Archive for Letters

If not now, then when?

I remember asking that question after 20 children were murdered at Sandy Hook. Surely, this tragedy would wake us up--get us working to end our gun violence epidemic.

If not now, then when?

I remember asking that question after 20 children were murdered at Sandy Hook. Surely, this tragedy would wake us up--get us working to end our gun violence epidemic. But nothing was done. Fast forward five years and more headlines saying "Deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history," and we have the national tragedy in Las Vegas.

I'm sure the gun lobby will double down; they have proven that profits, not people are important. For decades the NRA has dismantled gun safety regulations across the country with their message of fear — that we can only be safe if we are armed at all times.

I don't think an arms race is the answer.

We need a policy that prohibits gun access to criminals and people suffering from mental illness, and allow research on gun violence as a health issue so we can really shine a light on the problem.

Together, we can make our communities safer and still respect the Second amendment. Contrary to what the NRA says, this isn't a zero sum game. Universal background checks on all gun sales, including sales at gun shows and online would help enforce existing prohibitions and doesn't infringe on anyone's right. This idea is supported by 93 prcent of Americans, including gun owners and NRA members.

Please take action, call your representatives: Tell them now is the time to take a stand against the NRA, and pass common sense gun laws. You can also join Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America, a grassroots organization standing up to the NRA, made up of volunteers in all states who are tired of seeing the endless gun violence.

Let's start now. When our country is faced with a problem we fix it, we don't throw our hands up and say there's nothing we can do. Thoughts and prayers are needed in times like these, but if we don't take action, we won't escape these times. If not now then when?

Daniel Bishop Conway

From the web in response to the Oct. 9 Arkansas Blog post "Trump can still count on Tom Cotton":

Cotton may be the last face your children and grandchildren sees before the door slams shut to deliver Trump's Final Solution. If you aren't of the pure Aryan Race a la the six white men misrepresenting Arkansas in D.C. today, your days may be numbered. Also the continued poking of Kim Jung Un with a sharp stick may doom us all. If you are still a Cotton supporter, please self-deport ASAP!

DeathbyInches

Sen. Corker, who I disagree with on most issues, is dead on with this. Trump is a danger to the country and Sen. Corker is remembering that his oath of office is not to Trump and his regime, but to the U.S. Constitution.

Rick 1

From the web in response to the Oct. 10 Arkansas Blog post "Mike Pence makes political hay from National Anthem; Trump ready for war":

What one thing do you know for sure when they say that it's not about racism?

Silverback66

Pence should have just said he disagreed with the players. But not go to the stadium with the intention of turning right around and leaving. Imagine all the extra security and inconvience to paying fans wanting to just see a game — all in the name of a publicity stunt.

Still waiting on final totals for the total cost to the taxpayers for this racist PR stunt. There are no figures I can find on secret service and local police costs and support staff in the three various locations. We know this was a preplanned farce because the press corp traveling with Pence was told not to enter the stadium in Indiana because Pence wouldn't be in there very long. But according to the Air Force, the 3 hour 20 minute flight on AF2 from Las Vegas to Indianapolis cost the taxpayers $100,000. Shortly after, the flight from Indianapolis to the republican fundraiser in Los Angeles cost taxpayers $142,500.

Mountaingirl

From the web in response to the Oct. 10 Arkansas Blog post "Gun goddess Jan Morgan is exploring a run for governor":

Might want to leave her in obscurity, Max. With all this Trump Derangement hysteria feeding the mob, any news of Jan would most likely help her win.

Remember, the media mocked Trump, and he won over Obama voters, so you might want to let Jan live in obscurity because all you are doing is helping her win.

Steven E

If the Roy Moore/Bannon branch takes over the Republican Party, and the rest of us let them take over the U.S., we will all get what they deserve.

Silverback66

A Northwest Arkansas TV station has video of her at a Republican event and her criticisms of A$a drew lots of applause. Interesting.

Screen name taken

She looks like another blind ultra-conservative, toeing and towing the party line, no matter how much it hurts regular people. Arkansas Works is working well, whether the President is black or not.

BIGMUSIC

For those folks who think Donald Trump isn't quite nutty enough, now we have this thing.

Doesn't Arkansas already have enough to be embarrassed about?

The problem is, I could drive downtown and find 50 people in a matter of minutes who would think she is the answer to their prayers.

mountaingirl

From the web in response to the Oct. 8 Arkansas Blog post "Huckabee serves up soft balls to Donald Trump":

I didn't watch but from what I've seen the most ridiculous thing Trump said was that he came up with the word "fake"!

I think one of the greatest of all terms I've come up with is 'fake'," he said. I guess other people have used it, perhaps, over the years, but I've never noticed it."

NeverVoteRepublican

My old step-dad would say, "Right there's where two fools came together."

Errol Roberts

From the web in response to the Oct. 6 Arkansas Blog post "Trump administration moves to loosen birth control mandate in health insurance":

Seems that some personal responsibility might be required.

baker

I know, right? Like why should my premiums go to pay for the treatment of some dude's coronary artery disease when he should have taken "personal responsibility" for his health and adopted a vegan diet. Why should my premiums go to pay for the ER treatment of kids sick with measles or whooping-cough because their parent's opposed vaccinations on religious grounds? They should have taken "personal responsibility" for their kid's health. I think this "citing religious or moral objections" is a two-way street. I think that the amount of money my insurance company charges for drug X is outrageously and immorally expensive and thus, "citing religious or moral objections," I will refuse to pay my bill to them. They better just suck it up and write the debt off, cause I got "religious freedom" on my side.

tsallenarng

Birth control protects families as well as men. And who causes pregnancies? Men. Who fathers babies? Men. Who is protected by birth control? Men as well as families. This is just an excuse to weaken maternity and child coverage! But viagra is covered — even for unmarried men. Why should a celibate widow of 17 years pay for men to have relations?

aqua blue

Mena memories

Not sure of the exact time, but back then a county deputy (later a drug task force officer) told me he'd been on a mountaintop near the Polk County line when a large twin-engine aircraft flew over so low that he threw himself on the ground to avoid the propellers.

From the web

In response to Mara Leveritt's Sept. 28 cover story, "Who's afraid of Barry Seal?":

Not sure of the exact time, but back then a county deputy (later a drug task force officer) told me he'd been on a mountaintop near the Polk County line when a large twin-engine aircraft flew over so low that he threw himself on the ground to avoid the propellers. This guy is now deceased, but he never lied to me about anything else.

louie

louie, when I lived in NW Arkansas there was an emergency services director who came from Polk County. He told me about a plane crash in which the plane was full of guns. And of seeing Oliver North in town before anyone knew who Oliver North was. 

Vanessa

In response to Gene Lyons' Oct. 2 column, "Trump and sports":

Gene, you're spot-on with "... sports stars have constituencies of their own." Trump would do well to walk away from that battle. Could this be the straw that breaks the Donald's back? We can always hope.

