Archive for Letters

On the value of art

I have a cousin who majored in dance. He flies Vipers for the Marines.

On the value of art

In response to an Arkansas Blog post on state Sen. Bart Hester's tweeted question of UA Little Rock's decision to advertise its dance program, "They lease a sign to encourage computer science degrees or math teachers? No they push for dance majors? Lots of hardworking Arkansans subsidizing this. Not ok.":

"It shouldn't be necessary to ask why the arts are worth fighting for, nor should it be necessary to answer such a question. The answer should be self-evident, making the question redundant. It is distressing, to put it mildly, to have reached a moment in the decline of the West at which the question is being asked and needs to be answered.

"Art can afford us exaltation ... the emotional force of great music, the profound effect of great words, the new ways of seeing we are shown by great images. It brings the extraordinary into ordinary life and nurtures and lifts up our spirits.

"It is telling that authoritarians and fanatics make the arts their first targets. Dictators the world over imprison writers; the Taliban banned song, dance, and theater; terrorist bombers attack music venues. Censorship and persecution are tyrants' ways of saying they know how important the arts are, how closely connected to liberty.

"Those of us lucky to live in free societies should value and support what the enemies of freedom fear. Without adequate funding, theaters close, orchestras disband, films are not made. The arts are strong and will endure, but artists need and deserve our support.

"Nourish the arts, and they will nourish us right back." — Salman Rushdie

John Gaudin

North Little Rock

I have a cousin who majored in dance. He flies Vipers for the Marines.


As a dancer, artist and dance teacher, Sen. Hester's comments about the UALR dance program do not sit lightly with me. The sign itself says "Unlimited Pathways." I think that is one of the greatest things about the arts. Dancers, musicians, artists, writers ... are always trying to push the limits and create new things. In the arts, we are always told to "think outside the box" and look at things in a different light to see the vast amount of possibilities. The world needs these creative minds just as much as we need our scientists, physicians, lawyers, etc.  Several years ago, if the university had have had a dance program at the time, I probably would have stayed in Little Rock for my college career, but instead I went to school out of state where I could get a degree in dance. And now I am proud to be back in Little Rock sharing my love for dance with my students and audiences. Dance has helped me to not limit myself and has given me so many wonderful opportunities in and out of Arkansas. I am currently teaching a blind woman ballet and will be starting to work with students at the Arkansas School for the Blind. I love that I can share my passion for dance with my home state and give back to a community that I grew up in. Those dance majors are the artists performing at Robinson Performance Hall, the actors/actresses on the stages of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, The Weekend Theatre, the Children's Theatre and dancers who grace the stage at The Nutcracker each December. All of these things bring revenue to our state. Why limit that?


If the "dance" was the "Two Step" and at the Electric Cowboy he'd be for it. Where seldom are minorities found he'd be for it.

Tucker Max

Oh, he's beyond backwoods. In fact he makes primitive Neanderthals look like a tribe of Einsteins. No, Bart, like President Trump, revels in his own truth. So what if it is diametrically opposed to fact? Bringing another reality to replace the present one is heaven on earth for these folks.


Coming from a Baptist background I know that all dancing leads right to mouth gasping, hair pulling, clothes-sofa-car seat smeary hot sex! Hot, hot, hot, hot sex! And in the mind of Bart Hester, prayer, blood-letting and leeches are the only medical treatment needed. He no doubt wishes white people could still own black slaves and believes that wife beating is recommended in order to promote a good Christian home. Jesus says, don't you know? I hope to die in Arkansas in the 21st century, but first the state needs to move out of the 19th century. Electing and re-electing assholes like Hester and Jason Rapert and Denny Altes will prevent that from ever happening. This country laughs at Arkansas, and it's not very hard to understand why.  One must wonder if Mrs. Hester was forced to undergo a clitoridectomy before the wedding?


Now, this Mr. Hester may be onto something, re wasteful expenditures!  As noted above, legislator per diem? Gee, don't think too many Wal-drones get money to travel to the place of their employment. CUT!  Home office tax-credit? They turned what was otherwise likely a little-used room in their house into an office. CUT! $40k a year for part-time work? In the interest of a living wage, how's about $15 per hour during the workday hours that the legislature is in session? CUT! He's right about ONE thing: "Lots of hardworking Arkansans subsidizing this! Not ok."


Hester is the kind of guy that probably gets all weird feeling when he sees anything slightly artistic. He'd probably see the statue of David and make a penis joke.


In response to the Times' Feb. 8 feature on the new Windgate Center for Art and Design at UA Little Rock:

Sen. Bart Hester demands it shut down because he doesn't understand it.


In response to the Arkansas Blog's post on Donald Trump's tweet that "lives were being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation," apparently in defense of his former aide who was accused of abuse by two former spouses:

MAGA = back to the days when husbands can beat their wives with impunity.

Rush Lemming

In response to the Feb. 8 review of The Avenue restaurant in Hot Springs:

The duck confit might have been as good or even better than what you had in Paris. It also cost about twice as much. I'm in Paris now and just had duck confit at our favorite cafe, just a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. It was 12 Euros. And it was a larger piece than what's pictured here. Remember, this is freakin' Paris, not Hot Springs. Been to the Avenue once —and enjoyed the food. But thought the prices were nuts, especially for a mid-sized town in Arkansas. $26 duck? $28 halibut? Apparently that hasn't changed.

Big Fun

I do not hold with fruit and meat. Or fruit and fish. Fruit and fruit is fine. Or just fruit. But it's this degenerate mixing of the foodstuffs that is destroying America.

Carrick Patterson

In response to the Arkansas Blog post musings about the upcoming action on Medicaid expansion by the state legislature:

If A$a! thinks that failure to continue Medicaid expansion will blow a hole in the budget, wait till he gets a load of Drumpf's infrastructure plan that shifts costs to the states, bigly.


Real reform

The majority of the prison population in Arkansas consists of returning parole violators, and, moreover, almost half of released prisoners return within three years.

Real reform

The majority of the prison population in Arkansas consists of returning parole violators, and, moreover, almost half of released prisoners return within three years. According to the Council of State Governments Justice Center, from 2012 to 2015 the number of prisoners increased from 6,168 to 10,462, and from 2009 to 2015, the amount of parole revocations increased from 2,398 to 5,690. Arkansas has made a visible effort to decrease recidivism by, for example, increasing the amount of parole officers. That's a temporary solution. The "ban the box" campaign, a policy that requests employers consider qualifications before criminal records, requires the provision of conviction history later in the employment process to inhibit discrimination that may have occurred despite qualifications. It is prevalent in states such as California and Colorado, both of which have lower incarceration rates than Arkansas. Criminal activity indicates the possibility of re-offense, which is important for an employer to acknowledge, but it should not be considered until elimination based on discrimination is no longer a possibility. However, for this to work Arkansas must address the lack of education given to prisoners who cannot pay. Education in prisons has been neglected for years. In 2015, 40 percent of the prison population lacked a high school diploma. After all, in order to be considered an equal to competitors, one must have the qualifications to do so.

Mary Jia

Hot Springs

Teach sex ed

Arkansas is one of 26 states in the United States that don't require schools teach to sex education to some extent. Arkansas also had the second highest teen pregnancy rate and the highest teen birth rate in 2013, according to the Guttmacher Institute. While it is true that trends in teen pregnancies have been decreasing over the years, Arkansas has consistently stayed one of the highest. This can be attributed to the fact that, according to Arkansas law, if a school offers sex education and information on STDs, it must stress premarital abstinence. This policy needs to change. Arkansas needs comprehensive, medically accurate and religiously unbiased sexual education for high school students. This can easily fit into the high school health class that all Arkansas students are required to take before they are allowed to graduate from high school. Implementing this across the state will help lower Arkansas's teen pregnancy and birth rate. As Arkansans, we need to put aside our discomfort with sex education and think of what is best for our youth — giving them the tools to become sexually healthy and responsible adults.

