Archive for Letters

Traditional schools

As a student who has attended Little Rock public schools since pre-K, I have gotten a firsthand look at what makes public schools great.

Traditional schools

As a student who has attended Little Rock public schools since pre-K, I have gotten a firsthand look at what makes public schools great. With the pro-charter school agendas of President Trump and his secretary of education, our education system could lose public schools and their great qualities altogether. Charter schools don't have to follow the same rules as public schools, so they aren't required to offer the same services as public schools. Charter schools don't have to offer transportation, such as school buses for students, which I think is a must-have for any school. Charter schools want to "transform our public school system," but when you don't offer transportation you are keeping children that have no means of getting to school from attending a charter school. No free transportation to charter schools is keeping children who want a better education from leaving problem schools to attend a charter school. I would hate to see a world where schools didn't offer free transportation and many of the programs in current public schools to their students.

John Swaim

Little Rock

Economic Darwinism at work

How 'bout that Trump Budget?

I loved the way Mick Mulvaney, budget director, characterized the budget as "perhaps" the most "compassionate" budget ever.

I watched Mulvaney proudly recite how his budget was tailor-made to fulfill Agent Orange's campaign promises.

The ugly truth is, what I witnessed with barely restrained horror, was selective euthanasia: economic Darwinism at work carried out by Trump's budget priorities.

The weakest among us, poor children on the one end and helpless seniors clinging to the other, must go. Keeping them alive, as Mulvaney so smugly asserted, "isn't producing satisfactory results." He's right; most are still alive.

Agent Orange views their existence as unworthy, even burdensome to those of us who are blessed with good health and a job. His budget will fill the cracks beneath the feet of the living with the carcasses of the poor and defenseless.

Now throw in a health care plan that is clumsily and speciously crafted to nail the coffin on seniors who somehow beat the system, and what have you got?

Come on Arkansas. You voted overwhelmingly for this monster, what have you done?

Please don't assume you know my politics, because you don't.

This is a moral issue.

Harry Hergert Little Rock

From the web

In response to Gene Lyons' March 16 column, "More on pits":

Gene Lyons, visit your local shelter. The majority of the homeless dogs are pit bulls. Meet those pit bulls and see real danger that you write about. You are a part of the reason pit bulls get euthanized, abused and neglected more than any other breed. Oh wait, I forgot, pit bulls aren't a "real breed" right? I am a volunteer at my local shelter and "breeds" are meaningless. These animals are scared, alone and desperate for a family. Pit bulls, no matter how kind and gentle, are always there the longest. What more torture and misfortune do you wish upon these innocent animals? Yes, many pit bulls are bred for fighting. That is a terrible crime and those dogs can be rehabilitated. When dogs are made to fight, they are being tortured. They need to be rescued. On behalf of rescuers and loving dogs, I employ you to write an article apologizing for your ignorance on this matter.

Susan Swanay

As an American citizen, I understand you have the right to your opinion; however, your news piece is really an editorial. I am outraged that you choose to belittle a loving and docile collection of dogs. Pit bull-type dogs cover hundreds of mixed breeds. If you would look back in history, pit bull-type dogs were called nanny dogs because they took great care of children. Your picture indicates that you are perhaps old enough to remember the television show "The Little Rascals," in which a pit bull-type dog was the star. 

Dog aggression is not natural for any breed. Remember, dogs are domesticated, which by Merriam-Webster's definition means "to adapt (an animal or plant) to life in intimate association with and to the advantage of humans."

Illiterate, non-responsible and perhaps greedy humans have chosen a very loyal breed (meaning a breed that really wants to do what is asked by his human) to dogfight or be vicious. The owner is training a domesticated animal to do vile things. Many pit bull-type dogs are tortured, and/or given cocaine to alter their normal docile personality. Pit bull-type dogs are often put to death in a horrific fashion if they choose not to fight.

The humans have the issues, not the dogs. Yes, innocent humans suffer at the hands of terrible and perhaps psychopathic people, just as innocent people suffer and are maimed by distracted drivers. Hmm. Maybe that's a cause you could take up, and leave the innocent pit bull-type dogs alone.

Diane Gardner

Diane, this is a column, not a news piece. So yes, it's opinion. It's supposed to be.

And dogs evolved from wolves. Claiming they are not naturally aggressive is naive/uninformed at best. They are no longer wild, but one of the reasons humans and dogs struck up a relationship was because dogs are protective. That some humans have taken advantage of that natural aggression in an extreme way doesn't negate the science. 

Vanessa

Correction: In last week's Readers Choice edition, we mistakenly identified I Love Juice Bar as the winner in the Yogurt/smoothies category in a photo caption. Red Mango was the winner.

White Christmas in the hills

Donald Trump's plan to fight global warming with nuclear winter seems to be gaining traction with factions of the far right.

White Christmas in the hills

Donald Trump's plan to fight global warming with nuclear winter seems to be gaining traction with factions of the far right. One Ozark Mountain city, the de-facto home of the Ku Klux Klan, has put in a bid to host the very first Nuclear Winter Olympics in December 2021. Despite the fact that the city has experienced no measurable snowfall in the past five years, they have announced the Olympic theme, which will be "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas."

David Rose

Hot Springs

More hydropower

Most Arkansas residents are unaware that Arkansas can help prevent fossil fuel diminishment, which is calculated to happen in less than 110 years. As a state abundant with water sources, Arkansas has the opportunity to convert all energy sources from fossil fuels to hydropower, energy from the flow of water that can form electricity with generators.

Currently, coal is the primary source for Arkansas's electricity. Approximately half of the electricity used in the state uses it, because coal is known to be the least expensive energy substance for the energy it produces, making the electricity cost cheap, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, the coal supply is estimated to deplete in 107 years.

Hydropower has the ability to be a substitute for coal to provide electricity. Arkansas is qualified to expand the use of hydropower as Arkansas has 1,193 state regulated dams; however, only 17 are being used for hydropower, according to the "2014 Report Card for Arkansas' Infrastructure" [of the Arkansas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers].

If the use of hydropower becomes greater than fossil fuels, the amount of available electricity would rise, because hydropower can convert 90 percent of the inputted energy into electricity, whereas coal is capable of 60 percent. Arkansas's electricity price is currently 9.85 cents per kilowatt hour, and this could decrease more with the use of hydropower. Lower electricity prices would be beneficial for Arkansas's economy because it has the third lowest median household income.