Tony Galati

President Trump took an oath to defend the country when he took office, so if sport stars are entitled to speak their issues, this wrestling style takedown by the world leader slaps fiction to life with honest tell-it-like-it-is truth.

I don't know if Betsy Ross was real or make-believe, but I do know American soldiers were sacrificed liberating German concentration camps during WWII and were symbolized by the flag they hoisted high, Old Glory. Receiving the Stars and Stripes, a treasured piece of cloth, those Holocaust survivors knew for the rest of their days it was to be a symbol that brave men stood for something.

Freddy

Odd, then, that Trump showed comparatively little indignation when Charlottesville marchers carried swastikas, don't you think?

Aloysius

The first line of Gene's article describes my brother. "For normal people, sports often serve as a refuge from politics." After a hard, long day at work, he just wants to come home, go to the internet and relax by reading sports statistics and articles about the actual game. He doesn't like politics and works 60 hours a week and has a demanding family to take care of, so he barely has time to sleep. He is irked that Trump has invaded the one place he can relax and filled it with his ugly, ranting political outbursts.

ShineonLibby

In response to the Oct. 2 Arkansas Blog post, "Arkansas officials react to mass shooting" in Las Vegas:

The price to pay to live in a society with such open and easy access to guns was paid by the poor folks shot to pieces like fish in a barrel last night.  Until American society decides they've had enough of this crap and starts getting serious about putting some controls on the easy availability of guns, this is only going to continue.

Rick 1

Yes, in general, more guns make us safer, but rifles designed solely for killing large numbers of human beings make us the most safe. Whether it be an AR-15 or an AK clone, every family needs one.

Ivan the Republican

Sickening weak responses from the usual numbskulls. Here's a thought: gun control, tougher gun laws, military weapons not sold to random batshit civilians, and praying mantis legislators resign so effective laws can be passed.

Warren

In response to the Oct. 2 Arkansas Blog post, "NFL fans boo players kneeling to pray before Anthem: It isn't about the flag":

That the kneeling that is supposedly "dividing" the country is a phenomenon driven by the pig grunts of hate being uttered by The Orange Idiot, who seeks to actively sow hatred and division as a distraction from his complete unfitness for office and his utterly failed administration filled with con artists, gangsters and grifters.

Tsallernarng

The whole point of Kaepernik's kneeling was that there were cameras attached to a mass audience. As a conversation starter, it seems to have worked.

Silverback66

Ever think about how history will treat The Donald? If he's lucky he'll be remembered around the world as an arrogant, egotistical and crass jackass.

PVNasby

In response to the Sept. 27 Arkansas Blog post, "Governor laments defeat of Obamacare repeal. 300,000-plus Arkansans don't join him":

Asa Hutchinson has certainly shed a tear or two for the propertied class.

"... [I] will continue to focus on creating a more efficient, sustainable system of health care in The Natural State for future generations."

Translation: "If we can make the rules more byzantine, we can cull the rolls of folks, who will then hopefully dutifully die, thus freeing up money for more top-rate income tax cuts. As our lawd of prosperity gospel intends."

Tsallernarng

I'm still at a loss as to why he was willing to give $6 billion away. This country we live in under Republican domination is becoming more and more bizarre!

golfpro

Let's not kid ourselves. This governor can do math. He knows full well what the passage of Graham-Cassidy would have done to Arkansas, to the state budget and to his ability to continue to cut taxes (which has been made possible by all of the Obamacare money flowing into the state's coffers).

The bill's failure allows him to have his cake and eat it, too: healthy budget, more tax cuts and the opportunity to say all the things that the mouth-breathers want to hear.

He's safe, but his right flank is wobbly and his legislative allies need him to toe the line on this issue.

oldandintheway

In response to the Sept. 25 Arkansas Blog post, "Husbands' influence on the vote of women," citing a wife who voted for Trump because her husband worked in the coal industry:

You'd think a college-educated woman would be able to look around her and see that coal is a dying resource for power generation or much of anything else.  Well, unless WWIII breaks out. Then we, or rather those of us who are still around, will use anything we can scrounge up. Do you think that woman will be able to adapt?

Doigotta

In an election where you had two evils, either vote was going to be a loser.  The man didn't seem to have any influence on the woman who voted Trump. As a thinking person, she gave it the economic thought about who would do better for an industry her husband had a stake in, and he didn't have to tell/ask/beg her to make that Trump vote.  Still, this mass hysteria is rather illuminating as those who seek to blame those percentage of women that had valid reason, based in fact, of why they wouldn't stomach Hillary Clinton as president.

Steven E

I'm happy that my wife and I agree on politics. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a house divided, such as that of Mary Matalin and her husband, James Carville, who not only vote differently, but actively work for candidates who are diametrically opposed on all of the critical issues. I am sure there have been times when each has had to destroy the other politically. How can love survive in such an atmosphere?

plainjim

Minimizing rape

I am writing in response to the opinion piece written by Gene Lyons titled "Sex on Campus," published Sept. 21, on behalf of all sexual assault crisis centers in Arkansas and other advocates who work with victims of rape and/or sexual assault. We are compelled to set the record straight with facts about sexual assault, the brain and body's response to traumatic events, and the usefulness of Title IX to address victimizations on campuses.

Minimizing rape

I am writing in response to the opinion piece written by Gene Lyons titled "Sex on Campus," published Sept. 21, on behalf of all sexual assault crisis centers in Arkansas and other advocates who work with victims of rape and/or sexual assault. We are compelled to set the record straight with facts about sexual assault, the brain and body's response to traumatic events, and the usefulness of Title IX to address victimizations on campuses.

Lyons included incomplete research and harmful inaccuracies in his opinion piece, as did Emily Yoffe in her recent articles in The Atlantic on the topic. Publishing incomplete and misinformation does a disservice to the public and limits our community's ability to understand the scope and impact of sexual assault.

Questioning the validity of science that seeks to understand the body's response to trauma discredits victims of sexual violence and other traumatic events. While biological and emotional responses to sexual assault vary, it is widely agreed upon that when the brain perceives a threat, there are common brain-based responses. The science behind the neurobiology of trauma is real and has been ongoing for decades. Yoffe herself makes the argument when she asserts, "being assaulted is traumatic and no one should expect those who have been assaulted to have perfect recall or behave perfectly rationally." We see the biologically-based reactions to trauma evidenced by the variety of survival reflexes, habits or defense responses after a traumatic event experienced by those who serve our country through the police force or soldiers in combat. Even victims of car accidents prove the experience of trauma can cause these same reactions because the brain has perceived a threat.

