Take back America

July 11, 2011 “We sang beautiful patriotic hymns that only the adults knew because the songs are no longer taught at school.”This was part of an email describing the wonderful patriotic services held in a rural church in central Kentucky. The songs they were speaking of were basics to American patriotism: “My Country Tis Of Thee,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “America the Beautiful,” and “God Bless America.” I spoke with young people in my home area of northwest Louisiana and they confirmed also that patriotic songs are not taught in their schools.

Soldiers willing

July 11, 2011 One hundred and fifty years ago, military units were organizing across the state at a fever pitch while the ladies of Arkansas were gaining national recognition of their hard work in supplying the new recruits with uniforms. While Arkansawyers continued their preparations for war, masses of federal troops were trekking in a southerly course toward the Confederate Capitol in Richmond.

Cline at the Ryman

July 11, 2011 I knew we had good seats when I reserved them in October but didn’t know how good until we made our way to the front of the stage.Our tickets said row B which to me meant second row but as Luke and I neared the stage there was no second row, only front.Thirty minutes before showtime and I was beside myself. For years I have been a fan of country singer Mandy Barnett and now I was going to get to see her starring in “Always, Patsy Cline,” a play about the late singer’s life told through fan and friend, Louise Seger, portrayed by Tere Meyers.

Ledge update

July 11, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  Thanks mainly to very conservative budgeting, Arkansas state government ended its fiscal year on June 30 with a surplus of about $94 million.State budget officials said the surplus was also evidence of a slow economic recovery. State revenue is a good indicator of the health of the Arkansas economy because taxes have not gone up. That means any increase in tax revenue is caused by an increase in economic activity rather than by higher tax rates.

American justice

July 8, 2011 I don’t know whether or not Casey Anthony killed her young daughter or, if so, how she did it or her intent or state of mind in doing it. Unless you’re Casey Anthony or one of a few possible accomplices, you don’t know those things either.What we do know is that after a month-and-a-half long trial and more than 10 hours of deliberation, a Florida jury of 12 men and women unanimously found reasonable doubt as to Anthony’s guilt of the specific charge: That she intentionally, and with premeditation, murdered Caylee Anthony.

Walking with God

July 8, 2011 I didn’t know a mufferless station wagon could pass an eighteen wheeler on one of those interstate loops, but at fourteen, I reckon I didn’t know a lot of things. I DID know if I wanted to see fifteen I’d better get “Drunken Yee-Haw man” to let me out of this hot-rod.

Obscene violence

July 7, 2011 The rejection by the U.S. Supreme Court of California’s video game law was a welcome victory for free speech, but a frustrating defeat for the protection of young people.In striking down the 2005 law — that was never actually implemented due to legal challenges — the Court continued its campaign to safeguard the First Amendment. Last year, it ruled 8-to-1 against a federal law prohibiting depictions of animal cruelty such as those in videos about dog-fighting.

History books get makeover

July 7, 2011 According to a shocking news report, California legislators have enacted legislation that gives the state the dubious distinction of being the first state in the nation to require public schools to include the contributions of gays and lesbians in their social studies curriculum.We can be certain that one result of this ill-advised move will subject kids to a form of what CIA spooks call “blow back” — an inevitable result of a specific action.

Broadband holds promise

July 7, 2011 As Chairmen of the Senate and House Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committees we have seen firsthand the challenges that rural communities face when it comes to economic development, education, and healthcare.  In many ways, rural communities are simply left behind as more populated areas move forward and grow.