Minjeong Seok

Hot Springs

Against HB 1665

Everyone I know considers their dog to be a part of their family. As a dog lover and owner myself, I feel obligated to voice my sincere opposition to House Bill 1665. This bill will prohibit documentation of abuse and neglect in puppy mills and on farms throughout the state. Too many egregious acts have been documented in puppy mills, including dogs being left without food and water, not receiving necessary medical care and being left outside to perish in the freezing cold. Of equal concern, this bill also hinders the report of senior abuse in nursing homes and child abuse in day cares. House Bill 1665 will keep dogs in the cold and will keep citizens in the dark to these atrocities that are committed towards both animals and humans. If you are an animal lover, or care to protect vulnerable children and the elderly, please urge your representative to vote NO on HB 1665.

Elisabeth Davis

Little Rock

A bill being considered by politicians in Little Rock, HB 1665, threatens the health and safety of Arkansas citizens. This measure would discourage employees from documenting unsanitary, dangerous conditions at their workplaces. By suppressing the efforts of whistleblowers on industrial farms, for example, we would be allowing negligent acts to go unnoticed and unrectified. In 2015 alone, the USDA initiated a total of 626 food recalls. One major company had to recall 523,380 pounds of pork and pork-related products that same year due to unsanitary conditions that led to an outbreak of Salmonella. The list goes on and on. The scary reality is that many of these farms supply the food that ends up on our plates. It is our right to safe and disease-free foods. No citizen should have to worry about whether what they are eating will make them sick. Please join me in opposing HB 1665.

Kimberly Ortiz

Mabelvale

From the web

In response to last week's cover story, "Resist, Arkansas!":

A bunch of gullible females being sucked in by George Soros. They are silly and their waste of time is not going to accomplish anything. It's time for them and all of those who won't acknowledge the election results to realize HILLARY LOST; AMERICA WON THE ELECTION.

golfer71909

The misogynist ignores the men who joined the women to resist.

The tea party was bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers, and nobody sees Soros anywhere except those who traffic in fear and hate. You really can't believe 50 percent can stand up? 

America lost the election because we lost our moral standing in the world by electing a narcissistic, pathological liar as president. The whole world knows it, even the Republicans who just pass it off as not mattering one whit.

TuckerMax

I guess none of these women have a 401K or an IRA that they've looked at lately. That's what's silenced the liberal men.

pissavus

Radical Zinn

Re: the bill to remove Howard Zinn books from school libraries: When "alternative" books are removed from school libraries and class curriculums, it is the beginning of broader suppression of education and civilian participation in politics, not the end of it.

Radical Zinn

Re: the bill to remove Howard Zinn books from school libraries: When "alternative" books are removed from school libraries and class curriculums, it is the beginning of broader suppression of education and civilian participation in politics, not the end of it. Our grade-school books are traditionally skewed —ostensibly to protect impressionable youth. But the education police are growing bolder now because Zinn's work is higher-education, college-level political science material. A major part of the topic itself is the study of radical political thought and action. "Radical" to those who have not been poor, oppressed, colonized, marginalized, brutalized or outspoken about it — and to those who care not about people with such past experiences or current conditions. This routine political science knowledge seems truly radical only to those without any feeling of responsibility for or compassion toward these "others." Radical political theories are uncomfortable, terrible — even horrifying to those who greatly fear becoming like any of these "losers" — should their realities become commonly known among the young.

Mady Maguire

Little Rock

Concerted effort

Regarding the two Arkansas bills that would gut the state law giving taxpayers access to public records:

Bills like these are part of a systematic effort to strip the people of any power they hold over an established bureaucracy. It's a strategy of incremental legislation, year after year, meant to entrench the system in such a way that ordinary people no longer have a say in their own government. 

This strategy was laid out in the Powell Memorandum in 1971.

Add to these bills another one in the current assembly that criminalizes protests and peaceful assemblies, and yet another voter I.D. law that places more hurdles between the voter and the vote, and you get the picture.

I've read that similar bills criminalizing protests have popped up in many state legislatures this year. I suspect that ALEC, the corporate right-wing think-tank and bill mill, is the culprit. People like Bart Hester, Jason Rapert and Bobby Ballinger are frankly too stupid and venal to have cooked up these bills on their own.

Ask yourself: Who really benefits from these laws? Certainly not ordinary Arkansans.

This isn't democracy. This is totalitarianism.

Brad Bailey

Fayetteville

From the web

In response to the March 2 Arkansas Blog post, "Anti-transgender bill would prevent amending birth certificates":

The party of concentrating on how to be most cruel to the most vulnerable, how to accomplish this in as perverted a manner as possible, and ignoring the most important issues to concentrate on the totally irrelevant — or, I should say relevant only to those whose lives they are trying to make even worse, intentionally.

Betty J Rousey

My, my. We should expect a 5-year-old to make what could be a drastic life-changing decision, huh? As a 5-year-old, I remember wanting to wear a pair of red corduroy pants to church, a definite no-no for a little girl back then — and probably now. Sponsor Rep. Mickey Gates thinks I should have made a decision about my gender at that age, too?

I have to admit I did decide I didn't much want to be a woman when I learned the facts of life a few years later. But I don't think I wanted to be a man either. Of course, in a few years that issue started sorting itself out.

Gates needs to back up, grow up and live his own life. And butt out of the lives of others.

Doigotta

This is a direct act of legalizing discrimination against the transgender community who were born here in Arkansas. And there is no reason for this bill to make it out of committee. Those who vote for it will be seen as openly discriminating against a segment of Arkansans that is equivalent to the population of Maumelle.

Gwen Fry

In response to the filing of the so-called "bathroom bill" by Sens. Greg Standridge of Russellville and Gary Stubblefield of Branch:

Wait until a trans woman walks into the "men's room" in the Capitol and stands next to a male legislator at a urinal and starts talking to him about legislation. Or a trans man walks into a "ladies' room," scaring the hell out of a woman. Would the legislators feel uncomfortable? Please, tell us, dear senators, how you will react and, better yet, how you will enforce this? As to the former you won't. As to the latter, you can't. Therefore, you are passing unenforceable, yet mean-spirited, legislation. Time for you to go home. Between that and your BS voter I.D. law, you guys are worthless to everybody except your "base": bigots.

Tucker Max

In response to the Feb. 23 "Downtown Dancing" cover story:

Great issue. The people of Arkansas are amazing at nurturing their communities and developing equality in neighborhoods and businesses. If the Arkansas government would get out of the way, people can make downtown more tourist friendly, which generates revenue and develops community pride.

