Archive for Letters

In response to David Koon’s Aug. 10 cover story, “Farmer vs. Farmer”

Let the free market solve the problem.

From the web

In response to David Koon's Aug. 10 cover story, "Farmer vs. Farmer," on a murder linked to a quarrel over the herbicide dicamba and the herbicide's effect on East Arkansas:

Let the free market solve the problem. There should be NO regulations of any kind on any farmer.  Corporations are people too, and they spent millions developing these products and deserve a return on their investment. The loss of a few farmers' crops is inconsequential when compared to the needs of a multibillion-dollar international corporation.  Just because one farmer shoots another farmer, and just because millions of dollars of crops have been damaged, there's still no reason for the government to get involved. Let the courts handle it.

Ivan the Republican

I have serious concerns on the safety of dicamba and its use. How safe is it to inhale, and is it readily washable off fruit and vegetables that it doesn't kill in private gardens?  My dad is still dealing with health issues from chemicals that were used on our farm years ago that were later removed from the market as being too dangerous to use.

Mark Hollis

A well-researched article, David. Very sorry for the Wallace family. It was disappointing to read Republican state Rep. Joe Jett's comments about the state government not being able to do anything to help the farmers.

ShineonLibby

In response to the Arkansas Blog post on the police dispersal of homeless people waiting for a meal at a church on West Markham St., who, according to a post by a nonprofit aid group, were called "an eyesore" by one officer:

"Eyesore" being the operative word here. Apparently it's offensive to some with power to have to see what homelessness and hunger look like. Out of sight, out of mind. The homeless are not the reason my hubby freaks out whenever I tell him I need to make a trip to Little Rock or the reason he calls or texts excessively from all parts of the world until I assure him I am on the way home. Homeless and hungry people are not the reason almost none of my girlfriends will make the trip with me anymore, despite attempted bribes of free lunch or a shopping spree. If only the police department and the city would do whatever it takes to hire a full staff and devote every accessible resource to fixing the real problems so folks can resume enjoying the pleasures our beautiful capital city has to offer without fear. I miss that a lot. There always have been and always will be homeless and hungry people. Hiding them doesn't qualify as a Band-aid.  The hungry and homeless don't even appear on the radar of the image our country has right now of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mountaingirl

One wonders why the city fathers keep talking about the number of open police jobs to justify not requiring cops living in Little Rock and crime ... but they can place all these cops at this location instead of in the neighborhoods that are experiencing the problems, because Lance Hines does not like looking at them when he drives to City Hall? Or because the Republican legislators who eat at Doe's and ran for office as Christians don't want to see homeless people? Republicans don't live by Jesus' example.

joanimal

How ironic that there will probably be a 24/7 guard mounted by the Capitol Police watching over the next monolith by Sen. Jason Rapert, but those dedicated to living out the precepts of their religion by aiding the less fortunate among us are threatened with arrest. All the while, fascist TV preachers publicly extol crude and nutty Drumpf as the lawd's chosen. There is no doubt that ours is an "exceptional" nation.

tsallenrng

This city needs new leadership. The drifting and clueless City Hall needs to be cleaned out. And how come, when Little Rock has as many murders this year as Oakland, Calif., that the Little Rock Police Department is busy harassing the homeless and stopping people on Cantrell by Dillards going 5 mph over the speed limit instead of being out and stopping these murders and cracking down on hardened criminals?

Rick 1

Follow the chain of command all the way back to who really authorized orders for the police to use excessive harassment tactics against people breaking bread together. Remember the RFRA? The Arkansas Senate voted to approve a bill that supporters said will protect religious freedoms: House Bill 1228, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville. As an example of the protections the bill would provide, Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, said "a church in Texas was granted the right to continue a program to feed the homeless under Texas religious freedom law." I would suggest that a statue of Baphomet placed on the state Capitol grounds would more accurately represent the morals, character and laws of a majority of the Arkansas government. They will most likely claim they were not aware of this police action. Someone in authority ordered the police to place a surveillance camera across the street.

ShineonLibby

In response to an Arkansas Blog post on eStem charter school head John Bacon's writings that the school's success can be traced to its "demographics":

It is nice when he gets taxpayer money, plus funds poured on him by the Waltons, and then can go out and give a faulty rationale for their success. Since taxpayers aren't represented in the Little Rock School District and apparently can't have a vote to take the rate down to the state minimum, he is just another financial crook living off the efforts of others. These types just wear a business suit rather than a mask.

Couldn't be better

In response to an Arkansas Blog post that the University of Arkansas made a list of 20 schools most unfriendly to the LGBT community:

Husband and I have six weeks left before we leave Arkansas, and the South, for good! Hallelujah!

cryptopagan

Quicksand in court

Arkansas's court system is like quicksand: You don't know how bad it is until you're stuck in it.

Did you know that when you post bail with a bail bondsman, you never see that money again? If you show up like you're supposed to for your day in court, the money you paid stays with the bail bond company. Even if you show up and are found innocent, you don't get your money back.

I always thought that if defendants showed up as scheduled, the bail money was returned. Not so! If you're arrested and bail is set at $10,000, you pay $1,000 to the bondsman. But even if you keep your court date, that money is gone. Vanished. The bondsman keeps it.

Is this justice?

And of course if you're too poor to post bail, it's even worse. Even if you are willing to show up in court when ordered, you're stuck in the jail for weeks or months because you're poor — but that's a subject for another letter. 

The system stinks and the public needs to know how bad it is.

Maya Porter

Johnson

Aims of the religious right

he religious right isn't satisfied with its constitutional right to speak out against ideas with which it does not agree. The religious right wants no less than to possess the legal means by which to condemn and punish those with whom it disagrees.

