Archive for Letters

Trump, Christianity and decency

Considering how many appeals Arkansas's Republican leaders have made to the religion of Christianity over the years, how can they justify continued support of the least Christian person in the presidential race?

Trump, Christianity and decency

Considering how many appeals Arkansas's Republican leaders have made to the religion of Christianity over the years, how can they justify continued support of the least Christian person in the presidential race?

Rich Hutson


After watching the Michelle Obama speech from Oct. 13, I felt good inside and comforted that the first lady stood up for me. She has a sense of decency that Donald Trump and his followers — Mike Pence, Mike Huckabee, Tom Cotton, Governor Hutchinson, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and half of the Arkansas legislature — will never understand, because they lack it in themselves. She didn't let Trump get away with his horrible remarks about women. I would vote for her if she ran for president. She has more class, courage, humanity, intelligence and integrity in her little finger than the whole Arkansas government has.

Governor Hutchinson and other state government officials were either silent or made lame excuses for Donald Trump's sexual predator remarks about women. Some politicians protested the crude remarks for media attention, but these same politicians vote against women when it comes to equal pay, equal health care and violence against women. Look at their voting records. The Arkansas legislature is known for making disrespectful remarks about women when they are passing discriminatory, unequal women's health care laws, so I am not impressed with the few who said they were offended by Donald's sexual assault remarks because of their female family members. I guess they aren't outraged on my behalf, since I am not part of their family.

In my opinion, if you are still a Trump supporter after the sexual assault remarks he made, then you are no more a Christian, or conservative, or patriot, or decent human being than Donald Trump is. When you wave that family values, conservative flag at me, I will just call you what you are: a liar. Women in Arkansas deserve better state government representation than what we have. It is wrong for our state government to act like it is normal to use women as sexual punching bags, and this attitude is part of the reason that so many women are raped in the United States of America. Sexual predator Donald Trump and excuse-making Mike Pence do not deserve to represent America. Strangely, it was two Arkansas women, Leslie Rutledge and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who made fools of themselves on national media shows when they failed miserably in their defense of Donald Trump's sexual bragging and ended up sputtering and talking in circles. There is no defense. Why would they want to defend him? Money? Were they promised a job in the White House? Are they mentally unstable and need help? If you weren't offended by Trump's sexual assault remarks, what does that say about you?

Young girls and boys heard a man running for president make excuses for himself for bragging about sexually assaulting women's bodies. It is not OK for his supporters to excuse the disrespectful, vulgar way he talks about women, in the past and in the present. People like Trump create a culture where people accept rape as normal, instead of being outraged by it. The first lady said, "Strong men — men who are truly role models — don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful."

Shineon Libby

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the Sept. 29 Arkansas Reporter, "Democrats' last stand in NE Arkansas":

I was tickled to death to get this much valuable information about a Senate race outside my own district, until I started reading Brandt Smith's positions. There's just something wholeheartedly discouraging about the demise of the political talent and common sense in this state, and the voters are to blame.

Don't get me wrong, I share Nate Looney's admiration and recollection for common sense and sometimes even fairly conservative Democrats. Bumpers, Pryor and Clinton were names that garnered national respect. Why do we never hear anything about Arkansas politicians on the national stage any more, unless it is the embarrassing craziness of Leslie Rutledge or Mike Huckabee twanging it up for Trump, or Tom Cotton trying to start WWIII?

Here are a few reasons:

1) Looney cites a study about the value of pre-K funding from one of the foremost institutions of higher learning in the country, and somehow Smith associates the findings with the urban problems of the city where Arkansas State University is located? What is maddening is that so many voters probably see his (lack of) reasoning.

2) In one of the poorest and most disadvantaged states demographically in the entire nation, Smith is citing the availability of air conditioners and cell phones as some measure of economic comfort and security for pre-K children? What? And as for the value of full-time parenting of the young, that may be fine for many, but does he not realize that the best thing to do for immense numbers of children is to get them into a safe learning environment at as young an age as possible? I guess it would be too much to hope he had read Plato's "Republic."

3) And enough with this need to establish Christianity as the official state religion. Honestly, is the threat of Sharia law really a common problem in Jonesboro? This is just another example of local Republicans listening to conservative radio or watching Fox News to get guidance for solutions to problems that don't exist.

4) And yes, by all means, let's fund efforts to stop immigration or the flow of people into our state. That shouldn't cost much since it is doubtful anybody would want to come to Arkansas with policymakers like Smith setting the standards.

Godspeed, Mr. Looney.


Cheez Whiz and lye

Mr. Sniffles' ardent fans often attempt a diversionary tactic to deflect each and every criticism of their much-prayed-for sweet potato.

Cheez Whiz and lye

Mr. Sniffles' ardent fans often attempt a diversionary tactic to deflect each and every criticism of their much-prayed-for sweet potato. It's an old debating trick to ignore the critics and instead demand an immediate and compelling explanation of why the alternative candidate is the better choice. The tactic usually follows this erudite and genteel form:

"You better give it up, right now. Splain why Hillary would be a better president or shut your dang pie hole!"

How should one respond to such devastating brilliance? The recent words of a life-long Republican and Birmingham lawyer suggest the answer. Here, shared with his permission, is his take-no-prisoners response to an unfortunate soul named Louis:

"Actually, no, Louis, I don't have to give it up. Nor do I have to explain why Hillary would be a good president; I don't particularly think she will be. On the other hand, for me to advise you to eat Cheez Whiz rather than lye does not require me to explain why Cheez Whiz is good for you; it simply requires me to remind you that lye is poisonous and Cheez Whiz, whatever its flaws, is not. Which is sort of analogous to what I've been doing ever since it became apparent that Trump would be the Republican nominee."

