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No parking space for reason

It’s such a sorry state of affairs when a person can read through Pine Bluff City Council and Jefferson County Quorum Court proposals and instantly sense the negative influences of well-established malcontents. As election season creeps toward us, both bodies are considering the proper boundaries of campaign activities relative to public facilities.

Herbie: No love just bugs

As many readers are doubtless aware, the automaker, Volkswagen, has come under fire for allegedly including a software switch that allowed heavily polluting vehicles to circumvent emissions inspections. Not only was this an outright fraud, it also meant that buyers were getting neither the promised fuel economy, environmental protection nor performance they were promised. I wished this surprised me. It doesn’t.

October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month

Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men in the United States have suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Victims are deprived of their autonomy, liberty, and security, and face tremendous threats to their health and safety. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we reaffirm our dedication to forging an America where no one suffers the hurt and hardship that domestic violence causes — and we recommit to doing everything in our power to uphold the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse.

Dollarway on the perennial precipice

While we were heartened to hear that the Dollarway School District has approved a budget for the 2015-2016 school year, we remain very concerned about a number of other critical issues. Even as the school board passed the budget submitted by Superintendent Patsy Hughey, a reminder of old demons immediately descended into the proceedings.

Why the gop loses in a shutdown

There’s been talk of two potential government shutdowns: one this week over funding Planned Parenthood that’s probably not going to happen, and one in December if the government reaches the debt ceiling. Whenever a shutdown occurs, Republicans will be blamed more than Democrats. That’s because of the brand Republicans themselves have created.

A contemptible tenth anniversary

Today marks the tenth anniversary of New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s release from federal detention for failure to testify in the investigation into the leaking of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame. Miller had been jailed since July 2005 because she refused to reveal a confidential source and for refusing to testify before a grand jury empaneled to investigate the so-called Plame Affair. Miller agreed to testify only after her source, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, signed a waiver giving her permission to speak.

Shining new light on economic development

We were heartened to learn that the Arkansas state Public Service Commission gave its approval on Thursday for Entergy Arkansas to enter into a 20-year power purchase agreement with the state’s largest solar energy facility to be built by NextEra Energy Resources. As reported by Arkansas News Bureau, the deal paves the way for construction to begin on an 81-megawatt solar energy generating facility on 500 acres southeast of Stuttgart. Entergy projects the facility will produce enough clean energy to power about 13,000 homes and will reduce the demand for fossil-fueled energy.

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.

Only equal protection will save us

At a forum sponsored by the Political Animals Club in Little Rock last week, Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock discussed the possibility of amending the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Tucker said Friday he may propose changes to the law that would provide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Romance of the cynics

In my last column, I bemoaned the fact that I’ve had a very fractious relationship with a number of tradespeople. I suppose that’s part and parcel of home ownership. Perhaps it’s even more likely when said home is almost 100 years old.

Cycles of victimization and aggression

As recently reported by the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Conner Eldridge, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, has introduced the A-Chance Initiative, a program designed to focus on issues faced by children exposed to violence and trauma. The effort will be implemented by several school districts in the upcoming school year.