Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of

Among our favorite one-liners is the joke about the man who said he thought about going to the meeting of the Optimist Club, but he didn’t think it would do any good. And lately, we’ve been on a YouTube kick to watch performances by the king of self-depreciation humor, the late Rodney Dangerfield. There’s lots of pessimism in the world but we always brighten up when we think about one word: Science. That thought struck us the other day when we read comments by people who live in the Lake Erling area. They were bemoaning the impact that giant salvinia is having on the lake. And they’re right. The invasive water plant is causing great problems in South Arkansas and North Louisiana. But where we draw the line is when people claim that conditions will never improve. There’s nothing to be done about it. All is lost. Woe is me. We have more faith than that because we have more faith in the power of science. Someday, brilliant people are going to figure out how to eradicate giant salvinia. And the emerald ash borer. And the southern pine beetle. It won’t happen tomorrow. But there are smart people who loved science when they were children. They spent years in college learning how to be scientists. They’ve spent their post-college years experimenting, collaborating, and finding solutions. That’s how smallpox and polio were conquered, and how COVID-19 is being overcome. It’s how we split the atom and developed agricultural practices that are largely capable of feeding 8 billion people. We believe in science. We believe in supporting scientific research. And we’re also happy to tell people who say scientists don’t know anything that they’re simply mirroring the image they have of themselves. Scientists know plenty. And what they don’t know, they’re trying to find out. Have a little optimism.

A significant amount of rain is in the forecast for the weekend. There may be time left for one fair cold snap this winter.

Beliefs of a typical state representative as to what should or should not be taught by teachers in public schools should not be turned into law. There is such a thing as academic freedom and it’s essential within the social sciences.

We had to remind the junior U.S. senator yesterday that there's a free market, and a free market of political ideas. Both are very effective when it comes to rapidly responding to changing consumer demand. The free market has come down for alternative energy. The political free market has come down against right-wing insurrection.

Noting this because we enjoy aviation. The famous presidential transport, the Marine One helicopter, will soon fly into history. The familiar VH-3D and VH-60N helicopters will be replaced by the Sikorsky-built VH-92A. The older helicopter models, based on the Sea King helicopter, have been in use through 11 presidents – 60 years.


South Korea is home to several South Arkansas-built THAAD missile batteries. Protesters have been attempting to block road access to the sites, claiming they are a threat to peace in the region. Police have cleared the roads and the protesters. Of course, THAADs are defensive weapons designed to shoot down incoming threats. And there’s the fact that THADDs are mobile. Soldiers can simply start the cab and move them up the road.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of Email him at or call him at 870-904-3865.

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