Aims of the religious right

The religious right isn't satisfied with its constitutional right to speak out against ideas with which it does not agree. The religious right wants no less than to possess the legal means by which to condemn and punish those with whom it disagrees. The exercising of First Amendment rights, such as marching in protest or publishing articles as a means to influence others, is not enough. The religious right wants to take it to another level and bring about the means to legally sanction and penalize any behavior not in line with its own dominionist worldview. This can only be accomplished through establishing some form of theocratic government. This is the dream of the religious right: a country with laws that are based on its interpretation of an ancient religious text. In this sense, the religious right is not different from ISIS.

R.L. Hutson Cabot

From the web

In response to Max Brantley's Aug. 3 column, "Crisis at 60" about the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High, the state takeover of the Little Rock School District and the threat of charter schools to schools like Central:

You are definitely making me think. Now if we could just get this story covered by "60 Minutes," "20/20" or some other national program. Bow ties are back in style

Have we learned anything from the 1957 crisis in Little Rock?

Coreen Frasier

There is nothing cathartic about the 60th anniversary of Central High. The de jure and de facto laws that attempted to maintain segregation at Central High and schools in the U.S. are not anachronistic; the rules are revised modern warfare to have more devastating effects.

Phyllis Brown

In response to Benjamin Hardy's Aug. 3 article, "State still holds reins over youth lockups":

This is a good article, as always, by Benji. I have always been an opponent of the state privatizing correctional or juvenile services. This is a responsibility of government to see it is done correctly, and state government is dodging its responsibility in putting the responsibility in the hands of for-profit corporations, which are more interested in the bottom line than they are in rehabilitating youth or criminals.

plainjim

Please explain to me this: A Republican governor promises to streamline state government starting with the largest state agency, the Department of Human Services. Under Governor Beebe, the director made around $150,000 and had one, sometimes two low-level communications staff. The new Republican governor hired a director at over $200K and the communications staff has increased from 1 to 10! The newly created chief of communications, who by the way is the same person to whom John Selig wouldn't pay a mid-level salary, now earns $100K a year. She has also hired 10 staff for her new communications team, most at salaries much higher than existing employees with years more experience.

Clem Hooten

In response to the Aug. 6 Arkansas Blog post, "Cotton figures in New York Times roundup on 2020 presidential race":

Here goes the failed N.Y. Times masturbating over some fantasy they conjured up. Typical of the fake news articles they pump out day after day in their battle with The Washington Post to see who can be the most outlandish.

71909er

Deny it all you want, Pence (Pence has already issued a statement about the NYT article) and others see the writing on the wall. Trump is seriously damaged, and if he lasts four years, they know he shouldn't be a candidate. Meanwhile, slimy Cottonmouth has been sucking up to Trump in order to get his name in the news. Perhaps they think that after Trump, any Republican will sound sane and have a chance. Even George Bush looks good about now!

NeverVoteRepublican

Is this the same Rotten Tommy Cotton who is deathly afraid to face his constituents in a live public setting? How chicken can a career politician be? He's it.

Sound Policy

Martin does it again

I don't believe this! Mark Martin released the info of every Arkansas voter not just once, but twice? Is he really that eager to grovel at the feet of Herr Trump?

Martin does it again

I don't believe this! Mark Martin released the info of every Arkansas voter not just once, but twice? Is he really that eager to grovel at the feet of Herr Trump?

I don't know which is worse, Martin's amazing stupidity or Kris Kobach's evil intentions.

Setting up a hotline after the voter info has already been released is about as useful as teats on a boar hog. The damage is already done.

Get used to it, folks. This is life in a full-blown corporate oligarchy. Big Brother is watching you now.

Martin has betrayed the people of this state. He should be fired.

Brad Bailey Fayetteville

Rights

For decades now, Democrats have believed that all people are entitled to certain benefits. Even the U.S. Declaration of Independence lists life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as inalienable rights and that the government is designed to secure these rights. Republicans, on the other hand, want government out of everyone's rights and business. Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt offered his Second Bill of Rights, which guaranteed employment, farmers' rights, housing, medical care, Social Security, education and freedom from monopolies. Republicans want the free market to handle all these things. In 1965, President Johnson and his Democrats gave us Medicare and Medicaid. Today, Democrats agree that Americans are entitled to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment and welfare programs. Republicans are trying to unravel and privatize those programs.

Here in Arkansas, Governor Hutchinson and his Republicans practically kicked 60,000 Arkansans off Medicaid. Hutchinson says these poor Arkansans will buy health insurance on the Obamacare market, which Republicans are trying to destroy. Meanwhile, health providers across Arkansas have lost 60,000 customers. To make matters worse, Hutchinson also signed a punitive act to remove a tax exemption on unemployment benefits. Newly unemployed health professionals will be less likely to exist on unemployment income. Republicans will not allow these people to live, be free and pursue happiness.

Gene Mason

Jacksonville

Cycling good for Central Arkansas

I was glad to see the Pulaski County Quorum Court pass the resolution to accept FLAP funding for the Southwest Trail. I did appreciate the opposition voicing concern for the single mom in Wrightsville holding down two jobs and how funding for the Southwest Trail might impact her. I am, however, unsure of the necessity of the attack on the cycling community by hoping we eventually leave the Big Dam Bridge for the Southwest Trail for the safety of himself and his children.

I ride with a lot of passionate Republicans and Democrats. I ride with believers and nonbelievers, with professionals and blue-collar workers. All these differences are nullified on the bike. We all have a common goal of cycling for fun. I'm a member of two Central Arkansas cycling clubs and have ridden with most others. I sit on a bicycle advocacy board that represents a cross section of cyclists who use their bikes to commute, ride off-road and ride for exercise or competition. There are thousands and thousands of voters cycling in Central Arkansas. And as the court saw in letters and phone calls and then in person, we make up a passionate bloc of voters.

