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Letters April 7

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More women needed Maybe Maureen Dowd, the only female New York Times columnist is right: The reason we’re in so much trouble with Bush-think is because there are so few fearless woman columnists appearing in the press. The Arkansas Times is no exception. Take, for example, Doug Smith’s feature last week on state Rep. Joyce Elliott. Excellent, as we expect from Doug, with one exception: his suggestion that Elliott set her sights on being elected to the Little Rock Board of Directors is almost like telling Bill Clinton he ought to aim for dog catcher! Does it take a woman writer to perceive that Elliott is dynamite? That she could blow either Johnny-come-lately Hutchinson or brain-starved Rockefeller out of the water in the race for governor? Where’s Mara Leveritt anyway? Anne Courtemanche-Ellis Lurton Death with dignity Just read Max Brantley’s column “The politics of dying” and agree totally. I am especially glad he mentioned the living will/medical power of attorney part since in the news recently it has been said that many doctors just ignore the things. The power of attorney can be made ironclad according to my attorney, with whom I have just finished estate planning. And a photocopy can have the force of the original, signed document, too. So carrying a copy in your purse or wallet is not a bad idea. Ann Strother Searcy It disturbs me very much that the same people who profess their belief in heaven would fight so hard to deny God’s call to Terry Schiavo and the beauty that awaits her. JoAnne Bissell Little Rock Black voters Warwick Sabin’s column regarding black votes no longer being taken for granted misses one very important point. If blacks do desert the Democratic Party it will not be for any faith-based reason, but because the Democratic Party has become a party of spineless wimps who seem either unwilling or unable to fight for anything anymore. They did not fight for right in 2000 when the election was stolen. They ran like scalded dogs during the Clinton impeachment. Only the Black Caucus and a few other Democrats stood up for him. Why should anyone be loyal to a party that will leave them in a lurch the first time a strong wind blows. The Republicans are not the answer because they have no soul. Their craven meanness and hypocrisy are too much to swallow. Black people are not fooled by the Bush strategy to enlist the black clergy in his effort to entice more blacks to vote Republican. That little handful of ecclesiastical hustlers will not be able to sway any meaningful number of blacks, for their definition of “moral issues” is not the same as that of the majority of black people. We are not a one-dimensional, two-book, three-sin people who equate immorality with sex. Our definition of morality is based on the teachings of Jesus, not some wild-eyed vindictive God who trolls his heavenly realm all day and night looking for homosexuals to pounce on. We are a pragmatic people who vote our social and economic interest and if we desert the Democratic Party, it will be to go home and sit down. By the way, we do not confuse Win Jr. with the dad Rockefeller. We do know the difference. Edwina Lockhart Little Rock More thanks Thanks for the article on people who have chosen to reveal their homosexual orientation. It’s a sad thing that many people have to live in fear of revealing such information about themselves. I think your article did a good job of expressing the humanity of the people behind the issue and I commend you for addressing this in such a civilized manner. Thompson Murray Little Rock “Coming Out” was not only insightful and informative, but the profiles put loving faces on our gay and lesbian friends, neighbors and business associates. As the pastor of an “open and affirming” congregation in Little Rock, however, it saddened me to read Brent Marley’s quote, “Having our government controlled by the Christian faith makes life in America difficult.” Believe me, the Christian faith isn’t controlling anything here. Christians are called to live and respond as Jesus would, to act out of love, not hate, and to care for the least among us. Many Christians are in disagreement with our government’s stand on numerous issues, from the war in Iraq and the disenfranchisement of gays and lesbians to the reform of Social Security, the elimination of racism and the lack of response to the homeless. Perhaps one of the real ironies of our faith is that a Christian church would feel the need to declare itself “open and affirming.” Christ acknowledged the worth of every man, woman and child and welcomed them to his ministry, every man, woman and child — regardless of the color of their skin, their political ideals, their physical abilities, their sexual identity, their social standing, their educational achievements, and the list goes on and on. We look forward to the day when we can remove “An Open and Affirming Congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” from our letterhead because all Christian churches have realized that love is not to be withheld from any child of God. Sharon M. Coote Pastor, Pulaski Heights Christian Church Ironic It was ironic. One day last week, a plant closed up in Northeast Arkansas (200 jobs) and moved to Mexico. Then our representatives passed a bill to give illegal aliens’ children financial aid for schooling. It makes no sense to ship our $10- to $20-an-hour jobs to Mexico then provide the illegal Mexicans with a welfare state which their government does not have. John Wilson Jacksonville Clean up Luke Skrable’s crusade on blight in Southwest Little Rock (March 17) caught my attention. We are from Michigan and have been in Little Rock for the past three months for treatment at the Arkansas Cancer Research Center. The litter I see all along city streets, parking lots, bus stops and some businesses is alarming. In Michigan, litterbugs are fined $1,000 and there’s a hot line to report them. We also have to pay a deposit on bottles and cans to ensure their return. There are trash cans in all parking lots, bus stops and outside all businesses. Businesses are required to pick up their grounds. Evidently, Arkansas does not have litter laws or does not enforce them. I pick up your litter everywhere I walk. The next day, there’s a new assortment. Arkansas is known as the Natural State and it is indeed beautiful. Your citizens have been gracious to us. But your litter is very noticeable to out-of-state visitors. If you litter, stop. If you don’t, reach down and pick up the litter you see. And teach your children likewise. Then truly Arkansas will look like the Natural State. Dee Garety Cass City, Mich. Workers comp My wife recently had a disk fusion with metal screws and cage installed in her back. The doctor gave her a 12 per cent disability rating even though she has to take pain meds daily, is unable to sleep, sit or stand, and this has taken away all her activiies as a parent, wife, etc. This rating is a standard rating given to all back injuries regardless of the final outcome of the individual’s surgery. It does not matter if a disk protruded and was repaired with a syringe or like hers, a seven-inch scar and surgery for three hours with metal in her back. By the Arkansas workers comp ratings, it’s all the same. Her final compensation for the surgery, pain and suffering for the rest of her life comes to a grand total of just over $8,000. Yes, that is the total for getting injured on the job in Arkansas. This has to be changed to match the rest of the United States. It is just ridiculous what a hurt employee has to go through because Arkansas is this far behind. Ron Cook Shady Point, Okla. Plugged in to Bob I’ve been a fan of Bob Lancaster’s for a long time. His column Feb. 10 on the legislature’s attacks on gay families was pure brilliance. I especially enjoyed the discussion on “plug bars.” Thank you for the great writing. I think, even though I am a near-destitute college student trying to make it in this world (unless of course the legislature bans gay people from attending the same schools with, drinking from the same fountains as, or being anywhere near, the straights in public), I may subscribe now, just to give you guys some well-deserved financial support. Daniel Ward Little Rock

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