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Opinion

Making Fun of Transgender People

When I was a lad, I often heard jokes about blacks, Latinos and gays, who were regarded as amusing because of their supposed inferiority and defectiveness. Today most people would be embarrassed and offended by such humor. But, at least in some places, there is one group that is still a safe source of yuks: transgender people.

interconnected

We’re interconnected, aren’t we? The Middle East, Arkansas, its governor and General Assembly, its Highway Commission. And the little old lady in [Editors: choose your town] who is driving a car a third smaller than her last one but which is getting a third better mileage.

Airport lines: your government failing you

This summer, air travel is for people who expect to go to hell and want to know what it will be like. Security lines have reached epic lengths in many airports. Thousands of travelers have missed flights. And the Transportation Security Administration now advises passengers to arrive two hours before departure for domestic flights — and three in some places.

Researching the opposition

Opposition research, as it’s called, has been underway for decades. Every public utterance by Hillary Clinton has been vacuumed from the public record: newspapers, magazines, television and radio tapes, speech transcripts, White House letters and logs, congressional testimony, Senate papers, State Department correspondence (save for whatever may be, or may have been, on the personal e-mail server she used). As it becomes available, that is; some White House documents, stored at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, have yet to be catalogued and opened to inspection, a process that surely will bring more accusations that the National Archives is acceding to pressure from the Clintons to drag its feet.

Colorado’s lessons from legal pot

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed a 2012 state ballot initiative to allow the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes. He told voters it might “increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK.” Spurning his advice, voters approved it.

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.

Twined fantasies doom the poor

Watching the predictable machinations of the Arkansas State Legislature has become tiresome. Whenever the state’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens are concerned, Republican lawmakers invariably see how close they can get to unconstitutionally punitive restrictions and mandates.

Echoes of pandemics close to home

There were a pair of stories this week that reported on major public health issues potentially affecting Arkansas. The first of these by Arkansas News Bureau reports on an announcement by Arkansas state health officials. In it Arkansas health officials said Tuesday the Shelby County Health Department in Tennessee has confirmed six cases of measles in the Memphis area and said some Arkansans may have been exposed to the infectious disease. The second ANB story reflects the Arkansas Department of Health report of a fourth Arkansan infected with the Zika virus, that has been spiraling globally.

Trump played checkers; they played chess

If this presidential election were a chess match, somebody like Sen. Ted Cruz would be calling “checkmate” on the Republican Party nomination about now. Instead, it’s checkers this year, and Donald Trump is winning because he knows that’s the game being played.

Why felons should be allowed to vote

America has 2.2 million jail and prison inmates, and everyone worries about what will happen when they get out. Some of us worry that they will seek out new victims and commit new crimes. Some of us worry that they will head to the nearest courthouse and register to vote.