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Opinion

Reason prevails in Senate committee, not Gov.’s office

While the current manifestation of the Arkansas legislature has been more miss than hit, reason prevailed this past Wednesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee declined to refer House Bill 1228, the so-called Conscience Protection Act, to the full Senate. The bill, authored by Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, would have prohibited the state from interceding in matters of conscience due to a person’s religious beliefs unless the state has a substantial interest in doing so, and does so by the least restrictive means possible.

Jeb Bush’s Empty Indictment

Foreign policy is a complicated and bottomless topic, which forces politicians to address it with abstract words and punchy sound bites. Smart politicians know the difference between the messy realities and the simple pictures they paint. The danger lies with politicians who mistake the slogans for reality.

Deeper than the skin

Confucius once said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Beauty is a tough word. We’ve all heard the aphorism, “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.” I am not so sure.

Do you believe in miracles?

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Olympic hockey team’s surprise victory over the global Leviathan of hockey, the Soviet Union. The triumph is often called “the Miracle on Ice.” As modern “miracles” sometimes do, a great mythology has grown up around this storied game.

Baseball and the Spirit of Innovation

Baseball, being the noblest sport, has many lessons to teach: the value of daily persistence, the inevitability of failure and the likelihood that luck will not override ineptitude (Looking at you, Cubs.). But, as a creation of humans, it is also prey to human imperfections, like the urge to suppress useful changes to spare those who resist adaptation.

An attack on freedom

On Wednesday, the world was shocked and appalled by the deplorable attacks at the Paris office of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Twelve men and women were murdered for expressing their freedom of speech. Sadly, it is not an isolated incident.

Picking up by tearing down

As recently reported in The Commercial, the city of Pine Bluff will soon begin using inmates from the Arkansas Department of Correction to remove blighted structures from the community. The inmates will be close to parole and are involved in a skills-training program. Focusing on vacant and abandoned houses, the program will start in February.

Looking back looking forward

Over the past couple of weeks The Commercial has taken a look back at some of the most talked about stories of the year now past. We celebrated accomplishments. We decried injustice. We gave a narrative voice to the timeline of our community.