We are a force economically. Allied Cycle Works has brought in some of the industry's best minds to Little Rock to create the only large-scale production carbon bike facility in North America. It is receiving international accolades for this effort. Meanwhile, there are a dozen bike shops in Central Arkansas, selling thousands of bikes and providing ongoing mechanical service and support to this large community. In addition, Bobby's Bikes rents thousands more bikes each year to tourists and residents, and Little Rock will soon launch its own bike share program.

And most cyclists aren't pedaling $5,000-$10,000 bikes as was suggested by another opponent of this measure. Though the comment was an attempt to paint us as out-of-touch elitists, spending on bikes is a positive economic issue. Still, most average biking citizens who benefit from the bike lanes and trails don't spend near that on their bikes.

Our community involvement runs deep. Recycled Bikes for Kids provides bicycles, helmets and safety training to an underserved community, including the single mom in Wrightsville holding two jobs. We want her children to know the joy and freedom of riding, as well.

In September, many of us will again ride to fund multiple sclerosis research as a small part of the national Bike MS program. Each year, cyclists in Central Arkansas raise roughly $100,000 by requesting donations and then traversing the hills of the Ouachita Mountains to Hot Springs Village. Then, we'll turn around and come back the same way the next day.

Safety is a big concern out there on roads, and we spend much of our time talking about it. We talk about considerate riding, sharing the road, and how better to protect ourselves with onboard cameras, lights and safe riding skills. We've lost fellow riders to distracted drivers. Every year, in the middle of July, over 600 cyclists and volunteers meet in Scott to participate in a memorial ride to honor Marilyn Fulper by doing what she loved. This is a ride of which few noncycling citizens are aware. Funds are primarily used for improvements on the Arkansas River Trail.

But the real return on investment is to our broken health care system. When I took up cycling six years ago, I was overweight, already on blood pressure meds and being encouraged to add another for cholesterol control. In six months, I lost 15 percent of my body weight, improved all my cholesterol numbers and stopped taking blood pressure medication.

I am extending my life by riding — physically and mentally. A friend recently told me she and her husband have taken up cycling and lost over 60 pounds in just two months. Another friend recently lost 60 pounds, and he, too, no longer needs any cholesterol or blood pressure medicine. In a state with one of the highest obesity rates in a country with one of the highest rates among developed countries, I'd say the lower cost of health care is an adequate economic benefit in and of itself.

Randall Hula Little Rock

From the web

In response to a July 31 blog item about the firing of White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci 10 days into his job:

I just hope I'm around long enough to read the all Trump administration tell-all books that will come out in the future. Of course, that's assuming the fool doesn't do something so monumentally stupid that none of us will have much of a future.

Sigh.

In response to the July 27 Arkansas Blog item "County approves bike trail":

All cyclists and/or bicycles should be taxed or licensed to help pay for this expenditure. There is no good reason why this elitist group, who may afford expensive cycles and equipment, should not contribute rather than receive a free ride on the backs of their neighbors.

Baker

Everybody pays taxes, baker. The vast majority of people who ride bikes are also car owners who drive just as much as everyone else. Regional paths like the proposed Southwest Trail have been proven to benefit the communities along them and the counties around them, so this is an investment in everyone's future, more than just a giveaway to your neighbors who ride bikes. Or, simply think of it as a linear public park. That being said, I do like your logic when applied to things that don't have a clear benefit to the community at large. Let's repeal the general sales taxes that go to highway widening and replace that funding stream with tolls. Are you with me?

Timbo

In response to the July 28 Arkansas Blog item "Senate defeats Obamacare":

I heard McConnell was crying on the Senate floor.

I hope so.

Maybe somehow he can find a little empathy for the millions upon millions whose health care he keeps putting into jeopardy.

He lost a vote. Many of them will lose their lives if he ever gets his way.

Perplexed

We live in one of poorest states that relies on all of the money we can get. Cotton and Boozman just voted against our best interests. Will those that voted for them choose another candidate? Nope! Blind pride and loyalty is the game and ignorance is their game.

Yapperjohn

I pray that was McCain's last hurrah.

71909er

There's nothing to worry about. We had the highest health care in the world before, and we'll have the highest health care in the world after. A for-profit system will always deliver a high-priced product or service than a nonprofit.

Screwing around with health insurance is just a useful distraction from the corporations making the real money.

Ivan the Republican

For universal health care

While the U.S. Senate twists itself into a pretzel not passing a health care bill, I'm pleased to see that more and more people are looking seriously at universal health care.

For universal health care

While the U.S. Senate twists itself into a pretzel not passing a health care bill, I'm pleased to see that more and more people are looking seriously at universal health care. A single-payer system is no longer a fringe idea. It makes sense. Medicare for all works for everyone.

Of course, paying for it is the elephant in the room. No one wants to raise taxes, and the people who buy our lawmakers and the powerful lobbies of the companies that would lose business won't allow it to happen. They will go to any lengths to protect their profits at the expense of the average citizen.

But the real power lies in "we the people." A groundswell of support from the bottom up for a system that works for all the other industrialized countries in the world could make it happen here. It's time we seriously consider a better option for health care in this country.

Maya Porter

Johnson

Concerned about Medicaid

Millions of Americans have let out a simultaneous sigh of relief as the Senate's health care reform plan essentially failed as written. However, the House and Senate's actions have exposed an alarming reality: Our Congress is willing to do whatever it takes, no matter the harm to their constituents, to further a partisan agenda.

I'm deeply concerned about the future of Medicaid. I'm deeply concerned for the 300,000 Arkansans who stand to lose coverage should the program be rolled back or capped. I'm deeply concerned for the 70,000 seniors and nearly 400,000 children who rely on coverage to maintain a healthy, dignified quality of life. I've learned what Medicaid means to people. It is more than just health care assistance: It is a lifeline of hope and opportunity to the needy and the vulnerable.

I am an Arkansan first and an advocate second. I was raised to be proud of where I'm from, and to remember who raised me. It's with this conscience that I protested the Better Care Reconciliation Act. I would encourage fellow Arkansans to do the same.