Briawna Stigall


From the web

In response to "The legacy of William Harold Flowers" (Feb. 1):

I had the privilege of meeting and knowing Harold Flowers in the mid 1970s. He was interested and supportive of an effort by the United Methodist Church to establish a multicultural church in Little Rock. The Hunter Memorial UMC was relocating from its MacArthur Park building to a new building on Romine Road in West Little Rock. A progressive young minister was assigned to lead this effort, and shortly after opening the new building, Harold Flowers and his wife (and often his family) began to drive from Pine Bluff to the new Hunter UMC on Sunday mornings.  In addition to attending, he was often called on to preach, as a relief to the minister. At the time he was somewhat handicapped, and walked hesitantly with a cane. In the pulpit, he would thump his cane on the floor for emphasis in his sermons. It would have been difficult, if one were so inclined, to let your mind wander during his sermons. We have never forgotten Mr. Flowers, and have many warm memories of a dynamic yet very wise elder statesman. [UA Little Rock] Prof. [John] Kirk's biography was a pleasure to read, and bring back these memories

Pug Dog

This is a very informative article. I first heard of Mr. Flowers in the early 1950s when a white, segregationist acquaintance at the University of Arkansas, who was from Pine Bluff, started raving and ranting about this "troublemaker from Pine Bluff." I did not know that he was as instrumental in the civil rights movement as he was. I am glad to see that his daughter carries on the cause.


Thank you for sharing this story and the photographs. There is a lot I don't know about that time period in Arkansas. State Rep. Vivian Flowers gave a short speech at the Women's March On the Polls in January. I had not heard her speak before and was impressed with her speaking skills. She was concise, articulate and to the point. She said what needed to be said. I am glad she and Stephanie Flowers are in the state legislature.


In response to "Inspired by LBJ" (Feb. 1), Ernest Dumas' column about Gov. Orval Faubus, President Lyndon Johnson and President John F. Kennedy:

I have posted this before, but in present context, it bears repeating. In the summer of 1965, at Arkansas Boys State, Orval Faubus came and gave a talk one evening. Much of what he said I do not remember, but one thing he said was that someone had asked him how to win cases at the Arkansas Supreme Court. Faubus replied, "Just talk and talk and talk until you turn black in the face." I am ashamed to admit that the boys there gave him a standing ovation. I am proud to claim that I was not one of those who stood. deadseasquirrel

In response to the Feb. 3 Arkansas Blog post "Tom Cotton: It's the immigrants, not the economy, stupid":

Yes, it is OK to be a bigot in today's political world! And, it is almost mandatory that if you plan to remain on the national political scene for very long you become a LYING LIAR! Plus, you need to either literally bow down or at least figuratively bow down to show how much you respect President Trump, and NEVER QUESTION ANYTHING he may say or do! You must show you have utter disdain for your constituents by consistently voting against their interests and welfare. Sen. Tom (Rotten) Cotton has definitely proven he has all of those detestable qualities, and even more! I say we can find someone better than that to be our U.S. senator!


Looking at that mug shot of Rotten Cotton I don't see even 1 percent Native American heritage. That makes him an illegal immigrant (yep, me too!) who never got permission from Native Americans, the real Americans, to live here. So the "Americans" Rotten sees all around him are, like him, illegals from Europe and elsewhere. I looked up the definition of "close-minded" in Webster's. Tom "Rotten" Cotton as the answer.

Sound Policy

Braying senator "war hero" is on the wrong side of the issue (except for his base of those "fine folks"); 75 percent support DACA and a majority want a comprehensive immigration bill containing a path-to-citizenship provision. Folks are starting to get the idea that racists like Tommy-boy use immigration as a handy tool to divide and conquer those of all colors who tend to oppose the Koch "rising tide" that's lifting only 1 percent of the boats.


Let's hope the pied piper Trump leads these lemmings off the cliff. Cotton assumes he is safe in his position and latching onto the psycho-in-chief. Follow him right down the toilet, like so many others in political history. McCarthy comes to mind; so does Mussolini. Trumpolini? I hold out hope that the ship will right, the country is changing and those that dislike the inevitable "browning" of our country will be embarrassing footnotes.


Sometimes wonder if Tom doesn't get a severe case of claustrophobia while trapped inside the confines of his narrow mind, with its maze-like passages and so many dead ends.

Jake da Snake

In response to Autumn Tolbert's Jan. 25 editorial on the implications of the Women's March and the resistance to President Trump:

I saw what you saw Saturday at the March, Autumn, except in Little Rock, and the unity felt good, even though I am sorry the government has screwed up so badly the past year that I can no longer relax because I can't trust my state or federal government not to take away more civil and human rights. I never used to do this, but each day I wake up and the first thing I do is check the computer to see if Trump blew some country up while I was asleep. Sad. Then I go work two low-paying jobs that keep people's hours below 30 so they don't have to offer insurance. Yes, I am tired, but nothing will change until we elect smart, caring human beings into office that we can trust to do the right thing. I am so amazed at the number of women who are running for office in 2018 in Arkansas.

I barely have time to read about politics anymore. That is why I appreciate the Arkansas Times.

People have different talents and skills. Some can contribute money to campaigns, some time, some write letters or make phone calls or bake cookies. Everyone can't do everything all the time. But no matter how small your contribution, you are helping to get someone elected to office that will help improve job growth and that will fight for health care for families. We need a new state government so everyone in Arkansas has a chance to be self-sufficient and prosper, not just a select few. I think you are right about The Indivisibles and the Young Democrats being more active. Good. Thanks for your report from Fayetteville.



The SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) recently took place in Las Vegas, despite the fact that 58 people were murdered and 851 were injured in a mass shooting there mere months ago. It seems in poor taste.


The SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) recently took place in Las Vegas, despite the fact that 58 people were murdered and 851 were injured in a mass shooting there mere months ago. It seems in poor taste. Even more distasteful was the fact that Arkansas Governor Hutchinson attended to help gun manufacturers drum up more customers. But there's no need to worry about the safety of Hutchinson or the gun dealers in Vegas. It's not just gun safety advocates who know that guns don't make us safer; these firearm manufacturers know it, too. The SHOT Show was practically a gun-free zone. Per their website, "NO personal firearms or ammunition allowed. Only firearms on display by exhibitors whose firing pins have been removed (and have been inspected by SHOT Show Safety Advisors) will be permitted on the show floor." These firearms experts are happy to make money off of our tragedies, but clearly know better than to put themselves in the line of fire. It's appalling that our governor signed a bill in 2017 allowing loaded guns into bars and on our college campuses, which are two of the very last places guns should ever be. And it's even more appalling that Hutchinson enjoyed a level of safety and peace of mind at the SHOT Show that he is denying to public college students in our state. Has there ever been a more blatant display of hypocrisy?

Austin Bailey

Little Rock

Brother's keeper

I read the article "Lock Up Last" (Jan. 11). Thanks for all the information on a good program.

It made me angry that no increase in funds had been given in 20 years. Dedicated staff persons, judges and probation officers have helped many youths. I commend each of them for their service to build better individuals with personal attention and guidance.

Benton and Washington counties have large corporate offices that could contribute to the entire system. All would benefit greatly. State legislators have the ability to request additional funds, too.

