Archive for Letters

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?

ShineonLibby

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

Jacksonville

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.

AnnaHarrisonTerry

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?

Doigotta

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.

Vanessa

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!

MysteryShopper

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.

craigsl

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 arktimes@arktimes.com. 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

Cabot

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.

theBMC1

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.

imjustsaying

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.

Cato

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.

Ozarkrazo

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!

RYD

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.

tsallenarng

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. 

Jiggery-pokery

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

Jiggery-pokery

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

Morrilton

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.

Morris

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.

Runner55k

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

Cabot

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?

Warren

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

Earl

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.

Momcat

Teapublicans

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!

RYD

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.

tsallenarng

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!

Kate

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!

bopbamboom

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

Falling apart

Here's an idea. Instead of our national news reporters (we'll call them that as a kindness) talking about how our political system has chosen a sociopathic buffoon to represent one of our two political parties as a nominee for POTUS, let's talk about the well-qualified candidate from the other party having a problem with "trust" and "likability."

Falling apart

Here's an idea. Instead of our national news reporters (we'll call them that as a kindness) talking about how our political system has chosen a sociopathic buffoon to represent one of our two political parties as a nominee for POTUS, let's talk about the well-qualified candidate from the other party having a problem with "trust" and "likability."

And, while we are ginning up nonexistent controversy, what about attacking the head of the Democratic National Committee for supporting a Democrat rather than a self-described Socialist and independent for the executive office? Remember what Mama told us: "If there is nothing negative we can find to say, what's the point of saying anything at all?" That is what she said, right? Oh wait, maybe it was: "We get paid for doing this?"

Meanwhile, we'll drool on our guns waiting for any opportunity to prove how useful they are at doing violence to stop violence or maybe just to stop anything we don't happen to like at the moment and we'll keep all of those we missed or just ran out of ammunition for in our thoughts and prayers. And while we're talking about God's grace, don't you just hate it when you don't get what you want all the time? Everybody else gets theirs all the time and I don't ever get what I want. Somebody should pay for that. President Obama ruined my whole weekend with that Trans-Pacific Partnership and didn't even say he was sorry. They just think they're so entitled to everything just because ... well, you know. It's why our country is just falling apart and nothing works.

As long as we're slithering around at the bottom of the puddle, you know our justice system is broken, don't you? I heard the other day an unarmed man was shot right outside a Walmart by a policeman. They didn't close the store or fire him or run his family out of town or anything so you know that means our whole justice system is just no good and won't never be. We need to change everything because it's not working and everybody says so on Instagram and Facebook and just everywhere. That just proves it.

David Steadman

Damascus

From the web:

In response to Max Brantley's July 21 column, "1957 all over again":

But there is one huge difference between 1957 and current school assignment policies. In today's environment, after witnessing 50 years of failed liberal desegregation policies, there is broad support among all races for greater school choice, including vouchers for students to attend private schools. Only the liberals in the Democratic Party, through the use of tyrannical judges, are still insisting on the fantasy benefits of an education monopoly provided by the government to force students into public education. Even advanced placement is the equivalent of segregation within the school district as the overwhelming majority of those students are white or Asian.

Thomas Pope

In response to the Arkansas Blog post, "RNC wraps up: Donald Trump yells at America":

I can't even say the word "Trump" in my house, but I will say he's doing a better job of driving the Republican Party into the ground than any other person in history.

Paying Top Dollar for Legislators

It makes me sad to see the Arkansas attorney general on national TV sounding like an uneducated person. Does she really think this is necessary to get support from the Arkansas electorate or is this really her persona? Don't know her personally. She does not speak for all of us.

JCP

The shouting is a carryover from Trump's WWE actor days. Shouting is an essential element in the performance. 

Another WWE essential component took place in the convention narrative/script: Having "bad wrestler/guy" Ted Cruz show up and say crap so that he can be booed and the "good wrestler/guy" show up to be cheered on.

imjustsaying

In response to the Arkansas Blog post, "Arkansas Republicans are all aboard the Trump train":

When the Kool-Aid drinkers start making self-referential jokes about drinking the Orange Kool-Aid, you may be sure that the nutter express has left Drumpf Station & is headed for crazy-town.

I try to believe that they (Rapert excepted) are just posturing for our homegrown foamer voters, but damn. Do these people even know what history is?

tsallernang

Make America great

Let's make America great again. So, how are we going to do that?

Make America great

Let's make America great again. So, how are we going to do that? We will have to actually do something; that is, take some action other than simply saying America is great, really great, greater than anything you've ever seen, in order to make America great again, won't we? If we do have to do something, how about we start with finding some enemies to hate and threaten. What about immigrants? I don't mean your grandmother or great grandfather, I mean those scruffy-looking people we see on TV described as "aliens" or "illegals" or "Muslims." Let's hate them and threaten to send them back to where they came from or maybe lock them up in our vast number of free, unused jail cells. And let's do even better than that and build a big wall between our country and that other country so they can't get here in the first place. And if they fly over that wall or dig under it or make holes in it than we'll just build another higher and deeper and less fragile wall and that'll show 'em! And if that doesn't work, then we'll all get a lot of guns and we'll shoot 'em! Well, maybe we'll just make a law that says you can't look all scruffy and alien and illegal or Muslim or Mexican and if you do than we can lock you up — or shoot you.

