrowly, 16 to 13, approved a law allowing individuals over 18 to buy up to 40 grams – just over 1.4 ounces […]

Massive resorts hotels put to sea

It is not a wildly risky prediction to say that we have a maritime disaster somewhere in our future. Cruise ships are getting ever larger and carrying ever larger numbers of passengers, more than could be comfortably or efficiently removed from the ship in the event of a fire or a sinking. In January 2012, […]

Maybe there’s no room for giants in low-rise city

Not that you would ever want to, but let’s say for the sake of argument that you needed to start a brawl in the nation’s capital among an otherwise reputable gathering of Washington, D.C., landowners, urban planners, developers, the heads of large trade organizations, apartment dwellers and ordinary homeowners. You couldn’t go far wrong bringing […]

Lenders hungry for jumbo loans

Polyana da Costa bankrate.com Homebuyers and refinancers in pricier areas are finding attractive interest rates and less stringent requirements to qualify for jumbo mortgages, thanks to lenders’ growing appetite for large loans. As the housing market rebounds and more investors turn their eyes to the jumbo mortgage market, lenders are easing their terms and credit […]

Has state of Jefferson found itself a patron?

The notion of carving out a 51st state – Jefferson – from California’s northernmost counties has been the talk of the northern part of the state since the Siskiyou County supervisors declared their desire for a fresh start back in September. As a practical idea, though, it’s always seemed far-fetched. At least one Californian, however, […]

Reality TV continues to disappoint

When future social anthropologists examine the second decade of the 21st century, they probably are less likely to take note of Phil Robertson’s critical remarks about gays than the fact anyone paid attention. Robertson is the patriarch of the Louisiana clan that makes duck hunting equipment and whose lives have been chronicled in the “Duck […]

WORST MOVIES OF 2013

Richard Roeper From bad to awful to the absolute worst movie of the year, here we go! 10. “A Good Day to Die Hard.” A quarter-century after the first “Die Hard” became an instant action movie classic, we get this preposterous cartoon with John McClane trying to bond with his resentful son, who broods that […]

China eases ’1-child’ policy but maybe too late

Totalitarian governments pride themselves on thinking Big Thoughts. Unfortunately, totalitarian governments are structurally incapable of thinking through the inescapable consequences of their Big Thoughts. One particularly apt example of this hubris was China’s Great Leap Forward, when Chairman Mao decreed mass collectivization of agriculture and grandiose industrialization schemes like backyard blast furnaces. Unfortunately, the economy […]

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Editor’s note: A question put to The Sun newspaper in New York in 1897 from a child prompted a written response from veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church that has become one of the most-enduing newspaper editorials in our nation’s history. We happily reprise it on this, Christmas Day. IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS? We take pleasure […]

Once derided as an artist, Rockwell sets auction record

In his prime years as an artist, the oh-so-refined fine arts community derided Norman Rockwell as a corny chronicler of middlebrow American life. His realistic paintings, meticulously drawn from life, were in almost prissy contrast to the ferocious abstractionism of the time. Worse, his paintings told stories that could be termed “heartwarming,” and his preferred […]

We are not alone

Not only are we not alone, we seem to be part of a crowd. That significantly improved the odds there is life of some kind out there somewhere. According to calculations by Berkeley astronomer Erik Petigura, one out of five sunlike stars has a planet the size of Earth or close to it orbiting in […]

Winter is only a state of mind – if you’re delusional

If you follow the solar calendar, as so many people do, Saturday is the official start of winter. Tell that to the millions of Americans from Texas to New England who were whomped earlier this month by what the TV meteorologists refer to by the deceptively innocuous term “wintry mix.” Wintry mix encompasses snow, sleet […]

Mental health court hands defendants opportunity to heal

It’s a sad truth of the criminal justice system that a substantial number of the people we lock up for crimes need meds more than jail beds. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca has said in all seriousness that the jail system he runs amounts to “the nation’s largest mental hospital.” Isolation in a cell […]

Health plans a tough sell to younger generation

The problem for the Obama administration in pitching the Affordable Care Act is that young, healthy adults are, well, young, healthy adults and, while intellectually they know it may not be so, at an emotional level they believe life will always be this way. Sickness, injury and old age are what happen to someone else, […]

Safe driving for seniors is in the spotlight

The federal government is gearing up research on a subject of special interest in our area – seniors’ driving safety. Statistics show the over-65 population grew by 20 percent across the country in the past decade, with a proportionate increase in over-65 drivers. Fourteen percent of Americans are older than 65, but they make up […]