Be your brother's keeper for his son or daughter. He would do the same for you. Giving a hand up enriches each soul.

Anita Gatzke

Little Rock

End of FEMA?

Hurricane season wrapped up by the end of November. The last days to file Federal Emergency Management Agency claims for hurricane damage by Hurricane Irma were in November. So now that hurricane season is over it is time once again for Republicans in Congress to try to cut funding for FEMA before hurricane season starts again at the end of May.

Why do Republicans want to cut FEMA? The main reason is because Republicans hate President Carter, the Democrat who ushered in the new agency back in 1979. Republicans hate Carter because his attempt to rescue a bunch of American hostages from Iran was thwarted when one of Carter's rescue choppers hit an airplane. Anyway, the pertinent reason is because Carter expanded bureaucracy by creating another federal agency that wrested control of disaster funding from the hands of Congress.

Why is FEMA so important? Sometimes, legislators such as U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton vote against disaster relief. Cotton voted against relief for Superstorm Sandy back in 2013. Congressman French Hill recently voted against relief for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. FEMA is a more reliable source of relief than Congress. But all good things must end, and so it may be with FEMA. Republicans are hot to eliminate the agency.

Arkansan James Lee Witt said, "As director of FEMA, I responded to 350 presidential disaster declarations. Disaster responses are about people, not politics."

Gene Mason


An analogy

Recently I had what NPR calls a driveway moment listening to a young lady named Joy Buolamwin talking with Guy Raz about facial recognition and skin color. Buolamwin is a graduate researcher at the MIT Media Lab. Two years earlier she was experimenting with artificial intelligence and facial recognition. She discovered that the software was not able to identify her black face. Only when she put on a white mask did the computer respond. Why didn't the computer detect her face? As Buolamwin explained, computer vision uses machine-learning techniques and the training was done with a set of faces that were not diverse, preventing detection in some cases. Buolamwin returned recently from Hong Kong, where she toured local startups, one of which used a social robot outfitted with facial recognition. Imagine her feeling when the demo worked on everyone in the group except her. It seems the software has not been improved. The main thrust of the interview was to point out the problems as police departments add facial recognition to their crime-fighting toolbox. But possibly misidentifying criminals was not what kept me sitting in my truck until the story ended. The following analogy was playing in my brain. Little Rock schools are as deficient as facial identification software. They lack diversity and we seem hell-bent on keeping them that way. The lack of diversity causes skewed results just as it does in computer facial recognition. Common sense and experience tell one that rejection hurts deeply. Rejecting thousands of our little children causes harm, sometimes lasting, to their self-image and heavily influences behavior. We have gone out of our way to create places for preferred children to attend school while turning our backs on thousands of others, forcing them to go where told. That cruel, harmful mindset prevents diversity and helps form the calloused, criminal minds of some youth.   Not long ago a man holding the highest religious office in Arkansas gave a sermon praising parochial schools. He inserted "pagan" for the word "public" when he used the phrase "public schools." For example, he was proud to tell everyone how far he rode his bike past the "pagan schools" to get to his parochial school when he was a child. Sadly, he showed no remorse when confronted at the end of the service.  Consider the thinking of an esteemed social activist living over 2,000 years ago and ask what he would do for the children in Little Rock. He would say, "Merge the private schools with public schools in such a way so as not to traumatize anyone during the process. Keep children together for as long as possible in the best facilities possible and above all with the best educators possible. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." (Romans 12:16)

Richard Emmel

Little Rock

An open letter to President Trump

News reports state that in a recent meeting you wondered aloud why so many people interested in immigrating to the United States are from countries that do not even have a modern sewage system and public restrooms with actual toilets. Why, you reportedly asked, does not the United States have more immigrants from nations like Norway?

Persons from nations dreadfully impoverished by overpopulation, Western colonialism and corruption in their own governments are eager to escape their indescribably dire circumstances. For about 125 years, the world has perceived the United States as the place to do that. In your father's lifetime, even countries like Norway were sufficiently uncomfortable and lacking in opportunities for betterment that many people left. However, in the past 100 years the Norwegians have made many improvements, so many that there is reason to question whether the United States could possibly offer a better quality of life.

And, in fact, the United States no longer can. Beginning with Ronald Reagan's presidency, government policies have impelled the United States toward overpopulation, colonialism (by global corporations) and corruption in government setting her on a slippery slope to misery, rather soon to become commensurate with that of the nations you derided.

Please, seek answers to this very important question you have asked.

Pamela Gibson

Little Rock

From the web

In response to an Arkansas Blog post about Sen. Tom Cotton telling constituents to never contact him again:

I have never heard of an elected government official sending out cease and desist letters to the people who elected him to office and whose salary, insurance, etc. Arkansas taxpayers foot the bill for. Also, when disabled people showed up at his office in Little Rock and Washington, D.C., with questions about health care, he gave orders to his office to have them arrested by the police. Why hasn't Tom trained his office staff to answer constituents' questions on the phone or in person? They could read off a script he types up for them. I don't think Tom has plans to come back to Arkansas. Maybe we could withhold his paycheck until he learns some manners. Not much of a threat since he now works for big donors with big money. I just wish he didn't have Arkansas attached to his name.

Now that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is retiring early, does that leave an opening for Tom? I have read five different reasons for McCabe leaving.


Cotton rotten

I find Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to be disingenuous in his denial of President Trump's racist remarks on the DACA program. Don't cover up Trump's ignorance and disdain for non-white immigrants. Cotton lied to protect the president.

Cotton rotten

I find Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to be disingenuous in his denial of President Trump's racist remarks on the DACA program. Don't cover up Trump's ignorance and disdain for non-white immigrants. Cotton lied to protect the president. That doesn't help compromise and distorts the issues.

Thomas Dresser

Oak Bluffs, Mass.

On religious freedom

I enjoy reading Ernest Dumas columns, especially the Sept. 28 column ("Stifling dissent") containing a good discussion on the importance of religious freedom and freedom of speech. He applauded the court decision recognizing the religious freedom of Jehovah's Witnesses who refused to salute the flag.  Dumas did not seem to show the same understanding in his Dec. 14 column ("Silly acts, good law") on the Masterpiece Cake Shop case, which he described as only a dispute over using religion and spiritual texts as a pretext for exercising individual prejudice. He seemed to believe he could understand the true motives of the cake shop owner when he said Jack Phillips abhorred the couple getting married. Is it not possible Phillips simply felt that his religious beliefs would not allow him to participate in a same-sex marriage by decorating the cake in the same way a Jehovah's Witness could not salute the flag because of his religious beliefs? Phillips states, "As a Christian, I have neither the liberty nor the inclination to discriminate. God calls me to love and serve all, and that's what I seek to do." He did not refuse to serve them as Dumas said. He was willing to sell them a cake. He just refused to decorate it for them, just as he has refused to decorate cakes for Halloween and other celebrations that are not acceptable to his religious beliefs. Does Dumas think he abhors those who celebrate Halloween? In 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act. Joe Biden and many other Democrats voted for it. It defined marriage as only between a man and a woman and stated no state could be required to recognize a same gender marriage. During his 2008 campaign President Obama stated as a Christian he believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. He said it was a spiritual decision influenced by God. Does Dumas believe Clinton and Obama abhorred those same-sex couples who were obstructed from marrying for many years by these two presidents? Phillips only wanted to personally not take part in the wedding of one same-sex couple. Clinton and Obama made their statements in hope that it would enable them to win a presidential election and were rewarded. Phillips had no desire for personal gain, but was punished with financial ruin for his convictions. Unlike Clinton and Obama, who seem to be able to put on and take off their religious beliefs and convictions like a pair of old shoes they use when comfortable and discard when not, Phillips continued to believe as Obama previously stated, marriage was between a man and a woman and it was a spiritual belief ordained by God. After reading his column, I believe a better case could be made that Dumas abhors Jack Phillips and those like him who have not abandoned their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Ron West


Is anyone really surprised at Trump's latest racist comments? It's not like this is a new thing. He has a history of this kind of behavior, even predating his GOP primary run.  What's disheartening is people continue to support Trump's presidency despite his reprehensible behavior while in office. It's almost as disheartening as knowing how many supported his candidacy in the first place.  What does our own president's world view, as he himself expresses it, say about us as a country? What does this say about what we value as Americans? It says this is either who we really are, or a minority of citizens has a disproportionate amount of influence over our nation's political institutions. Whether the former or the latter is the case, neither represents the values of a true democracy.