Though he includes an obligatory clause saying, "[his article] is in no way to minimize rape," Lyons' opinion does, in fact, "minimize rape." Rape is a serious and widespread problem. As noted by the National Sexual Violence Resource center, the reality is one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. Research from a variety of sources and methodologies confirm approximately 20 of college women are sexually violated. Studies dating back 30 years on the scope of rape amongst college students have validated these figures. Additionally, consent is necessary and ongoing in healthy, normal, legal interactions. If one of the participants is too intoxicated (or otherwise incapacitated) to participate or remain conscious (and thus consent) throughout the whole process, the law is clear that the sex act should end. No one is entitled to assume consent for any sex act they desire will be granted simply because other acts were agreed to. If a person enthusiastically orders a cup of tea, but falls asleep before the tea is delivered, it is widely understood that the once highly desired cup of hot tea should not be poured down the throat of the sleeping person. Similarly, sex acts must not be forced upon someone who is blacked out, asleep, ill from alcohol poisoning, incapacitated by drugs, restrained or otherwise overpowered.

It seems Lyons does not care much for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her attacks on public schools, which makes his opinion piece all the more perplexing as it seems to scoff at attacks on public school students. The Title IX system has only begun working for victims of sexual assault. Yes, it has been a bumpy road. No, we have not found it to be a perfect system. Nor is the criminal court system, it is worth noting. Campus disciplinary processes and the protections against gender-based discrimination and resulting hostile environments provided by Title IX offer options to victims of sexual violence that allow them to continue their education while seeking remedies for what was done to them. Once people who have been sexually abused or raped feel safe and understand the reporting process, more reports will be made. This is to be expected. This is a sign the system is beginning to work.

Lyons' opinion that, "It's not a criminal matter, you see. Merely one's educational and professional future that can be at stake," is as outrageous as it is appalling. A victim of sexual violence is often left with emotional difficulties that impact the rest of their life; their education is disrupted, as are their relationships with friends, family and classmates. The very worst outcome for a person found guilty of violating a school's code of conduct is that they are not allowed to finish their education at the institution where the rules of conduct were violated. No incarceration. No parole or supervision. No mandated counseling. No offender registry. They can continue their education elsewhere. A victim of sexual violence may face barriers to completing their education anywhere.

Finally, Lyons shows his true colors when, in the same article, he attempts to debunk the science of trauma, yet writes "... both men and women lie all the time, and sex is one of the topics they lie about most often. Ask any divorce lawyer." Sex is different from sexual assault. Conflating the two perpetuates the problem. Sexual assault is a widespread, serious problem — on campuses and in communities in Arkansas and every other state in the nation. Cheering the demise of a federal law that encourages prevention education and offers protections to students who have been harmed so that they might continue to pursue their education in a safe environment makes no sense. It is bad policy, bad practice, bad politics and in this case, bad press.

Monie Johnson

Executive director

Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault Little Rock

Sports vs. religion

Has anyone else noticed that right wingers, including the president, want to keep politics out of sports, but have no problem injecting politics into religion? Interesting.

RL Hutson Cabot

On Walmart and state money

No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.

From the web

In response to the Sept. 15 Arkansas Blog post "Walmart plans to build new HQ in Bentonville" about the corporation's plans to apply for a grant from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission:

No they don't need state help. Any conservative legislator who is true to their tea party principles will crow on about crony capitalism. I look forward to deafening silence.

Pygface

God, I hope we can help them out!!! Maybe we can sell off the town of Waldron and give Walmart the proceeds.

Arbiter of All Things AOAT

Why does a corporation that is partly responsible for dismantling the Pulaski County Special School District deserve grants? Perhaps I am not being considerate of the dent building a new headquarters will have in their average $14 billion net profit every year. I feel like such a cynic.

Artificial Intelligence

Why does the world's largest retailer need assistance from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission? Shouldn't AEDC work on bringing in new economic opportunities?  This sounds like corporate welfare. 

Arkanzin

You folks might want to visit Northwest Arkansas and see what Walmart has done for Arkansas. Jobs and economic activity run amuck. As the owner of the Arkansas government, do you know who your largest customer is? [If] these guys put their new headquarters out to bid (like Amazon), and the sucking sound in Arkansas would be deafening.

A broke Arkansas guy started a company and grew it into the largest company in the world. He kept the headquarters in Arkansas. And now, they are choosing to stay here for decades to come. Thank you, Walmart. Thank you for the payroll taxes we collect. Thank you for the income taxes we collect. Thank you for the contribution you make to our economy. Thank you for the intelligent people you attract. Thank you for the hundreds of millions you give away to make our communities stronger.

Here's to another half a century of success for all.

dowhat

dowhat, we spent the night in Bentonville in June, having not been back there since we sold our house in Pea Ridge in '92. The Bentonville Square is nice. The hotels are aplenty, and reasonably priced. But Walmart HQ ? It was sad. It was almost laughable.

Sam and Bud were from Missouri. After being born in Oklahoma. Went to the same high school I went to in Columbia, Mo. Sam ended up in Arkansas after his military discharge (Oklahoma, again.) He, with help from Helen's dad, obtained a Ben Franklin store in Newport. He's been long dead, and it's not his Walmart any more. He was no more "broke" than Hillary Clinton. Nice try, though.

Walmart HQ in Bentonville looks like a warehouse district in some godforsaken river bottoms, only it's up on an eroded plateau and there's no river barge traffic.

I don't care how much Walmart has stimulated the economy, it does not deserve taxpayer help to build on land they already own. It's not as though it's a gonna raise up the local property tax base.

Vanessa

I agree with dowhat on this issue. Having lived in Northwest Arkansas for 50 years, I have witnessed how much beneficial effect Walmart has had on the economy — and the quality of life. It's much better for the state to hand out its incentives to a homegrown business than to foreign corporations, which oftentimes default on their obligations and have no philanthropic concerns for the local area. I'm looking forward to seeing the new headquarters. I understand there was a concerted effort by some officers in the corporation several years ago to move the headquarters to a more cosmopolitan location. The Walton family stood firm. It would always be in Bentonville, they said, as long as they have the controlling interest.

Plainjim

In response to the Arkansas Blog post "Arkansas legislature rejects bipartisan effort to study race relations":

Kryptonite.

Casper

Racial resentment runs deep here in good ole D'arkansas, especially since Trump fanned the dying embers into a roaring bonfire. Keyword "dying" may be the only long-term cure.

JB

There should be lots of studies from around the country. Seems like it would be easier for some legislators to get some of the studies and then pitch ideas that have worked elsewhere. Not a fan of studies that do nothing and then politicians taking credit for "studying."

Screen name taken

Our legislature seems far more interested in exclusion than inclusion. Otherwise, why would they keep on introducing voter I.D. laws that are clearly meant to exclude anyone but white people? Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Springdale), Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) et al. want us all to march lockstep to their white, Baptist dictates. I guess that's what their Jesus tells them to do. Oh, and I am white.

