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The Arkansas Times now recognizes what publications like Sports Illustrated, FHM and Maxim already know: Hot babes in bikinis boost circulation every time. (I would say “sells every time,” but the Times is free. What a country!)

However, the two biggest boobs exposed in the Times’ swimsuit edition are Mike Huckabee and Alice Stewart. Are they really serious in their belief that a news embargo against the Times’ editorial staff — under the guise that the Times is not a “legitimate” news outlet — is anything but a gross and illegal abuse of the governor’s office? The state Freedom of Information Act is unambiguous on the public’s right to government records and to attend open meetings. Moreover, our democracy demands a free and unfettered press.

May I suggest to the governor and Ms. Stewart that they do what they do best: Marathon your sorry and skinny asses out of the Natural State and take your Orwellian vision of governance with you.
James R. Fisher
Little Rock



Tax rates
I enjoyed reading Robert McCord’s “Tax Day” column April 20. I appreciated his perspective that Americans are taxed less than some of the social democracies in Europe such as Sweden or France. He also reported that Arkansas faces high rates of taxation compared to other states in the United States, particularly when compared to our border states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

Oklahoma. With a significant budget surplus, Oklahoma Republicans and Democrats are working on a compromise to cut the state’s personal income tax rate to a top marginal rate of between 4.9 and 5.85 percent, significantly below Arkansas’s top marginal rate of 7 percent. As Arkansans struggle with budget priorities for our schools, prisons and health care, I hope that our legislators will heed Bob McCord’s wisdom and try to find a way to reduce the tax burden on our citizens.
J. French Hill
Little Rock



Crafty courts
Regardless as to the nobility of its intent, the Arkansas Code of Judicial Ethics virtually guarantees the re-election of incumbent judges. It permits a little cadre of wealthy lawyers to pack the courts with cohorts who may with impunity usurp the powers of both the executive and legislative branches of government.

This was done by a narrow margin of 4 to 3 in the recent school cases and under the guise of ethics the misguided media are leaving no stone unturned to tie the hands of those who would expose the courts’ craftiness and rectify the wrong.
Jim Johnson
Conway



The homeless
A recent letter took issue with me about the Helping Hands for the Hungry and Homeless center at 1307 W. Markham. First, the critic contends the neighborhood is more residential than “commercial and institutional.” For the two blocks between the Salvation Army and the Train Station, there are eight abandoned store fronts, a union hall, the back of an auto repair shop, a junk yard, an industrial sized dumpster and two really run-down homes, with a big sign “for sale 1 acre.”

I contended in a letter that the vast majority of those helped are not addicts. Ms. Critic contends “the ones that hang around when the center is closed are addicts … at all times of the day and night, jumping in and out of cars, and generally acting very much like crack heads.” Perhaps when she observes probable criminal activity she should call 911; but jumping in and out of cars is neither criminal nor indication of crack heads.

I am sorry her small son “got to see a man urinate on a building across the street … and [someone] walking around with a bottle of Colt 45 at 8:30 in the morning.” Living a block from the Salvation Army brings those sorts of sights. Living lots of places does.

Finally, the critic says, “the homeless in Little Rock deserve compassion and help taking care of their basic needs. But I think this neighborhood is not the place for it.” Perhaps she will call Bryan Day at City Hall and suggest a better place for it. Or she could drop in some morning between 8 and 8:30 and visit with us about it.
Robert Johnston
Little Rock



Corporal punishment
Are you willing to allow corporal punishment on your child? Most of us are not. Many people believe corporal punishment has not been used in our schools for years, but this is not the case. The School Discipline Act authorizes teachers and administrators to use corporal punishment as a means of maintaining discipline and order within our public schools. Two states abolished the use of corporal punishment in the schools in 1976, and since then 27 states, most major cities, and affluent suburbs have banned corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is very prevalent in Arkansas, and much of the South.

Corporal punishment is ineffective and frequently has psychological and physical consequences. Studies have shown corporal punishment can lower a child’s self-esteem and that bruising is common. Research shows that the practice of corporal punishment is discriminatory and is used more on minorities and children of lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Implementing a new student discipline policy that eliminates corporal punishment is a must.
Gretchen Francis
Fayetteville



Too many people
Much of the world’s problems may be attributed to overpopulation and lack of the truth, but no one wants to admit it. To do so would shake the very core of many religious beliefs — so the problem remains ignored.

Egotism is a potent characteristic and does not readily step aside for the truth.
Katherine Erwin
Little Rock



Revolting
In 1939, scientists at the University of Chicago announced they knew how to harness the atom. They were responsible for bringing World War II to a close. Now, 70 years later, little or nothing has been done to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

The foot-dragging by this administration is nothing short of a crime. Any right-minded person can recognize the U.S. is being held hostage by the lack of commitment by our government. If we need a revolt, let’s have one. A revolt is what made this country great.
Frank Lambright
Little Rock




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