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Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 4:14 p.m.
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Opinion and Letters*

Column one: Here's to the family!

posted: 08/21/2016 1:56 a.m. Comments 13

How did a country boy named Tom Cotton from Yell County here in Arkansas turn out to be Harvard material, a U.S. Army Ranger who distinguished himself in combat during two tours of duty in the Middle East, and a United States senator who's now being talked up as a presidential candidate four years from now? By then, Americans can hope, all the dust stirred up by both the Clinton and Trump presidential camps this disappointing year may have dissipated and perspective will have been restored.

Nuclear vs. conventional Warfare

posted: 08/21/2016 1:55 a.m. Comment 1

Recent reports suggest that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump insistently asked an anonymous foreign-policy expert why the United States should not use nuclear weapons more readily. This has led to a chorus of voices decrying the way in which Trump is reported to have spoken about the nuclear option, with many insisting the United States should only ever employ nuclear weapons in retaliation after an opponent has used them first.

Aetna's meaningful retreat from Obamacare

posted: 08/21/2016 1:54 a.m. Comment 1

Aetna is pulling out of 11 of the 15 states it serves on the Obamacare exchanges. The reason: It's losing substantial amounts of money on its exchange policies.

How to avert U.S.' Brexit

posted: 08/21/2016 1:54 a.m. Comment 1

This year's startling election poses a real risk of touching off an American Brexit. In other words, there is a meaningful chance that 2016 could begin a retreat of the United States from the mix of economic policies and the global engagement that U.S. businesses have regarded for decades as central to their success unless business leaders can move decisively to redefine their goals as harmonious with those of working- and middle-class families.

The learning curve of . . . . Sesame Street

posted: 08/21/2016 1:54 a.m. Discuss

Sesame Street recently announced that it was dismissing three of its original cast members: Bob McGrath (Bob), Emilio Delgado (Luis), and Roscoe Orman (Gordon). After an outcry from longtime fans the show reversed its decision and will meet with the actors in September to continue their relationship.

Support is lacking for flossing

posted: 08/21/2016 1:53 a.m. Discuss

This month the Associated Press published a valuable report about the weak evidentiary basis for flossing as a way to reduce plaque and tooth decay and to prevent gum disease. In response, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology acknowledged the lack of evidence but said their recommendation stands: Believe us, flossing helps. But the AP article is less about floss and more about how medicine backs up its recommendations. What does it mean to have good evidence that something we do actually works?

Doctors' kindness matters to patients

posted: 08/21/2016 1:52 a.m. Discuss

Because I am a doctor, my friend Sophia told me the following story. "I go to a walk-in clinic with neck pain and a low-grade fever. I know something is seriously off. 'Would you test me for strep?' I ask. 'You're overreacting. You just have a cold,' this young doctor says. Would he have liked to hear me make a bigger deal about how badly I felt? I almost had to beg for a strep test. When it comes back positive, I'm so angry, I can barely speak to him. He was incompetent. Or trying to save money. Or maybe he was just lazy. He was certainly unkind."

Tech can't live up to its hype

posted: 08/21/2016 1:52 a.m. Discuss

Another Tesla has crashed because the driver thought its self-driving technology could actually drive the car. As we read all the stories about magical technology and then use the hyped-up products, we ought to keep in mind that the magic hits the market long before they live up to their promise, which in some cases they will never do. If it's new, don't expect it to work as advertised.

Not much hope for third-party candidates

posted: 08/21/2016 1:52 a.m. Discuss

As Donald Trump's prospects have diminished, so too has the likelihood that Gary Johnson, Jill Stein or Evan McMullin will play any significant role in the 2016 election.

In the garden of idols and cenotaphs

posted: 08/21/2016 1:50 a.m. Comments 2

Lately I've been urged by letter writers and emailers from around the state (and possibly from as far away as Nizhny Novgorod) to stick to writing about movies. Well, all right. Here's a column about the movies.

Editorial: Blind hogs and acorns

posted: 08/21/2016 1:49 a.m. Comments 5

"I went to the University of Chicago for a while after the Second World War . . . . [T]hey were teaching that there was absolutely no difference between anybody. They may be teaching that still. Another thing they taught was that no one was ridiculous or bad or disgusting. Shortly before my father died, he said to me, 'You know, you never wrote a story with a villain in it.' I told him that was one of the things I learned in college after the war."

BEST-SELLERS

posted: 08/21/2016 1:49 a.m. Discuss

Fiction 1. BULLSEYE by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. While the president of the United States is in New York to meet with his Russian counterpart, Detective Michael Bennett must stop a team of assassins.

Others say: More research needed

posted: 08/21/2016 1:49 a.m. Discuss

The Drug Enforcement Administration made headlines earlier this month for sticking to the status quo: The agency declined to change marijuana's classification to a lower, less strictly regulated schedule.

Columnists: Saving the taste of summer

posted: 08/21/2016 1:48 a.m. Discuss

My wife has been worn out lately as she works to preserve the bounty from our vegetable garden. She has been pickling cucumbers and okra, freezing purple hull peas and peppers, and our bumper crop of tomatoes has been canned. Potatoes were dug and stored in the shade of the back porch. While our ancestors did not have freezers or pressure canners, they were adept at preserving food--a necessity if they were to eat during the cold winter months.

Columnists: Election can't rip us apart

posted: 08/21/2016 1:47 a.m. Discuss

Every four years we have an election that stretches our country thin along the political spectrum. But after each November our political divisions slowly fade and the social fabric waves freely once again. This time, however, I'm worried that we may not get that far. I'm worried that we are watching it rip.

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