Walking away from the game

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

One of the Razorbacks’ best players announced this week that he was retiring as a college sophomore. For football fans and the entities that profit from the game, the bigger issue is the number of young people who might never play at all.

Rawleigh Williams had already suffered one neck injury his freshman season, had a successful surgery, and returned to lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing, putting him on the path to a pro career.

Then in the Razorbacks’ final spring practice April 29, he made ordinary contact with a defensive player and fell to the ground, unable to rise. Medical personnel rushed to his side along with Head Coach Bret Bielema and then his distressed mother, Kim, and his sister. A ruptured disc in his neck was surgically replaced and fused in place.

This family’s really super

Jeremy, Elizabeth, Kenneth and Miles Spann are ready to take flight at the Walk for the Waiting.
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Superman was adopted. So were Batman, Spiderman, and Kenneth and Miles Spann.

You probably haven’t heard of Kenneth, 8, and Miles, 7, yet. But someday you might. They might seem like the ordinary children of Little Rock parents Jeremy and Elizabeth Spann, but they’re already developing their superpowers.

“We’ve had a lot of first birthday parties, first bike riding, first vacations, just seeing them grow into individual people, and they’re just amazing,” Elizabeth Spann said. “They’re the most resilient kids ever. They’re so bright, so funny.”

Spann made those comments on the football field at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock May 6 shortly before the family participated in the Walk for the Waiting.

Can The Centrist Project pioneer a new way?

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Forty-four percent of Americans are independents, according to Gallup, but only 2 percent of United States senators are, and one of those is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s really a Democrat. Could a few more independents form a decisive voting bloc that would force Republicans and Democrats to solve problems?

That’s a question Joel Searby and the other founders of The Centrist Project are trying to answer.

Searby ran the 2016 independent presidential campaign of Evan McMullen, a former Republican congressional staff member and ex-CIA officer who won 21 percent of the vote in Utah and 1 percent in Arkansas.

Now, Searby and others with The Centrist Project are trying to recruit and strategically fund credible independent candidates in 2018, with one focus being the U.S. Senate where they could make the most difference.

$23.33 less debt

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

The past couple of weeks showed two different ways to react when you don’t have enough money coming in: the Arkansas state government reaction, which is relatively effective, and the federal reaction, which isn’t at all.

Why the difference? One big reason is that Arkansas has a structure for responding to budget shortfalls and, more important, a culture that respects that structure. The federal government has neither nor the structure nor the culture.

Let’s start with Arkansas. The state’s budgetary decisions are governed by the Revenue Stabilization Act, a law passed in 1945 that is amended by the Legislature each budget cycle and sets the parameters for a balanced budget. Under the act, state spending is divided into categories: an essential Category A and a much smaller, spend-it-if-we’ve-got-it Category B.