Archive for Letters

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

Say ‘no’

I expect better from our elected officials than what we've seen. It's unthinkable to me that the U.S. House of Representatives voted to end Medicaid as we know it.

Say 'no'

I expect better from our elected officials than what we've seen. It's unthinkable to me that the U.S. House of Representatives voted to end Medicaid as we know it. I'm counting on Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton to reject this bill, a betrayal of the people Congress is elected to represent.

The American Health Care Act would force 24 million people to lose insurance, more than half of them low-income Americans. And capping Medicaid would force states to ration care, shoulder more costs, and deny health coverage to many of those who need it most.

These are real people's lives on the line. The Senate needs to say "no" to any proposal that guts Medicaid and threatens the health care of millions of Americans.

Khatera Karzai Fayetteville

From the web

In response to Max Brantley's May 25 column, "Virgil, quick come see":

In my opinion, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu's reasoning for removing certain statues was well presented in his speech. He knew he had some opposition to what he was doing. I also think the longtime gap between the war ending and the statue being erected is strange. New Orleans has been through a lot of trauma over the years. I never paid attention to statues of Robert E. Lee. It doesn't mean anything to me in the year 2017. I don't feel a sentimental heart-wrenching bond to the Confederate flag and don't particularly like pig and hogs. If you are a person who wants to worship the Confederate flag or Razorback pigs, I don't really care. I am still an Arkansan and still a patriotic American, because cloth flags and Razorback pigs, etc., are material objects that don't represent everything I am. I am not just one thing. I have always been more interested in World War II history. Jason Rapert's Ten Commandments monument to himself means nothing to me, although some people of other religions are offended by it. Regardless of how you feel about New Orleans taking down statues, I think Landrieu's speech was one of the best speeches I have ever heard.

ShineonLibby

You are far too easily pleased by ignorant platitudes, Shin.  The problem with Mitch the Vandal is that he didn't even address the fact, the historical, critical fact, that some of those ex-Confederates became important American advocates for civil and equal rights. That was the pity of having him defile the Beauregard statue based only on what he did before the Civil War, and not after.  That is why these monuments are so vital, because there is a discussion that has to be heard, where folks discuss things based on facts, not lies or hysteria or hurt little feelings.  I really cannot give a flying fuck about some easily offended idiot who doesn't even know the basic facts about what is offending them. Facts should drive policy, not feelings or emotion.  When you explain to someone looking at the Beauregard statue that he fought FOR civil rights for blacks, then you have a vital perspective that is missing. You can have a discussion, instead of throwing things down some Orwellian memory hole.

StevenE

Mitch Landrieu, the Arkansas Times, liberals, et al., may think they're being great social reformers, but removing the Confederate statues in New Orleans and other Southern cities is just another provocation in the escalation of a major civil conflict.

To the average person mass media may seem innocuous, but in the real world it's a very powerful force that has the capacity to shape people's ideas, opinions, behaviors and political activities. Essentially, for around 60 years, America's corrupted networks, Hollywood studios, entertainment companies and liberal academia and print media have been scripting a conflict over a false racial narrative with their programming, films and news, the issues of political correctness and now the election of Donald Trump. 

So the real reason for driving this false racial narrative being scripted by mass media is actually an attack on the people of this country who celebrate Southern culture and heritage and are proud of being white. The Confederate monument angle and that they represent a horrible episode of slavery are just pretexts to provoke a civil conflict. Actually, the conflict has already begun in certain high-octane political localities such as Berkeley, Calif., where anti-fascist followers clashed violently with Trump supporters. Landrieu and the Arkansas Times and millions of other liberals can incorrectly depict the purpose of erecting the Confederate monuments or what they represent to people to condemn their opponents who don't delight in the defamation of Southern culture and heritage and white people if they want. But it's nothing less than their own agenda of bigotry and hatred they so frequently accuse others of having. And it is an agenda of provocation that is leading to a very violent civil conflict in the greatest depression in U.S. history.

Thomas Pope

In response to the June 2 Arkansas Blog post, "The Jason Rapert open line":

How much would you pay to live a week in a world where you didn't have to read the names of Jason Rapert or Donald Trump? How much have you got?

Silverback66

I've known meth heads (not personally but through random occurrences at jobs) that have fried their brains to the point that they only repeat certain words and actions over and over again until they're either incapacitated or dead. Rapert is just like that, and to some extent, so are other conservatives, only they're smoking shittier dope with less purity (thanks, "Breaking Bad"). He'll be the same petty, short, angry, pathetic, latent coward that he is over and over again until he's either out of office or out of existence. Time is a flat circle.

nadaquehacer

Jason Rapert is the 21st century version of Elmer Gantry, but I still think Burt Lancaster's version was better.