But that's not all we need to do to make America great again. We need to beat China. I don't mean in some wimpy kickball game or ping pong, I mean we need to outfox them inscrutable Asians and take all their money. Because if we don't, they're going to take all of ours. That's right, they already own all our companies and our banks and our government but we know we're smarter and can out think 'em just like we did in WWII or Korea or Vietnam. Or maybe we'll just drop some bombs on 'em. Bet they'll see how great we are then!

And let's stop all this pinko libtard yammering about the weather. God said there won't be any more floods, so quit your whining. Besides, technology will fix everything before it gets broken anyway. Just stop the Environmental Prevention Agency from keeping the makers from making things and we'll all have jobs and lots of stuff again. And we don't need no "minimum wage" either. We need to reward the people who have made a lot of money by letting them keep it and make those lazy people who don't have any money get jobs and work harder and they'll have more, too.

Then we can set our sights on those terrorists. You know who they are with their towels and dresses and swishy walking. Yeah, I mean them. Our boys will show 'em what real men do to sissies. Are you feeling great again? I bet you are now 'cause we're taking our country back! Tomorrow belongs to me!

David Stedman

Damascus

From the web

In response to the July 18 Arkansas Blog post, "LR police residency issue: Us vs. them":

We need the best officers serving on our force (and one of the "best" desired qualities is to see through clear and not tinted glasses), but there are lots of ways to create incentives to encourage residency. As well, these could also be strong carrots to encourage better hiring and retention policies in officer recruitment for the department.

Clayton J

As long as someone is willing to run to the shots that are being fired, as long as someone is running to the building that is on fire, I do not care where they live. Officers and firefighters should choose where they want to live. If the city wants them in the city of Little Rock, provide incentives. Don't force the men and women who choose to work in public safety to live in the city. 

In the two years where the city did have a residency requirement, it was when we expanded in the mid-'90s. And it included incentives for officers to locate in the city limits. Incentives such as no closing costs [on home purchases] and lower down payments. This can be done.

And for the record, the last two officers that died in service to the citizens of Little Rock did not live in the city of Little Rock. It is an insult to their memory and to the current public safety officers of Little Rock to think that where they live could change their level of involvement or engagement.

BeachHog

BeachHog, where officers live impacts their understanding of the people who live where they work. Living in the communities where they work would improve the relationship between officers and their neighbors. You can deny that reality, but it's real nonetheless.

We're not talking about a 9-to-5 desk job where your residency has no relationship to your work. There would be nothing wrong with requiring future hires to be city residents. If incentives are warranted, fine.

Sound Policy

The idea that Little Rock police officers can refuse to live in Little Rock, claim that living in Little Rock is somehow burdensome to their families, claim that the Little Rock School District provides educational opportunities for their families below what is available outside Little Rock, claim they cannot afford to live in Little Rock, and have their position echoed by the police chief, says a lot. But none of what it says speaks well for the police chief, the LR mayor, board of directors and city manager, and the officers.

If police officers want to serve communities where they live, well and good. We should commend their commitment to be neighbors and know the people they are trusted to protect and serve.

But if police officers refuse to serve communities where they live, we should not call them neighbors. We should have enough backbone to call them mercenaries. They are not committed to the people in Little Rock neighborhoods. They do not have an interest in Little Rock as a place to live, work, raise families, enjoy leisure and thrive. Their interest is financial. 

Thinking

Which bathroom does General Leslie choose to use?

Who gets the job of verifying the plumbing? Who will pay the notary public?

From the web

In response to the July 8 Arkansas Blog item, "Leslie Rutledge joins bathroom lawsuit":

Which bathroom does General Leslie choose to use? Who gets the job of verifying the plumbing? Who will pay the notary public?

Silverback66

But of course she is. The "Party" called and gave her daily marching orders. She is following the party line on this just like she has all the other issues she's jumped on. Does her staff do anything for Arkansas citizens or just things that the National Republican Party wants?

arkdemocrat

The big question in my mind is where will Leslie Rutledge live after she's no longer Asa's nasty tool? I sure as hell don't want her living in my neighborhood. I'm afraid, like she attaches herself to all out-of-state pro-discrimination lawsuits, my chicken eggs will forever attach to the side of her house if it is within throwing distance.

The Red Team thinks we're dumb. Well, a whole lot of our friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers are dumb but if we keep telling these ninnies how awful Red Team Asa is for their families, drum drum drum like we're walking and talking Fox News, our ninnies will eventually figure out voting for a Republican in this state is a mix, from bad to awful to sometimes deadly.