R.L. Hutson


From the web

In response to Autumn Tolbert's Jan. 11 column, "Oprah!":

All the objections seem to echo what was said about Trump. Two of the insignificant differences are that she is a woman and she is black. Of the more significant differences are that she is a woman and she is black, she is honest, she was not born with the proverbial silver spoon and hasn't filed for multiple bankruptcies. Too many other things to mention!


In response to Ernest Dumas' Jan. 11 column, "Sick health policy":

I'm so glad we live in a country that takes care of those who can't take care of themselves, are disabled, live way below the poverty level, and are disenfranchised. I'm so proud!!


Dear Saint Peter,

Please let me in. I can explain. I, uh, uh, uh ... From: Asa


In response to Gene Lyons' Jan. 11 column "Playing to a crowd":

If you haven't yet figured that out, perhaps you can't. Trump is triumphant in having created an unforgettable character. He often refers to himself, that character, in the third person. He plays his role superbly. It is unfortunate that he has no ability to play a presidential role.  I have never watched reality TV, much less his previous shows, so I, too, did not see this coming. Hilary Clinton was by far the best candidate we have ever seen in this country followed by Al Gore. Both lost their respective elections under suspicious circumstances.  I was married to a much smarter narcissistic sociopath and compulsive liar for 20-plus years and did not recognize his pathology clearly until I happened upon a book titled The Sociopath Next Door a few years after our divorce. Trump is textbook material.  What I find so odd is how the media and most everyone else tries to make sense of Trump's behavior, personality, actions, speech, etc. Wait — I take that back. I did the same thing for decades with my ex-husband.  Someone famous said something to the effect of "Once you know something, you can't unknow it." In this regard, I am woke. At this point, anyone who stands by Trump is as culpable and guilty as he is.


In response to the Jan. 14 Arkansas Blog post "Memory refreshed, Tom Cotton now disputes that Trump made 'shithole' comments":

Looks like Tommy will now have "a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings." Pot calling kettle black? Aren't those guidelines being illegally placed on the state Capitol lawn pretty clear on these actions, Tommy? Looks like you are more into WWTD than WWJD. Oh, the irony of your convictions.


This makes Tom Cotton look like an even bigger liar! If what he's saying now is the truth, he would have denied Trump said "shithole" in the very beginning last Thursday. Are these meetings not recorded? Maybe Cotton had to be certain there were no recordings before his memory suddenly kicked in. Good grief? Is there no decency?


The only possible reason for all the denials is that there has been some fallout internationally from the comments. It won't be long until our only friend on the world scene will be Russia and that can only bite us in the butt in the long term. You're right to say that his base is absolutely thrilled by that kind of rhetoric. They love it and would like to hear it every day from the White House. They have one of their own now as POTUS, they think. It doesn't much matter whether or not Trump does anything for them or not. After all, they're used to their own shitholes and wouldn't know any better anyway.


Tommy is a chronic liar and a very hateful asshole.


Warren: that would be hateful shithole in the current vernacular.

Going for the record again

In terms of international fallout, I wonder about the timing of Trump's decision not to attend the opening of our new embassy in London. I wonder if word got back to the White House that he might be greeted by testy crowds, and rightfully so.


The Democrat Gazette's silence on Cottons willingness to lie for Trump is deafening.


On last week’s cover story, ” ‘Protect and serve’ vs. ‘patrol and control’ in Little Rock”

Fact of the matter is murders have dramatically decreased after this past summer's spike and the increased patrols coincide with the drop. Fact of the matter is, if you see a patrol car is close by, the odds of you breaking in that car, house, etc. go down.

From the web

In response to last week's cover story, " 'Protect and serve' vs. 'patrol and control' in Little Rock":

Fact of the matter is murders have dramatically decreased after this past summer's spike and the increased patrols coincide with the drop. Fact of the matter is, if you see a patrol car is close by, the odds of you breaking in that car, house, etc. go down.

Either the P.D. takes steps to reduce crime, or the people will. I would rather the police do it.

Case closed as far as I'm concerned.

Rick 1

Reply to Rick 1: What are the odds that YOU would get followed to your home by a patrol car and have an officer unholster their gun while watching you? This isn't about the cops stopping people, it's about the systematic overreach or disregard by procedures by said cops. Nor is this crime control. It's harassment and intimidation.


It's not community policing when the police officers don't live in the community. If they're going home to somewhere else, it's not their community and they're more focused on enforcing the law than in keeping the peace.


Little Rock had been experiencing for at least a year a disturbing increase in the number of murders, assaults and other violent crimes, culminating in the Power Ultra Lounge shooting on July. The community understandably and rightfully demands swift actions by city leaders that immediately restore safety and peace of mind. We also have a police force that is severely understaffed and underpaid, to the point that many of its officers can only afford to live outside the city they serve. It's easy to be critical of the steps taken and some of that criticism may be warranted. But let's say it's now your job to address these concerns in ways that are both quickly effective and not seen as overreaching, intimidating and harassing, and, most importantly, you only have the same tools that are now available to the police chief, city manager and others. Go ...


In response to Billy Fleming's Jan. 4 column, "Will Arkansas join the red state revolt?" in which he wrote that 16 of the 76 seats held by Republicans were likely to flip to Democrats in the state House of Representatives:

It's an exciting time to be a Democrat. As devastating as the current administration is, it's likely to be digging its own grave. Hopefully seats will flip all over this country, but you're right, the South is gonna have a huge impact. The longer the uber rich are in power the more these lower-earning communities are starting to see the light.

Jason Bradberry

Well, it's always funny to read the crazy stuff the AT has to offer. Actually surprised they are still in business.


Highly unlikely the left will get more than five seats. Former Gov. Mike Beebe and now Governor Hutchinson have both played down the middle in doing what is best for the state. Tax reform in the state is coming but it won't be until after this next cycle of elections. Also, why is the left still being referred to as "progressives" when that isn't even close to the truth? You can twist and spin it all you want, but the left has never been progressive, only passive aggressive.

Sean Cash

In response to Jay Barth's Jan. 4 column, "Arkansas's Trump?" about Hot Springs Jan Morgan's decision to challenge Governor Hutchinson in the GOP primary:

Arkansas politics is why I only drink bottled water.


Arkansas politics are why I drink.


The same fools who voted for sheer idiots like [state Sen. Jason] Rapert would vote for this numbskull. She is the backwoods "Deliverance" version of Michele Bachmann.


In response to the Jan. 8 Arkansas Blog post "Oprah for president?":

My girlfriends and I discussed this into the wee hours last night. Only thing we couldn't agree on was who would make the perfect VP ... Joe Biden, Tom Hanks or Michelle Obama.


