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Christopher Lawrence


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.

Prisons 'busting at the seams'

We’re going to need another prison, Gov. Mike Beebe said on Monday, beginning a new week by not making news. Either a new joint, or an expansion of one of the existing 17 facilities, which are filled to overflowing. I would suppose it would be an additional barracks, or four or five or six, at one or more of the units, since the figure Mr. Beebe mentioned — $6 million — probably would cover no more than site acquisition, environmental impact study and asphalt for a staff parking lot. And a new prison is like a new yacht: buying it is the cheap part; keeping it running is the real expense.

The endless fight over Obamacare

When it was enacted in 2010, Obamacare was supposed to be the final culmination of 60 years of effort by Democrats to realize the dream of universal health insurance. It was a complicated scheme, designed in such a way as to bridge the gap among Americans of different ideologies on how to address an alleged evil.

Beyond black and white

Today, many Americans are suspicious of any claims regarding the benefits of ethnic, racial, socio-economic, gender and cultural diversity. They see such claims as so much liberal hogwash aimed at justifying such policies as affirmative action in higher education and employment. The enormous diversity found in the U.S. has sometimes led to conflict. Yet it is also the source of our nation’s above average economic, political, military and socio-cultural successes, i.e., our professed exceptionalism.