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.
Last year at this time, my column was about my own favorite school Christmas memories. Apparently, folks actually read it, because a number of people I encountered during the holidays last year shared their own with me. So this year, I asked staff and community members to share a favorite Christmas memory in the Kershaw County schools with me. Following are ones I received that I especially enjoyed:
Like him or not, there is no doubt Sheriff Jim Matthews has made an impact here in Kershaw County.
This Christmas story was first related to C-I readers many years ago by Max Ford. Its message remains clear during this holiday season.
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.
Mama had great stories. My favorite was the only one I asked often for her to repeat. It has become something of an anthem in my life.
I have said before -- in fact, not that long ago -- that covering tragedies is no fun. This is especially true when the tragedy takes place where you live, or at least close by. When you can say that you either know the people involved, or are friends of their friends, it hits you even harder.
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