Lindsay Bencick

Little Rock

Cotton and warrantless surveillance

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton has introduced legislation that would make permanent the warrantless surveillance of every citizen in this country by the NSA.

SB 1297 permanently enshrines Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, which normally goes up for legislative review every few years. 

His rationale is that we're at permanent war with Islamist terrorists and that somehow, by violating the privacy rights of millions of American citizens, we'll prevent someone from running their car into a crowd.

This bill constitutes a gross violation of our Fourth Amendment right to privacy. This isn't what free states and democracies do. This is what totalitarian states do. It makes the Stasi in former East Germany look like the good guys.

If you really value freedom and liberty, if you value your right to privacy, your right to simply be left alone, then call, email or write Cotton and all the Arkansas delegation in D.C. and tell them you oppose this bill.

Brad Bailey

Fayetteville

Hard work

I am writing in regard to your article "2017 LR Confidential" and explicitly about the section describing the work of an LPN in a long-term facility.

I worked as an LPN in long-term care facilities for five or six years. I found much of the descriptions to be accurate. The CNAs do provide the majority of resident care and are woefully underpaid. However, I feel that the work of the LPN was somewhat understated. The LPN is required to push very heavy machinery through the halls. There were two medication passes during my shift. There were 60-70 residents and the medication pass was supposed to last no more than two hours. That left the nurse only about two minutes to consult the medication administration record, which was voluminous, punch out the prescribed medication, give it to the resident and attempt to form some impression of the resident's status.

There was very little time left to actually talk to the resident. Very often, one medication pass was completed just in time to start the next one.

I would suggest that even though the pay is generally better, any nurses over the age of 40 consider another care setting. The work at a long-term care facility is no walk in the park.

Catherine Lamb

Little Rock

Repulsed

Regardless of the spectrum of your religious beliefs or lack of, does alluding to any religious icon or symbol of any religion [when writing of] the joys of double-finger penetration inspire any of your readers to any form of greatness?

Please vote no

This is an open letter to Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman:

On July 4, I turned 49 years old.

It wasn't supposed to happen — many times over.

The day after I turned 15 years old in 1983, doctors discovered that I had two brain tumors. They operated for 10 hours and what were thought to be two tumors turned out to be six tumors. I was the first known documented teenaged patient to have suffered from intracranial histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis had previously been diagnosed in middle-aged men, in their lungs.

I spent nine months on a drug called Amphoteracin — common name Amphoterrible.

When I was 34 years old in 2003, I suffered three heart attacks and had a triple cardiac bypass surgery. One graft failed and it was stented. Later that year, I had to have a right femoral artery bypass surgery because five inches of my femoral artery was closed. When this started, I worked out three times a day for a total of about four hours a day minimum. I was having blood tests and thorough checkups monthly because my husband and I were trying to have a baby. I have no family history of heart disease.

During the first heart attack, I was racing on my bike. I didn't know it was a heart attack. During the second heart attack, I had just finished running eight miles. It was part of my training for a triathlon. A few months later, one of my grafts shut down and it was stented.

Two years later, a second graft shut down and I had my fourth heart attack. That graft was stented.

In 2009, I learned that I was in stage III renal failure. I'm now in stage IV renal failure and am starting the process of a kidney transplant at the urging of the doctors of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. They say that I require a live donor. What that also means is that I'm not just liable for my bills, but that of my donor's.

I was forced to leave my job because I developed chronic angina and small vessel disease, causing me to have chest pain at my desk nearly every day, and not knowing which chest pain would lead to its final blow to my life. I suffer from depression and anxiety disorders because of my various illnesses.

In January, doctors at CHI St. Vincent Infirmary did a heart catheterization on me because of ongoing chest pain and other heart symptoms. They have found that both stents are now closed.

I stay in a state of flux because my kidney disease is wreaking havoc with my body and I've developed an autoimmune disease in my eyes because of my chronic state of dehydration.

Please vote against the health care bill under consideration in the Senate. Please do not allow pre-existing conditions to be reinstated as a block to coverage. It's discriminatory by nature. Please do not reinstate lifetime maximums. If that's done, I'm done.

We have insurance through my husband's employer. His employer, who self-insures, did not have to raise deductibles from $400 to $5,000 for each person on the policy, but did. If my husband loses his job, I'm done.

The policy will not pay for any medication until the deductible has been met. What this means is that I don't take critical medication for my heart or kidneys because I simply cannot afford drugs that cost $600 to $1,400. What happens is my kidneys tank and my angina become more aggressive.

Sens. Cotton and Boozman, please vote no. I never thought that I would look forward to turning 50. But I hope to see that next year.

Lisa McDermott

1517 Linden Ave., Texarkana, AR 71854

Repulsed

I LOVE the Arkansas Times. When my brother was going through chemo he would bring issues home to Southeast Arkansas. I delighted in their arrival. I am grateful for the role of good journalism in bringing to the public an awareness of poor political policies, abuse of government and putting human faces to needed social reform.

I write this respectfully with the intention of giving you insight into how one of your readers felt as they flipped through your [July 6] magazine. I had a gut reaction to the portion of your magazine enclosed in my letter [The Inconsequential News Quiz]. I felt a repugnancy so deep on so many levels. Was this portion of the quiz aligned with the mission of the Arkansas Times? Regardless of the spectrum of your religious beliefs or lack of, does alluding to any religious icon or symbol of any religion [when writing of] the joys of double-finger penetration inspire any of your readers to any form of greatness? Where does one cross the line on issues of morality?

I do wish there was a mysterious monolith that would promote higher-level thought not only in the members of the Legislature, but with respect to the members of the editorial staff.

