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Crime distinction but no difference

An interesting thing has happened in terms of crime in Pine Bluff. For the first time in almost two years, the monthly comparison between crime last year and crime this year, showed an increase. According to the Pine Bluff Police Department, there was a 13.74 percent increase in August 2015 versus August 2014.

Republicans and racial fears

After the 2008 presidential election, it was obvious that American politics was entering a new era in which race would figure less than it had before. For the first time in our history, we had a president who was not white, and it was bound to have a profound, positive impact.

Remembering Dean Duncan

A few minutes after Dean Duncan slipped peacefully into the next life, one of his family had an idea, a very good one. A nephew who had been looking after Dean’s mutt, Poochie, rushed home and brought him to the hospice. Poochie was entitled to his own farewell.

Flying with Ford Falcons

On this day in 1959, Henry Ford II staged a 21-city news conference via closed-circuit television. During the broadcast, Ford unveiled “the easiest car in the world to own.” It was the automaker’s newest model, the Falcon.

Promoting promotions and grants

As reported by The Commercial, five members of the Pine Bluff City Council along with several individuals from Mayor Debe Hollingsworth’s staff, recently met to discuss the prospect of creating two new positions in city government. During the meeting, held last Thursday, the group that the city needs to hire a communications/marketing director and a grant writer. We concur.

Poorly watching the watchers

In December 2014, a report was released by the U. S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that contained a number of disquieting revelations. Among the more stark details were the findings that the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency had been using interrogation techniques that were far more brutal than had been previously acknowledged.

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.

The grift that keeps on taking

The cornerstone of American criminal justice is Due Process. As a foundational principle for the U.S. Constitution, we can trace its origins back to Chapter 39 of Magna Carta, in which England’s King John promised that “[n]o free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

Not just cheese also unicorns

On this day in 1835, the New York Sun newspaper tested the limits of public gullibility with the first in a series of fantastical stories about life on the moon. Five more would follow. The satirical pieces sparked international interest; and proved that a well-told whopper can snooker the best of us.

Public health or political pride

According to a recent report by Arkansas News Bureau, the state’s Medicaid expansion program commonly known as the private option is projected to have a positive impact on the state budget of $438 million between 2017 and 2021, a consulting firm hired by state legislators concluded recently.

The snap heard ‘round the world

On this day in 1920, 95 years ago, seven men assembled in the Jordan and Hupmobile showroom at Canton, Ohio, to organize an important forerunner of the National Football League. Among those gathered at the inception of the American Professional Football Conference (APFC) was legendary athlete, Jim Thorpe.

False dichotomy limits options

The likely closure of Entergy’s White Bluff coal-fired electrical plant has been met with a lot worry by many in the region. Those worries center primarily on the loss of jobs and the putative hit to the local economy. While such concerns are certainly warranted, they miss both the larger environmental and economic pictures.

An ignoble and enduring tradition

It is a comforting, yet possibly naïve belief that America has made strides in the way it expresses political and social dissent, but as history ably shows, such beliefs are more false comfort than real progress. This week we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots in Los Angeles, California.

Only equal protection will save us

At a forum sponsored by the Political Animals Club in Little Rock last week, Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock discussed the possibility of amending the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Tucker said Friday he may propose changes to the law that would provide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.