Columns » John Brummett

Bonus Brummett

He's firing arrows

by and

Three items are on my mind, and each is timely and of potential public interest. It’s a circumstance that compels me to offer a limited arrow column. Liberalism — Reports of its death turned out to be exaggerated. It has been found alive in Little Rock in the leadership of the Arkansas House of Representatives. You think I’m being ironic. I am not. Speaker Bill Stovall of Quitman has assembled his leadership team. It looks like the donor list of the ACLU. He has selected Rep. Jay Bradford of White Hall, long a liberal voice, to be his No. 2 as president pro tempore of the House. He has put Rep. Sam Ledbetter, frequent campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder and the political pride of Little Rock’s Hillcrest section, that liberal oasis, into the vice chairmanship of the Joint Budget Committee. He has made Rep. Joyce Elliott, a former Arkansas Education Association leader whom I remember seeing in the audience when I spoke at an annual ACLU banquet in December 1988, chairman of the House Education Committee. People have begged me not to call attention to this, lest red-state moral values preeners awaken at the switch and rise up. But I can’t help myself, being equal parts amused and amazed. It’s news when liberalism draws breath. Christian conservatism and pro-life advocacy — The scary one, Sen. Jim Holt of Springdale, and his Fort Smith human ditto mark, Sen. Denny Altes, say they’re working on a bill to deny services to illegal immigrants. A poor and illegal pregnant woman seeking prenatal care on the public tab presumably would be turned away because people lucky enough to have been born and provided gainful employment in the U. S. do not want to share the wealth. I do not find this officially sanctioned absence of a room at the inn to be Christian, but the absolute opposite. I don’t find it pro-life, but, again, the opposite. It also makes no practical or fiscal sense. When the rejected mother’s baby gets born into an unhealthy existence that might have been healthier with prenatal care, the state would be required under federal law to provide infant care. George Bush is much more moderate and compassionate on this issue. These scary locals should get behind their God-fearing president. Stan Heath — Considering his pleasant smile and mild public manner, I’d thought he might provide that rare Razorback coach who would not burden us with the kind of incendiary behavior we’d endured from Nolan Richardson or the hypersensitivity to criticism we’d endured from Houston Nutt. No such luck. Heath got huffy the other day with a sportswriter who’d quoted a player offering the rather obvious observation that the cupcake nonconference schedule hadn’t done much to prepare the team for conference play. I found that to be surprising behavior on Heath’s part, but I was advised it was more of the same and that Heath has been hostile to sportswriters and tried to dictate their coverage before. He jumped the cases of a couple of sportswriters months ago for reporting on the academic progress of a recruit, which has become — sadly, I’ll admit — a staple of modern sports journalism. Kids get their academic privacy invaded because they can run and jump. There’s a simple premise at work here. Coaches tend to be control freaks and arrogant you-know-whats. They can get away with it when they win. They cannot when they lose.

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