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A brighter day for energy production

In a recent filing with the Public Service Commission, Entergy Arkansas announced a deal to build an 81-megawatt photovoltaic solar energy generating facility near Stuttgart. This installation will be Arkansas’ first utility-scale solar energy plant. The project will employ 200-300 workers during construction. Entergy is to be congratulated for this progressive and forward-looking move.

Economics out of Africa

Karen Dinesen, Baroness Blixen-Finecke, whose birthday we commemorate today, is hardly a household name. Born on this day in 1885, the Baroness Blixen-Finecke is better known by her pen name, Isak Dinesan. Her poignant memoir, Out of Africa, helped illuminate the Dark Continent for millions of Western readers.

Diplomacy takes a hard turn

While its successor, the 15th of April, is noted with greater perennial ire, April 14th is a day marking many notable anniversaries. It is the day in 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shot Pres. Abraham Lincoln. It’s the day in 1912 when the RMS Titanic struck a massive iceberg. It’s when country music legend, Loretta Lynn, was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. It’s the day in 1988 when the Soviet military withdrew from Afghanistan.

Giving no quarter for Chambers

Most of us are probably used to hearing politicians say things that are ill-conceived, irrational or just outright dumb. In the current age of information overload, the Internet has made it possible for us to branch out into the verbal landmines of political figures all over the world. As if we didn’t have enough fodder at our state and local fingertips, we can now borrow the miseries of constituents the world over.

Shouldering our fair share

As recently reported by The Commercial, Pine Bluff City Council member, George Stepps proposed an idea last Thursday at a Pine Bluff City Council Development and Planning Committee meeting that would create a one-half-cent sales tax with a three year sunset to support revitalization of downtown in conjunction with Simmons Bank’s previously announced offer to spend millions of dollars on downtown in the form of direct expenditures and loans.

Fishers of men or fools?

While historians can’t say for certain exactly how April 1 came to be celebrated as April Fools’ Day, most proffer a religious connection dating to 1582. Most scholars believe the day has its origins in 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII decreed the adoption of the “Gregorian calendar” — named after himself — which moved New Year’s Day from the end of March to Jan. 1.

Contests and Promotions

Squirrel veneration on a small hill

Tomorrow the nation will participate in an observance that has its roots in the Christian celebration of Candlemas Day. Candlemas is a Christian tradition of German origins in which the clergy would bless and distribute the candles needed for winter. The candles became a symbol of the long and cold winter. The German people broadened the observance with another symbol — the hedgehog. In Germanic lore, the hedgehog was said to be a good predictor of winter’s severity.

Shame at a terrible price

The immortal songstress Ella Fitzgerald once sang of Love for Sale “Who’s prepared to pay the price, for a trip to paradise… If you want the thrill of love, I’ve been through the mill of love. Old love, new love, every love but true love. Love for sale.”

No Prince among the royalty

Today marks an important popular culture milestone. Late in the evening of Jan. 28, 1985, a group of musical artists assembled to record “We Are the World,” a megahit whose proceeds aided famine relief in Africa.

Fizzy history moves a nation

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” While the precise origin of this aphorism is lost to time, this weekend we note an important milestone in technological innovation: the 80th anniversary of the first canned beer.

The Five Year Election Sale

It’s often amazing how one U.S. Supreme Court can change the whole course of American social and political life. There are cases in pursuit of social fairness, the most famous of which is the 1954 decision in Brown v. the Board of Education. Then there are cases of fair process, like Miranda v. Arizona. Then there are cases that serve to protect our right of free speech. It’s difficult to single out a single case as the exemplar of protecting speech, but we know one where oligarchical designs masquerading as a speech interests has been allowed to poison American politics: Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission.

Verdict uncertain motives unclear

Sixty-five years ago today, disgraced State Department official, Alger Hiss, was convicted of perjury, in what has become one of the most hotly debated cases of the 20th century. Hiss had been the subject of aggressive investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee, led by an ambitious California representative, Richard Nixon.

Enough humility to be courageous

All we can say is ‘Wow!’ When is the last time you heard an elected official come right out, admit a mistake and then apologize for it? And to boot, this one wasn’t one of those I-got-caught-and-now-I-better-appear-contrite apologies; this was a straight up, acknowledgement of fault and mea culpa.