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Opinion

Trump, state of the GOP

It is difficult to envision U.S. Sen. John Boozman losing his re-election bid this November, but you have to give his opponent credit for giving it his best. Conner Eldridge, the Democratic nominee, is keeping as vigorous a calendar as his resources permit, and rarely a day passes without an e-mailed press release scorching, or trying to scorch, the Republican incumbent.

Rescuing elephants, at last

If you’re one of those people who go to the circus to see the animal acts, there is bad news: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey staged its final show using elephants on Sunday in Providence, Rhode Island. These animals have done their last tricks for human entertainment. All the elephants that have been part of the circus will be relocated to a 200-acre refuge in Florida.

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.

Better ordinances not crusades

Sometimes Pine Bluff City Council Alderman Steven Mays is like a dog with a bone: once he seizes on an issue, he just won’t let it go. Most probably recall the time and effort wasted with his crusade against the 71602 ZIP code. In shades of zealousness that are eerily similar, he has decided to waste the people’s time with a protracted and pointless harangue against contractor Danny Bradshaw of Mr. Brick Antique Buy and Sell, who has contracted with Pine Bluff to remove some of the collapsed buildings along Main Street.

Drop the appeal, open the file

Since writing my last weekly newspaper column for publication on Dec. 29, ending a run of more than 40 years, I can’t say I’ve missed the regular deadlines. But I have missed having an outlet for expression, which is important to a writer.

Trump’s feast of incoherence

The reviews of Donald Trump’s grand foray into foreign policy agreed on one thing, which is that Trump can’t even agree with himself. His Wednesday speech was an exercise in self-contradiction, a feast of incoherence, a walk up the down escalator.

In memory of Ray Thornton

The night before Ray Thornton of Arkansas died I was reading a biography of Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. And making notes about Adlai and Arkansas (the connections abundant and well-known) and what he would make of today’s politics. (That column, coming soon). The book was on my desk in the morning when on my computer screen appeared the first word of Thornton’s death. The physical resemblance the two men shared — nose, eyes, the hairline (or absence of one) — amused rather than startled.

Why it’s too late to scrap the Iran deal

To most Republicans, the three scariest words in the English language, after “Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” are “Iran nuclear deal.” The GOP presidential candidates are so intent on putting distance between them and it that you’d think the document was printed on radioactive paper.

Population number bear reflection

A recent story published in The Commercial details one of the most serious issues facing the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County: population loss. The county and city have been in decline for almost three decades. Peaking at just over 57,000 in 1970 (and hovering there until 1990) the region has seen one of the most precipitous population slides in the nation.

A century of bunkshooting fear

Recently, the evangelist Franklin Graham held a prayer rally at the Arkansas State Capitol where he urged citizens to vote for Christian candidates who support “biblical principles.” During his speech, he railed against what he characterized as the “growth of secularism.”

Steering the national will

One hundred-fifty years ago this week, Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth mortally wounded U. S. Pres. Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater at Washington, DC. History well records the sequence of events: Booth’s furtive move into Lincoln’s private theater box; the fatal shot to the back of the head; the assassin’s leg-breaking leap to the stage and his infamous cry of “sic semper tyrannis!”