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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.

Better ordinances not crusades

Sometimes Pine Bluff City Council Alderman Steven Mays is like a dog with a bone: once he seizes on an issue, he just won’t let it go. Most probably recall the time and effort wasted with his crusade against the 71602 ZIP code. In shades of zealousness that are eerily similar, he has decided to waste the people’s time with a protracted and pointless harangue against contractor Danny Bradshaw of Mr. Brick Antique Buy and Sell, who has contracted with Pine Bluff to remove some of the collapsed buildings along Main Street.

Twined fantasies doom the poor

Watching the predictable machinations of the Arkansas State Legislature has become tiresome. Whenever the state’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens are concerned, Republican lawmakers invariably see how close they can get to unconstitutionally punitive restrictions and mandates.

Echoes of pandemics close to home

There were a pair of stories this week that reported on major public health issues potentially affecting Arkansas. The first of these by Arkansas News Bureau reports on an announcement by Arkansas state health officials. In it Arkansas health officials said Tuesday the Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee has confirmed six cases of measles in the Memphis area and said some Arkansans may have been exposed to the infectious disease. The second ANB story reflects the Arkansas Department of Health report of a fourth Arkansan infected with the Zika virus, that has been spiraling globally.

Parties dangerously ignoring context

If you were to visit the National Archives in Washington, D.C. you might pass by the 1935 Robert Aitken sculpture, “The Future.” The piece is comprised of a seated female figure with a large open book on her lap. It is part of a pair of sculptures that flank the Archives entrance. The other is “The Past” a male figure, also seated, but the book he holds is closed.

Population number bear reflection

A recent story published in The Commercial details one of the most serious issues facing the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County: population loss. The county and city have been in decline for almost three decades. Peaking at just over 57,000 in 1970 (and hovering there until 1990) the region has seen one of the most precipitous population slides in the nation.

Steering the national will

One hundred-fifty years ago this week, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth mortally wounded U. S. Pres. Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater at Washington, DC. History well records the sequence of events: Booth’s furtive move into Lincoln’s private theater box; the fatal shot to the back of the head; the assassin’s leg-breaking leap to the stage and his infamous cry of “sic semper tyrannis!”

Protect them to protect us

On this day in 1866, the cause of animal welfare took a giant leap forward. New York philanthropist and diplomat, Henry Bergh, founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Bergh’s interest in protecting animals began while he served as the U. S. representative to the court of Russian Tsar Alexander II. While at this post, Bergh often saw the Russian peasantry mercilessly beat their work horses with whips and knouts.

Tesla vs. dealers: Let buyers decide

America is the land of the free - unless your idea of freedom includes a right to build cars and sell them directly to the public, rather than through a third party. For those who try to do that, America morphs into a semi-feudal system of state-law trade barriers and bureaucracy whose ostensible purpose is to protect consumers but whose actual one is to protect incumbent holders of automobile retail franchises, as expert testimony confirmed at a Federal Trade Commission conference on the subject in January.

Plans to reduce coal’s toll

As recently reported by Arkansas News Bureau, the Sierra Club has proposed a program aimed at reducing the pollutants generated by sources such as Entergy Arkansas’ two coal fired electrical plants. The group’s plan would help Entergy comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze Rule, which seeks to improve visibility at national parks and wildlife areas by reducing power plant emissions.

Promising tide awaits county

As was recently reported in The Commercial, Energy Security Partners, LLC, a Little Rock-based company is slated to build a gas-to-liquid conversion plant in Jefferson County near NCTR. The Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County predicts an investment in excess of $3 billion to bring the plant to life, with an additional 225 plant jobs at an average of $40 an hour each and another 2,500 jobs during construction. If all goes according to plan, this will represent one of the largest development projects in state history.

Graven idols disguised as piety

One of the best things about the United States is our freedom of religious expression. We can worship whatever god we choose, in pretty much whatever way we choose. We can also choose not to worship anything. This is a luxury many nations do not afford their citizens.

War, peace and the next president

When President Woodrow Wilson ran for re-election in 1916, as Europeans slaughtered each other on an unprecedented scale, his slogan was, “He kept us out of war.” If Barack Obama were allowed to run for re-election, he could use this slogan: “He kept us out of Syria.”

Mayor’s race: One clear choice

With early voting having started this week, we note the importance of several local races. None could be more critical than the contest to be mayor of Pine Bluff. After careful consideration of the five individuals vying for the seat, we conclude there is only one logical choice.

Red flags mark mayoral candidate

As recently reported in The Commercial, candidates for political office are required to submit financial interest disclosure reports as part of the election process. Candidates for mayor of Pine Bluff recently filed their reports with the City Clerk’s Office. Those reports reflect a number of interesting facts about some of the people running for that office.