I heard a brief report on the news here in Philadephia about Nigel Haskett and McDonald's and their insurer refusing his claims. I was appalled for a number of reasons, the basic lack of caring and compassion on the part of the employer for one, but, most of all, I was outraged that McDonald's corporate policy appears to be, “Don't get involved.”
Trained as a Holocaust educator, I believe that getting involved is incumbent upon us as human beings. “Not getting involved,” i.e., “Don't be a hero,” is what allows terrible societal things to happen. Encouraging, indeed requiring, employees to be bystanders is more than unfortunate. Holocaust education teaches that a bystander is not innocent. A bystander turns his back and walks away.
Professor Yehuda Bauer, in a 2006 speech, stated, “Thou shalt not be a perpetrator; thou shalt not be a victim; and thou shalt never, but never, be a bystander.” If the world had fewer bystanders and more Mr. Hasketts, it would be a better, safer place.
Your article on Nigel Haskett, while admittedly tragic, completely misses the point. Misty Thompson denied this claim using the tools of workers' compensation barbarism our legislature so kindly (or not) handed her back in 1993, with the passage of Act 796 of that year. Ms. Thompson is simply doing her job, under the umbrella and guidance of one of the most insurance-friendly workers' compensation laws this country has ever known.
I encourage readers who are appalled by this case to ask their state representatives and senators why our current Workers' Compensation Act continues to exist in its current form. In my humble and respectful opinion, it needs to be substantially overhauled. Unfortunately, there have been probably a thousand Arkansas workers' compensation claims, similar either in fact or possibly ultimate effect to Mr. Haskett's case, that have occurred over the last decade and a half. If we want to change something in the world, and we may very well need to start at the source.
According to my somewhat limited recollection, the Arkansas Times published a thoughtful article concerning the impact of Act 796 of 1993 on working Arkansans at some point earlier this decade. Personally, I'd like to see more.
Neal L. Hart
I eat out. A lot. Therefore, I always enjoy the annual Arkansas Times readers poll of The Best Restaurants in Arkansas.
For the most part my fellow gourmands got it right. However, there were a few winners and runners-up in this year's tally that invoked an audible “huh?” or worse. One runner-up made me seriously ill after my one and only visit. To make matters worse my out-of-state children were in town at the time for a short visit. Needless to say this restaurant will never get my vote for anything except maybe for sanitary violations from the Health Department. A couple of other runners-up must be garnering votes from folks that apparently fondly remember the establishments' “glory days.” In one case this was 20 years ago or so. Have you been back lately?
Finally one omission I find troubling. Panera Bread Co., while new to Little Rock is one of my favorites going back to my days living in St. Louis where Panera started as the St. Louis Bread Co. Panera competes favorably with the winners and runners-up in no fewer than 3 categories: Bakery, Deli/Gourmet Shop and Coffee. Although ZaZa is a worthy honoree, I would have named Panera Bread Co. to be the best new restaurant in Central Arkansas.
James R. Fisher
Lt. Gov. Bill Halter almost helped the young people of this state. He was right on the money (lottery) to go to education only. That's why Arkansas voted for it. He worked so hard to even get it on the ballot. Well now the redneck legislators don't care about $20,000 in college loans or young people leaving the state at all. They want to dip their soft hands in for their own interests. People, next time you vote read the amendments carefully and vote not to put lottery money in the normal treasury and the normal legislative appropriation process. I say read carefully because words can be construed to make you think you're voting no and it's actually yes. Bill Halter get out of Arkansas. Go to Washington, D.C.
Thanks to Max Brantley for the kind words about Little Rock School District schools. Hopefully, the board and administration will be worthy of kind comments in the future. I do take his comment about LRSD -- “the less you know, the more you doubt this” -- to heart. The board, or maybe I should say I, have to continue to push for more, good and understandable information about LRSD to be published in every way possible. The misunderstood news is worse than the bad news, in my opinion.
Jody B. Carreiro
Little Rock School Board, Zone 5