Archive for Letters

Suggs at Parkview

Recently, Dr. Dexter Suggs, Little Rock School District superintendent, made a very bizarre appearance at Parkview High School. All Parkview seniors, including myself, were instructed to go to the auditorium where the superintendent led an assembly that quickly spiraled out of control.

Suggs at Parkview

Recently, Dr. Dexter Suggs, Little Rock School District superintendent, made a very bizarre appearance at Parkview High School. All Parkview seniors, including myself, were instructed to go to the auditorium where the superintendent led an assembly that quickly spiraled out of control. After instructing all teachers to leave us alone, Suggs gave us a vague lecture about picking our future path. It wasn't until I left that I began to feel as if the assembly had been a strange kind of political theater. Suggs seemed very ill-informed about the college process or about high school in general. He did not understand teenagers and behaved more like a politician than an educator. He often averted our questions, only repeating over and over again the same mantra about setting life goals. When one student mentioned that he felt stressed, the superintendent changed the subject and conversationally asked, "How could a teenager be stressed, I mean you don't pay bills?" to which the entire class erupted in frustration.

Suggs seemed in over his head throughout the entire rest of the assembly as many students rose to tell serious stories about the stress they have in their lives. Eventually, students became angry and talked over one another. In what appeared to be desperation Suggs told the group his email address in case we needed anything. He later randomly promised to take the entire senior class out to lunch. Suggs' appearance at Parkview felt more like the assembly in "Mean Girls" than the motivational talk that had been intended. Most of us left confused and annoyed that we had used our class time for his talk. Suggs seemed very overwhelmed by his position. We were much taken aback by the superintendent, who we felt was merely using us to fulfill his own agenda.

Josie Efird

Little Rock

Race conflicts with Jewish holy day

I was greatly disappointed to learn that the Komen Race for the Cure is scheduled on Oct. 4, in direct conflict with Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish members of our community. It is the Day of Atonement, observed from sundown, Oct. 3, to sundown, Oct. 4. There is no way the Komen Foundation could not have known as it is listed on every calendar, including those on smart phones and tablets. Scheduling the Race for the Cure on that day deprives Jewish women, many of whom have supported the Foundation and the race itself since its inception, of the opportunity to participate in race activities. It is especially cruel to those Jewish women who are survivors or who have lost loved ones to disease. This is wrong. Other organization planners have scheduled the dates of their events so as not to be in conflict with Yom Kippur out of respect for these members of our community. As a human being, and a strong supporter of the race, I find the Oct. 4 date at the very least insensitive. In response to inquiries, you state great attention was given to avoiding conflict with Razorback games. Really? Can this affront be more offensive? I think not.

Mary Healey

Little Rock

From the web

In response to "The 40th anniversary of the Arkansas Times" (Sept. 18):

I am forever grateful to Alan Leveritt for starting the Arkansas Times. Where would we be as a state today without this rare media company? We'd be worse off, for sure. The Arkansas Times has improved our state in a unique way, and we are fortunate to have this business operating here. It is quite possible that it could survive for another 40 years, and I hope that happens.

radical centrist

In response to Gene Lyons' Sept. 18 column "Reality sinks in: No answers in Middle East":

There were plenty of options, but this president played politics rather than Commander in Chief. Now he has created a situation that was worse for his incompetent handling.

Mother Jones' Kevin Drum is right that we should not have left. One of Obama's generals told the president that leaving Iraq completely on its own would have consequences. Obama wasn't worried about consequences, he was worried about politics. Now it is more difficult to go back.

Several other Arab nations have made ISIL a priority, but ISIL is not a local problem. They held strategic territory, and are still holding towns. It isn't over by a long shot. Add to that the fact that Obama is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into a situation where he cannot even get a proper coalition going spells more disaster for Barry the Bungler.

StevenE

About Max Brantley's Arkansas Blog post, "Reviewing the Ross-Hutchinson gubernatorial debate":

View from afar: So, pretty much the same proud God, Guns, Gays visionary leadership that's kept The Natural State neck-and-neck with Mississippi for last place since, oh, forever. That about it?

Norma Bates

The Republican Twitter machine is working to create a narrative that Ross was angry and frothing at the mouth while Asa! was measured and steady. I'm not sure which debate they watched last night — maybe they confused Kansas with Arkansas. Ross was superior on substance. I would prefer to see him relax a bit but he was nowhere close to angry or over-amped. I prefer substance over a guy that smiles a lot and can't articulate a clear position on pre-K, private option and the minimum wage. Don't be sucked in by the Asa grin and cute ads; he's still the out-of-touch, hypocritical guy he's always been.

killingmesoftly

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Another dubious little war

Have you been hearing a hollow clanging in the middle of the night? Faint, but growing louder in that gathering twilight before the fitful dreams of midnight's slumber?

Another dubious little war

Have you been hearing a hollow clanging in the middle of the night? Faint, but growing louder in that gathering twilight before the fitful dreams of midnight's slumber? Could it be the sound of the dark lord himself, Darth Cheney, frenzied with blood lust, beating his bionic breast like a reborn King-Kong as the indelicate stench of unrequited war teases his flared nostrils?

It's back to golden Babylon, boys! Black gold, that is. Bubbling crude and Blackwater mercenaries. Halliburton. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, where our grand inquisitors and their neocon apologists once peddled tortured euphemisms for the enhanced terrible things we did to those ungrateful Muslim wretches.

We are furiously revving up for yet another dubious little war. To ape the memorable mediocrity of Saint Ronald of Hollywood, here we go again. A chorus of screeching castrati is giddy at the prospect of a new, unholy crusade to the so-called holy land. Even our reluctant president is seduced by the siren call of the same "I told you so" liars of the last administration, warmongering ghouls urging him to reclaim lost machismo with his very own misadventure in the minefields of the Middle East.

