Archive for Letters

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.

On ‘High School Confidential’

From the web

In response to the June 30 cover story, "High School Confidential":

Tom Coulter is a superstar who has done a wonderful job at capturing voice and innuendo. His great ear and focus on how each person communicates and the language each uses brings in the details of their true plight and cloudy point of view. As an educator, I learned much about my helplessness and hope. Inspiring.

SSS

The rising senior from NLR High has inspired me to comment for the first time. He should apply to every Ivy League school that interests him. They all have huge endowments and sliding tuition scales. At Harvard, it's a full ride up to a family income of $80-85K, and very reasonable after that. On top of that, they are all very concerned about the diversity, or lack thereof, among their student bodies. If you have the grades, they want you. I know this because I am a public high school teacher in Dallas and we have a program in our school that works with students to get through the application processes for everything from schools to scholarships. I currently have two former students at Brown.

mb

In response to the July 5 Arkansas Blog item about the FBI's decision not to charge Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server:

I can just see Trump and all the right-wing trolls' heads exploding about now. No matter who investigated, they'll still say she is guilty — look at how many Benghazi investigations took place and still they couldn't pin anything on her.

I believe that part of their hatred of Hillary Clinton is their misogynistic view of the world. Just like they can't stand that a black man is president, they can't stand that a woman might be capable of being president or have that much power.

NeverVoteRepublican

She has to be charged with something, or Congress will feel like such a failure after spending so many years PISSING AWAY TAXPAYER MONEY ON A POLITICAL VENDETTA.

Paying Top Dollar for Legislators

Extremely careless, yes indeed, to the point of willful negligence. But bringing a successful prosecution, however warranted (doubtful), would be almost a guaranteed walk. 

Bernie's only hope for a nomination just evaporated. Time to concede the race, but not the campaign for correcting the DNC platform and definitely not for pressuring Hill/Bill to change their neoliberal spots and embrace a New Deal for the 21st century (doubtful).

Black Panthers for Open Carry

"He said that the investigation showed that 110 emails in 52 email chains were determined to include classified information at the time they were received."

What this actually means is that the emails contained the same information as was contained in classified documents. It does not establish that this information was derived from classified documents. 

During my Army career, I would often read the same information in classified reports that I had seen earlier in Jane's Defence Weekly or Aviation Week and Space Technology. If I needed to give an unclassified briefing on a topic, I would cite the open source, not the classified report. If someone went back five years later and ignored my citation, then it would appear that my briefing contained classified information.

Arkie

In response to a July 4 Arkansas Blog post, "The high cost of college: It could be worse":

At one time or another I worked at a print shop, tended bar at Loyal Order of Moose, sacked groceries at Piggly Wiggly in Rogers — all to supplement my G.I. Bill. You CAN get through college without crippling loans to pay back. I don't think we owe students a free ride in college.

louie

"I don't think we owe students a free ride in college."

Balderdash!

The smartest and future higher-earning of us deserve to have our educations subsidized forever.

Glyippus

Louie, when yearly college costs can be (at a minimum) in the $8,000 to $10,000 range if the student lives in a dorm, even a fulltime minimum wage job likely won't fund the student without additional financial help. Further, to kick the student while he or she is down, it will leave no time to study.

I'm not advocating a "free ride" as you put it, but I don't think you are considering the enormous increase in costs of a college education since you and I attended. Not only has tuition gone sky high, but numerous additional fees for services that used to be rolled into tuition can easily add hundreds of dollars to the cost of college each semester.

Doigotta

Louie: Compare the cost ratio of one hour of college (keep in mind most classes are 3 hours of credit) to the minimum wage. When I was in college the minimum wage was $2.30 per hour. Cost per hour of college at the community college I started at was $5 per hour, and when I transferred to state university in 1977 the cost was $15 per hour. Tuition for a full load was under $200. 

Minimum wage is now $7.25. But credit hour cost is over $200. It does not include additional fees. 

Do the math.

Vanessa

Art and protest

When Michelangelo finished his statue of David it was recognized for the triumph that it was.

Art and protest

When Michelangelo finished his statue of David it was recognized for the triumph that it was. A holiday was declared and the statue was paraded through the streets of Florence.

Artists continued to lead the parade for several hundred years and then, in the 1800s, things changed. Artists continued to lead the parade but at such a distance that only a few of the most attentive followers could see them. The impressionists and post-impressionists, the leaders of their day, were lucky to be recognized in their own lifetimes.  

