For many years, I volunteered at the Governor's Mansion as a docent and in other roles. Docents are part tour guide and part historian. The Mansion is full of our state's history, and our tours were absolutely nonpartisan. As tours began, we would make a point to say: "The governor and first lady want you to know that this is your house, and they have the privilege of living here."
But, that was during the Beebe years when the governor and first lady took pride in making sure everyone felt welcome.
Mansion tours started at the portrait of the late Gov. Sid McMath — the Mansion's first resident — and included every room except the first family's private quarters and the governor's office. Docents took pride in former Gov. [Winthrop] Rockefeller's generosity when pointing out the living and dining room rugs. Each item in the Mansion had a story that we were proud to tell visitors, both Democrats and Republicans alike.
I am saddened by the Hutchinsons' declaration of ownership. It appears they believe the Mansion belongs to them. The portrait of Gov. McMath — removed. Volumes of books that belonged to former President (and Arkansas Gov.) Bill Clinton — removed. The bipartisan authority of the Governor's Mansion Commission — removed. A million-dollar grant requested to make over the Mansion with no oversight or regard for historic preservation — approved.
The Governor's Mansion is the people's house. Treating it as anything different is arrogant and self-serving.
I wonder if future docents will talk about all of the artifacts of Arkansas history we lost during the Hutchinson administration.
Planned Parenthood necessary
What a wonderful, well-rounded, positive article about Planned Parenthood clinics ["Planned Parenthood: More than abortion," May 26]. The people who told about their personal experiences with the clinic were awesome. Thank you for stepping up and challenging the misinformation that has been spread by political special interest groups. The detailed research, accurate information and comments by the staff are things the public needs to know. The services offered at Planned Parenthood clinics are necessary and important if people want to promote a more educated, healthier society. Men, women and teenagers need health clinics that will give them accurate, nonjudgmental medical information and options so they can make better choices about their health care needs. I appreciate the article's open-mindedness and I appreciate that Planned Parenthood clinics treat whoever walks in their doors with dignity. Not everyone has a high-paying, everything-is-covered insurance plan, but that doesn't mean they should not have access to good health care clinics. I can't come up with a good reason why anyone would want their state overrun with diseased, sexually ignorant, pregnant teenagers, especially when Planned Parenthood clinics offer practical, common-sense heath care education that could prevent it. I can't come up with a good reason why anyone would force a rape victim to carry to term, when she would rather terminate the pregnancy. I support Planned Parenthood's valuable medical services and the good work they do. To me personally, it is about our basic human right to choose what is done or not done to our bodies, without interference from the state government. The state government should not endanger my health by invading the privacy between me and my doctor or by restricting my doctor's ability to do what is best for my health. I expect equal health care laws. I have the same right to good medical care that men have. I have the same right as a man does to choose what is done or not done to my body. Period. End of discussion. No ifs, ands or buts.
From the web
In response to Gene Lyons' June 2 column about Bernie Sanders:
I liked what Bernie had to say and voted for him in my state's primary. It was the self-aggrandizing sanctimony of his supporters that put me in the tank for Hillary. Bernie and his fans have a choice. They can have influence in the Democratic Party and be a queenmaker or they can get absolutely nothing or, worst case, get hunted down by Trump's mobs after the election. From what I can tell, they prefer the latter.
I suppose it was inevitable. With Bernie's delegate count getting dangerously close to the anointed's (don't count the game-rigging superdelegates), and the grand prize of California just around the corner, it was time for Gene Lyons to unleash another scattershot smear on Bernie.
When the best opposition research you can dig up on Bernie is a 40-year-old essay he wrote for an alternative rag (just like this one, ironically), you must be awfully desperate. One awkward line, taken completely out of context, and it's perfectly acceptable to lynch a good and decent man for the high crime of misogyny? Did you bother to even read the essay?
Of course not. Hatchet jobs and yellow journalism don't require that sort of responsible reporting. Have you noticed how the television bobble-heads have quit referring to Bernie as a "Democratic socialist" and just call him a "socialist" now? That's if they even bother to mention him at all. And apparently the mainstream media is planning to announce that Hillary has clinched the nomination (by including those damnable superdelegates), before the California primary even starts.
All in an effort to discourage Berners from even going to the polls next week. So I guess Gene (Gene, the dancing machine) is just doing his part as a loyal Clinton apparatchik. Pretty sad and pathetic. He's a decent writer when he's not doing his establishment masters' bidding.
Vive la revolution! The time for patching's past (from a poem by Edward Arnold Brenholtz, in the November 1902 edition of The International Socialist Review).
In response to Ernest Dumas' column June 2 column "Beyond contempt," in which he noted that a "Senate juror who was brother of the deputy prosecutor" was one of several "tormentors" of then-President Clinton who were later revealed to be adulterers:
Ernie, I have a question.
Why do we insist on dancing around certain subjects and not naming names?
It was Sen. Tim Hutchinson who was cheating on his wife with a staffer. His brother, then-Rep. Asa Hutchinson, now our governor, was the prosecutor. If memory serves, they lived together in Washington at the time. Wonder what Asa knew about Tim at the time he was excoriating Clinton?
In response to an Arkansas Blog item about the Razorback Foundation's $3.5 million payout to former UA athletic director Frank Broyles for "speaking fees":
The greatest irony of many with the Razorback Foundation is that as a nonprofit it exists to profit handsomely a small number of elites who are public employees and who use the 501(c)(3) foundation essentially as a means of circumventing state compensation laws.
But every Division 1 school does it! Sadly the IRS rarely challenges 501(c)(3) groups' status under their own rules.
Black Panthers for Open Carry
Well, good for Frank of the Ozarks. The Razorback marching band used to practice on a crappy field next to the football practice field back in the early '70s. God, was it hot, and each practice seemed to last forever. I was a sousaphone player and we were always backed up to the fence separating our field from the football boys. I swear, during down moments Frank would stare at me ... maybe wondering what kind of fool would be a sousaphone player. I never waved, he never smiled, which is OK with me; I didn't feel like smiling marching up and down that damn field in the hot sun.
In the late '90s when some of the football players got into trouble, Frank or the UA sports program for reasons unknown hired Fort Smith lawyer Eddie Christian to advise them. So one day Frank is parked on Garrison Avenue and after a visit to Eddie's office he strides down the sidewalk, jumps in his new Cadillac and puts it into reverse without looking behind him and backs right on out into traffic. A car heading east took the back end off Frank's Cadillac as slick as a whistle. Before the cars had stopped shaking, Frank jumped out, handed his card to the woman who had hit him and hollered, "Get an estimate and I'll pay for the damages," and then got back in his damaged Caddy and off he went lickety-split.
I'd rather see that kind of money go to save the battered and sinking Little Rock public school system, but no one ever asks my opinion. How much speaking money is the U of A paying Noland Richardson these days? Oh ... I thought not.