Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Arkansas voters uniquely distinguished themselves in two respects in this presidential election. First, as a map published in the New York Times titled “The McCain Belt” graphically illustrated, a much higher percentage of Arkansans voted for McCain in 2008 than for Bush in 2004, more so than any other state. Second, as the election approached, polls in other states converged on the ultimate actual vote. Not in Arkansas. While state polls consistently reported McCain with a 10 percent lead over Obama, he actually won Arkansas by a surprising 20 percent margin. What are we to make of these two facts?
I fear the most plausible and parsimonious explanation is an unhappy one. Why did McCain garner more votes in Arkansas than Bush did four years ago? The answer may have been skin deep. Why did McCain win by 20 percent while the polls were saying 10 percent? Studies indicate that the “Bradley Effect,” wherein many people tell pollsters they plan to vote for the African-American candidate and then don't, died out elsewhere in the United States in the mid-90's. This effect appears to persist in Arkansas.
The 2008 presidential election results suggest both bigotry and hypocrisy are alive and well in the Arkansas electorate.
My soaring spirits about Barack being our president hit a ceiling when I saw the outcome of Act 1, banning unmarried individuals from fostering or adopting the many waiting children in foster care. Aside from preventing good, single, cohabitating individuals (whose marital status is unimportant to child well-being, and the presence of an unmarried partner is more linked to economics), it is likely that Act 1 has barred a large percentage of the likely pool of relative caregivers, including grandparents, aunties, cousins, siblings, from becoming the adoptive or foster parents of their relative's children, as many are single and “co-habitating.” I would like to think the Family Council did its homework, exploring the unintended consequences of their exclusion effort. We will now deliberately exclude the single grandparent caregiver with a partner for consideration as a foster or adoptive parent, insuring them the least amount of economic support.
Act 1 is so disturbingly cruel and disrespecting of these unsung heroes, devaluing them once more, and likely closing the door for many to become foster or adoptive parents. Without them, we, the taxpayers, would have to ante up an additional $200 million to serve their children in foster care. Act 1 is a voter-supported act of disrespect and holier-than-thou virtuousness that hurts children and families. I also wonder how the state will be able to uphold federal law under the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act, mandating identification of relatives first to be their grandchildren's foster parents when the children come into the child welfare system. It is hateful for the Family Council and their faith-based supporters to inflict further harm on the children left behind. I expect every voter for Act 1 to stand in line to foster and adopt these children, although I am uncertain how much I would wish these self-righteous and self-serving people into the lives of our children who need compassion and healing.
Dee Ann Newell
National Policy Partnership for Children Left Behind: A 14-State Collaborative Effort
My wife loves Indian food. Every town we go to we make concerted efforts to find the Indian restaurants. We love Indian food. We were deeply disappointed that Star of India was the only Indian restaurant in Little Rock when we moved here because we thought so poorly of it. The food comes across as watered down and the ingredients cheap. I have heard that they add food coloring to the sauces to make up for their lack of spices. I'm in the tech industry and every Indian person that I work with has, for the last 4 years, told me that they did not like the Star of India and did not go there. They would actually travel to Dallas to get Indian food. Now, they eat at Amruth's.
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