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Who was St. Patrick, and would he drink green beer?

For Catholics, Episcopalians and some Lutherans, March 17 is the Feast Day of St. Patrick. For everyone else, it's St. Patrick's Day -- a midweek excuse to party until we're green in the face. But who was Patrick? Did he really drive the snakes out of Ireland or use the shamrock to explain the Trinity? Why should this fifth-century priest be remembered on this day?

Was St. Patrick a real guy, and would he approve of green beer?

NCR continues celebrating success of Affordable Care Act

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In 2010, NCR welcomed the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has come to be known as Obamacare. “We think the health care reforms now enacted into law are strong steps toward a greater good … the largest expansion of the nation’s safety social net in 45 years -- including health coverage for more than 30 million Americans -- is a monumental achievement worthy of praise.”

St. Patrick's Day, We Hardly Need Ye

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It's time for St. Patrick's Day to go private. As a public hoo-haa it's lost whatever relevance it had. If churches and community groups carry it on, fine. But let's not continued singling it out as the only ethnic veneration day on the broad civic calendar.

First, the disclaimer. I bow to no one in my gratitude for every bit of worthy character, courage and artistry that has flowed from the riches of Irish culture. Those have been inestimable gifts to me and my society.

Elephant paintings: amazing display of intelligence

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I am taking a trip through Southeast Asia and currently am in northern Thailand where several of us visited an Elephant park.  Part of the elephant show involved five elephants who were stood behind paint easels and for 15 minutes each painted as their handlers handed them bushes. The results were amazing and moved me to wonder once again what precisely separates humans from other beings, in this case highly intelligent mammals. Following the conclusion of this remarkable show I took photos of each elephant's work.

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March 27-April 9, 2015

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