In the 20th century things changed yet again. Artists continued to lead the parade but they failed to notice that, at some point, the parade went off in a completely different direction. The 1960s were the most divisive time since the Civil War. A prolonged unjust war, political assassinations, mass demonstrations, riots in the street and cities in flames were the order of the day. And yet, when we look back at the art of that time, we see minimalistic canvases with stripes and stains, cartoons blown up to epic proportion, and cans of soup. Where was the protest, where was the outrage, where was the HOWL? It has been said that the baby-boomer generation has not stepped up to support art like previous generations. Perhaps they are not there for art because art was not there for them. The best art of the 1960s was not in galleries and museums; it was on album covers.

Today the parade has all but disbanded. There are still gatherings that are moving in one direction or another and there are still people out there who believe they are leading the movement. What is lacking is some consensus as to where that movement is going. The Delta des Refusés does as good a job as any, and better than most, of pointing the way.

David Rose

Hot Springs

Born & Bred: Thus is the title of one of my Pinterest pages. I am a native Arkansan and avid Arkansas Times reader. I have lived in Little Rock my entire 32 years. I have experienced and watched a lot of changes take place in this state. I've met former President Bill Clinton, campaigned for judges, our former governor and have even shaken hands with Mayor Mark Stodola. This state was once called "The Land of Opportunity." For quite a while I believed wholeheartedly that great opportunities awaited me here in Arkansas. So with that in mind, I strived to do well academically.

I graduated from high school with honors. I attended Philander Smith College immediately following high school, where I obtained a B.A. in political science. I obtained my M.B.A. here recently and I remain optimistic of the opportunities that await me. However, I have applied to numerous jobs with annual salaries in the $40K-$80K range, but can only get offers from employers paying much less. I once believed that there were greater chances of financial success through a good education, but instead I see that Arkansas employers don't want to pay wages that meet or exceed the cost of living. Which, I don't know if you all have noticed, but it has gone up over the past few years.

Trust and believe that there are plenty of beds lying in wait in Arkansas's Department of Correction for those who choose not to pursue an educational path, but a criminal one instead. I have personally felt the impact of loved ones incarcerated in ADC. I also know that it's easier for an ex-con to boomerang back in there than it is for them to adjust to the standard of living in society. With the issues taking place with the Little Rock School District, there's a possibility that our youth will become more subject to violence and a life of crime than they are to a quality education.

I'd like to thank Max Brantley for shining the light on the chaos taking place with the charter schools and the test scores of those students in low-income LRSD schools. My children currently attend Brady Elementary, one of those schools mentioned. Thank you for also shining the light on the head of our state, Gov. Hutchinson. This guy is quite the character. I'm not sure how anyone's success will go under his leadership, especially when he and his comrades are in the pockets of the esteemed Waltons.

After reading the March 31 issue of the Arkansas Times, I learned some interesting things about Mr. Hutchinson. For one, who knew that he attended a university that was deeply rooted in racism? I sure didn't. No one thought to mention that during his campaign. My fellow Arkansans, this is who you voted for, remember? Also, who wants Medicaid in the hands of those "very wealthy with big corporate interests (Republican Party)"? I sure don't. Why is it such a big problem for the truly sick to receive adequate health care? Why is it such a big issue that a majority of Arkansas's poor and underprivileged are now covered? Don't even let me get started on the mandatory drug tests that were just stipulated for new welfare applicants. Mr. Hutson (recent Times writer) makes a good point. The effects of this will only trickle down to cost the state more. Wait a minute; I can't fail to mention this highway proposal. There is plenty of inner city roads that could use some much needed repairs. University Avenue, Fair Park, 12th street between Kanis and University, West 36th street in the John Barrow Community, to name a few, could use more than just pothole patch jobs. Here we are faced with a tax hike, though, to build a super highway after we just gave West Little Rock interstates a nice makeover. Please make better choices for our people, Mr. Hutchinson. For the record, neither Johnny Key nor Michael Poore is good for LRSD. I just wanted to make sure I pointed that out for you.

True enough, Arkansas is a Confederate and Republican state. So why blame today's leaders for the values they hold near and dear? Yes, "the war against the poor is in full swing." The Confederate flag still proudly flies in various places throughout this state. Anyone born and raised in this state certainly knows what it symbolizes. With leaders such as Asa Hutchinson, Tom Cotton, Leslie Rutledge, Treasurer Milligan and their party-mate Donald Trump, who really stands a chance of success in Arkansas? Certainly not lower-class individuals like me who also pay taxes and heavily populate this state as well.