Have we learned nothing since that blue-sky day in September 13 long years ago? Are we still so easily terrorized by some really bad guys on the other side of the world, who butcher humans and share their butchery online? Are we so much like frightened sheep that we will eagerly shed a decade of war weariness and once again send our legions off to kill and die in some faraway, forsaken place?

Perhaps we need some perspective on the (un)Islamic State's admittedly gruesome tactic. Remember the Tower of London? The last beheading there was in 1747. The Swedes finally quit beheading in 1890. The Germans were chopping off heads as late as 1935. The French used Dr. Guillotin's invention right up to 1977. And, of course, our dear friends in Saudi Arabia still do it for all sorts of crimes, including apostasy and sorcery.

Even we civilized Americans, once upon a time before we managed to pry church and state apart (ever so slightly), had a penchant for calling people witches and burning them alive. But that was us then and this is them now. If nothing else, we Americans are very tolerant of our own double standards. It's all part of being exceptional. God will be on our side, unless she's not and Matthew 5:9 is just a bunch of hokum.

Have you heard that distant clanging in the middle of the night, from deep within our restless national nightmare of unanticipated consequences? We have sown the wind. What will we now reap in the harvest to come? In 1940, Ernest Hemingway famously borrowed a line from a 1624 poem by John Donne. "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." Ding. Ding. Ding.

John Ragland

Hot Springs

No representation

I am not an ideologue aligned with either party. I study the facts on each public policy issue and make up my mind as to the best solution. Sometimes that is a "liberal" position, sometimes that is a "conservative" position, more often it is neither. Also more often than either party would like one to believe the two parties' positions on issues are nearly indistinguishable.

One of the larger problems facing the state of Arkansas is prison overcrowding. One obvious policy that would help to alleviate this problem would be to decriminalize/legalize marijuana. I would rather see one violent criminal in jail than 1,000 marijuana offenders. Tell me which candidate for governor or, for that matter, the federal candidates for Senate support this or, for that matter, even mention this? I am also a colon cancer survivor who would like medicinal marijuana available as a choice to me, especially given studies showing it can have a chemo-preventive effect (prevents recurrence). Who represents me?

I am an atheist and don't want my politicians making policy decisions based on an imaginary man in the sky. Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor told Bill Maher in his movie "Religulous" that he could believe in Young Earth Creationism, which is demonstrably and factually impossible. The Republican candidate for governor is a graduate of Bob Jones University and presumably is also a Young Earth Creationist, as that is a tenet of their teaching. After a Tom Cotton comment during the campaign, he and Pryor spent the better part of two weeks essentially arguing over who is more religious — it made me want to lose my lunch. Who represents me?

One of the things that most concerns me is the unprecedented dismantling of the Fourth Amendment that began with the war on drugs and has accelerated with the war on terror. The Edward Snowden disclosures are shocking, yet I have not heard either candidate for the Senate pontificating on the need to rein in this surveillance. In fact I am quite certain both are just fine with it. Who represents me?

I am 53 years old and the United States has been at war for just about my entire life. We spend more than the next 12 countries combined on defense and most of those countries are our allies, but neither senatorial candidate calls for significant military spending cuts. Who represents me?

Our seeming need to control the internal affairs of other countries never fails to backfire (Iran, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan to name a few) but never seems to abate ,either. As of today both parties are rushing to support more military action in the Mideast against ISIS — because, you know, you can kill an ideology with bombs. Neither party dares state that the underlying problem is Muslim fundamentalism, too politically incorrect and may cause a tougher look at Christian fundamentalism in our midst. Mark Pryor is a member of "The Family," an organization that was instrumental in pushing the Ugandan law that called for the death penalty for homosexuals. Who represents me?

Dan McLaughlin

Little Rock

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Left out

I was disappointed to see I was not included in the "Visionary" issue [Aug. 28]. I think I should have gotten in on the merit of my idea for Little Rock to sponsor the first-ever Cold War Re-enactment.

Left out

I was disappointed to see I was not included in the "Visionary" issue [Aug. 28]. I think I should have gotten in on the merit of my idea for Little Rock to sponsor the first-ever Cold War Re-enactment. As you recall, the events were to include:

1.) John and Jackie Kennedy look-a-like contests.

2.) A good old-fashion McCarthy era book burning and weinie roast along with a fallout shelter cook-off (everything must be made from year-old canned goods).

3.) Musical desks (like musical chairs but with children ducking under old school desks when the air-raid siren sounds).

4.) Bay of Pigs BBQ cook off.

5.) Fallout shelter sports competition to include solitaire marathon, recreational sleeping and competitive hair loss.

6.) Whittaker Chambers pumpkin-carving contest.

The celebration will end with the Berlin Wall Ball. Half the hall will be brightly decorated and abundantly supplied with food and drink while the other half will be in black-and-white and serve only vodka and cabbage. On the black-and-white side, careful notations will be taken of who talks to whom and who does not eat the cabbage. Entertainment will be supplied by the percussion stylings of the Nikita Khrushchev Shoe Band, U2 and a Vaughn Meader impersonator.

David Rose

Hot Springs

Long gone

It is now official: The old Southern concept of sportsmanship and fair play is now officially dead at the University of Arkansas. The announcement appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Sept. 2) when it was reported that the head football coach encourages his players to "go after" injured opponents. He is referring to boys just out of their teens. Many will carry their football injuries with them the rest of their lives. No doubt that tactic has always been part of the game, but to hear the coach who represents our state openly promote it was stunning and sad.

