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Opinion

Strong evidence against capital punishment

Just this week Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was almost gleeful in stating her intent to set execution dates for several inmates on the state’s death row. I worry about people who think capital punishment represents the great pinnacle of justice. Given her demonstrated proclivities to shill for all manner other ultra-conservative, anti-science and anti-environmental causes, the fact that she champions an ineffectual and draconian punishment philosophy is nauseatingly predictable. At least she’s consistent.

Justice and Freddie Gray

Local prosecutors, being elected to office, are subject to the rule of the people. Their decisions, however, are not — or at least they shouldn’t be. Any state’s attorney or district attorney worthy of the office gives public opinion about particular cases exactly the weight it deserves: zero.

Fiddling around, ignoring problems

You know the story about Nero fiddling while Rome burned? It didn’t actually happen, but it illustrates a point about leaders crazily ignoring a problem. These days, no illustration is needed. The government’s largest programs, Social Security and Medicare, are not burning up, but their problems are being ignored.

A growing family farm

A few weeks ago I wrote about a small gardening project I had undertaken. I built planter boxes and trellises against my old shed. I planted gourds, moonflowers and pumpkins in the boxes. The gourds and moonflowers are now snaking their way slowly up the trellises. I am hopeful that the summer will yield many flowers and alien-looking fruit.

First ladies independent and important

The old sentiment “behind every successful man is a strong woman” is a tad antiquated in an era when a woman is the putative presidential nominee of a major political party. Strength, intellect, creativity and rectitude have always been equally distributed across genders. Only in recent years has American culture finally begun to embrace that fact.

After Orlando, Exercises in Irrelevancy

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, our leaders have shown a talent for devising remedies that are clear, simple and irrelevant. One politician after another has stepped forward with remedies that would not actually have stopped or appreciably hindered Omar Mateen from carrying out his slaughter.

Hope on wispy branches

The fragility of life is one of the most explored topics in literature. This week I have confronted a situation that made me keenly aware of the perilous balance between this realm and the next. I know the inevitable conclusion of all Earthly matters, but the struggle to process this solemn truth is seldom easy.

Seeking jets for peace

In a recent editorial we noted the anniversary of U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard’s flight into space. His brief foray into the outer atmosphere was propelled as much by fear of Soviet technological advances as it was the enormous rocket underneath his Freedom 7 capsule.

Looking on the bright side in 2016

This presidential election is producing two major party nominees with extremely high unfavorable ratings. You’re probably either a big fan of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, or you dislike them both a lot. If you’re part of that large latter group, you might think this presidential election is a disaster.

Obama and Trump at Hiroshima

In early August, 1945, a 19-year-old Navy ensign sailed from California to take part in the invasion of Japan. Those on board the vessel didn’t know if they would live to see the end of the war. But suddenly, as they were en route, Japan surrendered.

Mall trajectory perhaps inevitable

The last thing the beleaguered Pines mall needs is one more controversy. Even so, that’s what it’s facing. As recently reported by The Commercial, at least two former employees of a “new” restaurant in the mall have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that they were not paid for time they had worked there.

Term papers cause dissonance

It’s that time in the Spring semester most college professors dread: grading of final papers. In many instances we assign term papers because we feel we must. Students should learn how to do basic research and report the results in a cogent and succinct fashion. They should learn how to properly follow formatting guides. They should learn how to compose paragraphs that flow one into the next, forming a story that is compelling and complete.