He then adds ...

"Hillary, I think, is an uninspiring person who will likely be a fairly mediocre president (others disagree, and I'm not debating that in this particular post). Trump, on the other hand, is a racist, ill-informed xenophobe who speaks without regard for the truth or, as the game show would have it, the consequences either. There is simply no comparison between the two, and the suggestion that, well, in order to speak against Trump, I must be a fan of Hillary's is without foundation."

And finally, he concludes ...

"I speak against Trump because I'm a fan of the survival of humanity and of the survival of basic American principles."

Drop the mic, Mr. Birmingham Lawyer, sir. Debate over. Huzzah, huzzah ...

John Ragland

Hot Springs

The so-called protest vote

Well, now, here goes the radical right again with their dire predictions of the future! Obama is going to declare martial law following the election. Is that like he was going to take away your guns? He didn't. Is that like he is Muslim and is going to impose Sharia law on our land? He isn't and didn't. And despite this overwhelming evidence contrary to their paranoia, adherents to the radical right continue to spew doomsday.

I chalk this up to a combination of things — increased fundamentalism, decreased quality public education and this ubiquitous culture of fear that seems to be uniquely American. Couple those with a nearly unlimited access to guns and ammunition, and you have the makings of a very scary, deadly state of affairs. Namely, we are looking at a sadly uneducated, highly armed ogre afraid of its own shadow. This is the stuff of which nightmares are made.

The rest of you, hear this: Voting for a candidate other than those supported by the two majority parties is not a vote for the other candidate. Does that seem like a non sequitur? It isn't. Such a view is a load of paranoid bunk that has been promulgated by well-meaning and/or ill-advised and/or manipulative people of both political stripes. There is no doomsday.

Some people refer to voting outside the two major parties as a protest vote. In some cases, I suppose it is. But for many of us, it is something else entirely. Neither major party candidate speaks for us. Trump is a racist, sexist, classist, egomaniacal liar who believes that he knows everything and can fix everything. I need provide no more proof here because he does so on a daily basis. Clinton is a well-polished politician (read someone who changes opinions according to the political winds) who believes that more of the same ol' same ol' is what we need. One look at her record shows that she was proud of her conservative roots as a Barry Goldwater Democrat; no, wait, she's a progressive. She supported family values through DOMA; no, wait, she believes that the LGBT community deserves equal rights. She supported every single aggression the U.S. had undertaken since she was first elected to office; no, wait, she made a mistake about the Iraq war (among others!). 

The situation is frightening, yet I won't vote for the major party candidate who appears more closely aligned with my personal values. In truth, neither of them is. I refuse to be driven by the fear that my vote will help elect the other candidate; indeed, I reject this view entirely.

Voting for the lesser of two evils still begets evil. I don't buy that a vote for anyone other than a major party candidate is tantamount to voting for one of them. While such a vote may not — indeed, will likely not — result in my choice being elected, my vote has also not contributed to the ongoing evil. In my opinion, that's what counts. Similar dire warnings were issued during the Bush II vs. Gore vote when I voted for Nader. Even though Bush II got in because of some serious shenanigans, his presidency did not bring about the cataclysmic events predicted by the left. Was his presidency bad? Most definitely. But again, it wasn't the Apocalypse. We survived. We will also survive whoever wins this election.

Leeann Bennett

Little Rock

From the web

In response to an Arkansas Blog item on Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's televised defense of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns:

My question is when did her Southern accent become so drawn out and pronounced? I don't remember it being that thick when she campaigned to be attorney general, if any at all. But when she gets on national TV she has an accent to rival Gomer T. Pyle. It was great when [Bob Schieffer] asked if opinions would hold up in court and he said that she has seen more courtrooms than him. Oh Bob, you don't know Leslie like we do. She has about as experienced in legal matters as the aforementioned Gomer T. Pyle. She just lets her minions do all the real court work, and then just attaches herself to already existing cases to make herself look busy. I hope the next election rids us of Mrs. Gomer.

Conway Michael

John Walker and the police

In my experience John Walker has always been the perfect gentleman that you do not want to mess with. He's a bulldog, and will not let a real or perceived wrong go unpunished.

From the web

In response to the Sept. 26 Arkansas Blog post, "John Walker and another lawyer arrested while filming police":

In my experience John Walker has always been the perfect gentleman that you do not want to mess with. He's a bulldog, and will not let a real or perceived wrong go unpunished.

Sound Policy

One of the things that keep us from being a police state is the public's right to know how police operate. If they're doing something in public, the public has a right to film it. If there's any question about that, the law needs to be made perfectly clear.

Chip Baker

I know John Walker. He's smart and generous, and has a strong and obvious commitment to helping young people reach their potential. He's been a crusader for racial justice for decades and has certainly made Arkansas a better place. But he's also stubborn and arrogant, and at times it prevents him from rethinking his positions, considering new information, or imagining that he's wrong or poorly informed. He's always a formidable adversary, and Little Rock will regret the day their police officers tangled with him in such an indefensible way.


Hi, I'm John Walker, I sue schools for a living, then drag it out for 30+ years and charge $450 an hour for my legal services. Don't mind me while I walk through the middle of a police investigation and not give a fuck. 

I have no problem with him filming whatever he wants, but you cannot obstruct a governmental operation while it is being conducted by the police. Sounds like they tried to be nice and politely asked him to back away, and he did not. I guess he can use the old and senile excuse in court.

arkansas panic fan

It amazes me the number of you who automatically believe Mr. Walker is right.


In response to the Sep. 19 Arkansas Blog post, "Jason Rapert: Goes off again on Muslims; erupts again over Facebook edit":

I know Brother Rapert knows better since he is a constitutional scholar, but the First Amendment does not apply to Facebook. Facebook can establish its own rules.