Judy (name withheld)

Southeast Arkansas

From the web

In response to The Observer column in the July 13 issue, "-30-," about the death of the Atkins Chronicle and newspaper struggles in general:

The Observer never spoke more truth than today. It makes me so sad to see newspapers go under, and as The Observer noted, people will be sad some day that they did not support them when they had a chance.

plainjim

In response to the Arkansas Blog's post on a refugee family from the Congo now living in Fayetteville, and their expressed hope to find work in poultry, construction or service industries:

Sounds like the Northwest Arkansas Christian corporati have found that refugees are the ideal disenfranchised blue-collar complement to their endless supply chain of yes-men white-collar corporate drones, the human capital coming out of the University of Arkansas and John Brown University. Wake up, Max.

Mat Ram

The 2018 mayoral race

From the web

In response to an Arkansas Blog item about Mayor Mark Stodola's confirmation that he would be running for re-election, a day after state Rep. Warwick Sabin announced he would run for mayor in 2018:

Although Sabin couldn't be any worse and has potential to be much better than Stodola, I have to wonder why we need both a mayor and a city manager. And why did the state Legislature decide [in a law that says that mayoral pay must be "comparable" to other city officials] that Stodola needs to make as much money as the city manager? Why is it in the state's interest to ensure that Stodola is overpaid by Little Rock?  It's sad that Little Rock doesn't even have sidewalks along major sections of Markham Street and Chenal Parkway (within the city limits). Stodola is pathetic in so many ways.

Viper

Stodola's election too many years ago has resulted in unfulfilled hopes for Little Rock citizens. And yes, I'm talking about the non-Fifty for the Future types who reap none of the rewards in our town. I agree that the current form of city government is perhaps an insurmountable obstacle to city government that would be responsive to the real, and yes dangerous, needs of We the People. The country-club crowd? Not so much, since they already have things going their way. You can pretend that different areas of town are all treated the same, no matter the income levels or political connections. And you can also pretend that @DerangedDonaldTrump is even remotely competent to do the job the Electoral College put him in.

Sound Policy

In response to an Arkansas Blog post about Sen. John Boozman's reported withholding of support for the Senate's proposed Affordable Care Act:

Just because we pay for a Mercedes and get a Hyundai with our health care doesn't mean we don't have the best health care in the world.  The best measure of any for-profit system is the amount of profit it produces, and our health care system produces more profit than any other country's.  And that would not be true if our health care didn't cost more while delivering less. Costing more while delivering less is the best way to make a profit.  Don't fuck that up, Republicans. You know who your daddy is.

Ivan the Republican

They'll find a way to buy his support for the bill. You know, something like passing his bills to rename some post offices.

wannabee conservative

In response to Max Brantley's July 6 column "Bangin' in LR" about the legislation that allows concealed weapons on college campuses, the state Capitol and places where alcohol is sold:

I have only needed my concealed carry one time in Little Rock. That time period lasted 1-2 minutes and is a flash in my mind I wish I could forget. It took the Little Rock Police Department 15 minutes to respond to my 911 call and the department was less than two blocks from my condo. It saddens me when Max and other posters on this site attack the National Rifle Association and law-abiding gun owners in this site. I really don't get it. If things really popped off in this nation you would be the first ones in line behind a gun-toting brave heart.

Rainbow Punk Troll

You are wrong, RPT. Many of those on this blog, Max included, would resent having a gun carrier save their ass. They would rather die as a "martyr" to gun violence than be saved by a person with a gun. That is why Max insists on missing the main point of the violence that plagues Little Rock. Simple minds seek simple solutions, and to Max, there isn't a problem in the world that cannot be fixed by banning guns. Black on black crime, get rid of guns. Low literacy rate in Arkansas, ban guns. Shitty attorney general, get rid of guns.  Guns are just a tiny part of the problem, and not even close to a solution. As witnessed in Chicago, which has some of the strictest, and most ridiculous gun laws, and yet their gun deaths are a matter of great tragedy.  Nothing will change unless you get to the foundation of the problem. That does include the violent subculture of youths in particular neighborhoods. It also includes taking into account the glorification of violence perpetuated by some rap singers. Account needs to be given for the fact that many of these neighborhoods and subcultures embrace violence and abhor education.

Steven E

The only things that are popping off in our country ARE the gun-toting "brave hearts." They watch way too much television and see too many movies to recognize reality. They are heroes just waiting to happen, Walter Mittys weighed down with bandoliers. In their fantasies, that is. Like the guy down in Florida that "popped" a man for texting in a movie theater before the movie even started. Like the good doctor who shot up half of West Little Rock in an effort to stop a bank robber a few years back. Like the patriot who shot himself in the leg at Gettysburg over the weekend awaiting an invasion of antifas. Like the doofus out of Carolina who trekked up to D.C. to bust up Hillary's child-trafficking pizza parlor. Like the Trump hater who shot up the Republican baseball practice. These are just a few samples of reality right off the top of my head. Damn right! Brave Heart, Dirty Harry and Rambo! Add the rainbow punk and Steven to the list. Just like in the movies, they have a script of how it all turns out rattling around in their heads. The only problem is that they don't have a million-dollar production company to fullfill their silly macho dreams. Sorry punk. In an emergency, I want to stay as far away from you as possible.

Olphart

In response to Ernest Dumas' July 6 column "Trusting" on the court's interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and the history of decisions that abrogated human rights.

As a former progressive liberal, what I see today is a Democratic party that has enormous biases of their own, and that scares me no end. To wit, "prejudices": the absolute ignoring of yes, the "deplorables." No need to visit those states, Ms. Clinton; who cares about them? Well, I have been in Wisconsin and I have seen devastated towns, desperate people, who travel miles and miles every day to get any kind of work they can. And I do mean any work. Just forget about them. That's prejudice too. Let's take on "ignorance." I investigated the track record of Hillary Clinton — and I am a woman and a feminist. What about Libya? No one wants to talk about her being the architect of our bombing policy. OK, maybe that was also a "mistake"? EXCEPT, and I find this unforgivable, she had the debacle of Iraq staring her in the face. Libya is a nation of tribes just like Iraq, with the same result: absolute disaster, as President Obama called it. Tribal atrocities, slaughter and, yes, thousands of refugees, women, children. I blame Clinton for this, for pushing what she did. Stupid, and also criminal.

