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Columns

Clouds make you appreciate the sun

In perhaps the greatest paradox of all, it seems that it takes death to make us appreciate life.I suppose you could say it every week, every day for that matter, but this week in particular a number of deaths made me realize the sanctity of human life.The week started with the horrible news ...

The daily life in a group home

When I tell people that I work in a community based residential treatment home for children they usually ask "What is that?" Then when I say a "group home" for children I get asked a myriad of questions. So, I thought writing an article about what daily life is like for the children who are ...

Spontaneous order

Most of life happens without a central planner. Yet people think we need one.Suppose you'd never seen a skating rink, and I told you that I want to lay down some ice and charge people money to strap sharp blades on their feet. They will zip around on the ice -- young and old, skilled and ...

Back to the Nineteenth Century

My recent column about the growth of on-demand jobs like Uber making life less predictable and secure for workers unleashed a small barrage of criticism from some who contend that workers get what they're worth in the market.A Forbes Magazine contributor, for example, writes that jobs exist ...

Obama’s quest for a grand bargain with Iran seems unwise

"We will extend a hand if you are unwilling to unclench your fist," President Obama proclaimed in his inaugural address in January 2009. He characterized those to whom this was addressed in negative terms, but the implication was that this president, unlike his predecessor, would be willing to ...

Why did Brian Williams do it?

These are tough times for NBC's Brian Williams - and tougher times for journalism.The NBC newsman was suspended Tuesday night for six months amid charges that he misremembered or conflated wartime incidents he reported on from Iraq and Israel. He has also come under scrutiny for possible ...

A mixed Papel blessing

When the Gallup poll last asked, Pope Francis was rated favorably by 76 percent of Americans (including 78 percent of Protestants and 73 percent of those with no religious affiliation) and unfavorably by only 9 percent, a better than 8-1 favorable rating. These are numbers that almost any ...

Measles, vaccines and autism

The current controversy over whether parents should be forced to have their children vaccinated for measles is one of the painful signs of our times. Measles was virtually wiped out in the United States, years ago. Why the resurgence of this disease now?The short answer is that false claims, ...

Brian Williams and the loss of credibility

There's this speech I give my students. Distilled, it goes like this."Your primary asset as a journalist is not your dogged curiosity, your talent for research or your ability to make prose sing on deadline. No, your one indispensable asset is your credibility. If you are not believable, ...

Mommy truce

In the early '90s, I used to perm my hair into spring coils and wore padded shoulders that gave me the wingspan of a whooper swan, but I thought my biggest problem was my 5-year-old daughter's occasional bed-wetting.So off I went to the pediatrician's office to unravel my woes.Before we ...

Hyphenated-nation

As if we aren't already divided enough by race, class, gender, political party, economic status and sexual orientation, the federal government is reportedly thinking about creating a new category of Americans just in time for the next census.According to the Associated Press, "The U.S. Census ...

Alabama issuing marriage licenses

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Gay couples began getting married in Alabama on Monday morning, despite an 11th-hour attempt from the state's chief justice - an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage- to block the weddings.The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday morning refused to block the marriages and let a ...

Death toll from General Motors ignition switches rises to 52

DETROIT (AP) - The families of 52 people killed in crashes caused by faulty General Motors small-car ignition switches will receive millions in compensation from a company fund.The new total, which is one more than last week, was posted Monday on an Internet site by compensation expert Kenneth ...

$355M returned to Madoff investors

NEW YORK (AP) - About $355 million distributed last week to investors cheated in Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme means over half of allowable claims have been paid in full, the trustee recovering money for investors announced Monday.Trustee Irving Picard said everyone with an allowable claim of ...

Emirates launches airstrikes on IS

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes today against the Islamic State group from an air base in Jordan, marking its return to combat operations against the militants after halting the strikes late last year.The Gulf federation's official WAM news agency ...

Car bomb explodes in Niger

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) - The Nigeria-based Islamic extremist group Boko Haram escalated its attacks in neighboring countries Monday, as a car bomb exploded in one Niger town repeatedly targeted by the militants and residents said other fighters in Cameroon had abducted 20 people aboard a public ...

Netanyahu says he will go ahead with speech to Congress

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will travel to Washington to speak before the U.S. Congress next month despite calls to cancel his speech.His remarks Monday at an election rally come amid an uproar over his planned speech about Iran before Congress next ...

Obama’s comparison defies logic

On Tuesday, the so-called Islamic State released a slickly produced video showing a Jordanian pilot being burned alive in a steel cage. On Wednesday, the United Nations issued a report detailing various "mass executions of boys, as well as reports of beheadings, crucifixions of children and ...

Borrowed valor

Let me see if I understand this: Chris Kyle was not a hero, but Brian Williams was? What do we make of Williams' attempt to snatch some vicarious honor?The response to "American Sniper" should not surprise us. Bill Maher called Chris Kyle a "psychopath patriot." It's more than likely that Maher ...

A life well lived

This weekend is not only MTU's Winter Carnival, but is an important event - my birthday. I am one of those people that loves to celebrate a birthday. Make a big deal about it: banners, and cake, and a party oh my! But I find as I get older, (cough cough, 33, cough cough) the more I reflect on ...