By the way, how nice that the "senator" is using his title to throw around willy-nilly with companies whose policies bother him. 


Facebook, though publicly traded, is a private company providing its services free to the public. It's under no obligation to post whatever Rapert might say. It's called capitalism, senator.


Ah, Mr. Rapert — thinks he's a Big Fish when he is in reality but a minnow in the vast ocean of life.


Fuck Jason Rapert. That's exercising my First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution. Max et al can exercise their rights regarding this website and I am happy either way they go. My ego can handle such.

Jason's ego, monstrous as it is (in all regards and meanings), tends to mewl and whine like the bully he is when he doesn't get his way.

Jake da Snake

Remember when Chick-fil-A was making money hand-over-fist with its anti-gay marketing stunt and all of our more gullible Christian friends were bragging about how much Chick-fil-A they were going to eat because this "Christian" corporation had every right to discriminate against gay people? So, why is SENATOR rAPErt getting so fired up that his post was blocked by a large corporation called Facebook?

Artificial Intelligence

The First Amendment does apply to Facebook. Or at least rights under the First Amendment do. It's a private enterprise that can refuse to allow tripe if it wants to. The senator thinks his position in the state government makes Facebook somehow answerable to him. The First Amendment says otherwise.

Chip Baker

Jason Rapert really gives God a bad name. He drives people away from God by twisting scripture, just as Satan did when he tempted Jesus. 

The difference is that Satan simply sought to tempt Christ, whereas Rapert actively wants to hurt people. Satan can afford to fool around because people like Rapert do his evil work for him. 

Just because Rapert cries "Lord, Lord" does not mean that the Lord knows his goaty face.

Paying Top Dollar for Legislators

In response to the Sep. 20 Arkansas Blog post, "Rapert claims victory over Facebook; either way, he still doesn't get 1st Amendment":

What is wrong with this man/child? Does he not have anything of substance to do besides play on the computer? It appears the most important thing in his life is making a laughing stock of himself via social media. 

Surely there is someone in his life who cares enough about him to convince him to unplug so maybe he can regain a tiny shred of dignity ... if one ever existed.


Rapert's religious-based radicalism, tinged as it is with veiled and sometimes not-so-veiled threats of "holy" violence against "others" based on his so-called deeply held religious beliefs, is the same phenomena that he decries as threatening from those whom he would ban from entering this country. 

He then plays the Xian-victim card re his false narrative of Facebook violating his free speech rights. Of course.


It's obvious the Bigelow Buffoon matriculated at some point at Trump University. His major was Blustery Puffery as a Way of Life.

Claude Bahls

You wonder why the state has any idea that a high tech company would think of relocating here when you have RAPERt and his unconstitutional laws and outbursts against reason and bitching about his religion being under attack and when there is a "6 Flags Over God" monument on every other street corner in Conway that doesn't have another monument to their other god, MoMoney. 

If anything, we have too many so-called religious organizations that, obviously with their hate speech, should not be called Christians because they still have their nose stuck in the pre-Christ book of Leviticus. And from an intelligence basis, they sure aren't Jewish. Just hate speech by the bucket-load in Tea Party Faulkner County.


Outsourcing state government

As a citizen, I don't get to choose not to pay taxes because I don't like what the Arkansas state government is spending state and federal money on, such as paying a Chinese company, Sun Paper, approximately $1 billion to build a paper mill in Clark County.

Outsourcing state government

As a citizen, I don't get to choose not to pay taxes because I don't like what the Arkansas state government is spending state and federal money on, such as paying a Chinese company, Sun Paper, approximately $1 billion to build a paper mill in Clark County; Leslie Rutledge's lawsuits to defend unconstitutional, discriminatory laws; or the ridiculously high salaries being paid because of Governor Hutchinson's and Department of Human Services Director Cindy Gillespie's ($280,000) numerous and questionable firings; and promotions and new hires to DHS and the governor's executive staff.

I don't like that Medicaid money will pay 90 percent of DHS new hire Dennis Smith's $300,000 salary. But, if he was hired to help the poor, sick and elderly, then that's OK. Smith is a proven expert in reducing the cost of states' Medicaid Program and an expert in handling waivers, so the state can make up their on ACA program and Smith has received high praise from Sen. Jim Hendren about Smith's expertise in handling money from Medicaid Block Grants that the federal government awards states, which allows the state to spend the money as they see fit. That's scary!

Gillespie and newly promoted Director of Youth Services Betty Gulham ($100,077) have canceled several Medicaid vendor contracts, which Gillespie says is supposed to cover Smith's salary. Gillespie said, "The outside world wants to help Arkansas. They'd like to help us do our missions. If there's work that can be done by a nonprofit group or faith-based organization, then we don't need to be doing it inside the government." How nice. I can see where our broke state government might need a lot of free help. I am sure Governor Hutchinson is worried about finding money for the highway fund and money to pay those huge salaries he has recently created, and finding money to pay out-of-state vendors to house prison inmates (Texas) and juveniles (Indiana), but thanks to Cindy and Dennis, he doesn't have to worry about not being able to keep the pledge he made with AHCA (nursing home lobby) to save the Medicaid Program $250 million dollars in five years by upgrading reforms to nursing homes.

I admit I don't have an accountant's math skills or understand the complex political staff changes the governor is implementing, but I do have a large calculator on my desk, and I do know when someone is feeding me a fluff story and I am capable of connecting some of the dots. My question is: After Gillespie and Smith get through gutting the Medicaid program, what will Smith do with the federal money from Medicaid Block grants? Will it go to the Chinese to pay them for building a paper mill in Clark County? Will it go to the Highway Fund? Will it go to pay the high salaries of top-level state employees? Will it go to out-of-state vendors we are currently making contracts with? Will it go to pay the legal fees incurred from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's appeals to defend unconstitutional laws passed by the Arkansas legislature? Can Arkansas citizens get a financial report, showing in detail, every dime the state receives and spends?