Actively thinking? Wow! That would be a welcome change from all the self-glorification, self-adulation rhetoric, and of course all the suck-up talk (major part of the job description, I'm sure). Donald has such unique standards.


In a couple of days, the online Webster's Dictionary will have a picture of Oprah next to the phrase BARN BURNER! The speech she gave last night is among the handful of speeches I've heard in my life that knocked my socks off and reduced me to tears while cheering.  Ohmagod did Oprah knock one out of the park! And gentlemen, she put us on notice that the millions of years of male dominance and sexual harassment and sexual abuse of girls and women and second-class citizenship for women IS OVER! If you think male heads have rolled in the last couple of months, we ain't seen nothing yet! I personally think that Oprah isn't willing to take a demotion in order to become the next president of the United States. She's smarter than that and she's of far more use to this country as a free agent, but she COULD run this country with her eyes closed.  I predict our next president will be a woman! And Congress will turn pink over the next couple of election cycles. Ditto the Arkansas Legislature. Bring it!


The root question as I see it is whether or not being elected U.S. president and never having held another public office is rational or even sane. In my opinion the clear answer is no.  The answer doesn't depend on whether the views of someone agree wholly or partially with our own, but simply on whether the job of being president requires some prior experience that clearly indicates the individual can handle the job. We witness daily, and have for the past year, what happens when we elect a clearly unsuitable person, an ongoing train wreck, to the office. Must we turn the office of president into some reality program or celebrity contest? If so, let me off that train.

Sound Policy

It would be worth it to have Oprah as president just to watch all the red necks turn purple.


Why not? She is better qualified to hold the office than Obama was.


Well, yes, let's elect another entertainer with absolutely no experience in government. It's worked so well before.



Billy Fleming's Jan. 4 column, "Will Arkansas join the red state revolt?" mistakenly dated state Republicans ending the Democratic supermajority in the state House and Senate as 2008 instead of 2010. It also misstated that Republicans have had a stranglehold on state government for more than a decade.

Owning it

Dan Aykroyd said of John Belushi, "He was a good man, but he was a bad boy." I think we can say the same for Al Franken.

Owning it

Dan Aykroyd said of John Belushi, "He was a good man, but he was a bad boy." I think we can say the same for Al Franken. I don't know what the story is with these guys, must be a "SNL" thing. Anyway, Al made some mistakes in the past but he is getting it right this time. Step aside and let the newly appointed senator — surely a Democrat — get his/her feet on the ground before the elections next November.

Bill Clinton should have done the same thing when he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar — OK, that was a bad analogy, it wasn't a cookie jar.

If Clinton had resigned when he should have instead of arguing the definition of the word "is," Al Gore would have become president. Gore would have been running in the fall of 2000 as the incumbent against Bush. I heard James Carville on a talk show saying that he didn't think that would have made much difference. Well, James, how much difference did we need back then? One or two hanging chads would have changed the history of this country, and changed it for the better.

What Franken did was wrong, but he has recognized his mistakes. He "owned it," as the saying goes. I'm not defending what Al did in the past, but what he is doing now is the proper thing.

David Rose Hot Springs


Let me begin simply by saying "thank you" for the column titled by Max Brantley "Man's world" (Nov. 30). With all of the explosive allegations concerning sexual harassment lately, it was good hearing a man's opinion about the issues women like myself have dealt with for years. Every time I hear or read an article about sexual harassment, sexual assault and discrimination faced by women even in low profile settings, it stirs up many emotions and memories I've been struggling with myself involving these types of situations. It is even more disappointing to hear other women discount the effect this has on our society by blaming or doubting the women who bravely stand up for themselves.

I also appreciated your acknowledgement that there are many women in our world who would make great leaders if only given a chance void of the misconceptions and stereotypes that are evident in our country today. As the words of the song says, "It's a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothing without a woman or a girl."

Latonya Montgomery Little Rock

From the web, in response to the Dec. 7 Arkansas Blog post "Razorbacks introduce new football coach Chad Morris":

I suppose it will be considered "breaking," though hardly unlooked for, news five years from now when he is unceremoniously fired.


tsallenarng, with your ability to know what's going to happen five years down the road, you really should spend time in the stock market.

Big Fun

"Being a champion is not an event, but a life style" said the coach who most recent team ranks 122nd in the nation in total defense.


Seems to have a winning attitude. Nice of him to acknowledge the difficult job Julie Cromer Peoples was given. We shall see.


From the web, in response to the Dec. 8 Arkansas Blog post, "Circuit judge orders state to stop issuing all new birth certificates until unconstitutional procedure corrected":

Sadly, the Judge Tim Foxes of this state and country, who actually still labor under the notion that their purpose is administration of justice and equal application of the law for all citizens, now appear as freakish outliers from the norm.  The speed with which Leslie Rutledges at all levels of the Republican Party are installing extremist ideologues into the judiciary is frightening. A far more lasting legacy (or pox) than The Orange Idiot's temporary reign as imperator.

RIP Democracy.


From the web, in response to the Dec. 8 Arkansas Blog post "Governor directs Health Department to resume issuing birth certificates under revised procedures": t

Now was that so hard? Just think of all the taxpayer money spent to have it your way, Leslie Rutledge.


I have waited nearly two years for this, to be able to get my child's birth certificate with any measure of dignity (that is, without the indignity of obtaining a court order identifying myself as a "stepparent" petitioning for "parental" rights). So far, in calling ADH to see what I need to bring, I have been put in endless hold queues and given no information. I hope they hold an emergency meeting and sort out how to implement this, and make it as easy as possible on those of us seeking a correction. I don't wish to wait any longer to put this behind me.


From the web, in response to the Dec. 10 Arkansas Blog post "Rep. Bob Ballinger wants to keep fighting over birth certificates":

Why are Bullet Bob and his ilk so fascinated with sex the way other people have it? What pictures must flash across the slide-screens at the back of their occipital regions? What makes them tingle?


Bob is a bigot and hater. Those are his birth parents.

Jake da Snake


President Reagan used to say, "There you go again," so here we go again.


President Reagan used to say, "There you go again," so here we go again. Our Republican-dominated Congress is reforming our tax code much like Congress did back in Reagan's day. Those of us who actually remember Reagan know that Reagan was a really wobblyheaded, senile old actor who often replied, "Well ... (wobble, wobble) ... er ... uh ... " and sometimes confused reality with movie fiction. Under Reagan's lack of leadership, congressional spending got so out of control Reagan became the first U.S. president to budget for over a trillion dollars. To make matters worse, Reagan's Republicans reformed the federal tax code to benefit rich folks. The first cuts were made in 1981. The second cuts were in the 1986 Tax Reform Act. These tax laws resulted in the worst stock market crash in history, remembered as Black Monday. Republicans like to blame Iranian Silkworm missiles, but the TRA was passed Oct. 22, 1986, and the crash happened all around the globe only a year later Oct. 19, 1987. When the dust settled, Reagan had destroyed the American economy, and his successor, George H.W. Bush, suffered the consequences in defeat at the hands of Bill Clinton, the only president to balance the federal budget four years in a row. Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, cut taxes twice and caused the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

So, here we go again making the same Republican mistakes. We just love to suffer.

Gene Mason


Sober Trump

Lyndon Johnson drank a quart of bourbon every day. Everett Dirksen sipped champagne all day long. Nixon mixed booze and pills. FDR, Tip O'Neill, Teddy Kennedy, Wilbur Mills: They were all alcoholics, but they got things done. Social Security, civil rights legislation, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act — they somehow managed to move the ball down the field despite the fact that they were drunk while doing it. Trump doesn't drink, and I'm beginning to think that might be the problem. Perhaps we need to feed him a bottle of Wild Turkey and a six-pack of PBR every day. We just can't continue to have him staggering around the White House sober. The country might not be able to survive much more of that.