ShineonLibby

In response to a March 6 blog post about the bill before the state legislature to make same-sex marriage illegal in Arkansas:

It has become obvious the only way to stop these idiots from wasting the taxpayers' money is to hold them personally responsible. We need to draft an initiated amendment to the state Constitution that legislators that vote for a law that has been previously ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts or the Arkansas courts shall be personally responsible for any damages awarded against the State of Arkansas, and said legislators can not void said responsibility by claiming bankruptcy or sovereign immunity. Take the money out of their wallets, not ours.

Fort Smith Observer

In response to the March 2 Arkansas Blog post, "Local control? Depends with Bart Hester. Not on gays, OK on medical marijuana":

The level of hypocrisy that exists within these people is almost making me puke. They know exactly what they are doing. Plausibly denying that anything about cannabis is beneficial, even ignoring the mountain of facts, which are in this country's records, is just tantamount to lying to our faces. I hope this stuff can be brought before the state Supreme Court, because any judge would have to be dimmer than a 3-watt bulb not to think these laws are being corrupted. Even after the [Drug Enforcement Agency's] own judge said it was the safest therapeutic substance known to man, they are still being hypocrites and liars. It must be they are being paid off, and they are using their religion to beat everything down that they do not agree with. This is not the working of the United States I gave my time in the Armed Forces for. I am truly angry at, and ashamed of, these legislators.

Dale Worthington

An open letter to state Sen. Jason Rapert

Sir! There once was a time when we publicly spoke together on behalf of the residents and fish of Lollie Bottoms, who had a nonnegotiable sewage plant imposed on them downstream from the Toad Suck Dam in Conway.

An open letter to state Sen. Jason Rapert

Sir! There once was a time when we publicly spoke together on behalf of the residents and fish of Lollie Bottoms, who had a nonnegotiable sewage plant imposed on them downstream from the Toad Suck Dam in Conway. At that time, I was very impressed that two citizens from opposing political extremes could work together for the health and safety of a community in a bipartisan manner.

Since then, however, your deplorable Teabagger politics have become a rank embarrassment that reflects Arkansas as just another hick state to the rest of the country and the world. Your overzealous gun-nut antics and efforts to keep medicine from cancer patients and other sufferers aside, I'm talking specifically about your latest bill to rename the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, which is driven by the unquestioning, bovine urge to repeat, follow and Trump-up mis- and disinformation disseminated by career conspiracy theorists and professional reputation smearists. The Clintons are the most historically progressive public-serving politicians from the left that this state has ever been proud to embrace, providing a positive political identity to temporarily conceal the unsightly segregationist skidmark your fascist predecessors left on the American flag. Yet you are low enough to regurgitate and spread the vengeance seeking, muckraking, witch-hunt fabrications of the road-rage righteous to the point of incendiary insouciance — a misleading crime of humanity against your local flock for which you shall be ultimately judged and condemned to the fires you fear most (Matthew 7:12 NCV, Luke 6:31).

It is fitting, then, that a petition campaign has been launched to rename the Conway Corp. sewage tanks in your honor — for you are human waste advocating human waste in a time of mass human waste. Such wormery, driven by hatred and lack of self-respect, is better off left in the chatrooms of the alt-right, a de-evolution of white supremacy that has no place in present-day culture except as a blight upon our landscape to rail against as a sickly vestige of indecency to be wiped out like a toxic pox.

Sir, there is a scum in Bigelow, a putrid and deceiving film obscuring the integrity of our state. On behalf of those who value leaders who value their constituency (and especially on behalf of those who value the economic surplus President Bill Clinton left us with and the civil rights work and activism on behalf of children Hillary accomplished), we are sickened and ashamed by your reactionary and ignorant "leadership" — which, if you had any integrity at all, you'd flush straight into the intellectual, septic-tank wasteland you are making of Arkansas.

Mark Spitzer

Conway

What about learning?

Our public schools are not failing. What is failing is the American people. We are well on our way to becoming an idiocracy. The question isn't whether our public schools are providing an adequate education. The question is this: Why do we no longer care about learning? What has so distracted us and led to such apathy? Could it be that pursuit of facts and evidence can no longer compete with the instant gratification of Facebook? We have been dumbed down by overexposure to entertainment, such as online gaming and social media. This is evident by the election of Donald Trump. How can an individual who spouts blatant falsities and displays such radical behavior become the elected leader of the free world? He's the social media president, that's how. Too many of us have given up on the pursuit of true learning. Too many of us rely solely on social media for our information. We limit ourselves to exposure to beliefs and ideas that only match our preconceived notions. We simply can't handle any suggestions from differing viewpoints. It's a sad state of affairs.

Rich Hutson

Cabot

Divine right

Reckon we oughta all send Leslie Rutledge some congratulatory cards. Now she gets to kill eight men and prove herself as tough as those menfolks! She ran for office as a "gun carryin' Christian woman with a job description of fightin' Obama." Since election she's continued to file expensive and frivolous lawsuits against the federal government's "overreach."

Scripture says, "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord, I will repay." But Christianity and Republican "religion" are usually quite dissimilar. In her case it appears her God is either Donald Trump or the shade of Ole' Strom Thurmond!

Federal overreach is the battle cry of the Republican crew we have been presently plagued with. Of course, the state's Republican intrusion into the innermost private parts of our lives they see as their "divine right." They feel qualified to regulate doctors' medical practices with not a scrap of medical training themselves.

They are pushy enough to regulate the diets of the poor and destitute among us. They won't hire black folks, but feel righteous enough to disparage them as being too lazy to work a steady job! Override college presidents and policemen with guns in your cereal box, practically!

Hey, maybe Lord Asa can designate Stacy Hurst as official needle inserter in the death chamber? She likely doesn't know a damned thing about doing that, but he's put her in charge of lots of other folks who know a hell of a lot more about their work than she does! Can't get control via the ballot, but with Sugar Daddy Asa as her patron, who needs an election win?

Why are we paying agency directors exorbitant salaries? Any regulations they pass must be passed by the Republican legislative council or they're void. Then if Lord Asa doesn't accept them, he can cancel the whole shebang. Just as hundreds of other little dictators and rulers of feifdoms in small banana republics have done for years.

Oh heck, just bypass all that and let Stacy Hurst run the show unchallenged!

Karl Hansen

Hensley

Attacking the press

Criticizing the press is nothing new in American politics. However, what we are seeing from this president and his administration is on a whole new level.

