Ledge update

March 28, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  As the Legislature approaches the final hectic days of this year’s regular session, the major issues still unresolved include the approval of state agency budgets, drawing new boundaries for the four Congressional districts in Arkansas and final passage of a highway improvement program.

Secession convention in a border state

March 25, 2011 One hundred and fifty years ago, Arkansas found herself in a precarious situation. After having spent a few weeks in heated debate at the secession convention in Little Rock, Arkansawyers decided by a narrow margin not to secede. States surrounding Arkansas had already left the United States, leaving Arkansas technically a border state.

That comic book cost how much?

March 25, 2011 Publicity for upcoming movies starring Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Mighty Thor got me started thinking about the cover prices of the comic books from which such heroes sprang.Readers in the Great Depression got a 64-page comic for one thin dime. When I was the age of my son (that is, 7) my weekly allowance was based on the 12-cent price of a 32-page comic book. As recently as 1988, the average price at the spinner rack was 75 cents.

NFL players, owners are not partners

March 25, 2011 As someone who performs his job quite well, at some point after our busy season concludes, I will sit down with my bosses and attempt to make myself a better deal. I’ll ask for more money, more time off and maybe some perks (one of those paper thin MacBooks would be nice).

Shariah hysteria: Unwanted, unconsitutional

March 25, 2011 In my last column, I sounded an alarm about rise of Islamophobia in the United States, calling attempts in various states to pass anti-Shariah legislation an attack on religious freedom.That inspired a good number of irate readers to sound their own alarm about what they view as my naïve and dangerous dismissal of the threat Shariah (Islamic law) poses to the United States.“This is not a First Amendment issue,” one reader explained. “This is a life and death issue. Muslims have already taken over Europe. They will not succeed here.”

Turkeys were ‘herded’ across country on foot to distant markets

March 24, 2011 OK, this is all for real and for true — despite how gullible you may think certain newspaper writers are.Back before refrigeration and fast trucks, people used to herd turkeys on foot to the nearest market. Sounds like a joke, and a bad one at that, right?But it’s no joke. Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me tell how this subject of walking turkeys to market got on my radar.

Bus usage should be probed

March 24, 2011 Dear editor:I really appreciate the Batesville Guard’s probe and report on the use of school vehicles on Wednesday, March 9th. I do, however, feel you need to go further, especially concerning the subject of school bus use. I know many of your readers would appreciate a probe into why it is okay for so many school districts to go inside each other’s district to pick up kids. A friend of mine reported to me that no less than four school districts come in front of his house to pick up kids. The following is what seems to be the reason.

Bible should be taught

March 24, 2011 Dear editor:I heard something on the radio (recently) that convicted me to the bone. Our new superintendent apparently, in his words, believes the bible isn’t a bad book to reference culturally or historically but no more so than many other books. Also by Mr. Willison’s own admission, there is no place for a bible centered class in schools! Quote: “It should be in homes and churches in my opinion; schools aren’t the place.”

Cowboy poetry

March 22, 2011 Well, Mr. Harry Reid, leader of the U.S. Senate majority,You’re plumb wrong about federal-funded cowboy poetry.A few weeks back, you took to the Senate floorDeploring cuts to a cowboy-poetry festival you said would be no more.It exists through the benevolence of the federal government, you decried,Whose funding makes it bona fide.Don’t you know, Mr. Harry Reid,That America is the land of the free?We built this land through our grit and our guts,Not the misuse of taxpayer funds.That’s the thing we’re desperate to be ending,

Why too much positive thinking leads to failure

March 22, 2011 If you can dream it, you can do it.  Rah, rah you!If positive thinking alone were enough to propel you to success, I’d be an Olympic gymnast. I spent an entire decade dreaming about becoming the next Nadia Comaneci.Nadia made those back flips look easy. However, I found them to be hard as heck.  In reality, I spent more time dreaming about gymnastics than actually practicing it. In the end, optimism could not conquer gravity.