JulieM69

Naw, they are too busy erecting Ten Commandments and statues to be interested in too many things that will divert their attention from their worthy labor of love.

Cato1

Don't know why, but your Tech Park (that I've been reading about in these blogs for, what, six years?) just popped into my head. How is that coming along for ya? The best and brightest diverse young minds flocking there for those jobs, are they?

Norma Bates

In response to the Sept. 14 Arkansas Blog post "State Board of Education gives final green light to three more charters in Little Rock":

Anybody who thinks this isn't about completely charterizing Little Rock and Pine Bluff schools (the last strongholds of Democrats and democracy in Arkansas), let me know. I've got some prime oceanfront property in Northwest Arkansas you can have for a mere pittance. Excepting of course those poor and special needs students in Little Rock and Pine Bluff who can't be easily turned into profit centers.

Sound Policy

Charter schools are good for those children who have already been dealt a good hand. We're resegregating the population with charter schools.  On top of that, charters are not held to the same education services standard traditional public schools are. For instance, they offer limited special education services and those they do provide are typically contracted out. "At risk" children often need special assistance. When open enrollment charters do allow a certain percentage of children in this classification into their schools, they often cannot provide the services needed to ensure academic success.

I agree that there may be a public/charter partnership possibility. I just don't see the Waltons, Johnny Key or the State Board giving each its fair share.

Lbishop

On bullshit

I am quoted in Leslie Peacock's article about doctors and medical marijuana. I do not disown any of the things I am quoted as saying, and I commend Peacock on her excellent research and writing. I've enjoyed reading her for at least two decades. But the slant of the article creates a misperception that I am (and many other doctors like me are) cruelly depriving suffering human beings of beneficial treatment. This is not correct.

Silly season

The "silly season" is almost here. This is the season in which some people talk and act crazy about themselves and public policy. It happens around every two years. Political candidates do everything in their power to win public office. In Arkansas, judicial candidates file as early as December of this year. Democrats and Republicans will start signing up as early as February 2018. Voting for primary elections starts in early May. When the primaries are finished, Arkansas's political government will basically be decided. There is only one viable political party now in Arkansas, the Republicans, and winners of the Republican primary contests will most likely proceed to public office. The general election in November 2018 will simply be a formality for our red state's constitutional officers and most of the legislature. Our governor, attorney general and representatives can plan their agendas now for the next two years.

The silly season is also made simpler by computer voting. Arkansas is quickly switching to the Schouptronic machines provided by the Danahar Control Corp. in Illinois. Paper trails are not available to the silly news media and software engineers will eventually be able to design voting results throughout our state. Maybe someday soon Arkansans will be able to phone text their choices for "Republican Idol." Virtual democracy and a one-party system take a lot of the silliness out of politics.

Gene Mason Jacksonville

On bullshit

I am quoted in Leslie Peacock's article about doctors and medical marijuana. I do not disown any of the things I am quoted as saying, and I commend Peacock on her excellent research and writing. I've enjoyed reading her for at least two decades. But the slant of the article creates a misperception that I am (and many other doctors like me are) cruelly depriving suffering human beings of beneficial treatment. This is not correct. The problem is that there is a lack of scientifically valid evidence that marijuana is helpful for any medical condition that I treat, such as PTSD. Peacock notes on the Psychiatric Associates of Arkansas Facebook page an article reviewing the evidence for using marijuana for PTSD and chronic pain. The article concludes there is no good evidence that marijuana is a beneficial treatment for either of these conditions. The article is published in the prestigious, peer-reviewed journal Annals of Internal Medicine and is summarized in a Reuter's clip. Peacock's article states that my office "voted" not to certify medical marijuana. Voting has nothing to do with this or with determining whether any medical treatment is appropriate. If doctors voted that apple juice cured colon cancer, it would not make it any more effective. I do not object to unusual treatments. If you look on the Facebook page there are also articles about using ketamine (the club drug "special K") as a treatment for depression and MDMA (the club drug "ecstasy") as a treatment for PTSD. If there is evidence a treatment is safe and alleviates human suffering or remediates human disease, then I am all over it. The "evidence" for medical marijuana is testimonial. While testimony is emotionally compelling, it carries no scientific weight. It is not hard to find examples of testimony to just about anything. Even the available testimonial data is not gathered in the systematic scientific way a medical sociologist might do. In my own area of psychiatry there is plenty of evidence that marijuana does harm. For instances it can provoke paranoia and psychosis in people who are predisposed. It can interfere with motivation and memory. I defer to other specialists regarding marijuana as a treatment for seizures, HIV, Alzheimer's disease, etc.

I know that the law only requires that a doctor certify that somebody has one of the listed conditions and does not require the doctor to certify that it is his or her professional opinion that marijuana helps the condition. Think about who this disclaimer lets off the hook: It is not the doctors who provide treatments to patients that are proven to be helpful to them. I will never in my capacity as a doctor advise a patient: "Take this; there is no evidence it works and I don't know whether it does more harm than good — but here you go."

In Peacock's article I am quoted using the word "baloney." I apologize for this word choice. I self-censored to be polite. The word I actually have in mind is "bullshit," in the sense described in the philosopher H.G. Frankfurt's definitive treatise "On Bullshit." Frankfurt argues bullshit is a valuable concept in analyzing human discourse. He states that the difference between bullshit and lying is that the liar is concerned with truth (and wants to obscure or misrepresent it), whereas the bullshitter does not care what the truth is — he is up to something else. For instance, I was out with a friend, and he ordered a bottle of wine and grinned and said "for my heart." I rolled my eyes. Why did he grin and why did I roll my eyes? Because both of us recognized his statement was bullshit. Notice that truth is irrelevant here; wine may or may not be good for his heart, but that is not why he was ordering a bottle of wine. He was ordering a bottle of wine because it is an intoxicating, euphoriant drug, and we both know it. When I say medical marijuana is bullshit, what I mean is that whether or not medical marijuana is helpful for any medical condition, people use it because it is an intoxicating, euphoriant drug. And we all know it. When someone says they use marijuana for their PTSD, they should grin and we should roll our eyes.

Arkansas voters can pass a law legalizing medical marijuana, but they cannot pass a law making marijuana an appropriate treatment for any illness any more than my partners and I can vote that marijuana is not an appropriate treatment for PTSD. The only thing that can establish the utility of marijuana as a treatment is a randomized blocks, placebo-controlled trial comparing marijuana with a plausible placebo and using objective measures and statistical analyses to sort out all the biases that human beings are prone to. In the case of medical marijuana, such evidence is conspicuously absent. Unless there is good scientific evidence, medicine should not be involved with this at all. Also, notice that I am not necessarily against revoking the laws prohibiting marijuana use. I think a good case can be made for repealing all of our vice laws — because their enforcement is too expensive, painful, and ineffective — and then mount public health information campaigns and presume that smart, good, well-informed people will choose to live healthy, happy, productive lives and cultivate good habits rather than bad habits, and they will judiciously use pharmaceuticals that are proven to be helpful to them. That is, we might do better if we treated all vices like we do nicotine use — develop public health and moral solutions rather than punitive, painful legal sanctions. And a debate about this would be honest and not bullshit.

