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Letters Oct. 28

Marriage amendment


The marriage amendment When thousands are without jobs and too many children are living in poverty, it is shocking that there are people in the state who have spent time working to put an unnecessary amendment on this November’s ballot. Amendment 3 is pointless because today Arkansas does not have to recognize same-sex marriages. Federal and state law allow the state not to recognize the marriage between two men, even if the marriage is valid in another state or in another country. The only purpose behind Amendment 3 is to graft hatred and discrimination onto the Arkansas Constitution. We would all spend our time more wisely if we were working to bring jobs to the state, to educate our children, to care for the elderly, and to prevent crime. Clyde H. Henderson III Little Rock Amendment 2 Warwick Sabin is right on target with his comments regarding entrepreneurship and its ability to create jobs. Regrettably, his naivete regarding auto assemblies’ potential to create thousands of high paying jobs gives rise to the fact he perhaps is mathematically challenged. First, I commend the efforts of Rural Sourcing. In 18 months this company has employed 18 people. At that rate of growth, in 10 years they will have added another 120 people. John Shelnutt of UALR’s Institute for Economic Advancement says an auto assembly project making a capital investment of $780 million could employ 3,000 workers at an average salary of $68,000. I believe our state should pursue a multifaceted economic development strategy including both manufacturing and high-tech jobs. I agree our job creation efforts should not be solely centered on auto assembly, which, according to Mr. Sabin, is a “1904 horse and buggy strategy.” Amendment 2 can help bring the type jobs that have so far passed our good people by. Who’s to say that auto assembly jobs are not high tech and could possibly include as a byproduct research and development opportunities? Mr. Sabin’s thesis regarding Amendment 2’s ability to attract “super projects” is opinion not supported by scientific research. Jim Pickens Little Rock As an economic developer with Entergy’s Teamwork Arkansas, I’ve seen first-hand how our state is missing out on high-paying jobs that we desperately need. Arkansas looks like the hole in the donut when it comes to “super projects” that have been announced in the southern region of the United States. Arkansas can’t compete with surrounding states because our state Constitution prohibits the state from moving quickly and effectively to issue general obligation bonds. Amendment 2 will allow us to use the tax money we already have and create a more effective and timely process that allows us to be competitive with our surrounding states. It also establishes safeguards to evaluate a company’s economic impact on our state. Sherry McDonnell Little Rock Presidential politics As an independent voter, never have I felt so strongly that the incumbent president must be defeated. He has dragged our solvent nation into unbelievable debt. Anyone who wants to save his children or grandchildren from the possibility of living in a third-world country and the certainty of living in an unclean environment had better be at the polls on Nov. 2. Nancy Clark Little Rock I’m troubled that churches are letting people stand up and speak that Mr. Bush is a Christian and Mr. Kerry is not. I’ve heard that if you are a Democrat you are going to hell. I was saved and baptized a Southern Baptist. If to be a Christian takes standing up and lying to the American people and not admitting any faults or responsibilities, we are reading from two different Bibles. Ricky (Tadpole) Harrington Greenbrier It’s amazing to hear the president and his henchman, Dick Cheney, talk about how John Kerry doesn’t “understand” the terror threat. If the president understood the war on terror, he would understand that it is essentially a guerilla war, best fought by covert action. It should be focused on eliminating terrorists, not trying to intimidate people who are perfectly willing to die for their cause. The real question is, is the world a safer place? As long as we’re creating new terrorists every day, and as long as Osama bin Laden is a free man, I say no. That is one of many reasons that I’m voting for John Kerry. Tommy Foltz Little Rock The truth is that neither John Kerry nor George W. Bush nor Ralph Nader represents the visionary leadership that America ultimately needs. The choice is not between Kerry and Nader. It is between Kerry and Bush. Make sure your vote Nov. 2 counts towards steering America in a new and sensible direction. Then, after the election, help John McCain or Howard Dean or whomever you want to shape and advocate for the real changes that are necessary for a secure, peaceful and sustainable future. Mark McKinney Pine Bluff During the 2000 campaign, PBS aired Bush and Gore biographies showing Bush in his cheerleader uniform at Yale and Gore in football uniform as co-captain of his high school team in Washington. I think seeing a