- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Log Cabin Democrat, July 26, 2014

Faulkner County doesn’t need to be used for political gain

We have news that will shock you. We hate political television ads. All right, maybe it’s not that shocking.

We are big fans of political advertising in our newspaper, obviously, but aside from the benefit to us, those ads tend to highlight a particular candidate’s attributes and qualifications for the job. For the most part, they do what we all would like political advertising to do: they promote the candidate in the most positive spotlight possible.

Those on television lately, however, have been one sling and arrow thrown after another that don’t necessarily promote one candidate so much as tear the other one apart. It makes one want to spend the majority of time on Netflix, where there are no commercials and one can binge-watch “Scandal,” or “House of Cards,” which might not be too far off what Washington D.C. would be like, if we are to believe these ads.

But worse than the general tone of the commercials is the fact that Faulkner County has been dragged into the fight. It’s not something we ever asked to be a part of, but now the events in April have led to the political ads of July.

In the hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, the effects of the tornado that swept through Vilonia, Mayflower and other parts of the county are the center of mudslinging over who “cares more” about the good people here at home.

Pryor’s campaign is asserting that Cotton has voted against federal aid for disaster relief more than any other elected representative in the state. Politifact.com rates that statement as “half-true,” noting the times Cotton voted for federal aid in early versions of bills that did not make it to final passage.

Cotton has returned the volley using a local face claiming he has been with Faulkner County “the entire time.” Cotton’s ad and the voice coming from it blames Pryor for politicizing the tragedy, while doing their best to politicize the tragedy.

What really matters is what both of these elected officials are doing to help the people who are still reeling from the aftermath, whether it be in monetary aid or hands-on help. Pointing fingers at one another and expecting us to care isn’t helping anyone at all.

And to the person who was elected to his position in May, please spend your time doing the job you were elected to do instead of appearing in commercials claiming to speak for the entire county.


Southwest Times Record, July 27

Fort Smith Marathon suits historic city

If you’re planning to participate, you better be training already. The first Fort Smith Marathon route has been set, and its date has been finalized. The Feb. 8 race is fewer than 200 days away.

The idea of a Fort Smith Marathon has been kicking around for a while, according to a report in Friday’s Times Record, and it’s a great one. Running 26 miles in a picturesque but oh-so-hilly city? That’s going to be something to brag about for a long time. The route, which will start and end in historic downtown, is not for the faint of heart.

Patrick Pendleton, one of the race’s organizers, said the race will have history, scenery and hills and will be organized around a “True Grit” theme in honor of the book and movies that reveal Fort Smith’s history from the time it sat on the border between relative civilization and the Wild West.

“It’s a heck of a course,” Mr. Pendleton said. “It’s scenic, it’s got hills, it’s got neighborhoods, it’s got history, it’s just got grit.”

That’s the same message you see on the FortSmithMarathon.com website: “Just like the colorful characters that got Fort Smith going: soldiers and settlers, cowboys and Indians, lawmen and outlaws, madams and nuns. . Sure it’s February. Darn right the course is challenging. But we didn’t earn the name ‘Hell on the Border’ for nothin’ and they didn’t hand out U.S. Marshal’s badges to just anybody.”

So, it’s a challenging event for people who love a challenge. Perfect.

Proceeds from the $80 entrance fee for the full marathon ($60 for the half) will go to Park Partners of Fort Smith, a nonprofit corporation devoted to developing parks and recreation facilities in the city. The marathon proceeds will go toward expanding the Fort Smith Trail System, according to the marathon website.

We look forward to hearing more about the race in the coming weeks. Let us know if you plan to participate.

In the meantime, there are just two other notes.

First, it’s sentimental, but we like the idea floated by Times Record Sports Editor Scott Faldon that somehow the marathon include a memorial to former Mayor Ray Baker, who was a well known and enthusiastic runner long before running was cool.

Second, in case you wondered, Feb. 8, 2013, had a balmy high temperature of 58 in Fort Smith with a low of 40. Feb. 8 of this year, however, had a high of 34 and a low of 24. That’s the thing about February in the Fort, isn’t it? You just never know.


Texarkana Gazette, July 28, 2014

Gun law shot down

Our nation’s capital is known for having strict gun control laws.

Before 2008, Washington residents could not even own a handgun. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.

Now those in Washington can own a handgun, but only a model approved by the authorities and the gun must be licensed and registered with the police. Residents are not allowed to carry their weapon either concealed or in the open outside of their own homes.

Well, that was the law.

In a decision announced Saturday, a federal judge ruled the law requiring gun owners to keep their weapons at home violated the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

In his decision, U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. wrote that in light of recent court decisions - including the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the ownership of firearms is an individual right not tied to service in a state militia - “there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional.”

Gun rights advocates cheered the decision, saying the ruling will make the streets of Washington safer for all residents.

A spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia - the agency that defended the ban in court - said officials were weighing the decision and may appeal.

We applaud Judge Scullin’s ruling. The Second Amendment clearly says the people have a right to both keep and bear arms.

Strict gun control laws such as those in Washington D.C. only serve to render decent citizens defenseless against armed criminals who don’t obey those laws anyway.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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