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Pride before and after falls

With the dangerous collapse of a second aging building along Main Street, Pine Bluff has arrived at a critical juncture. Either our municipal leaders step up to the plate and do what needs be done; or we steel ourselves for worse to come.

Curbing crime slowly but scientifically

Few people have studied the issue of crime deterrence more than Professor Daniel Nagin, who holds faculty appointments both at Carnegie-Mellon University and the Harvard School of Law. In a just-released bulletin, the National Institute of Justice lists some of Nagin’s findings with regard to making communities more safe.

An offer police can’t refuse

If you’ve ever tried to hammer a screw into a board then you know there’s a high probability of breaking the screw. Sadly, that’s exactly what the United States has chosen to do with millions of people who have a mental illness. According to recent report in “USA Today,” American jails and prisons are overflowing with the mentally ill. By failing to provide adequate public mental health care, millions of Americans are simply swept into the dust bin of society.

Lights dimmed over long legs

Elaine Stritch once quipped, “I don’t think there’s any thrill in the world like doing work you’re good at.” If she was right, she led a life filled with thrills. Stritch, a mainstay of Broadway theater, died this week, at age 89.

Heading into overtime

The public outlining by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of his government’s negotiating position in the ongoing talks on its nuclear program was a tip-off that Tehran isn’t aiming to conclude a deal by the July 20 deadline. Instead, Zarif’s Monday interview with The New York Times, in which he described an Iranian position that was unacceptable to Western governments but better than Tehran’s previous, blatantly unserious offers, was designed to provide Iran’s interlocutors — and in particular the Obama administration — with a rationale for extending the talks for up to six more months.

Storm safety requires thought and planning

In the wake of terrible destruction in Mayflower and Vilonia, it’s fitting that we pause to reconsider some of the things we think we know about tornado safety. Owing to their dramatic effects, tornadoes are ripe for myths and misinformation. If we errantly follow some of these misinformed directives, we and our families can pay a dear price.

Inaugural bicenquasquigenary observed

“Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month.” These were the first public words uttered by George Washington upon his inauguration as the first U.S. president, 225 years ago today.

Praying for victims of tornado

We don’t ever get used to hearing about the dead in the aftermath of tornadoes. No matter how many of the deadly storms twist through our region in a year, the next year the stories of the dead still land like a punch to the solar plexus.

Unwelcome correspondence unfortunate resistance

In a recent rhetorical melee between three influential members of the community and members of the Pine Bluff School Board, an unflattering truth was revealed. Irrespective of the issues addressed in the heated correspondence, these events should give us pause to consider who we’ve elected to oversee our school district.

Grist of war and history

Today we note the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Marks’ Mills in Cleveland County, near New Edinburg. Named for Hastings Marks who’d built several nearby grist mills, the encounter was arguably one of the most important battles west of the Mississippi River.

Three-quarters failed and growing

Whatever we’re doing, it isn’t working. At least that’s what one might readily conclude after reading the recent Bureau of Justice Statistics special report, Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010. Written by Matthew Durose, Alexia Cooper and Howard Snyder, BJS statisticians, the report cites irrefutable evidence that prisons in America are little more than temporary criminal warehouses. Their study is based on data from 30 states (including Arkansas).

Refuge renaming is fitting

Although Dale Bumpers disarmingly wrote about himself as “The Best Lawyer in a One-Lawyer Town,” there’s no one around here who doubts the substantial impact former Arkansas governor and senator made on his home state.

Dreaming about a larger field

As recently reported by The Commercial , a local committee for the 2015 Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series headed by Jim Hill just signed a contract with Babe Ruth League Inc. that will bring the national tournament to Pine Bluff. This will mark the sixth time a Babe Ruth Baseball World Series has been played in the city and first time since 2003. This turn is unabashedly good and the kind of thing we should encourage.

Tramp explores deep themes

Today we mark the 125th anniversary of silent film star Charlie Chaplin’s birth. While best remembered for his character, the Little Tramp, his career was much broader than that one famous visage. He was a director, a screen writer and a composer. Along with other film luminaries, D. W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Chaplin founded the United Artists production company. Long recognized as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, it’s fitting that we take stock of his legacy.