Attacking the press

Criticizing the press is nothing new in American politics. However, what we are seeing from this president and his administration is on a whole new level. While we should always hold the media to be accountable and honest, lambasting respected and credible news outlets as "fake news" simply because they are asking tough questions is not only childish, but also dangerous. Democracies need an active and free press. If the public trust in the free press erodes, then it will be a less effective check on those in power. The president of the United States tweeted on Feb. 17 that the media is the enemy of the American people. This is not normal in functional democracies. Not since President Nixon have we seen such animus from a president toward the press, and even he saved his more colorful comments for private conversation rather than through a medium like Twitter. If anything, President Trump should follow the example of a different Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt. President Roosevelt understood the importance, and the utility, of the press. My only fear is that President Trump will take the phrase "bully pulpit" too literally.

Colby Qualls

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the Feb. 20 Arkansas Blog post "Senate defeats resolutions on amendments to prohibit same-sex marriage and ban abortion":

It is something of a comfort to know that at least 17 Arkansas legislators have better sense than Rapert.

Kate

Seems folks are figuring out that Stanley is one costly dude.

Vanessa

Why do we keep allowing these idiots to be voted into office? Oh my God, get rid of him and Tom Cotton and start over.

Tem Pendergrass

I'm scared Rapert will bully his way with those senators who didn't vote today and actually pass his terrible resolution. The resolutions are terrible in themselves, but holding a constitutional convention would be a complete disaster. Every ultra-right-wing activist would try to insert their perverse ideology on the whole country and there are enough Republican legislatures to get it done.

David Smith

Guess he doesn't realize that abortion is self-defense for girls and women. After all, pregnancy and birthing causes much pain, usually injury that sometimes can be permanent and potential death (800 plus a year just in the U.S. die!). 

They are defending themselves, as surely as they would be if they used a gun to shoot someone that was threatening them.

rablib

In response to the Feb. 20 Arkansas Blog post "Campus carry deal: Anyone over 25 can carry, with training":

Utter insanity. So now any hotdog, wannabe cop can sit through a class and then patrol our campuses carrying deadly force? Dammit, all the other students, parents, faculty and administrators who oppose this ought to have a louder voice than this handful of idiotic, NRA-butt-sucking fools in the legislature! For God's sake, Arkansas, punish these jackasses at the next election!

PVNasby

What could possibly go wrong?

Silverback66

Why should college campuses be the only safe place? I think people should be allowed to carry weapons in the state Capitol. Mr. Collins et al. should be safe, too!

Quid pro quo

Amen on being allowed to carry weapons in the Capitol. What's the old saying — what's good for the goose is good for the gander? The fools in the legislature are the truly scary ones.

Doigotta

Welp, I guess we'll have to start carrying dildos in our holsters, too ... .

DrRingDing

In response to the Feb. 17 Arkansas Blog post "Gov. Hutchinson: 'Concerns' on using National Guard for immigration enforcement":

Don't give Asa too much credit for any "moderate" view. He's not disavowing the illegal nature of putting troops into the streets to ask folks for "their papers" or conduct searches and make arrests. He's basically saying the Arkansas Guard is too busy.

"During my time at Homeland Security, we utilized National Guard partnerships for specific responsibilities along the border, so the concept is fine."

It's a false equivalency to compare previous guard border observation/surveillance missions with troops making arrests in downtown Little Rock.

tsallenarng

Setting aside the legalities of federalizing troops, what about making targets out of military personnel in uniform? The Hispanic population in many areas is already a bit perturbed with law enforcement in general. Our folks in uniform are already on a heightened state of alertness when outside their own homes. People thinking they might apprehend someone would only make their sense of uneasiness worse, especially when going into areas that are predominately Hispanic. That said, I don't think there's a chance in the world our Guard would be used in such a manner.

Lbishop

Just talk

There is a lot of talk about "stop the violence" and, unfortunately, talk is all it really is. Few people are willing to admit this, but violence is money.

Just talk

There is a lot of talk about "stop the violence" and, unfortunately, talk is all it really is. Few people are willing to admit this, but violence is money. You have a problem believing violence is a big moneymaking market for mankind? The sale of drugs of all kinds is a multibillion-dollar industry. In America, money is power. The fight over the control of the sale of drugs has caused millions of lives to be destroyed. Violence among my people, by my people, is a disaster. People wonder why there is so much violence among black people? Well, go out and buy a copy of "The Willie Lynch Story" and many of your answers can be found. We have been programmed to be who and what we are; we have been robbed of all hope. Black people are like little turtles that are washed upon the shores from bodies of water by various tides. Few of those turtles make it back to the waters.

I feel there is a concerted effort to slow or stop the advancement of black people in America. Unfortunately, when you stop the advancement of one American, you stop the advancement of America. Black people have been in America for many years. What do we own? We don't own large factories or industries that are able to employ large numbers of people. So employment is in the hands of people who control whether we are employed.

We are almost set up to fail. Our young people are either sure to be incarcerated or go to an early grave by getting into early trouble. Once they into the criminal justice system, they are nobodies. Many of these prisoners are right at home in prison because they have no real homes on the outside.

Austin Porter Sr.

Little Rock

The difference between left and right

The breakdown of politics in America is fairly simple. Those at the top are for plutocracy, and the leaders on the left and right play to their respective bases to win votes. The upper echelon uses social issues such as abortion and gay marriage to keep the masses distracted from economic issues. In this way they can rob us blind while we fight over who is allowed to marry a person of their own choosing. The general populace, whether aligned with the political left or right, want basically the same things — access to health care, education and economic security. The difference is the conservative base wants these things for their kind only, while the liberal base wants it for everyone. That's basically it.

Rich Hutson

Cabot

Promise must be kept

During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump made a crystal-clear pledge to protect Medicare and Social Security. Now, as his term begins, older voters are counting on Congress to support President Trump's vow. This issue is looming because some in Congress are pushing for a drastic change in Medicare that threatens to increase costs and risks for those who depend on it. 

Proposals to create a voucher system, sometimes called premium support, could drive up costs that the 565,000 Arkansans who are now in Medicare have to pay out of their own pockets. And the pain will spread, as another 575,000 of our state's older residents enroll in Medicare over the next 15 years. Arkansas already has one of the country's highest rates of senior hunger, because of seniors' low income, so how are they going to pay additional premiums?

Americans have earned their Medicare benefits by paying taxes throughout their working lives. As our new president declared last year, "You made a deal a long time ago." That deal does not include cutting benefits and pushing up health care bills at a time in life when people can least afford it.

