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Being Bullish on Automobiles

It’s a pretty safe bet that most of us have never even seen a Lamborghini automobile in person. With its entry-level model, the Huracan, checking in around $200,000; and its big brother, the Aventador, demanding a cool half million dollars, sightings are understandably rare.

Better ordinances not crusades

Sometimes Pine Bluff City Council Alderman Steven Mays is like a dog with a bone: once he seizes on an issue, he just won’t let it go. Most probably recall the time and effort wasted with his crusade against the 71602 ZIP code. In shades of zealousness that are eerily similar, he has decided to waste the people’s time with a protracted and pointless harangue against contractor Danny Bradshaw of Mr. Brick Antique Buy and Sell, who has contracted with Pine Bluff to remove some of the collapsed buildings along Main Street.

Twined fantasies doom the poor

Watching the predictable machinations of the Arkansas State Legislature has become tiresome. Whenever the state’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens are concerned, Republican lawmakers invariably see how close they can get to unconstitutionally punitive restrictions and mandates.

Echoes of pandemics close to home

There were a pair of stories this week that reported on major public health issues potentially affecting Arkansas. The first of these by Arkansas News Bureau reports on an announcement by Arkansas state health officials. In it Arkansas health officials said Tuesday the Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee has confirmed six cases of measles in the Memphis area and said some Arkansans may have been exposed to the infectious disease. The second ANB story reflects the Arkansas Department of Health report of a fourth Arkansan infected with the Zika virus, that has been spiraling globally.

Parties dangerously ignoring context

If you were to visit the National Archives in Washington, D.C. you might pass by the 1935 Robert Aitken sculpture, “The Future.” The piece is comprised of a seated female figure with a large open book on her lap. It is part of a pair of sculptures that flank the Archives entrance. The other is “The Past” a male figure, also seated, but the book he holds is closed.

Population number bear reflection

A recent story published in The Commercial details one of the most serious issues facing the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County: population loss. The county and city have been in decline for almost three decades. Peaking at just over 57,000 in 1970 (and hovering there until 1990) the region has seen one of the most precipitous population slides in the nation.

Steering the national will

One hundred-fifty years ago this week, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth mortally wounded U. S. Pres. Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater at Washington, DC. History well records the sequence of events: Booth’s furtive move into Lincoln’s private theater box; the fatal shot to the back of the head; the assassin’s leg-breaking leap to the stage and his infamous cry of “sic semper tyrannis!”

Protect them to protect us

On this day in 1866, the cause of animal welfare took a giant leap forward. New York philanthropist and diplomat, Henry Bergh, founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Bergh’s interest in protecting animals began while he served as the U. S. representative to the court of Russian Tsar Alexander II. While at this post, Bergh often saw the Russian peasantry mercilessly beat their work horses with whips and knouts.

Tesla vs. dealers: Let buyers decide

America is the land of the free - unless your idea of freedom includes a right to build cars and sell them directly to the public, rather than through a third party. For those who try to do that, America morphs into a semi-feudal system of state-law trade barriers and bureaucracy whose ostensible purpose is to protect consumers but whose actual one is to protect incumbent holders of automobile retail franchises, as expert testimony confirmed at a Federal Trade Commission conference on the subject in January.

Walesa rises, old foes fall

Twenty-five years ago today, the one-time dissident leader, Lech Walesa, became the first noncommunist president of Poland since World War II. Walesa, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, had been an ardent critic of Soviet hegemony in his position as a labor movement leader. At the time, many saw Walesa’s ascension for what it was: a harbinger of changes yet to come.

Royalty at the White House

On December 21, 1970 one of the more curious meetings with a sitting U.S. president took place. Photographs from that meeting are kept by the National Archives and Records Administration. Of the millions of images maintained by the National Archives one might guess that the most requested photo reproduction request would be of something like a battle scene or a poignant moment form the civil rights struggle. You’d be wrong.

New era in animal keeping

We are heartened at the imminent opening of the new Pine Bluff Animal Shelter. After decades of backward-looking management and a facility that can only be described as medieval, the city is poised to inaugurate a new era of progressive, humane and positive animal keeping.

Ugly reflections of self

An evocative set of findings has just been released by the Harvard University Institute of Politics (IOP), at the John F. Kennedy School of Government. The GFK-Knowledge Panel survey from which the observations are derived, tracks the opinions of 2,011 18- to 29-year-olds, members of the so-called “millennial” generation. Some of the findings support the view that millennials tend to be more narcissistic than their parent’s generation.

Dollarway failed yet again

For years The Commercial has published reports covering one cataclysm after the next at the Dollarway School District. Whether it be the failures of district administration or the teaching staff or the policy and financial irresponsibility of the school board, the district has become an abject failure. With the predictability of the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, the Arkansas state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to place the Dollarway School District under state control.

Benefits of thinking small

As recently reported in The Commercial, several local retailers are experiencing an uptick in seasonal sales. Both long established stores — such as the Record Rack and Doc’s Pawn Shop — as well as relative newcomers — like the Honey Hole and the Country Chic Chocolate Co. — have reason to be optimistic.