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We’ve been here before

The recent United States Supreme Court decision overturning several states’ bans on gay marriage is likely to be one of the most contentious and difficult findings in our nation’s history. This ruling’s potential to fracture the American people owes to the fact that both sides in the debate believe they are morally correct. When framed in such terms, there is little room for reasoned discussion. If “you” don’t believe like “we” do then you’re probably going straight to hell. That’s not how great nations think or act.

40 year apology

Even his sternest critics agreed it was one of Mike Huckabee’s finest moments. To the surprise of many in the crowd of thousands, Huckabee’s oratory, in style and substance, quite surpassed that of another speaker, a president of the United States, for whom the issue was known to run deep — down where the spirit meets the bone, to borrow a phrase.

One State’s creative, chaotic conservatism

If I were to tell you that a state legislature this year passed a six-cent gas tax increase. abolished the death penalty, and voted to let young illegal immigrants brought by their parents to America obtain a driver’s license, what state would you guess that would be? California? Massachusetts? Maybe Colorado?

When only seconds matter

You probably haven’t noticed, but the Earth rotates at a slightly irregular pace. This owes to things like earthquakes and the gravitational pull on the Earth’s oceans. It’s OK that you may not have noticed, because scientists have; and last night they did something about it. They added one second to the end of June 30.

Getting charged up about the Volta

Last week The Commercial reported a meeting between faculty of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences and a delegation of representatives from the Republic of Ghana. The groups came together to discuss ways in which the west African nation and UAPB might join forces for mutual benefit. We think these kinds of partnerships are an excellent idea and important to the long-term success of the university and our city.

Warren experiences growth and football

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin penned the now famous quip about nothing being certain except “death and taxes.” We’d like to add one other certainty: change. Few communities know this better than Warren in Southeast Arkansas. Over the past few years, Warren has made some big and interesting changes.

Warren experiences growth and football

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin penned the now-famous quip about nothing being certain except “death and taxes.” We’d like to add one other certainty: change. Few communities know this better than Warren in Southeast Arkansas. Over the past few years, Warren has made some big and interesting changes.

University Drive upgrade complete

The University Drive Highway 79B resurfacing project has been completed, and what a major boost for the University Park Neighborhood. The Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc. would like to thank former Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche L. Lincoln, as well as former Congressman Mike Ross for helping ICVR Inc. with this project. However, this project almost didn’t happen because it was deemed “dead on arrival” when there was no funding available for the project.

Finally, a positive ranking

A very interesting city ranking was just published that includes Pine Bluff. Just that phrase “city ranking” is usually enough to cause our political leaders and many residents to cringe as though they were about to get a big shot of penicillin. (Many of us still remember our dead-last ranking in Places Rated Almanac years ago.)

Yet more uninformed public policy

We’re already in touch with the fact that the current raft of Arkansas legislators is dominated by individuals whose policy positions are misguided, so it was no real surprise when we read that a bill had advanced that would restrict registered sex offenders from living near churches.

Twined fortunes communal misfortune

Watching the fractious and often poison relationship between embattled Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson and her school board is eerily familiar. It’s almost like watching Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth fight with certain members of the city council. It’s similar because both women recognize the need for deep systemic changes — necessary changes — and their respective governing bodies appear content to let their constituents slip into the abyss.

House bill 1681 is ‘poor option’

The House City, County and Local Affairs Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly is scheduled today to consider House Bill 1681 by Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs, that will give governing bodies the “option” of placing their public notices in a newspaper or on their website.

Bill fences in American dream

Yet again the blind march to theocracy wins the day in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This week the House voted 61-8 to approve HB 1474 by Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, which asserts that American law trumps foreign law in Arkansas courts. News flash: It already does. As long as the nation stands, it always will.

Corporate greed caught in net

Last week the Federal Communications Commission did the right thing in its vote to preserve net neutrality. In its Open Internet Order, the FCC helped to determine an important aspect of Internet functionality by requiring service providers to be a neutral gateway instead of handling different types of Internet traffic in different ways and charging different rates based on traffic content.

Leave it to the professionals

Even though the administrators of every single college campus in Arkansas have opted out, some members of the legislature are determined to cram loaded guns down their throats. Pushing a reformualtion of an already defeated bill, Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, seeks to rob colleges of their “local control” where concealed weapon carry is concerned. So much for being anti-big government.

Illogical governing

Whatever its merits or shortcomings, a federal judge’s decision last week blocking the Obama administration’s immigration policy offered congressional Republicans an escape path from the corner into which they had painted themselves by imperiling funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 240,000 employees. Thus far they have not shown the wisdom to accept this gift.