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Where have all the zealots gone?

On this day in 1964 students and faculty staged the first large-scale antiwar demonstration in the United States. The protest took place at the Berkeley campus of University of California. While this march gained national attention, opinion polls showed a majority of Americans supported President Lyndon Johnson’s policies in southeast Asia.

The law of the war

At the United Nations on Wednesday, President Obama offered a powerful case for war against the Islamic State. “This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria,” he said. “There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force.”

Geography lesson in banned books

Each year during the last week of September the American Library Association celebrates our First Amendment rights with Banned Books week. One of the event’s center points is publication of a list that enumerates those books that have received the most challenges during the past year.

Good first steps toward safety

Earlier this week, the Pine Bluff City Council passed a measure that creates penalties for irresponsible property owners. The ordinance was sponsored by Ward 1 Alderman Lloyd Holcomb Jr. and passed with the affirmative vote of five other council members.

Facts drown out rhetoric

According to a number of recently released reports, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare” is on track to improve health care access while decreasing taxpayer burden.

A different double jeopardy

One year ago today a computer technician working at the Washington Navy Yard went on a shooting rampage that left 12 people dead. A few weeks before arming himself with a Remington model 870 shotgun and murdering a dozen strangers, Aaron Alexis told police in Rhode Island that he was hearing voices. The private IT contracting firm employing Alexis took him off his assignment for a few days then let him back on the job; less than a month later, he went to work at the Navy Yard.

We will never forget 9/11

Fifty years ago, people talked about the amazing beauty of the mushroom clouds that developed after atomic bombs were detonated in tests. The brilliance, the wide spectrum of color visible, the graceful development of the cloud itself: It was a terrible beauty to be sure, but a beautiful sight just the same, and one seared into the memory of all who saw it.

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Hope for the future

I saw a groundhog. That might be an unremarkable fact if your element isn’t Manhattan concrete, but it was a highlight for this city gal. And it added to the sylvan aspect of the event I was attending last year, the Thomas Aquinas Philosophy Workshop, in Newburgh, New York. So, too, did the sight just yards from the wildlife: A convent chapel full of young men in the white habit of the Dominican religious order. In reality, the event, whose fourth annual session will be held next month, was a contemplative and analytical engagement with the world of the most practical and modern sort.

Poppies from atop Mt. Everest

Decades before the men Stephen Ambrose immortalized in Band of Brothers, there was another group of fire-hardened warriors whose adventures, excitement and travails during World War I inspired a new age of discovery. In his, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest, Wade Davis tells a splendidly horrible tale where the veterans of the War to End All Wars assail the slopes of Mt. Everest.

FBI prospers by feeding fears

James Comey became FBI director last year, at a time when Osama bin Laden was dead, terrorism at home was on the decline and the United States was shrinking its inflammatory presence in the Muslim world. So naturally, he says the danger is way worse than you think.

Respect for the flag

Whether you fly the American flag just on summer holidays or all year round, the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend provides a great opportunity to take a look at flag and how you fly it.

College students can protect themselves from ‘triggers’

Supposedly, students at some of our most prestigious universities find themselves confronted with existential challenges. Some are required to read books and watch films that could conceivably upset them emotionally. Hence many campuses are considering “trigger warnings” to alert the more delicate flowers against getting their little feelings hurt.

Raise wages, create jobs

The standard argument — really, the only argument — against raising the minimum wage is that it will lead to job loss. The argument is beloved by die-hard opponents of raising the wage because it provides them with a veneer, however flimsy, of concern about the welfare of the working poor.

Making hard choices

Speaker John Boehner talks a good game about pushing immigration reform. He told a recent fundraiser in Las Vegas that he was “hell-bent on getting this done this year,” reports the Wall Street Journal. And back home in Cincinnati, he even mocked his fellow House Republicans for failing to confront the issue.