Little Rock

Doesn't make sense

It is unconscionable that Republicans refuse to vote on a clean bill to combat the Zika virus. Instead, they add a rider that would ban Planned Parenthood from receiving any funding related to helping the fight against Zika. Planned Parenthood provides reproductive services and family planning to 2.5 million patients nation-wide each year and is the largest provider of sex education in the U.S. Family planning is the primary strategy recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is completely illogical to reduce access to contraception and sex education at a time of a health crisis that is directly related to pregnancy. And to top it off, Republicans added another rider to allow unfettered use of the Confederate flag in national cemeteries. What does that have to do with combating a disease that can cause neurological defects in fetuses and severe developmental delays for children? Unfortunately, both of our senators went along with this political power play. Contact Sens. Boozman and Cotton. Ask them to quit playing politics with the lives of children and families. Ask them to support a clean bill to fund the fight against the Zika virus.

Teri Patrick

Little Rock

The powerful people and the LRSD

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, gushing with love for the Walton Foundation, suggested recently that the foundation's letterhead should read, "Walton foundation — giving all the help we can." Using wealth and politics, the Powerful People (PP) control Arkansas schools, particularly those in Little Rock.

The PP heavily promotes charter schools with no concern for the thousands of children unable to use charters. There is nothing innovative about Little Rock charter schools. They succeed by picking good students, quickly removing disruptive students, and taking full advantage of the cooperative eager classes formed with select students. Successful charters thrive on enrolling students receptive to learning. That process of selecting students for charters leaves the difficult, more expensive job of teaching those refused entrance to teachers in traditional schools. 

Recalling my days as a teacher, I hated the times when a parent was transferred and I lost a good student. Sadly, the Walton Foundation is "helping" the LRSD by removing thousands of good students from classrooms and placing them in charter schools. If the PP wanted to help Little Rock, they would show concern for the 20,000 or so LR students unable to take advantage of private or charter schools. Those are the children hurt by the foolish obsession (shown at Central High in 1957) to attend school with only certain people.

Richard Emmel

Little Rock

Short and sweet

In response to Max Brantley's op-ed (Medical marijuana? Yes.), two words: Thank you!

Short and sweet

In response to Max Brantley's op-ed (Medical marijuana? Yes.), two words: Thank you!

Brad Bailey

Legalize it

Arkansas voters will get the chance to legalize marijuana to some extent this November. Arkansans should definitely vote in favor of such initiatives, not just for medical use, but for the purpose of extending freedom and liberty to our fellow citizens.

What is freedom, anyway? Freedom is an individual experience in which a person can do whatever he wants. Unfortunately, in a society of men, some freedoms may be dangerous, but using marijuana is no danger. Some people complain that marijuana users inhale the spirit of the plant by smoking it. Should citizens of the U.S.A. not have the freedom to smoke, at least on private property? And should citizens of the U.S.A. not be liberated from governments that take away more and more of their freedoms? There is also the issue of allowing industrialists to manufacture 25,000 products from the cannabis plan.

Although Arkansans talk a lot about freedom and liberty, it may be just a lot of talk. Sure, everyone wants freedom for himself, but do Arkansans really want to extend freedom to the marijuana user? Do Arkansans really want to liberate the marijuana user from prison? Maybe not. The cost of freedom is tolerating the freedoms of others. Arkansans who are not willing to tolerate the freedom of others do not really value freedom.

Gene Mason


Hillary as porcupine

Could it be that the Congress is fixin' to take another run at Hillary? This should be good news for the Clinton camp. Every time they go after her she jumps in the polls. What the congressmen fail to realize is that, despite her 40 percent approval rating, she is 30 points ahead of them in that category. Any dog will bite a porcupine once. It takes a real special dog to bite the same porcupine repeatedly.

David Rose

Hot Springs

From the web

In response to the Arkansas Blog post about Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" remark describing half of the Republican candidate's supporters as racists, homophobes, xenophobes, etc.:

Hillary was just doing what Donald Trump gets praised for: refusing to be "politically correct." Most Trump supporters ARE racists. They need to own it.


I'm afraid I'd have to challenge Hillary on her notion that 20 percent or so of Americans may be "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic."

I think the number is much higher. 

Most of the people I grew up with may put on a halfway decent front in public. But you sit down with them over a beer at a backyard barbeque and you hear the same sort of mouthing you heard when they were in school 50 or 60 years ago.

Oh, OK. I'll concede one change. When I was in school, the religious bugbear was Catholicism, rather than Islam.

And in regard to news sources, anyone wish we still had a Chet Huntley, a David Brinkley, a Walter Cronkite, a Drew Pearson, a Jack Anderson? 

Or any number of others whose name I can't recall at the moment? What was the name of the motherly-type television political reporter who occasionally weighed in during that era?


I quit going to the local community center for breakfast once President Obama was a candidate since the "jokes" were constant. I still hold that if you put a "reinstate slavery" question on the ballot in this state, the over age 50 vote would be probably 60 percent plus pro.

couldn't be better

The major candidates this year are both deplorable, so I'm voting for Gary "What is Aleppo?" Johnson.

Radical centrist

Re Hillary Clinton's stumble at a 911 event and her diagnosis of pneumonia:

Better to have a president with a simple and curable pulmonary disease than a president with a galaxy of incurable psychiatric illnesses.

