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Spiting Obama proves lethal

‘If we can’t defeat it, we’ll at least make it very hard to enroll’ appears to be the logic behind Arkansas’ Republican legislators’ approval of a 2014 amendment to the state’s so-called private option Medicaid marketplace. The cynical tactic appears to have worked.

Repurposed signs inspire hope

With a regular slate of depressing things to report, it was heartening to read a recent article in The Commercial detailing Ron Jefferson’s efforts to improve Pine Bluff. Jefferson, who returned to Pine Bluff after living decades in Detroit, now supervises individuals who have been convicted of petty crimes and sentenced to perform community service. As such, Jefferson clearly understands the wages of negativity. He’s also engaged in a program tailored to thwart some of those detracting forces.

Seeking jets for peace

In a recent editorial we noted the anniversary of U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard’s flight into space. His brief foray into the outer atmosphere was propelled as much by fear of Soviet technological advances as it was the enormous rocket underneath his Freedom 7 capsule.

Mall trajectory perhaps inevitable

The last thing the beleaguered Pines mall needs is one more controversy. Even so, that’s what it’s facing. As recently reported by The Commercial, at least two former employees of a “new” restaurant in the mall have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that they were not paid for time they had worked there.

Cleanup reflects systematic thinking

In a recent report published in The Commercial, local efforts to clean up the central part of the city were highlighted. A large group, including students from Watson Chapel High School, police officers, firefighters, a city bus and representatives of Waste Management, was led by Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth.

America pushes outer limits

Today marks an auspicious anniversary in American technological achievement. Fifty-five years ago today Alan Bartlett Shepard blasted off from a launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to become the first U.S. astronaut to travel into space. Shepard’s flight lasted a mere 15 minutes, but it was enough to give the nation a great collective sigh of relief.

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.

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.

Walker less than transparent with ‘no’ vote

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Pine Bluff City Council just approved a $29.6 million budget on a 7-1 vote. Mayor Debe Hollingsworth had proposed the $29,459,937 budget for the upcoming year. The council then added an additional $198,924, including $92,557 to hire two firefighters and an extra $50,000 to the city’s program that provides summer jobs to teenagers.