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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 tribute to my Willie

She never wore a frilly cap. She never wore a ruffled white apron over a black uniform with matching shoes because she wasn’t a real maid. Most of all, she was my babysitter and friend. She wore dresses she had sewn herself from feed sacks and navy felt house shoes when her feet ‘got to botherin.’ She was a heavyset woman with a large lap and bosom to cradle my head. She always smelled of Faultless Starch and I thought it was the best smell in the world. Her name was Willie Mae. And I loved her.

We mourn Israeli teens, but what about Americans?

Last week, the bodies of three Israeli teenagers who had been abducted and shot to death while hitchhiking were found in a field near Hebron. While Israel mourned their deaths, leaders in the United States offered their condolences and prayers. Senators and members of Congress took to Twitter and Facebook to mourn the deaths and to reaffirm their support for Israel. The boys’ names were reported nationally, and cable news extensively covered the incident. The president issued a statement.

Hobby Lobby case is an attack on women

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in the nationally followed Hobby Lobby case. The for-profit corporations that brought these cases to the Supreme Court — a craft store and a cabinet manufacturer — argued that the corporations’ religious convictions should excuse them from compensating their employees through the comprehensive health insurance required by law. Specifically, these private employers sought to exclude insurance coverage of several forms of birth control because, contrary to medical and scientific evidence, the corporations’ owners believe some birth control causes abortions.

The case for climate action

What is perhaps the greatest challenge to humanity in our lifetime? Climate change. It threatens our security, our health, our families and our economy. Over 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists agree that humans are causing it primarily by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Most say that we have little time left to reverse the trend. Because the full effects of climate change appear incrementally and affect different parts of the world in different ways, it’s easy to deny that it is happening. Ignoring the signs and trends is a very serious mistake. The recently published U.S. National Climate Assessment, released on May 6, 2014, reminds us how serious the consequences of climate change will be.

Let the Republican infighting begin

WASHINGTON — The stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a tea party primary challenger will roil the House for the rest of this session and the next Congress, probably ending the slim hopes for any bipartisan accords on issues such as immigration.

Cliff Harris’ friends show up for salute

LITTLE ROCK — Late arriving because of plane trouble, the Dallas Cowboys' contingent was led by Gene Stallings and the sellout crowd did not sit down until Little Rock Touchdown Club president David Bazzel had introduced Gil Brandt, Charlie Waters, Mel Renfro, Drew Pearson, Roger Staubach, and the man of the hour, Cliff Harris.

Bielema gives as good as he gets in jest

LITTLE ROCK — Assured by Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long that Bret Bielema has a sense of humor, Rex Nelson shared a so-called apology letter from former Ohio State University President Gordon Gee with an overflow crowd at the first Little Rock Touchdown Club meeting of the 2013 season.

Coaches get it right?

LITTLE ROCK — Now that the 62 college football coaches who participate in the USA Today poll have shared their insight, what team will embarrass the men perceived to be experts?