Deathbyinches

Will of the people

According to statistics, a majority of Americans want universal health care.

Will of the people

According to statistics, a majority of Americans want universal health care. Even if that's true, that's never stopped government from maintaining the status quo. Most Americans favor the legalization of marijuana, but again, we see the current administration seemingly ramping up efforts to return to the failed "war on drugs." Most Americans favor immigration reform, and efforts to counter climate change. But again, government rarely agrees with the citizenry.

Government in America has a history of ignoring the people, or at least those with whom it disagrees, which is often represented by a majority of citizens, which is supposed to be the authority on which our government bases its actions. That's how a democracy works. However, some might argue that in the United States we seem to be digressing when it comes to government carrying out the "will of the people." If, in fact, government isn't carrying out the "will of the people," then whose will is being imposed?

That's an easy question to answer. Government is carrying out the will of the big-money interests. This is being done by the so-called "mainstream" politicians in both major parties. One might make a case for the Republicans being more representative of this scenario, but the Democrats have their share of corporate lap dogs as well.

The majority of Americans who want changes made in this country must begin lending their support to populists candidates, preferably to those on the left. The current administration in Washington is a good example of a risk taken on a "populist" candidate from the right, hopefully a risk we won't take again.

R.L. Hutson

Cabot

From the web

In response to last week's cover story, "The health of a hospital":

I remember when Baxter Regional Medical Center CEO Ron Peterson was against Obama. Now that the ACA is working Peterson likes it. A lot of employees were against it. I tried to tell them that the old system was going to crumble. So many voted for Trump despite him saying he was going to get rid of it. If the AHCA becomes law, kiss this hospital goodbye. A lot of retirees will be leaving the area, too. BRMC was a big draw for them to come here. Glad to see this article.

snowflake_44

In response to Autumn Tolbert's May 25 column, "Not leaders":

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is the most dangerous person in politics.

Jessica McClard

I like Autumn Tolbert's articles. She uses logical reasoning and makes some good points. Why should I show respect to Vice President Mike Pence, when he has treated women like breeding cows or personal property with his lifelong crusade to put chastity belts on women? He has pushed horrible health care laws, as Indiana's governor and as vice president, that endanger women's lives. He defended President Trump for his sexual assault remarks about women. Why on earth would I sit like a lump on a log and show respect to someone who gloats, smiles and claps for the camera, when harmful women's health care bills are passed? He has no respect for me, my voice, my civil and human rights, my brain, or my health. He hides behind a hypocritical religion. He has proved this over and over. He hates women and gays and lesbians and refugees and immigrants and Muslims and poor people. I am sure I left out some groups. His small, self-righteous mind is dangerous to society and he is offensive to me. He does not deserve my respect, nor has he earned it. He will continue to support laws that stifle free speech, promote discrimination, and mimic a Putin style of government. It is OK with me if some graduates sat through his speech and it is OK with me that some graduates walked out. For the past four months, I have watched state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, Pence and President Trump attack the civil and human rights of everyone on earth. They ignore the First Amendment, try to rewrite the U.S. Constitution and have shut out the news media and journalists, while they ignore the courts and laws. Getting upset about a few graduates walking out on a speech seems trivial compared to having your civil rights and government destroyed.

ShineonLibby

In response to the May 26 post, "Confederate statues: Arkansas has them, too, of course":

Rather than Confederate monuments these are perhaps more correctly termed Democrat historic symbols. It is apparent the Democrat past is an abject failure but understandable and a pity they would wish to avoid, erase and reimagine rather than learn from history.

baker

Come on, baker, surely you are well read about the GOP's "Southern Strategy" as formulated by Strom Thurmond, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as a way to get rid of the Northern leadership of the GOP and recruit Southern politicians who were fed up with the Democratic efforts for civil rights of minority Americans. LBJ predicted this when he signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

One can see the results by looking at the leadership of the GOP in Gingrich, DeLay and other Southerners. In 1972, Nixon carried all the Southern states as did Trump in 2016.

Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy in 1980 in a speech in Philadelphia, Miss. Bet you get the significance of that. By 2010 GOP leaders acknowledged the GOP had pursued such efforts for decades. Northern control of the GOP is gone, replaced by Southern tea-baggers and others who once were part of the Democratic Party you correctly refer to, much like "Gone With The Wind" of Margaret Mitchell's day and time.

Cato1

On the transgender crisis

I find it ironic that the UAMS offers this but University of Arkansas insurance does not cover any form of gender dysphoria.

From the web

In response to the May 11 cover story, "The real transgender crisis in Arkansas: health care," on the gender clinic at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences:

This is an excellent article. I find it ironic that the UAMS offers this but University of Arkansas insurance does not cover any form of gender dysphoria.

