Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
A party in disarray
To say the least, our national Republican Party has quite a mess on its hands right now in the primary elections for president. One candidate, Ted Cruz, was not even born in the U.S. and may not be eligible to serve as president. Another candidate, Marco Rubio, has a history of buying personal items with his GOP credit card. The most viable candidate is Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, here in Arkansas, Trump has already won the Republican primary race. Unfortunately, Gov. Asa Hutchinson endorsed Rubio, even though Rubio was a known credit-card criminal who has yet to pay his debt to society. Sure, Rubio admitted in 2012 to reimbursing the party for the items, but Florida's Republican Party let Rubio off the hook. They made the poor decision not to charge Rubio with felony theft by deception. This reminds me of when Arkansas Attorney General Steve Clark, a Democrat, was charged.
Anyway, the big question now is whether Asa will actually support Trump as the Republican nominee. After all, Asa has worked diligently all these years to promote the interests of wealthy capitalists over the interests of the democratic masses. He must now accept responsibility for helping create the candidate Trump.
Recently the state's other newspaper ran a piece by well-known economist Paul Krugman. The article suggests Bernie Sanders' recent primary win in Michigan may be the result of Sanders misleading the people of Michigan in regard to the effects of free trade. While I agree with Krugman on most points pertaining to the economy, I must disagree with his assessment of Bernie Sanders' take on free-trade agreements and how they have hurt Americans living in what were once thriving industrial communities, like Detroit. I also notice Krugman's attempt to compare Bernie with Donald Trump. I know Krugman's a Hillary supporter, but likening Bernie to Trump shows him to be more of a lapdog pundit, at least in this case, as opposed to being a true liberal/progressive journalist.
Krugman willfully misrepresents Bernie by accusing him of "demagoguing the issue" of "trade liberalization," making it out to be much more detrimental to American workers than the facts suggest. Krugman offers as evidence comments made by Sanders regarding the effects of "trade liberalization" on Michigan. Krugman's words suggest Bernie blames "Hillary Clinton's free-trade policies" for what happened in Detroit. I don't think Sanders has ever said the loss of jobs in Detroit starting in the '60s and '70s was the result of trade policies enacted in the '90s. That's ridiculous. Bernie simply says that trade policies like those supported by the Clintons have contributed to, or exacerbated, the problems caused by "trade liberalization." Bernie doesn't say we must stop all agreements with other countries. He says we must change these agreements in order to keep jobs from leaving our shores, and to stop other countries from taking advantage of laws that favor foreign workers over American workers.
Ultimately Bernie wants to help American workers. He's not advocating the dismantling of established trade agreements. Sanders wants to negotiate with other countries over mutually beneficial agreements, so that everyone wins, not just America, as Trump boasts.
Any way you slice it, free trade has not worked out for most Americans. It's been great for the economic elites of the world, but the rest of us have suffered. And, any way you slice it, Hillary has supported these measures.
From the web
In response to Gene Lyons' March 10 column, "Cats and dogs":
Kind of hard to equate any morality among animals basing it just on levels of joy. As noted by Gene, cats achieve levels of contentment that would make the Dalai Lama jealous, and the joy of dogs is often off the charts, so how can you measure any kind of morality?
Does it make a difference, does it prove the emotional capacity of dogs or cats?
Well, by a lot of easily observed data, dogs have it all over cats ... except when you dig deeper into stories of how cats defended their human companions from attack by human and animal.
I have been around critters most of my life. I was 13 when I rescued my first cat. She was a kitten that was put in a box and placed under a pinball machine. Kitty was a great cat. She got along with my pet rat, shared the pillow with me, and even walked across busy city streets on my heel, like a dog. Many a night I would be reading and Kitty would lie on my lap for her hours' worth of ear rubs. She would let me know her food was empty by jumping on my bookcase and knocking off my model airplanes. When I was sick, she was with me. When I was heartbroken, she would be there, rubbing against me and licking my hair. It would be years before I had another cat of her equal.
By the time I ended up with an awesome pair of cats, Jasper and Iggy Pop, I also had a pack of six wolves. The cats got along with the wolves and old Toby dog. During cold, northern Nevada winters when the outside temps were 19 below, the bed was covered by some wolves and some cats. Toby was too old to get on the bed, so one or two of the wolves and at least one of the cats would curl up next to Toby.
Toby died. I cried, the wolves howled, and I will be dipped if Jasper didn't howl along. Iggy just kept looking for Toby. She didn't understand the way the others did.
In all the critters I have raised, I poured all my love and affection into them. They were all indoor/outdoor companions. I nurtured them like kids, and they grew in emotional scope. It was a discovery that humans are like animals and otherwise as well.
That which grows best is that which is imbued with values and training and regard and concern and sympathy. Like humans, animals have the capability to reciprocate in most emotional matters. You mistreat an animal, they grow up distant, mistrustful, tending toward violence. You treat them well, they will stay by your side, mourn your loss, rejoice your joys, share your struggles.
Yeah, we really need another test to divide us into factions. Recently, I've noticed a lot of people almost demanding to know whether I'm a cat person or a dog person. (Where did this come from all of a sudden? Some TV show?) I guess it's a question designed to immediately separate the wheat from the chaff, or the goats from the sheep. The question invariably confuses me and I usually answer, truthfully, that I like both dogs and cats. Of course, that answer satisfies none of the questioners. In one respect, it makes me a weasel person, unwilling to commit myself. (I've never owned a weasel, however, so it's hard for me to say. Although I HAVE known a couple of folks who were fond of ferrets, so weasels might not be all that bad.)
The last person who asked me the dog/cat question was ready for me when I weaseled out of it. She immediately asked me her backup question: Do I like guns or not? Rolling my eyes at the question didn't seem to help my status in her eyes at all. I flunked her test on the spot. I was definitely not one to be trusted.
Yes, I'm a cat person and a dog person. More and more, though, a people person? Not so much ... .