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Opinion

Strong evidence against capital punishment

Just this week Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was almost gleeful in stating her intent to set execution dates for several inmates on the state’s death row. I worry about people who think capital punishment represents the great pinnacle of justice. Given her demonstrated proclivities to shill for all manner other ultra-conservative, anti-science and anti-environmental causes, the fact that she champions an ineffectual and draconian punishment philosophy is nauseatingly predictable. At least she’s consistent.

Justice and Freddie Gray

Local prosecutors, being elected to office, are subject to the rule of the people. Their decisions, however, are not — or at least they shouldn’t be. Any state’s attorney or district attorney worthy of the office gives public opinion about particular cases exactly the weight it deserves: zero.

Fiddling around, ignoring problems

You know the story about Nero fiddling while Rome burned? It didn’t actually happen, but it illustrates a point about leaders crazily ignoring a problem. These days, no illustration is needed. The government’s largest programs, Social Security and Medicare, are not burning up, but their problems are being ignored.

A growing family farm

A few weeks ago I wrote about a small gardening project I had undertaken. I built planter boxes and trellises against my old shed. I planted gourds, moonflowers and pumpkins in the boxes. The gourds and moonflowers are now snaking their way slowly up the trellises. I am hopeful that the summer will yield many flowers and alien-looking fruit.

First ladies independent and important

The old sentiment “behind every successful man is a strong woman” is a tad antiquated in an era when a woman is the putative presidential nominee of a major political party. Strength, intellect, creativity and rectitude have always been equally distributed across genders. Only in recent years has American culture finally begun to embrace that fact.

After Orlando, Exercises in Irrelevancy

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, our leaders have shown a talent for devising remedies that are clear, simple and irrelevant. One politician after another has stepped forward with remedies that would not actually have stopped or appreciably hindered Omar Mateen from carrying out his slaughter.

Hutchinson denies huddled masses

Many opponents of so-called trickle-down economics hold that the much vaunted benefits to America’s wealthiest individuals never quite flow to the bottom. Interestingly, data from a 2015 report by the Urban Institute suggests that the mechanism does in fact work, just not in the way proponents would like to believe.

SCOTUS history against GOP

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the Republican party has waged a rhetorical war against any nomination President Barack Obama might make for a successor. As of this week, that nominee has a name: Merrick Garland. While Garland’s previous vetting en route to the Federal Appellate bench was strongly bi-partisan and without controversy, his road to the Supreme Court may be yet more rocky.

For Hollingsworth;for progress

As the March 22 primary runoff elections are fast approaching — and early voting already underway — we urge voters to mark their calendar and help the city continue its recent progress. To this point, we heartily endorse incumbent Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth came in as a successful business person but a political outsider. Four years ago that’s exactly what this community needed. Hollingsworth, having been hardened in the forge of Pine Bluff politics, is the one person who can continue to facilitate the progress we are now experiencing.

Obama’s foreign policy success

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s foreign policy gets no love. Republicans portray it as weak, timid, inept and rudderless. Hillary Clinton has faulted him for the rise of the Islamic State and lacking a strategy. Bernie Sanders doesn’t rush to Obama’s defense.

It’s time to jumpstart Jefferson County

Every day in our county, the lives of hundreds of our citizens are improved by the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library System. After school, groups of Watson Chapel students come to work on their homework. Citizens in Redfield gather for a community meeting. Dozens of parents drop their children off for a summer reading program in downtown Pine Bluff. An Altheimer resident who lacks an Internet connection at home has a chance to use a computer and apply for a job online. A young person in White Hall who aspires to be the first in her family to go to college borrows an ACT prep book for free and has a quiet place to study.

ADC should keep facility here

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center may be relocated to West Memphis. As the facility employs 138 people, area residents are necessarily concerned about the economic and human impact this move poses for the people of Jefferson County.