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The walkout

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As I understand it, many of the kids who walked out during the day of protest here in Arkansas will be facing suspension. This will not just be a few days off; they will receive zeros for any tests or assignments they miss. Unfortunately, standing on the right side of history has put them on the wrong side of their school's administration. In some cases these failing grades could hurt those students' chances of getting into college. Yeah, well, this might be true if they want to go to a Bible College or some other school where evolution has yet to evolve. However, if they want to go to any of the more enlightened schools in the world — which is, by the way, round — it shouldn't hurt their chances of getting accepted at all. In fact, if their college choice is in California I recommend they put this act of peaceful civil disobedience at the top of their resume.

David Rose

Hot Springs

Arkansas at the bottom

Living in rural Carroll County now for over 30 years, my wife and I would like our state government officials to explain the following facts about the state that our family has made home.

Out of 50 states and the the District of Columbia, Arkansas is rated:

• 51st worst in the number of workers in low-income jobs.

• 46th worst in poverty.

• 49th worst in student loan defaults.

• 48th worst in health of its citizens.

• 47th worst in incarceration rate.

• 41st worst in education.

• 50th worst in hunger.

Twenty percent of our state lives in poverty and 25 percent of our children live in poverty. Why?

My own observations are that racism is systemic in our government and our economy. Poverty is accepted as the price we pay for living in an unforgiving landscape, but is actually a result of the callousness of government. Some of the world's biggest companies call Arkansas home and yet they are infamous for keeping wages low and keeping hours of employees just low enough to not qualify for full benefits, and they are adamant about not allowing workers to organize. It is not natural beauty that makes a state great; it came to us that way. All we can do is preserve it or deface it. By representing the industries that spend great sums of money to influence you instead of the common good, you are dishonoring your position.

The awakening that has come from the election of Donald Trump and those who support him for their own selfish ends is going to change things, even in this third-world state, whose leaders seem to wear their ignorance like a badge of courage. I hope that you step aside gracefully when your turn is over, but it will be over, soon.

Mark and Suzanne Eastburn

Eureka Springs

Trump's America

The United States has a new religion called Americanism. The main guy is Donald Trump, ably assisted by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Members are Republicans, but other faiths can join provided they pass the test on the holy document known as the Constitution. The 10 amendments to the Constitution have been reduced to just two: Make America Great and Keep America Great.

Fervor for the Second Amendment resides in the hearts of those who practice Americanism. Back in the late 1700s, the framers thought it necessary to make sure groups of men could protect the community, so they wrote, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Those who practice Americanism maintain that, even though we have paid militiamen, we still must be ready for mythical invaders. Being ready requires weapons capable of killing many people with bullets that are lethal when striking any part of the body. Shotguns and rifles are unacceptable because they do not always kill with one shot. Failing to understand the Second Amendment eliminates any chance of joining Americanism.

Another part of the test makes sure the taker understands that women have no control of their uteri and can be groped at appropriate times. The main guy often demonstrates the proper use of women. The basic tenet of Americanism is to restrict women's right to things like health care and protection from discrimination, lest they become too powerful.

Americanism wants to build a wall along the Southern border to protect us from brown people. Americanism desires that only educated white people enter the country. Practitioners of Americanism work hard to make sure that the top 1/10th of 1 percent owns as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

Americanism proudly waves the flag, but with the third stanza of the Star-Spangled Banner in mind. That stanza reads:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion

A home and a Country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

The bitterness expressed by Key in the third stanza is still expressed by those who practice Americanism except when it creates a political disadvantage.

Richard Emmel

Little Rock

From the web

In response to an Arkansas Blog post about Governor Hutchinson's moves to the far right spurred by his primary opponent, including boasts of cutting government and lying about Planned Parenthood:

I first met Asa about 30 years ago. Thought he was a weak stick then and have thought he's a weak stick ever since, although I will confess to having given him a couple of thumbs-up since he's been governor. But as of March 15, 2018, he's still a weak stick. And, Jan Morgan is bringing out that weak stick for many to see.

By happenstance, I met and briefly chatted it up with the woman in Hot Springs the other day. So I can understand why Hutchinson is scared, almost-to-death, of her. She's energized, friendly, easy on the eyes, very articulate, and not, in the least, shy about approaching people and telling them what she believes.

If Morgan can find enough money to get on TV early and stay on, Asa has every reason to fear her. The hard right and the gunslingers (among others) will love her.

No way in the world the likes of Jan Morgan can beat an incumbent governor? Why, sure. Get Asa to tell you about that.

And while you have his attention, get him to tell you why a stable genius like Donald John Trump couldn't win the Republican primary and then get himself elected president.

Durango

This is a great big steaming pile of a dog and pony show. The last cut brought a hundred newly created state positions of over 100K a year to all of his cronies who barely have a degree.

You have highly educated people who have spent their entire lives earning advanced degrees so that for a short eight- to 10-year span, have the chance to lead their chosen field. Instead those people are getting the shaft and their opportunity has been stolen by anyone who has donated to the campaign.

I'm sure that [Gov. Mike] Beebe was guilty of more than just placing Shane Broadway over ADHE, but I sure can't think of them now. Asa has placed cronies all over the state government that all of them promised to downsize and make more efficient.

This ploy will dissolve as soon as the primary is over and the big money in Arkansas will prove they aren't serious about making government better. This is unfuckingbelievable and disgusting.

Clem Hooten

In response to the Arkansas Blog post on the National Park Service grant to improve the historic Dreamland Ballroom:

I don't even know this place, but I'm delighted when historic buildings get a new lease on life. The children of tomorrow will not be very impressed by the buildings built today. Without very old buildings around, your town's got no WOW to it.

It would already be a big treat to go stand where Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Earl "Fatha" Hines, B.B. King and Ray Charles once appeared. Fifty years from now the experience will be out of this world ... assuming America is still around 50 years from now.

Deathbyinches

In response to an Arkansas Blog post, "Democratic Party weighs in on Wilkins' bribery allegation. Poorly.":

Max, I am sure that Michael Gray realizes that the Wilkins family can still turn out the black vote in Jefferson County, and that is why he was more than circumspect in his description of the wrongdoing. What we have is the reverse of the plantation economy, where black sharecroppers used to tell poll workers which plantation they worked on, and then ask them how they were supposed to vote. Now, the prominent black dynasties in politics tell them how to vote, and the Wilkins dynasty is real. This is not illegal, but the result is still the same. It's not illegal because poll workers are not involved. Bloc voting is nothing new unless people are being bribed. That is the key. Was Hank Wilkins bribed not only for his vote in the legislature, but also because he could deliver black votes for politicians? I think this is behind his constant battle with the black power structure in Jefferson County.

plainjim

Uh, plainjim, the turning-out-the-vote phenomenon isn't limited to blacks and black churches. I had a white voter ask me if she needed to vote on "all this other stuff" some years ago after she followed the suggestion (?) her preacher made on an issue. I don't have any idea how many others showed up to follow that preacher's dictates, but the situation does exist. And the turnout for that election was much higher than any I'd seen before. I still shake my head when I think about it. Bottom line, I guess, is that there are people who are willing to let others tell them how to vote. Why? Who knows? Ignorance, I suppose.

Doigotta

I think the Democratic Party needs a chairman who actually supports democratic causes. Voting present on important issues like the tax deduction for private school tuition doesn't cut it. I don't think anyone can do a good job serving simultaneously in the legislature and as state party chairman. Mr. Gray needs to choose one and let the other go.

Eutychus

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