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Opinion

Generals historic, memorials modern

As reaffirmed by history, the sacrifice of lives to the cost of democracy is no new undertaking. In 431 BCE, the Athenian leader, Pericles, delivered these words to commemorate the heroic dead of the Peloponnesian War: “For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart.” Then as now, we would do well to keep our heroes in our hearts.

TSA looking for Minotaurs

The Transportation Security Administration has been in the news a lot lately. The coverage has not been flattering. Too few screeners, high failure rates and government-leading rates of employee turnover are but a few of the leading complaints against the embattled agency.

Making Fun of Transgender People

When I was a lad, I often heard jokes about blacks, Latinos and gays, who were regarded as amusing because of their supposed inferiority and defectiveness. Today most people would be embarrassed and offended by such humor. But, at least in some places, there is one group that is still a safe source of yuks: transgender people.

interconnected

We’re interconnected, aren’t we? The Middle East, Arkansas, its governor and General Assembly, its Highway Commission. And the little old lady in [Editors: choose your town] who is driving a car a third smaller than her last one but which is getting a third better mileage.

Airport lines: your government failing you

This summer, air travel is for people who expect to go to hell and want to know what it will be like. Security lines have reached epic lengths in many airports. Thousands of travelers have missed flights. And the Transportation Security Administration now advises passengers to arrive two hours before departure for domestic flights — and three in some places.

For Hollingsworth;for progress

As the March 22 primary runoff elections are fast approaching — and early voting already underway — we urge voters to mark their calendar and help the city continue its recent progress. To this point, we heartily endorse incumbent Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth came in as a successful business person but a political outsider. Four years ago that’s exactly what this community needed. Hollingsworth, having been hardened in the forge of Pine Bluff politics, is the one person who can continue to facilitate the progress we are now experiencing.

Obama’s foreign policy success

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s foreign policy gets no love. Republicans portray it as weak, timid, inept and rudderless. Hillary Clinton has faulted him for the rise of the Islamic State and lacking a strategy. Bernie Sanders doesn’t rush to Obama’s defense.

It’s time to jumpstart Jefferson County

Every day in our county, the lives of hundreds of our citizens are improved by the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library System. After school, groups of Watson Chapel students come to work on their homework. Citizens in Redfield gather for a community meeting. Dozens of parents drop their children off for a summer reading program in downtown Pine Bluff. An Altheimer resident who lacks an Internet connection at home has a chance to use a computer and apply for a job online. A young person in White Hall who aspires to be the first in her family to go to college borrows an ACT prep book for free and has a quiet place to study.

ADC should keep facility here

As recently reported in The Commercial, the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center may be relocated to West Memphis. As the facility employs 138 people, area residents are necessarily concerned about the economic and human impact this move poses for the people of Jefferson County.

Bernie Sanders’ Free Trade Mythology

Bernie Sanders’ upset victory in Michigan came just two days after he stood on the debate stage in the perennially beleaguered city of Flint, Michigan, and decried the economic condition of the surrounding area. He put the blame where he, like Donald Trump, often puts it: on free trade.

Growth

Allen Gordon, an attorney, former state senator and seasoned politico, went to the polls on March 1. Born and reared at Morrilton and elected repeatedly as a Democrat in the years before term limits, Gordon knows everybody in and around Conway County, but: “Who are these people?” he asked his wife, she as bewildered as he. Jamming the line at their voting station were men and women he didn’t recognize. This, in a county of 20,000 souls.

Yet another gross “Mis-Stepps”

Those who suffer from anxiety disorders should probably avoid the Pine Bluff City Council meetings. While the electorate recently corrected a couple of long-standing (or seated as the case may be) problems, the March 7 meeting demonstrates why January 2017 cannot come too soon.

The craziest primary, hands down

I cannot believe I’m writing this, but last week saw two of the four remaining Republican presidential candidates commenting about the size of Donald Trump’s “hands.” I’m 46 years old, which means I’m at the age when I start looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but I’m pretty sure presidential elections have never sunk this low in my lifetime.