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Steve Brawner


Water, water everywhere, but not below

It makes up about 71 percent of the earth’s surface and about 60 percent of the adult human body. All our lives, it’s been available in abundance, particularly in Arkansas, and it still is, but we’ll have to change the way we obtain it. And it won’t be cheap to make that change.

Term limits probably will work out

For term limits supporters unhappy about what happened in November, it probably will work out for the best in the long run. Some reforms occurred that likely wouldn’t have happened otherwise, and voters probably will get a chance at a do-over in 2016.

Happy Giving Thanks Day

I let certain things get to me more than they should, such as the misuse of the apostrophe to pluralize a word on hand-lettered signs. (Just add an “s” to most words, people.) Another is calling the holiday we celebrate this time of year “Turkey Day.”

Womack: Yes to earmarks, no to pork

I’ll try to write this carefully because a member of Congress has presented a nuanced position that can’t be explained in three words or less, is out of step with the prevailing mood of his party, and easily could be misconstrued. That kind of activity usually gets congressmen in trouble these days, which is why they so rarely engage in it.

Passing health reform, and a kidney stone

It was Saturday morning, March 29, and the pain in my lower back was growing more intense. I knew what was happening. It was not my first kidney stone. If you’ve ever had one, you know the drill: the writhing, the fruitless shifting of positions hoping to find relief, the heaving. When I could take the pain no more, I shakily told my wife to wake the kids and drive me to the emergency room. When we arrived, I begged the admittance clerk to hurry. I underwent a CT scan and was given drugs that, blessedly, took away most of the pain. Surgery removed the stone a week later.

The United States, or these United States?

The federal government will not reform itself. We’re past the point of electing different politicians or enacting different policies. Instead, the government’s underlying structure must be changed through a constitutional amendment process never before used in American history.

GOP Senate takeover is best for all

This is not an endorsement of Rep. Tom Cotton, but it’s best for everyone – in some ways, even President Obama – if Republicans take over the Senate. They are almost certain to maintain control of the House, so a GOP-controlled Senate is the only way our government might be able to function during the next two years.

Minimum wage: Focus on work, not fairness

Arkansans in November will vote on whether or not to raise the minimum wage incrementally from its current $6.25 an hour to $8.50 by the beginning of 2017. There is no organized opposition, the State Commerce of Commerce doesn’t have an opinion, and polls have shown it is likely to pass.

Kansas independent could shake up senate

The race between Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Tom Cotton is one of the two or three most important in the country because both political parties believe it will help determine who will control the Senate. But another race could be even more important – the one in Kansas, where businessman Greg Orman, a member of no party, has a chance to win.

A tale of two Pryor ads

One ad explains why Sen. Mark Pryor made the toughest vote of his career. In another ad, the Pryor campaign misrepresents his opponent’s position. The first ad features the candidate speaking directly into the camera and is effective. The second uses faceless narrators and is terrible. That’s not a coincidence.