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In the news

Apologies to those skilled editors at Arkansas' Newspaper who turn out the real In the News column on the front page every day in a feat of both selection and compression that is harder than it looks. For a novice and creature of habit like me, it's a daunting assignment. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, here is my own highly opinionated version of their art.

So let the reader beware: While those editors strive to be politically neutral, this version comes loaded with political, social, moral, legal and every other kind of editorializing.

• Tony Hilliard, new president of the Arkansas Bar Association who was recently sworn in at its annual meeting, is a lawyer out of Pine Bluff who had favored a proposal that would have pitted the state's bar against much of its business community, but he wound up on the losing side of the narrow vote against that bad idea, which fell three votes short of adoption, garnering only 56 votes rather than the required 59, moving him to declare that, "Personally, I don't know any money-grubbing lawyers"--a claim that moved at least one not-so-neutral observer to think Mr. Hilliard ought to get out into the real world more often.

• Scott Trotter, a Little Rock lawyer who helped draft the language of a failed attempt to make an end run around the Legislature with a rival constitutional amendment on the ballot, says he may lead a drive to get it on the ballot anyway--a herculean task that would daunt anyone without Counselor Trotter's talent for chutzpah, a state-of-the-art term for sheer nerve best exemplified by the defendant in an old story who, having killed his mother and father, asked the court to show him mercy on the ground that he was an orphan.

• Greg Gianforte, a just-elected Republican congressman from Montana who pled guilty to assaulting a reporter, appealed for civility as he went off to Washington, where his attitude toward the press and his demonstrated hypocrisy should go over well in this Trumped-up age.

• Hillary Clinton has come up with still more reasons, or rather excuses, for her well-deserved defeat in last year's presidential election, among them Jim Comey's low-jinks as head of the FBI, Vladimir Putin's attempt to manipulate an American presidential election, Wisconsin's requirement that voters show their ID at the polls, and one of her well established favorites, sexism, which she attributed to Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg who was said to have warned Ms./Senator/Secretary Clinton that her once high approval ratings in the polls would evaporate once she began campaigning for president on her own instead of as a political appendage to her husband Bill, leading the National Review to describe her as whiny, paranoid and devoid of self-awareness.

• President Donald Trump keeps blaming his loyal opposition in Congress, the Democrats, for his own failure to fill his administration with flunkies of his choice, but he would be closer to the mark if he noted that he has been slow when it comes to making presidential appointments even as potential appointees who've watched him in febrile action may have decided that, whatever he's up to, they'd really rather not be part of it, since accepting a presidential appointment from Donald J. Trump would be like accepting one from Richard M. Nixon just as his administration was about to collapse.

• Oscar Lopez Rivera made it out of prison thanks to The Hon. Barack Obama's commuting the sentence of this terrorist who had been convicted of conspiring to transport explosives for the purpose of destroying government property as a leader of a Puerto Rican group dedicated to winning the island's independence by bombing at least 120 sites in this country during the 1970s and '80s. So when he dared say he'd take part in New York City's recent annual Puerto Rican Day parade, there were vociferous protests from corporate sponsors, New York politicians sensitive to public feeling, and all those affected by his subversive acts--with the result that Sr. Rivera announced that he would attend the parade not as an honoree "but as a humble Puerto Rican and grandfather," the latter claim being the only one that approached the truth.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer and columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Editorial on 07/16/2017

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