For more than 50 years, Medicare has delivered on its promise, bringing health care to seniors who were once shut out of the system. Yes, health care costs must be contained — but in a fair and responsible way, not by harming hard-working Americans and retirees. President Trump understands this vital principle, and we urge him to remind those in Congress who do not.

Larry Larson

Little Rock

The foster care crisis in Arkansas

As of November 2016, there were over 5,000 children and teens in Arkansas's foster care system, 30 percent more than the same time the year before.

During their time in the system, children may experience years of physical, emotional and even academic troubles. Studies have shown that kids in abusive homes may exhibit signs of delayed learning, aggression and attention deficit disorder. When kids are exposed to controlled substances at a young age, they may experience medical complications as they grow up. They may also encounter emotional problems away from home. Within just a few months of placement, many children show signs of depression and withdrawal. As they grow up, they are most likely to have higher rates of anxiety and poorer social skills at school.

Adolescents in foster care can have trouble with academic functioning. When they come out of problematic homes, many of them show signs of decreased ability to concentrate, and they are likely to make bad choices starting at a young age. Studies say that more than 75 percent of teens in foster care do not remain in school.

It doesn't require lots of effort to help; simply showing compassion and understanding for the children is enough. The most efficient way to contribute to the system is by publicizing the issue to the community. There are so many people in Arkansas who do not know about foster care, and it would be best to educate the public about this problem in our society today. With the help of many caring people, the number of children in the foster system can be reduced significantly, not only in Arkansas, but all over the nation.

Serye Kim

Hot Springs

In defense of the arts

he National Endowment for the Arts may soon be comparing notes with the Affordable Care Act, forgotten on the midden of history.

In defense of the arts

The National Endowment for the Arts may soon be comparing notes with the Affordable Care Act, forgotten on the midden of history. They will have a lot to talk about. Both will have died because they were seen as elitist forms of social welfare, and the GOP has been trying to defund them both since their creation. Reagan tried to defund the NEA in 1981, but gave up after hitting congressional resistance, something the current president will not have. In 1994, Newt Gingrich failed to eliminate the NEA entirely, but he succeeded in laying the ground work for budget cuts and restrictions on the endowment's ability to provide grants to individual artists — all concessions he won from President Clinton during budget negotiations in '96. For the last 60 years these attempts to defund the NEA have been based on the same foundation of disingenuous and willful misconceptions about the role and power of the arts in American society.

With its 2016 budget of $148 million the NEA sounds expensive, but let's keep in mind that this is less than 1/4 of the money raised by the Drumpf Campaign in 2016, and less than one 26,000th of the $3.9 trillion national budget. People who assign numerical values to things often find the arts frivolous, wasteful government spending, something with no material value. But consider this: Between 1966 and 2015 the NEA disbursed $268 million to various American dance companies. Among the organizations they funded was a little known group, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Company. Today the Ailey Company has performed for over 25 million people, both in the United States and as a cultural ambassador to audiences around the planet. The NEA funded Martha Graham and Paul Taylor, both of which became institutions of American culture. They, along with the scores of other companies funded by the NEA, helped to foster a tradition of American creativity and expression, as well as establishing dance as an irrefutable facet of American identity. When American dance companies perform abroad, people of other nations sit and watch as our freedom unfolds before their eyes. 

The benefits of the NEA are not limited to foreigners' opinions of America, or their valuation of freedom. In 2013, I moved from Maryland to Little Rock to work for Ballet Arkansas, a company funded in part by the NEA through the Arkansas Arts Council. Through the Little Rock Creative Corridor project, we are participating in the effort to vitalize the local economy through the arts. This is a model that cities like Louisville, Ky., and Ashville, N.C., have proved successful. Indeed, the fact that the arts stimulate the economy is so obvious that it is enshrined in our language: dinner and a show. People who do not see the value in the NEA often make claims such as "the NEA keeps private individuals from donating to the arts" or "if we cut funding to the NEA private individuals will make up the difference through donations" or even "the NEA is welfare for the cultural elitists." These are tired, if well-rehearsed, arguments that pundits will defend with endless strings of statistics. It is true that defunding the NEA would not kill the arts in America overnight, but this is a shortsighted view.

As a career art professional, let explain how fundraising works to the think-tank elite who have never had to raise a dime. In any city there are a certain number of people who can be convinced to donate up to a certain amount to your organization. This number doesn't change drastically from year to year, and many people who donate to one organization also donate to others. If you remove government funding for the arts from the picture, local arts organizations are left fighting to make up the difference in their funding from the same pool of donors. Not only does the NEA fund performance organizations, it also offers grants to venues that hire performance organizations. Faced with both direct and indirect losses of funding, and unable to make up the difference competing with each other for donations, many smaller arts organizations would, over time, be forced to close their doors, taking the jobs they provide and the economic benefits that they bring with them.

Arguments over government funding of the arts go back to the founding of our nation, but never have the consequences been so dire. At its core, what the NEA supports is the most fundamental of American values: freedom. Not just the derivative freedoms of speech and assembly, but freedom of thought. No one can tell artists what to think, and no one can tell you what to think about art. This makes it dangerous to dictators. The defunding of the arts is the first step on the stairway of censorship. A government that controls the voices of its artists is a government that muzzles the conscience of a nation. 

Call your representatives right now.

Justin Rustle

Little Rock

Landlord-tenant laws need to be changed

Unfortunately for one-third of the homes in the state, Arkansas is the only state to lack an implied warranty of habitability in their landlord-tenant laws. An implied warranty of habitability guarantees the tenant that the housing unit is "habitable" and will remain so. Unless the lease agreement specifies what the landlord is to maintain and repair, landlords are under no legal obligation to keep their property in livable conditions because the law does not require them to do so.

The landlord-tenant laws in Arkansas offer no protection to renters. In addition to the lack of the warranty of habitability, Arkansas is the only state to have a "failure to vacate" law. This law creates criminal penalties for tenants who not pay the rent on time, and gives tenants only 10 days to move out. A late payment is a breach in a civil contract; however, Arkansas is the only state to criminalize a civil contract breach. A civil contract breach requires compensation, not jail time.

While the law is there to protect landlords from freeloaders and property damage, the law protects the landlords at the cost of the tenants' living conditions and protection. The Arkansas landlord-tenant laws need to be amended to include an implied warranty of habitability and remove the "failure to vacate" statute.

Katherine Evans

Bryant

[Editor's note: Several circuit courts around the state have found the failure to vacate criminal statute unconstitutional].

