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Middle East medicine too late

Not since the early days of the Cold War has American society faced as large an existential crisis as it does now. We know from high school civics class the nation we ought to be. Sadly, international terrorism and xenophobic hate speech from the political margins is turning us away from those simple, but noble ideals.

A day of thanks

It would have been easy on Oct. 3, 1863, for President Lincoln — or anyone else — not to be thankful. The nation (or nations, depending on one’s perspective) was still mired in a terrible Civil War, and while the Union had enjoyed victories that summer in Gettysburg and Vicksburg, much bloody fighting remained. Earlier that year, Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, had been injured in a carriage “accident” caused by an assailant sabotaging the driver’s seat. Their beloved son, Willie, had died the previous year at age 11.

Council makes right decision

At its most recent meeting, members of the Pine Bluff City Council voted to reject council member Thelma Walker’s proposed ordinance to increase the tax on hotel stays. While opposition was motivated by different reasons, the council arrived at the correct decision. Whether a general rejection of new taxes or a vote against an ill-conceived measure, this was a step in the right direction.

Republican tax fantasies

The Republican presidential candidates have not rallied behind Ben Carson in his clash with the news media, but they should be grateful to him. His misrepresentation of reality on matters concerning his past has distracted attention from his rivals’ misrepresentations of reality on a matter concerning the nation’s future: tax policy.

Opening the Great Wall

Often likened to an immense dragon flowing across the mountains, deserts and grasslands of northern China, the Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On this day in 1970, the Chinese government finally opened the Wall to tourists. Previously only the Badaling section near Beijing had been accessible.

On pot, can we keep up with the neighbors?

Canada was recently ranked the freest country in the world, but newly installed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t about to let it rest on its maple leaves. He won the October national elections after proposing something no major American presidential nominee has ever dared to endorse: legalizing marijuana.

Old wine in old bottles

One hundred twenty-five years ago today the city of Oakland, California, passed its first anti-drug laws. Coming under regulation were opium, morphine and cocaine. Before the passage of this act, these drugs had been freely and openly available both for recreational and medicinal uses. With the new laws, these drugs had to be obtained through a licensed doctor.

Walker proposes expensive horseplay

Pine Bluff City Council member Thelma Walker has just announced her intention to run for the office of mayor. In a recent fumble with regard to proposed Parks and Recreation Department funding she’s also given us a glimpse as to what a Walker administration might look like. The preview isn’t good.

Rabbit hole in American culture

Adapted from Mary Chase’s 1944 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the screen version of “Harvey” premiered on this day in 1950. It starred acclaimed actor Jimmy Stewart, who would receive his fourth Academy Award nomination for his performance. Produced by Universal Studios, “Harvey” is the story of a man who can see a 6-foot-tall rabbit (named Harvey) that is invisible to everyone else.

Disgraceful swap on commission

At its most recent meeting, the Pine Bluff City Council voted 6-1 to remove Bill Brumett from the Advertising and Promotion Commission amid accusations of impropriety. Brumett cast the lone dissenting vote. Alderman Charles Boyd had left the meeting prior to the discussion.

No parking space for reason

It’s such a sorry state of affairs when a person can read through Pine Bluff City Council and Jefferson County Quorum Court proposals and instantly sense the negative influences of well-established malcontents. As election season creeps toward us, both bodies are considering the proper boundaries of campaign activities relative to public facilities.

Herbie: No love just bugs

As many readers are doubtless aware, the automaker, Volkswagen, has come under fire for allegedly including a software switch that allowed heavily polluting vehicles to circumvent emissions inspections. Not only was this an outright fraud, it also meant that buyers were getting neither the promised fuel economy, environmental protection nor performance they were promised. I wished this surprised me. It doesn’t.