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Editorials

A brighter day for energy production

In a recent filing with the Public Service Commission, Entergy Arkansas announced a deal to build an 81-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy generating facility near Stuttgart. This installation will be Arkansas’ first utility-scale solar energy plant. The project will employ 200-300 workers during construction. Entergy is to be congratulated for this progressive and forward-looking move.

Economics out of Africa

Karen Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke, whose birthday we commemorate today, is hardly a household name. Born on this day in 1885, the Baroness Blixen-Finecke is better known by her pen name, Isak Dinesan. Her poignant memoir, Out of Africa, helped illuminate the Dark Continent for millions of Western readers.

Diplomacy takes a hard turn

While its successor, the 15th of April, is noted with greater perennial ire, April 14th is a day marking many notable anniversaries. It is the day in 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shot Pres. Abraham Lincoln. It’s the day in 1912 when the RMS Titanic struck a massive iceberg. It’s when country music legend, Loretta Lynn, was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. It’s the day in 1988 when the Soviet military withdrew from Afghanistan.

Giving no quarter for Chambers

Most of us are probably used to hearing politicians say things that are ill-conceived, irrational or just outright dumb. In the current age of information overload, the Internet has made it possible for us to branch out into the verbal landmines of political figures all over the world. As if we didn’t have enough fodder at our state and local fingertips, we can now borrow the miseries of constituents the world over.

Shouldering our fair share

As recently reported by The Commercial, Pine Bluff City Council member, George Stepps proposed an idea last Thursday at a Pine Bluff City Council Development and Planning Committee meeting that would create a one-half-cent sales tax with a three year sunset to support revitalization of downtown in conjunction with Simmons Bank’s previously announced offer to spend millions of dollars on downtown in the form of direct expenditures and loans.

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.

Contests and Promotions

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.

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.