Investigator of both sides.

Open letter to AG Leslie Rutledge

This letter is in response to your decision to join Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state legal officials in calling for President Trump to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Open letter to AG Leslie Rutledge

This letter is in response to your decision to join Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state legal officials in calling for President Trump to cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Undocumented children have not committed any crime. The fact that I have to say this in 2017 when this battle was fought over five years ago is astonishing to me. These are people who are following the rules and actively trying to work in America and become citizens. You have consistently used your office to oppress and fight against the rights of Arkansas residents. The attorney general's office is meant to protect and serve the interests of ALL residents of the state. Your actions constitute a dereliction of duty.

Your previous efforts to prevent DACA recipients from obtaining Arkansas driver's licenses show how malicious and mean-spirited your use of the attorney general's office has been. Undocumented people contribute to Arkansas's economy. They work in agriculture, at Tyson, at Walmart. They came to this country to seek a better life for themselves and their children. As the Cato Institute has pointed out, immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the general population of native-born citizens, and designating more people as "criminals" who have not committed any other offense increases government spending in detention infrastructure. You are actively opposing the cause of justice and hurting the local economy of your state by making these actions a priority.

I grew up in Arkansas and was educated in the Little Rock School District. We were taught the civil rights history of our state. We learned about the Little Rock Nine and Daisy Bates. This is the civil rights issue of our time. You are choosing to side with the legacy of Orval Faubus, with the white families who spit on integrating students. History will be a harsh judge of your actions today.

Connor Thompson

Long Beach, Calif.

From the web

In reaction to Arkansas Blog posts on the July 1 shootings at the Power Ultra Lounge concert downtown that injured 28 people, the poster advertising the concert that featured a gun, and the city's response:

Didn't our Arkansas Legislature recently permit guns into places where alcohol is served? What could possibly go wrong?

MysteryShopper

So, Finesse 2TYMES is a rapper out of Memphis. Quite a few lesser-known rappers make their way through Little Rock on tour. Little Rock is getting a serious rep for being where the "real s**t" goes down. We are almost back to early 1990 levels of infamy. Oh, and your sensibilities are disturbed by that concert poster. ... Why don't you waltz over and Google "NRA Convention in Houston" and you will see much the same there, only with white faces.

Artificial Inteligence

Beginning with the "concert" advertising poster, what could have gone wrong? At 2:30 a.m. 16-year-olds in a bar where clearly no one under the age of 21 was permitted to consume adult beverages, what could have gone wrong? Then the excuse-makers surface blaming the NRA, making excuses for the black face on the poster when the NRA had a white face on their poster (like a white face on this poster would have sold tickets), and of course the obligatory cheap shot at the attorney general. Is this a great country or what?

Razorblade

I'm so confused. The article has an ad for the club that shows your typical white preppie Little Rockers enjoying themselves. The club brings in a rapper act and the ad shows him holding a gun. Guess what kind of people are going to show up at this venue? Rule of thumb: If an event is not going to be covered in Little Rock Soiree, don't go! I mean, come on ... . This crap never happens at Tabriz.

jasonrob870

Would a police force made up of LR residents have more skin in the game to stop this kinda shit? Just askin'.

Slithey Tove

Mayor Stodola's inept and impotent leadership in Little Rock concerning the continued violence in this city is just sad. There will be some shutdown of a few nightclubs, meetings and panel discussions on mentoring programs and "stop the violence," and the city's continued focused on West Little Rock. I would suggest the mayor drive through communities in Central Little Rock and witness the decay, sense of hopelessness and lack of city resources (except police) and economic development in urban areas, then he would understand why such events occur. #FireMarkStodola.

ProfessorEmeritus

Don't worry about whether the guns are legal or illegal. That's pretty much irrelevant when gun manufacturers have been pumping out the number of weapons that they've been doing for decades. Water seeks its own level and that avalanche of weaponry will find its ownership.

The more guns that are manufactured, the more guns that are bought legally and illegally, the more guns that are stolen and distributed on the black market.

Who's the main beneficiary of all this mayhem and death? It's the gun manufacturers, and they don't care where their product ends up. They're rolling in money, and most definitely not responsible or even responsive to the needs of society. 

Their weapons aren't primarily used for hunting anymore — unless you include human hunting. The money is in semiautomatic handguns and military-style rifles and they keep getting deadlier and deadlier, more and more efficient.  Translation: more and more profit for the gunmakers, who are protected by their lobby in Washington, the NRA. They're like the man whom they got elected as president. They can do what they want. They're stars. It's the supply side that really needs to be curtailed. Fat cats. Fat chance.

Olphart

In response to reporting on the Arkansas Blog that the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds had been destroyed:

Well, THAT didn't take long. Given the legalized chicanery, shameless self-dealing, outright bribery, hypocritical assertions of piety and hatred of the poor by our so-called elected representatives at the Capitol, it's quite possible that a message from "on high" is being sent.

tsallenarng

In response to the University of Arkansas System's legal counsel saying that federal law does not require a gun-free zone to protect eStem charter High School on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus:

So bullets that penetrate through home walls and hit innocent children who are asleep will magically stop at a charter school wall, window or door. More NRA magic? [State Rep.] Charlie Collins and his ilk won't be the ones who are shot when this "magic" is shown to be more NRA BS!

couldn't be better

Look to Kansas

The grand austerity experiment of the once great state of Kansas has finally collapsed.

Look to Kansas

The grand austerity experiment of the once great state of Kansas has finally collapsed. The Republican dominated state legislature of Kansas passed a bill to reinstate some previous taxes in an effort to raise $1.2 billion in two years, but Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed the bill, which forced the legislature to override the veto. The Kansas state budget already faced a whopping $900 million shortfall over the next two years, according to CNN reports. Can this kind of Republican madness occur in Arkansas?

