- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

A collection of recent editorials by Arkansas newspapers:

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Ed Dorado News-Times, May 24, 2015

A bad week for the Duggars, TLC and Huckabee

It was a bad week for the TLC television network, their “19 Kids and Counting” program, star Josh Duggar, and last but not least, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

In case you have been living under a rock somewhere and haven’t heard about any of this, please allow us to fill you in.

On Thursday, police reports from 2006 were revealed to the public via the publication “In Touch Weekly” stating sexual molestation allegations against Josh Duggar, the oldest child of the large clan. According to the reports, Duggar, 27, was investigated in 2006 for inappropriately touching minors, including his sisters, when he was a 14-year-old teenager. He later released a statement that has since been obtained by ABC News in which he said he “would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions. I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”

“I confessed this (the molestation) to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling,” he stated. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”

A few hours after the reports had been released and confirmed by the family, Josh Duggar resigned from his position at the Family Research Council. His wife, Anna, stated that she knew about his actions before she married him, and believed that the counseling he received after the incident had changed his life.

In response to all of this, TLC issued a statement and made the decision to remove the program from its current schedule.

So there you have it. A wrong was found out, confirmed, and punished, and that should have been the end of it.

But no . GOP White House hopeful Mike Huckabee felt a need to comment on the situation, which made it, if possible, even worse, especially since he made the decision to stand up for the young Duggar.

“Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable,’” Huckabee wrote in a post on Facebook. “He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story. Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things.”

The funny thing is, we tend to agree with just everything Huckabee had to say about the situation, believing that his comments reflect a Christian attitude of forgiveness.

People do, in fact, make regrettable mistakes, especially in their teens, and we see no real good in sensationalizing the story at this point. But the timing of his comments . in the beginning of a presidential campaign . could hardly be worse.

It should be noted here that Huckabee and the Duggar family have been close for a very long time, and the former Arkansas governor has often praised the family for their Christian values. Photos of Duggar’s parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, and their endorsements of Huckabee for president are prominently featured on his campaign website; they still appeared on the home page Saturday afternoon. The Duggars endorsed and campaigned for Huckabee during his 2008 presidential campaign, as well.

Huckabee, whose campaign declined further comment when asked by ABC News, added that by admitting and apologizing for his actions, Josh Duggar acted as a testament to his family’s “authenticity” and “humility.”

“It is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends,” he concluded. “Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.”

As we said, Huckabee’s defense of the Duggars has a noble air to it and is praiseworthy from a Christian perspective, but we have to face an unfortunate reality. We hope we are wrong, but we don’t see how “19 Kids and Counting” can ever return to the airwaves, nor do we believe that Josh Duggar will ever be able to live down his youthful indiscretions. Wherever he goes for the rest of his life, there is likely to be someone there who will remember the airing of his indiscretions, as well as someone who recalls Huckabee’s defense of the Duggar family during this critical time.

It’s a sad situation in which no one wins.

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 28, 2015.

Incoming

In what will likely be the Hey, Martha! story of the week in Arkansas, a bomb squad blew up an artillery shell unearthed earlier this month in the northwest part of the state. A gas-line crew found the thing along Wayne Villines Road in Prairie Grove. It turns out this particular piece of ordnance was a 14-pound James Rifle artillery shell.

Left over from the Civil War.

Those who study these things think the unexploded shell was left by Confederate troops during the Battle of Prairie Grove on Dec. 7, 1862. Dispatches say after it was found, the shell rattled around in the back of a pickup for a few days—before a bomb squad from the U.S. military was called out. Soldiers destroyed the thing at a rock quarry, at a safe remove from everybody else.

And that’s become a sticking point between The Authorities and local historians.

Why not just disarm it and turn it over to a museum, huh? It’s been done before. It’s history. And even more complaints about the rush to blow the thing up.

To which the best answer might have come from Mike Meadors, commander of the Bentonville Bomb Squad, who explained why the shell had to go: “In the interest of public safety, this round was about 150 years old and still contained explosives.”

He’s the expert. Or at least an expert.

Better safe than … you know. Those shells caused enough damage to life and limb when they were in general use.

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Harrison Daily Times, May 28, 2015

No easy solution for problems in urban areas

A favorite refrain of conservative Republicans in discussing the mélange of troubles afflicting America’s urban areas is reference to the undeniable fact these areas have been managed “for 50 years” by Democratic administrations. Republicans ask blacks and Latinos why they continue to vote for Democrats while things keep getting worse.

It’s an interesting question but doesn’t seem to change the political equation among needy populations. Maybe they sense another undeniable truth: If Republicans had been in charge, conditions probably would be no better.

This is not an indictment of Republicans. It’s recognition of the persistent malaise that afflicts the lower rungs of society. That blacks, Latinos and poor people in general persistently live lives of despair is beyond effective correction in political party platforms. The partisan argument goes something like this:

Republican: What these people need are jobs. Republican policies are designed to boost the economy and create more jobs. Get government out of the way, and the blooming economy will lift all boats.

Democrat: For reasons beyond their control, disadvantaged populations need society’s help. Government is the only agency for this. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, we saw the fruits of abandonment. Welfare is no long-term answer to individual problems but is an essential stopgap while other government programs help people upgrade skills necessary to move up the ladder.

Neither of these arguments provides a solution, which depends in large part on personal efforts beyond the scope of government. Both parties will agree but quickly revert to form, picking at each other over ethereal “solutions.”

That said, we must keep digging, trying to improve education, relations between police and neighbors, voter involvement and all the rest. As our population becomes ever more diverse, challenges become more difficult. Frustration will continue in distraught populations where too many members fail to learn the wholesome lessons of life necessary for escape.

No matter which party holds office, governance in low-income jurisdictions will be hard and frustrating. Much as provider classes might deplore the prospect, we will have to share the wealth even though beneficiaries sometimes fail to respond as they should. If trouble tears up the ghetto, we aren’t immune simply by moving behind the gates.

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