We must ask ourselves who makes money every time Leslie signs up in support of a losing cause. It's always about the money, so who makes money when Leslie jumps to the wrong side of history joining our state with Nebraska? Remind me to visit Nebraska someday, or better yet, let us all continue to never think about Nebraska or anywhere else that would welcome the likes of Leslie to join their unconstitutional lawsuits.

Yes, our state is known around the world as Arkanstupid thanks to Red Team Asa and the six representing us in Congress. Not much we can do about it at the moment other than lie to people when they ask where we live. I'm pretending to live in Ridgefield, Conn., and as long as I never leave home or answer the doorbell, I might get away with this lie.

Deathbyinches

We need a state constitutional amendment that says the Leslie Rutledges of this world pay from their own state salaries the costs of stupid lawsuits they file unsuccessfully against federal court decisions.

Claude Bahls

In response to the July 9 Arkansas Blog item, "Open carry advocate unhappy about label as 'suspect' in Dallas shooting":

Until we get some sort of meaningful gun control in this country, these types of incidents are going to continue to escalate out of control. Average citizens have no business with high-volume shooting rifles/guns. NONE. Orlando, Dallas and so many more incidents in the past make that abundantly clear.

Rick 1

The best we can expect to come out of this tragedy is that the NRA finds itself in an even more politically difficult and awkward position.

Texas' open carry law meets peaceful protesters and good cops meets racist politicians (e.g. Dan Patrick) defending racist cops meets easy access to firearms by people who should never have them meets a broken mental health system including the military and VA meets the nationwide failure of police departments to train their officers in how to de-escalate violence meets the shameless disgustingly racist NRA.

The chickens keep coming home to roost and shit on the pig head of Wayne LaPierre.

Black Panthers for Open Carry

Perhaps the raving left will wait for the facts before lynching another innocent person or group. Considering how wrong most of you were about Trayvon, Brown, Garner and Freddie, people would think most of you would shut up until facts could be collected. 

Steven E

If you ever need some encouragement regarding race issues, just remember that black men making political statements with firearms scared people in 1960s and '70s California enough to kick off the modern gun control movement. 

Now, most people don't really care. 

Baby steps.

Gylippus

Anyone who openly carries weapons in a public place has a belligerent attitude and therefore bears watching. The police should be commended for questioning him.

And Gyl, whom I don't agree with very often, hits the nail on the head. Back when black radicals in Oakland were carrying guns, they were dangerous. Now that white supremacists are carrying them, it is their god-given right.

plainjim

In response to the July 8 Arkansas Blog item, "Life, death and the Arkansas Constitution at stake in execution case":

I didn't see Rapert on Facebook demanding these Black Robed Lawyers be taken off the court; why is that? Oh, that's right: 'cause he likes the state killing people, but if a woman takes a pill the day after unprotected sex she is going to hell!

ConwayMichael

The Arkansas Supremes also showed that any agreement a lawyer for a defendant might make with the great state of Arkansas isn't worth the paper it is written on. The not-so-Supremes tossed out an agreement that they signed when they should have tossed the piece of legislation that was designed to get around the agreement. 

Our so-called "Christian" legislators are in so much hurry to disobey another of the 10 Suggestions. And that is why we don't need Rapert's Folly on the Capitol grounds or any state property.

couldn't be better

In response to Gene Lyons' July 7 column, "Same story on Hillary":

[U.S. Rep.] Trey Gowdy spent $6 million? What did Kenny spend? Was that $60 million? Did we yet see the bill for the FBI investigation(s)? Do these calculations include overhead costs for the "representatives" and "senators" that participated in the hearings, including prep and staff time costs? So, conservatively, would $100 million be an unreasonable estimate? I used to think that if I ever decided to run for office, I would have to do some "stuff," because otherwise I might be embarrassed if I were investigated and found not to have done anything interesting. How can anyone question the intrinsic honesty of a person who has endured 25 years of $100 million spent on attempts to find something (not a balanced investigation)? As Lyons indicates, the media people who hyped speculations and the media management people who hired and promoted those people are in greater need of investigation. How does the media look at Hillary metaphorically, at least for now, standing next to Donny, and decide to talk about Hillary's honesty? Reporters who choose to focus on Hillary might benefit from judicious use of mirrors.

deadseasquirrel

I'm wondering more and more these days if I shouldn't just not look in a mirror for a few years while I peddle right-wing BS, make a lotta money and then quit the whole mess.

Nah. That kinda stench doesn't go away. Or, it shouldn't.

Rick Fahr

Correction

An article in the July 7 issue of the Times on a political action committee formed by Progressive Arkansas Women mistakenly referred to Republican Carlton Wing, who faces Democrat Victoria Leigh in the General Election for the District 38 seat in the state House of Representatives, as a legislator. He is not.