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Get to the polls and cast your vote

Some of us may be growing weary of election season, as political ads take over the TV and “who are you voting for?” debates dominate coffee shop conversations — and some may be getting excited for exactly the same reasons, as candidates and campaigns struggle for your attention and the ever diminishing “undecided” vote.

Where have all the zealots gone?

On this day in 1964 students and faculty staged the first large-scale antiwar demonstration in the United States. The protest took place at the Berkeley campus of University of California. While this march gained national attention, opinion polls showed a majority of Americans supported President Lyndon Johnson’s policies in southeast Asia.

The law of the war

At the United Nations on Wednesday, President Obama offered a powerful case for war against the Islamic State. “This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria,” he said. “There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force.”

Geography lesson in banned books

Each year during the last week of September the American Library Association celebrates our First Amendment rights with Banned Books week. One of the event’s center points is publication of a list that enumerates those books that have received the most challenges during the past year.

Good first steps toward safety

Earlier this week, the Pine Bluff City Council passed a measure that creates penalties for irresponsible property owners. The ordinance was sponsored by Ward 1 Alderman Lloyd Holcomb Jr. and passed with the affirmative vote of five other council members.

Facts drown out rhetoric

According to a number of recently released reports, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare” is on track to improve health care access while decreasing taxpayer burden.

A different double jeopardy

One year ago today a computer technician working at the Washington Navy Yard went on a shooting rampage that left 12 people dead. A few weeks before arming himself with a Remington model 870 shotgun and murdering a dozen strangers, Aaron Alexis told police in Rhode Island that he was hearing voices. The private IT contracting firm employing Alexis took him off his assignment for a few days then let him back on the job; less than a month later, he went to work at the Navy Yard.

We will never forget 9/11

Fifty years ago, people talked about the amazing beauty of the mushroom clouds that developed after atomic bombs were detonated in tests. The brilliance, the wide spectrum of color visible, the graceful development of the cloud itself: It was a terrible beauty to be sure, but a beautiful sight just the same, and one seared into the memory of all who saw it.

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America’s oddest rancher

Eccentricity and personal tumult often accompany artistic talent. Such was certainly the case with Stanley Marsh, a Texas millionaire whose partially buried row of Cadillacs became a cultural phenomenon in the 1970s. Marsh died this Tuesday at Lubbock, TX. He was 76.

A smarter way

It’s an election year, and Democrats are loudly decrying the cost of higher education and demanding that the government spend more to cut student debt. The Senate on last Wednesday rejected one of their less-sensible ideas. But there are better ones that lawmakers should embrace.

Warming cold educational waters

As recently reported in The Commercial, the state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to return the Dollarway School District to local control after two years of state control. We are heartened by this news. We hope it signals a new era of progressive leadership and higher teaching standards in the district.

Pater familias in the ideal

If one were making an ideal father, what would he be? Hallmark has dozens of ready-made tropes into which we might cast our perfect father: hunter; fisherman; golfer; griller; sports fan; car nut and Barcalounger captain. While these make for fine greeting cards, they don’t get to the essence of fathering.

Building bridges, tearing down walls

In a recent editorial we reflected on the life and career of John Wayne. The editorial noted both Wayne’s importance in film and as an advocate for conservative political causes. Today also marks a significant anniversary for another conservative icon. On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered an address to the people of Germany in which he admonished Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the infamous Berlin Wall.

Marion, Sandy and the Duke

Few people in this world live up to their own legend. This is especially true in the case of movie stars. Once in a great while that happens. It certainly seems to have happened with ruggedly handsome, tough guy, John Wayne.

Freedoms won, freedoms surrendered

Last week the world noted two signal anniversaries in the fight for freedom. First, there was the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square. Second, was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II. There are important parallels between these momentous acts.

Remembering history’s longest day

Historians have called the D-Day Invasion on June 6, 1944, one of the seminal days in the Western civilization. It ushered in the final chapter to the European theatre of World War II. In so doing, it likely shaved a year, tens of millions of dollars and thousands of lost lives from the ultimate toll of war. On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, we pause to reflect and remember those whose hands wrought it into being.