David Rose

Hot Springs

Hold the salt

Fine review of the redone Clinton [Presidential Center] restaurant. But I urge you not to encourage the chef to add more salt. Most chefs over-salt. We can add more but we cannot remove it.

Howard J. Barnhard


From the web

In response to a Dec. 5 Arkansas Blog post on the approval of a new security plan for the Ten Commandments monument that was shattered the day it was originally installed by a man driving a Dodge Dart. The new plan will have the monument in the center with bollards — thick posts — flanking it on each side:

With a little bit of sanding, that could look a whole lot more like a penis.


In response to a Dec. 4 Arkansas Blog post discussing an interview with the CEO of Dollar General, Todd Vasos. The chain targets people who make less than $40,000; Vasos said "the economy is continuing to create more of our core customer.":

I was in a Dollar Store this morning. I needed antibacterial hand wash and I had three options. I could drive 5-10 minutes to the local Dollar Store and spend $2 for the name brand I use. I could drive 30 minutes to the nearest Walmart and pay $3, or I could go to the local grocery store or drug store and pay around $4.

The same scenario applies to other name-brand laundry supplies, paper towels and household products.

There is a Family Dollar and a Dollar General in our rural town of 2,500. Both are always busy. There are two Dollar Stores within 10 miles and another one 19 miles away. If you take the Pottsville exit off of Interstate 40, the only lights you will see for several miles will be from the isolated Dollar Store located there.

I'm in our local store often. I know the manager and most of the employees well enough to ask about their families and their lives. It's an older building but always very clean and the shelves are well stocked. 

I realized that certain people attached a stigma to shopping at the Dollar Store when I ran into a wealthy lady in our local store and she immediately went into defense mode and offered a lengthy explanation as to why an emergency necessitated her being in "that store." The store manager overheard and winked at me behind the lady's back when I said, "Hey, I'm in here all the time."

These stores fill a need in rural areas, not only for bargains on name-brand items but even more so on generic brands. As mentioned previously, not everyone has transportation to travel to the nearest Walmart, 30 minutes to an hour from most places in this county. The Dollar General CEO is right on target with his assessment of the situation. It's a sign of the times we are in.


In response to a Dec. 4 Arkansas Blog post on the hiring of Hunter Yurachek away from the University of Houston to be the new athletic director for the University of Arkansas:

Oh, great.

Took me three years to learn how to pronounce Bielema. Now it's Yurachek.


An open letter on taxes

Dear senators and congressmen: I am writing to say that this tax cut for the rich and screwing the middle class is immoral.

An open letter to our congressmen

Dear senators and congressmen: I am writing to say that this tax cut for the rich and screwing the middle class is immoral. The House and Senate bills would get rid of the medical expense tax credit, the student loan interest credit, and make student loans that are paid by employers taxable income. It would also get rid of the property tax deduction. These tax increases will devastate my family.

First, by getting rid of the medical tax credit, my daughter and her husband will have a larger burden paying back the medical bills my grandson has incurred. Roman has had three surgeries in the past month and he will be in surgery again in two weeks. He has been hospitalized more days than home since he was born nearly two years ago.

Second, I have two children in college who are taking out student loans because we can't afford to pay out-of-pocket. They will be hit hard by the student loan credit repeal when it's time to pay them back. Also, my wife has decided to go back to school to get a Ph.D. in psychology to help disabled veterans with PTSD, such as myself. The Veterans Administration has a program that pays off student loans for employees who go to work helping veterans. Making that student loan payoff taxable will deter her from being able to afford to work at the VA.

Third, we are trying to buy a house, and depending on if we can get a VA loan, we might have to pay property taxes. By eliminating the property tax credit, the bill will place an undue burden on me as well as my children when they are ready to purchase their own homes.

These bills are immoral. And to cut corporate tax rates in half and reducing or eliminating the estate tax that helps Donald Trump is appalling. These bills are tax increases on me and my family and a giveaway to millionaires and billionaires like Trump and his family.

Enough is enough. Kill these bills and start over by cutting taxes for me and my family, and raise taxes on the corporations who are stashing trillions of dollars in the Cayman Islands.

Patrick Gray


On Sunday, Nov. 12, the Democrat-Gazette front page told Arkansans that the state spent more than $4 million with a company to develop "learning communities" in select schools. Max Brantley showed this week [on the Arkansas Blog] the actual cost is $12.5 million. Sen. Linda Chesterfield (D-Little Rock) spoke the truth when she said the expensive material was nothing more than team learning that has been a part of education for years. The process described in the article is typical of education decisions made at a high level and then foisted on teachers. The decision-makers mean well, and want to do something to move kids forward; their hearts are in the right place — but not their brains.

There is another common occurrence that happens when salespersons ply leaders with "educational trips" and perhaps some new golf balls. That sales tactic brings packages to schools that often have no scholastic merit. In fact, this writer knew such useless, expensive programs were bought when he was called to the central office and saw packages of golf balls on the boss' desk. Sadly, the new stuff more times than not replaced what worked well. In the case of Solution Tree, had the leaders taken the time to talk with teachers like Linda Chesterfield, they would have told them that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Assuming there is no way out of the Solution Tree contract, let this be the last instructional contract instigated for schools by legislators. Empower, encourage and support teacher efforts to establish good learning environments and help when asked. Our charter schools have shown how well empowering teachers works.

Perhaps the Arkansas Times would assign one of its gifted writers to do a deep dive into the many commercial programs and training sessions bought by the Little Rock School District over the last 10 years. Report the cost, status, results reaped and, most importantly, if a program was abandoned, what happened to the expensive materials. This writer predicts the total cost will be several million dollars; most programs are no longer in use; their use did not bring about noteworthy change and the costly materials were trashed. For sure, the Times should monitor "Pollution Tree." Fancy commercial programs depend more on high-powered marketing departments rather than powerful educational results.

To unite Little Rock, the education divide must end, and caring leadership will do just that. Over time, charter schools cause unintended financial distress that harms the school district because it has no choice but to give the charters money that is needed elsewhere. Charters are meant to be a temporary way to try innovative education ideas and then return to regular school status. They either develop a good idea or prove something not worth doing.

For example, if a charter pulls 1,000 students from the public system, that system must maintain the schools vacated by the charter students, but without the state funds associated with those students. The charter students come from many schools in the district, and the district cannot close any one school to compensate for the loss of state money. In a few years, the impact of lost funds damages the public system. Worse, permanent charter schools help create the artificial tag of good and bad with well-run charters considered like desirable, expensive private schools. Concerned leaders will see to it that every Little Rock school is considered good, and no area is favored over another.

Much could be done to unite us with little or no cost. Charters could voluntarily return as open public schools, and the school district could assure them that they could continue to be independent. More independence could be granted to regular schools. Baker Kurrus' research showed that keeping children together in good schools longer leads to better students, so we could work toward creating more pre-K-through-eighth-grade campuses. The community could solve the east-west high school crisis, avoiding a lawsuit with a special election providing one-time funding to equalize money for Mills and Robinson construction. Doing the Same Old, Same Old begets the Same Old, Same Old results. Is this community satisfied with SO, SO?

