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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.

MLK a clarion for service

As the nation honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we should pause to reflect on his ideals and vision for America. We all know King’s work in the cause of civil rights, but his call for committed public service should also be remembered.

Great wrong set right

As reported Thursday by the Arkansas News Bureau, the Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously struck down Act 595 of 2013, which required voters to show photo identification before being allowed to cast their ballots. While the Justices were unified in their decision, there was a division with regard to their predicate reasoning.

Signal Internet innovation anniversary

Twenty years ago this week, the Internet took a giant leap toward broad public use. Back in 1994, two technology pioneers, Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen, of Mosaic Communication Corporation released an innovative new way to access online information. Their brainchild was called Netscape Network Navigator.

Courts correcting election carnival

Last week the United States Supreme Court blocked officials in Wisconsin from enforcement of that state’s voter identification law. Under this measure, voters would have been required to show photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming November election.

Watson’s resistance is laudable

It’s an issue that local policymakers confront regularly —- the law has gotten in the way of their ill-conceived designs. In this particular instance, Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson stands as the last buttress against a legally questionable action relating to additional pay for Pine Bluff High School Principal Michael Nellums.

Charity tougher than enamel

Forty years ago today, German businessman Oskar Schindler died at age 66. Schindler is best remembered for his role in saving 1,200 Jews from deportation to Auschwitz, Nazi Germany’s largest concentration camp. Schindler’s story was commemorated in the 1993 Academy Award-winning film, Schindler’s List.

Tragic catalyst for safety

In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt gave an address to Congress now known as the “Four Freedoms” speech. In it he enumerated a set of inalienable human rights. He discussed: freedom of expression; freedom of religion; freedom from want; and the fourth freedom — freedom from fear.

Near Soviet curriculum in Colorado

Score one for opponents of the thought police. After two weeks of public outrage, demonstrations and statewide backlash, the school board of Jefferson County, Colorado has relented on its plan to conservatively sanitize its advanced placement U.S. history classes. The proposal was offered by Julie Williams one of three newly elected ultra-conservative board members.