Henry Gardner Newell

In response to the Sept. 8 cover story on Graham Gordy and his new show debuting on Cinemax:

"There's a terrible familiarity to the painstakingly accurate setting, like finding your own eyes in a Kodachrome portrait of your grandfather in an old family album." — I love that line. Great write-up, and I would definitely watch this show if I had skinemax.

Lucas Murray

In response to the Sept. 8 review of the Tacos 4 Life restaurant in Conway, which donates a part of its earnings to the "Feed My Starving Children" nonprofit:

We do Tacos 4 Life almost every time we're in Conway. It's quality food at a decent price. I just wish that the "starving children" were not required to go through proselytizing in order to eat. At least that's my understanding. I would love to find out otherwise.


In response to the Sept. 1 article on the latest extension of the River Trail to the edge of the Dillard's headquarters on Cantrell:

This is what eminent domain was designed for, people!


Rather than eminent domain, why don't we just stop giving city government contracts to Dillard's and [its construction company] CDI? Dillards/CDI wins a $60 million bid to redo Robinson and then refuses to cooperate on the river trail — just astounding. The quote about "not the best use of taxpayer money" is garbage. The trail needs a few feet across the Dillard's property.


Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, 201 E. Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is We also accept faxes at 375-3623. Please include name and hometown.

Believe Trump

Not to worry citizens — Trump's massive deportation plan won't be nearly as illogical and expensive as it sounds.

Believe Trump

Not to worry citizens — Trump's massive deportation plan won't be nearly as illogical and expensive as it sounds. He has promised his followers to reduce their taxes, to build a wall along the border and that Mexico will pay for it — but that they just don't know it yet. And he's not kidding. 

Trump's a shrewd businessman and his plan likely goes something like this: If all these Mexicans and others are now paying coyotes virtually every cent they've got to get them into the U.S., imagine how much more they will pay Trump's hired thugs to let them stay here! And, the beauty is they'll have to pay again and again every month — just like rent or mafia protection.

Otherwise it's back over the border after all their property is confiscated. Those who can't pay and have nothing of value to sell will be immediately thrown into privately run corporate prisons and maybe waterboarded a little bit until their relatives in Mexico or elsewhere send money for their release. 

They could be held there indefinitely, since there is no room in our federal- and state-run prisons. To avoid this hell, the rest of the Mexicans and others without papers will likely run for the border — as Romney suggested they would do — and simply "self-deport." So, when Trump tells us he's going to do something appalling, unjust, hateful, insane and what most of us think of as un-American, believe him!

Mady Maguire

Little Rock

What the aginners really think

OK, let's be real. Those opposed to medical marijuana aren't concerned about its benefits or health risks. Opposition to legalization rests in one thing. For a shrinking, yet highly influential segment of society, marijuana is still associated with minorities, hippies, homosexuals and other "undesirable" types. What else explains it in the face of overwhelming evidence proving marijuana's potential as a therapeutic substance?

Richard Hutson


From the web

In response to the Sept. 1 cover story, "Million-dollar Thursday," about Sherwood District Court, which an ACLU lawsuit has likened to a debtors' prison:

Don't do the crime if you can't pay the fine or you'll end up doing time.

Conservative Arkansan

Conservative Arkansan: Sometimes you don't do the crime yet can't prove it (stolen checks, etc.), sometimes you just screw up a bit on your addition and subtraction, sometimes your employer doesn't pay you on time and it bounces your check, sometimes shit happens. 

Sometimes people live from payday to payday. Sometimes people can't hold their jobs because of b.s. like what's happening in Sherwood, and has been happening there for decades. 

Bouncing a check is something that happens to most people at some point in their lives, unless they're wealthy. For most of us who live near or below the poverty line, we've had something bounce. Particularly on these older cases before banks regularly offered overdraft protection.

You should be able to pay off the check, with a reasonable fine, and then move on. It shouldn't follow you for years and be thousands of times costlier than the original check amount. 

Keeping these people from being able to hold jobs only hurts their chances of being able to pay off these absurdly high fines. It's a system rigged to exploit the poorest of society. 

And anyone who reads this article and reacts the way you did is part of society's problem. Holier-than-thou, empathy-less asshats, who lack any ability to put themselves in anyone else's shoes, and thrive on being judgmental toward those they consider beneath themselves.

Samantha Wesley

Conservative Arkansan: If you get a chance, please read the Jewish carpenter's parable in Matthew 18:23-35 concerning the attitude and fate of those who wish to hammer an individual who commits petty crimes. See if you can pick out the character that most resembles you in this homily.


In response to Gene Lyons' Sept. 1 column, "Boris and Natasha":

Lyons' tiresome tirades about Boris and Natasha are becoming salacious. We get it, we get it, OK? So why repeat their increasing vulgar comments on and on and on? Makes one wonder how many times did he gleefully read these two buffoons' postings, for heaven's sake. Hmmmmm? Stop sputtering, Gene. Odd. And beneath you.

Investigator of both sides

I hadn't heard about the story out of Stockholm nor knew of the extent that Putin's people were influencing policy through fake stories on social media.


In response to the Sept. 2 Arkansas Blog post, "Arkansas hires former Bush Medicaid director":

All these people on the government payroll as representatives of a party that hates government. But what the heck, contradictions in statements and in actions mean nothing, of course.


Just how in granny's drawers is this dude worth $300,000? Oh, wait, the fedrul gub'mint (us) is paying half of the "state nut" and the state (us) is paying the other half. Now I understand.


Well, Dennis Smith is a Certified Teapublican, so a little bit of marital hanky-panky ain't no big thing! And I'm sure he opposes Obamacare, but has figured out a way to live with it!


So, cool, Arkansas has hired a "small government" benefit cutter at near $300K a year, half of whose salary will be paid by them evil feds. 