Richard Emmel

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the Nov. 16 article about filmmakers documenting the Elaine massacre and its reverberations:

I live in Fayetteville and work with the Lee Street Community Center in Elaine. My first trip was in 1998. I had been going there seven or eight years before I learned about [the massacre] at a film festival at the University of Arkansas. Our nonprofit chairman is George Andrew Gibson, who grew up in Elaine and wanted to do something for the children. Our building is located near the low-income apartments. When we park in the grass at the center, children start showing up. The school closed 10 years ago, and they need something to do. Last year we opened Turning Point Park on Main Street. Our theme is "Recognizing the Past with Hope for the Future, 1919 to 2019 and Beyond." The legal proceedings following the massacre led to a Supreme Court decision that redefined the 14th Amendment to give due process to ALL citizens. I have written a children's book to teach about this on an elementary level. We need to start teaching appropriate parts early and build on it. There are so many significant details to this history.

Elaine Volunteer


I never groped a woman or did any of those other things that are flashing across the news outlets every day.  True enough, I never had a "real" job, at least not one in an office environment, but the idea of invading a person's privacy in such a manner is just foreign to me.  I mean, it's not like I'm constantly fighting off the urge to grope, like an alcoholic fighting off the urge to knock back a bottle of Schnapps.


I never groped a woman or did any of those other things that are flashing across the news outlets every day.  True enough, I never had a "real" job, at least not one in an office environment, but the idea of invading a person's privacy in such a manner is just foreign to me.  I mean, it's not like I'm constantly fighting off the urge to grope, like an alcoholic fighting off the urge to knock back a bottle of Schnapps.  

And what about the other men in the workplace, the non-gropers? Why don't they explain to the gropers that what they are doing is just not acceptable?

We need two things here. We need all the non-gropers to stand up and say, "NOT ME." Then we need them to take the gropers aside and enlighten those Neanderthals.

David Rose

Hot Springs

From the web

In response to the Nov. 6 Arkansas Blog post, "Supreme Court refuses to hear Mike Maggio's appeal":

It's a shame he only got 10 years. I wonder what the parole possibilities are? He won't serve enough time, in my opinion, for the incredible abuse of trust given a judge. He's contributed to the downfall of the entire justice system. Here's hoping that his income is attached for the rest of his life to pay off the civil case.


Shouldn't he have to serve extra time for showing what an a-hole he is? Remember geaux tigers?


There is no parole in the federal system, Perplexed, so he will serve all of his time, less a little bit (matter of a few months at most) off of that if he behaves himself. This is what is so great about federal sentencing vis-a-vis state ones. In the federal cases, you know how much time a person is going to serve, whereas in state sentencing, you have to divide the sentence handed down by either one-sixth, one-third, one-half or 70 percent, depending on the severity of the crime.


In response to the Nov. 5 Arkansas Blog post, "More than 20 dead in mass shooting in Texas church":

Dear Sutherland, how are those thoughts and prayers working for y'all?


Vanessa, what a heartless comment.


Eagerly anticipating the athleticism from the usual sources as they bend, twist and turn to keep from calling this, like the Vegas massacre, an act of terrorism, yet speak with such rapid assurance when the perp is identified as having one of those funny names.

During the interregnum, before such is revealed, it's "thoughts & prayers" down the line from the blowhards and puffers.


For those who disliked Vanessa's earlier post, explain to me, precisely, what benefit has ever accrued to the victims, as opposed to the self-indulgently thoughtful and prayerful, from thoughts and prayers.


Ho hum. Just part of the daily price of no coherent gun policy in the good old U.S.A. No amount of prayer will change that reality. Gotta wonder if our elected leaders see such mass shooting events as entertainment because they sure as hell aren't lifting so much as a little finger to do anything to change the status quo.

Damn shame, too. Maybe one of us on this blog will be in the next batch of mass victims. We can call it U.S.A. Roulette, just with more firepower and far more dead and wounded.

Oh, and where were the good guys with the guns we always hear will stop a bad guy with a gun like this? Or did Texas confiscate all the guns, and that news just hasn't percolated across the border yet?

Sound Policy

Just decided to buy a gun this week. Guess this is not the place for a recommendation on what kind to get.

Screen name taken

What makes me most sad about any of the mass shootings is that they even happen to begin with and that none of the perpetrators are being captured alive. The last mass shooting I can remember where the shooter was captured alive was the during the Planned Parenthood murders in Colorado Springs in 2015. Something is deeply wrong in our U.S.A. I believe in the right to bear arms, but I also believe that gun-worship is empowering the mentally ill to commit mass murder. So many hateful paranoid men thinking an assault rifle is going to right all the imaginary wrongs they feel have been done against them.

Artificial Intelligence

In defense of Vanessa, some version of the point she was trying to make has been all over Facebook, Twitter and the blogosphere all afternoon and this evening. Maybe she was the first one to "go there" on the blog, but she is definitely not the first to say it. It was out there well before it showed up here. People are tired of hearing "thoughts and prayers" and then that's the end of it. Anyone can say that. It's beginning to ring hollow and I cringe whenever I hear it now. If "thoughts and prayers" help in any way, how could this have happened in the most holy of places?

 Something evil has been unleashed and is running amok in the U.S.A. I have no idea how we are going to find our way back to civilization, but I'm sure it will take more than a catch phrase to fix this mess.


Thoughts and prayers never solved any crimes. It is just an excuse, a damned cover-up for insensitive politicians who don't want to solve what is one of the biggest — if not the single biggest — dangers of our modern society: the uninhibited access to weapons capable of mass killings. Politicians hide behind their thoughts and prayers while people are being killed. This same thing could happen at my church. We don't take any security measures because everyone should be welcomed to the house of the Lord. Speaking of "thoughts and prayers," how many of us really believe that the politicians are sincere in their offering them up?


In response to the Nov. 5 Arkansas Blog post, "Honeymoon's over for Sarah Huckabee Sanders":

Dear Media, please keep it up. Sarah Huckabee upstaging her boss will simply shorten her time in the spotlight, and the administration will have to reach even lower for a spokesperson.


Better yet, Vanessa, if our world ever regains it sanity then maybe she'll never have a decent job again.

wannabee conservative

I notice lately she's taken to occasional attempted humor. Her jokes fall flat just like her dad's ... but without the outhouse flavor.


Do you Kool-Aid drinkers ever get tired of tearing down successful people just because you oppose their political views? Guess they are OK as long as they agree with your views but look out if they do not. What a collective bunch of phonies.


So, the willingness to lie to the nation on a daily basis meets the description of "successful"? The ability to ignore the voice inside yourself that whispers "you're not telling the truth" is admirable? 

Such is the thought process of a party-before-country Republican.  The blog members can expect to be chastised by Mr. Razorblade for criticizing Manafort, Gates, Flynn and Flynn Jr., when their chances to lie in the spotlight come along, soon.

Emersum Biggins

Prediction: Barring total implosion, she keeps this gig up just long enough to declare for Boozman's seat when he formally announces he's not running for re-election.


In response to the Nov. 3 Arkansas Blog post "State tourism official warns of economic damage from 'bathroom bill' ":

Unfortunately, the political atmosphere is one reason we've decided to move back to our home state. Won't miss the regression of women's rights, the push for more religion interference in public schools and the narrow-minded views of LGBTQ citizens. What ever happened to the Arkansas of David Pryor and Dale Bumpers? Instead we get Rutledge, Rapert and Mr. Re-Homing Harris. Truly sad.


I just moved back to Arkansas from the bluest city in one of the bluest states in these united. To those of you bemoaning the present political climate in Arkansas, oh, and let me add J. William Fulbright and William J. Clinton, let me offer this nugget of consolation: The people and policies that so bedevil you in the present day will be swept away by the inevitable tide of progress. The past that the others are trying to regain is not coming back. The present, such as it is, will be transformed into the future that is evident in the more progressive societies in our country and world.

