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Opinion

Trump, state of the GOP

It is difficult to envision U.S. Sen. John Boozman losing his re-election bid this November, but you have to give his opponent credit for giving it his best. Conner Eldridge, the Democratic nominee, is keeping as vigorous a calendar as his resources permit, and rarely a day passes without an e-mailed press release scorching, or trying to scorch, the Republican incumbent.

Rescuing elephants, at last

If you’re one of those people who go to the circus to see the animal acts, there is bad news: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey staged its final show using elephants on Sunday in Providence, Rhode Island. These animals have done their last tricks for human entertainment. All the elephants that have been part of the circus will be relocated to a 200-acre refuge in Florida.

America pushes outer limits

Today marks an auspicious anniversary in American technological achievement. Fifty-five years ago today Alan Bartlett Shepard blasted off from a launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to become the first U.S. astronaut to travel into space. Shepard’s flight lasted a mere 15 minutes, but it was enough to give the nation a great collective sigh of relief.

Being Bullish on Automobiles

It’s a pretty safe bet that most of us have never even seen a Lamborghini automobile in person. With its entry-level model, the Huracan, checking in around $200,000; and its big brother, the Aventador, demanding a cool half million dollars, sightings are understandably rare.

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.

What Trump and Sanders get wrong on trade

Donald Trump says the problem in the United States is that “we don’t win anymore.” Trade is his favorite example, based on our longstanding trade deficit. But in one big area, America is a big global winner, year after year. That little-known fact exposes the basic, fatal error in Trump’s lament.

Modern privateers still influential

On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress issued a document entitled, “Instructions to Commanders of Private Ships or vessels of War, which shall have Commissions of Letters of Marque and Reprisal, authorizing them to make Captures of British Vessels and Cargoes.” This declaration gave the captains of privately owned commercial ships the right to attack and plunder British ships without any legal consequences. Thus began the long American tradition of private military contractors.

Pacts old, new and irrelevant

Twenty-five years ago today, the Warsaw Pact came to an end. Formed as a military counterpoint to the West’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the original assembly included the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and Albania.

Oligarchs rise in dirty money

The concept of hegemony is popular among people who study the distribution of power across societies and the world. The term ‘hegemony’ is used to indicate a condition where a small group of people exert a disproportionate or unfair influence over another group.

Council trapped under logical rubble

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by this point in the situation, but recent efforts by certain members of the Pine Bluff City Council to construct a false victim narrative around Garland Trice; and a concomitant effort to vilify Danny Bradshaw (dba Mr. Brick) really strain credulity. At the most recent meeting of the council, members Steven Mays, George Stepps and Thelma Walker each exhibited a rationale that borders on delusional.

Troubles

Ask any bartender: drinking at lunch has practically ended among the employed of all occupations. Which is why you need the evening hours to find Democrats who believe Hillary Clinton has even a 50-50 chance of winning Arkansas in November.

Disorder in the court

Apparently we’ll spend the rest of the year with a 4-4 split on the Supreme Court, with the current vacancy left unfilled after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. So here’s a scenario. Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump in the election. Democrats take back the Senate. And then Clinton fills the vacancy by nominating President Obama.

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.