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Music coverage
I just finished reading Amy Brawner’s Little Rocking Blog coverage of the SXSW festival, and all I can say is, “Wow, you got to see Morrissey!” Oh, wait a minute, there was an Arkansas band playing, but you didn’t bother showing up to support them or give them a review. Never mind the fact that Rwake has toured their collective asses off for the past eight or nine years. Never mind that Rwake just signed to Relapse, one of the largest and most respected labels in the world for independent metal.

For this reason, your SXSW coverage, as well as the Arkansas Times’ coverage of the real local music scene, has again come up short. If local bands don’t play Sticky Fingerz, the Clear Channel Metroplex or Juanita’s on a regular basis, then apparently they don’t mean much to the Arkansas Times.

Maybe you folks should stop looking for another Evanescence, and start paying attention to the groundswell that is happening in your own backyard. Fayetteville band Deadbird and Little Rock bands Rwake and Shitfire are getting respect from all over the country. They may not be radio-friendly jock rock, but that’s what makes them good.

I’ll just flip until I see a political article from now on.
Keith Bracy
Little Rock

Merit pay
Congratulations to Little Rock teachers who had the good sense to vote down the idiotic proposal to attach merit pay to student performance on standardized tests. Such a proposal is an insult to the teaching profession, the teachers and the students. Education is not something that is produced on an assembly line.
Brenda Ball Tirrell
Hot Springs Village

I cannot help but reply to Robert McCord’s comment March 30, “Black Americans lose jobs because immigrants will work for less.”

The fact is, blacks and whites aren’t losing these jobs, but instead not returning to them because they don’t want the work, period. My business requires a good and stable workforce. In 12 years of business, having employed dozens of people, I cannot remember a white or black employee who would last more than a few months. Americans aren’t satisfied with just having a job, instead they want to start at the top. My Hispanic employees, on the other hand, NEVER, EVER miss work. In fact, they want more hours each week.

Re: “...and many of the Mexicans are here only to sell narcotics and raise hell.”

Mr. McCord must really be dialed into the Latino community to know that so many are selling drugs and raising hell. The fact is that drug crimes and murders (at a record rate this year in Little Rock) aren’t from the hands of Hispanics, but are happening in low-income black neighborhoods. And don’t we lead the nation in meth labs, typically used by whites?

Though I agree that some immigration reform is needed, labeling immigrants in this way, and wanting to remove them from this country, is simply naive and ignorant.
Jack Clark
Little Rock

I am totally disgusted with our country now. All these people out in the streets waving their country’s flag in reality are thumbing their noses at ours. Our president has had a big part in what is going on. Remember him saying that if you work here you can stay here? The border crossings drastically increased after those great words of wisdom. Our big companies with their plantation mentality will never let this cheap labor go. Therefore, the president and Congress will not hamper the profit margin! Is this what our young men and women in uniform are dying for?
John Wilson

The Missing Link
Many thanks for courageously printing Jason Wiles’ splendid article March 23, “The Missing Link.” The voice of “moderate” Christians seems rarely heard, and we do exist in great numbers.

A scientist and a Christian, I have never experienced any conflict between my faith and science, particularly evolution. I find science and Christian faith beautifully and spectacularly complementary and mutually supportive. Those who complain loudest regarding evolution in particular and science in general, demonstrate singular ignorance of science and scientific method — and, I might add, Christianity as well.

The more I learn about the physical and biological universe, the more I, as a Christian, see God’s vast, phenomenal, amazing, totally beautiful living universe. This translates for me into a vast, phenomenal, amazing, totally beautiful living Creator.
Ted Bailey

I enjoyed Gov. Huckabee’s quote regarding evolution: “Darwinism is not an established fact ... that’s why it’s called the theory of evolution.” According to him and others of his sort, evolution is nothing but a wild guess. Someone should explain to our esteemed leader what the word “theory” means when applied to science. From Merriam-Webster’s Eleventh Edition: “a scientifically acceptable general principle offered to explain phenomena.”

Someone should ask our governor what his position is on the Theory of Gravity.
Matt Patton
Little Rock

I thoroughly enjoyed Jason R. Wiles’ piece “The Missing Link.” Such censorship in public schools deserves to be exposed. He might be interested in knowing about a “museum” in Eureka Springs dedicated to teaching creationism.
Carter Simcoe
Little Rock

The debate over evolution and creation has truly come to a sad pass in our state when science institutions and teachers are afraid to be named because one side will blast them for mentioning evolution and the other side will blast them for not mentioning it. I know the debate seems intractable, but it never ceases to frustrate me that we cannot reach some kind of compromise on the issue. Gov. Huckabee’s quoted statements were the most frightening part of the article. His complete misunderstanding of what the word “theory” means in a scientific context points up the danger of not educating our children in the fundamentals of science. Even scarier is his lack of concern that a vital part of the science curriculum is not being taught, especially when he is chair of the Educational Commission of the States.

What we need is a symposium to discuss what science is and what it is not, to present both sides of the debate and the issues involved in teaching about evolution and creation in our schools so that at least there can be some dialogue rather than educators hiding in fear for their jobs and their funding.

It is my sincere hope that your article will bring some public action on this vital issue.
Erin Branham
Little Rock

I am disturbed by the picture Jason Wiles paints of the state of science education in Arkansas.

I am also disturbed (not surprised, but still disturbed) by the attitude of our governor toward science and science education. The governor may not realize that his desire to “teach the controversy” in a science classroom is wasting valuable time and resources, but I expect he does and he is responding to the desires of his fundamentalist supporters.

I am further disturbed by “Randy’s” report about the way evolution is taught in Arkansas. He reported that only 20 percent of the teachers passing through his workshops think they are doing an adequate job of teaching evolution, 10 percent teach creation science, 50 percent avoid teaching evolution and another 20 percent don’t feel they understand evolution well enough.

Where did these teachers go to school? How did they get their certification?
Ves Childs

Just when Kansas was beginning to replace Arkansas as the butt of unsophisticated and backward state jokes, comes the news (“The Missing Link”) that a school has vanquished the word “evolution” from its classrooms. What’s next, exiling heliocentrism and replacing it with geocentrism?

I pity Arkansas students who, one day, will be forced to compete in the 21st century after having been educated in the Dark Ages. If my words offend, the offense is minuscule compared to the damage being done to students in your state.
George Henson
Dallas, Texas

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