The football debates

footballBy Steve Brawner

The Razorbacks are playing only one game at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium this year and next, while the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is considering starting its own team to play there. Meanwhile, in light of recent studies regarding football’s risks, some parents are wondering if they should let their children play football at all.

I guess the question for everybody is, are football’s benefits worth the costs?

The first Razorback game at War Memorial Stadium was played in 1948. Since then the relationship has strengthened the football program’s and the university’s ties with the rest of the state. Meanwhile, the Razorbacks have been the biggest draw for the aging stadium, now the responsibility of the Department of Parks and Tourism under Act 269 passed by the Legislature this year.

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First, tear down the Confederate myths

Confederate Monument
The Monument to Confederate Soldiers was dedicated in 1905.

By Steve Brawner

One thing about the past – it changes as much as the present.

That’s because the lenses through which we view the past are ever changing, which brings us to the Confederacy and the ways Arkansas memorializes it.

The State Capitol grounds are home to 15 monuments, and three of them relate to the Confederacy. The Monument to Confederate Soldiers, dedicated in 1905, and the Monument to Confederate Women, dedicated in 1913, are at the front corners of the Capitol and are the tallest statues on the grounds. A third monument, the War Prisoners’ Marker, would be easy to miss, as it’s basically a raised plaque near the spot where the 10 Commandments monument will be rebuilt.

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Three kinds of racism

Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine African American students to integrate Little Rock Central High in 1957, is honored with a statue at the Arkansas State Capitol.

By Steve Brawner

Given time and nothing else to do, sometimes men will say a lot.

As we waited in the August sun for our children to take their driving tests, a fellow dad told me about his daughter who works at night and had phoned him after another establishment had been robbed. He said he had told her, if threatened, to shoot the assailant and call him. It would be OK because there would be “one less black.”

I think I checked to make sure I’d heard him right, and he repeated it. He then quickly added, “I’m not a racist, but …” and explained that news reports about crimes usually involve blacks and Hispanics.

There are three kinds of racism: bold print racism, regular print racism, and fine print racism.  Continue reading Three kinds of racism

Done: Arkansas students have fast internet

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Gov. Asa Hutchinson shakes hands with Yessica Jones, Department of Information Systems director, at Glen Rose.

By Steve Brawner

It’s not often a public policy problem can be completely checked off the to-do list. Last month, one was.

That’s when 100 percent of Arkansas’ school districts reached broadband internet connections of 200 kilobits per second per student. That’s twice the national standard, at no more cost than the previous slower speeds. According to the group Education Superhighway, only five states had reached the 100 kbps standard as of 2016, though others may do so along with Arkansas this year.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson marked the occasion July 21 in Glen Rose, a small school district between Benton and Malvern. It had been one of the state’s last districts to obtain its high-speed fiber connection the previous week. Continue reading Done: Arkansas students have fast internet