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The benefits of attack ads

Negative campaign ads appear to be on the rise with the approach of this fall’s congressional elections and the 2016 presidential campaign. Hardly anyone has a good word to say about them. The standard critique — that they demean our democracy, deceive voters and cause disgusted voters to stay home on Election Day — has the ring of truth. But this exaggerates the negative about negative ads while obscuring their benefits.

College cost isn’t big problem for poor students

To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting more kids from poor families into college, the key to moving up in an increasingly unequal society.

Make the right choice

Joshua, God’s servant, the leader of God’s chosen people Israel who succeeded Moses, his mentor, was growing old and knowing the character and the attitudes of his people was compelled to call them together. (Joshua 24: 14-14)

Birthday wows and woes

Since July is my birthday month, I guess I should write something about the past three-score and one anniversaries of the date. Actually, my very first memory is of my fourth birthday party. I have a vague recollection of playing “Drop the Handkerchief” and “London Bridge” and a birthday cake served on the front porch with presents. In 1947, we didn’t know about party themes, pizza/game parlors, or inflatable rentals for the lawn.

Saying a killer ‘snapped’ does not explain domestic violence

When Ronald Lee Haskell was accused of killing six members of his ex-wife’s family in Texas this month, I wondered how long it would take for a news report to suggest that the suspect had “snapped.” The scope and horror of the crime — the victims included four children ages 4 to 14 — meant it took a little while for this media narrative to show up. But there it was, two days later, familiar from innumerable stories of domestic violence that end in murder. An Alaska TV station gathered the observations of childhood friends, who described the youthful Haskell as funny, compassionate and religiously devout, then cited one friend’s observation that “Haskell must have snapped.” The reporter let the description hang there, and closed the piece, as if a single verb said it all. Rarely does a single word attempt to explain so much and fail so completely.

Basic steps can ensure a safe ATV ride

I couldn’t even begin to count the number of children I have seen critically injured in all-terrain vehicle crashes in my 20-plus years as a surgeon at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. But I can tell you what I almost always hear from their parents: They wish their child had been wearing the right helmet or been better educated on how to ride the vehicle safely.

A pure miracle

NORMANDY BEACHHEAD, June 12, 1944 – Due to a last-minute alteration in the arrangements, I didn’t arrive on the beachhead until the morning after D-day, after our first wave of assault troops had hit the shore.

Raise wages, create jobs

The standard argument — really, the only argument — against raising the minimum wage is that it will lead to job loss. The argument is beloved by die-hard opponents of raising the wage because it provides them with a veneer, however flimsy, of concern about the welfare of the working poor.

Devastation of hearts and homes

Arkansas, once again, has suffered the devastation of spring storms. We all have suffered along with our neighbors in Paron, Mayflower, Vilonia and other communities in our area. But Arkansas has rallied as she has always done — donating money and goods through fund drives and our churches to help our friends in need. Our hearts have been broken and, therefore, we have come forward with prayer and aid to uphold our neighbors in need. We are a caring state and I am so proud to be a part of my home state again.