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Middle East medicine too late

Not since the early days of the Cold War has American society faced as large an existential crisis as it does now. We know from high school civics class the nation we ought to be. Sadly, international terrorism and xenophobic hate speech from the political margins is turning us away from those simple, but noble ideals.

A day of thanks

It would have been easy on Oct. 3, 1863, for President Lincoln — or anyone else — not to be thankful. The nation (or nations, depending on one’s perspective) was still mired in a terrible Civil War, and while the Union had enjoyed victories that summer in Gettysburg and Vicksburg, much bloody fighting remained. Earlier that year, Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, had been injured in a carriage “accident” caused by an assailant sabotaging the driver’s seat. Their beloved son, Willie, had died the previous year at age 11.

Council makes right decision

At its most recent meeting, members of the Pine Bluff City Council voted to reject council member Thelma Walker’s proposed ordinance to increase the tax on hotel stays. While opposition was motivated by different reasons, the council arrived at the correct decision. Whether a general rejection of new taxes or a vote against an ill-conceived measure, this was a step in the right direction.

Republican tax fantasies

The Republican presidential candidates have not rallied behind Ben Carson in his clash with the news media, but they should be grateful to him. His misrepresentation of reality on matters concerning his past has distracted attention from his rivals’ misrepresentations of reality on a matter concerning the nation’s future: tax policy.

Opening the Great Wall

Often likened to an immense dragon flowing across the mountains, deserts and grasslands of northern China, the Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On this day in 1970, the Chinese government finally opened the Wall to tourists. Previously only the Badaling section near Beijing had been accessible.

On pot, can we keep up with the neighbors?

Canada was recently ranked the freest country in the world, but newly installed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t about to let it rest on its maple leaves. He won the October national elections after proposing something no major American presidential nominee has ever dared to endorse: legalizing marijuana.

Only equal protection will save us

At a forum sponsored by the Political Animals Club in Little Rock last week, Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock discussed the possibility of amending the Arkansas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Tucker said Friday he may propose changes to the law that would provide protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Romance of the cynics

In my last column, I bemoaned the fact that I’ve had a very fractious relationship with a number of tradespeople. I suppose that’s part and parcel of home ownership. Perhaps it’s even more likely when said home is almost 100 years old.

Cycles of victimization and aggression

As recently reported by the Southwest Times Record in Fort Smith, Conner Eldridge, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, has introduced the A-Chance Initiative, a program designed to focus on issues faced by children exposed to violence and trauma. The effort will be implemented by several school districts in the upcoming school year.

From the ashes a debate

Seventy years ago today, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. This event signaled the dawn of the nuclear age while hastening an end to World War II. It would be followed three days later with a similar explosion over the Japanese city of Nagasaki.

Chris Christie: Not just a memory

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Chris Christie bills himself as the candidate willing to speak the truth even if his audience doesn’t want to hear it. Opening his talk at Beck’s Sports Grill, he wastes no time inviting a negative reaction.

Combatting the Spice of death

If you didn’t know better, you might assume the silver foil package contained some kind of candy. The colorful graphics and branding certainly suggest as much. The names also have playful or dramatic overtones: Scooby Snax, Puff, Dreamz, King Kong, Joker, Geeked Up, Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks… among many others.