Steve Scott

Maumelle

From the web

In response to an Arkansas Blog item about a convicted murderer posting a photograph of himself on Facebook from the Varner Unit:

The Department of Correction is inept and it is a wonder worse has not happened. They are still looking for the murderer who escaped from a Pine Bluff unit, and the rumor is he was having a consensual affair with the daughter of the high prison official where he was the "houseboy." The father found out and the felon mysteriously escaped, then disappeared. They usually surface in a few weeks after robbing a place, but not this one.

LaTasha DeShay

In response to an item on the Arkansas Blog about Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's advertisements of his office on Razorback radio broadcasts and the Razorback website:

That's an interesting racket. I guess the attorney general's office has got money to burn. It would be interesting to see the Google Analytics reports from gotyourbackarkansas.org, especially the referrer stats, and calculate the cost per consumer complaint filed via the ads. It might be comparable to the old SAWER program from back in the '70s, when the state was spending $5,750 per cord of wood.

Radical centrist

In response to the Arkansas Blog's report that Rep. Tom Cotton has reversed his position and now supported an increase in the minimum wage:

Tom Cotton is something else. He currently has an ad with his mother on the air where he tells a bald-face lie about how he never has or never would do anything to harm Medicare or Social Security. I guess he is too ashamed to tell his mother about his votes in Congress that run just the opposite to everything he said in his latest ad. Really folks, if he will lie to his own mama, he will lie to all of us!  And his poor mother! I am sure she is a fine woman, but here Tom goes and drags her into yet another ad, in an effort to use her and make her an accomplice in the perpetration of his own lies. He should be ashamed of himself for using his mother to help spread his lies. How many more ads is he going to roll his parents out in? It's probably because they are so much more likable than him, he will continue to do so. I guess it is true that parents will do just about anything for their kids.

Poison Apple

Seeks support for Huntington's parity act

I am writing to strongly urge my U.S. representative to cosponsor the Huntington's Disease Parity Act of 2013 (H.R. 1015) and to ask my senators to co-sponsor the Senate companion, S. 723. If passed, the Huntington's Disease Parity Act would make it easier for people with HD to receive Social Security Disability and Medicare benefits.

Huntington's disease (HD) is a hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is, at present, no effective treatment or cure. HD slowly diminishes an individual's ability to walk, talk and reason. Eventually, every person with HD becomes totally dependent upon others for his or her care. HD profoundly affects the lives of entire families — emotionally, socially and economically.

By co-sponsoring the Huntington's Disease Parity Act of 2013, members of Congress can show their support not only for this family, but the nearly 1 million Americans who are touched by this terrible disease.

Misty Sullivan

Warren

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Route non-locals around city

Across America, city after city has spent millions of dollars expanding interstate highways through their midsections only to discover that they quickly become recongested.

Route non-locals around city

Across America, city after city has spent millions of dollars expanding interstate highways through their midsections only to discover that they quickly become recongested. We need only look at our nation's capital or Los Angeles to see the folly of this approach. By and large, people recognize and accept congestion in downtown areas. It's simply not realistic to expect that travel through downtown will not be slowed during rush-hour traffic. That being the case, does it really make sense to add more lanes to I-30 downtown? Isn't that just throwing more fuel on the fire? The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department tells us that over 40 percent of the traffic on I-30 between I-530 and I-40 is destined elsewhere. To reduce this load, why not simply: 1) relabel this section of I-30 as a U.S. highway only; and 2) redesignate I-430 as I-30W and I-440 as I-30E? Locals would continue using the relabeled, existing I-30 segment, but interstate-loving nonlocals would be effectively redirected to these less-traveled and more-modern interstate segments. If, for whatever reason, lanes are added to this existing I-30 segment, double-deck them and make the new lanes for through-traffic only. Avoid duplicating the horrible mistake of I-35 in downtown Austin.

Dale Pekar

Little Rock

Pulmonary fibrosis awareness

I have pulmonary fibrosis as do 100,000 other people in the U.S. Forty-thousand new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Forty-thousand people die each year from IPF. There are no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of it. The death rate is 100 percent usually within 3-5 years after diagnosis. Right now I am stable and trying to cope with my future. The FDA originally requested more tests for a drug in 2010 that shows promise for slowing the progression of PF and may finally get approval as well as another drug in early 2015. Even though this disease is widespread and fatal, very few know about it. September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month. Join us in our fight. While these other diseases are terrible and I pray for those suffering, here are few comparisons:

ALS: More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis. About 20 percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to 10 percent will survive more than 10 years and 5 percent will live 20 years. A total of 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed each year.

Breast cancer: Approximately 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 39,620 breast cancer deaths are expected to occur among U.S. women in 2013. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer before age 40 have slightly poorer prognoses than older women: Their five-year survival rate is about 82 percent, compared with 85 percent among women ages 40 to 74, according to the American Cancer Society.

Ebola: There have been more than 3,700 reported human cases and more than 2,300 deaths since the discovery of Ebola in 1976. Ebola has a mortality rate between 60 percent and 96 percent. While Ebola, the deadly disease spreading through parts of West Africa, has no cure, specific treatment or vaccine, there are several experimental drugs being tested in U.S. labs. Now the FDA has lifted its hold on one of those drugs. The current outbreak is not included in the figures, which to date has killed over 1,500.

Paul D. Lawson

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the feature on lawyer and petition drive supporter David Couch in the Aug. 28 cover story, "Visionaries":

My hat is off to David Couch. I moved to Illinois and it disgusts me that Illinois does not allow binding resolutions to be put on the ballot. I hope I am remembering/understanding correctly. Example: A group can collect signatures to put an issue on the ballot and even if 60 percent or say 80 percent of the people approved the issue, the Illinois legislature doesn't have to enforce the new law. This is great for issues like, say, gay marriage if the people DON'T want it, the legislature can pass same-sex marriage anyway. On the issue of, say, raising the minimum wage, allowing recreational marijuana, etc. ... it's not such a great idea. The people are at the mercy of crooked/corrupt legislators. I'm proud of my home state of Arkansas in many ways. No state is perfect, though.  Wishing my home state the absolute best and I will forever consider Arkansas home.

