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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.

More than crumbling buildings

If you ever wondered why people have left Pine Bluff, all you needed to do was attend the recent emergency city council meeting on Monday. At that meeting council members were confronted with the specter of an imminent catastrophe and chose to do nothing. It was a shameful display of myopic lunacy. If they are racing toward oblivion, they are making good headway.

Reason prevails in Senate committee, not Gov.’s office

While the current manifestation of the Arkansas legislature has been more miss than hit, reason prevailed this past Wednesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee declined to refer House Bill 1228, the so-called Conscience Protection Act, to the full Senate. The bill, authored by Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, would have prohibited the state from interceding in matters of conscience due to a person’s religious beliefs unless the state has a substantial interest in doing so, and does so by the least restrictive means possible.

Do you believe in miracles?

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Olympic hockey team’s surprise victory over the global Leviathan of hockey, the Soviet Union. The triumph is often called “the Miracle on Ice.” As modern “miracles” sometimes do, a great mythology has grown up around this storied game.

The day the music died

Symphony orchestras all across America are struggling both financially and in terms of relevancy. American appetites for cultural products have changed over the last 20 years. One of the more notable casualties has been a precipitous decline in live orchestral music. While orchestras, such as the now closing Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra, are reeling from the sting of it all, they are hardly alone.

Dinner and a show tune

Most folks have probably heard of the organization, ASCAP, but have no idea who they are or what they do aside from somehow being involved in the music industry. Today marks the 100 anniversary of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. ASCAP was founded as a means to ensure artists were fairly compensated for the public performance of their work. Among the founding members of ASCAP were the musical greats, Irving Berlin, James Weldon Johnson, Jerome Kern and John Philip Sousa.

Damming the river of history

There’s a bill currently under consideration in the Arkansas legislature’s House committee on State Agencies and Public Affairs: HB 1229, An Act to Create the Arkansas Military Heritage Protection Act; and for Other Purposes.