Ledge update: Funding drug courts

August 30, 2011 LITTLE ROCK —  Funding of the 41 drug courts in Arkansas will be near the top of the agenda when the legislature convenes in fiscal session next February.Judges and staff who operate drug courts are seeking a permanent place in the state’s budget, as opposed to the current system under which legislators must find funding from available sources every budget cycle. Legislative supporters of drug courts have been able to find money from a settlement of a lawsuit against tobacco companies. 

Guys, here’s a ‘mancession’ opportunity

August 30, 2011 It sounds good to me. I speak of an opportunity made possible by the “mancession.”You see, the recession that began in December 2007 hit male-dominated industries, such as construction, harder than female-dominated industries.The male unemployment rate hit 10.4 percent in November 2010, whereas the female unemployment rate hovered around 8 percent.

Are you there, Andrea? It’s Me, God

August 30, 2011 OK, God. I hear Ya. I know You’ve been hitting me over the head with a hammer so many times trying to knock some sense into my thick skull, but still I go on about my business, so sure I know what’s best for me instead of You. After all, I’m the one down in the trenches here on Earth. At the same time I’m forgetting myself and forgetting to let You lead. I find myself unfortunately turning from Your plan for me.

Celebrating the history of the Ozark Region

August 29, 2011 Editor’s note: This is the first of several articles discussing museums in the Ozark Gateway Region.The Ozark Gateway Region is rich in history, dating back to the 1700s. Not surprisingly, the region is also home to a number of outstanding museums that keep that history alive with exhibits, guest speakers workshops, and educational programs.

Feeling the vibe: Elvis slept here

August 29, 2011 Stepping inside that little two-bedroom apartment just off 185 Winchester Ave., in Memphis, I felt the vibe. Sure, it might have only been the temperature change from being outside in the heat and then inside the air-conditioned building, but like much of the city, there was an electricity in the air. Here I stood inside the room, albeit renovated and featuring A/C, where a young Elvis Presley and his parents, Vernon and Gladys, moved to in 1949 from Tupelo, Miss.

Defending electoral college

August 26, 2011 During the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore won the popular vote but George W. Bush won the presidency by winning the majority of votes in the Electoral College. Since then, a predictable but misguided effort has been under way to try to make the popular vote determinative of presidential elections, instead of relying on the Electoral College as provided in the Constitution and as traditionally counted.

It’s a lie! College is NOT too hard, too expensive

August 26, 2011 Please stop and read this column! I wish I would have known what I’m about to write while I was still in high school. Chances are I would not have quit. But you see, when you grow up poor and see that your parents are barely feeding the family, college is completely out of the question. I was in the ninth grade when I decided I didn’t need school. I knew I wasn’t going to college so why bother graduating high school?

Fascists in small government

August 26, 2011 Recent news of the West Memphis Three — freed on the condition that they confess their guilt, thus sparing sociopathic prosecutors any public embarrassment — raises an old question.The state’s defenders commonly argue that, no matter how fallible or corrupt individual public officials may be, they’ll be restrained by checks and balances built into the system.But what happens when the system’s institutional culture is corrupt to the core?  What if it’s not just “a few bad apples” among cops and prosecutors, but their whole professional culture?

Labor Day: Can it still be saved?

August 25, 2011 Labor Day isn’t what it used to be.Parades are less prominent, Jerry Lewis has been ousted from the MDA Telethon, summer weather seems to drag into mid-October and even the “no white after Labor Day” fashion dogma has crumbled.And our day-to-day lives have made the once-great notion of a day honoring the working people of America a farce.

Artifacts in tunnels underneath Jerusalem

August 25, 2011 The excavation of an ancient drainage tunnel beneath Jerusalem has yielded a sword, oil lamps, pots and coins abandoned during a war there 2,000 years ago, according to archaeologists quoted in a recent Associated Press article. They said the finds apparently are debris from a pivotal episode in the city’s history when rebels hid from Roman soldiers who were crushing a Jewish revolt.