News » Letters

Letters Dec. 9


Cutting Clinton Thank you for what was, on the whole, a fair and balanced article (Nov. 11) about my feelings regarding the Clinton Presidential Library. In fact, I thought that your library issue, as a whole, was outstanding. One little quibble and correction, however. The political action group I spearheaded, ARIAS, that ran political ads in the New Hampshire primary opposing Bill Clinton did NOT run any ads, radio or newspaper, dealing with the draft issue. Nor did we run any ads, radio or newspaper, dealing with the so-called woman issue. Our ads were SOLELY on Bill’s gubernatorial record in Arkansas, and it might surprise you to know they were slanted from a liberal perspective. In essence, we pointed out that from the time Bill Clinton was first elected governor until 1992, tax revenue in the state had tripled and that it had tripled due to regressive sales and gasoline tax increases primarily, which of course impacted most the poor and working-class families. Second, we pointed out that when Bill was first elected governor, Arkansas was ranked 50th or 49th in a great number of socioeconomic areas and that after throwing three times as much regressive tax monies at the problems, in 1992 Arkansas STILL ranked at the bottom or near the bottom on these same socioeconomic scales. Thus, our “cut” line, which I concede was quite cutting, “Please, Governor Clinton, Don’t Do To America What You’ve Done To Arkansas!”. As for being a “right-wing front” (as the Clintonistas alleged), ARIAS was not. In fact, ARIAS only raised and spent some $45,000, and the largest couple of contributions were from labor unions. Cliff Jackson Hot Springs Thank you for the great editorial coverage of the Clinton Presidential Center. You attended the festivities. You did not see the TV version, which amounted to one more Repbug pounding of a great president. It was so bad I turned off the TV sound and reverted to radio days when a person had an imagination. You might know the Arkansas Democrat newspaper will never give up and there are others in Little Rock and elsewhere that can’t give it up either, even though the center will be a learning place for the uninformed and a money maker for a whole bunch of folks in Little Rock. We’ll travel there in the spring to see it all. Glenn Martin Tulsa If you are going to advocate for an extended Clinton Avenue, why not substitute Third Street for the current segment of Markham? From its intersection with Boone and Summit, Third crosses the railroad, runs past Clinton’s former office in the Capitol, continues past the Gazette Building (the War Room, of course) and the Rose Law Firm (Hillary), the Historic Arkansas Museum, and goes under a stately overpass to emerge on the edge of the library grounds. It’s more than two miles long, wider and less congested than Markham. Apart from a few disconnected segments to east and west, which would not have to be renamed, it is a complete street in itself. Besides, there is even a Carville Building, and the Democrat printing plant could sulk under its new address. Gordon Beck Little Rock Digital records I thoroughly enjoyed Doug Smith’s recent article on the weakness with digital record keeping — the delete button. Doug reports the ease of deleting public records and there being no provisions under Arkansas law to prevent records from being deleted. I would like to point out that the same damaging situation applies for a vote or vote tally on electronic voting machines. When the vote tallies from the precincts are transmitted to the central vote tabulator in the county (fancy name for a plain old PC) then the entire county’s totals can be easily altered, moved to another candidate, or simply deleted. All in 90 seconds or less. If there are no paper ballots on the machines, then there is no record of the vote. Florida is a fine example of this occurrence. Their 2002 gubernatorial race tallies disappeared from the touchscreens — without a trace. Arkansas is currently gearing up to purchase a mix of touchscreens and optical scanner voting machines. At least the optical scanners come with a paper ballot to use when the scanners mistabulate or if the computer chips are misprogrammed (both have happened in our state). I seriously hope that all county clerks will opt to purchase the paper-ballot-provided optical scanners. It’s a matter of public record. Lisa Burks National Coalition for Verified Voting Conway Disturbing ‘scholarship’ A recent program sponsored by Arkansas Right To Life featured author Angela Franks discussing her forthcoming publication, “Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility.” The book analyzes the life of the founder of Planned Parenthood, concluding that Sanger was an elitist bigot who associated with racists and Nazis. Ms. Franks’ real message, however, was that Planned Parenthood today has accelerated its racist efforts by targeting African Americans with a disproportionate number of abortions. Ms. Franks’ scholarship is disturbingly misdirected. Sanger was one of the pioneer social reformers of the 20th century. Her foundational philosophy — that reproductive rights are a woman’s essential human right and every woman must have the right to decide when and whether to have a child — is firmly rooted in the U.S. Constitution. Despite being praised by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for its moral and ethical purpose, Planned Parenthood’s work is cited by Ms. Frank as an assault on women of color. Despite the unequivocal support of feminist leaders, Ms. Franks believes that Planned Parenthood’s feminism is “offensive to the women’s movement.” Planned Parenthood has never provided abortions in Arkansas. Education and reproductive health services to prevent unintended pregnancies (particularly teenage pregnancy) and sexually transmitted infections are the sole work of the Little Rock Health Center. Yet Ms. Franks, and the organization that hosted her visit, believe it a “moral duty” to keep Planned Parenthood out of the community. Planned Parenthood has been part of the mainstream Little Rock health infrastructure in one form or another since 1931. We’re not planning to leave anytime soon. Marvin Schwartz Vice President for Community Affairs Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma Gay marriage In his Nov. 11 piece “Gay marriage rocks the vote,” Doug Smith writes that the outcome of the elections will make it more difficult for proponents of gay marriage to obtain favorable judicial decisions, “and there’s a long way to go.” While no one suggests that this struggle will be easy, it may be hoped that the Supreme Court will rule favorably. As Mr. Smith writes, Justice Scalia believes the matter should be left to the several states, but the other justices view the matter differently. Justice Thomas (who, while he dissented from the decision in Lawrence v. Texas, wrote that he considered Texas’s anti-sodomy law “uncommonly silly”) is himself in a marriage which might not be recognized in many states of the union were it not for Loving v. Virginia, where the court decided that “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” The historical imperative for judicial recognition of gay marriage, as well as its similar standing with interracial marriages, was made eminently clear by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health: “In this case, as in Perez [v. Sharp] and Loving, a statute deprives individuals of access to an institution of fundamental legal, personal, and social significance — the institution of marriage — because of a single trait: skin color in Perez and Loving, sexual orientation here. As it did in Perez and Loving, history must yield to a more fully developed understanding of the invidious quality of the discrimination.” Heath Hutto Baghdad, Iraq

Add a comment