New Year's resolution: Accentuate the positive.
As chief grump here, I have to agree with the Democrat-Gazette columnist who characterized the Times as grumpy. It's something of a theme these days. Republicans are on my case daily to write about President Bush's good deeds instead of criticizing constantly. Gregg Easterbrook, a writer for the New Republic, has just authored a book about the obsession of news people everywhere with bad news. Easterbrook sees a world making progress on virtually every front, not the journalist's headline-driven world of death and disaster. Easterbrook doesn't argue that the reporting is inaccurate, only that the tone and the placement of stories tend to overemphasize the negative.
I have heard these cries. For the first week of the New Year, no carping.
You'll not hear me complain about misplaced priorities in the matter of how many millions Houston Nutt will be paid to coach football. If a product of Little Rock public schools is the object of a seven-figure bidding war, then maybe our schools aren't as bad as the state Supreme Court says they are.
And who elected the Supreme Court to run the schools anyway? We elect the legislature to do that. And what a fine job they've done. They've toiled countless hours in special session to make our schools better. Have you doubted for a minute that the debate has been about anything but what was best for the kids?
Don't be misled by the talk of inadequate schools, by the way. Our schools do a great job. Want proof? Look at the legislature. Nearly every member is a proud product of Arkansas schools.
Sure, there will always be differences of opinion. For example: School consolidation is a good thing to some; not so good to others. But say this for Gov. Mike Huckabee, a chief proponent of consolidation. You can count on him to get his arithmetic straight. Look what he's done for the state accounting system. And you sure can't quarrel with his calorie counting. Snaps for Huck on that impressive weight loss.
The much-criticized Little Rock city government? It's good to go. They're picking up the garbage on time; promising to fix the potholes, and have hired a PR man to be sure we know about it.
The Clinton Library? On target for a November opening. Get out the crowd control barriers for the opening day Bono-Buffett concert.
The Democrat-Gazette? A news-packed paper. So what if it differs from our editorial outlook once in a while. If youth must be served first in its content and staff, well, young folks are the future, aren't they? I refuse, too, to be vexed by a small personal matter. There is undoubtedly a very innocent reason why e-mail from me to D-G staffers no longer reaches the intended recipients. On the other hand, if I have officially been declared spam at the daily paper, could you blame the editor for protecting his happy young warriors from the thoughts of an aging, grumpy liberal?
Griping is so last year. This year, it's sunny side up for Mr. Pollyanna.
House Republicans pulled down the Trumpcare legislation this afternoon and walked out, depriving Democrats of some fun in pointing out all the anti-woman, anti-poor, pro-rich aspects of a bill too generous for hardcare Republicans and too mean for the few remaining moderates.
I don't know what if anything might arise or be planned in the future relative to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's order to end Medicaid reimbursement for medical services (not abortion) provided by Planned Parenthood in Arkansas.
Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.
Congratulations are in order for Governor Hutchinson. He decided this year to devote the weight of his office to end the state's embarrassing dual holiday for slavery defender Robert E. Lee and civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.
An article in Sunday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reminded me of John Belushi in "Animal House" exhorting frat brothers to rally against a dean's effort to put them out of business. "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
The Arkansas Supreme Court last week delivered a blow to civil rights in Arkansas. It was another results-oriented decision that gives a clue to how far the justices likely will go to appease the legislature.