SocialistArkie

In response to Benjamin Hardy's report on the legislative hearing on merging teacher and state employee insurance, Arkansas Blog, Aug. 26:

Let's keep in mind that the teacher health insurance cost problem is due to four serious medical [claims] hitting at the same time, adding costs of $10 million in a single year, stripping all annual funds plus reserves for two years. That can happen to any insurance company, e.g., Tropical Storm Sandy, but even the largest public insurance company uses reinsurance with places like Lloyd's of London to cover themselves in the event of extremely unusual claims. Yes, it costs a lot of money, but when you have that "special" year with high claims, it keeps the firms solvent. Apparently the state either doesn't do that or underestimates the possible costs. The same phenomena could have hit the state program but since they pay a smaller percentage of the program's costs, they don't see the ups and downs so much.

couldn't be better

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Remembering Howard Baker

Howard Baker died in late June. The former Tennessee senator was one of the last moderate conservatives in the Republican Party.

To the Editor:

Remembering Howard Baker

Howard Baker died in late June. The former Tennessee senator was one of the last moderate conservatives in the Republican Party. He is best remembered as the co-chair of the Senate Watergate Committee (1973-74) who asked about his fellow Republican Richard Nixon: "What did the president know, and when did he know it?" He became known as the "great conciliator" and, as Senate minority leader (1977-81), helped Jimmy Carter get ratification of the extremely important Panama Canal treaties. Majority leader in 1981-85, he retired in 1985 before his party finished its purge of people like him who actually believed in public service.

I wish he were equally remembered for helping us get through the last two years of the Reagan administration, which had virtually collapsed during the Iran-Contra affair (a scandal that appeared to be more constitutionally serious than Watergate). He gave up a possible bid for the presidency to become Reagan's White House Chief of State and restored order out of criminality and incompetence. He never wrote a tell-all about the mess he inherited and never took personal credit for his actions. He always gave the clueless, but appreciative, Reagan credit for everything.

Because I lived in eastern Arkansas in 1972 and 1978 when Baker was campaigning for re-election to the Senate, much of my television news came from stations in Memphis. I recall a TV ad in which he told a group of senior citizens that as long as he was in Congress they would never have to worry about losing their Social Security or Medicare benefits. Can you imagine any Republican saying that today? It would be a political kiss of death.

In stark contrast to Howard Baker, who led a loyal opposition, Eric Cantor rose to power as the House Republican majority leader using strictly extreme partisanship. Since 2010, he worked tirelessly to prevent the House of Representatives from ever taking constructive action on anything that might solve any of our numerous problems: high unemployment, low wages, our deteriorating infrastructure, domestic violence, et al. Although extremely influential, he was practically anonymous. A few years ago, he was the answer to a clue on TV's "Jeopardy." The contestants on that show are always knowledgeable people, but not one of the three knew who Cantor was.

Ironically, Cantor was considered to be the Tea Party's heir apparent to the inept John Boehner as Speaker of the House. But Cantor had the same flaw as Boehner — as perceived by the Fox/Tea Party wing. They each have had moments when they remembered that they really should help govern rather than sabotage the country — like when the debt ceiling needs to be raised to allow the U.S. to pay its debts and prevent our becoming a failed, deadbeat nation. So Cantor wasn't quite extreme enough and a little-known Tea Party challenger primaried him this summer and defeated him.

Shortly after his defeat, I was vacationing in Colorado at Valley View Hot Springs, near the one-street town of Villa Grove. Whenever I'm out there, I always drive into town for breakfast at its iconic trade store. There is one table in the cafe section that is always occupied by loud coffee-drinking locals who discuss the current news together. One morning Cantor's defeat was the major topic, but their dilemma was that none of them could figure out why he was so important. They were all guessing wrong until I finally had enough and blurted out from two tables over that he was the Republican House majority leader.

Poor Cantor — he was hardly known by anyone outside Washington right up to his political end. But it's not his professional end. He not only quickly resigned his leadership position but, as of Aug. 18, his district seat as well. He's going to make millions on Wall Street, officially working for those whom he's been effectively working for all along.

In a dictatorship, there is only one way to do things. The four-year Republican majority in the House has been wasting time scheming to privatize or end the social safety net, voting repeatedly to repeal the newly acquired health insurance for 8 million Americans, trying to eliminate all abortion options for women, attacking Hillary Clinton, and shutting down the government. Therefore, little time has remained to deal with much of anything else. Meanwhile, the Republicans in the Senate, while a minority, use the filibuster rule to require a 60 percent vote to move anything along, so nothing's being done there, either. It's their way or no way.

In a democracy, all the people are supposed to have a voice. But if one of two major parties, like the Fox/Republican-Tea Party, decides to become the Party of No ­—as it did after Obama's 2008 election — then we no longer have a democracy. Politics is the art of compromise, and compromise is the only way that democracy works. The former GOP has been taken over by Kamikazes, anarchists and sociopaths who work solely for themselves and their wealthy donors, like the Koch brothers. Our former democracy has been replaced with a plutocracy.

For our democratic-republic to ever work again, we need a loyal opposition, not saboteurs. Sadly, we aren't going to see any more Howard Bakers anytime soon. I'm reminded of what one of those guys at the Villa Grove Trade Store said: "The Republican Party won't be able to properly function again until it gets rid of the Tea Party, like a bad case of diarrhea."

David Offutt

El Dorado

From the web:

Ferguson

It's unquestioned that law enforcement agencies across the fruited plains have been and continue to be armed with weapons formerly reserved for the military. Why and to what ultimate purpose is anybody's guess.

