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Steve Brawner

State of the Private Option Speech

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s health care reform speech last Thursday was what the State of the Union address ought to be but rarely is – an accurate definition of a problem respecting both sides, followed by a solution that actually has a chance of being enacted.

Time to renew the Constitution

Think everything that’s wrong with this country is President Obama’s fault, or the Republicans’, or both? Nah. The real problem isn’t a person or party. The real problem is that America’s political system doesn’t work anymore. If we “threw out all the bums,” pretty soon we’d decide that the new bunch were bums, too.

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.