Teri Dawn Wright

I do not have an original birth certificate. I was adopted 47 years ago from South Korea. I was found and put in an orphanage. This is typical of most people adopted around that time. If I were trans, then I would have been figuratively screwed up the butt by the conservatives in our legislature.

SouthMeetsSouth

In reponse to the May 11 reporter, "The biking news," about a grant to design a bike trail from Little Rock to Hot Springs:

This is an exciting project for cyclists. I would also like to see a study on the feasibility of a commuting bike path along I-630. There are already pieces, i.e., a path from John Barrow Road to Rodney Parham and a path in the median of Chenal. If we want to encourage bike commuting, this would be a more convenient (although less scenic) route than the River Trail and more accessible to biking from home for many in West Little Rock.

Tomato Dave

In response to the Arkansas Blog posting of the video of a man in a "Make America Great Again" cap raising hell on a United Flight from Shanghai and getting booted off the plane:

If you ever doubt that President Trump's rhetoric and the whole MAGA mystique is about anything other than ensuring that white males maintain their supremacy, all you have to do is watch this video.

AnnaHarrisonTerry

I am ENTITLED to that seat. 

Unfortunately there are way too many people in this country — Arkansas has more than its fair share — who will defend this asshat's entitlement.

Vanessa

In response to Arkansas Blog posts on President Trump's proposed budget cuts of $1.7 trillion that would reduce food stamps, health care accessibility, Social Security disability benefits and more:

Well, when Arkansas Trumpers turn into whiny little bitches because Trump's budget and other bad stuff are hurting their families, MAYBE THEY'LL WAKE the FU!!

They are 100 percent not changing their view that Trump the faux billionaire cares for them. Why, every deal he's made is for them ... unless you read 5 minutes and find out Trump's deals are for himself and the rest of the super 1 percent. If Trump stays in the White House/Mar-a-lago for two more weeks or two more years, three-fourths of his time will be spent enriching his family and that other fourth will go to enriching fellow 1 percenters. Do the math: none for us.

No time will be spent on the rest of us no matter how we voted or how red our state is. He's not in office to work for the 99 percent, just to feed 'em bullshit at an amazing rate and giggle when he sees they're taking the bait. It's sad, not Trump sad, but the real sad, hard sad, human sad ahead of us. 

Deathbyinches

Hey MAGA-hatters, Drumpf's proposed budget will:

Gut your health-care, MAGA-hatter: Seth Rich!

Impose deep cuts on Medicare, MAGA-hatter: Clinton Foundation!

Allow states to limit Medicaid enrollment, MAGA-hatter: Private email server!

Cut food stamps to over 40 million people, MAGA-hatter: Sandy Hook fake!

Cut meals on wheels for impoverished, shut-in elderly: Birth certificate!

Roll-back student loan protections, MAGA-hatter: CNN fake news!

Slash public health funding and infectious disease research, MAGA-hatter: Gun grabbers!

Boost an already bloated "defense" budget, MAGA-hatter: Mur-ica First!

tsallenarng

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

When are y'all going to start dealing in fact? Not false news. Not maybe. Solid verifiable facts.

What bullshit.

Razorblade

Keep lying to us, Razor. It helps us verify where you keep your head and it helps us understand the denier's mindset. Even a bad example serves as a lesson to us all. And, by the way, do you need an extra jar of Vaseline?

Jake da Snake

In response to an Arkansas Blog post about Sen. Tom Cotton's appearances in Iowa and his denial he's not running for president in 2020:

It is grounds for despair among thinking folks that someone like Cotton can be taken seriously as a potential presidential candidate, three years out. Of course, if he's running now, that means he doesn't think that he'll be running against Trump or Pence. 

The real grounds for despair are not Cotton, nor Trump, nor Pence, but that a substantial plurality of the American electorate still approve of them. We don't need a voter ID law, we need a voter IQ law.

It is now time for my only religious ritual, thanking whatever gods that be for the invention of Scotch.

Silverback66

Gift that keeps giving

see that one proposed charter is to occupy a school building leased from the Waltons, a return on a real estate investment, unless the building was given to them — then it's a gift that keeps on giving.

From the web

In response to the May 8 Arkansas Blog post, "Charter assault, fueled by Walton money, continues on Little Rock School District":

I see that one proposed charter is to occupy a school building leased from the Waltons, a return on a real estate investment, unless the building was given to them — then it's a gift that keeps on giving. A charter school proposed for Wiener.

For 400 students, this must be a total public school conversion that would push the current system into bankruptcy. Who thinks this is a good idea?

