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Enabling change 25 years later

Imagine that you have just graduated near the top of your class at an elite collegiate engineering program. Now imagine you go out into the world only to be repeatedly rebuffed by prospective employers. Their reasons for your rejection? You credentials are first order: good school; good grades; good recommendations. It’s none of those things. It’s because you use a wheelchair.

New tools to block intrusion

As recently reported by The Commercial, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Wednesday joined 44 other state attorneys general in calling on phone carriers AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and CenturyLink to offer call-blocking technology to their customers. We believe this is a necessary step to improve consumer protection.

No need for bullish jesters

As has been widely reported, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently made yet one more ill-advised remark that unjustly criticized another person. In this instance, while speaking to the 2015 Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, last Saturday, he said of fellow Republican, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, “I like people who weren’t captured,” a reference to McCain’s imprisonment by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. McCain’s captors tortured him so severely that McCain is still unable to raise his arms above his head.

Rising tide submerges broader values

The culmination of an 11-year construction effort, Egypt’s Aswan High Dam was completed on this day in 1970. Since the hydroelectric plant went into service, Aswan has produced nearly half a trillion watts of electricity. This success spurred economic development while controlling the notorious seasonal floods of the Nile River. Even so, this progress came with equally high costs.

Choosing between our necessities

Owing to a decrease in population, the Jefferson County Quorum Court finds itself in the grasp of a familiar devil’s bargain: falling revenue and the question of cutting back. Perhaps the greatest bone of contention concerns the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and that agency’s share of the burden.

Time to use animal cruelty laws

With the recent death of De’Trick Johnson, the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County are forced to recognize the flaws in our local culture of animal keeping. While county lawmakers have been largely mute on the twined issues of dangerous dogs and animal cruelty, the Pine Bluff City Council chose to address the problems with ineffectual and uninformed “breed specific” ordinances. These ordinances do little other than punish the dog for the crimes of the owner.

To walk fall and rise

Fifty years ago this week, Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev sent this congratulatory message to cosmonaut Alexei Leonov as he orbited the Earth: “We members of the Politburo are here sitting and watching what you are doing. We are proud of you. We wish you success. Take care. We await your safe arrival on Earth.”

Yet more uninformed public policy

We’re already in touch with the fact that the current raft of Arkansas legislators is dominated by individuals whose policy positions are misguided, so it was no real surprise when we read that a bill had advanced that would restrict registered sex offenders from living near churches.

Twined fortunes communal misfortune

Watching the fractious and often poison relationship between embattled Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson and her school board is eerily familiar. It’s almost like watching Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth fight with certain members of the city council. It’s similar because both women recognize the need for deep systemic changes — necessary changes — and their respective governing bodies appear content to let their constituents slip into the abyss.

House bill 1681 is ‘poor option’

The House City, County and Local Affairs Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly is scheduled today to consider House Bill 1681 by Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs, that will give governing bodies the “option” of placing their public notices in a newspaper or on their website.

Bill fences in American dream

Yet again the blind march to theocracy wins the day in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This week the House voted 61-8 to approve HB 1474 by Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, which asserts that American law trumps foreign law in Arkansas courts. News flash: It already does. As long as the nation stands, it always will.