Father’s Day well spent

June 21, 2010 Sitting on the side of the road for two hours, stuck in traffic for another half hour, absorbing searing heat, all sound like a pretty miserable day ... don’t they?Yet, these were the conditions I happily endured on Father’s Day 2010. I endured these conditions with my family because we had something very important of which we wanted to take part.

Finding ways to show pride

June 21, 2010 The message was simple but the feeling behind it meant more than words could say as Mindy Lacefield propped the painting on the front bumper of her car parked along Hwy. 167 north Sunday afternoon.“We are so proud — God bless the USA” read the painting featuring a snowbird in hues of beige, gray and white.For Lacefield it was a small way to show her great appreciation for Batesville’s hometown hero, Spc. Chris Yauch, who was killed in a roadside attack in Iraq June 11 and laid to rest at Roselawn Memorial Gardens this weekend.

Retraction with bonus

June 18, 2010 I’ve been called out, and I feel the need to defend myself. A visitor to my blog — rickbaber.com — has basically chastised me for abdicating my responsibility as a serious journalist (snort!) in misinforming you, the readers, with my statement that if you voted Democrat in the primaries, you cannot vote for a Republican in the general election. Note that I did not say you couldn’t vote for a Dem if voted for a Republican in the primaries.

Censorship undermines civics class

June 18, 2010 To find out how the First Amendment is supposed to work in public schools, don’t ask school officials. Ask the kids. Strange as it may seem, many students actually believe what they’re taught in civics class about their constitutional rights.

Saving for a rainy day

June 17, 2010 My father was right — though it took me a while to realize it.He was born in 1933, when 25 percent of Americans were out of work. His father died when he was only 3, leaving his mother to raise him and his older sister alone.The young family moved from a comfortable house into a cramped apartment. There was little money to spare.My father learned from his mother how to stretch a dollar — skills that would serve him well.He married in 1956 when he was 23 — an optimistic time for America. The Depression had ended, the economy was blossoming.

Methane can take place of oil

June 17, 2010 The revelation that a bubble of “frozen methane” — methane gas hydrates — from the Gulf floor caused the April explosion that killed 11 workers on a deep sea drilling rig, starting the massive oil well leak that continues to contaminate Gulf water and beaches, came as no surprise.In a column four years ago I wrote of frozen methane, pointing out that enough methane hydrates are trapped in ocean sediment along the United States’ Eastern seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico and other nearby waters to satisfy this country’s estimated energy requirements for the next 125,000 years.

Voters notice

June 16, 2010 Many times he just “shows up” with no forewarning or fanfare, nor is it surprising to see him stop by the newspaper “just to chat.”That’s been the practice of Rep. Marion Berry in my many years of working with him and I, for one, will be sorry to see him go.In reality, he is a journalist’s dream. He doesn’t care what he says or how he says it, which is so politically refreshing. Rarely were any conversations “off the record.”

Results equal evidence

June 16, 2010 Begin with Paul Volker, Larry Summers, Richard Holbrooke and Robert Rubin. Toss in Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Bill Gates, and Eric Schmidt.Add a pinch of protester pressure and a hearty helping of heads of state. Then stir briskly while adding leaders from the global financial community as well as 300 Spanish police personnel for good measure. Finally, exclude the mass media and we can call it a meeting conference.

Prison growth

June 15, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The growth of the state prison system is unsustainable, the governor and the chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court said during an announcement of a far-reaching study of methods to change sentencing laws.