Inequities persist, but many of those prejudices of our past have been eroded in ways that may not be appreciated. Mixed race families might be a bit odd in some corners of Arkansas, but are not illegal and for the most part do not attract all that much attention. The public persons who formerly hid in the closet who have come out, well, that does not attract all that much attention, really no big deal, at least if they stick to consenting adults.

Yes, a rational, educated and thoughtful people should not take so long to do the right thing, but if you are smart enough to realize things should be better, you should be smart enough to realize that most of our fellow Americans, perhaps especially Arkansans, are not. Take some solace in the fact that Jeff Sessions, Donny Trump and Harvey Weinstein, among others, are not from Arkansas. We begat Johnny Cash, Jim Jones, Douglas Blackmon and Jeff Nichols. Take some pride in their works, and don't take any crap from others, and surely don't crap all over yourself.

Get to work, register, think and vote. Go get 'em.


In response to a Nov. 1 Arkansas Blog post about Sarah Huckabee Sanders' defense of the weird characterization of the Civil War by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly:

Sarah may be dishonest, but she is not dumb, as many here try to portray her. She is an expert in the mechanics and the machinations of a political campaign. As White House press secretary, she is still running a political campaign. She did a good job managing John Boozman's 2010 campaign for the Senate, as well as her daddy's go-nowhere presidential campaign in 2012. She is politically savvy, and knows that politicians are rarely punished for lying. She also knows how to avoid critics. She simply quit communicating with the Arkansas Times, took the Times off the list of media receiving notices and never returned Max's phone calls, according to what he has posted previously. Politics is a duplicitous game at its best. She knows how to practice duplicity very well.



One would think that the Arkansas Times, if it truly wanted to represent a cross-section of opinion in the Natural State, would rely less on its small cadre of paying internet customers and more on those who write from outside such a narrow base in publishing its letters to the editor.


One would think that the Arkansas Times, if it truly wanted to represent a cross-section of opinion in the Natural State, would rely less on its small cadre of paying internet customers and more on those who write from outside such a narrow base in publishing its letters to the editor.

Perhaps you feel that Little Rock is the last bastion of liberal thinking. I certainly understand such a sentiment. And to an extent, you may be right. I certainly admire the many courageous stands you've taken on the LGBT community, for minority communities, for those in the foster care and penal systems, for the poor and those without a voice.

But in the last election, your man Gene Lyons penned a McCarthy-like hit piece on Bernie Sanders, the only candidate who truly cared about all these issues and who, remarkably, was the only candidate who wouldn't accept donations from corporate interests. What further testimony to his dedication to truth and justice than this?

In publishing Lyons' article, you showed the Democratic Party to be just as ruthless and partisan as the Republicans.

There's a lesson to be learned here. And if the Democratic Party doesn't learn it, the Donald Trumps of the world will continue to dominate Arkansas politics, to the detriment of Arkansans.

Brad Bailey Fayetteville

From the web

In response to the Oct. 27 Arkansas Blog post, "Jason Rapert v. the Friendly Atheist," about an interaction between Sen. Rapert and a blogger who asked Rapert how he was spending the $81,000 he raised on GoFundMe and the $25,000 the makers of the "God's Not Dead" movie series sent him to replace the $26,000 Ten Commandments monument that was destroyed less than 24 hours after it was erected:

Since I no longer work at the Bureau of Legislative Research, I can make this obvious statement: Stanley Rapert is a thin-skinned, small-minded asshat, and his stupid rock is going to cost the state a lot more than $100,000.

Christopher Diaz

Rapert and his faux Christianity continue to deteriorate in values, decency and honesty. Shame on you, Jason. You are the best instrument in the devil's toolbox. No one debases Christianity more than you.

Jake da Snake

Rapert was a lot more polite with the jerk than most would have been.


The Friendly Atheist should just inform the local IRS office that there may be a lot of unreported income raised by Rapert hiding in his usual guise as a "church."

If he was smart, all that money raised has been documented by an independent auditor and the extra monies either returned to the giver or the use documented that it was spent in a charitable manner.

couldn't be better

I have asked Mr. Rapert to justify his positions in the past. I've found that he does what many on the Religious Right do when confronted about their bigotry and hypocrisy. He simply accuses his questioner of being a nonbeliever.

Richard Hutson

In response to an Oct. 27 Arkansas Blog post, "Dear Little Rock, Amazon DOES matter":

Whatever chance, and it wasn't much, that Little Rock Metro had, the General Assembly, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and to a lesser extent the Little Rock chamber killed long ago by hating on many things that Amazon espouses for its workers. The Little Rock Tech Park is a start. Amazon is the goal. It ain't happenin' in our lifetimes. Now, look for something bite size. If it's between Austin and Little Rock, where you think they're going to go? Austin itself makes up for the rest of Texas. Little Rock isn't there yet for Arkansas.


I've spent some time in Austin, Texas, recently. Aside from the housing prices and traffic, Austin is a model for what a modern, 21st century city ought to be.

Incredible music scene, food, nightlife (and even day life). Very family-friendly. You feel safe everywhere you go. There's a healthy balance of honoring the past vs. embracing the present. Little to no racial tensions. Discussion of ideas rather than worshiping at the altar of the Razorbacks (sports). Most everything is new or being rebuilt. Fabulous mass transit. Imagine Hillcrest or the Heights with West Little Rock new construction money, and you'll get an idea.

Little Rock does have a lot of nice things going for it, don't get me wrong. But if the choice was between Austin or Little Rock for Amazon, well, the joke's on Little Rock for sure.


In response to an Oct. 24 Arkansas Blog post, "27 layoffs announced at Democrat-Gazette, 86 at WEHCO newspapers":

Printed newspapers are dead and the internet is the box in which they're going to bury them.


Last time I was in the New York subway, I noticed virtually no one was reading a paper. Not too long ago, the News, the Post were everywhere on the trains. With free Wi-Fi, everyone was on their phones — a sign of the print apocalypse.


None of my eight grandkids, all teenagers, read newspapers. I hate to see it.


I don't know how I could make it every morning without the newspaper to get me started. When I worked as an assistant news editor at the Arkansas Gazette back in the 1960s, we would have 56-page daily newspapers, with a 50 to 60 percent news hole. Now, the Democrat Gazette may run 32 to 50 pages, with a 70 or 80 per cent news hole. That represents the loss of a lot of advertising. I have long wondered how the Democrat-Gazette makes it with the paucity of advertising. Sometimes, a page will only have 10 to 20 column inches of advertising. If it weren't for the inserts, and the special sections, the paper would be in a much worse condition, if it had to depend on the traditional ads.


I live in Memphis and have watched Gannett destroy the state's newspapers like our Commercial Appeal, The Tennessean, the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Jackson Sun. How bad it is? I would love for WEHCO to buy the Commercial Appeal, as they also own the Chattanooga paper, the closest thing we have to independent media in all of Tennessee.


The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette needs to offer a consistent discount rate for seniors. It is difficult for those on a fixed income to plan finances with seesaw rates. This might stop bleeding in one vital area: readership. As to young adult readers, the key is education. Always has been. Always will be.

Robert K Widding

In response to an Oct. 31 Arkansas Blog post reporting that the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport will begin offering direct flights to Washington, D.C.:

Nearer, my Trump, to thee,

Nearer to thee!

Een though it be a Russian

That raiseth me.

Still all my song shall be

Nearer, my Trump, to thee,

Nearer, my Trump, to thee,

Nearer to thee!