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Washington keeps up war on reporters

Washington’s war on the press took another unsettling turn this summer. It took a couple of months for the story to crack the news, but we now have an even clearer picture of how easy it is for authorities to trample the constitutional protections provided to journalists, to say nothing of the Fourth Amendment rights enjoyed by all Americans.

Healthcare.gov exchange failing by design

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius went to Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field last week to promote Obamacare. As reported by Triblive.com, Ms. Sebelius was joined by Steelers chairman Dan Rooney in a conference room to educate attendees about the health care law and to promote enrollment.

ObamaCare will tighten doctor pools

President Barack Obama's 2009 guarantee was emphatic. "We will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period."

Fracking economy

The economic recovery is not much of a recovery at all. Last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that real GDP for the second quarter was a less-than-robust 1.7 percent. If not for the energy sector — specifically the shale revolution bolstered by the massive success of fracking — those numbers would be dismal.

Workplace violence?

The president of the United States loves to dance around the English language to make everybody feel better — even this country's enemies. With the military trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan underway, it's become much more evident that such sashaying comes at a real cost to those who have lost their lives or been injured at the hands of terrorism.

Ripple effect of pension padding

The city of Vernon, Calif., has a big problem, brought on by the California Public Employees' Retirement System. And depending on how a lawsuit against that city goes, the tiny ripple on the map that represents Vernon could become a nationwide public pension tidal wave.

Road bonds make sense

Do you get the feeling now and then that sections of the state highways and interstates in Arkansas resemble a bolt of corduroy cloth with hundreds of ridges designed to keep the front end of your car or truck out of alignment?

Facebook page sends out call

Most small towns don't have very large crowds turn out for city council and school board meetings. There are times when you can fire off a pistol and might get lucky and hit a reporter doing on the second row. Times have changed. After The Progress noted in an Oct. 3 story the discussions at a White Hall School Board meeting, a Facebook page was established the same day with the headline – "Closing Redfield school on table." A message on the Facebook page was addressed to the Redfield community: "There is talk about the closing of Redfield Middle School. We need to stand together and show the White Hall School District the impact it will cause!" Tweets and text messages followed. It was literally standing-room-only when the White Hall School Board met Oct. 9. The overflow filled the foyer of the district's administration building. The pleas not to close the school were impassioned. Its role in the community is crucial Redfield residents repeatedly told the board. Every school in the district was discussed by the board Sept. 25 during a three-hour planning session. No votes were taken. The White Hall district operates the middle school and Hardin Elementary School on separate campuses at Redfield. Enrollment at the Redfield Middle School, a WPA era building, has fallen, and the board might be asked to consider merging its classes into White Hall Middle School sometime in the future. Now the Redfield patrons have organized and plan a community-wide meeting the evening of Oct. 23. They are securing minutes of a recent Arkansas Board of Education meeting. The DeWitt School Board asked permission to close the elementary school at Gillett. The state board denied the request. Things were much simpler when we could discuss problems over a backyard fence.