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Opinion

An offer police can’t refuse

If you’ve ever tried to hammer a screw into a board then you know there’s a high probability of breaking the screw. Sadly, that’s exactly what the United States has chosen to do with millions of people who have a mental illness. According to recent report in “USA Today,” American jails and prisons are overflowing with the mentally ill. By failing to provide adequate public mental health care, millions of Americans are simply swept into the dust bin of society.

Garner, Maverick and Rockford

The actor, James Garner died last week at age 86. Garner was beloved by several generations of film and television fans. In a career that spanned seven decades, Garner twice struck television gold.

Lights dimmed over long legs

Elaine Stritch once quipped, “I don’t think there’s any thrill in the world like doing work you’re good at.” If she was right, she led a life filled with thrills. Stritch, a mainstay of Broadway theater, died this week, at age 89.

Heading into overtime

The public outlining by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of his government’s negotiating position in the ongoing talks on its nuclear program was a tip-off that Tehran isn’t aiming to conclude a deal by the July 20 deadline. Instead, Zarif’s Monday interview with The New York Times, in which he described an Iranian position that was unacceptable to Western governments but better than Tehran’s previous, blatantly unserious offers, was designed to provide Iran’s interlocutors — and in particular the Obama administration — with a rationale for extending the talks for up to six more months.

Regulating e-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, now a $1.5 billion to $2 billion business, have become difficult to ignore. The electronic devices, which might look like cigarettes or cigars or even pipes, come with different battery sizes and burn a variety of vapors that might contain a greater or smaller amount of nicotine and a flavor enhancer, according to a February Times Record report.

Tying America’s hands

President Obama has retrenched U.S. global engagement in a way that has shaken the confidence of many U.S. allies and encouraged some adversaries. That conclusion can be heard not just from Republican hawks but also from senior officials from Singapore to France and, more quietly, from some leading congressional Democrats. As he has so often in his political career, Mr. Obama has elected to respond to the critical consensus not by adjusting policy but rather by delivering a big speech.

Motoring to a better downtown

Most Pine Bluff residents would like to see our crumbling downtown made whole and useful. Instead of empty buildings and distant memories, we’d like to watch people traversing between coffee shops and art galleries. We’d like for parking downtown to become a problem — and not in the recent courthouse/election way. As is we have a lot of rubble and dust.

More than meets the private eye

The fedora, trench coat and smoky walkup office are all common tropes in the literary genre known as “hard-boiled” detective stories. So too are the rough edged, tough talking and hard fighting loners who inhabit them. They have more in common with old West gunslingers and medieval knights than the average man. There’s a code. There’s loyalty; and there’s cunning. They get bloodied, but they survive.

Hope for the future

I saw a groundhog. That might be an unremarkable fact if your element isn’t Manhattan concrete, but it was a highlight for this city gal. And it added to the sylvan aspect of the event I was attending last year, the Thomas Aquinas Philosophy Workshop, in Newburgh, New York. So, too, did the sight just yards from the wildlife: A convent chapel full of young men in the white habit of the Dominican religious order. In reality, the event, whose fourth annual session will be held next month, was a contemplative and analytical engagement with the world of the most practical and modern sort.

Poppies from atop Mt. Everest

Decades before the men Stephen Ambrose immortalized in Band of Brothers, there was another group of fire-hardened warriors whose adventures, excitement and travails during World War I inspired a new age of discovery. In his, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest, Wade Davis tells a splendidly horrible tale where the veterans of the War to End All Wars assail the slopes of Mt. Everest.

Identifying hippie jackboots

This week voters in my home state of Arkansas exercised their franchise in the primary election. Beginning in 2014, voters are obliged to present a state-issued photo identification card to poll workers.

FBI prospers by feeding fears

James Comey became FBI director last year, at a time when Osama bin Laden was dead, terrorism at home was on the decline and the United States was shrinking its inflammatory presence in the Muslim world. So naturally, he says the danger is way worse than you think.

Respect for the flag

Whether you fly the American flag just on summer holidays or all year round, the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend provides a great opportunity to take a look at flag and how you fly it.