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Eagle earned



Many issues were raised by your Dec. 27 Smart Talk item “Of dogs and eagles.” First you mention hanging of a dog. Is this a crime? If so, why did the authorities not do their job and investigate? The Boy Scout camp you probably are referring to is traversed by packs of wild dogs that kill anything they can.

Implication was made that David Huckabee's Eagle Scout project was improperly performed. However, no evidence was printed. The number of hours spent in planning was not given, only a total that included other activities. Ignorance of the process is evident. It is common that Eagle projects are done in cooperation with city, state or federal agencies. In these projects, the agency often designs the building, bridge, etc., which are beyond the scout's capability. In such cases the agency also supplies most of the materials. Then, construction is performed by the Boy Scout group at considerable savings to the government agency. Scouts usually report time spent in planning as 10 to 30 hours. The project then must be performed by a group of at least five persons that is supervised by the scout. Usually, the group is composed of other scouts, but friends may help as well. Time spent on performance of the project is reported in man-hours and is commonly 30 to 50 man-hours. A total of 100 hours in planning and performance is quite within the guidelines for Eagle projects, especially those that require more than a day to finish.

Wrongdoing was implied without evidence. The honorable thing to do is to make clear accusations and supply the proof. This is why I do not read the Arkansas Times. I looked at this issue because it was the only reading material available at the time.

Bob Skinner

Little Rock

Garden credit

Your Dec. 6 review of “Living in the Garden Home” included a presumption that the beautiful full-page photo of New Dawn roses covering a metal archway was photographed in author P. Allen Smith's yard. No, that gorgeous landscape actually was designed and installed by my friend Kim Booth at her home in Scott. An inadvertent omission must have left out that information from the acknowledgments page in the book, so I can see how your reviewer could make that mistake. Kim is an extraordinarily talented master gardener. I'm glad more people can see her beautiful work (that's also her garden gate on page 27), through lovely books like those of P. Allen Smith. He obviously recognizes her great design talent, too.

Katherine Hale


Candidate Huckabee

I worked for the state juvenile services agency when Mike Huckabee was Arkansas governor. He gave orders to privatize the state juvenile training school (the former Alexander Youth Services Center) because the occasional escapes and suicides were hurting his political career. I was involved in contract development, policy negotiation and preparing a plan to lay off about 150 state employees, many of whom had dedicated over 20 years to working with troubled youth at the institution. He made it clear that the welfare of these kids was of little concern.

The out-of-state company that we contracted with did what you might expect for a for-profit company. They minimized their cost to maximize their profit. Mistakes were made, there were more suicides and escapes, and additional kids died. Not long after I retired, the state canceled the contract and took over the facility until another corporation could be located to manage it.

All the ethical misdeeds, use of money from the Mansion Maintenance Account to buy panty hose and gas for his bass boat, misuse of the State Police airplane for duck hunting and political advancement, my experience working in Human Services communications where Huckabee renamed the ARKids health insurance program to make it appear that he started it, printing his photo in state publications where we had never done so before, and all the rest of his shameful tenure do not compare to the utter disregard he showed for the approximately 500 children committed to the state juvenile justice agency.

Frankly, I'm amazed that Huckabee has encountered so little accountability for his abhorrent behavior as governor.

Al Garrett Jr.


John C. Williams' article Jan. 10 criticizing the Fair Tax supported by Mike Huckabee is an example itself of the fakery that Williams ascribes to Mike Huckabee. Williams has not researched the proposal and does a disservice to your readers by representing it inaccurately.

There is research by Suffolk University economist David G. Tuerck, using real-world economic models, showing that the Fair Tax in fact is progressive compared to today's payroll taxes, corporate income taxes and, yes, even individual income taxes. Williams also has not considered the offsetting effect of removing tax costs that are embedded in the prices of everything consumers purchase today.

Williams should research the measure and write a sequel. If he undertakes the research honestly, he will conclude differently.

Jim Bennett

Summit, N.J.

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