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Editorials

Ted Cruz and the Born-Again GOP

President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill making “In God We Trust” the nation’s official motto, but his approach to religion was not excessive in its rigor. “Our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious belief,” he once declared, “and I don’t care what it is.”

BUMPY RIDES ON HIGHWAYS MAY LAST

On Interstate 40 near Brinkley a couple of weeks ago, I drove past a sign reading something like, “Big pothole ahead.” I can’t recall ever before seeing a road sign like that on an interstate, but it was certainly accurate. Actually, “crater” would have been a better word.

Starving the beast only made it hungrier

Some time in the 1970s, the Republican Party pledged allegiance to a strategy known as “starve the beast,” which said that the way to reduce the size of government was to reduce the taxes going into it. President Reagan in 1981 used another metaphor: reducing children’s allowance. Democrats, happy to increase government without paying for it, largely acquiesced.

Time to use animal cruelty laws

With the recent death of De’Trick Johnson, the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County are forced to recognize the flaws in our local culture of animal keeping. While county lawmakers have been largely mute on the twined issues of dangerous dogs and animal cruelty, the Pine Bluff City Council chose to address the problems with ineffectual and uninformed “breed specific” ordinances. These ordinances do little other than punish the dog for the crimes of the owner.

To walk fall and rise

Fifty years ago this week, Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev sent this congratulatory message to cosmonaut Alexei Leonov as he orbited the Earth: “We members of the Politburo are here sitting and watching what you are doing. We are proud of you. We wish you success. Take care. We await your safe arrival on Earth.”

Dinner and a show tune

Most folks have probably heard of the organization, ASCAP, but have no idea who they are or what they do aside from somehow being involved in the music industry. Today marks the 100 anniversary of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. ASCAP was founded as a means to ensure artists were fairly compensated for the public performance of their work. Among the founding members of ASCAP were the musical greats, Irving Berlin, James Weldon Johnson, Jerome Kern and John Philip Sousa.

Damming the river of history

There’s a bill currently under consideration in the Arkansas legislature’s House committee on State Agencies and Public Affairs: HB 1229, An Act to Create the Arkansas Military Heritage Protection Act; and for Other Purposes.

Science deniers foster public risk

Ask any reputable scientist and he or she will tell you that the fruits of research are not Truth, but likelihoods. In short, scientific research — good research, anyway — always contains a little equivocation, as in: “It’s more likely than not that this cause influenced this effect.”

Our long local nightmare

In August 1974, when Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in after the resignation of besieged President Richard Nixon, Ford made some very memorable remarks. Interestingly, these remarks have a great deal of pertinence to local matters in Pine Bluff.

Squirrel veneration on a small hill

Tomorrow the nation will participate in an observance that has its roots in the Christian celebration of Candlemas Day. Candlemas is a Christian tradition of German origins in which the clergy would bless and distribute the candles needed for winter. The candles became a symbol of the long and cold winter. The German people broadened the observance with another symbol — the hedgehog. In Germanic lore, the hedgehog was said to be a good predictor of winter’s severity.