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It's Thursday, which is a pretty fair sign it's time for our semi-regular offering of up- and down-turned digits on news of the week.

[THUMBS UP] The Razorbacks unveiled new uniforms that will be part of the mix when Chad Morris leads the Hogs on the second campaign of his time as head coach. These uniforms are throw-back versions that date to the Darren McFadden era (2005-2007). We like the association. McFadden, fans will recall, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy after the 2006 and 2007 seasons. We know, of course, that the uniform doesn't win or lose games. They apparently do help convince recruits whether to accept scholarship offers. Hey, it's July. Uniforms are as good a reason as any to get pumped up about the Hogs for now. As they say, though, come this fall, it's the player in the uniform, not the uniform on the player, who will make the difference.

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 [email protected]

[THUMBS DOWN] Almost everything in life can be related to a "Seinfeld" episode, and so it is the other day we were reminded of the show in which the lovable oddball Kramer, despite trying to lick a gambling habit, got into a betting match with a rich Texan at an airport lounge. To pass the time, the two wagered as they watched the arrivals/departures screen on which plans would or would not arrive on time. What brought this to mind? Reporting about Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort's inauguration of sports betting, the first in Arkansas. OK, so we knew sports betting would be part of the outcome of voters' bet on casinos in last year's election, but get this: Whether through live tellers or "fast, user-friendly kiosks," bettors seven days a week can not only bet on winners and losers in sports, but make in-game bets on all sorts of minutia. Will Albert Pujols swing and miss four, five or six times during the game? How many times will Alex Morgan score a goal? Will the Razorbacks wear anthracite this season or not? OK, maybe that last one won't be available, but would anyone be surprised if it was? If you want a tip on a sure bet (don't we all?), here it is: Keep your money in your wallet when you visit Hot Springs. In a town known as the Spa City, it's never been easier to take a bath.

[THUMBS UP] Summers in Arkansas are great, but the heat and humidity from time to time reach dangerous levels that lead to heat advisories from weather watchers. This thumbs up goes to those who regularly remind Arkansans of the need to consume plenty of water -- not sports drinks or sodas or coffee or the like -- so that their bodies stay hydrated and capable of fending off the stifling conditions. Dehydration can be dangerous, even deadly. Drink water well before vigorous activities and every 15 to 30 minutes while involved in outdoor activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[THUMBS DOWN] We had a feeling during the spring legislation session of the Arkansas General Assembly that Bentonville's Dan Douglas, a Republican, wouldn't run for the office again. This week, he made the official announcement he will not seek re-election to a fifth term serving District 91 in the Arkansas House of Representatives. It seemed during that session that Douglas took several positions that a politician planning to go through another election might not have been so brave about taking. Douglas, in his last Republican primary, defeated challenger Scott Richardson by only 12 votes, so the future was certainly no guarantee. Richardson had already announced plans to seek the office again. Douglas, in the recent session, sponsored or favored such issues as legalized assisted suicide, in-state tuition at public colleges for certain foreign-born residents of the state and asking voters in 2020 to permanently extend a half-cent sales tax for highways. He also was the only Republican to vote against a near-total ban on abortion in the state, saying it went too far even for his "pro-life" views. He also suggested the NRA, according to some legislators, is "getting too radical." From our perspective, we appreciated Douglas' independent streak, seemingly accentuated in this last session. He's been a reasonable, level-headed lawmaker with a conservative bent, but not a hard-right robot as some lawmakers appear to be. We're sorry to see Douglas go.

[THUMBS UP] When the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upheld a lower court judge's ruling that President Trump cannot block his critics from his Twitter account, the court's jurists articulate a way of thinking that bears repeating. They wrote that "debate, as uncomfortable and as unpleasant as it frequently may be, is nonetheless a good thing. In resolving this appeal, we remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less." Too often these days, we hear people who would rather shut down viewpoints they don't like rather than engaging in debate. When that happens, it's a sure sign of lack of confidence in one's views or the foundations on which they are built.

Commentary on 07/11/2019

Print Headline: Thursday's thumbs

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