03MargI saw it on the news and then read about it online, and I still could not believe it: A United States senator addressing his colleagues in that august and historic chamber, bizarrely suggesting that the only thing needed to combat climate change is for Americans to “fall in love” and have “more babies.” 

Say what?!?! 

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, took to the floor to lambast the House climate change proposal called the Green New Deal with images of Ronald Reagan riding a dinosaur while wielding a machine gun, along with another of Luke Skywalker of “Star Wars” fame. Lee’s idea seems to have been to slam the Green New Deal as if it were as silly as his photoshopped pictures. Said Lee, “Climate change is not a joke, but the Green New Deal … is the legislative equivalent of Austin Powers’ Dr. Evil demanding sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads.” 

And where did love and more babies come in? 

Lee told his colleagues that “more babies will mean forward-looking adults, the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems.” He concluded his remarks grandly by suggesting that the solution to every problem is to “fall in love, get married and have some kids.” 

I wonder if he includes overpopulation in his list of big challenges. 

Green New Deal supporter Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., voiced the thoughts of many when she tweeted, “If this guy can be Senator, you can do anything.” 

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Many of us know people struggling with opioid addiction, either personally or because someone we love has been upended by it, leaving family members reeling in his or her wake. In my age bracket, I see grandparents who thought their childrearing responsibilities were over doing it all a second time with grandchildren whose parents’ addictions wipe out everything else. 

There are few pretty pictures in the opioid epidemic still raging throughout the United States, including North Carolina. It’s killed 200,000 over the last two decades. 

Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, has just settled a case brought by the state of Oklahoma for a whopping $270 million. Speculation is that Purdue decided it was better to pay up than to expose themselves to a televised trial with release of damaging in-house information, which could result in an astronomical jury award. Purdue is also said to be exploring bankruptcy restructuring to insulate itself, at least temporarily, from large judgments. 

Whatever happens with Purdue and other opioid makers, and whatever damages paid, the reality is that no amount of money can bring back loved ones who overdosed or who are lost to their addictions. It will be generations before the scourge of opioid addiction is over. 

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Are you wondering what to give your children that will last a lifetime? 

How about good manners? 

Myka Meier of Beaumont Etiquette, which teaches manners at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, says etiquette can be taught as soon as a child can speak and that table manners should begin in the high chair. Meier’s top 20 etiquette rules include: 

Use please and thank you every day. 

Hold silverware correctly. 

Chew with your mouth closed. 

Remember, no elbows on the table … ever. 

Learn how to write a thank you note. 

Introduce yourself properly. 

Always knock on a door before opening it. 

Don’t point or stare. 

Always cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. 

Know how to invite someone to join a group if he or she is alone. 

The true meaning of etiquette is always to show respect and kindness to everyone around you. 

Hear, hear, parents — and good luck! 

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