• Testing is lousy way to hold schools accountable

    The problem with a lie — even one that everyone agrees with — is that eventually you can’t ignore the truth. As the rush towards using standardized test scores to evaluate teachers turns into a retreat, it might be time to face that standardized tests …

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  • First time riding the Ferris wheel

    As I held tightly to my mother’s right hand, I gripped the striped-red string that held my balloon. I knew if I didn’t hold on to both with all my might they might get lost amidst the crowd. I never saw so many people bumping …

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  • Americans love Downton Abbey, not real monarchy

    It is said that Americans don’t like titles. Of course, I’m not referring to all titles. What mother hasn’t dreamed of her child becoming a doctor? The specific type of doctor usually isn’t considered, just so long as Sonny can be called “Doctor” over a …

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  • Meet the summer’s dumbest GOP white man

    Let’s wave bye-bye to July with a thigh-slapping salute to Curt Clawson, the Tea Party’s latest contribution to the U.S. Congress. Rarely has a Republican white guy evinced such cluelessness about Americans of a different race. You might know this story already; if not, get …

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  • Panama Canal turns 100: A family affair

    On Aug. 15 the Panama Canal (which greatly enhances maritime trade by providing a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans) celebrates the 100th anniversary of its opening. The Tyree family has a multigenerational interest in this milestone. The U.S. Army generously sent my Tennessee …

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  • Dating in the sixth grade hard for mom to stomach

    So, my 11-year old daughter came home from the Boys and Girls Club the other day and informed us she “has a boyfriend.” Yeah, you read that right, she is ELEVEN. Now I’d understand it if she was 16 or 17. Heck, I’d probably even …

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  • How’s that War on Poverty working out?

    After 50 years and $20 trillion, grand plan to eradicate poverty in the U.S. is a failure. In January 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson stood before Congress for the annual State of the Union address and declared a “War on Poverty.” Johnson had a plan …

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  • Former Indian reservation was site of Civil War battle

    This past weekend, descendants of the Harris brothers who first settled “Harris Bottoms” in the 1820s congregated to honor their ancestors. The second of the Stone County Driving Tour markers was installed as part of the reunion, located at the junction of 5, 9 and …

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  • Founding of UAMS is fascinating story

    In the 1870s, medicine was in a miserable state in Arkansas. Few doctors were available and the remote locations of many farmsteads and small towns made it difficult for doctors to reach patients. Worse still, there were no means to train new doctors in Arkansas. …

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  • A quest for good food

    After uprooting my little family and moving from the city back to a small town, I went into a little bit of shock when I went grocery shopping in the local markets. Years of study have led me to a lifestyle of clean eating, and …

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  • The lost sounds of summer

    Editor’s note: This column is an excerpt from Tom Purcell’s new book, “An Apple Core, a Toilet: Misadventures of a 1970s Childhood.”    I long for the sounds of summer I knew as a kid. In the ’60s and ’70s, you see, most of our …

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  • Why customer service reps give terrible customer service

    “No ma’am, you cannot speak to my supervisor. No ma’am, I don’t even have the number for a supervisor. No ma’am, there is nothing you can do to improve this situation. I have total power over you via this phone line, and I am not …

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