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Squashing the wrong problems

You know when you’re on your porch, and you notice a spider crawling by, but then you look closer and realize it’s not a black widow or a brown recluse, so it’s not poisonous, but then you wonder if maybe you could be wrong, so therefore it could be a threat, and plus it’s a nuisance? Those things multiply, and maybe they’ll get into the house, so you squash it just to be sure.

The grift that keeps on taking

The cornerstone of American criminal justice is Due Process. As a foundational principle for the U.S. Constitution, we can trace its origins back to Chapter 39 of Magna Carta, in which England’s King John promised that “[n]o free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

Not just cheese also unicorns

On this day in 1835, the New York Sun newspaper tested the limits of public gullibility with the first in a series of fantastical stories about life on the moon. Five more would follow. The satirical pieces sparked international interest; and proved that a well-told whopper can snooker the best of us.

Public health or political pride

According to a recent report by Arkansas News Bureau, the state’s Medicaid expansion program commonly known as the private option is projected to have a positive impact on the state budget of $438 million between 2017 and 2021, a consulting firm hired by state legislators concluded recently.

The snap heard ‘round the world

On this day in 1920, 95 years ago, seven men assembled in the Jordan and Hupmobile showroom at Canton, Ohio, to organize an important forerunner of the National Football League. Among those gathered at the inception of the American Professional Football Conference (APFC) was legendary athlete, Jim Thorpe.

False dichotomy limits options

The likely closure of Entergy’s White Bluff coal-fired electrical plant has been met with a lot worry by many in the region. Those worries center primarily on the loss of jobs and the putative hit to the local economy. While such concerns are certainly warranted, they miss both the larger environmental and economic pictures.

An ignoble and enduring tradition

It is a comforting, yet possibly naïve belief that America has made strides in the way it expresses political and social dissent, but as history ably shows, such beliefs are more false comfort than real progress. This week we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots in Los Angeles, California.

Choosing between our necessities

Owing to a decrease in population, the Jefferson County Quorum Court finds itself in the grasp of a familiar devil’s bargain: falling revenue and the question of cutting back. Perhaps the greatest bone of contention concerns the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and that agency’s share of the burden.

The day music got much smaller

Ever heard of a thing called the Moving Picture Experts Group -1 Audio Layer III? On this day in 1995, this mouthful of techno jargon was officially released to the public. Known more commonly as an MPEG-1 or by its file extension, mp3, the algorithm underlying this invention made possible the explosion of digital music; and spelled the long quiet death of the compact disc as king of musical storage.

Of monkeys and misguided men

We recently published an editorial response to Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s ill-advised rejoinder, “We want to be careful as to what monuments and designations go there (at the Arkansas Capitol). … We don’t want just every group putting a statue on the Capitol grounds.” Without rehashing that topic, a timely anniversary reminds of us of similar themes. On this day in 1925, 90 years ago, the so-called “Scopes Monkey Trial” began in Dayton, Tennessee.

Either a pantheon or none

Yet again the champions of theocracy have reared their misguided heads. This round of pharisaical bigotry comes on the heels of a request by the Universal Society of Hinduism to place a statue of the Hindu god Lord Hanuman on the Arkansas Capitol grounds.

Mom liked you best

We’ve all heard of Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp. Only the devotees of history and Western lore will know that there were also two more Earp brothers, James, the eldest, and Warren the youngest. On this day in 1900, 115 years ago, Warren Earp was killed in a barroom brawl at Wilcox, Arizona.

We’ve been here before

The recent United States Supreme Court decision overturning several states’ bans on gay marriage is likely to be one of the most contentious and difficult findings in our nation’s history. This ruling’s potential to fracture the American people owes to the fact that both sides in the debate believe they are morally correct. When framed in such terms, there is little room for reasoned discussion. If “you” don’t believe like “we” do then you’re probably going straight to hell. That’s not how great nations think or act.

40 year apology

Even his sternest critics agreed it was one of Mike Huckabee’s finest moments. To the surprise of many in the crowd of thousands, Huckabee’s oratory, in style and substance, quite surpassed that of another speaker, a president of the United States, for whom the issue was known to run deep — down where the spirit meets the bone, to borrow a phrase.

One State’s creative, chaotic conservatism

If I were to tell you that a state legislature this year passed a six-cent gas tax increase. abolished the death penalty, and voted to let young illegal immigrants brought by their parents to America obtain a driver’s license, what state would you guess that would be? California? Massachusetts? Maybe Colorado?