Where are all of the ledge Medicaid expansion agin'ers who screamed about the burden of debt laid on our children cuz medical care? 

I just luv the sound of crickets.


Correction: In last week's arts and entertainment feature about The Rep's production of "Spamalot," we mistakenly said that the Arkansas Repertory Theatre rents costumes to individuals to support its productions. Though the company has historically held costume sales featuring wardrobe pieces and props from past Rep productions, costumes are not available for rental to individuals. 


I call jiggery-pokery on the latest column from Sen. John Boozman to constituents entitled "Combating Zika."


I call jiggery-pokery on the latest column from Sen. John Boozman to constituents entitled "Combating Zika." This term was famously used by the late Justice Antonin Scalia to express his frustrations with the Affordable Care Act, and I believe that it more aptly describes the Republican's explanation for the failure of Congress to pass the Zika Spending Bill. Just what is jiggery-pokery? Jiggery-pokery is deceitful or dishonest behavior. In his latest bit of crafted propaganda aimed at the Arkansas voter, Sen. Boozman denies any culpability for the failure of this bill to pass. He excuses himself and his beloved Republican Party from any of the devastating effects that a lack of government action in the form of much need federal funding will have on potentially countless unborn American babies. According to the senator, "Senate Democrats played politics with this bill, putting Americans at risk." Who is really playing politics, though, and why was the Zika Spending Bill blocked by Senate Democrats? Could it be that Senate Republicans insisted on excluding funding for women's health providers such as Planned Parenthood Federation of America? If Republicans really wanted to stop the Zika threat in its tracks, wouldn't they want to provide access to Zika prevention to as many women in as many venues as possible? If politics weren't involved, that would surely be the case.

But, no, the Republican Party is so blinded by its hatred of Planned Parenthood that it decided to put this cut-throat animosity above the well-being of American women and babies. Senator Boozman also seems to miss the fact that he and his Republican colleagues are so blinded by right-wing dogma that they can no longer effectively work with their congressional counterparts to do something useful for the American people. They play an all-or-nothing game where no one but a select few seems to come out ahead. It is extremely clear to me that it is not Democrats but rather Republicans who are playing a dangerous political game.

Sen. Boozman, you need to grow up, get serious about doing your job and quit blaming others for your failure and your party's failure to make effective compromises and sponsor realistic and substantive legislation that will help Americans. Enough is enough. Senator, you are the one playing politics along with your Republican colleagues. It needs to stop. How about taking the lead?

Lynn Calhoun


From the web

In response to the Aug. 25 article, 'This is not your grandfather's America': a Q&A with Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner: 

Let's see: Two officers are working off-duty on private property. Something goes wrong, very wrong. The two officers, working off-duty, have no liability coverage, and therefore have no money for legal counsel in the subsequent federal lawsuit. So the city attorney represents both officers "on his own time," and negotiates a $900,000 payment from the city to clear these off-duty officers in the matter. The city is operating a private security company, taking all the legal liability risks, and collecting not one cent in fees. That's one hell of a business — for the off-duty officers.

Tom Honeycutt

Well Chief, let me attempt an intelligent answer for why you and your officers are wrongheaded about the LRSD.

You say, "The underlying issues that are driving the crime in our city are poverty, low academic achievement, single-parent homes, absentee fathers, substance abuse, mental illness, high unemployment. Now, you tell me, of those things that I just gave you, an officer living in Little Rock, how would it impact that?"

I would respond with only a slight paraphrase: "The underlying issues that are driving the education gap in our city are poverty, high crime home-life, single-parent homes, absentee fathers, substance abuse, mental illness, high unemployment. Now, you tell me, of those things that I just gave you, a different school, how would it impact that?"

He offers a few false-equivalences here. You can say we have a crime problem, but no one is blaming the police for the crime. We have an educational attainment problem, and no one will blame anything BUT the school.

Also, to say, "I support the Second Amendment" to a question about military-style weapons is laughable. That's actually the example one of our textbooks uses to describe the "straw-man" fallacy. I wish you had asked him about civilians having flame-throwers, hand-grenades, etc., and see if there were any lines he would cross on that issue. I don't mean to be unkind, but this is also from a man who couldn't secure his weapons — even with all of his professional training.


An AR-15 will cut through a bulletproof vest and slice a car like Swiss cheese? Forrest Gump your father? Ignorant Democrat. Typical.

Fred Sanders

Do we have a mass-incarceration problem in this state?

Well, there is a woman's family in Chicago and family of the two nuns in Mississippi who might want more violent criminals locked up, instead on the street.


Enough crazy at home to worry about Trump

This Arkansas woman, who is guaranteed the right to vote Nov. 8 by the U.S. Constitution, has not been inspired with confidence by the Arkansas Secretary of State or his immediate office that my voting rights are being protected.

Enough crazy at home to worry about Trump

This Arkansas woman, who is guaranteed the right to vote Nov. 8 by the U.S. Constitution, has not been inspired with confidence by the Arkansas Secretary of State or his immediate office that my voting rights are being protected. They have been too busy covering up their negligence with tall tales and vague excuses on why the integrity of political elections is not their job or responsibility. Since when?

I can't say I have been inspired by the May 20 agreement in which Governor Hutchinson, the current DHS director and the nursing home lobbyist, Arkansas Health Care Associates, pledged to reduce Medicaid cost for nursing homes. Or by a ballot initiative that is worded to disguise its real purpose, which is to protect nursing home owners from litigation by taking away what little protection nursing home residents and their families have against abuse and neglect. Sounds like Issue 3 from 2014, which used fraudulent wording to make it more difficult for citizens to petition or question laws, and which increased the term limits of the legislators to 16 long years.

