Irene Samuel was my grandmother, and I just wanted to take a minute to thank Max Brantley for invoking her memory (and his mother-in-law’s for that matter) with such kind words in his Arkansas Blog item regarding the School Superintendent Roy Brooks controversy. It appeared the day after the eighth anniversary of Irene’s passing, and I was very touched to see her name in print.
Also writing because I thought he might appreciate a little solidarity regarding his stance on that issue [Brantley wrote to criticize the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s comparison of angry Brooks supporters with the Women’s Emergency Committee that worked to reopen schools after the 1957 crisis]. I wholeheartedly agree with him regarding the position they would have taken as well. They most certainly would have made a public, dignified, and fact-filled appeal to reason. Those women broke the mold, and it is indeed a sad, but fair picture of our community that their methodology and legacy are not heralded as more of an archetype for us all to follow. But then I guess sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?
I know I’m just one small voice and it pales against the huge voice Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman is exercising with his newspaper editorials. It is unfortunate that this press tycoon is trying to run the school board through a public campaign of lies, misleading information, and ad hominem attacks.
I’m becoming more and more convinced that Citizen Hussman’s money is tainted. He did not buy the right to run our schools. He did not buy the right to dictate what decisions the school board should make.
All the editorial comments about teacher unions, racism, child improvement, special interests and their pet projects have been smoke screens to hide the real issue from the public: whether or not Dr. Roy Brooks overstepped his authority and respected the wishes of the school board.
As a former teacher, I was appalled at the Democrat-Gazette’s spineless claim that teachers did not care for children. This is a blatant and hideous lie.
Again, I am but a small voice. It saddens me to open our daily newspaper and find out that a newspaper owner has no scruples in trying to run the affairs of our schools. It’s a shame that the LRSD, its staff, Dr. Brooks, the school board, and all its patrons had to suffer from this man’s ego and power trip.
My prayers and hopes go out to our school board members and all those affected in these difficult times. The Bible warned of false prophets. It probably mentions Walter Hussman in the next verse.
Thank you to Smart Talk who noted that Joe Ferguson, Lamar McHan and other Razorback quarterbacks in addition to Tarvaris Jackson played quarterback in the NFL. But, if you are going to get it right, get it all right. Smart Talk neglected to mention Jack Robbins. Robbins led Fred Thomsen’s “Passingest Team in the Nation” from 1935 to 1937. Robbins, along with TCUs Sammy Baugh began a revolution in the college passing game where for the first time the lead passer gained more yards than the leading rusher. Robbins was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Cardinals and quarterbacked the Cardinals for two seasons. Following a knee injury, Robbins pursued a safer and more lucrative career in the oil industry. Robbins held many records at Arkansas, including passing attempts, completions, passing yardage, completion percentage, and touchdowns. His last record, average yards per play running or passing, was finally broken in 2003 by Matt Jones. Robbins was named to the All-Southwest Conference football team in 1936. He was elected to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1974. He played in the U.S. Olympic basketball finals in 1936 and was named a basketball All-American that year.
I want to apologize for my improper language during my recent interview with the Arkansas Times (“Elephant Farm,” March 29). I certainly realize that was inappropriate. Again, please accept my apology for this situation.
Michael E. Blakely
Director, Little Rock Zoo