Going for the record

What is the Walton/Hussman/Murphy endgame? Kill universal mandatory public education and replace it with "privatized" for-profit schools with their company in charge? I just want to know, because their cheerleading for the death of public education puzzles me.

Claude Bahls

A "college prep" K-5? So they're gonna enroll 'em in college at about age 12? 

(Yeah, I know on exceedingly rare occasions that's happened here and there, if not in Arkansas to my knowledge.)

So what's wrong with building a good educational foundation for this age group and getting them ready for junior high and high school?

Doigotta

Profit centers expanding in Little Rock. Name them after Einstein, Tesla, etc. They are still profit centers with an education component/distractor.

Maxifer

Look, Little Rock, the only way you are going to get your school board back is by reaching out to the surrounding populous areas of Central Arkansas and voting out the governor. 

Sure, increase the turnout in NLR/LR, but get out and support progressive networks in Saline, Faulkner and Perry counties. Offer to help those networks. After losing quite a few elections, they need a boost for 2018. It will flip AR2 and flip the governor.

jj

In response to the May 5 Arkansas Blog post, "Federal health bill would undercut governor's plan for altered Medicaid expansion":

What a convoluted mess the "Obamacare Repealers" or "Freedom for Males Caucus" have made out of their GOP NoHealthCare Plan. They should have expected Donald to be unpredictable and screw up their greedy, revenge plan. These people have lost their moral compass and their humanity if they can purposely let people die earlier than they need to. I am going to push the Arkansas Legislature for "Death with Dignity, or medical aid-in-dying" statutes that would allow certain terminally ill adults to request and obtain a prescription for medication to end their lives in a peaceful manner. That is why I think it would be illogical for the state to spend any more money on stopping the opioid epidemic. It would be the height of cruelty to pass terrible health care plans that will purposely kill off poor and sick people, because you think they are a liability, then sadistically make those people suffer in pain until the end. One good thing the GOP Slash, Cut, and Kill NoHealthCare Plan will do is help Democratic women win more seats in 2018.

ShineonLibby

If the families of !A!S!A!, Rotten Tommy Cotton, Miz Leslie and the like had to endure the same level of health insurance/care that the least among Arkansas Doesn't Work recipients did, that s**t would come to a screeching halt.

Sound Policy

Trump has promised better health care and lower premiums for all. Why isn't he being held to this? The plan of the Regressive Party will raise premiums on the elderly and the poor (they're not called Regressive for nothing). Obama got barbecued for promising something about his plan (keep your plan if wish). But his statement was largely accurate. The criticism was due to people wanting to hold on to their cheap paper-thin plans. Far from being accurate, Trump is just out and out lying. Why is it only the Democrats who are held accountable?

Slithey Tove

In response to the May 5 Arkansas Blog post, "Judge Griffen responds to judicial disciplinary complaint":

So, Sen. Jake Files for a second time makes the news for some questionable loans, not to mention being sued by multiple parties, including the City of Fort Smith, yet no action is being taken by the legislature to look into his conduct?

Wendell Griffen exercises his right to free speech and he is the one impeached by our state legislature?

And if you ARE going to impeach a judge, why this judge? If anyone should have been impeached it should have been Mike Maggio. He admitted he took a bribe. I bet he will still get to receive his retirement. So let's see, what is different about Griffen and Maggio?

Well, they are both male.

They are both lawyers.

They are both judges.

They are both black. Oops, not correct. Maggio is white and Griffen is black.

They both took bribes under the table from Michael Morton. Oops, wrong again. Only Maggio has taken a bribe from Morton. He admitted as such in open court. Griffen has no such stain on his judicial record. 

I give up. You all need to figure out why our supermajority Republican House of Representatives is persecuting Griffen, but remained silent during the entire Maggio scandal. 

People need to call the legislature and ask them when are they going to hold themselves and their members accountable when they do these bad things. These guys know no shame.

Poison Apple

I do not think there is any chance at all that Judge Griffen will be impeached. The hotheads like Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) will make a lot of noise, but the reasonable Republicans, and there are several of them in the legislature, know that there is no way an impeachment of someone because of their ideas (or in this case, I guess his ideals) would ever succeed, not even in the poison, racist climate we are currently seeing in Arkansas.

plainjim

In response to the May 11 Arkansas Blog post that Circuit Judge William Pearson of Clarksville, who pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was given a six-month suspended sentence, was reinstate to the bench:

Judge convicted of a DWI — no problem letting them continue to be a judge. 

Judge accidentally forgets his child who dies in a hot car and eventually gets to go back to judging. 

Judge exercises his First Amendment right of free speech and religion must be impeached and removed from the bench.

