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Christopher Lawrence


An Advent reflection

“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” [Matt. 7:1-3, KJV]

Fallout from the nuclear option

J. Harvie Wilkinson III is a federal circuit court judge, appointed in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, but he’s never seen himself as a doctrinaire conservative trying to “storm the barricades.” After Senate Democrats recently invoked the “nuclear option” and voted to ban filibusters for most presidential nominations, he outlined the consequences of that rash and regrettable action in The Washington Post:

Every day should be a day of thanksgiving

One of the first recorded Thanksgiving Day observances in North America was held in Newfoundland in 1578 by Sir Martin Frobisher of the Frobisher Expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Another early thanksgiving observance was led by Captain John Woodlief on Dec. 4, 1619, who instructed that the day of his ship’s arrival “be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to almighty God.”

The Republican court-unpacking scheme

Patricia Ann Millett spent 15 years as a Justice Department lawyer, seven of them under the second President Bush. She argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court, another 36 before appellate courts, and in 2004 she was given the department’s Distinguished Service Award by a Republican attorney general.

Remembering John F. Kennedy

The rumors — they were only rumors at that hour — began rippling across the campus of Pine Bluff’s Woodrow Wilson Junior High before the lunch period ended. By the time Wayne Waller’s music class began they’d gained momentum, rushing from every tongue. Mr. Waller was dismissive.

Remembering that Friday 50 years ago

Fifty years ago this Friday I was a freshman journalism major at Arkansas State College, working as a part-time sports writer for the Jonesboro Evening Sun . Since it was an afternoon newspaper then, my duties included reporting to work at 6:30 a.m. — quite a challenge for an 18-year-old — and working two or three hours until time for class.

Head Start and other federal failures

When the government shutdown began on Oct. 1, it forced the closing of Head Start facilities in several states, stopping educational services for thousands of low-income kids. So heart-rending was this spectacle that a pair of Texas philanthropists gave $10 million to keep the programs going.

A different kind of 'Marxist'

As the holiday season creeps closer, I fall prey to the same rush and urges that many people experience in their drive to find just the right Christmas present. It’s all-too easy. I suppose I come by it honestly. I grew up in a household with very generous parents. They weren’t just generous to me, but also to nearly everybody they knew.

CBS, Lara Logan still have some explaining to do

The comic figure of the braggart soldier first appears in Plautus’s play “Miles Gloriosus” in roughly 200 B.C., although the Roman dramatist acknowledged a now-lost Greek model. So it’s surprising that somebody who’s spent as much time in war zones as “60 Minutes’” Lara Logan failed to recognize the type: a swaggering, self-anointed hero describing military feats nobody witnessed but him.

Obamacare proves the virtues of federalism

No issue in recent years has polarized Americans as much as Obamacare. It produced a party-line vote in Congress, a near-fatal court battle, a revolt by states that refused to run exchanges or expand Medicaid, dozens of House votes to repeal it and, now, a bungled launch that could be its undoing. It’s a barroom brawl that never ends.

ROTC program gets reprieve

The Reserve Officer Training Corps programs at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and 12 other institutions have been given a reprieve, not a free pass from closure. In notifying officials at the colleges and university, U.S. Army officials were merely acknowledging that they had bungled the process and will now try to do it right.

American wars, won and lost

On a recent visit to Moab, Utah, I saw a T-shirt with a picture of a Jeep stuck in a gap between two rock formations and a caption: “Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation.”