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Today's Opinions

  • A not-so-sweet resolution

    For as long as I can remember, I have been addicted to sweets.

    I believe myself to be a gal of substantial willpower. I can go without fries, soft drinks and donuts.

    But when it comes to desserts, I must admit, I get a bit weak in the knees.

    Even as I sit here at my desk, visions of sweet things dance in my head.

  • Should lawmakers play doctor?

    One childhood Christmas memory is receiving a shiny red plastic doctor’s kit. I went from family member to family member looking inside their mouths while they played along with my fantasy career.

    I’m beginning to think that we are humoring a group of lawmakers who have no more qualifications to make a diagnosis than I did.

    In their fantasy careers, lawmakers believe they should go over the heads of experts to tell the public what’s best for their health care.

    I’m more than a little concerned.

  • Lincoln’s question at Gettysburg is still relevant

    Maybe it’s the recession. Or the perilous state of the war in Afghanistan. Or the growing sense that other nations — China, India, Brazil — are rising at a clip we can’t match. Suddenly, though, doubts are surfacing about whether our political system can handle the challenges that confront the United States.

  • The good, the bad and the ugly of technology

    Like myself, I’m sure many people were the recipients of electronic gadgets and gizmos this Christmas.

    In fact, no one will probably read this column because we’re all still trying to figure out how to work the darn things.

    My niece had to show me how to open the laptop I received for my birthday and Christmas.

    She let me struggle for a couple minutes.

    “Kate, you open it from the other side,” Emma patiently said.

    She’s 10 years old.

    “Great, I’ve become my mother,” I thought in my head.

  • Boughs of silver, bulbs of blue make memorable tree

    I remember my aunt having the most beautiful Christmas tree ever.

    I was probably 10 or so when my family traveled to St. Petersburg, Fla., for a Christmas vacation.

    We walked into my aunt’s house, happy to be out of the car for awhile. And there, just inside the door, was the  biggest and brightest tree I had ever seen. There were blue bulbs and baubles hanging from the boughs.

    The boughs, yes the boughs.

  • T-shirt gospel: ‘Life is good’

    One day last week, as I drove back to the newsroom after doing an interview, the message on the spare tire cover on the black Jeep in front of me caught my attention:

    Life is good.

    I had just come from one of my favorite places, the Key Training Center. A longtime resident had spent an entire year buying toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program and she was bursting with joy.

  • Gathering ‘round the tree

    At my house, the Christmas tree assembly and decoration marks the official kick-off to the holiday season.

    If the Christmas tree is up, then it is deemed okay to buy presents, wrap presents and start making fruit cake.

    The Christmas tree might be the center of all family holiday festivities, but it can also be the cause of some family disagreements... at least in the Darnell household.

    There is the all important debate over white lights versus colored lights.

    Strings of beads or ribbon?

    A bow at the top or a tree-topper?

  • Don’t let faith get stuck in one gear

    When I met my husband, he drove a totally hot car, a brand-new 1973 Mercury Comet GT, white with burnt orange pinstripes and burnt orange interior.

    And it had a manual transmission.

    Because we were young and newly in love and Barry had miles of patience, he attempted to teach me to drive it. It helped that we lived in Northern Maine where there wasn’t much to crash into except snow banks and caribou.