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Opinion

The Illusions of Trump and Sanders

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the antithesis of the conventional politician. They are not programmed, their lines are not focus-group tested, and they take positions far outside the mainstream. But the victory speeches they gave in New Hampshire Tuesday night showed they have mastered the oldest political trick of all: promising things they can’t deliver.

And the real socialist is…

As we get deeper into the weeds of the current election season, the din of empty rhetoric is deafening. Much of the blame goes to the Republicans’ darling of the moment, Donald Trump. I see Trump as the equivalent of cotton candy. It’s all puffed up, showy, appropriate for a circus and utterly void of meaningful substance. He’s all emotion, derogatory bating and narcissism.

Planning puts smart brake on sale

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Pine Bluff City Council Development and Planning Committee recommended the full council consider a measure imposing a moratorium on the city sales of property zoned for commercial use until more detailed guidelines are developed.

Promises and visions

When I was a pre-teen, I recalled a biblical message delivered by our church minister, the late Reverend T.J. Taylor of the Pine Hill Baptist Church here in town. Unlike Donald Trump, I will not fake a knowledge of biblical verse and attempt to quote scripture and verse. However, I do remember the essence of that message was that people without a vision will perish. As we approach the election season here in town with all of the promises of elected officials who profess to have a vision that will move Pine Bluff forward, I suggest we take time to reflect.

Old grudge new fodder

Last week The Commercial reported on yet another kerfuffle between mayoral candidate Theodis “Ted” Davis and his former associate on the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners, Stu Soffer. Like the swallows returning to San Capistrano, these individuals never disappoint in their political theatrics.

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.

A Japanese story made in Arkansas

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, U.S. Pres. Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. With his signature, all persons of Japanese descent were ordered from the West Coast to one of 10 internment camps, most of which were located in remote areas of California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Texas, and Arkansas.

Warren’s Lifeline to the vulnerable

As has been widely reported, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D, Mass.) has proposed legislation that would give every senior citizen and disabled veteran in America a check for $580. Warren bases her proposal, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act, on a couple of twined ideas — ideas that have merit and are worthy of support.

Davis: Same tired tricks

Sometimes the mirror can be the harshest critic. Unfortunately, the mirror in front of local political operator, Ted Davis, appears to be rather cloudy. While the people of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County are largely inured of his dubious machinations — both as former Mayor Carl Redus Jr.’s right hand man and as a member of the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners — Davis has found a third office in which to stir controversy: chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Central Committee.

Do needy students merit more scholarships?

Let’s jump straight into the facts. According to a new report, “Closing the Gap,” by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, 94 percent of Arkansas’ state-funded college scholarships are based solely on merit — ACT scores, etc. — while 6 percent also are based on need. Only two states and the District of Columbia are weighted more toward merit. The national average, on the other hand, is 75 percent need-based.

Ryan: great promise but problems

Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R – Wisconsin) was elected the 54th Speaker of the House this past Thursday. Ryan took the gavel from Speaker John A. Boehner (R- Ohio), who had been pressured to resign the post by the ultra-conservatives in the party.