More of the same

Authoritarian? C'mon, folks. The extremes of both sides are completely drowning out the bipartisan middle's take (that maybe I'm just naive enough to still claim exists).

More of the same

Authoritarian? C'mon, folks. The extremes of both sides are completely drowning out the bipartisan middle's take (that maybe I'm just naive enough to still claim exists).

I've been very concerned about the breadth of executive branch power over the past 16 years and this all seems to be a continuation. With George W. Bush's White House counsel torture memos and Obama's unprecedented use of the 1917 Espionage Act against nine whistleblowers and skirting congressional obstructionism with reliance on wide-ranging executive orders, some truly terrible precedents have been set for the future. And yes, they set up entirely too well for the current fellow in office, who's not too big on "process."

This is why we've got to hold leaders within our chosen political parties accountable and not be so shortsighted about important principles. We should certainly always stand up for free speech and government transparency. Am I right, or am I right?

Jeff B. Woodmansee

Associate Professor

UA Little Rock Bowen School of Law

From the web

In response to last week's cover story, "Big Ideas for Arkansas":

Thank you for this always-interesting feature, Arkansas Times!

I would like to clarify a claim made by Marion Humphrey Jr. in regard to how many Rock Region METRO student 31-day passes eSTEM distributes to its students. The eSTEM CFO, Mark Milhollen, told me that eSTEM has roughly 100 students using these passes as of Jan. 27. With a current enrollment of 1,462, 100 students is 7 percent of the student population at eSTEM.

Our public transit system is serving students of a variety of ages every weekday, taking them to educational opportunities throughout the county. Whatever your beliefs on charter schools, it makes great sense for as many students who are able, whether they are public school students (including traditional public school students and charter school students) or private school students, to make use of our community's existing public transportation resources. With more investment, our system could reach even more area students, helping to reduce traffic congestion and giving parents and other caregivers an opportunity to let a professional driver get their students to school with safe, reliable and affordable transportation. We enjoy connecting people with opportunities, including the students of Pulaski County! Parents and educators can learn more about our system at rrmetro.org.

Thanks for your support of public transit, and ride on!

Becca Green

Director of Public Outreach

Rock Region METRO

North Little Rock

Regarding the post about recess in elementary schools, I agree wholeheartedly. However, I believe one of our wonderful state senators was trying to get a law passed requiring a cursive writing class at some grade. This would be great for the future learning and production of our youth. (Yes, that is sarcasm.)

Spicolihog

In response to the Jan. 30 Arkansas Blog post, "Gov. Hutchinson's scam to slip giveaway for soda industry into military retirement tax exemption bill":

Our state has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the country. So, let's make it easier for the sugar peddlers to feed the beast.

And blending one bill with another that has nothing to do with one another is pathetic and dishonest. This is another example of our elected officials not giving a crap about our military and pathetically sliding a crappy bill underneath their sacrifice.

yapperjohn

More of Asa and crew's corporate welfare. Make the corporations earn their money honestly, and not rely on taxpayers to make a profit.

Sound Policy

Ah, the incredible honesty of Republican lawmakers. Now they've got one of America's greatest scammers in the White House (remind me: how many bankruptcies did Obama go through before getting elected? How many divorces?), they have a true professional to emulate.

peterjkraus

Always spineless Asa, always!

What a crock of stinking doodoo, brought to us by those self-professed small-government, fiscally conservative, lying liars with R after their names!

I choose to call them "Teapublibans."

RYD

In response to the Jan. 30 Arkansas Blog post "Remove two LR high schools from 'academic distress' list, Education Dept. recommends":

And so it continues. LRSD with 48 schools has 6 (12 percent) declared academically deficient and get taken over while a state-sponsored charter school in Little Rock has never passed the requirement (100 percent fail) and they give it another 13 years of uneducating people. How many other charters and private schools are getting a Republican Board of Education free pass?

couldn't be better

Time for Johnny Key to leave LRSD alone and to return the district to local control. He had little or nothing to do with LRSD's improvements, so his usefulness is questionable anyway. 

Jake da Snake

What happens to Michael Poore if the district is returned to local control? Does he have a contract that guarantees him a certain term as superintendent? I watched him when he was superintendent in Bentonville, and he served creditably. I thought he was crazy when he gave up that position to take the Little Rock one. Time will tell whether he will survive or not.

plainjim

In response to the Jan. 30 Arkansas Blog post "Bentley's bill restricting use of food stamps passes House":

Are they going to give grocery store owners' tax breaks or pay them for the expense of making all these changes? Will there be blind studies to show the results of this action?

Maxifer

I am really not as naive as the following comment might make me appear, and far be it from me to defend a woman who would threaten to use her elected position to take a game warden's job for giving her husband a ticket, but removing public funds from the purchase of foods that are clearly unhealthy is not a terrible idea. Such an action would not correct the problem of poverty-induced obesity, but at least the action would diminish the enablement a bit. The people of limited disposable funds do not have to eat for satiation; they just do so out of habit, and no small amount of susceptibility to advertising. The amount of sugar added to everything from children's cereals to salad dressings is huge, disappointing, and entirely intentional. Putting a bit of economic pressure on the decision process as to what to buy and eat would help. The major transgressors, such as sugary soft drinks, are very easy to identify. If Asa is trying to slip through additional support for the soft drink industry, I just cannot imagine how any decent human being could be part of such an action and how anyone could sleep at night.

deadseasquirrel

You know, Mary does not not exactly fit the profile of someone who has been eating healthy, and she has all the money she needs to do so. The poor people she has targeted have to try to eat enough bulk to make them feel sated, whether healthy or not, so as to just get through the night and live another day. The smugness and condescension on these dictatorial legislators continues to dismay me. Remember, she is the one who threatened a game warden with his job when he ticketed her husband. Why do we elect these kinds of people in Arkansas, when there are so many more people who could do a better job?

plainjim

She wrote this bill from the back of her rainbow-farting unicorn, so, you know it's grounded in reality.

dimplasm

A 5.7 earthquake away from destruction

I woke up recently to tragic news: A 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Italy triggered an avalanche, burying a resort hotel filled with vacationing families, causing loss of life and devastation across the region.

A 5.7 earthquake away from destruction

I woke up recently to tragic news: A 5.7 magnitude earthquake in Italy triggered an avalanche, burying a resort hotel filled with vacationing families, causing loss of life and devastation across the region.