Meanwhile, a rally of Darren Wilson supporters (he's the officer who shot Michael Brown six times, according to the independent autopsy) — all white — present a disturbing picture of distorted thinking.

"He got exactly what he deserved." 

"He had cause for shooting this boy. Seems like they overlooked the fact that he robbed a convenience store."

Norma Bates

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Arkansas needs to take responsibility

Recently, two Arkansas legislative committees approved a resolution opposing the proposed EPA carbon pollution standards (the Clean Power Plan), which requires states to develop and implement plans to reduce carbon emissions. I appreciate the Aug. 12 Arkansas Blog post by Benjamin Hardy, which presents facts about the EPA rule proposed in June, and suggests that the committees' resolution was a political stunt. A subsequent blog post by Hardy reported that a leading energy efficiency expert praised Arkansas efforts to develop a state implementation plan to curb carbon emissions.

Arkansas needs to take responsibility

Recently, two Arkansas legislative committees approved a resolution opposing the proposed EPA carbon pollution standards (the Clean Power Plan), which requires states to develop and implement plans to reduce carbon emissions. I appreciate the Aug. 12 Arkansas Blog post by Benjamin Hardy, which presents facts about the EPA rule proposed in June, and suggests that the committees' resolution was a political stunt. A subsequent blog post by Hardy reported that a leading energy efficiency expert praised Arkansas efforts to develop a state implementation plan to curb carbon emissions.

Sadly, these Arkansas legislators prefer to avoid their responsibility to protect our health and environment, and have joined the fossil fuel industry, which is choosing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to derail the EPA's proposed standards. The naysayers tell us we have to continue depending on fossil fuels or it will cost jobs and hurt the economy. But ongoing reliance on fossil fuels will be extremely costly — carbon pollution and other emissions will continue to harm our health, accelerate climate change and keep America from benefiting by being a leader in the global clean energy economy.

A strong Clean Power Plan will increase renewable energy generation, create an estimated 2,200 efficiency-related jobs in Arkansas, save Arkansas household customers $57 million a year on electricity bills, and reduce state carbon emissions by 1.9 million tons by 2020 (ICF International Inc. 2014 analysis). I hope that Arkansas continues to be a leader in state implementation of the Clean Power Plan.

The costs of doing nothing are too high. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to not be passive spectators. Tell your legislators to promote renewable energy and limit damage to our health and our planet from fossil fuels. Let the EPA know you support stronger limits on CO2 pollution (comment at www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards). Join Arkansas Climate Advocates (climateadvocates.net). Shifting to a safer, more responsible clean energy economy is the most important challenge of our time — if we work on this together, we can save the Earth.

Rick Owen Little Rock

Bravo on the bus

My wife, Nancy, and I had a wonderful time Friday taking the Arkansas Times bus to the Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro. Tiffany Holland and the staff of the Arkansas Times made the trip very pleasant. They were friendly, accommodating and provided excellent service. Amy Garland was wonderful with her music en route to Jonesboro. Most everybody on the bus joined her in singing songs that we have learned over many years. The more beverages that were consumed, the better the singing — well, the louder the signing. The restaurant at Jonesboro, Godsey's, served an excellent meal and the waiters were superb. They served approximately a hundred meals within a few minutes of our arrival. The entertainers for the evening, Reba McEntire, Loretta Lynn and Bobby Bare were first-class. It was obvious that the packed house (10,000) thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Thank you so very much for providing quality entertainment for Arkansas.

John Russ

Little Rock

ACA an important corrective

I don't often agree with Ernie Dumas' take, but he is right on the money with his article about the Affordable Care Act ("Cotton's 'some folks': Obamacare helps 230,000 Arkansans"). As someone who has worked for insurance companies, (Gallagher Benefits, Humana Military Health Services) as a benefits coordinator for a hospital and a manufacturing plant and, most recently, in a specialty medical clinic with the primary duties of "extracting" payment from insurance companies, I agree 100 percent that, however flawed, this act has improved the lives of thousands. While at the clinic, I saw too many patients who couldn't even afford to stay warm in winter, much less pay the hundreds and thousands owed from visits, tests and surgeries, so they either did not get the services at all, or went into serious debt from which payment was seldom received. On the flip side, it — no exaggeration — took me six months to a year to convince an insurance company to pay for procedures. This is, sadly, a common occurrence. As a final insult, the largest insurance companies have call centers overseas. Although many of those employees are well trained and most are courteous, one often falls into menu hell when trying to reach someone who can actually address and solve your particular issue.

I suspect the well-funded hue and cry that current advertisements present as being from "the people" to get rid of Obamacare are from insurance groups that don't want to quit making hundreds of millions. If this act is repealed, then shame on the politicians who sold out!

Pat Gleghorn Corning

From the web in response to Max Brantley's Aug. 14 column, "Little Rock: Where the gold rules and just about everybody is connected" on the Little Rock Board of Directors' decision to allow a Murphy Oil gas station to be built on University Avenue despite opposition from city planning staff and neighborhood groups:

You don't appreciate the terms "property value" and "helpless" until the City Board makes zoning changes out of the blue like this near you, your largest asset, your home, where you live and your children sleep.

West Little Rock did not fund the city services that allowed the growth; the board at that time gave that honor to the suckers as well.

Diogenes

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Democrats and poverty

Why do liberals hate the poor? You somehow equate being unwilling to give up American sovereignty and not leaving our southern border unsecured as "Heartless" (Week That Was, Aug. 7).