In this you see the true illustration of Arkansas "values."

couldn't be better

In response to an Arkansas Blog post on the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's proposal to widen Interstate 30:

A good conservative government should be limited to the minimum necessary to 1) tax the people, 2) redistribute their money to corporations, 3) receive contributions from the lobbyists of those corporations, and 4) portray opponents as hippy liberals.

Ivan the Republican

Trump trading

President Trump is expected to sign two executive orders that aim to identify every trade abuse and "non-reciprocal practice" that contribute to the trade deficit.

Trump trading

President Trump is expected to sign two executive orders that aim to identify every trade abuse and "non-reciprocal practice" that contribute to the trade deficit. In the president's opinion, the United States has been losing the trade war for quite some time. However, there isn't a winner or loser when trading occurs. Both parties benefit from a trade, each country receiving something they couldn't otherwise produce at all or as cheaply. For example, the United States imports most of our clothes because we find it cheaper and trade for these garments.

When looking at a trade deficit, it is misleading to make judgments about whether or not a trade is "fair." For example, the U.S. may import clothes by trading large sums of money, making the trade seem like China is benefiting more than the U.S. On the contrary, eventually China will use these American dollars to buy goods from the U.S. that it cannot produce as cheaply as we can, such a pharmaceuticals. As a result, both countries benefit and have the goods they desire.

Restricting our trade with large trading partners such as China will decrease the wealth of both countries. Homeland production of clothes and other good we import will make these goods much more expensive. Instead of being concerned about the fairness of a trade, the U.S. should focus on the repercussions that would happen if Trump's trade restrictions are put in place.

Lindsey Worthington

Little Rock

Our state is best known for its history: the Little Rock Nine, beginning of the superstore Walmart, even the Crater of Diamonds, which is the only active diamond mine in the U.S. What's one thing that's going on in our state that no one wants to talk about but needs to be addressed? At Catholic schools, members of the LGBT community are able to be punished with expulsion just for telling someone they are a part of that community. We tell our children to be themselves, and while some parents don't, some parents do support their children upon finding out their child considers himself or herself as part of the LGBT community.

America is said to be the "melting pot" of the world, with so many diverse people and choices. People are encouraged to be themselves, as it's not interesting to be around 20 people who speak, act and dress the same. Everyone wants a name for themselves — whether it's known or not, having your name out there encourages others to make a change, to inspire others. How come people are able to be expelled for a life choice people are born with? Yes, you can pull out of the school before an expulsion, but what's the point in that?

Arkansas is a relatively small state, but we can make such a big change in how the LGBT community is treated. Being kicked out of school for being associated with LGBT? It's an idiotic concept. Can we change this, for equality?

Kylie Kirger

Bryant

From the web

In response to Arkansas Blog posts on Congress keeping health care perks that all other Americans will lose under their Obamacare-gutting plan and the Alaska state lawmaker who said women in the sticks get pregnant so they can get a free trip to Anchorage for an abortion:

Typical GOP approach to everything. Take care of themselves and their rich buddies and screw the rest of us. Loss of the ACA will INCREASE everyone's health care costs, even those with company-provided health care, as hospitals spread that uncompensated care as far as possible over every procedure. Rural hospitals are likely to not be able to survive, but since [U.S. Rep. French] Hill lives in the rich area of the district, no issue for him.

couldn't be better

The new rules are for thee, not for ME!" 

The Party of Personal Responsibility strikes yet again.

MAGA!

tsallenarng

This is not a health care bill. This is a naked tax cut for millionaires, wearing health care as pasties.

Silverback66

Okay, I've got a few questions for our fairly new daddy, Sen. Tom Cotton. Did he and wife Anna personally cover the medical bills, sans insurance, from her two pregnancies? What about the health issues I understand the youngest suffered after birth? How about ongoing pediatric coverage for both children? 

What!? You mean we the people provided coverage for these events? Why? Are they better than a couple of my neighbors whose jobs provide (1) minimal insurance or (2) no insurance? 

How about the single pregnant daughter of a friend? What? She shouldn't have gotten pregnant? Well, she did. So now what?

OK, I've been remiss in not pillorying the other 12 senators, so feel free to ask the rest of 'em similar questions. 

If, however, you tend to breathe fire as I did upon reading of the Alaskan senator's abortion/vacation comments, you might want to have a couple of cool-headed assistants beside you when you accost the fools. 

Just for your protection against legal action, you understand. I really don't care what happens to them. May they all go grizzly hunting with dud ammo.

Doigotta

From the web in response to the May 5 Arkansas Blog post, "Judge Griffen responds to judicial disciplinary complaint":

The Supreme Court had better be careful if they take on the Hon. Wendell. There are only seven of them, so they are outnumbered.

Silverback66

Death and scripture

The Apostle Paul advised the Romans: "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, sayeth the Lord."