I also worry about doctors monetizing human suffering. The U.S. medical system, which should be devoted to ameliorating disease and easing suffering, is already badly twisted by perverse economic incentives. Obviously, the most self-serving way for me to play the medical marijuana game would be to hand out a checklist with the qualifying diagnoses and their symptoms and have patients check off symptoms and attach a check for $250. I would then provide a signed certificate and a disclaimer that there is no good scientific evidence that marijuana helps any of these conditions. And I could do it all by mail or telemedicine. The patients would buy short-term happiness and I'd be rich. And we could both grin and roll our eyes.

Richard Owings

Psychiatric Associates of Arkansas Little Rock

From the web

In response to Leslie Peacock's Sept. 7 cover story on medical marijuana:

Is hydrocodone "baloney"? Is OxyContin "baloney"? Are fentanyl patches "baloney"? Are the addictions and long-lasting effects on patients' health of the three previous drugs mentioned just "baloney"? I have never met a marijuana addict. I have met plenty of hydrocodone addicts who are now so messed up that they are turning to heroine to ease their physical pain and sadly falling into deeper spirals of addiction.

Artificial Intelligence

Amen. I say give it awhile. After the storm of the early days turns into months and a year or so, the benefits will began to show and start outweighing the negative attitudes on the subjects. The doctors will truly see the good in using it and will begin to come around. You'll see.

Mike Hogan Sr.

Anything that might, I say even might, cut down on the opioid addiction in this country, which leads to heroin, I am all for. Since it is nonaddictive (not to be confused with habit or liking it a lot), I say it is worth a try. Many parts of the country are seeing enormous spikes in opioid addiction deaths in all age groups. No approach seems to be working. For that reason alone, I would be in favor of  legalization of marijuana.

Ark7788

Open letter to Rep. Bruce Cozart

I read your response to the Arkansas Times' request for comments about what happened in Charlottesville, Va. It is obvious that you are not well educated on the facts of history surrounding the Civil War.

Open letter to Rep. Bruce Cozart

I read your response to the Arkansas Times' request for comments about what happened in Charlottesville, Va. It is obvious that you are not well educated on the facts of history surrounding the Civil War. On the other hand, maybe you do know your history, and you are simply sympathetic to the cause of white supremacy. I hope your comments were made out of ignorance, and not out of bigotry, because ignorance can be cured.

Certainly the Civil War was fought for economic reasons, as you said. However, slavery was the foundation upon which the Southern economy was built. I won't go into detail on this matter, but the most superficial perusal of the facts (the actual facts, not "alternative facts") shows that many people in the South, especially plantation-owning elites, believed that black people were put on this planet to serve white people. Just do a little research and you can find evidence that supports this. In other words, it wasn't just about control of the cotton trade, or states' rights.

Mr. Cozart, you also said that monuments and memorials to the Confederacy are part of our history, which we shouldn't be forced to forget. That's interesting, because some people have been asking black Americans to forget their history for a long time. The armed rebellion in which the South took part to keep their slaves is part of our white Southern heritage, but it is also part of black heritage, too, just from a very different perspective. Regardless of what you may believe, those statues were not erected immediately after the war to commemorate the fallen heroes of a noble cause. Those Confederate monuments and memorials were purposely placed in highly visible public places during the era of Jim Crow as a reminder to blacks not to step out of line, and as a way of metaphorically giving the finger to the North. I agree we shouldn't destroy such historical items, but there is a more appropriate way to display them, a way that does not insult an entire segment of our population.

Please share this with fellow legislators who share your views, especially Sen. Jason Rapert. I would send the same message to him, but every time I ask Mr. Rapert to justify his position on matters of any sort he just accuses me of being a non-believer.

R.L. Hutson Cabot

From the web

On the Aug. 31 cover story, "Kids in Isolation: locked away in Alexander" by David Ramsey:

The Arkansas government does not seem capable or interested in protecting the lives of children who are outside of the womb. I have been reading articles from other sources that report the same thing: The majority of Arkansas government has turned a blind eye to the neglect and lack of oversight in the Department of Human Services' youth correctional facilities. Why are there so many horror stories about foster care children and youth correctional facilities in Arkansas? Governor Hutchinson and DHS Director Cindy Gillespie appointed longtime executive staff employee Betty Guhman to be director of Youth Services in July 2016.  But I keep reading articles about the Division of Youth Services having problems with staff, funding, abuse, resignations, contract disputes, out-of-state for-profit vendors and a lack of oversight and transparency on the part of DHS and Director Guhman. My opinion is the Arkansas government does not believe in or want to fund rehabilitation programs for anyone. They are cheap about providing the mental and emotional health services that are needed for children that are locked up. They just continue to create mentally ill people that they will eventually lock up in prison. They do not care about human lives if it decreases the money in the general improvement fund. Does the state ever get back the funds that state legislators steal? Sen. Jake Files (R-Fort Smith) goes to work every day at the state Capitol and collects his paycheck. What kind of justice is that? I hate saying these terrible remarks about the state government, but I also get tired of hearing comments from pompous legislators wanting to erect Ten Commandments monuments while they ignore the needs of children in our state. Maybe Rep. Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville) or a church could go hang plaques on the walls of the youth correctional facilities that say "In God We Trust." I bet that would impress the youth that are locked up.

ShineonLibby

On the Arkansas Blog reporting on Twitter posts criticizing Barack Obama for not going to New Orleans during Katrina and mistaking Condoleeza Rice for Michelle Obama:

I'm proud that we conservatives not only invented fake news ("Obama wasn't born in the U.S."), but continue to improve it, as the "Obama at Katrina" meme shows.  As Pontius Pilate said: "What is Truth?"

Ivan the Republican

I pine for a simpler time when we could come together and acknowledge that all the ills of the world were Clinton's fault.  "[Poetry] is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake." — Lord Byron.

CyberBiker

On the Arkansas Blog posting on President Trump's decision to overturn President Obama's limitation on providing military surplus, like grenade launchers, to police forces:

Though I can see how bayonets "could" have daily use in roadside trash pickup, I fail to understand why the other items are necessary to quell dozens of WAND members at a vigil. Perhaps a local sheriff could have a good old boy hunting trip with his campaign contributors in a tracked armored vehicle with 50-caliber guns mounted on top. But nothing, nothing, happening in this country can justify its use at all, let alone daily. The thought of weaponized drones in the hands of the federal government in this country, let alone in the hands of the Barney Fifes, is enough to evacuate the bowels of most residents of 71909. Already, there are private companies on the sidelines eagerly waiting to customize former military drones with shotguns, grenade launchers, and bombs for local police. Are we saying that police are so incompetent that they need such weapons to do their job of protecting citizens? Many Americans already fear police. Do you think arming them like invading Stormtroopers is going to dial down that fear? What in this country can justify police having such a lethal arsenal against its own citizens?

