In the news

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - PERSPECTIVE - PAUL GREEN­BERG

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.

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