Cut the Chamber subsidy
A hearty second to Robert Johnston's suggestion to end the city of Little Rock's subsidy of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. Though it's hard to think of anything more important for a municipality's economic well-being than an adequate supply of clean, fresh water for domestic, commercial, and industrial use, we have yet to hear so much as a peep out of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce about protecting the quality of the water in Lake Maumelle. Evidently the reason for the Chamber's silence is that influential members of the Chamber are making a killing on real estate in the Lake Maumelle watershed and would prefer cold, hard, cash in their personal bank accounts to safe drinking water for our city at reasonable cost. So much for the Chamber's effectiveness at achieving even what it claims to do.
Pass the grouper
It seems to me that a thoughtful, enlightened newsmag like the Arkansas Times should strive for responsibility in every aspect of its publication, including its restaurant reviews. Regardless of his contributions to the local culinary options, Mark Abernathy should be ashamed for letting grouper become the best-selling entree at his restaurant, as your review reported Dec. 3. Frankly, I am appalled each time I open a menu and see something like swordfish or grouper offered. These species — along with red snapper, Atlantic flounder, Chilean sea bass and notable others — are either severely threatened by overfishing or their methods of harvest (for instance, bottom trawling) take an intolerable toll on other species.
Once we deplete fish species to the point of extinction, we not only lose the chance to ever taste them again; we also lose a key link in the rapidly collapsing web of the ocean ecosystem — a system on which each and every one of us depends for oxygen, carbon sequestration, sustainable nutrition, and tolerable weather. You can find recommendations about responsible (and healthy) seafood choices at www.edf.org. They make it easy with a color-coded wallet card to help those of us who would have trouble memorizing the full list of threatened species. Passing up the Red Door's pan-seared grouper is not only a vote for environmentalism — it might just be a step away from the extinction of our own landlubber species!
Fire the teachers
Each and every one of the teachers in the Pulaski County school district who staged the walkout/no-show last week should have been summarily dismissed that very day, the day after the school board voted to give them a raise and bump in health care benefits.
How disgraceful. In a time in which unemployment is at record highs, Arkansans are struggling, their action is inexcusable, and shame on the board for not having any backbone. At the very least, they should have held an emergency meeting and rescinded the raises.
Teachers are off every weekend, almost another four months out of the year, and enjoy benefits that surpass pretty much anyone in Arkansas not working for state or federal government. What a bunch of crybabies.
For corporate disclosure
Who cares that Wall Streeters or celebrities like Tiger Woods make millions in bonuses, endorsements and salaries? Well, we all should because we are paying for them whether directly or indirectly.
Companies and corporations add whatever costs they incur advertising to bolster the bottom line. So we consumers pay for the mansions, trophy wives, mistresses, exotic cars, yachts etc. by shelling out extra on higher credit card and loan interest, more expensive six-packs, and even costlier foods.
As paying consumers we should demand full disclosure on what companies and corporations own and how much goes to advertising. Just as we should know how much of the interest we pay goes for top-level salaries and bonuses.
This could be made available just as information on charities' inner workings is. And as no one wants to donate to a charity that has 90 percent of its donations going to administration, we shouldn't have to pay through bloodied noses for advertising and exorbitant bonuses and salaries.
Chris Lane Gray
Slavery by another name
I recently finished Douglas A. Blackmon's book, “Slavery by another name,” and the return to slavery practices in the South after the Civil War, using convict labor to benefit private companies. I have tried to explain to people that the Civil War did not give people of color their freedom. Did Arkansas also engage in using a bogus justice system to enslave people after the Civil War?
Blanche Lincoln will not support a public option. The next time we vote we can correct that opinion by exercising our public option.
I received an interesting flyer in the mail; in large type on the front it claims that “Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln is fighting to make sure Health Care Reform is Done Right.” On the reverse, in bold it states: “Senator Lincoln isn't playing politics with health care. She knows we have to get this right for the people of Arkansas. That is what matters most.”
I've read that reliable polls indicate that a majority of Arkansans favor health care reform which includes a public option. Senator Lincoln is on the record saying unequivocally that she would NOT support a public option.
As I understand it, health care reform will mandate that nearly every citizen be required to purchase insurance — if they don't have coverage provided by their employer. Without a public option to provide competition, insurance companies would stand to make a huge profit selling to this new pool of customers.
Back to the front of the flyer, in smaller print: “PAID FOR BY AMERICA'S BIOPHARMACEUTICAL RESEARCH COMPANIES”.
Makes me wonder who Senator Lincoln's true constituents are and who stands to gain the most from her stand against true health care reform; big pharma or the uninsured citizens of Arkansas?
I want to commend young Will Phillips for the tenacity to stand up against such extreme odds for what he believes in and not saying the Pledge of Allegiance. This is a very difficult stand to take that I know well; in my 8th grade year in the early 1960s I too took a stand against saying the allegiance for what I felt was a just cause. I refused because the government took prayer out of the schools. Boy, it was a small town but it caused a HUGE problem in that I had to face down my teacher, my principal and then the superintendent. Each made sure I knew what I was doing and each sent me up the line because they were frustrated with me. The superintendent made sure I knew this would be in my permanent record but I still stood my ground. We did come to an agreement that because I loved my country, I would stand out of respect but not salute. To this day, I find it hard to salute when so many things our flag stands for are overwritten.
Kudos to Will for being the well learned young man he is and for already seeing the implications of what we say in that allegiance to the flag and what REALLY happens in our world.
Secondly, to take a stand for gay rights so young also deserves great praise. Liberty and justice for all does not allow for religious prejudice any more than it allowed slavery.