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The coast is clear — for now

Within moments of its on-line publication it was subsumed, overwhelmed by coverage of the nation's latest sad, if predictable, spectacle — the slaughter of a dozen innocents by a disturbed man at the Washington Navy Yard. Once assured that the violence was contained, however, the political class in Washington turned its eye to a poll freshly released by CNN. And then began linking to it in e-mails to operatives in the 50 states.

Hill runs for the House

House District 35 stretches from the northern part of Little Rock out past Pinnacle Mountain. Like at least a third of the state's House seats, it will have no incumbent in next year's elections. It would not be worth singling out except for this: Its announced Republican candidate is French Hill, one of the state's top-tier business figures.

Who’s Mark Pryor?

They were on their way from Little Rock to some political mission in the state's upper left corner so, naturally, they left Interstate 40 near Fort Smith and motored north on its newer cousin. A moment later they passed a sign proclaiming the asphalt to be not just I-540 but the John Paul Hammerschmidt Highway.

Reader mailbag

Occasionally I receive feedback from you — my dear readers — regarding a column I have written. Whether the emails are positive or negative, I consider them the highest compliment that something I wrote evoked a reaction strong enough for you to take time to express your feelings.

Lunch with Sen. Boozman

It's the noon hour on a Thursday, and Sen. John Boozman, R.-Ark., arrives for an interview at a downtown Little Rock restaurant. He takes a look at the offerings on a chalkboard menu and orders a grilled cheese.

You have to drive, not fly, for cheese and wine

Rather than navigate airport traffic, wait in terminals, sit squished between obnoxious or diseased people on airplanes, haggle for a rental car, and then head back out into traffic, Ma and I drove to my uncle's birthday party. We decided to take our time and mosey halfway across the country from the East Coast to the Midwest.

Gay marriage is a matter of justice, not morality

Here's how I read the sociocultural tea leaves: If you're fighting in the army waging war against gay marriage, or, said another way, if you understand yourself to be fighting to protect and preserve the institution of marriage from being diluted, distorted or otherwise offended by including homosexual partners ... well, I strongly encourage you to run a white flag up the flagpole right now. Stop the metaphorical scorched earth bombing runs.

Popcorn kernel stress begins in kindergarten

On the windowsill of my kindergarten classroom, Mrs. Schmidlin prepared space for our paper cups. The cups contained a wadded up, wet paper towel with popcorn kernels wedged between the towel and interior cup wall. It was our spring science project. She assured us we could make them grow into plants.