Jabberwocky

In response to an Arkansas Blog post about an article on Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards that asks the question whether Arkansas Democrats should support support pro-life candidates if they could win more seats:

Hell No! Let them stay in the Republican Party where they belong.

DeathbyInches

DBI, you are wrong. I'll take a social conservative Democrat like Mark Pryor or Blanche Lincoln over John Bozeman and Tom Cotton every time, and you should also. The same goes for Mike Ross, the Blue Dog Democrat whom many in the party abandoned in 2014. The party has to get back to its economic basis, livable wages for the working man, better health care for all. I hope our new party chairman can find a candidate such as John Bel Edwards to run for governor in Arkansas. I would become an active party member again. Philosophical purity will get a person nowhere in conservative Arkansas if they want to win. I have been preaching that for years.

plainjim

Land-use planning

One recent event in the long process of the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) process of pushing the I-30 Crossing project on Little Rock keeps bothering me.

From the web

In response to an Arkansas Blog item on the flooding in Houston:

Problem is many of these flood-prone homes are built by contractors who are able to bend regulations to build in flood plains. People love to buy home near water for many reasons. Houston is a great example of a city that has seen many episodes of damaging flooding over the years ... yet they keep rebuilding (or building new) homes in a flood plain. Houston's population equals that of the whole state of Arkansas. The flooding right now is affecting a total area that would take up 2/3 of Arkansas. It really is unimaginable how bad life there is going to get in the coming weeks.

Tom Cotton and others of his kind wanted to punish President Obama with their rejection of FEMA flood insurance expansion, even though the Obama administration wanted to structure flood relief in a way that made the cities and municipalities responsible for building in flood-prone areas. Always interesting to me that Republicans claim they want accountability, but somehow twist it so that they make devils out of the opposing party who originated the idea of accountability.

Artificial Intelligence

Land-use planning

One recent event in the long process of the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) process of pushing the I-30 Crossing project on Little Rock keeps bothering me. The last meeting of the Regional Planning Advisory Council of Metroplan provided a disturbing view of the state of Metroplan and our community. There was no opportunity for opposition statements. Tab Townsell, Metroplan director, who styles himself as a progressive "new urbanist," presented ARDOT's canned presentation on why it is inevitable that we widen all our freeways in Little Rock.

Townsell blamed this need to expand our urban freeways on "land-use planning" by regional municipalities. This is the most disingenuous statement of the entire I-30 Crossing debacle.

The construction of our urban freeways, especially I-30 and I-630, has had more effect on land use in Little Rock than any other factor. The public subsidy of freeway construction in Little Rock has more to do with land use, sprawl and racial division than any land-use planning event in our history.

We need to call the I-30 Crossing project what it is: a taxpayer-subsidized inducement for sprawl. It is not good for Little Rock or North Little Rock and represents the dark ages of urban planning. Why are Townsell, Mayor Stodola, Dean Kumpuris, Gene Fortson and others selling us down the freeway expansion river?

Tom Fennell

Little Rock

New gun law

I am a member of the Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and I am worried that people do not know what is about to be legal in our state. On Sept. 1, 2017, a new law goes into effect in Arkansas that makes several dangerous changes to our gun laws. Among other changes, the new law allows concealed handguns to be carried in several places where it was previously against the law for civilians to carry them. The new law allows concealed handguns into certain private establishments, including those that serve alcohol. Guns and alcohol don't mix. There is strong evidence that people under the influence of alcohol are at an elevated risk of violent behavior, including gun violence.

I have spoken to many business owners who were not aware that this change is coming. I want Arkansas business owners to know that they are free to make the choice about guns on their private property. Any private business owner, including those who own or operate establishments that serve alcohol, can prohibit the concealed carry of handguns by posting a sign, clearly readable from at least 10 feet away, stating that "carrying a handgun is prohibited."

Eve Jorgensen

Little Rock

SOSO = SOSO

As the title says, doing the same-old same-old gives the same-old results. The media tells about education failures daily, with stories about young people doing horrible things. The low state test results and the international PISA scores show proof of not learning well. For developed countries, the United States ranks near the middle of the pack, even though only Norway and Switzerland outspend us. Why not change?

Since the early 1800s, public schools taught the masses. In the 19th century, we used the European model of placing students in grades based on age. Schools mainly produced people able to work in factories across the nation. At the time, even young children knew how to use tools and respected adults, but lacked literacy. Books were scarce even in schools. Factories made the industrial revolution and served as a model for schools in the education revolution.

The factory model is still used today. However, the industrial revolution is long over and most children start school at a level more advanced than their counterparts in the last century. Private schools began when Catholics could not tolerate public school Protestant practices, and started their own schools. Community-oriented Catholic schools keep children together at least eight years, and are still successful today.

The 20th century gave us charter schools and vouchers. Vouchers allow parents to pick a school and use public money for expenses. Charters get public money and autonomy in return for a contract to close if unsuccessful. Since maintaining one large school rather than several smaller schools is less costly, most charters build community by keeping students together on a campus for at least eight years, like Catholic schools. Marketing comes into play to attract students. Controlling population helps charters get and keep a good reputation. The result is a few highly successful charters and a number not doing so well.

School leaders are too busy running the factories to create community schools. Today's illiteracy and bad behavior are created by a corrupt environment without the tools needed to learn. If we vacate the factory model in favor of a community approach, it requires the help of city leaders. If leadership gets behind the idea and uses all the assets available, Little Rock could become one of the most attractive cities in the United States.

What are some things city leaders must do for us to move from school factories to community schools?

First, embrace the idea that the longer children stay together in a good place the better they become. Begin organizing pre-K through eighth- or 12th-grade schools located along bus lines. This might require new buildings or better use of old places. Being in community schools, students will ride city buses, and so the closer schools are to the bus lines, the easier the commute.

Second, arrange for the community schools to run themselves like charters do now. At one time, Little Rock had a high administrator-to-teacher ratio that was heavy on the administrators' side. That is changing, and self-managed schools will make an even bigger dent in the proportion.

Third, return all charters to public schools. This should not be too difficult since community schools use the charter design. Doing this would return all schools to the transparency now found only in the public schools. It would also bring charter teachers up to the same pay level as public school teachers. It would unite the community with one desired and appreciated school system.