The unethical behavior of Rep. Justin Harris (R-West Fork) and Treasurer Dennis Milligan, as they continued to collect their paychecks, inspired me to go inspect all of my grandchildren's daycare centers and to redecorate my home office. After listening to the inspirational Arkansas government discriminate, insult, offend and demean the women and girls in this state by using slut-shaming, inflammatory, judgmental wording in their obsessive legislation of women's reproductive health care laws, I have become desensitized to wimpy, foul-mouthed, narcissistic, mentally ill Donald Trump. The only thing Trump's fragmented, dishonest, hateful speeches have inspired in me is a need to drink and drug, so I can escape the awful thought that he and his war-happy, anti-everyone party might have a slight chance of being in charge of the nuclear launch codes.

My family and I will need all our energy in the future to protect ourselves from Arkansas government and just won't have any energy left over to deal with Donald. My family will be safer with uninspiring, calm, mentally stable Hillary, who won't embarrass me as the president of the United States.

Shirl Standridge

Little Rock

Fightin' words

When it comes to bluster, the people of Arkansas, and the South in general, are rank amateurs compared to those from the Northeast. It's one of the many things I like about living here. In Manhattan, for example, rush hour is a daily fiesta of horn blowing and creative, multilingual curse-shouting. When I visit there I always find myself stopping to watch each and every altercation. I'm always disappointed.

Here in the South, such heated verbal altercations are frequently followed by a fight worth watching. Two Arkansas drivers would never be content to merely exchange horn blasts and derogatory comments; they would come up out of those cars or, more likely, down out of those trucks, with a minimum of a tire iron for support. Much to the sorrow of an avid fight-watcher like myself, that never happens in New York. Up there it's all fumes and no flames.

When The Donald suggests that his supporters take to the streets and pummel demonstrators or gun down the opposition, the people of the North know he is only talking through his hairpiece. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones listening.  

David Rose

Hot Springs

Now and then

When I was a child and someone was perceived as being kind and compassionate it was assumed he was a Christian. 

Nowadays, when someone says mean things and commits hurtful acts it's assumed he is a Christian. 

What happened?

Rich Hutson


From the web

In response to the Aug. 15 Arkansas Blog post, "Satanists detail plans for state Capitol monument":

Sen. Jason Rapert knew this would happen when he proposed the idea of a monument to God on the Capitol lawn. What Rapert is doing is starting a fight. He is starting a false fight so he can show how "persecuted" Christians are in America. It's kinda like someone purposely running into a door to give themselves a black eye and then claiming that doors are evil. Rapert is the worst sort of Christian. He could have used that money for the monument (and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsequent litigation ... paid for by taxpayers of ALL religions) to do some good in the district he represents. He is a fraud and a fake.

Artificial Intelligence

Why can't Rapert just put all these goofy statues in his front yard in between all the junk cars and garbage?


I've got my popcorn ready and looking forward to the show. Let the games begin.


A fight is what Rapert wants. He is not a fiscal conservative so he has to distract his base with this stuff.

Screen name taken

Does anyone else think that Baphomet looks like a cross between Rapert and a fish? Might want to redesign his face (or maybe not) before any real statue goes up.



When only Teapublicans are allowed to vote, only Teapublicans will hold elective office!

From the web

In response to Times' reporting on the Secretary of State's office sending faulty data on felons to county clerks and jeopardizing voter rights:

When only Teapublicans are allowed to vote, only Teapublicans will hold elective office!

And, as usual, no mea culpa nor acceptance of responsibility will be made by Secretary of State Mark (not the race car driver, but the elected official who is NEVER in his office) Martin for this colossal mistake!


This country has evolved to a Third World level when it comes to politics. Folks only want to believe it when it happens to them or their candidate. DNC used every trick in the book to elect Hillary. Corruption and corporate money dominate U.S. politics!

Warren Harper Jr.

[Pulaski County Clerk] Larry Crane is the only elected official I have seen call other elected officials out when they are in the wrong. 

Why would you think Martin would direct his staff? He is never there. Plus, since there are no penalties, why should he care?

The days of constitutional officers doing their job is way over.

sundown happens

In response to an Arkansas Blog item about the start of a federal trial in which Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan is being sued for defamation:

Dennis looks like he just stepped off the set of Hee-Haw.

"...Milligan, for his part, said that the shoving match caused him to have chest pains." Naw, more likely to have been caused by too many trips to Brown's Country Store & Restaurant.

"...tried to extort a political opponent at a Krispy Kreme, engaged in questionable campaign finance practices, and said we needed another September 11." Hey, Saline County sends our best & brightest up to LR.

"... he illegally hired a cousin ..." We do all kinds of things with cousins down here.


In response to an Arkansas Blog item about Sen. Tom Cotton's statement that the world would be safer under Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton:

The idea that America will be better with a Donald Trump presidency or that Donald Trump can ever be anything other than he's ever been — a blowhard Barnum ballyhooer and bully — is either delirious or conniving.

Your pick, Cotton.

Anent the Julian Assange DNC email leaks, complete with unredacted (and also innocent) personal information like phone numbers, Matt Tait exposes a huge and dangerous problem inherent in WikiLeaks and Assange (known for his antipathy toward Hillary Clinton) as its increasingly hostile-to-criticism virtually sole arbiter.

("Anent" is my vocabulary-builder for the week and I'm using it profusely although so far everybody hates it and thinks it's "pretentious": a no-no in Hollywood.)

