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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.

Millennia of murderous barbarians

Approximately two weeks ago, The Islamic State, variously termed ISIS or ISIL, beheaded American journalist, James Foley. These same terrorists just released another video in which one of their operatives beheads, yet another American journalist, Steven Sotloff. In what is becoming a pattern of orgiastic barbarity, The Islamic State stands on a line it dare not cross.

Executive session out of bounds

Yet again we feel compelled to express our displeasure with the antics of Jefferson County Election Commission Chairman Ted Davis. At the most recent meeting of the commission, Davis called for an executive session without announcing a reason for it. Upon review of the session’s contents, Davis’ request may well violate the Freedom of Information Act.

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.

A half-baked school lunch plan

The federal government spends more than $10 billion a year on the National School Lunch Program, which serves more than 30 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For that, taxpayers should expect schools not to feed their children junk.

Chicken rising from the ashes

The Summit Poultry/Horizon Foods deal has until now been a mess for the Economic Development Corporation of Jefferson County. It could have been a huge boon to the local economy, but it just never came to pass. All that stands to change now thanks to a new agreement reached between the Economic Development Corporation (also known as the “tax board”) and a new group of investors.

Arkansas primary election

The May 20 Arkansas primary succeeded in winnowing the field of players but as a referendum on the principal issue facing Republican voters it failed. The outcome in a dozen contests for seats in the state Senate and House of Representatives, campaigns in which “Obamacare” was the dominant theme, left in suspense the future of the Private Option, the Arkansas version of the Affordable Care Act.