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Good first steps toward safety

Earlier this week, the Pine Bluff City Council passed a measure that creates penalties for irresponsible property owners. The ordinance was sponsored by Ward 1 Alderman Lloyd Holcomb Jr. and passed with the affirmative vote of five other council members.

Facts drown out rhetoric

According to a number of recently released reports, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare” is on track to improve health care access while decreasing taxpayer burden.

A different double jeopardy

One year ago today a computer technician working at the Washington Navy Yard went on a shooting rampage that left 12 people dead. A few weeks before arming himself with a Remington model 870 shotgun and murdering a dozen strangers, Aaron Alexis told police in Rhode Island that he was hearing voices. The private IT contracting firm employing Alexis took him off his assignment for a few days then let him back on the job; less than a month later, he went to work at the Navy Yard.

We will never forget 9/11

Fifty years ago, people talked about the amazing beauty of the mushroom clouds that developed after atomic bombs were detonated in tests. The brilliance, the wide spectrum of color visible, the graceful development of the cloud itself: It was a terrible beauty to be sure, but a beautiful sight just the same, and one seared into the memory of all who saw it.

Millennia of murderous barbarians

Approximately two weeks ago, The Islamic State, variously termed ISIS or ISIL, beheaded American journalist, James Foley. These same terrorists just released another video in which one of their operatives beheads, yet another American journalist, Steven Sotloff. In what is becoming a pattern of orgiastic barbarity, The Islamic State stands on a line it dare not cross.

Executive session out of bounds

Yet again we feel compelled to express our displeasure with the antics of Jefferson County Election Commission Chairman Ted Davis. At the most recent meeting of the commission, Davis called for an executive session without announcing a reason for it. Upon review of the session’s contents, Davis’ request may well violate the Freedom of Information Act.

Summer heat fifty years long

This Saturday marks a the 50th anniversary of a dark day in America’s march for racial equality. On June 21, 1964 three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodwin, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were murdered as they investigated the burning of a Mississippi church. There story is well known, but there are many more stories from the period dubbed Freedom Summer that should be retold.

America’s oddest rancher

Eccentricity and personal tumult often accompany artistic talent. Such was certainly the case with Stanley Marsh, a Texas millionaire whose partially buried row of Cadillacs became a cultural phenomenon in the 1970s. Marsh died this Tuesday at Lubbock, TX. He was 76.

A smarter way

It’s an election year, and Democrats are loudly decrying the cost of higher education and demanding that the government spend more to cut student debt. The Senate on last Wednesday rejected one of their less-sensible ideas. But there are better ones that lawmakers should embrace.

Warming cold educational waters

As recently reported in The Commercial, the state Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to return the Dollarway School District to local control after two years of state control. We are heartened by this news. We hope it signals a new era of progressive leadership and higher teaching standards in the district.

Pater familias in the ideal

If one were making an ideal father, what would he be? Hallmark has dozens of ready-made tropes into which we might cast our perfect father: hunter; fisherman; golfer; griller; sports fan; car nut and Barcalounger captain. While these make for fine greeting cards, they don’t get to the essence of fathering.

Building bridges, tearing down walls

In a recent editorial we reflected on the life and career of John Wayne. The editorial noted both Wayne’s importance in film and as an advocate for conservative political causes. Today also marks a significant anniversary for another conservative icon. On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered an address to the people of Germany in which he admonished Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down” the infamous Berlin Wall.

Marion, Sandy and the Duke

Few people in this world live up to their own legend. This is especially true in the case of movie stars. Once in a great while that happens. It certainly seems to have happened with ruggedly handsome, tough guy, John Wayne.

Freedoms won, freedoms surrendered

Last week the world noted two signal anniversaries in the fight for freedom. First, there was the 25th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square. Second, was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II. There are important parallels between these momentous acts.