The mainstream media may not have caught on yet, but there are two factors driving the Kansas fiscal calamity. The first factor is the Republican lack of will to cut Republican spending. Austerity cannot work until everybody cuts spending. The second is the Koch factor. The infamous king makers, the Koch brothers, are headquartered on 37th Street in Wichita, Kan., which makes Kansas the veritable ground zero for austere Republican directives. A better analogy is that the Kochs have created a black hole in Wichita, which is destroying all common sense in the surrounding red states and swallowing up Arkansas. For instance, just five months ago, President Obama left our nation and Arkansas with low unemployment and a booming economy. Governor Hutchinson and his General Assembly of Koch zombies cannot even fund a highway bill.

Hey, Toto! We're in Kansas!

Gene Mason

Jacksonville

From the web in response to Ernest Dumas' June 22 column, "Obamascare":

As H.L. Mencken once observed, in somewhat different terms, one should never rely on the intelligence of American voters, Ernie. One of his supporters once enthusiastically told Adlai Stevenson, in the 1956 campaign against Ike Eisenhower, "Mr. Stevenson you have the support of every thinking American." To which, he calmly replied, "That's not enough, ma'am. I need a majority."

plainjim

From the web in response to the June 26 Arkansas Blog post "Supreme Court orders Arkansas to stop birth certificate discrimination":

Another big win for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, heh heh.

HillcrestArky

Is there anything in the Obergefell decision that would treat same sex married couples any different than the protected classes of the Civil Rights Act? If not, an overturning of the Colorado baker decision would relegate all protected classes equally vulnerable to discrimination on the grounds of sincerely held beliefs. Not just LGBT people, but also blacks and Jews and women. Woolworth's could then say that blacks at their lunch counters offends their religious beliefs, and the entire Civil Rights Act would be moot.

Rutrow

While, of course, celebrating this and all other decisions favoring gay rights, I do wonder if we may need a parallel system to track strictly genetic origins. Otherwise aren't sperm and egg donation going to make true ancestry tracking problematic? When the doc asks if there's a history of heart disease in your family, you kinda need to know where your genes came from.

JB

We're reaching the point that DNA can identify medical conditions better than personal/family history. Especially when, and it's true, ancestral history may not be what it seems. Just saying.

Vanessa

From the web in response to the June 23 Arkansas Blog post, "Little Rock to sell $90 million in bonds to build Southwest High School, do other work":

Excellent explainer on the difference between the failed bond extension and this method of financing the school construction, but coming on the heels of the vote, it's hard not to see this as a calculated FU by Key to the voters of the district.

tsallernarng

White men can jump

For many years people would ask me where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated. I assured them I had an alibi. I also never enslaved any people of color, marched any Jews into concentration camps, bashed any gays, or stole any land from native peoples. I rent.

White men can jump

For many years people would ask me where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated. I assured them I had an alibi. I also never enslaved any people of color, marched any Jews into concentration camps, bashed any gays, or stole any land from native peoples. I rent. What is more, a goodly number of my ex-girlfriends are now my Facebook friends. They will accuse me of many things, but abuse isn't one of them.

It frustrates me when I feel I am being called out to answer for the sins of others. It's not irritating enough to drive me into the Trump camp, but I ain't everybody. Many old, straight, white guys joined the Trump parade because they were shamed for using the wrong pronoun or wearing a hat with a culturally insensitive sports team mascot. The Trump parade is now disintegrating. Millions of these people are out there wandering around, dazed and confused. There is much to be gained for the Democratic Party by welcoming these lost souls into the fold.

What I propose is a National Old Straight White Guy Appreciation Day. Believe me, they are not all evil. Get Arnold Schwarzenegger as the front man for the event. The last I heard, Arnold has come down out of his Humvee and is preaching the threat of global warming as being real. OSWGs love Arnold. Not only could he kick Chuck Norris' ass — at least at the box office — but, rumor has it, The Terminator is not fond of The Donald.

David Rose

Hot Springs

Same story

At this very moment, while America is immersed in the Trump show, Republicans are working to dismantle consumer protections, roll back environmental protections, lower taxes for the wealthy, cut public assistance programs, ramp up the failed "war on drugs," destroy public education, return to a draconian health care system, expand the military-industrial complex, tear down the "wall of separation" between church and state, and weaken gun regulations. Some of these mean-spirited efforts by Republicans are being conducted behind closed doors.

None of this is new. Republicans have been successful, for the most part, in doing these things since Reagan came into office in the early 1980s. Look where we've arrived. Consider this current administration. What we see going on in America today is the result of over 30 years of Reaganomics. Increasing income inequality, endless war and rising debt have become almost accepted among Americans. If we continue to put Republicans and corporate Dems into office, this set of circumstances will only get worse.

RL Hutson

Cabot

Rump

How did we get this "fearless leader?" What were his qualifications? Did he really understand how government works, the responsibilities of the office and the rule of law? I believe that we have allowed Rump enough time to show what he's really made of, and it is not a pretty sight. Without any mention of hair, orange skin color or BMI, here are just a few descriptions that I've compiled in the last couple of days.

Rump is:

A "faker" said Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

A cheater — stiffing companies that have worked for him.

A sleazy businessman.

An incompetent buffoon.

A consistent liar, also called "The Liar in Chief."

Also a "Leaker in Chief" who cannot be trusted to keep state secrets.

A conspiracy fraudster.

A malevolent narcissist — his interest is SELF, not USA.

Unprepared — running a country is not like real estate.

Ill-disciplined — he continuous to make things worse for himself

An ignorant clown — however, ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Un-curious — his mind is already made up; don't confuse him with (your alternative) facts.

