(Columnist Clarence Page is on vacation. In his absence, Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer, is featured today.)
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.
Their histories, accurate and complete, are lost to time and buried with them and those who knew them. I wish I knew more for their stories would read like a page-turning novel.
OK, OK, yes I'm talking Star Trek again, but hang on, this is really more about newspapers than Star Trek. All right, maybe 50-50.
In 1964, the World's Fair was in New York City. I was 6 years old and went with my parents and older sister to the fair. New York City seemed like a different world to a little boy from Dexter, Mo., but it was all good. We rode on subway trains, we had cheeseburgers in a diner where the staff had funny accents and rode the Staten Island Ferry and saw the Statue of Liberty. I saw a billboard that had the Marlboro man blowing smoke out of his mouth. We were living it up.
In the quest to answer the many questions I receive about trees, see below for part three in the continuing series.
If you have a serious case of wanderlust -- an insatiable desire to see new places and experience unique customs -- then you'll probably envy Alisa Johnson of Seattle, Wash.
Is it hypocritical for a really, really rich person to object to rising inequality?
In their denouncements of the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have been accused of pandering to single women -- the so-called "Beyoncé voter" demographic, as one Fox News commentator sniggered.
First things first: every nation must secure and control its borders. This is not political rhetoric or an ideological judgment but a simple geo-political fact.
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