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Letters to the Editor, Nov. 29

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About ‘Orval'

Tommy Durham, the creator of the cartoon Orval (Nov. 8), should realize that the young men who killed Matthew Sheppard are spending the rest of their lives in prison. They both received two consecutive life sentences each. This is true for many young people who have thought it OK to injure and even kill gay people.

Perhaps Mr. Durham has kids or knows young people that he loves and cares about. Maybe they will take a cue from his comic strip. They will go out and kill some gay man because they think it's funny and cool. Then Mr. Durham will watch as they go to prison. He might wonder what on earth made them do it.

All one need do is look at his cartoon to find one more example of the cause. It's still OK to laugh at gay people being harassed, injured and killed. In fact, it's OK to teach your children to shoot gay people.

However, Mr. Durham should also know that it is still illegal to injure and kill gay people, and that your kids will spend their lives in prison should they do such a thing. Gay people are not helpless deer. We have legal rights and we do intend to enforce them.

Perhaps you should spend less time with your guns hunting and more time looking at the damage your macho attitudes cause society. Go to the hospitals and visit people maimed by gay bashers. Visit the families of gay people who have been killed by kids with guns. Tell them how funny it is, and that you were just teaching your kids how to be “real men.”

Jim Ru

Hot Springs

Oklahoma's OK

On Memorial Day, our vehicle was rear-ended by a Jeep at Canyon Lake, Texas. The driver and his wife were from Greenbrier, Ark. He admitted it was his fault and their insurance would repair our vehicle. He asked us not to call the police because he clearly would have gotten a citation. They were a long way from home and I felt sorry for them so I agreed. After some prodding by my insurance company, our vehicle was repaired and I felt good about showing compassion to strangers.

On Oct. 5 while driving through Fullerton, Ark., on our way to Branson we were almost run off the road by a pickup truck pulling a horse trailer while passing us in the inside lane. All of this was witnessed by a policeman parked by the road. The cop stopped me and issued a speeding ticket while Bubba No Teeth with the horse trailer sailed down the road. Then it dawned on me. It was Friday afternoon and local law was desperate to fill his weekly quota of tickets. Not wanting to offend local citizens, he preys on vehicles with out-of-state plates.

The cop explained that I should call the number on the ticket and they would tell me how much to pay. I called several times over several days and spoke to a person named Pam. Pam said the person I needed to speak to was not there and I should call again. Then she abruptly hung up. Pam is a rude person. Perhaps she's married to a small-town cop with an inflated ego who runs a speed trap.

I am a disabled veteran on a fixed income. Each year my wife and I save up to take a vacation trip to Branson. We've done this for 12 years and that's about as good as we can afford. Our oldest daughter and her husband are kind enough to allow us to use their timeshare for free, otherwise we couldn't go.

This incident ruined our vacation. We only stayed in Branson three nights and returned home through Oklahoma. We've decided not to go to Branson next year and to never drive through Arkansas to go anywhere. If we ever go to Branson again, we will go via Oklahoma. The Okies seem to be much nicer folks.

Mr. Local Tin Badge has been paid his 40 pieces of silver. Perhaps he can afford more doughnuts and I hope he enjoys them because that's the last money he'll get from me. In the future, when I cross paths with someone from Arkansas who visits the great state of Texas, I will treat them with friendliness, kindness, helpfulness and compassion as I always have.

Kenneth Hughes

College Station

Another good one

Thanks once again for focusing on philanthropy in Arkansas in your Nov. 8 issue. This annual issue is a real highlight for those of us in the philanthropic world in our state. Leslie Peacock always works hard every year to try to compile statistics on foundations in our state, and it is a true service to all of your readers. I especially appreciated the article Leslie wrote about my retiring the end of this year, and Heather Eason being named by successor as President and CEO of the Arkansas Community Foundation. It was very clever to use the Union Station-inspired theme of railroads and engineers and cars! Thanks again for another fine issue, and for all you do to promote awareness of the importance of giving to the nonprofit sector's ability to meet Arkansans' basic needs as well as to improve the overall quality of life in our small, wonderful state!

Pat Lile

President/CEO

Arkansas Community Foundation

The daily paper

Back on Sept. 5, the Democrat-Gazette editorial “The Larry Craig Case” did its best to muddle the hypocrisy of a family values senator playing footsie with a detective in an adjoining restroom stall. Were any of the senators who called for his resignation not Republicans? Were the senators who demanded his ouster the one who gave Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana a standing ovation when he admitted that he had called a call girl service?

Right next to the editorial protecting Senator Craig was chief editorialist Paul Greenberg's column “Who's the phoniest of them all?” It was a hatchet job on presidential candidate John Edwards, who emphasized his concern for the poor. Mr. Greenberg cited Mr. Edwards' taking consulting fees and political contributions from the employees of a hedge fund that is foreclosing on some New Orleans home owners. He also owns a humongous home and has spent over $1,000 for a hair cut.

Mr. Greenberg didn't mention that Mr. Edwards also spent a lot of money setting up a center to help the poor overcome poverty.

Was it in July or August that Paul Krugman's column endorsed the message of Michael Moore's “Sicko”? The French have great medical care with little or no waiting lists for surgery. There are no Canadians waiting for acute care. Their waiting list of elective surgery is exaggerated.

The adjoining Democrat-Gazette editorial, rather than attacking the column directly, ridiculed an earlier Krugman column that warned that the sub prime mortgage crisis could lead us into an economic meltdown. I haven't seen a Krugman column lately. Has the stock market, if not yet the economy, come too close to proving Krugman right and the Democrat-Gazette wrong?

Jerry Shell

Leslie

Loose cannons

It is time to rein in the loose cannons employed by the State Department to protect them. That L. Paul Bremer was authorized to decree that they were not subject to U.S. or Iraqi law is without precedence in U.S. jurisprudence. No man is above the law, including el presidente.

Congress needs to quit wrangling about doing that which they seem to be powerless to change, make “waterboarding” a crime, and do whatever they have the power to do to rectify this terrible mistake. A president whose mind is set in stone and a Congress that exhibits no willpower is making of this country a dictatorship while our sons and daughters are fighting a battle to make a democracy of another country.

We have lost our place of respect among other civilized nations. It is time to regain it.

Marilyn Fish Bryan

Taylor

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