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Dear Abby: Husband thinks it’s elderly cat’s time to go

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Dear Abby: Social skills are ‘rusty’ after pandemic lockdown

Dear Abby: My wife and I have been together 39 years, and we generally get along very well. We’ve always had dogs and cats, and we currently have two of each. While my wife loves all animals, I’m a dog person. I don’t dislike cats, but I don’t really care for them. The cats and I tend to ignore each other.

We have one who’s 20 years old. While he doesn’t appear to be in any pain, I suspect he has dementia. He has poor balance. He stumbles into walls and cabinets and has fallen down the stairs a number of times. Recently, he has been peeing in my den and garage. That, I can’t ignore.

I think it’s time to put the cat down. My wife is calling me cold and heartless. I think when I’ve lost my mind enough to pee in my den or garage, I hope someone will be compassionate enough to help me go. I’m starting to hate that cat.

— Favors Dogs in El Paso

Dear Favors Dogs: That poor animal should be examined by a veterinarian to determine why he is stumbling and falling, and whether the problem can be remedied. (The elderly dog of a friend of mine kept running into things and ultimately had successful cataract surgery.) As to the cat’s inappropriate choice of a place to relieve himself, the problem may be as simple as a curable bladder infection — unless he has picked up on the fact that you would like to see him dead and is doing it to get back at you.

Dear Abby: My boyfriend, “Tom,” and I just spent the weekend with his older brother, “George.” George spent most of the weekend mocking and mimicking me, and he even made fun of my chronic health condition. Tom kept telling me not to be so sensitive and to ignore George’s “sense of humor.” Afterward, I told Tom I wouldn’t remain silent in the future, and I wished he had said something like, “That’s enough, George,” on my behalf.

Tom insists it isn’t his place. He thinks I should accept George as he is “since we all have our faults.” While I want to maintain my relationship with Tom, I need to limit my exposure to George, whose behavior I regard as abusive. Does this seem reasonable?

— Tired of the Teasing

Dear Tired: Reasonable, yes. Whether it is possible may be questionable. I agree that George’s behavior was abusive. It’s a shame Tom was afraid to stand up to his older brother, but because he wouldn’t intervene, you would have been within your rights to stand up for yourself, tell him his ridicule wasn’t funny and leave.

Dear Abby: I am 48 and married to a widower in his early 60s. Not long ago we moved into a 55-plus community. The problem is, every time we meet someone, they ask my husband why he robbed the cradle. I’m sick of hearing it. My husband is a warm, caring, loving man, who just laughs and says, “Yep!” How can I rebut those comments when they come, because my husband doesn’t seem to be able? He wants everyone to like him, so he never makes waves.

— Not From the Cradle

Dear Not From the Cradle: The comments aren’t meant as an attack on your marriage. The next time someone says it, pipe up and say, “We were BOTH old enough to know what we wanted!”


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.

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U.S. employers added a sluggish 210,000 jobs in November

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U.S. employers added a sluggish 210,000 jobs in November

WASHINGTON — America’s employers slowed the pace of their hiring in November, adding 210,000 jobs, the lowest monthly gain in nearly a year.

But Friday’s report from the Labor Department also showed that the nation’s unemployment rate tumbled from 4.6% to 4.2% evidence that many more people reported that they had a job. That is a historically low jobless rate though still above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5%.

Overall, the November jobs figures point to a job market and an economic recovery that look resilient though under threat from a spike in inflation, shortages of workers and supplies and the potential impact of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

For months, employers have been struggling with worker shortages because many people who lost jobs in the pandemic have not, for various reasons, returned to the workforce. But last month, more Americans came off the sidelines to look for jobs and were generally hired quickly.

That positive trend suggests that November was a healthier month for job growth than the modest 210,000 gain the government reported Friday in its survey of businesses. The unemployment rate is calculated from a separate survey of households. This survey found that a much larger 1.1 million more people reported that they were employed last month. The results of the two surveys typically match up over the long run but sometimes diverge sharply in a given month, as they did in November.

The survey of households found that the number of unemployed Americans sank in November to 6.9 million, not far above the pre-pandemic number of 5.7 million. And average wages, which have been rising as employers try to attract or keep workers, increased a strong 4.8% from a year ago.

The government’s survey of businesses showed a slowdown last month in hiring at restaurants, bars and hotels, which added just 23,000 jobs, down from 170,000 in October. That could reflect the effects of an uptick in COVID-19 cases last month and a reduction in outdoor dining.

Retailers cut 20,000 jobs, a sign that holiday hiring hasn’t been as strong as in previous years. But transportation and warehousing firms added 50,000 positions, which indicates that online retailers and shippers anticipate healthy online shopping.

The jobs outlook for the coming months has become hazier with the emergence of the omicron variant. Little is definitively known about omicron, and widespread business shutdowns are considered unlikely. Still, omicron could discourage some Americans from traveling, shopping and eating out in the coming months and potentially slow the economy.