I would also like to say to Mr. Suarez, the recent Bentonville resident who wrote in, imagine if you were walking down one of those streets in your neighborhood with a hoodie on and your skin was a whole lot darker. How comfortable would you be and how safe would you feel then?

Kymisha McDonald-Holmes

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the Arkansas Blog post "Facts Win on Abortion":

And another thing: Having lost twice Big Time in the SCOTUS (first same-sex marriage and now abortion), when will the South finally give up trying to legislate hatred, bigotry, racism, misogyny and homophobia in the name of "Jesus?"

Your latest losers?

"Mississippi clerks cannot cite their own religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, under a ruling a federal judge handed down Monday.

"The effect of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves is that the state can't enforce part of a religious objections bill that was supposed to become law Friday.

"Reeves is extending his previous order that overturned Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage. He says circuit clerks are required to provide equal treatment for all couples, gay or straight. He also said that all 82 circuit clerks must be given formal notice of that requirement."

How much MORE time and taxpayer money will your GOP governor and attorney general waste devising mean-spirited and ultimately losing end-runs around the Constitution?

Norma Bates

Facts have not been relevant to politics since the tobacco industry stood and swore their oaths before Congress. A sincerely held belief, however hopelessly ignorant and physically impossible, has been treated as the equivalent of information.

Are we turning a corner?

Silverback66

These right-wing, vagina-meddling, fetus-fetishing, gay-hating elected officials who want to put women back where they belong — in kinder, kirche und kuche — are seeing their world threatened once again by the onrush of present-day reality. Never mind the future; these people hate the world as it exists around them today. 

They're not conservative, they're regressive. We should begin calling them that.

Black Panthers for Open Carry

In response to an Arkansas Blog post on the U.S. Public Interest Research Group's on the waste of money involved in freeway expansions:

Resistance is futile; livable downtown neighborhoods do not serve the paving good. All will be merged into the mega-lane collective. 

No matter how many well-researched studies, no matter how many other cities are changing their transportation strategy away from ever widening highways. The AHTD is going to boldly move forward. Into 1960.

tsallenarng

Hutchinson’s silence

The response of Gov. Hutchinson and other state elected officials to the massacre at the LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, in the early morning on Sunday, July 12, 2016, has been feckless, hollow, minimal and obfuscating.

Hutchinson's silence

The response of Gov. Hutchinson and other state elected officials to the massacre at the LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, in the early morning on Sunday, July 12, 2016, has been feckless, hollow, minimal and obfuscating. By his inactions, the governor has highlighted his timidity and cowardice. After the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the governor has done nothing and said only that he is concerned about terrorist attacks on potential targets within the state. He is not concerned about violence against the LGBT community or the Latino community in Arkansas. He is not concerned that a gay couple might be beaten to death for holding hands or that an LGBT venue or event might be the next site of a mass shooting. Strikingly, in his minimal remarks the governor deliberately did not say that the 49 people killed and the 53 people wounded are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and that Saturday night was Latin night at the Pulse gay nightclub. While hundreds of people lined up for hours to donate blood and millions of dollars were raised to help the victims and their families and the LGBT community in Orlando within three days of this hate crime and the airline JetBlue was flying the partners and families of any victims to Orlando at no charge, the governor of Arkansas, who is a former member of Congress and a former undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, failed us and failed to be a leader whom the state or the nation could be proud.

C.H. Henderson

Little Rock

The magic words

Hocus pocus, mumbo jumbo, higgity piggity, radical Islamic terrorism. Now throw in an alakazam! and a few hooahs and mumble this magic incantation, over and over, louder and louder, until you reach the same keening crescendo as a deranged village idiot or a presumptive presidential nominee.

But I repeat myself ...

Yes, my brothers and sisters! Merely recite the magic incantation of "radical Islamic terrorism" and you, too, can help the Grand Old Party smite evil Muslims, including that nefarious, born-in-Kenya black man in the White House! Yes, my friends, repeating this magically delicious charm will most definitely protect lily-white good folk from those dusky barbarians storming the gates of citadel America.

Or is it the unhinged gates of Christian America? Land of billionaire hillbillies and movie star preachers, babbling crude. Braggarts, bullies and bigots peddling prosperity gospels and telling tall tales of pistol-packing infidels under every rock and around every corner. They hate us for our freedoms, you know. They're trying to impose sharia law, you know.

