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Who's opaque?

by and


Bob Lancaster complained, of a book he was reviewing (March 1), that it has “been composed in the most exquisitely impenetrable sociological prose of my reading experience. ...” In another review, on the same page, he used the word “hebdomadal,” sending me scurrying to a dictionary. Perhaps Bob should exercise caution when he dips into literature that has, in his words, “ventured up to the very edge of opaque.” That malady seems to be catching.

Richard Frothingham
Little Rock

Thanks, Bobby

Congratulations to Bobby Roberts, director of the Central Arkansas Library System, and to the Friends of CALS for having conducted another successful book sale, which raised over $16,000.

You provide a community service in that you make it easier (if not completely painless) to part with out-grown or out-of-date volumes. Donations are tax-deductible, and books may be dropped off at any convenient library location.

Knowing that we are recycling our tomes and at the same time assisting our wonderful library system motivates my husband and me to weed through our library periodically.

Suzanne Hamilton

Little Rock

Favors drug bill

While not particularly fond of Sen. Denny Altes’ methods, I am in favor of passage of SB 20, the prescription drug monitoring program. Recent editorials in the Arkansas Times give the impression that a DMP would be a violation of patients’ privacy and make doctors less likely to prescribe needed medication. One editorial specifically states that “Only Big Government would gain from SB 20…to harass taxpayers.”

It is already illegal in Arkansas to obtain controlled substances by fraud, but it’s difficult to identify persons who doctor-shop — going from doctor to doctor and pharmacy to pharmacy — to obtain prescriptions in quantities that no single doctor would ever approve. We prosecute persons who use meth, coke or other street drugs. It can be even more devastating to the families of persons who are hooked on prescription drugs because not only do they have to pay for the drugs, but also incur massive doctor bills — and eventually costs in both time and gas as the person has to travel farther and farther to find new doctors to get their fix.

Let’s also think about the costs to the insurance companies for doctor-shoppers who have insurance. Surely these costs get spread to everyone in the skyrocketing insurance rates we are all paying. Only big government would gain — indeed!

It might be worthwhile to point out that 33 states currently have drug monitoring programs (including such liberal bastions as New York and California), and 15 are, as is Arkansas, planning on implementing one.

The Arkansas Times editorial staff should think about visiting the Department of Justice’s Office of Diversion Control website and see how the programs are run in other states, so they can realize that innocent taxpayers would not be harassed.

Mike Vining


The buck stops where

Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey resigned after firing Walter Reed Medical Center commander George W. Weightman (appointed 6 months ago). Placed in command of Walter Reed was present Surgeon General Kevin C. Kilby, who commanded Walter Reed from June 2002 to August 2004. Kilby immediately began painting walls and exterminating multi-legged pests, when what is needed is not a “whitewash” and a declaration that the problem simply doesn’t exist.

Can the problem not be in part from bureaucratic bungling, which has created a nightmare for returning soldiers and their families; from DOD refusal to share patient data/information with hospitals; and from poor administration by Michael J. Wagner, recent head of the Army Medical Family Assistance Center?

Is the commander-in-chief and decider of all things available for anything other than comment and creating investigating panels, whose advice will likely be ignored? Failing to give troops the wherewithal to fight in the beginning, sufficient troops to even hope for victory, and proper care upon their return is an administrative failure that reaches all the way to the top.

Listening only to those who agree is no way to learn from past mistakes. When everyone else has been fired or has resigned, who will be left? The top must be getting to be a lonely place.

Marilyn Fish Bryan


A football lesson

I moved to Little Rock in 1985 and have been attending Razorback games every year. I’m a 1979 Penn State grad. Football coach Joe Paterno was my neighbor for six years, and the athletic director, Tim Curley, was my high school quarterback. I’m trying to allow Arkansas fans a little college football 101 history lesson.

1. In the ’80s Jeff Hofstetler was a second-string quarterback behind Todd Blackledge. He transferred to West Virginia, and later quarterbacked the 1990 Giants to a Super Bowl win. Blackledge left the NFL without fanfare and is now a college sportscaster.

2. Paterno was asked by the PSU president and Curley in January of 2005 for his resignation after four of five losing seasons. He showed them the door. The 2005 team went 11-1. The 2006 team went 9-4.

3. Arkansas has been on various levels of probation during Houston Nutt’s tenure (but never connected to him); Penn State has had warnings, but no penalties.

4. Nutt has lost several junior players to the NFL. Broyles never had that issue.

My point is the SEC is the toughest conference. Irony is that Damian Williams might be at USC when they get put on probation for the Reggie Bush debacle.

The only time I heard of a parent talking to Joe Paterno was when the mother of Franco Harris moved into his State College apartment to get his grades up so he could play second string behind Lydell Mitchell. Joe does talk to most parents in their living room or on campus visits, but it is the vanilla speech of what he expects of the player and what they can expect of his staff. I think he would put the Hog fans asleep, but John White would love him.

Jeff Whitby

Little Rock

Costly cable

I am 68 years old, on Social Security and have been a Comcast customer for 28 years.

I pay $55.90 a month for basic cable or $670.80 a year, which I can barely afford.

I live in an area where, without cable, I get very bad reception on local channels. If the scenario I envision is true, a conspiracy between government, the FCC, cable companies, TV manufacturers and electronics retailers will force me to have the cable TV disconnected at my house and I’ll have no TV.

Don Baney

Little Rock


Those vile televangelical confidence tricksters truly are the lowest form of human life.

They prey on the fears and gullibility of the mindless masses and, in the unlikely event that there is a just and merciful God, they are surely going straight to hell.

Just how and why it is that these phony Christians are not regarded as criminals defies belief, although a larger and more frightening mystery is just how easily people are seduced by them.

William G. Carlyle

North Little Rock

The lucky ducks

The New York Times on Feb. 6 reviewed a new book by Dinesh D’Souza of the Hoover Institute at Stanford. D’Souza said, “the poorest Americans have TV sets, microwave ovens and cars.” I wonder if I can find one American living in San Francisco, Palo Alto or Little Rock without a TV, microwave or a car or enough to eat or a place to sleep out of the cold?

Will Mr. D’Souza let them move in his 8,000-square-foot house (6 bedrooms, 7.5 baths, 4-car garage, and Jaguar XJS)? Or will he renounce compassionate conservatism?

Robert Johnston

Little Rock


The polls indicate over 60 percent of U.S. citizens feel the Iraq war was wrong to begin with. Seems nothing can embolden a pack like the smell of blood. The junior senator of New York has been outspokenly critical of this war. The two U.S. senators of Arkansas now say they oppose Bush’s war. Where was their leadership when we needed it?

Most of our leaders failed the people miserably after 9/11. A few were brave enough to try to slow the stampede for blood, recognizing it would be our blood. One was Rep. Vic Snyder, and as your guest columnist Roger Armbrust points out, we are still waiting for that clear voice of reason to say OUT!

R. Hyatt Lee

Little Rock

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