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The new first lady

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The report on Ginger Beebe, the new first lady of Arkansas, was a great read. Thanks Leslie.

George Gatliff

Little Rock

Like many other Arkansans, I am fascinated by Ginger Beebe and think she will make a wonderful first lady.

I believe you did our new first lady a real disservice by the way you opened the article. The first two paragraphs were very misleading. You have tried to draw Mrs. Beebe into your insinuations about the previous occupants of the mansion and I am very disappointed.

You gave the distinct impression that Gov. and Mrs. Huckabee had somehow locked out the public by putting up a rope to the private quarters. You also insinuated that they had shut out the public by keeping the French doors on the landing closed.

As far as I am aware, all first families have, to some extent, kept the private quarters of the mansion private. When I lived there we had a rope to separate the public from the private area. No one who has lived there has wanted the public to tour their bedrooms, bathrooms and sitting areas. Because of the large number of people who visit the mansion, there has to be some way to guard this area to keep people from straying into it.

Regarding the French doors on the stair landing being closed: They have always been closed. Until Janet Huckabee raised the money to build the Grand Hall and lovely atrium, the doors could be opened only when the weather was nice. Thanks to Mrs. Huckabee, the Beebes and all future residents will be able to enjoy that lovely area.

Please be more responsible and respectful in your reporting.

Gay White

Little Rock

(Mrs. White is the widow of former Gov. Frank White.)

In review

This is my review of letter writer Richard DeLaurell’s review of David Koon’s review of the film “Letters from Iwo Jima.”

The review portion of the letter is somewhat murky with its 55- and 60-word sentences, which don’t really focus on the film itself. His message is elsewhere.

There is a reference to the Japanese carrier Yamato. There was no such carrier, but there was a battleship named the Yamato. This battleship was sunk by the U.S. Navy April 7, 1945, four months before atomic weapons were used against Japan.

Mr. DeLaurell implies that since Japan lost this ship, which was indeed formidable, the main Japanese islands were defenseless and the use of two atomic bombs was not appropriate. He equates defenseless with the end of all hope of repelling U.S. invasion.

The invasion of Iwo Jima was typical. Taking the island, about half the size of Manhattan, the Marines suffered some 20,000 casualties. It would be reasonable to assume that, were Japan proper to be conquered, casualties would be severe. Upon this belief, President Truman based his decision to use atomic weapons.

Mr. DeLaurell also wonders why such weapons were not used against the Axis powers. The Axis surrendered May 9, 1945. The first atomic bomb didn’t come into being until well after the surrender. Anyway, before Germany surrendered, more civilians were killed in the fire-bombing of Hamburg, Lubeck, Dresden and other German cities than were lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It just took many thousands of planes and tons of bombs to do it. The principle is the same.

Alfred W. Kahler

Benton

Iraq as Vietnam

In the early days of the war in Vietnam, President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara stated publicly that our central objective in that war was to secure an “independent, non-communist South Vietnam.” As stated in the Pentagon Papers, the actual unpublished objectives were, in fact, a set of priorities: 70 percent — avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat; 20 percent — keep South Vietnam out of Chinese hands; and 10 percent — permit the people of South Vietnam to enjoy a better, freer way of life. I have the ominous feeling that a similar situation exists today and that we may be sacrificing our youth and resources to save face.

Richard Picard

Cabot

Safer roads

I am the president of the American Traffic Safety Services Association’s (ATSSA) Arkansas Chapter. We are a group of men and women committed to advancing roadway safety. As a follow-up to the recent TRIP report regarding the loss of lives on Arkansas roadways — in particular in accidents that occur on rural roads — I would encourage public officials, and those who want to make an immediate difference in helping to save lives, to take a look at the many low-cost roadway safety solutions that are not only proven lifesavers, but are readily available now. By adding something as simple as a wide, reflective painted edge line to a rural road, a cable or a guardrail, or bright, reflective signage to clearly communicate information to motorists, countless accidents and injuries can be prevented. A great publication that illustrates many of these solutions is titled “Low Cost Local Road Safety Solutions, “ and is available for downloading — at no cost — at ATSSA.com. The booklet contains 16 two-page studies prepared by the Texas Transportation Institute that can correct safety problems that exist in every community at a relatively low cost.

Neal Moon

Van Buren

Do the math

The governor and state education director have lauded new findings that out of 100 Arkansas high school seniors, 30 percent took an Advanced Placement exam and three, or 10 percent, made the minimum score for college credit of 3. New political math?

Did you get from our governor and Education Department an explanation as to why the remaining 27 could not make that minimum score? Our legislature spent $1.5 million so qualified students in classes taught by AP qualified teachers could take a state-paid exam.

This is our future workforce/taxpayer base. We should not gloat that 10 percent of prepared seniors scored 3 in a 5-point scale. We should have a full explanation why 90 percent of AP students did not make the grade,

David Landes

Little Rock

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