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Familiar refrain across the way

There’s a story now unfolding in Mississippi that should ring eerily familiar to many Arkansans. At the center of it stands Christopher Epps, a charming, detail-oriented post-wunderkind who as corrections commissioner had overseen the state’s inmate population quadruple while prison facilities expanded to include five new private prisons. Epps is the state’s longest serving corrections commissioner. As an accomplished African-American, Epps was widely hailed as a professional and personal role model.

Of creed deed and discontent

One hundred years ago a small group of German intellectuals formed a group in response to their nation’s aggressive campaign of invasion and annexation. Dubbed the Bund Neues Vaterland (New Fatherland League), the organization was headed by physician, Georg Nicolai.

Bang bang boogie remembered

With the now famous refrain, “I said a hip hop, hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop, a rock it, to the bang bang boogie, say, up jump the boogie, to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat…” hip hop music leapt out of inner city enclaves and into suburban America. The year was 1979. The track was a 14-minute-long opus titled “Rapper’s Delight.”

Dreams, tears and new lives

On its website, the National Park Service introduces Ellis Island with the phrase, “Island of Hope, Island of Tears.” From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island, located off the southern tip of Manhattan Island, was the United States’ largest and most active immigration station, where over 12 million immigrants were processed.

Great wrong set right

As reported Thursday by the Arkansas News Bureau, the Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously struck down Act 595 of 2013, which required voters to show photo identification before being allowed to cast their ballots. While the Justices were unified in their decision, there was a division with regard to their predicate reasoning.

Signal Internet innovation anniversary

Twenty years ago this week, the Internet took a giant leap toward broad public use. Back in 1994, two technology pioneers, Jim Clark and Marc Andreessen, of Mosaic Communication Corporation released an innovative new way to access online information. Their brainchild was called Netscape Network Navigator.

Courts correcting election carnival

Last week the United States Supreme Court blocked officials in Wisconsin from enforcement of that state’s voter identification law. Under this measure, voters would have been required to show photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming November election.

Watson’s resistance is laudable

It’s an issue that local policymakers confront regularly —- the law has gotten in the way of their ill-conceived designs. In this particular instance, Pine Bluff School District Superintendent Linda Watson stands as the last buttress against a legally questionable action relating to additional pay for Pine Bluff High School Principal Michael Nellums.

Charity tougher than enamel

Forty years ago today, German businessman Oskar Schindler died at age 66. Schindler is best remembered for his role in saving 1,200 Jews from deportation to Auschwitz, Nazi Germany’s largest concentration camp. Schindler’s story was commemorated in the 1993 Academy Award-winning film, Schindler’s List.

Tragic catalyst for safety

In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt gave an address to Congress now known as the “Four Freedoms” speech. In it he enumerated a set of inalienable human rights. He discussed: freedom of expression; freedom of religion; freedom from want; and the fourth freedom — freedom from fear.

Near Soviet curriculum in Colorado

Score one for opponents of the thought police. After two weeks of public outrage, demonstrations and statewide backlash, the school board of Jefferson County, Colorado has relented on its plan to conservatively sanitize its advanced placement U.S. history classes. The proposal was offered by Julie Williams one of three newly elected ultra-conservative board members.