December 18, 2013 | Posted in Our view | 3 Replies

Speaker Boehner takes the gloves off

House Speaker John Boehner has stood up against hard-right groups, many of them financial backers of the tea party, who seem less interested in taking in the Democrats than thwarting the speaker’s agenda and purging Congress of Republicans of members they consider too willing to compromise. The position of groups like the deep-pocketed Heritage Action, […]

Ukraine needs help turning toward the West

The Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovich is at a crossroads, and the European Union, with U.S. help, must make it easy for him to make the right decision. Ukraine had agreed to sign a political and economic pact with the European Union but at the last minute, under heavy-handed pressure from Russia, Yanukovich balked. Angry […]

Sometimes a handshake is simply good manners

As he made his way along the platform at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, President Barack Obama stopped briefly to shake hands and exchange a few words with Cuba’s president Raul Castro. The U.S. State Department says the handshake, one of many Obama did as he headed for his seat, was “unplanned.” If Obama […]

Budget negotiators play small ball

Come Friday, whether or not it is finished with its work, Congress plans to leave town until next year for its holiday recess. For the first time since 2011 the lawmakers may do so with a budget agreement in hand. If they do, it will count as a success but only because, says the budget-watching […]

Congress briefly drops by the national capital

Don’t blink or you may miss it, but Congress is making a brief reappearance in the nation’s capital before knocking off until next year. The House returned Monday but plans to go back home on Friday. The Senate came back Monday, and plans to stay in town for a decent interval until the leadership decides […]

December 11, 2013 | Posted in Our view | 1 Reply

Job market shows promising signs of strength

The jobless rate fell to 7 percent in November, its lowest in five years, down from 7.3 percent in October, a fairly steep drop as these things are measured. This time, the good news was not diluted by the usual statistical caveats – the workforce is shrinking, workers have given up looking and thus aren’t […]

Mandela, his ideas, triumphed

The white South African system of apartheid was a brutal, cynical system of racial segregation that was becoming increasingly unsustainable and most observers believed it could end in only one way – massive bloodshed. The majority black population believed revolution to be inevitable and the white-ruled government made careful preparations to see that such a […]

Karzai should learn from Iraq’s mistakes

If Hamid Karzai has any sense of situational awareness, and the mere fact that the Afghan president has survived this long suggest he does, he will do everything in his power to keep the United States and its NATO allies in his country as long as possible. The object lesson for this is right next […]

Biden’s Far East trip assumes new importance

Vice President Joe Biden is not noted for his diplomatic skills. He is, however, noted for being plain-spoken, even disconcertingly blunt. He may need the latter trait more than the former during his current week-long tour of East Asia. China has asserted an air defense identification zone over a large expanse of the East China […]

Congress free from threat of overwork

The headline on the Congress-watching newspaper Politico said it all: “Done.” The subhead expanded on the assertion, but there wasn’t much to add: “Congress is through legislating for the rest of 2013.” That was mid-November, even before the lawmakers knocked off for a 10-day Thanksgiving recess. House Speaker John Boehner said the House shouldn’t even […]

A 3,700-year-old wine that goes well with goat

Conspicuous consumption is a well-documented human irritant, but archeologists excavating the cellar of an ancient Canaanite palace in northern Israel may have succeeded in dating the origin of another annoying human failing – the wine snob. The cellar dates back more than 3,700 years to the Middle Bronze Age. Diggers broke through the wall of […]

Resumania: Emphasize what you can do, not what you want

By Max Messmer Objective statements on a resume are becoming obsolete. Emphasizing what you want out of a career, not what you can do for a particular employer, is a strategic mistake. It’s usually better to lead off with a professional profile or career summary that’s highly targeted to the open position and includes your […]

Debt Adviser: How to deal with overdue mortgage payments

Steve Bucci bankrate.com Dear Debt Adviser, My husband and I bought a house more than 20 years ago with a Federal Housing Administration loan that required mortgage insurance as part of the payments. Now we are separated and facing foreclosure on the home. Is it possible to pay our overdue mortgage payments with the mortgage […]

Karzai tries to pull a last-minute fast one

If Afghan President Hamid Karzai is bluffing with his Eleventh hour set of new conditions for the U.S. and NATO to remain in Afghanistan, we should call his bluff. If he’s not bluffing, we should start packing up to depart our longest war by the end of 2014. The U.S. thought it had reached agreement […]

Online wish lists can help prevent holiday present overlap

By Heather Neal, Scripps Howard News Service Every year, our Christmas gift giving goes something like this: My sister sends out an email to a small handful of family members with a list of all the things her family wants. Then I send out a similar list, to a different handful of people regarding our family. Mom […]

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