Fourth, begin the process of creating partnerships. One partnership has already been mentioned whereby students ride the city buses. The community should have access to schools when there are no classes. Taxpayers should be able to use libraries, cafeterias, meeting rooms, gymnasiums, playgrounds and auditoriums for a small fee or for free. Ask businesses to sponsor and direct instruction uniting students with possible employment opportunities after graduation.

Adopting the community school idea fosters fraternity, togetherness and, most importantly, teamwork. If we ALL, with an emphasis on the word "all," work together, we will ALL be proud and satisfied with the results. When we have a proud, satisfied city, we will have peace and prosperity. If we continue our divisive ways, remember that SOSO = SOSO, and it can get worse.

Richard Emmel Little Rock

More statues

Confederate monuments, largely a legacy of Jim Crow hate, need not be destroyed to nullify their offensive power. They should be sited on private land or exhibited in museums as relics of a painful part of United States history.

More statues

Confederate monuments, largely a legacy of Jim Crow hate, need not be destroyed to nullify their offensive power. They should be sited on private land or exhibited in museums as relics of a painful part of United States history. Here's an (ironic) answer to the proponents of public display:

FOR THE RECORD

Let's have Dahmer in bronze on the square/

And McVeigh. We should all be aware/

Of the fear and the hate/

Which, it seems, made us great./

John Wilkes Booth next to Lincoln sounds fair.

Stuart Jay Silverman Hot Springs

From the web

In response to the Aug. 18 Arkansas Blog post "Arkansas competes for auto plant" about Arkansas vying for a $1.6 billion auto plant, which often involves incentives doled out by the state:

It'll be like that old Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen sketch of a group of old men reminiscing about their early days, each seeking to one-up the others over hardships endured.

"Oh yeah, Governor so-and-so? Well, I'll have MY legislature make the workers PAY Toyota just to be able to have a job there and we'll dump toxic waste into wetlands ourselves, just so the company doesn't have to. So there!"

tsallenarng

In response to the Aug. 21 Arkansas Blog post "Hutchinson's office says he will set execution of Jack Gordon Greene, state has drugs":

As usual with the Arkansas Times, only the barest minimum of information on what a convicted murderer did that resulted in his presence on death row.  I'll say it for you: Jack Greene killed Turner Greene (MURDERED HIS OWN BROTHER) in North Carolina, and then went to Arkansas looking for his estranged girlfriend. He would have killed her, but he found Sidney Burnett (family friend of Jack Greene's girlfriend) so he tortured, stabbed and fatally shot him. Then he went on the run to Oklahoma, where he was caught. Just for full transparency, let's include the fact that he kidnapped his own 16-year-old niece, who somehow survived. Then, he resisted extradition to Arkansas (death penalty state) and tried for extradition to North Carolina, the place where he killed his own brother, since that state has no death penalty. Amazingly detailed strategy for a crazy person. You don't want to talk much about any of that, do you? And there's NO WAY you'd ever post photos of his victims, is there? Nah, let's just focus on poor old crazy Jack and how unfair it all is.  The only unfair aspect of this is that Jack Greene wasn't executed 26 years ago.

Semit Sasnakra

In response to the Aug. 17 Arkansas Blog post "Arkansas Democratic Party calls for removal of Confederate monuments from public grounds:

Serious question here to the governor and the rest of our elected leaders: If you do not wish to remove the statues that honor the Confederate dead because you feel they can be used as teachable moments, then why don't you authorize some statues honoring the dead slaves that helped build this country? If you are going after a teachable moment, shouldn't the whole story be presented?

Poison Apple

I would rather see the Democratic Party of Arkansas demand a livable minimum wage than waste its time railing about Confederate statues. Confederate statues are benign. The hurt that Arkansas workers suffer because of economic inequality is active and brutal. The Democratic Party has forgotten the primary tenet of the FDR, HST and LBJ party, which was to provide a New Deal, a Fair Deal, and a Better Deal for the working man and woman. Bernie, start a new party. I will be with you. I will preach this as long as I am able to type.

Plainjim

In response to the Aug. 16 Arkansas Blog post "Arkansas-linked Charlottesville marcher identified, apologizes to those misidentified" about Andrew Dodson, the man who wore an Arkansas Engineering shirt at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally. Dodson remarked, "How else am I going to figure out what these guys are about?"

If he hasn't figured it out by now, he never will.

Kate

A five-minute Google search could have saved this dolt A LOT of trouble.

Jen Chadbourne

[Re Dodson quote "I just didn't put two and two together. It was dumb."] So says a member of the master race.

AnnaHarrisonTerry

In response to the Aug. 21 Arkansas Blog post "Eclipse-o-rama underway":

It was pretty cool! The light did change some here in LR, and, as they said, tree leaves cast amazing crescent-shaped shadows on the ground. It seems to me the birds got quieter here in my yard, and still are pretty quiet. If I'm still around for the next one in seven years, I'd really like to make the trek to the totality path. This was a good reminder that the universe is an amazing place, and that our politics and squabbles don't amount to much in the grand scheme of things. I am grateful for that reminder.

Kate

In response to David Koon’s Aug. 10 cover story, “Farmer vs. Farmer”

Let the free market solve the problem.

From the web

In response to David Koon's Aug. 10 cover story, "Farmer vs. Farmer," on a murder linked to a quarrel over the herbicide dicamba and the herbicide's effect on East Arkansas:

Let the free market solve the problem. There should be NO regulations of any kind on any farmer.  Corporations are people too, and they spent millions developing these products and deserve a return on their investment. The loss of a few farmers' crops is inconsequential when compared to the needs of a multibillion-dollar international corporation.  Just because one farmer shoots another farmer, and just because millions of dollars of crops have been damaged, there's still no reason for the government to get involved. Let the courts handle it.

Ivan the Republican

I have serious concerns on the safety of dicamba and its use. How safe is it to inhale, and is it readily washable off fruit and vegetables that it doesn't kill in private gardens?  My dad is still dealing with health issues from chemicals that were used on our farm years ago that were later removed from the market as being too dangerous to use.

Mark Hollis

A well-researched article, David. Very sorry for the Wallace family. It was disappointing to read Republican state Rep. Joe Jett's comments about the state government not being able to do anything to help the farmers.

