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Heroes ensnared in bureaucracy

Recently, the local CBS television affiliate, KTHV, broadcast a report about Joe George, a Pearl Harbor survivor and hero of the ill-fated USS Arizona. Through George’s efforts, the lives of six other sailors were saved, but there was a catch. Because a superior officer had ordered George to stop, the hero sailor was never officially recognized by the Navy for his act of bravery.

Traveling Cruz’s higher low road

Political conventions are supposed to be the place where differences are set aside and the party faithful fall in line behind whoever has the proverbial nod. As the Republican party brought its party to a close last week there were still many of the faithful who hadn’t quite taken the medicine. Then there was Sen. Ted Cruz.

Sitting Bull still instructs us

As many inspirational leaders often have, the leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota tribe and (eventually) the entire Sioux Nation, Sitting Bull, gave his life in furtherance of human rights for his people. Sitting Bull earned his name because of his reputation as a courageous warrior — who, like a bison bull, would dig in and fight rather than flee.

Legislators codify diligent discrimination

Almost every day the theocratic dullards holding the wheel of Arkansas state government prove they are out of step with both mainstream America and modern Christian values. Even so, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s minion continually embarrass and retard the Natural State’s place in our great nation.

Spend less to tax less

Lt. Governor Tim Griffin is pushing an idea: Cut spending first and then cut taxes. It’s so crazy it just might work, which is why he wants to try it in Arkansas and why, hopefully, someone will try it in Washington, D.C.

Legislators codify diligent discrimination

Almost every day the theocratic dullards holding the wheel of Arkansas state government prove they are out of step with both mainstream America and modern Christian values. Even so, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s minion continually embarrass and retard the Natural State’s place in our great nation.

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.

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.