Call your mom

July 22, 2011 I have two daughters. One is 11 and the other is 23 and goes to college in Daytona Beach, Fla. Like any mother, I worry about my child living alone so far away. She doesn’t know anyone there and doesn’t have anyone to help her. Her car has been giving her some problems and has left her walking a few times. She has never complained about the apartment building she lives in other than the upstairs neighbor being too loud at times.

Nothing in Murdoch meltdown justifies hacking into the 1st Amendment

July 22, 2011 For me, as an advocate for a free press, watching the ongoing phone-hacking flap in Great Britain involving News Corp. and media mogul Rupert Murdoch is part fascination, part revulsion and, at least for the moment, just a touch of First Amendment concern.

Summer of ’80 was scorcher

July 21, 2011 Thirty-one years ago on July 13, Batesville was the hottest spot in the nation, reaching an official 111 degrees.Thanks to Jim Barnett of Batesville for calling that to our attention (as if we could ever forget). Well, actually, we did forget the exact date. But we didn’t forget that summer.The information Barnett brought in — clippings from old Batesville Daily Guards — brought back memories of the rolling blackouts, which allowed the insides of homes to sizzle just like the outside heat was sizzling.

Patriotic purchasing

July 21, 2011 Is it unpatriotic for Americans to buy foreign-made products?Last summer, President Obama said: “I’m convinced we’re going to rebuild [the economy] better and stronger than before. And at its heart is going to be three powerful words: Made in America.”You’d think that would be a call to action — for government to encourage domestic manufacturing, and for consumers to aggressively support it.

Closing wrong borders

July 20, 2011 Sometimes coincidences can really dampen your spirits. This week I was driving around with a CD that features Johnny Cash lamenting “I don’t like it, but I guess things happen that way.” Then I learned that the Borders bookstore chain will be shutting down completely by the end of September.

Milking cows 101

July 20, 2011  Having a milk cow has many challenges, but the one that I like the least is the lack of freedom I have. She has to be milked twice each day no matter what, and not just anyone can milk her.I was reminded of this when summer came and I could wear short sleeve shirts while I was teaching. The first day I dressed that way, a young man came to the front of the room after class and timidly asked, “Professor Howard, did you get bit on your arms or something?”

Cost of success

July 20, 2011 Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, News Corporation, which includes American TV’s Fox News, is extensive to the point of global and is coming unraveled. At first the fallout from the phone and email tampering scandal seemed like it was going to be contained to a few people getting fired across the Atlantic pond. Perhaps there would even be some collateral damage to a handful of underlings, but something different is afoot here.

Mystery of being fourteen

July 19, 2011 My 14-year-old nephew is a mystery. Of course, I’ve never been a teenage boy so maybe that’s why I can’t relate, but he seems to give new meaning to “walking paradox.” For instance, he wouldn’t pick up a bug with his bare hand but wanted a python as a pet. He would eat cheese pizza by the truckloads but only from certain restaurants. He wanted a particular dog one weekend and when we finally found one the very next weekend, he’d changed his mind.

Are cigars endangered?

July 19, 2011 Are premium cigars next on the federal government’s hit list?You see, as part of the 2010 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has the authority “to regulate marketing and promotion of tobacco products and to set performance standards for tobacco products to protect the public health.”Though the law does not automatically apply to cigars, the FDA can issue new regulations that make cigars subject to the law.Boy, does that have premium cigar advocates worried.

Ledge update

July 19, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  Arkansas shoppers can enjoy the state’s first sales tax holiday the weekend of August 6 and 7, when retail stores will not charge sales taxes on purchases of school supplies and articles of clothing costing less than $100.Accessories under $50 also will be exempt from the sales tax.  Shoes, boots and sandals will also be exempt if they cost less than $100.