Subscribe to Editorials RSS feed

Editorials

Fishers of men or fools?

While historians can’t say for certain exactly how April 1 came to be celebrated as April Fools’ Day, most proffer a religious connection dating to 1582. Most scholars believe the day has its origins in 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII decreed the adoption of the “Gregorian calendar” — named after himself — which moved New Year’s Day from the end of March to Jan. 1.

Extremists count on your credulity

On Friday, the Arkansas Senate passed House Bill 1228 (SB 202), a bill to enact the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Supporters assert that the bill would offer protections to individuals and businesses who do not want to serve certain individuals based on their religious beliefs. The bill is now headed back to the House for a final amendment approval. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

Ted Cruz and the Born-Again GOP

President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill making “In God We Trust” the nation’s official motto, but his approach to religion was not excessive in its rigor. “Our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious belief,” he once declared, “and I don’t care what it is.”

BUMPY RIDES ON HIGHWAYS MAY LAST

On Interstate 40 near Brinkley a couple of weeks ago, I drove past a sign reading something like, “Big pothole ahead.” I can’t recall ever before seeing a road sign like that on an interstate, but it was certainly accurate. Actually, “crater” would have been a better word.

Starving the beast only made it hungrier

Some time in the 1970s, the Republican Party pledged allegiance to a strategy known as “starve the beast,” which said that the way to reduce the size of government was to reduce the taxes going into it. President Reagan in 1981 used another metaphor: reducing children’s allowance. Democrats, happy to increase government without paying for it, largely acquiesced.

Time to use animal cruelty laws

With the recent death of De’Trick Johnson, the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County are forced to recognize the flaws in our local culture of animal keeping. While county lawmakers have been largely mute on the twined issues of dangerous dogs and animal cruelty, the Pine Bluff City Council chose to address the problems with ineffectual and uninformed “breed specific” ordinances. These ordinances do little other than punish the dog for the crimes of the owner.

To walk fall and rise

Fifty years ago this week, Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev sent this congratulatory message to cosmonaut Alexei Leonov as he orbited the Earth: “We members of the Politburo are here sitting and watching what you are doing. We are proud of you. We wish you success. Take care. We await your safe arrival on Earth.”

Yet more uninformed public policy

We’re already in touch with the fact that the current raft of Arkansas legislators is dominated by individuals whose policy positions are misguided, so it was no real surprise when we read that a bill had advanced that would restrict registered sex offenders from living near churches.

Twined fortunes communal misfortune

Watching the fractious and often poison relationship between embattled Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson and her school board is eerily familiar. It’s almost like watching Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth fight with certain members of the city council. It’s similar because both women recognize the need for deep systemic changes — necessary changes — and their respective governing bodies appear content to let their constituents slip into the abyss.

House bill 1681 is ‘poor option’

The House City, County and Local Affairs Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly is scheduled today to consider House Bill 1681 by Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs, that will give governing bodies the “option” of placing their public notices in a newspaper or on their website.

Bill fences in American dream

Yet again the blind march to theocracy wins the day in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This week the House voted 61-8 to approve HB 1474 by Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, which asserts that American law trumps foreign law in Arkansas courts. News flash: It already does. As long as the nation stands, it always will.

Corporate greed caught in net

Last week the Federal Communications Commission did the right thing in its vote to preserve net neutrality. In its Open Internet Order, the FCC helped to determine an important aspect of Internet functionality by requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways and charging different rates based on traffic content.

Leave it to the professionals

Even though the administrators of every single college campus in Arkansas have opted out, some members of the legislature are determined to cram loaded guns down their throats. Pushing a reformualtion of an already defeated bill, Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, seeks to rob colleges of their “local control” where concealed weapon carry is concerned. So much for being anti-big government.

Illogical governing

Whatever its merits or shortcomings, a federal judge’s decision last week blocking the Obama administration’s immigration policy offered congressional Republicans an escape path from the corner into which they had painted themselves by imperiling funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 240,000 employees. Thus far they have not shown the wisdom to accept this gift.