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Christopher Lawrence

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.

Dolphins aqua green line is in full effect

When police officers are accused of police brutality, they naturally close ranks, willing to protect one another even when they know something is wrong. It is called The Blue Line, and for years it has stymied efforts to change the culture of police departments.

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.

Reversing the GOP 'death spiral'

When Ronald Reagan won the White House in 1980, the electorate was 88 percent white. Last year, only 72 percent of the voters casting ballots for president were white, and by 2016, that number will plunge again.

Demolishing guns and common sense

In the course of their duties, Chicago police come into possession of all sorts of contraband: jewelry, video games, bicycles, cars. They sell the stuff through online auctions that are open to the public. They also confiscate some 10,000 firearms each year, with an estimated value of $2 million. They sell them and put the $2 million through a shredder.

Fixing the glitches

After several years of debate, planning and tweaking of the Affordable Care Act, the main component is finally here. Enrollment into the health care exchanges has hardly been a booming success as proponents predicted. Instead, the launch has been closer to the train wreck predicted by opponents.