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Christopher Lawrence

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.”

The influence of a black pastor

Do black pastors of today have the collective power and influence in Pine Bluff as pastors did years past? If not, why? And if so, are they using it to uphold justice? With the recent passing of Pastor James Wilkerson (New Direction) and Pastor Gable Lee (G.L.) Ford, Sr. (Rose Hill) their deaths are cause for deep reflections. As I put pen to paper, let me be perfectly clear: This is not meant to be disrespectful to pastors but to shine a light on the work and mission of Christ. This discussion has taken place among black preachers in the past.

Sweet home New Jersey

We have a young friend who ran the Young Republicans during her college years and now works for a GOP consulting firm. She’s a loyal party member, but she has a problem. She’s from New York — her father and grandfather were both New York City cops — and she feels increasingly alienated from a party whose center of gravity has moved steadily to the South, the West and the Right.

The folly of arming airport screeners

For travelers, the modern airport has become an obstacle course of security precautions, where everything not prohibited is mandatory. Boarding a plane is an exercise in indignity that strips passengers of jackets, shoes and belts before subjecting them to machines that see through their clothes and security agents who touch their junk.