picture of Bush in cheerleader uniform might drive some in these parts to Kerry. Anyone? Doris Mason Cabot The Republicans’ underhandedness and complete disrespect for people’s rights to vote, assemble or practice freedom of speech is a slap in the face to all the servicemen and women who have fought and died so Americans can have these rights. In 2000 in Florida, more than 52,000 voters were removed from the rolls under the guise of cleansing the rolls of felons. Over 90 percent of those who were refused the right to vote had no criminal record. George Bush has conducted an undeclared war against all dissent and this has resulted in people being incarcerated for refusing to give up their right to assemble and express their opinions. Are we still in America? Martha Lindsay Fayetteville Let’s not talk about Bush’s past, only Kerry’s. We will be welcomed in Iraq with open arms. Oil money will pay for the war. Personal responsibility. No child left behind. We could have won in Vietnam. One of my favorite movie lines comes from “The Outlaw Josie Wales.” A Confederate leader has been tricked into having his men surrender and then they are shot. He tells a U.S. senator, “Don’t urinate on my shoes and then tell me that it is raining.” This is the legacy of Bush-Cheney. Steve Wheeler North Little Rock Fact is President Bush served honorably and was given no special treatment in the National Guard while John Kerry went to the beautiful beaches of Vietnam and had a wonderful time. The real hero is Bush. Send both of them to Iraq and see who the real deal is. Richard Blume Little Rock I have been a Republican for 30 years, but I am prepared to consider voting against President Bush and his war. However, why should I vote Democratic if the Democrats are going to engage in the same mendacious Arab-baiting? The Democrats tell centrist voters who want more of Bush’s Middle East wars that they are ready to fight Muslims, too, but they will do a better job because Bush is attacking the wrong Muslims and they’ll go after the right ones. That’s why I haven’t left the Republicans yet — because the Democrats are such crass opportunists. Michael Klossner Little Rock Many of our allies, and more and more of us at home, are becoming increasingly aware that over the past three and a half years our leadership has exercised its morality as an insatiable appetite for power and greed instead of unbridled respect for human dignity. Ask yourself how you would rate any other country if it were behaving as our leadership is now. And then join me in speaking out and voting your conscience, for this could well be the most important election in generations. Jim Young Beaver The most destructive problem in America and the world is clericalism, which is the public policy where religious leaders, preachers and politicians are in cahoots and collaboration, quid pro quo, for money, votes and controlling influence. Clericalism has, for all practical purposes, taken over the Republican Party. President George W. Bush’s faith-based community initiative has a clericalistic faith-based office in several Cabinet departments. This is time for preachers and other religious leaders to stand up and write to our legislators and ask them to vote and oppose the faith-based scheme. Even as we pray for our president, we are not for sale. Rev. L.K. Solomon Pine Bluff How has President Bush affected the lives of Arkansans and other Americans? 1. He took away the right to overtime pay from 6 million Americans. 2. He created a huge loophole that allows dirty power plants to operate without controlling their emissions. 3. He endangered pregnant workers when he stopped regulating exposure to the chemicals used in the manufacturing of semiconductors. 4. He rolled back mercury regulations and proposed to defer controls on mercury emissions by power plants for at least a decade. 5. He eliminated protections for mine workers and eliminated rules to protect workers from tuberculosis. 6. He misled us with lies into a Vietnam-like quagmire. We need a leader in the White House who thinks about people, not just about big business and their profits. Edgar Williams North Little Rock I currently attend college at UALR. Also I work to pay my college tuition, college bills, college books, etc. I am a 21-year-old living with parents because of how hard it is to get federal help. Maybe it’s because of our growing deficit and the money we have spent on waging a war with a nation that was never an imminent threat, nor involved in the heinous acts of 9/11. George W. Bush has forgotten how important education is for this country to move forward. Chad Lilly Little Rock In the most affluent country in the world, why can’t we afford health care for all our citizens? We need some answers and John Kerry has them. He would expand insurance to 95 percent of all Americans and all children. He has a plan to help small businesses offer health insurance coverage by providing them a 50 percent tax credit and reducing their premium costs by 10 percent by creating a pool that would cover most catastrophic illnesses. He would bring drug costs