I am responding to your recent review of my establishment, Joubert's Tavern. As a longtime reader and supporter of the Arkansas Times, I regret to write this letter. Typically, I have appreciated the attention the Times has generated for my bar, but I find this most recent assessment nothing but a battery of misinformation and slanderous generalizations.
First, Joubert's does not permit gambling on its premises. Although you did not directly state that my bar was hosting illicit activities, you quoted patrons who were speaking about bets on a college football game. The average reader is apt to assume gambling occurs at my establishment. This defames my name as a business owner.
Second, I am tremendously offended by the quote from a patron, “This is a good sports bar if you like idiots.” Not only did you fail to recognize the sarcasm in this line, you used this off-handed remark to define the entirety of my business.
I am also curious as to why you were unable to articulate how my bar classified as a neighborhood bar. Had you visited my bar more than once, you would have easily ascertained the camaraderie present in the majority blue collar crowd. Had you contacted me or spoken with any of my regular patrons, you would have learned that I remain an integral part of this bar. I am present five nights or more a week. I ensure that every customer, regular or not, feels welcome and respected. And, yes, I do know everyone's name. And their children.
Your article only briefly discusses why neighborhood bars have such permanence. The affinity my regulars have for this bar has allowed me to survive four recessions over 28 years of business. To me, that defines a neighborhood bar.
Do your research and treat your subjects equally. I found it insulting that you dismissed the noise of “fratty wedding party members” at the Fountain, but twice emphasized the apparently distracting noise of sports fans at my bar. After all, who goes to a sports bar and views a championship football game and does not expect a little cheering? I understand it's unfair to hold you to high standards of journalism. However, you should do at least a minimum of background research and fact-checking before you publish. Doctors bury their mistakes and journalists publish theirs.
The Chamber's subsidy
In his article about the taxpayer-subsidized Chamber of Commerce, which has been using funds provided by taxpayers as it fights health care reform and extension of rights to workers, Max Brantley writes,
“But voters should be outraged that taxpayer money is allowed to be spent in secret. And that it may be spent in ways detrimental to the public interest — if you happen to believe better working conditions, universal health care and workers rights are in the public interest.”
Please count me as a voter who is outraged that my tax dollars are being used by the Chamber of Commerce for these political ends. And that the Chamber refuses to adhere to FOI regulations and provide detailed accounts of how it uses my tax dollars.
If the Arkansas Times or any other organization or publication can tell me how to make my voice heard in protest, I'm ready and willing to protest. I will strongly assist any movement that tries to call the Chamber of Commerce to accountability for its overt partisan political activities in the health care debate and in other political debates.
William D. Lindsey
‘To hell with civility'
Mark Feldman says it's fine to approach Rep. Vic Snyder during a private dinner with his wife and harass them, he would in fact like to thank the person who did for her psycho type behavior. If they felt uncomfortable so be it. With all the insane, gun toting, egomaniacs justifying their causes, who wouldn't be downright scared to death by someone who decides to take their hostility to another level at a dinner table. If this person is so concerned why didn't she make an appointment, write a letter, do one of a hundred other things normal concerned citizens do when they want to express their opinion? Feldman justifies this behavior by the “overwhelming margin” of Arkansans who don't approve of the health bill. Maybe so in Hot Springs Village, but not so for the rest of the state. To me this is all beside the point. The point being it is NOT OK to bully, intimidate and scare our elected officials during their private dinner. Civility, manners and respect should be the norm.
Do I understand correctly — the former head of Arkansas Farm Bureau briefly considered opposing Blanche Lincoln for her Senate seat? If so, I haven't seen dramatic irony like this since Wiley Coyote was run over by the Acme truck.
The Capitol display
I've followed the lawsuit against Secretary of State Charlie Daniels for denying the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers the right to put a winter solstice display on the grounds of the state Capitol (two years in a row); the subsequent and (correct) ruling of federal Judge Susan Wright; as well as the legislators stating they “oppose” Judge Wright's ruling. Thank you Judge Wright; shame on you, Arkansas legislators and elected officials, who would see the law violated and broken.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble.” Justice Robert Jackson wrote in West Virginia v Barnette; 1943: “ the First Amendment ensures that ‘if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or PETTY, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein'.”
The Bill of Rights went into effect on Dec. 15, 1791. The irony doesn't escape me that some 218 years later Arkansas elected officials tried to get by side-stepping the Constitution. Note to voters: Stop electing these people. Please do a better job checking into the people you vote for prior to casting your ballot. Our rights depend on our being responsible.
On former Gov. Mike Huckabee's website he made a statement saying “should he [accused cop killer Maurice Clemmons] be found to be responsible for this horrible tragedy, it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington state.”
Mike Huckabee commuted a 108-year prison term. Why is he pointing a finger at Washington?
It took a lone brave police officer to bring the monster down. I wonder who it was who wanted and had Gov. Mike Huckabee comute Clemmons' sentence in the first place and did Clemmons leave a trail of unsolved crimes behind?
Janet Oldham Zarmbus
Where's the change?
It's a year since Barack Obama became president of the United States, elected on the platform of change. The only change I see is that he is the head and face of the Democratic Party and the rest is the same old same old. We have Democrats fighting Democrats instead of doing the will of the people.
A bill to make it easier to get prescription drugs from sources other than through our controlled and corrupt pharmaceutical companies failed. Now we have health care reform bottlenecked by insurance companies and their kissing cousins from the pharmaceutical companies.
The president is the leader of the Democratic Party. The elected Democratic members of the House and Senate down through state party chairperson should be following the lead of the president.
Now is the time for health care reform, not kissing the butt of the insurance industry. The time for change is now. Mr. President it's time to get your folks in line and start to act like the party of the people instead of the party of the few.
North Little Rock
Missing from the balanced report of Doug Smith on medical marijuana was the sad fact that every hour my profession spends chasing and arresting the non-problem causing marijuana user, the less time we have for the deadly DUI and those who hurt our children and women. When detectives fly around in helicopters looking for a pot garden, they are not arresting a rapist or child molester. When road officers are searching car after car for a baggie of pot, the deadly DUIs sail on by and kill innocents. Marijuana prohibition reduces public safety period.
Detective/Officer Howard Wooldridge (ret)
One of the medications prescribed by my personal physician for my arthritis pain and inflammation has the rare potential side effect of death. In other words, if I take this medication as prescribed, I can die as a result.
On the other hand, marijuana has never been documented to have killed a single person in the 5,000-year history of its use.
For me, marijuana is the more effective medication. Right now, if adult citizens opt for the safer and more effective medication, they are subject to arrest and being sent to jail with violent criminals.
Shouldn't adult citizens have the freedom to choose what goes into their own bodies in the privacy of their own homes?
Will Phillips has every reason to feel that gays are treated unfairly by not being permitted to marry. However, his protestation at reciting the pledge demonstrates a fundamental misreading and misinterpretation of the Pledge. The Pledge does not state that America is a place of liberty and justice from day one — ideals that somehow arrived gift-wrapped on Independence Day and are guaranteed to all Americans. The Pledge is, in fact, a promise that the orator will strive for those ideals that the flag represents.
Thus, young Mr. Phillips is actually stating that he refuses to strive for the very ideals he claims to believe in. The article's author, Mr. Koon, therefore incorrectly states that “Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson smiles.” Jefferson would likely be very angry at the narrow reading of the text.