That same number — 5.7 magnitude on the Richter Scale — has been on my mind for weeks. Ever since I received a copy of a letter that describes what a 5.7 magnitude earthquake could do to Oklahoma's Cushing Oil Hub. It's not a pretty picture.

Arkansas's neighbor to the west has been experiencing massive earthquake swarms that are increasing in size and magnitude. Oklahoma's earthquakes are caused by wastewater injection wells used by the oil and gas industry. Despite agreement between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey on the seismic consequences of injecting oil and gas wastewater deep underground, Oklahoma continues to allow thousands of these injection wells.

Cushing is known as "The Oil Pipeline Crossroads of the World" for good reason: With capacity for 80 million barrels of oil (and 42 gallons in each barrel), you do the math. The letter, sent by the EPA to Oklahoma's agency overseeing the oil and gas industry, is dated Nov. 22, 2016. It was written a month after Oklahoma's biggest earthquake: Pawnee's 5.8 quake in September 2016.

According to the EPA and Department of Homeland Security, and referenced by the U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey, an earthquake of 5.7 magnitude at the Cushing Oil Hub could destroy infrastructure and release untold amounts of crude oil into the environment.

Recently, Erin Brockovich, the respected environmentalist and subject of an award-winning film, traveled to Oklahoma to meet with families whose homes have been destroyed by nonstop earthquakes, now averaging up to three per day in Oklahoma.

Arkansas is the unhappy recipient of Oklahoma's seismic activity due to faultlines running east and west through the Ouachita Mountains and because of the Ozark Mountains' proximity to continuing tremors in Oklahoma. Now, an additional threat has emerged: Valero's Diamond Oil Pipeline. The Diamond Pipeline could be the final straw, adding 200,000 gallons of oil per day to this seismic area.

Originating at Oklahoma's Cushing Oil Hub, the Diamond Oil Pipeline is to be constructed through every watershed, river, farmland and forest between Fort Smith and Memphis. The Diamond Pipeline would terminate at Memphis's Valero Oil Terminal (after tunneling beneath the Mississippi River).

Recently, a group of fearless young people staged a sit-down strike at the Valero Oil Terminal. They studied the peaceful methods of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and knew they would be arrested. But they made their point: Memphis is at the heart of the New Madrid Fault zone, site of the most devastating earthquake in United States history. The Diamond Oil Pipeline connects what is currently the nation's most seismic region (Oklahoma) with the historically deadly New Madrid Fault zone, converging above the Memphis aquifer, upstream from the fertile Delta.

What could possibly go wrong with this scenario? We know what can go wrong, thanks to the EPA's warning to Oklahoma's oil and gas commissioners. The increasing seismicity of the Cushing Oil Hub constitutes a threat to national security, and building the Diamond Oil Pipeline compounds that threat.

Total destruction is only a 5.7 magnitude quake away — a magnitude that comes closer to reality with each passing day.

Denise Parkinson

Hot Springs National Park

The end

Democracy in our country is dead. It's not going to resurrect. It will decay quickly in the fetid cesspool we have so mindlessly built around us by our narcissistic fascination with exploitation and waste.

Our president for the past eight years tells us as he departs that "we will be fine." Only if by "fine" he is describing what we will be ground into under the heels of corporate plutocracy. The past week offered us serial insults in the way of so-called candidates to lead the highest executive offices of our government. Each one is a personal affront to every American citizen. As a group, they are suited only for the careers from which they were drawn. Those careers are designed solely to exploit the common good for the purpose of personal profit: the exact opposite of democratic government.

The Democratic Party representatives in the so-called "confirmation hearings" showed us they have become nothing more than another "pussy" to be grabbed, abused and tossed into the overflowing landfill of what we never have been able to accomplish. The already crippled and soon to be put out of its misery "news" media merely scrabbled for whatever crumbs were tossed their way when they could force a brief break from preening among themselves.

You want hope? It's not going to leap at you from whatever flickering screen has absorbed your few seconds of attention span. It's going to happen when that demagogue comes to crush you and you have the guts to kick its ass. That's going to take some preparation. The current trend line says you're not up to it.

David Steadman

Damascus

From the web

In response to last week's cover story, "Plant of the year," about medical marijuana:

The only dope I see in this is [marijuana policy expert Mark] Kleiman, talking about things he is not in touch with, and coming up with a term like stoned-hours. He has no idea what he is talking about, and the issue of the drug problem is that it will save lives, and help people (who really want to) quit using the opiates, that are killing them. Also, why isn't the state putting out a call for people with experience with this sort of thing? They are flying blind, and have absolutely no idea as to what they are doing, and need to be doing. That's a glaringly obvious fact that no one seems to think is worth mentioning.

Dale Worthington

In response to Autumn Tolbert's Jan. 19 column, "A heart in this house":

Autumn Tolbert, thank you. I met Rev. Barbour in Selma two years ago. A new moral leader for our country. Like my guide, my colleague and my friend the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We have a democracy, a country and a world to save.

Strider Benston

The elections woke people up, a good thing, and that caused some people to feel insecure about their future, especially when you have a president-elect that can't convey his thoughts into a structured sentence with a beginning and end. He is just giving out information from the middle of a sentence. We aren't getting good information from him. His Cabinet and staff picks have been rather one-sided and some are scary people with extreme views. We will find out more information next week. I have been watching a lot of late-night talk show comedians and they provide some much needed laughter, so I don't take the shifting politics too seriously, which can ruin your whole day. There are a lot of political groups and PACS forming that are made up of good people that have felt the need to take some action that will produce and recruit strong candidates to run for offices that will be open in the 2018 election, such as [the ones held by] Governor Hutchinson, Treasurer Dennis Milligan, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and more. A good benefit that comes from marching Saturday is that you will meet some energetic people from a lot of different organizations. I think the march is important for my mental health.

ShineonLibby

Taking on trainers

As our legislators return to work this week, they will take up House Bill 1040, preventing athletic trainers from practicing in nonclinical settings and severely restricting what they can do to provide assistance to students.

Taking on trainers

As our legislators return to work this week, they will take up House Bill 1040, preventing athletic trainers from practicing in nonclinical settings and severely restricting what they can do to provide assistance to students.

As someone who has worked in college athletics for the better part of the last 15 years, I have seen up close the fine work that our certified athletic trainers do to keep our student athletes healthy.

However, State Rep. Joe Farrer (R-Austin) apparently does not see the value in the services provided by my colleagues in the athletic training profession. Perhaps, as a physical therapist, he stands to have a personal financial gain due to these restrictions, as the treatment of certain spine injuries and post-surgery rehabilitation — treatments that ATCs are licensed to conduct — would be reserved for off-site physical therapists under this legislation.

