April 6, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette readers got the last installment of Forces of Nurture, a column on mothering started in 2008 by staff writers Cindy Murphy and Cathy Frye. They said they'd be turning their attention to posts on their "mommy blog," littlerockmamas.com. On the blog, Murphy commented April 5, " Cathy and I are pretty heartbroken that the column has been canceled, but we've resolved to move forward and focus more of our energy on the website."
"Canceled"? That word wasn't used in the print farewell. Neither Frye nor Murphy responded when we inquired, specifically about rumors that political commentary, particularly a March 23 column by Frye, may have contributed to the cancellation decision.
Headlined "Everyone pays when states cut school aid," that column ripped Texas Gov. Rick Perry's "daft" finance plan because it could lead to teacher layoffs. She called out anti-union Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. She lamented low pay, crowded classrooms and a "growing willingness to address budget deficiencies by stiffing kids and schools."
Our point? Walter Hussman, publisher of the D-G, is not known for abundant warmth toward government spending or school teachers, particularly of the Education Association variety. Coincidental? Maybe. But though few of us here are in need of mommy advice, we think we'll miss the related commentary. Deputy Editor Frank Fellone declined our invitation to discuss the decision.