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Great work from a small man

Earlier this week the online giant, Google, commemorated the sesquicentennial of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s birth with a so-called Google Doodle. Such an honor is fitting for an artist who created some of the most iconic and memorable advertising images in history.

Gratitude focused and framed

For what shall we give thanks? The world is full of people whose lot is so sad and wanting that we might give thanks for just not being them. We are thankful not to be homeless. We are thankful not to be hungry. We are thankful not to be alone.

Heal thyself, Dr. Cosby

Herein lies the risk of lionizing the living. As the recent media obsession ably depicts, embattled comedian Bill Cosby’s real life and his public persona may have reached an irreconcilable difference.

New Congress has great opportunity

It doesn’t matter how one’s candidate fared in the recent elections. There is always something festive in what Stephens Washington Bureau reporter Peter Urban calls a “biennial rite of passage”: drawing lots for office space newly elected members of Congress will occupy during their terms.

Familiar refrain across the way

There’s a story now unfolding in Mississippi that should ring eerily familiar to many Arkansans. At the center of it stands Christopher Epps, a charming, detail-oriented post-wunderkind who as corrections commissioner had overseen the state’s inmate population quadruple while prison facilities expanded to include five new private prisons. Epps is the state’s longest serving corrections commissioner. As an accomplished African-American, Epps was widely hailed as a professional and personal role model.

Of creed deed and discontent

One hundred years ago a small group of German intellectuals formed a group in response to their nation’s aggressive campaign of invasion and annexation. Dubbed the Bund Neues Vaterland (New Fatherland League), the organization was headed by physician, Georg Nicolai.

Geography lesson in banned books

Each year during the last week of September the American Library Association celebrates our First Amendment rights with Banned Books week. One of the event’s center points is publication of a list that enumerates those books that have received the most challenges during the past year.

Good first steps toward safety

Earlier this week, the Pine Bluff City Council passed a measure that creates penalties for irresponsible property owners. The ordinance was sponsored by Ward 1 Alderman Lloyd Holcomb Jr. and passed with the affirmative vote of five other council members.

Facts drown out rhetoric

According to a number of recently released reports, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare” is on track to improve health care access while decreasing taxpayer burden.

A different double jeopardy

One year ago today a computer technician working at the Washington Navy Yard went on a shooting rampage that left 12 people dead. A few weeks before arming himself with a Remington model 870 shotgun and murdering a dozen strangers, Aaron Alexis told police in Rhode Island that he was hearing voices. The private IT contracting firm employing Alexis took him off his assignment for a few days then let him back on the job; less than a month later, he went to work at the Navy Yard.

We will never forget 9/11

Fifty years ago, people talked about the amazing beauty of the mushroom clouds that developed after atomic bombs were detonated in tests. The brilliance, the wide spectrum of color visible, the graceful development of the cloud itself: It was a terrible beauty to be sure, but a beautiful sight just the same, and one seared into the memory of all who saw it.

Millennia of murderous barbarians

Approximately two weeks ago, The Islamic State, variously termed ISIS or ISIL, beheaded American journalist, James Foley. These same terrorists just released another video in which one of their operatives beheads, yet another American journalist, Steven Sotloff. In what is becoming a pattern of orgiastic barbarity, The Islamic State stands on a line it dare not cross.

Executive session out of bounds

Yet again we feel compelled to express our displeasure with the antics of Jefferson County Election Commission Chairman Ted Davis. At the most recent meeting of the commission, Davis called for an executive session without announcing a reason for it. Upon review of the session’s contents, Davis’ request may well violate the Freedom of Information Act.