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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.

Davis: Same tired tricks

Sometimes the mirror can be the harshest critic. Unfortunately, the mirror in front of local political operator, Ted Davis, appears to be rather cloudy. While the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County are largely inured of his dubious machinations — both as former Mayor Carl Redus Jr.’s right hand man and as a member of the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners — Davis has found a third office in which to stir controversy: chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Central Committee.

Ryan: great promise but problems

Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R – Wisconsin) was elected the 54th Speaker of the House this past Thursday. Ryan took the gavel from Speaker John A. Boehner (R- Ohio), who had been pressured to resign the post by the ultra-conservatives in the party.

Promoting promotions and grants

As reported by The Commercial, five members of the Pine Bluff City Council along with several individuals from Mayor Debe Hollingsworth’s staff, recently met to discuss the prospect of creating two new positions in city government. During the meeting, held last Thursday, the group that the city needs to hire a communications/marketing director and a grant writer. We concur.

Poorly watching the watchers

In December 2014, a report was released by the U. S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that contained a number of disquieting revelations. Among the more stark details were the findings that the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency had been using interrogation techniques that were far more brutal than had been previously acknowledged.

Squashing the wrong problems

You know when you’re on your porch, and you notice a spider crawling by, but then you look closer and realize it’s not a black widow or a brown recluse, so it’s not poisonous, but then you wonder if maybe you could be wrong, so therefore it could be a threat, and plus it’s a nuisance? Those things multiply, and maybe they’ll get into the house, so you squash it just to be sure.

The grift that keeps on taking

The cornerstone of American criminal justice is Due Process. As a foundational principle for the U.S. Constitution, we can trace its origins back to Chapter 39 of Magna Carta, in which England’s King John promised that “[n]o free man shall be taken or imprisoned or disseized or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

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.