It was Moses the Liberator who wrote in his book, Deuteronomy: "To me [Jehova] belongeth vengeance, and recompence, their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste."

This is one source for the old saying "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord." The Apostle Paul advised the Romans: "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, sayeth the Lord." Of course, the final authority, Jesus of Nazareth, advises: "But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." This is advice Governor Hutchinson should follow, because by killing inmates of our state's prisons, Hutchinson has wrested vengeance from the hands of God for distribution among the families of murder victims. According to God, Hutchinson does not have this authority. Unfortunately, according to primitive laws of man, Hutchinson has authority to avenge, while most of us do not. Certainly, Arkansas should not be in the killing business.

English philosopher Francis Bacon once wrote, "Revenge is a wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out." Hutchinson's justice is wild, reckless and hasty, and there is no healing involved. Healing involves mercy, not blood lust.

Gene Mason

Jacksonville

From the web

On an Arkansas Blog post about protests, by retired Judge Marion Humphrey and others, of the proposed extension of 12.4 mills in the Little Rock School District:

We've got some bond daddies who need new yachts. This is all about greasing the coffers at the Chamber of Commerce.  And keeping the black folk down. Let us not forget this is a bunch of old white guys who have never worked in education forcibly taking over a majority black school board for not getting with the privatization program.

Paying Top Dollar for Legislators

On the April 20 cover story, "The Little Rock Millage Question":

Great article. Fair and intelligent opinions. Everyone sounds "right." Everyone agrees that repairs to the school buildings are long overdue. I keep hearing that a lot of people do not trust the governor's choice for commissioner, Johnny Key, who seems to be hiding his future plans for the LRSD. I trust Sen. Joyce Elliott 100 percent. I am not qualified to know all the political games that are being played behind closed doors. I know she is passionate about all children getting a good education and I agree that taxation without representation is wrong. I have rarely seen Arkansas government show a real interest in education, like it is not a priority. I will vote no May 9.

ShineonLibby

On an Arkansas Blog post about the state Legislature reconvening to consider changes to the state's Arkansas Works program that would remove 60,000 people from the Medicaid rolls and require that people have jobs to get benefits:

Oh what a wonderful thing, that our legislators will show how compassionate they are by tossing 20 bucks in a hat while the reason they're getting back together is to throw 60,000 poor Arkansans off the expanded Medicaid rolls. Meaning they, and possibly I, will have to go back to using animal drugs purchased at the local Farmers Co-op, or just live in misery or maybe die at home, without the ability to afford medical care and the medicine needed. Damn near as much fun as executing inmates! Why, it's the home version of slow execution! Of course, in a crisis, most of these abandoned Arkansans will head for the emergency room to rack up bills they'll never pay ... but hey, let's talk about that big tax cut the richest among us will get if Gov. Asa gets his way!  Muffin, how'd you like to spend a month in Spain? Time to trade in the Jag for another new Jag! Maybe it's time to hire a full-time guard to stand out by the gates? Maybe some new boobs, Muff? Wanna own a human, honey?

DeathbyInches

On an Arkansas Blog post about state Sen. Trent Garner's statement, written on Senate stationery, that the House should impeach Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen for joining an anti-death penalty demonstration outside the governor's mansion:

Garner is just another asshat who wouldn't have said a damn thing if Judge Griffen had gone down to protest the protestors at the Governor's Mansion. Even the state Supreme Court, not known for making correct legal decisions based on the U.S. Constitution, has agreed in the past that a judge has the same right to free speech as an idiot like Garner. It is just that Griffen is so much more intelligent than Garner. Of course, the state House is full of bigoted "Garners." And never underestimate how bigoted the Republicans in this state are toward ANY minority.

couldn't be better

I find Sen. Garner's pushing a blatantly unconstitutional (First Amendment) and vague (due process) law through the legislature to be gross misconduct. At least the governor was wise enough to veto to end the folly of their ways.

TuckerMax

Don't you love it when a freshmen legislator decides he knows everything?

Screen name taken

Eye for an eye

How the death penalty should work: The prisoners always complain about the execution.

Eye for an eye

How the death penalty should work: The prisoners always complain about the execution. They complain it is cruel punishment. If the legislature would pass a law that they be executed in the same manner they killed their victims, [then] if by gunshot let them die by gunshot. They could, of course, opt for fatal injection or hanging. The warden should be the one to end their life. He could, of course, let one prisoner take care of the job and take five years off their sentence. The only way to curtail crime is to have swift and certain punishment. At least the governor has the balls to do the job.

