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An offer police can’t refuse

If you’ve ever tried to hammer a screw into a board then you know there’s a high probability of breaking the screw. Sadly, that’s exactly what the United States has chosen to do with millions of people who have a mental illness. According to recent report in “USA Today,” American jails and prisons are overflowing with the mentally ill. By failing to provide adequate public mental health care, millions of Americans are simply swept into the dust bin of society.

Garner, Maverick and Rockford

The actor, James Garner died last week at age 86. Garner was beloved by several generations of film and television fans. In a career that spanned seven decades, Garner twice struck television gold.

Lights dimmed over long legs

Elaine Stritch once quipped, “I don’t think there’s any thrill in the world like doing work you’re good at.” If she was right, she led a life filled with thrills. Stritch, a mainstay of Broadway theater, died this week, at age 89.

Heading into overtime

The public outlining by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of his government’s negotiating position in the ongoing talks on its nuclear program was a tip-off that Tehran isn’t aiming to conclude a deal by the July 20 deadline. Instead, Zarif’s Monday interview with The New York Times, in which he described an Iranian position that was unacceptable to Western governments but better than Tehran’s previous, blatantly unserious offers, was designed to provide Iran’s interlocutors — and in particular the Obama administration — with a rationale for extending the talks for up to six more months.

Regulating e-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, now a $1.5 billion to $2 billion business, have become difficult to ignore. The electronic devices, which might look like cigarettes or cigars or even pipes, come with different battery sizes and burn a variety of vapors that might contain a greater or smaller amount of nicotine and a flavor enhancer, according to a February Times Record report.

Long legacy of modeling’s mother

The innumerable obituaries for Eileen Ford, founder of the storied Ford Modeling agency, contain a wide array of descriptive terms, ranging from predictable superlatives to not-so subtle critiques. Words like “imperious” and “disciplinarian” are common. As are “prescient” and “savvy.” Ford, who died last week at age 92 helped transform an industry and give rise to the age of the supermodel.

Water thrown on bikini contest

As recently reported in the Commercial, a concert scheduled for July 3 at Saracen Landing will no longer feature a bikini contest. The planned contest became fodder for heated discussion on social media. It drew similar fire from local officials who noted that the contest was not mentioned in any of the sponsoring organization’s agreements with the city of Pine Bluff.

The distance has gotten longer

There are only a handful of names large enough to go in the radio broadcasting pantheon alongside the likes of Alan Freed and Wolfman Jack (a.k.a. Robert Weston Smith), but Casey Kasem certainly earned a spot. With his recent passing at age 82 it’s fitting that we pause to reflect not only on his life and career, but upon the medium in which he is best remembered.

Getting real about pensions

Slowly but surely, reality is taking hold in the debate over the massive liabilities state and local governments have accumulated for their workers’ pensions and other benefits. For years, governments routinely inflated estimated pension-fund investment returns to make them seem better-funded than they are, but two years ago the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, an authoritative nonprofit organization, issued guidance intended to curb that tendency.

Solving the border crisis

This country benefits from a healthy, legal flow of fresh talent and energy from all over the world. For that, a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration laws, including a path to legalized status for those already here illegally, is essential.

Summer heat fifty years long

This Saturday marks a the 50th anniversary of a dark day in America’s march for racial equality. On June 21, 1964 three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodwin, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were murdered as they investigated the burning of a Mississippi church. There story is well known, but there are many more stories from the period dubbed Freedom Summer that should be retold.

America’s oddest rancher

Eccentricity and personal tumult often accompany artistic talent. Such was certainly the case with Stanley Marsh, a Texas millionaire whose partially buried row of Cadillacs became a cultural phenomenon in the 1970s. Marsh died this Tuesday at Lubbock, TX. He was 76.

A smarter way

It’s an election year, and Democrats are loudly decrying the cost of higher education and demanding that the government spend more to cut student debt. The Senate on last Wednesday rejected one of their less-sensible ideas. But there are better ones that lawmakers should embrace.

Warming cold educational waters

As recently reported in The Commercial, the state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to return the Dollarway School District to local control after two years of state control. We are heartened by this news. We hope it signals a new era of progressive leadership and higher teaching standards in the district.