For now, though, Americans are spending freely, and the economy is forecast to expand at a 7% annual rate in the final three months of the year, a big rebound from the 2.1% pace in the previous quarter, when the delta variant hobbled growth.

Nearly 600,000 people joined the workforce last month, increasing the proportion of Americans who are either working or looking for work. If that much-anticipated development continues, it could point to stronger job growth ahead.

The proportion of Americans who are in the workforce rose from 61.6% to 61.8%, the first significant increase since April.

Even as the jobless rate has steadily declined this year, the proportion of Americans who are working or looking for work has barely budged. A shortage of job-seekers tends to limit hiring and force companies to pay more to attract and keep employees. Higher pay can help sustain spending and growth. But it can also feed inflation if businesses raise prices to offset their higher labor costs, which they often do.

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MSP Airport gets $12 million from FAA to build fire and rescue aircraft facility

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MSP Airport gets $12 million from FAA to build fire and rescue aircraft facility

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has been awarded a $12 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a facility to house fire and rescue aircraft, officials announced Friday.

The award, which follows a busy wildfire season in Minnesota, will help MSP meet FAA safety requirements and is just the beginning of a larger project to build out an emergency operations center to house airport firefighting, police and 911 dispatch departments, according to a news release issued by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.

“Investments in our airports serve as down payments on the long-term economic well-being of our state and country by boosting the tourism industry, creating jobs, and making it possible for people to travel to see family and friends,” Klobuchar said in the news release. “After unprecedented wildfires in our state this summer, constructing a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting station is critical to supporting the airport’s infrastructure and ensuring the safety of all residents and visitors.”

The FAA also awarded more than $200,000 to six airports in northeastern Minnesota, including Duluth and Cloquet.

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Ravens vs. Steelers staff picks: Who will win Sunday’s Week 13 game in Pittsburgh?

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Ravens vs. Steelers staff picks: Who will win Sunday’s Week 13 game in Pittsburgh?

Here’s how The Baltimore Sun sports staff views the outcome of Sunday afternoon’s Week 13 game between the Ravens (8-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1) at Heinz Field:

Jonas Shaffer, reporter

Ravens 27, Steelers 20: Heinz Field is not the fortress it has been in years past. The Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders won handily in Pittsburgh, and the Detroit Lions got a tie. Lamar Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger both need bounce-back games, but the Ravens’ line is far more trustworthy at this point, and their are receivers arguably more talented. If T.J. Watt can’t play Sunday, the spine of this slumping Steelers defense gets even weaker.

Mike Preston, columnist

Ravens 24, Steelers 17: This used to be a hard-hitting rivalry, but let’s just call it a rivalry now. Both teams used to rely on defense, but that’s not the case anymore. Regardless, the Ravens have quarterback Lamar Jackson, who will make more plays than his counterpart, veteran Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers can’t throw deep and can’t rush the passer. If the Ravens can pound the football, this game could be a blowout in Baltimore’s favor.

Childs Walker, reporter

Ravens 30, Steelers 20: The Ravens have not lit the NFL world on fire in recent weeks, but they have rarely entered a game against the Steelers with so many matchup advantages. They will look to grind out long drives against a surprisingly fallible Pittsburgh defense and limit Ben Roethlisberger to underneath strikes. Lamar Jackson cannot be as bad as he was in Week 12, and if he plays well against a front seven that might be without T.J. Watt, the Ravens could roll.

Ryan McFadden, reporter

Ravens 24, Steelers 14: I can’t imagine Lamar Jackson will be as bad as he was against the Browns. Jackson and the running game have a chance to take advantage of the Steelers’ defense if star pass rusher T.J. Watt is unable to play. Time has officially caught up to Ben Roethlisberger, so the Ravens’ defense won’t have to worry about too many big plays down the field.

C.J. Doon, editor

Steelers 21, Ravens 20: Call this a gut feeling, and nothing more. The Ravens are lucky to be 8-3. How else do you explain winning on an NFL-record 66-yard field goal as time expires or beating an AFC North rival despite throwing four interceptions? Division matchups are often a great equalizer, and the Steelers are a proud team coming off a humiliating loss to the Bengals. The Ravens have advantages across the board, but you know the old saying about rivalry games and record books. Lamar Jackson is just 2-2 in his career against Pittsburgh with a 59.2 passer rating, by far his worst against any opponent. Coach Mike Tomlin somehow finds a way to beat John Harbaugh in their 30th meeting.

Tim Schwartz, editor

Ravens 24, Steelers 14: The Ravens are bit of a mess offensively right now, but they’re heading into a favorable matchup with a Steelers defense that gave up 34 points to the Bengals and allowed Joe Mixon to run for 165 yards and Tee Higgins to finish with 114 receiving yards. This isn’t the Steelers from yesteryear, and without outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who is on the COVID-19/reserve list, is there anything there that keeps the Ravens up at night? There’s always a chance Ben Roethlisberger turns back the clock and has a big game, but I think it’s more likely Baltimore’s defense continues its trend and has a dominant performance while Lamar Jackson and Co. figure things out.

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