Douglas C. Lingo

North Little Rock

From the web

In response to the April 20 cover story, "The Little Rock Millage Question":

This is such a difficult issue. I have two questions. 1) Why the urgency to pass the millage now, when it doesn't expire for many years? We have this money now, correct, and passing the millage is essentially insurance to have it in the future? I welcome anyone who can clarify this for me.  2) I am curious, under state control, what specific changes or improvements were made to assist the schools that were deemed in distress?

Elizabeth Wilson Rogers

@Elizabeth

Not quite. The extension of the debt will allow the district to immediately access $160 million in capital that it doesn't currently have. Think of it as getting a second mortgage on a home that you own. The district can't pay for new construction and improvements without having the cash in hand, and the debt extension will allow it to borrow that cash. (Just as a homeowner might refinance a mortgage or take out a line of credit in order to pay for a home improvement project.) So, the debt extension really is necessary for the district to find the capital necessary to do $160 million worth of construction right away. That's the short answer. Whether the urgency of addressing facilities needs right away trumps the urgency of getting local governance returned ASAP is a matter of opinion. The picture is further complicated by the fact that the 12.4 mills in question do not all go toward debt service, due to the fact that property values appreciate over time. Theoretically, if the district had been putting all of the annual revenue generated from the 12.4 mills into a fund for capital projects, there would be no need for a debt extension. However, that's not practical. I could explain more if you want.

Benji Hardy

(Author of the Times' piece)

In response to Sam Ledbetter's support for the school millage posted on the Arkansas Blog:

Mr. Ledbetter: "State control of the district is temporary ... ." I'll believe it only when a new locally elected school board is actually in place. They've misrepresented and hidden their agenda all along. They took over the district over conditions that would not have triggered take over of other districts, the same conditions that are obviously NOT used to hold charter schools accountable. No local control — no local tax hike. The voters of Little Rock can always vote in a bond issue once local control is re-established.

Perplexed

Arkansas Times, Sam Ledbetter must be a friend of yours, since he continues to get a free pass for the deciding vote, but enough of turning PR flack for him with these continued blog posts. If you want to talk "out of touch," that was Sam Ledbetter as the Walton Family Foundation's "reform movement" was stealing a whole district right under his nose.

Rev Pygsterio

In response to the Arkansas Blog post "The Ledell Lee execution thread":

The problem with this country is that we insist that "killing" is somehow different than "letting die." When an insurance company, in order to increase profits, denies coverage of life-saving treatments, their actions produce the death of people, just as sure as if they had used a gun or machete. We would demand the life of a terrorist who pours poisons into a public water supply, but we willingly accommodate the corporation that, again, in order to increase profits, did their storage of poisonous chemicals on the cheap so that toxins ended up in people's drinking water, as happened in West Virginia a few years back. Governor Hutchinson will demand the life of the man who kills with knife or gun but will wine and dine those who kill through spreadsheets — murder for anger is a sin in his eyes, but God and his angels shine their light upon murder for profit, as does our government. Honestly, I could well support the death penalty if it meant those CEOs also risked their own lives when they destroyed ours, but in its current incarnation, the death penalty is nothing but a war upon the poor. It is class warfare, pure and simple.

treeoftalking

Question for you, plainjim, as a former prosecutor: What's the No. 1 duty of a prosecutor? IMO the answer has to be being as sure as humanly possible that innocent people are not convicted for crimes they did not commit. My observations of prosecutors in general is they often seem to be more interested in getting convictions and clearing case files than in convicting the guilty, no matter what that takes. Your response?

Sound policy

Sound, the number one duty of a prosecutor is to make sure that the police have the right man before he goes forward with the prosecution. I have dismissed cases where I did not think I could prove guilt, as I am sure many other prosecutors have done. There are exceptions, but most prosecutors do not want to convict an innocent person, and in my opinion, this rarely happens. The fact that it happens at all is sad.

plainjim

In response to the Arkansas Blog post about the March for Science on Saturday:

The most drastic increase in temperature by the nth degree just happens to coincide with the industrialization of the planet. If they'd be honest and just admit that they choose profits over a livable environment, I'd have at least some respect for them. But they are cowards just looking to stuff their pockets. And, of course, they are all members of the Regressive party. Those Regressives sure do like their money, don't they? Won't be able to pass it down to their great-grandchildren, however, if the planet is a living hell by then. On current pace, this planet is not going to be a pretty place in 100 years.

