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OK, weather watchers: Get ready for a wild ride. Sure, we've had almost toasty weather this week, but as you get busy this morning, enjoy the temperature outside. By this afternoon, the temperature is set to plummet into the teens, they say.

So we'll get our thumbs up and thumbs down out of the way this morning so we can don our winter gloves later today.

Give’em a thumb

Want to give some brief feedback on news? Someone who deserves a pat on the back? An idea that needs a dose of common sense? Recommend a “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at

[THUMBS UP] The name Baum Stadium, which is where the Arkansas Razorbacks play their home baseball games, has always kind of rolled off the tongue. So when we heard the University of Arkansas was changing the stadium to Baum-Walker Stadium, it raised the question of whether more was better. But it's just like any other change. It takes a little while to get used to. One can hardly be critical of an effort to honor the Walker family, whose foundation recently donated $5 million as a lead gift for new construction at the stadium. This is in addition to the great support the family has delivered in the past for the ballpark. They're helping the UA continue building its strong baseball program. That's worth a little credit on the building, we think.

[THUMBS DOWN] Springdale officials say they're dropping four adult softball fields plus some parking from Shaw Family Park, which is to be built with money from the bond program Springdale voters approved a year ago. Mayor Doug Sprouse says costs came in higher than expected. Another way to say that is this: The city didn't get its estimates right and promised more than it could deliver with the bond program it needed voter support for. Tomayto, tomahto, right? The mayor said more recent city needs, such as the purchase of the All-Star Sports Arena, aren't to blame. The softball fields are on hold and remain part of future development. What ever happened to under-promising and over-delivering? No matter what, voters had reason to believe those softball fields would be built, so they should remain a high priority for future development.

[THUMBS UP] It's a great idea, this long-overdue replacement of Arkansas' two statues in the halls of the U.S. Capitol. The two in place for the state now have been there since, well, since Statuary Hall became a thing. They've had their time. But it's also becoming clear why nobody has suggested replacements, at least in recent memory. Deciding on just two people to represent a state is a mighty undertaking. Civil rights pioneer Daisy Bates and singer Johnny Cash were among the first names offered. More recently, Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View has offered Hattie Caraway (first female U.S. senator in the nation) and Jimmie Driftwood (folk singer/songwriter). Sen. Alan Clark of Lonsdale has suggested Norris Goff and Chester Lauck, better known as the once wildly popular "Lum and Abner." Sen. Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff has tossed out William Henry Grey and James T. White, black men in the late 1800s who provided strong leadership within the state. Sam Walton has been suggested once or twice. It's going to be intriguing to see if 135 state representatives and senators can figure out a way to boil this down to just two people. Who knows? Uriah M. Rose and former Gov. James P. Clarke, the current stiffs representing Arkansas in the Capitol for the last 100 years, may end up sticking around a while longer.

[THUMBS DOWN] Until Tuesday evening and since, most of us hadn't heard so much about "the clap" since we watched a scary video in junior high health class. This time, though, it originated in the House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi's arms-outstretched clap toward President Trump sparked an immediate social media reaction, with everyone and Pelosi's daughter declaring her clap as a biting sign of sarcasm. Maybe. But why not choose the "slow clap?" Perhaps she was worried the sarcasm of a slow clap might be lost on members of Congress or that she would accidentally trigger a "Hoosiers"-style slow clap that turns into an inspirational moment. Can't have that with this president, right? We're just really happy (sarcasm intended) to report that the state of this union has come to ... analyzing a clap for its political commentary. Sheesh! Did Rep. Frederick Muhlenberg have to deal with this (look it up)? Let's just go back to the simpler times when clapping meant approval and not clapping meant a lack of it. Or, even better, using our words. That's far easier to figure out than what each clapper really means by the way they put their palms together. Is that applausible idea?

Commentary on 02/07/2019

Print Headline: Thursday's thumbs

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