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Middle East medicine too late

Not since the early days of the Cold War has American society faced as large an existential crisis as it does now. We know from high school civics class the nation we ought to be. Sadly, international terrorism and xenophobic hate speech from the political margins is turning us away from those simple, but noble ideals.

Council makes right decision

At its most recent meeting, members of the Pine Bluff City Council voted to reject council member Thelma Walker’s proposed ordinance to increase the tax on hotel stays. While opposition was motivated by different reasons, the council arrived at the correct decision. Whether a general rejection of new taxes or a vote against an ill-conceived measure, this was a step in the right direction.

Republican tax fantasies

The Republican presidential candidates have not rallied behind Ben Carson in his clash with the news media, but they should be grateful to him. His misrepresentation of reality on matters concerning his past has distracted attention from his rivals’ misrepresentations of reality on a matter concerning the nation’s future: tax policy.

Opening the Great Wall

Often likened to an immense dragon flowing across the mountains, deserts and grasslands of northern China, the Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On this day in 1970, the Chinese government finally opened the Wall to tourists. Previously only the Badaling section near Beijing had been accessible.

Warren’s Lifeline to the vulnerable

As has been widely reported, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) has proposed legislation that would give every senior citizen and disabled veteran in America a check for $580. Warren bases her proposal, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act, on a couple of twined ideas — ideas that have merit and are worthy of support.

Davis: Same tired tricks

Sometimes the mirror can be the harshest critic. Unfortunately, the mirror in front of local political operator, Ted Davis, appears to be rather cloudy. While the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County are largely inured of his dubious machinations — both as former Mayor Carl Redus Jr.’s right hand man and as a member of the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners — Davis has found a third office in which to stir controversy: chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Central Committee.

Ryan: great promise but problems

Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R – Wisconsin) was elected the 54th Speaker of the House this past Thursday. Ryan took the gavel from Speaker John A. Boehner (R- Ohio), who had been pressured to resign the post by the ultra-conservatives in the party.

Dollarway on the perennial precipice

While we were heartened to hear that the Dollarway School District has approved a budget for the 2015-2016 school year, we remain very concerned about a number of other critical issues. Even as the school board passed the budget submitted by Superintendent Patsy Hughey, a reminder of old demons immediately descended into the proceedings.

Why the gop loses in a shutdown

There’s been talk of two potential government shutdowns: one this week over funding Planned Parenthood that’s probably not going to happen, and one in December if the government reaches the debt ceiling. Whenever a shutdown occurs, Republicans will be blamed more than Democrats. That’s because of the brand Republicans themselves have created.

A contemptible tenth anniversary

Today marks the tenth anniversary of New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s release from federal detention for failure to testify in the investigation into the leaking of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller had been jailed since July 2005 because she refused to reveal a confidential source and for refusing to testify before a grand jury empaneled to investigate the so-called Plame Affair. Miller agreed to testify only after her source, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, signed a waiver giving her permission to speak.

Shining new light on economic development

We were heartened to learn that the Arkansas state Public Service Commission gave its approval on Thursday for Entergy Arkansas to enter into a 20-year power purchase agreement with the state’s largest solar energy facility to be built by NextEra Energy Resources. As reported by Arkansas News Bureau, the deal paves the way for construction to begin on an 81-megawatt solar energy generating facility on 500 acres southeast of Stuttgart. Entergy projects the facility will produce enough clean energy to power about 13,000 homes and will reduce the demand for fossil-fueled energy.

Berra, Paige two wise performers

This week we note two milestones in baseball. The New York Yankees’ most memorably ineloquent All-Star, Yogi Berra, passed away at age 90. Then there’s an anniversary. Fifty years ago today, legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige, became the oldest person to pitch in a major league game at age 59.

Two faces on Cuban future

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson proved once again on Monday that the fourth unofficial color on the Arkansas flag is green as he told representatives of the state’s rice industry he is excited about his upcoming trade mission to Cuba. Hutchinson also said he is hopeful that Arkansas farmers will have new opportunities to export rice to the island nation. The governor’s excitement about potential new markets for Arkansas’ rice crop are emblematic of the Republican bifurcation on Cuba.

Obesity costs more than health

It’s an old familiar feeling: Arkansas sitting atop a “worst” list. Thankfully, we’ve managed to stay off many that we used to inhabit. Unfortunately, a new study by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, titled “The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America,” found that Arkansans are on average, the most obese people in the entire nation.