Tait says:

"The metadata analysis I did on the leaked documents that day was almost by accident. I was actually looking for evidence of something much more frightening and which still keeps me up at night: What if the documents were mostly real, but had been surgically doctored? How effective would a carefully planted paragraph in an otherwise valid document be at derailing a campaign? How easily could Russia remove or sidestep an inconvenient DNC official with a single doctored paragraph showing "proof" of dishonest, unethical or illegal practices? And how little credibility would the sheepish official have in asserting that 'all of the rest of the emails are true, but just not the one paragraph or email that makes me look bad?' "

Norma Bates

Anyone supporting Donald J. Trump should be shunned and labeled untrustworthy, without good sense and perhaps hiding criminal intent. 

Would you trust a Trumper to operate on your child or even rotate your tires? Supporting Trump this week screams I AM NOT SMART! Those our idiot friends, relatives and neighbors voted into office to lead our state government and represent us in Congress saying they endorse Donald J. Trump should be removed from office by any means as soon as possible because no one with a lick of sense could be a Trump supporter after what we know Trump doesn't know. 

Cotton may be so bold as to say ... 'cause he isn't up for re-election this year, unfortunately. But every Republican that IS up for reelection across the nation is quaking in their boots. No doubt they're on the phone right now begging the Tri-lateral Commission to do something about that fk'ing Trump! Why, there may be a Jack Ruby right around Trump's next corner! That would be yuge!

The historians of the future will write that between the eight miserable years of the Bush-Cheney crime spree coupled with the Tea Party, plus the inability to nominate a single winning candidate for the presidential race since 2004, resulting in the nomination of the worst human to run for president on a major party ticket since the 1830s, the Republican Party became extinct and few mourned. 

Death by Inches

Take the Ed Department over

Sounds like per their own protocol they need to dismantle the State Education Department and remand the districts into federal control

From the web

In response to "School's out forever," about the story in the July 28 issue about the last Altheimer school, closed and left to rot:

Sounds like per their own protocol they need to dismantle the State Education Department and remand the districts into federal control. Obama can appoint someone to oversee everything.

Rob Qualls

At least when they closed Williford they moved, sold or stored everything. Then they sold the buildings and land to a church group. The students were split between six surrounding districts because there was no one single district near enough to absorb them — part of the reason Williford was still open, long after the A+ Arkansas movement in the late '80s/early '90s tried to shut them down, was its designation as an isolated school that serviced a largely rural, and geographically spread population.

Denise Evans

Great reporting. This is tragic and scary.

Laura Cox Witherington

In response to the July 21 story, "Mosaic Church celebrates its 15th anniversary":

Mosaic is doing what a church is meant to do and being what Jesus meant the church to be. Congrats on your 15 years of service to our community in 72204 and thank you!


It was my privilege to get to know some of these when I tried to represent one of the young mothers being assisted by Mosaic. The case didn't work out for any of a number of reasons. But I was greatly impressed by the care and support given my client by the advocates that work there. 

They are truly doing the work of the Lord over there!


In response to the July 27 Arkansas Blog post, "Governor pushes sea change in higher education funding":

This move is part of the "accountability" in education movement that started several years ago with K-12 and has risen to higher ed. Having sat in on many of these discussions about how to make higher ed prove that it is doing the job it is supposed to be doing, I know that there is no consensus on what outcome-based performance means. People sign up for college courses for a wide variety of reasons. Many people have no intention of completing a degree, and no need to do so. They want to gain knowledge on a specific subject, or they want the experience that a semester or year of college can offer. Or they take as many night classes as they can while working a full-time job, and they take longer than the proscribed six years to finish. So, the people making the rules chose the easiest, and cheapest, way to measure success: graduation rate. Using the six-year graduation rate as the standard of an institution's success does more harm than good to these people who need only some courses. The real outcome here will be that marginal students, those who cannot or choose not to go for a degree, will be pushed out so that universities can focus on the scholarship high school kids. We have already cut the number of hours for a degree to 120 so that students can get finished in four years even if they make some mistakes in course selection along the way. This new policy is all about running education institutions like businesses: You know, make money for those at the top and screw everyone else.

Another brick in the wall

Charter college! Isn't that the next step? Privatize the public colleges and universities?

They wouldn't have "all these problems" with recalcitrant faculty — do away with tenure! — or staff. Fire 'em if they don't like their starvation wages and lack of benefits. 

UA football would, of course, come out unscathed because it was effectively privatized years ago.

Meanwhile, there is no talk of charging full freight to the wealthy, out-of-state students whose parents pay zero taxes to the state. In essence, struggling state residents are subsidizing the education of the children of wealthy Texas families, through the sales tax and state income taxes. These free riders are being used by the UA admin to increase their enrollment and thus the base of wealthy future alumni who they can hit up for donations. And where do the bulk of those donors put their money? Why, the football program, in large part. 

The system, as Berners would say, is rigged in favor of the plutocrats, billionaires and reactionary politicians who suck off the teats of the skybox dwellers. 

Millions for athletics (and skyboxes), but not a penny for the liberal arts and sciences! We hate science anyway, because they keep talking about climate change and evolution. We just put our fingers in our ears and shout "la la la la" whenever they present their biased "research" findings that are just so much ginned-up propaganda for the socialist agenda of Barack Obama and the evil Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, who can believe that Asa will recommend to a dug-in, hunkered-down reactionary legislature the obvious first step in fixing the many things wrong with public higher ed in D'arkansas: Dramatically increase state funding to compensate for years of starving the beast. And put pressure on your buddies in the state's congressional delegation — who are loathe to increase funding to public institutions where public employees might see some meager raises and marginally better benefits than the miserly offerings they now "enjoy," to join with Democrats (LOL) to push in turn for increased federal funding. 

In other words, Asa would have to buck the party hardliners to go against their War on the Public Sector. That, I believe, will never happen so long as he's in the governor's office.

So, rhetoric and wishful thinking aside, it seems the more Asa talks about change, the more things remain just the same.

Black Panthers for Open Carry