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New Congress has great opportunity

It doesn’t matter how one’s candidate fared in the recent elections. There is always something festive in what Stephens Washington Bureau reporter Peter Urban calls a “biennial rite of passage”: drawing lots for office space newly elected members of Congress will occupy during their terms.

Familiar refrain across the way

There’s a story now unfolding in Mississippi that should ring eerily familiar to many Arkansans. At the center of it stands Christopher Epps, a charming, detail-oriented post-wunderkind who as corrections commissioner had overseen the state’s inmate population quadruple while prison facilities expanded to include five new private prisons. Epps is the state’s longest serving corrections commissioner. As an accomplished African-American, Epps was widely hailed as a professional and personal role model.

Of creed deed and discontent

One hundred years ago a small group of German intellectuals formed a group in response to their nation’s aggressive campaign of invasion and annexation. Dubbed the Bund Neues Vaterland (New Fatherland League), the organization was headed by physician, Georg Nicolai.

Bang bang boogie remembered

With the now famous refrain, “I said a hip hop, hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it, to the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat…” hip hop music leapt out of inner city enclaves and into suburban America. The year was 1979. The track was a 14-minute-long opus titled “Rapper’s Delight.”

Dreams, tears and new lives

On its website, the National Park Service introduces Ellis Island with the phrase, “Island of Hope, Island of Tears.” From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island, located off the southern tip of Manhattan Island, was the United States’ largest and most active immigration station, where over 12 million immigrants were processed.

Careful what you want

The election held Tuesday is arguably the greatest post-Reconstruction moment in the history of the Arkansas Republican party. With almost every constitutional office either filled by or awaiting a Republican incumbent, it is important to take stock of what this election is, what it isn’t and what their newfound mantle requires.

Long legacy of modeling’s mother

The innumerable obituaries for Eileen Ford, founder of the storied Ford Modeling agency, contain a wide array of descriptive terms, ranging from predictable superlatives to not-so subtle critiques. Words like “imperious” and “disciplinarian” are common. As are “prescient” and “savvy.” Ford, who died last week at age 92 helped transform an industry and give rise to the age of the supermodel.

Borderline inaction

Nobody knows for sure how much weight, or blame, to assign each of the factors that have contributed to the flood of unaccompanied children and teens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months. The surge of illegal entries has crested into a full-blown immigration crisis, the resolution of which now depends on the unpromising hope of cooperation between the Obama administration and Congress.

The century Ruth built

It’s a tough trick to be both the center of a curse and an iconic hero, but that’s exactly the place in history occupied by George Herman “Babe” Ruth. Today marks the 100th anniversary of Ruth’s major league debut. On July 11, 1914, Ruth first ascended the mound as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. The rest, as they say, is history.

A challenge, not a catastrophe

Are hundreds of thousands of Americans getting government money they aren’t entitled to because of Obamacare? Illegal immigrants, too? Is it all further evidence that the Obama administration is incompetent and the system unworkable?

Independence by the numbers

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on a pathway to freedom from British tyranny. As we pause to celebrate this grand act of defiance, we will surely remember the lives lost in service to this freedom. We will likewise recall all the other sacrifices necessary to protect and maintain that freedom. It is also fitting that we stop to consider some of the more trivial, but nonetheless interesting facts surrounding our march to independence.