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D-G obsession

The Democrat-Gazette has seen fit to assault U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln three times in less than a week on their editorial page.  This level of repetition surpasses a mere pattern and might be deemed an obsession.  Obsessive folks can be dangerous because they tend to ignore facts that don't concur with their fixations.

Newspaper editors who probably would not recognize a plow if it opened a furrow on their writing desks simply lack credentials on this topic.  Yet, they hold forth to be experts on farm policy and the programs designed to accomplish that policy.  Contrary to ignorance-based opinions, farm programs were not designed to make farmers wealthy.  They exist to ensure that the nation has an adequate supply of food and fiber products.  They do provide a safety net to producers of the major commodities that are the base of the world's food supply but that net certainly does not guarantee a profit.

I would defy any editor or other farm program critic to name another national food and farm policy initiative that has delivered the benefits to a society like our U.S. farm policy does.  Senator Lincoln understands this.  Many editors do not.

Criticizing Senator Lincoln for standing up for a segment of her constituents that suffered severe crop damage from weather disasters in 2009 is not only unfair, it's suspicious because critics have relied on editors at the Washington Post and the New York Times to advocate against Arkansas producers.  Why?  Why would a native give credibility to a big city editor far removed from the farm in an effort to harm their home state industry of agriculture? Seeking an answer to that question is liable to cause me to fall into the paranoia pit and it's already crowded with tea baggers.

From the farm community, I say bless you Miss Blanche and please don't let the naysayers wear you down.  You did us proud by being a Senator doing what a Senator should!

Harvey Joe Sanner

Des Arc

Lethal injection stalled

In all the discussion of lethal injection protocols, no one has focused on the supplier of the key component, the drug sodium thiopental. Hospira Incorporated, the only supplier of the drug in this country, has been unable to obtain the active ingredient for the drug and apparently will not make new shipments until 2011. Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear has held off signing two death warrants because his state's supply of the drug expires Oct. 1. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections recently tried to substitute another drug for the sodium thiopental for the execution of Jeffrey Matthews. His attorney challenged that substitution and a federal judge stayed the execution. Arkansas uses essentially the same protocol for lethal injections as Kentucky. Maybe now is the time for a moratorium on execution in our state while we review the death penalty to see if it is effective public policy.

David L. Rickard

Little Rock

Pulaski school woes

The parents, grandparents, guardians and others should be appalled at the leadership of the Pulaski County Special School District.  The bell times were not well thought out and caused more problems than the solutions intended.  The Board has not shown fiscal restraint with Board members who have not repaid funds to the district.  The Board has made a debacle of its attempt to replace the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers as a bargaining agent for teachers with a personnel committee voted down by over 80 percent of the teachers. 

If the loss of 1,000 students this year is correct, that equates to roughly a $6 million shortfall.  How does the District make up that much of a shortfall, while paying legal fees to fight the recognition of PACT? 

 I can only hope the voters go the polls and I can only hope that the incumbents are defeated.  I can also only hope that those elected do a better job and help restore some legitimacy to the second largest school district in the state.  I'm sure the legislative audit committee is reviewing all of this and will ask about it in September when the PCSSD is due to report back to them.  The only people happy about the turmoil in the PCSSD are the Little Rock School District Board and administration.

Richard L. Moss


The 'strong' mayor

LR doesn't have a strong mayor system of government. It has a hybrid mayor system, the only one that I can find in the U.S.  LR is in the middle, almost all of the cities smaller than LR have a city manager and almost all of the cities larger have a strong mayor.

A strong mayor runs the board meetings, sets the agenda, can vote in a tie (if given the power), has the power of veto and can direct hiring authority over all city departments. In the current system, the LR mayor runs the board meetings, sets the agenda and can only vote in a tie.  The current structure has the board hiring two positions, the city attorney and the city manager. The city manager has direct authority over all city departments, except the city attorney's office. 

Now, look at how at-large city directors came into being.  That happened in 1957. The at-large city directors were created to disenfranchise a certain segment of the population in 1957. We tried to restore the direct ward system, some 14 years ago, but kept three at-large positions.  The three at-large directors will always follow the money (business interests), because that is where they draw the most support ($) for reelection.  With at-large directors in tow, 2/5 of the city population and two ward tied city directors can rule the entire population of the city. 

The people of Little Rock need to understand what type of city government that they have. Then accept what they have or change it. I think a strong mayor and ward tied city directors would give the accountability needed to force the city's fathers to address the problems  that face the citizens.

Joe Busby

President, Little Rock Neighborhood Connections

The mosque debate

The enormous debate over the building of an Islamic Cultural Center near what used to be the Twin Towers of the New York Trade Center troubles me greatly.  It seems tied to at least two other issues that are also debated of late:  The personal religion of President Obama and the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. The proposed building of the center has been likened to placing a Japanese pagoda or symbol at the site of the bombing of Pearl Harbor or a Nazi symbol at the Holocaust Memorial.  Well,  anyone who would use those comparisons needs to go back to school. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was the work of the Japanese Empire, a nation state, and the horror of the holocaust was the work of the Third Reich, a nation state.   As horrible as the bombing of the Trade Center was, it was NOT the work of a nation state or a religion.  It was the work of a few fanatical individuals who have no allegiance to anything but what they concoct as their brand of whatever.  They seem to wish to ally themselves with some form of Islam, but they are not representative of the religion of Islam. Those who make this association need to read and learn about Islam and perhaps get to know a few Muslims.  This may shock many readers, but the few Muslim friends I have are some of the most Christ like people I have ever met. The personal religion of President Obama:  He refers to himself as a Christian and that is good enough for me.  However, if he is, indeed, a Muslim,  so what!!!   The First Amendment gives all of us that right. I quote: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” So, could we now lay these debates to rest and get on with solving the critical issues of the day: Education, the economy, the deficit, immigration, etc.

Brenda Ball Tirrell

Hot Springs Village

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