down by permitting re-importation of drugs from Canada. He would create a Patients Bill of Rights. Better use of technology would cut costs and make our records safer. Elaine Scott Little Rock I’ve seen little or no discussion of the latest Bush tax increase on the elderly — nearly a 20 percent rise in Medicare fees, the largest increase in the 40 years of the program. Trying to balance the budget on the backs of the old and sick. How’s this for an example of a compassionate conservative? Jay Fulbright III Bentonville Anything the far-out religious right is for, I’m against! They give the impression that they have all the answers — so they aren’t going anywhere. I aspire to a greater understanding of man, the universe and yes, even religion. I am for the freedom to choose in all of the above. I am supporting John Kerry. Katherine Erwin Little Rock Good week for who? According to your publication, it was a good week when Parisian announced it was coming to town. Do you know that the developer of that shopping center wants to destroy a 60-foot tall hillside, along with several houses, to bring his vision to life? Do you know that the new shopping center will cause myriad traffic and safety problems along Cantrell Road and surrounding streets? Do you know that the quality of life in Pleasant Valley, Pleasant Forest, Walton Heights and several other neighborhoods in the area will suffer permanently on account of it? Do you know that the Little Rock Planning Commission rubber-stamped approval of this — ignoring their own land use regulations in the process? I’ve seen nothing in the Times that does more than scratch the surface of this issue, and that’s not like you guys. Unless you’re developer Lou Schickel, how can this be a good week? Glenn Buercklin Little Rock New website First, allow me to assure you that I will NOT, repeat NOT, cancel my subscription to the Times. (This statement issued based on a previous experience with another regional Arkansas publication; editor feared I would cancel my subscription if the paper improved its website). The Times is my sanity security blanket in this insane world. Second, please accept kudos and more kudos for the improved Internet edition. I had inquired about adding “Letters” to the site several months ago. When I went to retrieve an article this past week to forward out of state, the new view was a pleasant surprise. As Harry Caray was wont to say: “Holy Cow!” You definitely hit a home run. A job well done. Keep up the good work. Bob Lauer Cherokee Village Interrupted lives The Sept. 30 Observer on the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans left much to be discussed. Hundreds of Japanese-Americans descended on Little Rock for a conference, using terms like “terrible decision to incarcerate,” “civil rights transgressions,” “racism” and “life interrupted” — Monday-morning quarterbacks, telling us about the terrible things we did to the Japanese-Americans, but nothing about the situation in 1942. Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Tojo’s Japan were ready to devour us and possibly invade the U.S. Japan had just sneak-attacked Pearl Harbor. The West Coast area was crawling with Japanese subs. Japan was ready to occupy Midway and the Hawaiian Islands and use them as jumping-off points to invade the West Coast. President Roosevelt had no choice. The Japanese had placed spies in Hawaii and the West Coast long before the attack on Pearl Harbor. How many of the 120,000 interned Japanese were enemies we will never know. Most were loyal Americans and there were those Japanese-Americans who fought gallantly in WW II, but the 10 percent to 15 percent who were not loyal could have caused a lot of trouble. Using the words “interrupted lives” leaves me cold! Four years of my life were “interrupted.” Hundreds of my fellow Purdue freshmen’s lives were also “interrupted.” Many did not return from battle. The lives lost at Pearl Harbor were “interrupted” permanently. Sixty years later, we now know it was a terrible decision to intern the Japanese-Americans. We apologized and each family was given $20,000 and many things were also done to show our concern and compassion. Don’t bring a situation that was necessary at that time and tie it into civil rights, racism, etc. Santo D. Formica Sherwood Bookmiller Shannon By now you probably know that Alan Lomax, mentioned in Stephen Koch’s “Arkansongs,” was assisted in recording Bookmiller Shannon’s banjo solos by John Quincy Wolf, not John Quincy Adams. Many years ago I asked one of Bookmiller’s childhood friends about the name “Bookmiller.” He said Bookmiller liked to read and always had his nose in a book, hence “Bookmiller.” For those who might not understand the term “miller,” a miller in the pre-insecticide Ozarks was the flying phase of the weevils that infested flour. A bookmiller would have been the flying phase of the weevil found in books. Thanks for the article. I enjoyed hearing Bookmiller perform on a number of occasions at the Mountain View Court Yard Square. Jim Barnett Batesville

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