In a Dec. 20 story on KARK-TV, Channel 4, Farrer was quoted as saying "some local physical therapists and I have had some issues with some of the athletic trainers in our area. We need to clear up some of these issues."

Perhaps Farrer would like to clear up his conflict of interest in introducing this insidious legislation — if conflicts of interest even bother us anymore. But that is unlikely, as he was apparently "too busy" to discuss this legislation with KFSM-TV, Channel 5, in Fort Smith earlier this week.

Certified athletic trainers not only help students heal from injuries, they help prevent injuries, and in some cases, they save lives. Would the same interventions by athletic trainers that saved the life of a college student athlete in Arkansas be illegal because of Farrer's issues?

Just a few short days ago, the Mississippi State University basketball team's bus was just 200 yards away from a car that flipped in a single-car accident. Riders on the bus pulled the driver from her car, and she was then evaluated by the team's athletic trainer. Would that evaluation be illegal in Arkansas because of Farrer's issues?

The needs of our students are greater than any issues causing Farrer any personal consternation, and frankly, his complete lack of sound judgment in introducing this terrible bill gives me full confidence to say that I trust the talented and competent certified athletic trainers in the state of Arkansas far more than a politician with an axe to grind.

This bill currently sits with the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee in the House. I implore the members of that committee not to let Farrer's issues take precedence over the wellbeing of Arkansas students. Kill this atrocious legislation immediately.

Paul T. Smith

Russellville

The fallacy of deterrence

Last week's article "The 91st Arkansas General Assembly: It's going to be a beast" was, overall, an excellent summary of significant legislation we may expect this year. However, I wish to correct one statement from the article regarding guns on college campuses.

In reviewing circumstances related to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon (2015), the article incorrectly stated that UCC banned guns in violation of Oregon state law. In fact, individuals (including students) with concealed handgun permits were allowed to carry their weapons on the UCC campus and in classrooms. This fact was reported by Politifact in November 2015 when a Florida state senator declared UCC was a gun-free zone).

UCC was anything but a gun-free zone. It was known at the time of the shooting that many students had concealed handgun licenses and were carrying concealed handguns on campus. At least one of those students spoke to news media immediately following the shooting.

We are told that permitting concealed handguns on college campuses will deter mass shooters. UCC proves the fallacy of the "deterrence" argument. Knowing there were armed civilians on the UCC campus, the shooter attacked anyway. Perhaps he was hoping for a firefight that would create additional casualties? We may never know, or we may learn more when the final report of the shooting is released later this year.

Stephen Boss

Arkansans Against Guns On Campus

Fayetteville

From the web

In response to "The 91st Arkansas General Assembly: It's going to be a beast":

2017 will be the first year where we really find out exactly how heartless some of our elected legislators can actually be. We had better buckle up, because we're in for a long, bumpy ride here in Darkansas!

RYD

Thank you to the Arkansas Times for organizing this important information. Thank you Rep. Greg Leding for providing the public with a plan of action. There are still a few legislators with common sense and decent morals. I know their names. I really believe we need to hire an exorcist for the Arkansas State Legislature. They are being socially harmful, irresponsible, unreasonable, irrational, counterproductive, discriminatory, overreaching and they are hurting the state economically by driving away business and tourists. Why do they hate the people of Arkansas? Because we get in the way of the Arkansas Legislature's true God: power and greed. The political machines have offered them a lot of easy money to go down in the history books as unpatriotic traitors to their state and their country.

ShineonLibby

In response to Ernest Dumas' Jan. 12 column, "Glass houses":

The USA has meddled in the attempts of people in numerous other countries to govern themselves. That other countries and governments, and corporations spanning all the above, might use psy-ops to influence our governance should be understood. However, we should hold our leaders accountable for making false, perhaps dishonest, perhaps misinformed (lying or just dumb) statements to us, and we should try to educate an electorate capable of recognizing and responding to such challenges. These are likely to be the nature of future invasions of our borders. The redcoats are coming, via the internet and similar mechanisms, not so much by the boats and planes of yesteryear. I felt much better having a president who demonstrated the capacity to comprehend, understand and work in the nuanced gray areas of modern challenges than I feel looking forward to having a simpleminded bully thumping his chest and not really thinking about anything in particular.

deadseasquirrel

In response to Gene Lyons' Jan. 12 column, "Hillbillies":

I mostly agree with Gene; however, he failed to point out that, in the introduction to the book, J.D. Vance stated that he was a conservative in his political views and was not pretending to present an academic and unbiased viewpoint of his subjects. This book was too personal for that. This explains his tendency to assign some blame to the "hillbillies" for their own predicament. However, that does not diminish his explanation of the failure of government, or why the people are the way they are.

plainjim

Because I put my name on what I write, I have avoided many discussions on race in Arkansas. Perhaps I need to find a pen name, because my experience has been that anyone who contends there isn't hateful and two-faced racism from border to border in this state has lived a sheltered life. Regarding the book, I don't understand the empathy for the racist views. Call it as you see it, if you're gonna write about it.

Rick Fahr

I've seen Mr. Vance interviewed once about his alleged "memoir."

It took even the likes of me about three minutes to determine that he is a complete and utter fraud; he's had about as "hardscrabble" a life as Ivanka Trump and, since she's at least nominally in business, she probably works a lot harder.

Of course, you may want to buy this big pile of crap for investment purposes; I hear that a copy of Clifford Irving's bio of Howard Hughes commands a high price on eBay these days.

Joe Quimby

My problem with the haters is that they have pretty much destroyed the concept of "common good," and are against anything that would improve the common good because it would help people they don't approve of. Doesn't matter why they don't approve, they're just against helping those "others" even if it would also help them. And "others" is most easily defined by race. Because it's so easy.

Vance at least acknowledges that he doesn't understand why more people don't escape the same way he has, which, in my mind, makes him a whole lot less smart than what he thinks he is.

Vanessa

On the issue of hate: Many ignored voters felt "hated" by the press and Clintonites — constantly referred to as "uneducated" — as if formal schooling is the only definition of "educated" — and constantly lumped together as racists, xenophobia-ites, etc., and totally ignored by the Democrats. Vladimir Putin didn't stop Clinton from going to Wisconsin. The self-righteousness of the press was truly ridiculous and still is. Liberal used to mean caring for all the people — whatever happened to that concept? Hubris.

Investigator of both sides