Are you poor? Plant a seed and get rich quick, for Jesus' sake. Are you sick? Dig deep, and conjure up enough blind faith (and cash) to heal thyself — anything less is godless socialism. Pray for America and then come, let us go down together and worship the golden calves of mammon and manufactured paranoia.

God bless the bogeymen, for they shall keep us afraid. Of everything and everyone. Much too afraid to notice a rising, toxic tide of fascism that lifts only the yachts of a privileged few. God bless the bogeymen, for they shall justify our blood lust. And our love of guns. And armor-piercing bullets and semi-automatic assault rifles. God bless the bogeymen, for they fill our bellies with hate radio and Fox News.

Your magic incantations will not save you. And the things you should really fear are much closer than you know.

 John Ragland

Hot Springs

An open letter to Ken Starr

I am baffled by you. You see, for me, it would be hard to live with myself, to look at myself in the mirror and to feel any sense of self-worth. And, the crazy thing about it is, you seem to be pretty thrilled with yourself. You walk around with a Trump-like confidence, with no remorse, no guilt, without even the slightest notion of the deep shame that would normally be present in a person with your history — a person who is only looking out for himself no matter what it costs others.

In my case, your actions cost a lot. I was an emotional wreck throughout my teenage years, spending most of my time at my grandparents' house watching the television as my aunt was led in-and-out of prisons. My grandmother and I would sit in the middle of her living room, holding hands, crying, praying and wondering how in God's green earth this happened. We waited for her phone calls and watched the mailbox for her letters. We listened as nighttime comics made light of the situation and there was absolutely nothing we could do. We sat in a dim-lit living room in pain. Our hearts were so hurt, it caused physical pain.

And, all for what? To get Clinton out of office? To prove that you are a big man? As we all now know, nothing, I repeat nothing, came out of Whitewater. It was a made-up lie by a sick man. You never wanted the truth. You took a lie (that you knew was a lie) and you ran with it. You got in an 18-wheeler and ran over us with a lie.

So now I turn on the news and find out that you were put in charge of college kids. And, while you were in charge of these young lives, you helped cover up a sex scandal. And all I can think is: He did it again. It's all about you, isn't it? Your agenda comes first over everything else. Never mind my family (and the countless other Arkansans you stepped on), never mind the poor college girls who were assaulted, never mind the truth. Let's just skip over all of that so we can make ourselves look good. Is that your thought process?

As a Christian, I am called to forgive others as Christ has forgiven me. And, I take that calling very seriously, but for some reason, even today I can't seem to let go of the hurt you caused my family. So, I'm asking for an apology. I want an apology to my Aunt Susan first because you know what you did to her. And then I want an apology to my entire family for putting us through the unnecessary pain that YOU caused us and that ruined what was supposed to be the best years of my grandmother's life. And, then, I want you to apologize to the young women who were sexually assaulted and for not standing up for them when they needed an advocate. I want you to look deep into your soul and for the first time show a little remorse for those you've stomped on. And, maybe, just maybe, that would help me in a healing process that has been years in the running.

Gini Wietecha (niece of Susan McDougal)

Siloam Springs

Asa and Trump

Asa Hutchinson called Donald Trump's remarks about the judge overseeing the case against his phony university as "antithetical" to what America stands for.

Asa and Trump

Asa Hutchinson called Donald Trump's remarks about the judge overseeing the case against his phony university as "antithetical" to what America stands for. However, that won't stop Hutchinson from supporting Trump as the GOP's nominee for president. In recent comments regarding his support of Trump, Gov. Hutchinson said, "Yes, I will support the nominee of the Republican Party because the Republican Party is the best framework to improve our economy, protect our freedoms and assure a strong defense."

Improve our economy? Really? Has the governor noticed what Republican policies have done to our economy over the past 30 or so years? All the GOP has in terms of economic policy is "Reaganomics." That's it! And we see where that approach has led us. As far as protecting our freedoms, the only freedom we see the GOP trying to protect these days is the freedom of some to legally discriminate against others. Asa also thinks the GOP is better at maintaining a strong defense. Well, we spend more than every other country combined on our national defense, and have been doing so for decades. However, our list of enemies and their potential for doing us harm seems to be increasing. Also, I thought Republicans were against simply "throwing money" at a problem. Go figure.

