As an advocate for children left behind by parental incarceration and by deportation for 30-plus years, I am acutely outraged by what has happened at our southern border due to initiatives by the president and the attorney general. The damage to these innocent children has been done and will last throughout their lifetimes. The officials, Trump and Sessions, have cavalierly created toxic stress that will affect the lives of these children into adulthood. Indeed, such stress will shorten their lifespan and create physical damage. Adverse Childhood Experiences are well documented in our CDC research. Three or more ACEs steal healthy lives from children, including separation by parental incarceration, and physical and mental abuse.
These officials are offenders of the worst sort, blithely inflicting harm on children and teenagers. I attended the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children: Decision Day for Children of the Incarcerated held in Geneva. I could not vote because my country and Somalia have never signed this international treaty.
Please, write and call the officials who are implementing such offenses to stop. This is not the nation we want to be, and it will be long remembered by the world as the nation without compassion or any understanding of the developmental harms created by such actions. Please.
Dee Ann Newell
Director, Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind
I can't keep from smiling every time I hear or read about the wall.
During the 1980s and '90s, my dad and I spent a lot of time exploring the desert south of Tucson, Ariz., with special interest in the 35-mile Arizona-Mexico border lands between Sasabe and Nogales. It was interesting because of the ghost towns, adobe ruins and especially the many abandoned mines. Some of the mines were old, but most were mined by "Americanos" from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. The Spanish mines crossed the border, but the Americano mines are on the north side of the border and stop at or near the border.
The point of all this is to say it would be a simple matter to clean out the Spanish mines and extend all the other mines to across the border for easy access if the wall is erected. And every mine we explored had shafts inside that were several hundred feet deep, into which the dug debris could be dumped and the work would never be detected. Fly Google Earth along that border and you see how rugged it is. There are places where the wall cannot be built, but people can climb the mountains and walk across.
Re: Governor Hutchinson's recently appointed School Safety Commission. Ask most teachers: Bullets aren't what teachers use to save children. As a public high school teacher, I find it outrageous this School Safety Commission is recommending arming teachers and staff. Not only because placing more guns in our school increases the risk of gun violence, but because Governor Hutchinson's newly appointed commission refuses to look at proactive solutions.
Proactive policies like Red Flag Laws, which would give law enforcement and families the ability to remove firearms from those showing dangerous behavior. Or safe storage laws, that would keep kids from being able to access loaded unsecure guns in their homes. These laws could prevent school shootings like what we have seen this year in Parkland and Santa Fe.
Groups like Moms Demand Action are supporting these common sense policies, but we need your help. Use your voice, join the movement, and make sure you let Governor Hutchinson and the school safety commission know, arming our teachers is not an option.
From the web
In response to the June 28 story about a firing at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the director's claim that the agency's 50 percent drop in penalties on polluters doesn't represent a reduced commitment to compliance with regulations:
Well, horse manure. Penalties are for infractions that have in fact occurred. ADEQ is the poster child for ineffective, if not actually corrupt, efforts to protect the environment in the Natural State.
In response to Gene Lyons' June 28 column, "Sociopath-in-chief":
Other antisocial traits are condescending sarcasm, smear campaigns, name-calling, deliberately misrepresenting your thoughts and feelings to the point of absurdity, blanket statements and generalizations. Sound familiar?
Accurate description of a sociopath. But Trump is just the symbol of the underbelly of American values — ethnocentric/nationalistic/entitled/insecure "treasures" that have been with us since 1619. Recent events may bring in compassion and a sense of shared humanity (also a vital part of American values), but the shadow continues to lurk within us all.
In response to an Arkansas Blog post on the Trump administration's direction to the Department of Justice to halt its defense of the Affordable Care Act's ban on denial of coverage for people with pre-existing health conditions. (Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and other Republican attorneys general filed the suit against the ACA):
I have a solution! Would Trump and Asa and Leslie please send home suicide kits to us less productive people? I'm ready to die so the 1 percent can have their tax cuts, but I don't want a long, drawn-out process.
Since we got our new Blue Cross Health Savings Account in order to afford the monthly premium, I've found I can't afford to see my doctor. He sees I'm still able to stand up and then orders the same old blood tests, sends me down to extra expense Quest Testing and then a month later I get a bill for $130.
So I laugh at Trump and his effort to reintroduce insurance ending preexisting conditions. Too late you, big Orange crook, I'm already on the way out. But really, a quick death kit would be ever so helpful and humane. Hah, I know Trump and Asa don't know the meaning of the word humane. It sucks to be an American ... sad.
Right up at the top of the worst people to serve Arkansas is that scum-sucker Looney tunes Leslie Rutledge. Why we elect people to oppose benefits to the citizens that need help is beyond me. The appeal of the Republicans to those that oppose mammon and support the religious tenets is unbelievable. These people are supporting a government that only supports monied interests. A guess is they can use their guns to end the misery of pain and suffering from lack of care and treatment. The NRA will be so proud, and so will looneyleslie.
Going for the record
In response to an Arkansas Blog post on an investigation of a report that a member of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission was offered a bribe:
Who would have ever thought that bribes would be offered in the awarding of licenses to make potentially millions of dollars?
In response to an Arkansas Blog post about tax dollars being directed to Little Rock area churches and church programs, including St. Mark Baptist, St. Luke's Baptist and Mosaic Church's Vine and Village project, through the General Improvement Fund:
PRAISE THE LORD: Quality of broadcasts of St. Mark Baptist services got a boost.
Clearly our crooked legislators weren't tuning in.
Muslim groups should apply for a grant and, when inevitably turned down in Late Roman messiah-cult soaked rKen$aw, sue, sue, sue.
The OBVIOUS (or not, apparently) solution of NOT funding ANY religion is of course not even on the table in this land of lamb's blood, inert blocks of rock, tongue-speaking and snake-handling.
Hallelujah, I'm beginning to catch the spirit, and I'd respectfully, nay, reverently ask for some lucre for the congregation at the Tailgate Bar, a tangent of the Slightly Illegal Mobile Adult Beverage Emporium.
In response to an Arkansas Blog post about Teach for America's hiring of lobbyist Rusty Cranford to win $3 million in General Improvement Fund grants, an allocation approved by Governor Hutchinson to a program then headed by his Democratic opposition for governor, Jared Henderson:
Jared, I'm for ya because you're not a Republican and you're not Asa! But you need to get straight on education and start pulling hard for public schools. Now. We're there for all students all the time without any extra financial shenanigans from the governor or folks there at Teach for A Little While. I don't think this will work against you in the campaign, but you sure better show remorse and get behind the folks doing the heavy lifting day in and day out.
In response to Gene Lyon's column prompted by the death of Philip Roth:
Roth will quickly disappear from the literary world and contemporary canon. He's old, well, dead, white, heterosexual, patriarchal and guilty of many other affronts I'm not privy to, I'm sure.
Yes, dead, white, straight and "patriarchal." Like Mark Twain, Herman Melville, William Faulkner and others one suspects Lisbeth S is also not privy to.