Democrats and poverty

Why do liberals hate the poor? You somehow equate being unwilling to give up American sovereignty and not leaving our southern border unsecured as "Heartless" (Week That Was, Aug. 7). The reality is that Democrats want the borders open for no other reason than to provide a future voting base of poor and are willing to work with corporatist whore Chamber of Commerce Republicans who want to please their corporate masters by increasing the supply of cheaper labor. Why is this bad? Main reason is it creates a labor surplus for the entry-level jobs needed by the youth currently here and for blacks of all ages. You can't increase the supply of a commodity and expect it to hold its value. Democrats are complicit in creating a surplus of low skilled labor. Liberal leaders don't care who they hurt and are willing to work with open border Republicans to get unregistered Democrats.

Why blacks don't hold Democrats accountable for what is a tag-team attack on the poor I don't understand. You keep repeating the absurd meme that conservatives hate the poor and minorities when conservatives want everyone to succeed. Keeping people poor makes no sense from an economic standpoint. We do have real evidence that Democrats support policy that hurts the poor (amnesty anyone?) and LBJ famously stated "I'll have them ni**ers voting Democrat for the next 200 hundred years ..." when he started the War on Poverty. Add to that liberals insisting blacks be confined to seriously underperforming public schools as a payoff to the teachers' unions and it's hard to believe blacks think Democrats actually want to help them. I'll believe liberals want to help the poor when Democrats start designing policy that doesn't create more government dependency.

Brice Hammerstein

Sherwood

From the web

In response to Will Stephenson's Aug. 6 cover story, "Where were you on Pharoah Sanders Day?":

Wow, I am a rabid jazz fan and after living in LR for more than 10 years, and I did not know that he was a native! For those interested, Clark Terry, a huge legend of the jazz world, is currently residing in Pine Bluff, and seemingly fighting some health difficulties admirably.

Anyway, the most recent recordings I've heard with Sanders are on Kenny Garrett's "Beyond the Wall" and "Sketches of MD." The man is 70-plus years old and still recording with the biggest, forward-looking musicians — that should tell you something.

munkle

In response to Max Brantley's Arkansas Blog post, "Think early closing for private clubs would depress crime? Try this":

I assume that if they offer a proposal to cut the hours of business for legitimate businesses, there will be an accompanying budget cut in the police department budget since obviously there isn't a need for more to sit in donut shops waiting for those nonexistent calls? Floating shutting River Market hours at 9 p.m. and eliminating those late-evening activities on the riverfront will further cut the need for police. Why, you can do that Fourth of July celebration from noon to 3 p.m. and stop a lot of complaints from noise to drunk partygoers. What a great opportunity for the nannies on the City Board to turn the clock back to 1850!

couldn't be better

Another stupid political machination by a small-minded politician(s). And I'm not particularly a supporter of late, late-night clubs.

If you want to see the crime rate drop, you've got to actually study crime. This is been hinted at during these discussions, but never really addressed: Do a comprehensive study of crime in Little Rock/Central Arkansas. Study ALL the call-outs by police and the types of crimes they investigate. Then let the people know what's going on in their city.

Then you would know what to do to actually make a difference in crime in our fair city.

Cherry-picking the problems that happen at places that have the least political support only positions a politician for re-election. It's not going to have any serious impact on crime.

It's all about the next election. Not about making anyone safer.

Perplexed

When I was younger, much younger, my father was complaining about me staying out past midnight. I didn't understand what the issue was. I never got in trouble and my friends and I weren't doing anything wrong. Simply spending time together. He said there wasn't anything to be doing past 10 anyway. I asked him what he did after 10. He replied in a high-pitched really-sockingp-it-to-me tone, "I'm in bed"! I simply and calmly replied, "Then how do you know what there is to do after 10?" As angry as he was his argument was over.

Just because the elders of this city are fast asleep during the night doesn't mean that's when the monsters are out. I work for the city in "emergency public service," and I assure you, first-hand, nightclubs contribute very little to all of the problems we tend to during the night. The fact that they would even say this is laughable and proves, at least to me, that those that are in favor of this proposal are completely out of touch with the reality of what goes on throughout the night in this city.

AtomicBang

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In defense of Joan Adcock

In regards to Max Brantley's editorial on the issue of after-hours clubs ("LR's nannies target clubbing," July 31), I would like to defend Mrs. Joan Adcock as one of the hardest working public servants I have ever met.

In defense of Joan Adcock

In regards to Max Brantley's editorial on the issue of after-hours clubs ("LR's nannies target clubbing," July 31), I would like to defend Mrs. Joan Adcock as one of the hardest working public servants I have ever met.

I have personally worked with her on several occasions. Every year she is an active representative at our neighborhood associations' annual meeting. She informed me of a grant that is available to improve neighborhoods in the city and encouraged our association to apply. She is a constant supporter of the Animal Village and personally volunteers there. She is a vibrant member of Neighborhoods USA. She always returns citizens' emails. These are just a few examples of her commitment to our city.

My point being that she does not deserve the scorn of Mr. Brantley. I don't agree with her on the issue of forcing after-hours clubs to close early. That does not diminish my regard for her as a representative of this city. I am glad she is available for all wards. Although I take a keen interest in local politics, I personally couldn't pick my specific ward representative out of a lineup. I feel Mrs. Adcock is one of the good guys who may not always be on our side of the argument, but she does not deserve to have her reputation maligned simply because she disagrees.

Michelle Noto

Little Rock

In praise of teachers

I really enjoyed the interviews in your "LR Confidential" issue. I learned a good bit. The transgender woman was especially enlightening, but the teacher really hit home with me. I taught for many years and even then it was a struggle to teach and keep peace with the administration. I dearly loved the kids and most of them became fine citizens — many are state and local leaders. As she said in the end, sometimes you just have to say to hell with it and do your job. I would be hard-pressed to teach today. I don't know how the young ones are keeping their sanity. Unless the public can can see the light and then put their experience to the boards to put the burden of learning back on the student and not on the teacher, our system is going to keep going downhill. God love them all, the teachers in the trenches and all the kids.