Sorry, Asa, your stated reasons for sticking with Trump don't hold water. At least be honest about your real reasons for supporting him.

Rich Hutson

Cabot

Sanders was for democracy

Last month, Gene Lyons feigned nonchalance about the election season, claiming he wasn't "angry enough to participate fully in the festivities." This month, he suddenly goes postal on Bernie Sanders, hurling invectives every which way: "Trotskyite," "damned fool," "children's crusade," "poisonous," "crackpot opinions," etc. He even throws in some sexual innuendo for good measure.

Yes, Mr. Lyons, you're engaging in McCarthyism. You're also completely ignoring the fact that the real centers of power in this country are corporate entities and moneyed special interests, not the government. They call the shots. We don't. That's what Sanders is trying to fix. It's not "Trotskyism" he's fighting for. It's democracy.

Both mainstream parties have become just one: the Business Party. And the stench of corporate corruption has overrun every lever of power in this country, including the electoral process.

And the voters smell it. They know something's really wrong with the system itself. That's why they seek someone willing to institute radical change like Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. It's a last ditch attempt to initiate change from the top down.

Both parties have contributed to an economic decline that's seen wages for the working class stagnate for the last 30 years, while the uber-rich are enjoying a new gilded age. The military gets a $600 billion budget and half of all discretionary spending, while college students are strapped with a whopping trillion-dollar debt.

Crass partisanship is the real "children's crusade" because it only perpetuates this sad state of affairs. It plays right into the hands of the corporate state, which actively seeks a divided, polarized citizenry.

The Alcoholics Anonymous definition of "insanity" is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Such are our elections.

So, yes, we need a revolution. The only real way to get corporate and special interest money out of government and return power to the people is by mass revolt and sustained acts of civil disobedience.

So rant all you want, Mr. Lyons. In the end, change will come from the bottom up, not from the top down.

Brad Bailey

Fayetteville

From the web:

In response to last week's cover story, "A mother and child disunion":

The Adoption and Safe Families Act needs to be abolished. It incentivizes removing children from families instead of providing services, traumatizing parents and the children it's supposed to be helping. It also incentivizes adoption over family preservation. [Lisa] Rushing's treatment at the hands of children's services is common even for parents who aren't in prison.

States are making money off of children in foster care and even more money from severing parental rights and getting kids adopted. Many social workers deliberately interfere with parents' efforts to regain their children (many of whom should never have been taken in the first place) by placing insurmountable barriers, endless hoops to jump through and refusing to grant even a smidge of leeway for things like having to miss a class or court appearance in order to keep the job the parent is required to have.

Abolishing the Adoption and Safe Families Act would be a great first step in fixing the horrendously broken foster care system.

LisaC

In response to Gene Lyons' June 11 column, "Democratic endgame":

Well, another doozy! The Donald has nothing over Gene Lyons. Sure, free speech is priceless, whether practiced by progressives like Bernie Sanders, hypocrites like Hillary Clinton, or by McCarthyites like The Donald and Gene. Gene really does not like anyone who disagrees with him or, God forbid, anyone on the left. Or who is an intellectual. Brainy folks. He literally believes that red-baiting is legitimate behavior in a democracy! Any discussion of economic and social equality makes Gene sick.

Citizen

Citizen: Do you realize that every one of your statements about Lyons is false? You're just pissed because you don't agree with him. Lyons loves to point out pointless behavior. It's just one of his many qualities that keeps me reading. This week, it happens to be Bernie being skewered. Next week, it might be Trump, or some dumb-ass cattle ranchers.  In my opinion, there are three great political columnists working today: Gene Lyons, Roger Simon and Joe Klein. All straight shooters. None of them would write anything that they didn't believe. None of them allows anger to dictate his writing.  Lyons writes from the heart. If you don't agree with him, that's fine. I'm sure he doesn't mind.

Tony Galati

A shameful article, full of vitriol, language that would suit a Trump. Like many others, I find Bernie Sanders' views not only refreshing, but necessary in the political oligarchy the Republicans and Democrats are expecting us to believe is a modern, viable democracy. And, like most of my ilk, I will hold my nose and vote Democratic in November, simply because not doing so will benefit Trump.

peterjkraus

Correction

An actor who plays Glenn Brannon in the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's production "Windfall" was misidentified in a cutline that ran with his photograph last week's issue of the Arkansas Times. His name is Ray Wills.