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Opinion

Dreaming about a larger field

As recently reported by The Commercial, a local committee for the 2015 Babe Ruth 14-year-old World Series headed by Jim Hill just signed a contract with Babe Ruth League Inc. that will bring the national tournament to Pine Bluff. This will mark the sixth time a Babe Ruth Baseball World Series has been played in the city and first time since 2003. This turn is unabashedly good and the kind of thing we should encourage.

Obama and the appeasement myth

Hawks in the wild tend to be solitary creatures. But those in Washington, D.C., often appear in noisy flocks. As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his predatory activities in Ukraine, conservatives here are unanimous on how the Obama administration should respond: by emulating the Bush administration.

Tramp explores deep themes

Today we mark the 125th anniversary of silent film star Charlie Chaplin’s birth. While best remembered for his character, the Little Tramp, his career was much broader than that one famous visage. He was a director, a screen writer and a composer. Along with other film luminaries, D. W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Chaplin founded the United Artists production company. Long recognized as one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, it’s fitting that we take stock of his legacy.

Harmless drones get federal flak

In March 2012, volunteers spent four days looking for a 2-year-old boy who wandered away from his home outside Houston, Texas. They found him only after volunteers reviewing images captured by a drone-mounted aerial camera saw a flash of red in a pond that had already been searched. It turned out to be a shirt worn by the child, who had drowned.

Reality folding in on itself

One of my favorite periodicals is Smithsonian magazine. Like the museums it represents, Smithsonian is a wonderful collection of art, culture, history, science and considered thought. More often than not, a flip through the pages (or the website www.smithsonian.com ) leaves me both entertained and informed. This month’s issue was no exception.

Secret Service bad boys

The U.S. Secret Service has a tough job — protecting the president and other top federal officials — which, by and large, it performs capably and professionally. Indeed, for many years its reputation for bravery and effectiveness has been right up there with the Navy SEALs and other elite American fighting forces.

Decline presents opportunity for rebirth

According to a recent U. S. Census Bureau intercensal estimation, the population of Jefferson County has continued to decline. By extension, the population of Pine Bluff has also continued to decline. The effects of this decades-long slide into non-existence have been well-documented in the pages of this paper. So too has a call for the deep, systemic changes necessary to thwart this creep toward the abyss.

Lives staged for death

All across America a complex interaction between criminal justice and rap artists is unfolding. In many ways we’ve been here before. The 1989 arrest of 2 Live Crew band members in Hollywood, Fla., over accusations of public obscenity is perhaps the leading example. Decades later, the content of rap songs is finding a new place in legal proceedings: as confessions to crimes.

How Hobby Lobby will hurt conservatives

Lawyers for Hobby Lobby this week urged the Supreme Court to let companies opt out of certain health insurance rules for religious reasons, and they have a good chance of success. If employers are allowed to refuse to provide coverage that pays for certain types of contraception, it will be a big victory for religious conservatives. Or will it?

Finding genetic criminals

On this day in 1905, a British court found brothers, Alfred and Albert Stratton, guilty of murdering and robbing two shopkeepers, Ann and Thomas Farrow. What makes this case notable is the evidence used to support the conviction. There were no reliable witnesses, there was only Alfred Stratton’s right thumb print left on the Farrow’s cash box.