Evelyn Nelsen

Jonesboro

From the web

In response to David Ramsey's story "Is Tom Cotton too extreme?" in the July 24 issue:

Cotton subscribes to the extreme right-wing agenda. Anyone who advocates a federal balanced budget amendment wants to see the country implode. It's a nice thought and an admirable goal, but such immediate and drastic cuts would decimate poor and lower middle class Arkansans, while simultaneously shredding safety-net programs and essential services for the entire country. Why? Because I KNOW where Republicans would make the cuts. I have relatives who worked every day of their lives and still ended up on Medicaid and food stamps in their old age just to survive. Contrary to "wealth mgmt." commercials, everyone does not have a million-dollar retirement fund and a Wall St. broker on speed dial.

Razorsmack

Not a fan of either Cotton or Pryor. Cotton is way too conservative and out of touch. Plus his affiliation with "extreme" conservative groups is very troubling. It also seems like there is no genuine personality there. Has the persona of an automaton who regurgitates the conservative doctrine.

Pryor I feel has sold out based on fear of political survival. He has embraced conservative views including the installation of the Keystone pipeline and pro-NRA agendas. To me this is a dangerous sign of personal weakness.

For me it will come down to voting for the lesser of two evils, Pryor in this case.

Only in Arkansas

We worked out at the same gym in Russellville during his campaign. He came in, exercised and left in maybe 30 minutes. Rushed through his sets like someone was chasing him. Didn't speak, didn't even make eye contact. It was so odd, I asked if anyone had looked him in the eye or exchanged a word with him. Not a one.

Mudbone

In response to David Koon's story "Don's Weaponry, small gun shop since 1986" in the July 31 issue:

Good story. Sometimes we forget there are reasonable people who like guns, and there is nothing wrong with that.

plainjim

In response to the Arkansas Blog item about the Razorback football team excluding all but the SEC Network from covering practice:

If the newspapers and the Arkansas Press Association refuse to run any of their press releases and just didn't cover them at all, they might get the message. They need to be reminded that we pay for that bunch of buildings next to the glorified sports complex and that without that part, they would just be a bunch of neighborhood kids playing on the street.

And cover the ASU, UAPB and the other colleges and fill the paper up. The smaller schools would love to see more fans and certainly the Foundation won't miss all of that parking, seat bribes and other corrupt cash they hide from the public.

couldn't be better

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Ceasefire

You can't read or listen to a news report today without noting the mention of some nation or group within a nation being involved in negotiations over a ceasefire.

Ceasefire

You can't read or listen to a news report today without noting the mention of some nation or group within a nation being involved in negotiations over a ceasefire. Apparently this means that some people want to talk about not shooting at other people. Almost always there is an accompanying story about the Secretary of State of the U.S. rushing to the troubled area to do some talking. If you are reading a newspaper you will also likely find in a less prominent place some mention of several folks shot to death in various localities around the U.S. If you are listening to television the shootings are usually quickly noted either in the few seconds allotted right before or immediately after "the break." You don't hear about anyone rushing to the troubled areas in the U.S. to do any talking or anything else. Apparently our nation or groups within our nation aren't much interested in talking about some people not shooting other people.

Perhaps I didn't express my thoughts very well with that previous sentence. We do like to talk about shooting people and we like to show people doing it a lot and we call it entertainment or infotainment if we start feeling a little embarrassed. Some of us even think it is our responsibility to be ever ready to shoot somebody else. Some are so eager to blast away they carry loaded guns with them everywhere they go. In the U.S.A. we call that freedom. We are free to reel off as many rounds as possible as quickly as possible into as many other bodies as possible. We like to say that kind of thing only happens when those other people getting shot didn't have the foresight to carry loaded guns and freely blast away at those shooting them. We even write laws to protect people who shoot other people when they think that other person might be getting the upper hand. What we don't want to think about and certainly don't want to talk about is a ceasefire.

If we started talking about a ceasefire in Chicago or New Orleans or Pine Bluff or Little Rock, we might have to talk about limiting access to guns and ammunition and the right to blast away when the mood strikes. That means we would have to talk about restricting freedom and nobody wants his or her freedom to have any restrictions. We also might have to talk about civic responsibility and sharing and right versus wrong and even, Lord forbid, something about the psychology of perception and, OMG, religion.

It's possible some education and a controversial historical reference or two could slither into the conversation. Maybe there would be a government secretary who understands these things and could spare a few minutes to broker a ceasefire. If someone as squirrelly as Vladimir Putin can stop a war in Ukraine with a wave of his hand as some very bright people seem to think he can, surely we can find a way to stop a war against ourselves.

David Stedman

Damascus

A cycle of violence

When Joshua invaded the land of Canaan, he murdered every man, woman and even the children in 31 cities, in the name of God.

It was through violence and terrorism that the Jewish people got control of the land of Canaan.

When the Egyptians conquered the Jewish state it was with violence and terrorism that the Jews lost their land and were scattered throughout the world.

In modern times, the English took control of Palestine, and it was through the use of violence and terrorism that the Jews regained control of Palestine, including Jerusalem.

One of the most inhuman acts was the blowing up of the King David Hotel by Jewish gangsters, which killed many innocent people and resulted in the English withdrawing from Palestine.

It was the United Nations and the American government who created the Jewish state of Israel, mostly due to the guilt the world's civilized nations felt over the horrible violence and terrorism perpetrated by the Nazi government against the innocent Jewish people in the Holocaust.

This resulted in the Palestinian people being removed from the land that they had occupied since ancient times.

Unfortunately, the Jewish people became what hurt them the most, the oppressed became the oppressor.

