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Letters May 12

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Car wash blues I read some of your paper a couple of years ago and you were so far left it was kind of funny. Saw one this morning at the car wash and thought I would see if you had calmed down some in the last year or so. Man alive, with Brantley, McCord, Dumas and Brummett, you guys put out enough venom to kill most of the Christians you hate so much. It does amaze me that you can get business folks to advertise with you, with all the hate and bitterness. Don Phillips North Little Rock Church and state I read that Gov. Mike Huckabee will be at Fellowship Bible Church Sunday, May 15, to sell and sign his new book in the church’s Cross References bookstore. Far be it from me to quote Scripture to a Baptist minister and the Fellowship Bible Church, but I will anyway: “Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘my house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of robbery.” Matthew 21:12. Additionally, IRS requirements state that tax-exempt organizations “may not participate at all in campaign activity for or against political candidates.” Could allowing a sitting governor to use church facilities to promote a book wherein he will profit from sales be considered participating for or against a political candidate? Maybe not, since the governor is not a political candidate at the present time, but the IRS might see it differently. Beth Coger Danville The bird After reading last Saturday’s New York Times op-ed on the recent sighting of the ivory-billed woodpecker, called by some the “Lord God Bird,” I remain unconvinced. As a native of Northeast Arkansas I am all too familiar with the apparitions that have been reported by natives of that region shortly after they taste-tested some of the beverages brewed in hidden coves in those swamps. I myself have glimpsed supposedly extinct birds like the “single-breasted seersucker” and the “rosy-breasted pushover” after sipping local potions that had not been allowed — due to popular demand — to age the usual 30 minutes. So I think I will reserve judgment on this report of the “Lord God Bird.” Furthermore, I know the expletive natives of that area would use upon discovering such a rare specimen. It would the “holy shit bird.” Joel A. Taylor Little Rock Old turks If all the youngsters of the Sabin generation are as convinced as Warwick seems to be that it is constitutional for courts to legislate to reach a “politically correct” conclusion, then you Old Turks there at the Times have succeeded far beyond the old Gazette’s wildest dreams. The late Harry should rise up and doff his hat to you. Jim Johnson Conway Why Social Security? To even the most casual observer our country has several critical problems right now. Among them: 1. An exploding deficit caused by requiring government services but not paying for them. 2. Foreign governments switching some investments from our T-bills to Euros. 3. An education system that is not doing its job. 4. High-tech business, once ours, being established in foreign lands. 5. Medicare and Medicaid costs spiraling out of control while too many have no health insurance. 6. Unconscionable disparity between rich and poor, here and around the world. 7. Increasingly vitriolic polarization in our population and congress. 8. Looming insolvency in Social Security. With all this, why in the world would the Bush administration be spending so much time and energy on Social Security when most agree the problem is not immediate and is easily remedied? I can only assume this is because the Social Security problem is the only one with an easy answer and by concentrating on it, and adding personal accounts to the mix, our attention can be diverted from the more legitimate problems. Richard Picard Cabot Source of truth Bob Lancaster’s point is well taken that “We are at the dawn of a great repression.” And “The press is kaput here insofar as playing a meaningful role.” Three years ago, I found myself saying to friends, “I can tell in about five minutes whether somebody gets their news from TV and the newspapers, or the Internet.” Jaws dropped. “But how do you know it’s true?” somebody asked. “It takes maybe five minutes to source something, online, if you don’t trust the source,” I said. And that’s true. I DO read the Arkansas Times, because it’s excellently written and relevant. I haven’t looked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in years. By the time it’s published, it’s all old news, to me. Except for the bigoted ranting in their letters-to-the-editor column, which wouldn’t be published in any other major city rag. And NOW, I’ve realized, I’ve jumped the shark with TV. (Google “jump the shark” if you don’t know.) I keep TV on in the background, on CNN. Once in a while, I switch to Fox. A joke. Or TCM for an old movie. It dawned on me: I’m paying Comcast (certifiably right-wing and bigoted) $600-plus annually to watch the occasional old movie and biased newsreaders mangle the English language (“nucular”) and attempt the vernacular of adolescents (Wolf Blitzer going — “Guess what?” and “You know what?” every 30 seconds). It’s amazing how many people I know who have “given up” cable TV, now that I’ve joined their ranks. The genie’s out of the bottle on the Internet. The government-media conglomerate can “repress” all they like. But hackers, God bless ‘em, will always find a workaround. At the dawn of this “great repression,” as Bob phrased it, the Internet is the only source for truth and an informed citizenry. Robert Glass Little Rock Bush’s budget To all the Arkansas residents that REALLY did vote for George W.: Do you realize what Mr. Bush is doing to the people of Arkansas? His proposed budget includes a $13.9 million cut to Arkansas alone for homeland security. This means fewer police and firefighters on our streets. It will also cut the COPS program for Arkansas by 96 percent. This program has put an extra 1,314 officers on Arkansas streets. Bush’s budget also intends on cutting $560 million from the state’s Medicaid program. Even though Mr. Bush brags about all of the great strides he has made in health reform, 86,000 Arkansas residents have lost their health care coverage since he took office. Bush does not even want to fund his own program, “No Child Left Behind.” He has shorted Arkansas $118.4 million, leaving behind 28,039 Arkansas children. In his State of the Union address, Mr. Bush promised to fund Pell grants, but now his budget is $6.6 billion short. That means $79.2 million less than the state of Arkansas needs. This puts an even greater burden on 54,398 Arkansas students and their families. Mr. Bush also intends on cutting $10.4 million from Arkansas’s job training programs. George W. also wants to start charging our own veterans a new $250 annual “user fee” to use the veterans’ health care system and double the prescription drug co-payment for the 281,714 Arkansas veterans. His budget will cut our clean water programs by $2.5 million. Aren’t you concerned about the water you drink? The final blow will cut the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program by $1.5 million for Arkansans. Bush’s 2006 irresponsible budget is a record $427 billion in the red, increasing each Arkansas family’s share of the federal debt by $36,312. What are we doing to future generations? Dorothy Sykes Little Rock I don’t understand why Bush would cut the Homeland Security budget. I work for the police department and the last thing we need is fewer police officers and firefighters. We have too many positions not filled now because of budget restraints. Crime is on the increase. Bush has cost the American people too much already, especially lives. We’re in a war that’s the wrong reason, wrong place and wrong time. And Bush touts education and then cuts the Pell grants. Now he’s trying to undo Social Security when it just needs to be adjusted, not destroyed. All Americans should stay on their knees in prayer as long as Bush is in the White House. He’s extremely dangerous to our nation and the world. Charlotte Pack Ward

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