Let's start with some good news:
Unless you've been holed up in a basement somewhere for the past few years -- if you seldom read a newspaper or watch a news broadcast on television -- you are aware of global warming and the catastrophic effects it could have upon our planet.
Even without knowing the intricate details of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), many have come across a teacher or two who says that their creativity and long-term effectiveness in the classroom has become limited since the implementation of NCLB. Consequently, it is honorable that the state of South Carolina has been motivated to submit a request for flexibility in NCLB requirements early next year and requests the input of the "community" of South Carolina.
Ah, a New Year.
(Columnist Kathleen Parker is on vacation. In her absence, Ruth Marcus, a columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, is featured today.)
Only once since my foolish adolescence do I recall actually feeling fortunate to be a smoker, a truly insidious addiction that I have since kicked. It was the slightly chilly Washington evening on which I was joined during a smoke break at a friend's birthday party by Christopher Hitchens, one of the few people who can be called a journalist-intellectual without it sounding like a punch line.
Imagine a place where jobs are plentiful, and the housing market is thriving. A place where even low-playing service jobs come with signing bonuses and other benefits.
Last week, I named Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews as my 2011 Person of the Year. Inevitably, any thoughts of law enforcement bring me thoughts of crime. Sometimes reading crime reports can be the most enjoyable part of the day.
WASHINGTON -- The Republicans' final debate preceding the Iowa caucuses is suddenly uncompelling. There is nothing to do but write about Christopher Hitchens, whose death has made the world immeasurably less interesting.
Choosing a career in the media makes me a willing martyr. Although I am drawn to the glossy covers of magazines and daydream about seeing my 10-point byline in publications nationwide, making a living as a reporter means continuously living in my most vulnerable state.
A conservative Christian group has launched a boycott against "All-American Muslim." The TLC reality TV show about Muslim families in America fails to live down to the group's narrow-minded stereotypes. Their gripe, in my view, makes about as much sense as boycotting "The Cosby Show" because it doesn't mention black street gangs.
WASHINGTON -- Callista Gingrich has done something she might come to regret -- succumbed to the Twitter fairy and opened the door to unwelcome scrutiny.
WASHINGTON -- Oh, quelle gaffe.
If the Los Angeles Lakers need a shoulder to cry on after losing out on acquiring all-star guard Chris Paul, they may want to set up a long distance call with the Atlanta Hawks.
As I noted in my column last month, the ultimate objective for KershawHealth is providing quality care for all the people in this community, and one of the biggest factors affecting our success in that endeavor is local support for this hospital. Do people in the community trust and value what KershawHealth offers enough to make it their first choice for care?
Wednesday's episode of the CW's Arrow is a perfect example of why I watch the show. Such shows -- based on the Green Arrow character from DC Comics -- may be fluff but, in this case, it's intelligent fluff. The writing and acting is spot-on and the producers have paced the first two seasons in a way that doesn't drag things out, but keeps you guessing along the way.
Everyone who's sick of winter, raise your hands.
WASHINGTON -- In matters cultural, California has always been America's petri dish. Whatever happened in California usually infiltrated the rest of the country.
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." John Lennon
We often hear politicians and government officials say that running a government, at any level, is the same as running a business. There obviously is some truth in that. Governments have expenses for personnel, equipment and supplies. They receive funds from their clients (taxpayers) to pay for the services the citizens hopefully receive. Government officials have to budget that money and decide how and where to allocate it to be used.
WASHINGTON -- President Obama's new outreach initiative to help at-risk boys of color -- "My Brother's Keeper" -- is cause for cheer.
This weekend I'm going to a bachelorette party. Actually, it's a combined bachelor/bachelorette party where both the bride and groom-to-be and their closest friends will be in attendance. I'm looking forward to it, but there's always a little bit of anxiety before taking part in an event such as that. I'm sure that's partly due to the Hangover movies and partly due to my own experiences in the past with bachelorette parties.
This is a simple question, and the answer is not simple, but there is something that we can all do to help, and we can do it right now -- today.
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