ShineonLibby

In response to the Arkansas Blog post on the police dispersal of homeless people waiting for a meal at a church on West Markham St., who, according to a post by a nonprofit aid group, were called "an eyesore" by one officer:

"Eyesore" being the operative word here. Apparently it's offensive to some with power to have to see what homelessness and hunger look like. Out of sight, out of mind. The homeless are not the reason my hubby freaks out whenever I tell him I need to make a trip to Little Rock or the reason he calls or texts excessively from all parts of the world until I assure him I am on the way home. Homeless and hungry people are not the reason almost none of my girlfriends will make the trip with me anymore, despite attempted bribes of free lunch or a shopping spree. If only the police department and the city would do whatever it takes to hire a full staff and devote every accessible resource to fixing the real problems so folks can resume enjoying the pleasures our beautiful capital city has to offer without fear. I miss that a lot. There always have been and always will be homeless and hungry people. Hiding them doesn't qualify as a Band-aid.  The hungry and homeless don't even appear on the radar of the image our country has right now of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mountaingirl

One wonders why the city fathers keep talking about the number of open police jobs to justify not requiring cops living in Little Rock and crime ... but they can place all these cops at this location instead of in the neighborhoods that are experiencing the problems, because Lance Hines does not like looking at them when he drives to City Hall? Or because the Republican legislators who eat at Doe's and ran for office as Christians don't want to see homeless people? Republicans don't live by Jesus' example.

joanimal

How ironic that there will probably be a 24/7 guard mounted by the Capitol Police watching over the next monolith by Sen. Jason Rapert, but those dedicated to living out the precepts of their religion by aiding the less fortunate among us are threatened with arrest. All the while, fascist TV preachers publicly extol crude and nutty Drumpf as the lawd's chosen. There is no doubt that ours is an "exceptional" nation.

tsallenrng

This city needs new leadership. The drifting and clueless City Hall needs to be cleaned out. And how come, when Little Rock has as many murders this year as Oakland, Calif., that the Little Rock Police Department is busy harassing the homeless and stopping people on Cantrell by Dillards going 5 mph over the speed limit instead of being out and stopping these murders and cracking down on hardened criminals?

Rick 1

Follow the chain of command all the way back to who really authorized orders for the police to use excessive harassment tactics against people breaking bread together. Remember the RFRA? The Arkansas Senate voted to approve a bill that supporters said will protect religious freedoms: House Bill 1228, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville. As an example of the protections the bill would provide, Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, said "a church in Texas was granted the right to continue a program to feed the homeless under Texas religious freedom law." I would suggest that a statue of Baphomet placed on the state Capitol grounds would more accurately represent the morals, character and laws of a majority of the Arkansas government. They will most likely claim they were not aware of this police action. Someone in authority ordered the police to place a surveillance camera across the street.

ShineonLibby

In response to an Arkansas Blog post on eStem charter school head John Bacon's writings that the school's success can be traced to its "demographics":

It is nice when he gets taxpayer money, plus funds poured on him by the Waltons, and then can go out and give a faulty rationale for their success. Since taxpayers aren't represented in the Little Rock School District and apparently can't have a vote to take the rate down to the state minimum, he is just another financial crook living off the efforts of others. These types just wear a business suit rather than a mask.

Couldn't be better

In response to an Arkansas Blog post that the University of Arkansas made a list of 20 schools most unfriendly to the LGBT community:

Husband and I have six weeks left before we leave Arkansas, and the South, for good! Hallelujah!

cryptopagan

Quicksand in court

Arkansas's court system is like quicksand: You don't know how bad it is until you're stuck in it.

Did you know that when you post bail with a bail bondsman, you never see that money again? If you show up like you're supposed to for your day in court, the money you paid stays with the bail bond company. Even if you show up and are found innocent, you don't get your money back.

I always thought that if defendants showed up as scheduled, the bail money was returned. Not so! If you're arrested and bail is set at $10,000, you pay $1,000 to the bondsman. But even if you keep your court date, that money is gone. Vanished. The bondsman keeps it.

Is this justice?

And of course if you're too poor to post bail, it's even worse. Even if you are willing to show up in court when ordered, you're stuck in the jail for weeks or months because you're poor — but that's a subject for another letter. 

The system stinks and the public needs to know how bad it is.

Maya Porter

Johnson

Aims of the religious right

he religious right isn't satisfied with its constitutional right to speak out against ideas with which it does not agree. The religious right wants no less than to possess the legal means by which to condemn and punish those with whom it disagrees.

Aims of the religious right

The religious right isn't satisfied with its constitutional right to speak out against ideas with which it does not agree. The religious right wants no less than to possess the legal means by which to condemn and punish those with whom it disagrees. The exercising of First Amendment rights, such as marching in protest or publishing articles as a means to influence others, is not enough. The religious right wants to take it to another level and bring about the means to legally sanction and penalize any behavior not in line with its own dominionist worldview. This can only be accomplished through establishing some form of theocratic government. This is the dream of the religious right: a country with laws that are based on its interpretation of an ancient religious text. In this sense, the religious right is not different from ISIS.

R.L. Hutson Cabot

From the web

In response to Max Brantley's Aug. 3 column, "Crisis at 60" about the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High, the state takeover of the Little Rock School District and the threat of charter schools to schools like Central:

You are definitely making me think. Now if we could just get this story covered by "60 Minutes," "20/20" or some other national program. Bow ties are back in style

Have we learned anything from the 1957 crisis in Little Rock?

Coreen Frasier

There is nothing cathartic about the 60th anniversary of Central High. The de jure and de facto laws that attempted to maintain segregation at Central High and schools in the U.S. are not anachronistic; the rules are revised modern warfare to have more devastating effects.

Phyllis Brown

In response to Benjamin Hardy's Aug. 3 article, "State still holds reins over youth lockups":

This is a good article, as always, by Benji. I have always been an opponent of the state privatizing correctional or juvenile services. This is a responsibility of government to see it is done correctly, and state government is dodging its responsibility in putting the responsibility in the hands of for-profit corporations, which are more interested in the bottom line than they are in rehabilitating youth or criminals.

plainjim

Please explain to me this: A Republican governor promises to streamline state government starting with the largest state agency, the Department of Human Services. Under Governor Beebe, the director made around $150,000 and had one, sometimes two low-level communications staff. The new Republican governor hired a director at over $200K and the communications staff has increased from 1 to 10! The newly created chief of communications, who by the way is the same person to whom John Selig wouldn't pay a mid-level salary, now earns $100K a year. She has also hired 10 staff for her new communications team, most at salaries much higher than existing employees with years more experience.

Clem Hooten

In response to the Aug. 6 Arkansas Blog post, "Cotton figures in New York Times roundup on 2020 presidential race":

Here goes the failed N.Y. Times masturbating over some fantasy they conjured up. Typical of the fake news articles they pump out day after day in their battle with The Washington Post to see who can be the most outlandish.

71909er

Deny it all you want, Pence (Pence has already issued a statement about the NYT article) and others see the writing on the wall. Trump is seriously damaged, and if he lasts four years, they know he shouldn't be a candidate. Meanwhile, slimy Cottonmouth has been sucking up to Trump in order to get his name in the news. Perhaps they think that after Trump, any Republican will sound sane and have a chance. Even George Bush looks good about now!

NeverVoteRepublican

Is this the same Rotten Tommy Cotton who is deathly afraid to face his constituents in a live public setting? How chicken can a career politician be? He's it.

Sound Policy