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Focus, partner, achieve

As World AIDS day approaches, we are reminded that the pace of new infections remains too high, and although treatments have made living with the disease easier, there still is no cure for AIDS or the HIV that causes it.

Great work from a small man

Earlier this week the online giant, Google, commemorated the sesquicentennial of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s birth with a so-called Google Doodle. Such an honor is fitting for an artist who created some of the most iconic and memorable advertising images in history.

Gratitude focused and framed

For what shall we give thanks? The world is full of people whose lot is so sad and wanting that we might give thanks for just not being them. We are thankful not to be homeless. We are thankful not to be hungry. We are thankful not to be alone.

Heal thyself, Dr. Cosby

Herein lies the risk of lionizing the living. As the recent media obsession ably depicts, embattled comedian Bill Cosby’s real life and his public persona may have reached an irreconcilable difference.

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.

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.

Civil rights hard-fought

We pause today to remember President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act, which turns 50 this year, ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and is considered one of the most important pieces of legislation since the Civil War. It is often heralded as the crowing jewel of the civil rights movement.

Metaphorical menagerie killing city

As recently reported in The Commercial, officials in the Pine Bluff municipal government are concerned about conditions at the Plaza Hotel, which is attached to the Convention Center. They should be. They should have been more than a decade ago. They should have acted before now.

Remembering the Great Conciliator

Sen. Howard Baker Jr. was often called the “Great Conciliator.” He earned the nickname because of his prodigal ability to mediate differences and build alliances across political party boundaries. Baker died this week at his home in Huntsville, Tenn. He was 88 years old.