Elvis this ’n’ that

January 17, 2011 Last week I wrote about country singer Johnny Cash after a visit to his boyhood home, but I can’t remember the last time I wrote about Elvis Presley, so I figure I’m about due. (A few readers have said I write too much about the entertainer, however, those columns are ones in which I’ve received more nice comments.)Elvis would have turned 76 on Jan. 8 and like most years Luke and I traveled to Memphis to partake in some of the events scheduled around the big day.

Legislative disputes

January 17, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  It didn’t take long for the first dispute of the 88th General Assembly to surface.Freshmen legislators took their oaths of office on Monday. On Thursday the House of Representatives sent the General Appropriation bill back to committee, rather than approve it and send it to the Senate. It was a signal that this legislative session will not be “business as usual.”

Exploring Arkansas

January 14, 2011 Jana Wood’s “Arkansas: An Explorer’s Guide” is the definitive guide to enjoying The Natural State. Wood, a native Arkansan and former communications director for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, is both knowledgeable and passionate; her love for the state and its people and places comes through on every page of this well-written, easy to use travel guide.

Glimmers of hope in sea of despair is on the rise

January 14, 2011 Each Jan. 16, Americans are supposed to celebrate Religious Freedom Day, our least known, most neglected national holiday — except, perhaps, for the even more obscure Bill of Rights Day widely ignored every Dec. 15.

Gun remedies

January 13, 2011 Growing up, my father — now retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after 35 years of service — frequently took me shooting and to just about every gun show within a 100-mile radius of our Southern California home.In fact, as I write this, several of the guns from his collection are on display at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia.I may be a progressive but I have absolutely no problem with private gun ownership.

Three things Congress can do

January 13, 2011 An Open Letter to Congress:I know you’re scared.One of your members was gunned down in public. Six people are dead, including a nine-year-old little girl, a third grade student council member who wanted to see democracy in action.You can pretend this was an isolated incident.Or, you can act like real leaders and have the courage to confront a root problem.Your lives may be at stake. Not just your political life, your real life.Do you really want to continue to claim that vitriolic and violent language isn’t a problem?

Earmarks missing the mark

January 13, 2011 The USA Today article almost caused me to drive off a bridge to nowhere.Our government can’t even squander our money efficiently — particularly where earmarks are concerned.Earmarks, says FactCheck.org, “are government funds that are allocated by a legislator for a particular pet project, often without proper review.”Often slipped into large authorization bills — or the 13 appropriation bills that fund the federal government every year — earmarks tend to be concealed.

Your job, or your personality?

January 12, 2011 How did you choose your profession?Did you lie awake at night as a child fantasizing about spending 10 hours a day hunched over a computer?If you’re like most people, you probably fell into your profession.When I was a kid, my secret dream was to be a tele-evangelist.  But I gave up on that after I told my mother and she informed me that I’d have to start going to church.

Sarah should stand by her free speech

January 12, 2011 Last Saturday morning 20 people were shot in a Tucson Safeway parking lot by a 22-year-old who stated on YouTube he “won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver.” Fifteen minutes after the news broke, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tweeted, “The price of gold today is at $1,368.90 an ounce.”Coincidence?Yes.

X files filling up

January 12, 2011 Fashion, relationship and life changes.Right now I’m being pulled in so many directions I’m having a hard time finding just what direction I’m heading in.In an effort to just wait it out and see what happens on my journey of 2011, I’m keeping myself busy by going through my fashion-tossing stage.I’m not sure why getting rid of some items is so hard, but the less space I have it seems the more I need to rethink what is really important in my life so some of those items I’ve held onto for years are destined for either a new home or the dump.