What has been happening to the Palestinian people since World War II is a war crime. The disproportionate reaction of the Israeli government is exactly like the methods employed by the Nazis during World War II. When Jewish resistance fighters tried to assassinate Nazi officials, the Nazis responded by slaughtering entire villages. Innocent men, women and children were slaughtered by the thousands. This is exactly what the Israeli government is doing today.

And what is the result of this violence and terrorism? It hardens the hearts of the oppressed, and creates a cycle of never-ending violence. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, Gandhi said, and he was right. The civilized world has rightly judged the Nazis for the terrorism they perpetrated on innocent people during the Second World War.

One day the civilized world will wake up and condemn the Israeli government for doing the same thing. The hypocrisy is on a biblical scale, and it must stop now if Israel is to survive as a nation.

The Jewish religion teaches that they are God's chosen people. Islam teaches that its people are God's chosen people. The Nazi government taught the Germans that they were God's chosen people. In this belief system there is only room for one at the top, and that is not what God wants.

Jesus taught us that all human beings are the children of God, the same God, and how we treat each other is a sign of our respect for the Universal Father. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The Master told the masses, if you do this unto the least of my Father's children, you do it on to me. Please, in the name of the Universal Father of all mankind, stop this insanity. Learn to love. We will live together as brothers or we will die as fools.

Butch Stone

Maumelle

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Policy led to Little Rock’s segregation

Are Little Rock's segregated neighborhoods the result of a conspiracy? You bet. City officials admitted as much during a school desegregation suit in the 1980s, the federal courts ruled that was in fact the case, and the federal appeals court upheld those findings. We're not talking grassy knolls or faked moon landings here; we're simply repeating the conclusions that the federal courts have reached based on the evidence.

The legacy of tobacco

Before I could get to the cover story of segregation history in the July 10 issue, I was treated to a full-page Camel cigarette ad. Talk about "history." It was the production of tobacco that brought huge waves of slaves to North America and started a problem that has never died, including the segregation of Little Rock. The slavery continues as an enormous amount of tobacco production in the world, including the U.S., is accomplished with child labor. At least part of the "living history" could be ended by not taking tobacco industry advertising.

J. Gary Wheeler

Little Rock

Policy led to Little Rock's segregation

FindX's comments (Letters, July 17) last week raise some interesting points about our article, "The roots of Little Rock's segregated neighborhoods," (July 10) that are worth addressing, particularly their assumption that segregation is somehow a "natural" phenomenon.

As our article points out, segregated residential patterns have become much more pronounced in Little Rock since 1949. If segregation were natural, this change could not have occurred, since natural laws are by definition immutable. So if changes in residential patterns have occurred, that must be because of human intervention.

Are Little Rock's segregated neighborhoods the result of a conspiracy? You bet. City officials admitted as much during a school desegregation suit in the 1980s, the federal courts ruled that was in fact the case, and the federal appeals court upheld those findings. We're not talking grassy knolls or faked moon landings here; we're simply repeating the conclusions that the federal courts have reached based on the evidence.

What about the students who self-segregate in the hallways, at lunch and in the classrooms? I'd suggest that the artificially created segregated environments that they grow up in, which constantly shape their social reality day in and day out, are replicated by extension in schools. To suggest that self-segregation in schools proves that those students are happy enough to grow up in segregated neighborhoods is to fundamentally confuse cause and effect.

As to the refrain "how about we spend our time and effort on getting people to naturally integrate and value others for our diversity," I agree, but that has been the charge of the city's schools since the Brown decision in 1954. The past 60 years don't seem to have gotten us much closer, and I don't see that magically changing anytime soon. How about we start to address and tackle some of the persistent and entrenched structural obstacles in the way of achieving that goal to get better outcomes?

However, all the indications are that Little Rock, along with the rest of the United States, is in retreat from integration. The school settlement earlier this year removed exactly those remedies — magnet schools and M-to-M transfers — that were put in place by the courts to counteract the effects of the conspiratorially created segregated neighborhoods. Once these remedies are phased out, there will be no active measures in place to combat segregation. Meanwhile, numerous factors, some old, some new, continue to racially polarize the city and its schools.

It is precisely because of these developments that we thought it timely to revisit and reflect upon exactly how and why Little Rock got into the condition that it is in today. We believe it is important for everyone in the city to understand. Without being fully aware of how the city got to this point, there can be no hope of productively going forward from it.

John A. Kirk

Little Rock

One for Otey

I think the choice of "Otey the Swamp Possum" as one of the Arkansas Travelers' two new mascots was a good one for a number of reasons.

He is cute, cuddly and friendly, which will make him a favorite with kids.

He is a unique and original type of mascot.

Opossums have lived in Arkansas for a long time, so they have a natural connection with Arkansas.

To give Otey more notoriety, I'd call him "The Awesome Possum."

Kenneth Zimmerman

Huntington Beach, Calif.

Disproportionate

Stop killing kids! Israel has a disproportionate response in Gaza — which may be a war crime or a violation of the Geneva Convention — killing over 300 civilian innocents, including more than 100 children. Hamas has killed no kids and one innocent civilian. 300-1 is disproportionate. It is a similar ratio to last time Israel bombed and tank cannoned Gaza, killing 900 innocents to three Israeli civilians killed. The U.S. Secretary of State expresses concern about killing so many innocents, especially children. Express your concern to your government officials.

Robert Johnston

Little Rock

From the web

In response to "That 'ghetto' traffic box," a story about Theresa Cates' public art depicting African Americans. It has received complaints and, in a few instances, been painted over.

It's sad that people would have such little respect for the joy depicted in this work and would refer to it as "ghetto." This is an amazing piece and the people in power who bowed down to the complaints of a few should be ashamed of themselves. Stick up for the many rather than buckling to the few.

Felicia Knight Olson

Submit letters to the Editor via e-mail. The address is arktimes@arktimes.com. Please include name and hometown.

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