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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.

Congress is a frat party with pricy booze

A decade or so ago I was asked by a representative of the U.S. State Department to meet with a Turkish legislator and explain our system of government to the visitor to the city where I then worked. The man's English was excellent, so there were few communication problems.

Santa Claus not real? That’s ridiculous!

Some disturbing news passed through my noise reception air space recently. Are you aware there are people who don't believe in Santa Claus? Not only do they not believe, but they tell their children tales of Kris Kringle and his reindeer being fictional.

School violence can happen anywhere

On March 24, 1998, a mild spring day, I was off for two days and preparing to mow my yard in Jonesboro for the first time that year. Before I could start the mower I receive an urgent page to call my newsroom immediately.

Seward’s Folly, Alaska and Redfield

The most valuable asset the White Hall School District has is good schools with athletic facilities that many colleges cannot offer. Where did most of this wealth for these facilities come from: The White Bluff power plant at Redfield on the Arkansas River.

Bigger house inspires sappy tree purchase

When my boys were preschoolers, we used to trim a real tree. We procured our live boughs from both tree lots and tree farms during those years. But as the boys grew and circumstances changed, a factory-made, environment-wrecking artificial tree was purchased.

Grab a pencil and help preserve penmanship

My daughter is an elementary school teacher and a very good teacher, I am told. This week's column gives me an opportunity to tell her what I want for Christmas: A dozen Blackwing pencils that will cost her $19.95, plus shipping.