Alice no Rosie
I was pleased to see my mother's body on the cover of a recent Arkansas Times (Jan. 18), but was puzzled as to why Alice Walton's head was atop it.
My mother, Golda Belle Watson Adams, wasn't the Rosie the Riveter, but she was an airplane inspector at Tulsa's McDonnell-Douglas airplane plant during World War II. My dear aunt, her late sister Mary, was the first woman to become a final inspector there. Her late brother Roosevelt lived through Bataan and spent 43 months in a Japanese POW camp. My late father Melton Eugene Adams flew in those planes as a flight engineer over the Hump and back.
Yes, my family is a cliche — mama built 'em and daddy flew 'em — and I'm proud of it.
Each of them worked like dogs and risked their lives for democracy, my father and my uncle more so, my mother and my aunt less so, but factory work is dangerous, too, then and now. After that war was over, they worked at other jobs, some paid (beautician, farm equipment salesman, nightclub worker, union steward) and some not (housewife), making their living from the sweat of their brows.
Alice Walton has never worked a day in her life.
She exerts effort, but it isn't work. It's play.
Alice Walton inherited billions of dollars that her late father's corporation systematically gouged out of the American working man and woman. She plays investment banker with those dollars to make more dollars. That isn't work. It's play, cruel, brutal play with other people's lives at other people's expense for Alice Walton's profit. We all have our family traditions.
I'm thrilled for Arkansas that Crystal Bridges is here. Arkansas is no less deserving of great art than any other place. After all, most great American museums are the legacy of robber barons, ruthless industrialists, and other swine. That our local swine has so gifted us with the fruits of others' labors is simply in the American tradition.
So I wasn't all that surprised when Tom Dillard, historian at the University in Arkansas of Walmart up in lost little Fayetteville said, "I don't think the Waltons are robber barons, but if they are, they're OUR ROBBER BARONS. After serving as a 'colony' for more than a century during which our natural resources and labor were shipped north, it is about time that Arkansas received some payback."
Is that what it comes down to? My CEO can beat up your CEO? My warlord is stronger than your warlord? My robber baron can steal from your robber baron? I want nothing of it.
When Randy Newman wrote his brilliant song "Rednecks," his incitement of Northerners comfortably bashing the South for the sins found in their own Northern backyards, his narrator said this of Lester Maddox: "Well, he may be a fool but he's our fool / If they think they're better than him they're wrong."
I'm under no illusions that I'm better than Lester Maddox. Randy Newman told me so, from on stage in Atlanta, when we in the audience thoughtlessly clapped at his mention of Maddox's death. When it arrives, I won't clap for Alice Walton's death, either. I've learned that lesson.
Johnnie Watson Adams
So, remind me, did Alice Walton get the "Arkansan of the Year" award from Arkansas Times for her most recent DWI (three months ago)? Or was it the one before that? Or was it the accident with fatality she was involved in before that? For being born rich? Oh, I get it — for being born rich and using a smidgeon of your unearned wealth to create a fancy art gallery near your hometown — not in an anonymous kind of way, mind you. Yep, not a more worthy Arkansan out there I expect.
Pentagon needs cutting
At a time when budgets are tight, and programs and services in our community are being cut back, the Pentagon budget keeps getting bigger.
The Secretary of Defense announced on Jan. 26 that he plans to slow the rate of growth for the Pentagon budget, but even under this proposal in 10 years the Pentagon budget would still be bigger than it is today.
Our military budget is grossly over-funded, much of which goes to useless projects and wasteful spending.
I hope that our members of Congress, namely, Messrs. Ross, Boozman and Pryor, will stick with the current law, which requires the Pentagon to cut its budget by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade — twice what the Secretary is proposing.
Over the last decade, the Pentagon budget has grown by 100 percent. Some of that growth was to pay for the wars, but a lot of it went right into the Pentagon budget. Right now, we all are having to cut back. The Pentagon should have to as well.
Our tax dollars must be spent for the good of we the people, not we-the-giant-arms/military suppliers corporation.
Submit letters to the Editor, Arkansas Times, P.O. Box 34010, Little Rock, AR 72203. We also accept letters via e-mail. The address is email@example.com. We also accept faxes at 375-3623. Please include name and hometown.