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How to restart health care reform

Midterm elections are coming, and both parties are lobbing grenades over health care. Despite the furious rhetoric, the two sides are more alike than they realize. Both spent decades pursuing policies that obstruct health care’s capacity to save lives, ease suffering and cut costs. The endless vitriol resembles World War I-style trench warfare. The Affordable Care Act moved the battle lines a little in one direction; the midterms that year moved them a little in the opposite direction. With divided government, the 2014 elections will move the lines even less.

KEN HERMAN: Is Wendy Davis’ TV ad out of bounds?

Let’s say a military vet was running for governor of Texas. And let’s say this candidate had benefited from programs aimed at helping veterans. Perhaps she went to college with the help of the GI Bill. And maybe she bought a home with the help of mortgage programs that help vets.

DONALD GRAHAM: Ben Bradlee inspired colleagues

WASHINGTON — In the next few days you will hear real sadness from hundreds of people who work or used to work at The Washington Post. I would like to tell you why we all loved Ben Bradlee so much — loved working for him, loved working with him — and why we felt he could make anything possible.

Horror can be comedy

While Halloween is less than two weeks away, up until this weekend it really didn’t feel like the season for ghouls and goblins. In an attempt to remedy this, I ended up watching a horror movie marathon on AMC throughout the weekend.

Jack of all lanterns

I’ve already got my eyes peeled for the perfect pumpkin. Every time I go to a grocery store, I’m on high alert. I haven’t taken any action yet — it is, after all, a little early in the month — but I’m ready if the opportunity presents itself. I will find some great ones, and I will carve them. And boy, I tell you, it will be spooky.

Contests and Promotions

LETTER: It’s time for a mental health court

The success of jail diversion strategies across America is proof that they work for the benefit of offenders, their families, the community and at great savings to taxpayers. But we don’t have to travel far to find that proof. We see it in the successes of the Fannin County Mental Health Court and the Residential Program in Grayson County where six high-utility clients reside. If these six clients were in jail the cost to Grayson County taxpayers would be $231,120 a year. If they were served in a state hospital facility the cost would be $1,134,000 a year to state taxpayers. Compare the cost of serving just six clients in jail or hospital with the total budget of $12 million for ALL of TCC’s Early Childhood Intervention, Intellectual and Disability, and Mental Health Services to many hundreds of clients.

LETTER: Pentagon should take a lesson from car loan companies

Kudos to Justine Drennan for her column (“Destroying a $30,000 Islamic State pickup truck can cost $500,000, 10/15/14, ) about the enormous cost of destroying ISIS from the air. This is another classic case of “asymmetric warfare” as old as the biblical David’s confrontation of the well-armed Goliath with a simple sling-shot.

RedBlueAmerica: What’s the matter with Kansas?

Kansas is one of the most Republican states in the nation, but you wouldn’t know it by watching these midterm elections. GOP Gov. Sam Brownback and Sen. Pat Roberts are both fighting for their political lives, and both may lose at the polls in November.

Why it’s important for everyone to vote

From the time I was a child, my parents, Harold and Oleta Walker of the Sandy community north of Ravenna, always stressed to my brother and me the importance of community, church and civic involvement. In community improvement clubs and councils, at the county fair, on boards of companies and organizations, in societies and clubs, and in church, both our parents taught us, by their example, to participate.

False nostalgia

It’s probably silly, because I’m only 23 years old, but I often find myself feeling nostalgic for time periods I was not around for – I call it “false nostalgia.”

Judging fourth-dimensionally

In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. On that much, we can agree. The list of things beyond that which can be stipulated is pretty scarce, but in summary: someone at some point decided Columbus should get credit for discovering the Americas. Someone else, in turn, decided that was reason enough to declare a holiday on the anniversary of his “discovery.” And bingo-bongo, bank cashiers have been big fans of Cristoforo Colombo ever since.