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Spiting Obama proves lethal

‘If we can’t defeat it, we’ll at least make it very hard to enroll’ appears to be the logic behind Arkansas’ Republican legislators’ approval of a 2014 amendment to the state’s so-called private option Medicaid marketplace. The cynical tactic appears to have worked.

Repurposed signs inspire hope

With a regular slate of depressing things to report, it was heartening to read a recent article in The Commercial detailing Ron Jefferson’s efforts to improve Pine Bluff. Jefferson, who returned to Pine Bluff after living decades in Detroit, now supervises individuals who have been convicted of petty crimes and sentenced to perform community service. As such, Jefferson clearly understands the wages of negativity. He’s also engaged in a program tailored to thwart some of those detracting forces.

Seeking jets for peace

In a recent editorial we noted the anniversary of U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard’s flight into space. His brief foray into the outer atmosphere was propelled as much by fear of Soviet technological advances as it was the enormous rocket underneath his Freedom 7 capsule.

Mall trajectory perhaps inevitable

The last thing the beleaguered Pines mall needs is one more controversy. Even so, that’s what it’s facing. As recently reported by The Commercial, at least two former employees of a “new” restaurant in the mall have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that they were not paid for time they had worked there.

Cleanup reflects systematic thinking

In a recent report published in The Commercial, local efforts to clean up the central part of the city were highlighted. A large group, including students from Watson Chapel High School, police officers, firefighters, a city bus and representatives of Waste Management, was led by Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth.

America pushes outer limits

Today marks an auspicious anniversary in American technological achievement. Fifty-five years ago today Alan Bartlett Shepard blasted off from a launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to become the first U.S. astronaut to travel into space. Shepard’s flight lasted a mere 15 minutes, but it was enough to give the nation a great collective sigh of relief.

Being Bullish on Automobiles

It’s a pretty safe bet that most of us have never even seen a Lamborghini automobile in person. With its entry-level model, the Huracan, checking in around $200,000; and its big brother, the Aventador, demanding a cool half million dollars, sightings are understandably rare.

Modern privateers still influential

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress issued a document entitled, “Instructions to Commanders of Private Ships or vessels of War, which shall have Commissions of Letters of Marque and Reprisal, authorizing them to make Captures of British Vessels and Cargoes.” This declaration gave the captains of privately owned commercial ships the right to attack and plunder British ships without any legal consequences. Thus began the long American tradition of private military contractors.

Pacts old, new and irrelevant

Twenty-five years ago today, the Warsaw Pact came to an end. Formed as a military counterpoint to the West’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the original assembly included the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Albania.

Council trapped under logical rubble

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this point in the situation, but recent efforts by certain members of the Pine Bluff City Council to construct a false victim narrative around Garland Trice; and a concomitant effort to vilify Danny Bradshaw (dba Mr. Brick) really strain credulity. At the most recent meeting of the council, members Steven Mays, George Stepps and Thelma Walker each exhibited a rationale that borders on delusional.

Hutchinson denies huddled masses

Many opponents of so-called trickle-down economics hold that the much vaunted benefits to America’s wealthiest individuals never quite flow to the bottom. Interestingly, data from a 2015 report by the Urban Institute suggests that the mechanism does in fact work, just not in the way proponents would like to believe.

SCOTUS history against GOP

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Republican party has waged a rhetorical war against any nomination President Barack Obama might make for a successor. As of this week, that nominee has a name: Merrick Garland. While Garland’s previous vetting en route to the Federal Appellate bench was strongly bi-partisan and without controversy, his road to the Supreme Court may be yet more rocky.

For Hollingsworth;for progress

As the March 22 primary runoff elections are fast approaching — and early voting already underway — we urge voters to mark their calendar and help the city continue its recent progress. To this point, we heartily endorse incumbent Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth came in as a successful business person but a political outsider. Four years ago that’s exactly what this community needed. Hollingsworth, having been hardened in the forge of Pine Bluff politics, is the one person who can continue to facilitate the progress we are now experiencing.

Obama’s foreign policy success

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s foreign policy gets no love. Republicans portray it as weak, timid, inept and rudderless. Hillary Clinton has faulted him for the rise of the Islamic State and lacking a strategy. Bernie Sanders doesn’t rush to Obama’s defense.

ADC should keep facility here

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center may be relocated to West Memphis. As the facility employs 138 people, area residents are necessarily concerned about the economic and human impact this move poses for the people of Jefferson County.

Yet another gross “Mis-Stepps”

Those who suffer from anxiety disorders should probably avoid the Pine Bluff City Council meetings. While the electorate recently corrected a couple of long-standing (or seated as the case may be) problems, the March 7 meeting demonstrates why January 2017 cannot come too soon.