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Dreaming about a larger field

As recently reported by The Commercial, a local committee for the 2015 Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series headed by Jim Hill just signed a contract with Babe Ruth League Inc. that will bring the national tournament to Pine Bluff. This will mark the sixth time a Babe Ruth Baseball World Series has been played in the city and first time since 2003. This turn is unabashedly good and the kind of thing we should encourage.

Tramp explores deep themes

Today we mark the 125th anniversary of silent film star Charlie Chaplin’s birth. While best remembered for his character, the Little Tramp, his career was much broader than that one famous visage. He was a director, a screen writer and a composer. Along with other film luminaries, D. W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Chaplin founded the United Artists production company. Long recognized as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, it’s fitting that we take stock of his legacy.

Wall Street’s flash point

In “The Financier,” his great novel of American capitalism, Theodore Dreiser describes the thinking of his hero, Frank Cowperwood, who exploited banks, the state and investors. It isn’t wise to steal outright, Cowperwood concludes; that would be wrong. But “there were so many situations wherein what one might do in the way of taking or profiting was open to discussion and doubt. Morality varied, in his mind at least, with conditions, if not climates.”

An off-base idea

After any mass shooting, a vocal faction in Congress insists that Americans would be safer if more people carried guns into restricted public places. Allowing teachers to carry firearms on campus struck us as not helpful. But now that Fort Hood, Texas, has seen its second rampage in five years, the argument seems stronger when applied to military bases: Aren’t they filled with well-trained, trustworthy marksmen who could take down would-be mass murderers? Why not allow military personnel to carry weapons on base?

Bailing on a broken system

The idea of using objective criteria to decide which criminal defendants are freed pending trial and which are thrown in jail may sound slightly chilling. For starters, who’s to say what’s “objective”? Sabermetrics may have improved a baseball manager’s ability to forecast a player’s performance, but can statistical analysis really predict defendants’ flight risk and fairly determine the limits of their liberty?

Freedom by comparison

This week media outlets all over the country have been trumpeting the importance of transparent government and the necessity of accessible government records. Along with these admonishments, we’ve cited notorious examples of governmental secrecy that worked against the public good; and we’ve given examples where determined journalists wrenched information from the claws of the corrupt.

Greening St. Patrick’s legend

As Monday marks the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s fitting that we revisit some of the largely forgotten details of the man and his myth. While most people probably associate Saint Patrick with the legend of driving the snakes out of Ireland, the facts of his life would be equally compelling without the slithering egress.

Pi by the numbers

Today is the occasion of two venerated observances in math and science. In the first instance, it is a celebration of Albert Einstein’s birthday. He was born March 14, 1879 — 135 years ago today.

A new low now reached

We are sadly well-accustomed to acts beneath the dignity of our local government officials. It has often been said that we are a small town with big city problems. Perhaps it is the lack of shame among our top officials that disappoints us the most.

More important than genies

At a time when such products are derided as a major contributor to obesity and its related consequences, it may be difficult for some to celebrate the cultural milestone we mark today. On this day in 1894, Joe Biedenharn of Vicksburg, Mississippi used his soda water equipment to package the very first bottled Coca-Cola.

1768 all over again

As memories of the recent Winter Olympics are slowly subordinated to the ongoing spectacle of war on the Crimean peninsula, it’s easy to think about Russian President Vladimir Putin as a singular bad actor. Even the slightest familiarity with the history of the Crimea shows this to be far from the case.