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Steve Brawner


Squashing the wrong problems

You know when you’re on your porch, and you notice a spider crawling by, but then you look closer and realize it’s not a black widow or a brown recluse, so it’s not poisonous, but then you wonder if maybe you could be wrong, so therefore it could be a threat, and plus it’s a nuisance? Those things multiply, and maybe they’ll get into the house, so you squash it just to be sure.

Welcome to your country

Fifty people from 22 countries raised their right hands Friday in U.S. District Judge Beth Deere’s courtroom. Journeys that had taken decades were ending in an 11 a.m. ceremony. The participants had been examined by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, met English language requirements, and passed a citizenship test that many native-born Americans would fail. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, they were no longer from 22 countries. They were from one.

Chelsea Clinton for president?

Veteran newsmen Steve Barnes and Ernie Dumas have forgotten more about politics than I know. Sitting across the table from them after taping the AETN public affairs show “Arkansas Week” last Friday, I asked them this question, or a variation of it: Who are the young Democrats moving into national leadership who soon could run for president?

For GOP, is it Reagan or Goldwater?

Campaigning for president in Little Rock Wednesday before several hundred onlookers braving the midday heat, Sen. Ted Cruz said Republicans must nominate a “real and genuine conservative. That’s the only way we win. If we nominate Democrat-lite, we will lose once again.”

The real Common Core conflict

The Governor’s Council on Common Core Review didn’t drop any bombshells when it announced its recommendations July 30. It had already made its mark when it pre-recommended in June that Arkansas join the many states exiting the year-end PARCC exam, which Arkansas has since done.

Impact of Greece on global economy

Remember the bank run scene in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”? George and Mary are traveling to their honeymoon when they see a crowd gathering outside the bank. George runs to the Bailey Bros. Building and Loan to find a crowd of worried customers wanting to withdraw their savings. He explains to them how financial institutions work. (“The money’s not here. Why, your money’s in Joe’s house … and in a hundred others.”) Then he begs them not to panic and starts handing out his own $2,000 in honeymoon savings to tide them over. Meanwhile, across town, Mr. Potter, the richest (monetarily) and most powerful man in town has just become richer and more powerful by taking control of the bank, which would be shut down for a week.

One State’s creative, chaotic conservatism

If I were to tell you that a state legislature this year passed a six-cent gas tax increase. abolished the death penalty, and voted to let young illegal immigrants brought by their parents to America obtain a driver’s license, what state would you guess that would be? California? Massachusetts? Maybe Colorado?

Huckabee’s debt approach not serious enough

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee made some headlines this past week when it came to light that he had made a joke about transgender people during a February speech. He said that, given the chance in high school, he “would have found my feminine side” so he could take showers with the girls in P.E. This was newsworthy, apparently, because of the attention surrounding Bruce Jenner becoming Caitlyn Jenner.

To keep the republic, leadership needed

As Benjamin Franklin was leaving Independence Hall at the end of the Constitutional Convention, a woman asked him if the delegates had created a republic or a monarchy. According to notes written by Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland delegate, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Arkansas seeks place in nonstop campaign

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday that legislators will be returning to Little Rock for a special session May 26. The main reason will be to pass a bond issue to help Lockheed Martin compete for a contract to produce the military’s new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the replacement for the Humvee, in Camden.

Huckabee the Anti-Romney

I didn’t think that former Gov. Mike Huckabee was in the first tier of presidential hopefuls when he started talking about running. I probably had him at the bottom of the middle tier – somewhere around former Sen. Rick Santorum.