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Generals historic, memorials modern

As reaffirmed by history, the sacrifice of lives to the cost of democracy is no new undertaking. In 431 BCE, the Athenian leader, Pericles, delivered these words to commemorate the heroic dead of the Peloponnesian War: “For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart.” Then as now, we would do well to keep our heroes in our hearts.

Spiting Obama proves lethal

‘If we can’t defeat it, we’ll at least make it very hard to enroll’ appears to be the logic behind Arkansas’ Republican legislators’ approval of a 2014 amendment to the state’s so-called private option Medicaid marketplace. The cynical tactic appears to have worked.

Repurposed signs inspire hope

With a regular slate of depressing things to report, it was heartening to read a recent article in The Commercial detailing Ron Jefferson’s efforts to improve Pine Bluff. Jefferson, who returned to Pine Bluff after living decades in Detroit, now supervises individuals who have been convicted of petty crimes and sentenced to perform community service. As such, Jefferson clearly understands the wages of negativity. He’s also engaged in a program tailored to thwart some of those detracting forces.

Seeking jets for peace

In a recent editorial we noted the anniversary of U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard’s flight into space. His brief foray into the outer atmosphere was propelled as much by fear of Soviet technological advances as it was the enormous rocket underneath his Freedom 7 capsule.

Mall trajectory perhaps inevitable

The last thing the beleaguered Pines mall needs is one more controversy. Even so, that’s what it’s facing. As recently reported by The Commercial, at least two former employees of a “new” restaurant in the mall have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that they were not paid for time they had worked there.

Cleanup reflects systematic thinking

In a recent report published in The Commercial, local efforts to clean up the central part of the city were highlighted. A large group, including students from Watson Chapel High School, police officers, firefighters, a city bus and representatives of Waste Management, was led by Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth.

America pushes outer limits

Today marks an auspicious anniversary in American technological achievement. Fifty-five years ago today Alan Bartlett Shepard blasted off from a launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to become the first U.S. astronaut to travel into space. Shepard’s flight lasted a mere 15 minutes, but it was enough to give the nation a great collective sigh of relief.

In baseball a metaphor

While plans had been underway for more than a year, on this day in 1936, the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elected its first members. At the Cooperstown, New York ceremony a cohort of early baseball legends, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson were inducted into the newly formed pantheon. While the facility itself would not be dedicated for another three years, the event set in place a time honored baseball tradition.

Lesson apparently not learned

Seventy-five years ago today, the shine wore thin on one of America’s greatest living heroes. On this day in 1941, famed aviator, Charles Lindbergh, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. During his testimony, Lindbergh argued against Pres. Roosevelt’s proposed Lend-Lease policy. He also urged Congress to negotiate a neutrality pact with Hitler.

White Hall solicits controversy

It’s no secret that civic leaders in White Hall seek to actively manage their city’s reputation. It’s equally apparent that many of their peers in Pine Bluff have largely abdicated this responsibility. While a bit of reputational tailoring is a good and necessary thing, a recent report in the Commercial shows how too much can be just as damaging as not enough.

Is ISIS an Islamic State?

CNN.com just published a thought provoking piece on the ways the Islamic State (ISIS) builds revenue. The core of ISIS funding comes from four main streams: an intricate network of taxation; oil production; looting of banks; and ransoms from kidnapping.

Indian history provides contrast

While most of us probably don’t spend much time considering the verities of Indian politics, this week marks an anniversary on the Sub-continent worth remembering. It’s the 50th anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s ascension to the office of prime minister of India. Following the death of her predecessor, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, under arguably suspicious circumstances, Gandhi became head of the Congress Party and thus, prime minister of India.

Finding a servant’s heart

It took Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) 15 years of diligent effort to see the commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday as a national holiday. Conyers introduced the first bill advocating a King holiday just fours days after MLK’s 1968 assassination. There would be 17 more bills before President Ronald Reagan finally signed the measure into law on November 2, 1983.