Slithey Tove

Listening to the head of OMB discuss why they want to cut NASA earth satellites shows how totally uninformed these losers in Trump's Cabinet are. Someone needs to sit Trump's ass down and make him read about the hurricane destroying Galveston, because back then we didn't have the capability to know about early warnings. Now that we do, anyone who purposely cuts down NASA and NOAA's ability to predict should be indicted for any deaths caused by a hurricane showing up without warnings.  The idiot class thinks the weather and climate (which scientists know are NOT the same thing) are jokes, but Mother Nature is a bitch and she always wins.  Wait until Trump's little gilded whorehouse in Florida is under water. It is on an island, so it will be attacked from all sides, and it is not the business of government to protect a private, profit-making property. You would have thought that he learned something about that in Scotland and that seawall he wanted to build to protect his property while putting neighboring properties at greater risk.

couldn't be better

Does life in prison without the possibility of parole not bring “justice”?

Is it the responsibility of the state to bring "justice" to families? Or bring "justice" to society?

From the web

In response to an Arkansas Blog post reporting that Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) would not attempt to override Governor Hutchinson's veto of Garner's bill to criminalize "mass picketing":

Garner's got so many anger issues, I'm surprised he could speak. Next year he'll be armed and won't have to speak.

JJ

In response to an Arkansas Blog post reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court denied the state's motion to lift the state Supreme Court's stay on the execution of Don Davis:

Cato earlier posted that the victims' families were not being remembered properly. I don't see how you can say that for Gov. Asa [Governor Hutchinson] and Ms. Leslie [Attorney General Leslie Rutledge].

From their remarks, you would think that the death penalty's entire existence is to bring "justice" to the victims' families.

Does life in prison without the possibility of parole not bring "justice"?

Is it the responsibility of the state to bring "justice" to families? Or bring "justice" to society?

I would never claim that any of these murderers is innocent. But neither are we if we have to kill them to find "justice."

Perplexed

Do y'all think that an execution would be a panty-flinging occasion for Miz Rutledge? It seems that the final flutter of the condemned's eyelids might make her eyes roll back in her head and she might not be able to control herself.

Rutrow

In response to the Arkansas Blog's videotape of the angry anonymous man in the red Trump T-shirt excoriating efforts to block the executions scheduled by Governor Hutchinson:

Is there anyone out there who feels comfortable with this guy being able to carry a concealed weapon?

Mountain girl

In response to the Town Hall event held by Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. French Hill streamed on the Arkansas Blog on Monday:

Thank you, David Ramsey, Jake and Carol for your take on this BS town hall event. Mag and I could only watch about 10 minutes of it, so we missed the part where French Hill sat on Tom Cotton's leg like the dummy Charlie McCarthy of old ... .

I'm hard to make mad, but nothing makes me see red like the lying, condescending Republican assholes our dumber brethren & sisteren voted into office. I've made it almost 62 years without socking an elected politician but I'm not so sure I could keep my cool in a room with people like Cotton, Hill ... hell, anyone with an (R) behind their names in these insane times. 

If one only looks at the videos of Arkansas town hall events, it would seem we can beat these paid tools for the 1 percent in the next election if we'd all just get out and vote. But I know very well that nearly all of my close personal friends are like icebergs ... their ugly parts are beneath the water. Such nice people, hiding a really ugly side.

Anyway, ladies and germs, we're in the fight of our life and our children and grandchildren's lives, too. Our real enemies are the people standing on that stage pictured above. They will strip us bare in the next four years and if we don't stop the Red Team from coast to coast they might misrule over our nation forever! I thought Bush and Cheney were awful and they were, but they were light years better than the Trump Crime Family and Asa's ship of fools. 

I want to thank all the people who took time out of their busy day to go attempt to change the minds of the Unchangeable. I think I know now why our ancestors took rotted fruit, spoiled eggs and tar and feathers with them when they attended political rallies back before cable TV was invented.

Resist! Or face the darkest future we've had to face since the Civil War.

Death by inches

BIG crowd. Several people (on my liberal side of the isle) were so disruptive that it was impossible to hear some questions and answers. Not productive. 

Cotton is good at this. He only squared his shoulders and all but raised his fist (finger) twice. Once to essentially say that if we don't like the way he votes, we can find someone else to do the job. The other time was to say that he met with Governor Hutchinson this morning and told him he fully supports the planned executions. 

I loved his explanation of his vote against the Violence Against Women Act. He objected because there would be confusion about jurisdiction on Indian Territories. Lots of disgruntlement in the crowd over that one.

Carol D. Nokes

In response to the April 6 article about chronic wasting disease in Arkansas's elk and deer populations:

Game and Fish and the U.S. Forest Service are responsible for the chronic wasting in our state by introducing elk and managing the entire ecosystem based on animals they can profit off of. They first said it wouldn't get into deer even though many people told them it would. They'll say it can't transfer to humans until ... . We probably need to kill off 90 percent of the deer in the Ozarks before it spreads and get rid of their drive-through hunting elk scheme.

Also hope we can hold AG&F responsible when people start getting prion-related disorders.

Thom Roberts