Lyons on Clintons
In his latest column, Gene Lyons was true to form watering down the record of the Clintons. I'm wondering what gyrations he'll go through in explaining away Hillary Clinton's strange remarks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard about her position on the federal minimum wage.
Besides making fact-free claims worthy of Donald Trump, she contradicted what is written on her own campaign website.
Lyons also makes some strange claims. Like the one that "the 1994 crime bill has little political salience in 2016." While Bernie Sanders did vote for it, the implication is that Clinton was also in a position to vote on it. But she was not in Congress in 1994. By the way, that was two years before she declared in public that black men must be "brought to heel." Lyons pooh-poohs the incident as "one time, twenty years ago" when she was just using "a comic book term."
Why does Lyons refer to the Clintons' confrontations with Black Lives Matter activists during the campaign as "hubbub"? We must remember that no one seems to be forcing Clinton to wrap herself in her husband's reputation. We must remember that he signed off on the Crime Bill, the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 and the abolition of banking regulation in 1999. Oh, and the 1993 Defense of Marriage Act.
Clinton has set herself up for criticism. And defenses of her actions are becoming more desperate by the minute.
I hope there'll be coverage of the latest Fight for $15 protests in Central Arkansas, part of a national day of action. Now, that's newsworthy.
North Little Rock
Make recycling easier
I have been a dedicated recycler for my entire adult life. I live in the county, just outside of the city limits, and Pulaski County Sanitation does not provide recycling pickup. Ever since the city closed its drop-off locations, I've been driving to Waste Management HQ on I-440, a 14-mile drive. But they recently shut down their drop-off. (They closed their electronics drop-off some time ago.) Natural State Recycling, also on I-440, has bins, but they require recyclables to be separated, and they don't accept glass. I would like to do the right thing, but it's getting very difficult, and other concerned county residents have the same problem. I'm not sure, but I suspect apartment dwellers in the city likewise have no options. For a city that likes to consider itself progressive, I think this situation is disgraceful. Please help.
I learned what I needed to know about Ray Thornton the night in 1972 when Roger Glasgow was arrested for allegedly smuggling marijuana across the border with Mexico (Arkansas Times, Feb. 25).
Glasgow was an assistant to Attorney General Thornton and was acquitted at trial. Properly so, I'm convinced.
I was the anchor and managing editor of KTHV-TV, Channel 11, new to Arkansas, young, and I'd spent the previous three years in Athens, Greece. I had little history with General Thornton, or Glasgow, though I'd certainly met and covered them.
I learned of the arrest just after the 6 p.m. broadcast. I called Thornton's home. Mrs. Thornton answered and told me that he was not yet home, but on the way. I asked her to have him call me as soon as he arrived. I told her why.
He soon returned the call, said he had to check on some things, talk to Roger, and drive back to Little Rock.
He knew I wanted an interview (he probably did, too) and asked me to meet him at his office in an hour or so.
Remember, these are the days of film, not videotape, not live transmission. It required 30 minutes to process and several minutes more to edit.
Thornton, our cameraman (I think it might have been John Miller) and I met outside the AG's office. In those days the anchor (me) wrote and produced the entire broadcast, so all of us felt a great deal of pressure, but none more than the attorney general.
The interview was straightforward.
Too much time has passed to get this exactly right, but here is what I remember Ray Thornton saying: "I hired Roger Glasgow because I thought he was a fine lawyer and a trustworthy man. He has told me he is innocent. I trust my judgment in hiring him, and I will stand by him as this develops."
Please don't take the quotation marks to mean that's an exact quote. It's a paraphrase at best.
That's why I say I learned about Ray Thornton that night. He was a man who trusted himself, so he could trust his own judgment about others.
It also meant we could trust him.
J. Craig Barnes
The presidential primaries have become more contentious. Donald Trump is still the frontrunner for Republicans, but the Republican establishment hates Trump, so House Speaker Paul Ryan will likely reject Trump as nominee for president and Republican delegates at this summer's nominating convention in Cleveland will likely be instructed to vote for Ted Cruz. In a nutshell, there are at least four host committee chairs, but Ryan is in charge. Even if Trump wins the magic 1,237 delegates in the primaries, he may still be rejected. The really heavy lifting would start if Cruz were nominated. Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be required to motivate the Republican-dominated U.S. Congress to quickly pass a constitutional amendment to allow foreign-born citizens to serve as president. Cruz was born in Canada, and if the case of Cruz's eligibility to serve as president goes to the Supreme Court, Cruz might be disqualified.
The Democrats have a bigger problem. Obviously, for political purposes, the FBI is maintaining an open investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails and will likely press charges for an October surprise. Of course, Hillary is innocent and most of the charges would be dismissed, but a hearing would naturally follow. If the FBI could charge Hillary now, Bernie Sanders could be the nominee, Congress could refuse to amend the Constitution, and Bernie Sanders would be in like Flynn.
Dominionist influence in Arkansas
A recent CBS article revealed the source of the plethora of so-called religious freedom restoration laws that were introduced in some 20 states across the country and that specifically disenfranchise LGBT people.
The culprit is Liberty Counsel, a conservative law group devoted to imposing a Christian Dominionist version of Sharia law on everyone else through force of legislation.
The minions of Liberty Counsel here in Arkansas are legislators like Sens. Bart Hester, Jason Rapert, Cecile Bledsoe and Reps. Justin Harris and Bob Ballinger.
The head of LC is Matt Staver:
According to Jeff Sharlet, author of the books "C Street: the Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy" and "The Family: the Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," the twin political pillars of Christian fundamentalism are the public legislation of morality and the privatization of resources. The latter agenda endeared the Dominionists to the corporate state and secured their rise to power.
But in the intervening years, corporations have realized that discriminating against LGBT people is a dead-end street that ultimately affects the bottom line. So now, the corporate state and the Christian Dominionist movement have reached an impasse.
Power-drunk after decades of rule, the latter refuses to sacrifice its written-in-stone religious ideology on the altar of the free market.
But more and more people are finding out what the Christian Dominionist movement really is: a garden variety form of fascism with a long hit list of undesirables to eliminate in its utopian quest to establish a "Kingdom of God" on earth. And like most fascist movements, democracy and an open society are chief among its enemies.
On the web
In response to Max Brantley's April 14 column, "Bootstraps for me, not thee" on Rep. Josh Miller (R-Heber Springs):
While I sympathize with the situation in which Miller finds himself through nobody's fault but his own, I find him otherwise repugnant and despicable. He made sure he has his. Everyone else can go screw themselves. And just who are these deadbeats to which he refers? How about some names or photos? Let's put a face to these living off the largesse of the public dole. Of course any such lineup would have to include Miller himself. He really needs to crawl back in his hole, and the people of his district need to elect someone a little more concerned about the public good rather than making sure the young, the elderly and the disabled have no chance of getting government assistance.
Dear Arkansas 66th District,
Really? You can't do better than this cretin? Seriously. There's gotta be someone with more appeal who can run against this excuse of a legislator and win.
No. Our district CAN'T come up with better. Before Josh, we had a rodeo clown. Lasted one term. Had an old theft conviction on his record when running for sheriff and dropped out. Ran again and lost. Josh was not working while receiving all of his benefits until he was elected. Our district should win an award for the most mean/un-Christian pols in the state. We also have Missy Irwin as our senator and she is even more of a tea-bagger, mean-spirited pol.