Not interested in the future (who needs a plan?) or learning from the past (history is so boring).

Vindictive and petty.

Surrounded by a clueless, supplicating entourage.

Proposing a budget that is immoral, cruel and heartless.

Appointing people ill-prepared and unqualified to run various agencies.

A bully who throws even those who worship him under the bus.

Appealing to racists with derogatory references to Muslims, Mexicans etc.

Showing affection for harsh authoritarian rulers such as Putin and the president of the Philippines.

Making America Great by giving the finger to the rest of the world.

Removing safeguards that protect air and water.

Abdicating his duty and responsibility as commander in chief.

This is an important and critical time in the history of the Earth and the people on it. The world has stopped looking at the U.S.A. as an example of leadership and democracy. We lead by example and I am not proud of the example we are putting forth and especially the pitiful example of our incompetent leader. I want to be proud of our country and its leadership in the world; right now I'm embarrassed and worried.

Evan Brown

Little Rock

Unaffordable

When it comes to pre-existing health conditions, there's no such thing as the "good ol' days."

Unaffordable

When it comes to pre-existing health conditions, there's no such thing as the "good ol' days." We can't afford to go back to those fictional harlequin days of the "Great" America.

Before the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), if you had cancer or diabetes or any kind of ailment not covered, insurance companies labeled them pre-existing conditions. People with pre-existing conditions were told to pay outrageous premiums for health insurance. Since premiums were unaffordable for most, people with pre-existing conditions had no health insurance.

As newlyweds, before the Affordable Care Act, my wife and I found out the hard way about pre-existing conditions. A tick infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever bit her before she could be put on my insurance. Not being wealthy, we couldn't afford insurance for her and consequently went deeply in debt to pay for life-saving treatments.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), not to be confused with the Affordable Care Act, is the House of Representatives' replacement for Obamacare. No surprise: Insurance companies are put back in charge of our health care. They are getting a couple of hundred billion dollars in new tax breaks and are bringing back those bad ol' days when pre-existing conditions were not covered by regular insurance.

There is little if anything good for you and me in this bill. It is especially punishing for people aged 50-64, who often suffer chronic conditions — pre-existing conditions. Nationally, 40 percent of Americans age 50 to 64 have pre-existing conditions. The Natural State would be hit especially hard. Fifty-two percent of us ages 50 to 64 have pre-existing conditions. More simply put, 280,000 Arkansans could face real financial hardship when health insurance coverage is denied for pre-existing conditions.

The U.S. Senate plans to work on this bad bill in the coming weeks. Treatment of pre-existing conditions as done in Obamacare should not be changed. The costly treatment under the House bill should be one of the first sections deleted by the Senate.

John Zimpel

Mabelvale

From the web

In response to last week's cover story, "Loaves and fishes":

As I said over and over again, the city can pass what they want, but if I want to go feed the homeless in a park (somewhere I pay taxes), I'm gonna do it regardless of what anyone says. There isn't a person in this city with the gonads big enough to stop me. Go ahead and try. See how far they get. Because in the words of Aaron Reddin, the feeding will go on.

Travis Lee

Seems to me, Travis, that you do not pay EVERYONE's taxes for the parks. If a majority of people who ALSO pay taxes do not want the homeless fed in the parks, then the majority rules. You got a problem. Go somewhere else.

Investigator of both sides

When the British let all those thousands of Irish people starve to death during the potato famine (because they didn't want them to become dependent), it not only saved the ruling class from higher taxes, it also sent a lot of poor people to heaven, which is a very good thing.

Ivan the Republican

In response to the June 9 Arkansas Blog post, "Ten Commandments Monument under construction at Arkansas":

Maybe they should make it portable?

mountaingirl

Maybe some stealthy souls will purchase a life-size model of Han Solo in carbonite and clandestinely affix it to that base. No lawsuit needed, just a cease-and-desist from the intellectual property police. Asa the Hutch would be most impressed.

Hyper

I would be all for the installation of a monument dedicated to Xian rules for living, as long it was in each of the chambers of the legislature, since thus far, as evidenced by their actions, they have amply demonstrated that they are the most in need of moral guidance.

tsallernarng

I think this is the perfect spot in the center of this state to fling your used condoms, old diaphragms, empty bottles of fruit-flavored lube and cast-off sex toys.

Deathbyinches

All this Ten Commandments stuff is meant to distract us from noticing that Christians of a certain variety are very uncomfortable with the teachings of Jesus regarding the two great commandments, especially the one about loving your neighbor.

Pavel Korchagin

In response to an Arkansas Blog post on Legislative Audit's criticism of Secretary of State Mark Martin's charging to taxpayers a $8,380 trip to Ghana he made with a deputy:

Breathes there a Republican politician anywhere who does not believe himself/herself exempt from all laws?

Kate

Ah hell, let the man globe-trot to his heart's content. He's already demonstrated that he's completely incapable of executing the duties of his elected office. He may want to pick his battles with the Legislature. They might just "forget" to appropriate funds for his office during the next session.  At the very least, they have a track record of cutting budgets by the exact amount (coinky-dink, of course) that they have quibbled over with heads of executive agencies. His office is, of course, one provided by the constitution, but they might still be able to inflict pain.

tsallenarng

When I think of good things that might benefit Arkansas, the first place I think of is Ghana, the 67th least fragile state in the world, the 5th least fragile state in Africa, the 64th least corrupt and politically corrupt country in the world out of all 174 countries! Ghana is used as a key narcotics industry transshipment point by traffickers. Could this be what drew Mark Martin to Ghana? Does he perhaps have a side business or is he making secure retirement plans? It's known to be an attractive country for the narcotics business. But homosexual acts are outlawed!  Ghana has universal health care, so maybe Mark Martin went there for a hip replacement or a liver transplant? I may be doing that in the future myself. I hope to get my travel plans paid for by the state, so someone please tell me how I can do this?

Deathbyinches