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Holiday tip: Shop local, give smart

Well, if you’re reading the paper, it’s a good guess that you survived Thanksgiving with its temptations to things that are bad for the heart like rich, heavy desserts and sitting next to dyspeptic Uncle Phil. Coffee and a piece of pie for breakfast? Check. Nap for lunch? Check. Leftovers and football this afternoon? Check, check.

Middle East medicine too late

Not since the early days of the Cold War has American society faced as large an existential crisis as it does now. We know from high school civics class the nation we ought to be. Sadly, international terrorism and xenophobic hate speech from the political margins is turning us away from those simple, but noble ideals.

Council makes right decision

At its most recent meeting, members of the Pine Bluff City Council voted to reject council member Thelma Walker’s proposed ordinance to increase the tax on hotel stays. While opposition was motivated by different reasons, the council arrived at the correct decision. Whether a general rejection of new taxes or a vote against an ill-conceived measure, this was a step in the right direction.

Republican tax fantasies

The Republican presidential candidates have not rallied behind Ben Carson in his clash with the news media, but they should be grateful to him. His misrepresentation of reality on matters concerning his past has distracted attention from his rivals’ misrepresentations of reality on a matter concerning the nation’s future: tax policy.

Opening the Great Wall

Often likened to an immense dragon flowing across the mountains, deserts and grasslands of northern China, the Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On this day in 1970, the Chinese government finally opened the Wall to tourists. Previously only the Badaling section near Beijing had been accessible.

Warren’s Lifeline to the vulnerable

As has been widely reported, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) has proposed legislation that would give every senior citizen and disabled veteran in America a check for $580. Warren bases her proposal, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act, on a couple of twined ideas — ideas that have merit and are worthy of support.

Coco and white pants

Labor Day marked the symbolic end of summer. While astronomical fall doesn’t begin until Sept. 23, the mood has already begun to shift from crisp white to autumnal orange. This segue can also be seen in another seasonal shift: the custom of putting away one’s white clothing until Easter, next spring.

No, the system is not broken

If there is anything presidential candidates agree on this year, it’s that our government and politics are not functioning to fulfill the desires of the American people. Donald Trump proclaims that “our system is broken.”

Fixated on hot biscuits

t’s funny how some things can just stick in your craw. Recently, I was in a car with a couple of friends when one of them asked, “Have y’all tried the new Lay’s Biscuits and Gravy flavored potato chips?”

County clerk places self above law

Kim Davis, clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, has received a great deal of media attention in the last few days. While having her own questionable history in terms of making a go of marriage, Davis, who purports to be an evangelical Christian, thinks she should be able to prevent others from entering the same union. She instructed her deputies to withhold marriage licenses from same-sex couples who wish to get married in Rowan County.

Crime distinction but no difference

An interesting thing has happened in terms of crime in Pine Bluff. For the first time in almost two years, the monthly comparison between crime last year and crime this year, showed an increase. According to the Pine Bluff Police Department, there was a 13.74 percent increase in August 2015 versus August 2014.

Republicans and racial fears

After the 2008 presidential election, it was obvious that American politics was entering a new era in which race would figure less than it had before. For the first time in our history, we had a president who was not white, and it was bound to have a profound, positive impact.