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Too much initiative

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Give a man a fish, and you’ve fed him for a day. Make him director of a state gambling commission, and he can buy his own fish. With taxpayers’ money.

Arkansans won’t have to carry their surplus fish over to Charles Ormond’s house if Ormond gets his proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot and voters approve it. The amendment would legalize lottery and casino gambling in Arkansas and create a state gambling commission, of which Charles Ormond would be a member. Commissioner Ormond would help set the salary of the fulltime director of the gambling commission, a position also to be filled by Charles Ormond. A former state representative from Morrilton, Mr. Ormond clearly is not the sort of fellow who sits around waiting for opportunity to knock with a fish under its arm. He makes his own opportunities.

But for all his get-up-and-go, we’re unready to install Charles Ormond in the Constitution. A constitutional amendment creating a state job, presumably well-paying, specifically for Charles Ormond seems inappropriate. It would seem inappropriate even if he’d been an outstanding legislator, and to describe him as mediocre would be a stretch. As gambling director, he’d be a better choice than Paris Hilton or Sean Hannity, but denying the post to all three is the wiser course.

Chicken hawks soar

Nowhere is the Iraqi war fought more fiercely than in the Republican meeting halls of America. Right-wing orators show their mettle on these battlefields, just as determinedly as they avoid the real ones.

Karl Rove was loose in Northwest Arkansas the other night — Northwest Arkansas is one of a handful of places where Rove is still welcome — and his fighting spirit was undiminished by American and Iraqi casualties in the Middle East. Bring ‘em on, he said, more or less: “Victory in Iraq! Nothing short of victory!” Doubtless he was thinking that there are reserves of black and poor-white soldiers who’ve yet to shed blood in the streets of Baghdad — though the number is rapidly diminishing — and why should they be spared when Big Oil and Halliburton need them. War is a continuation of commerce by other means, somebody almost said.

The Bush administration’s conniver-in-chief received a standing ovation, we read. Republican audiences know Rove, and they know that even when he’s waging rhetorical war on terror, he never forgets the other enemy. He’d terminate the Democratic Party alongside Al-Qaida if he could, and the present scandal in the Justice Department (now becoming the Injustice Department) shows that he won’t be satisfied until every Democrat and moderate Republican is removed from the federal judiciary and the prosecutors’ offices, replaced by Republican zealots.

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