I have been picking up on a lot of enthusiasm for local sourcing from the Arkansas Times. Getting food from local farms, using local products, etc. I love the enthusiasm as I myself love supporting local farms and restaurants. However, there is a big lack of people putting their money where their mouth is, or in this case, their local product where their mouth is. Arkansas has one craft distillery. Just one. Not two. Not three. One. And a lot of the restaurants popping up, touting their "local" product, are lacking one big component. Liquor made within this state. And not just made in the state. Made from the state. Rock Town uses Arkansas grains, and Arkansas barrels, to make some damn good Arkansas liquor. I know that coming out of the gate, there were some hang-ups. Tried to hit to ground running and stumbled a bit, and their reputation took the hit pretty hard, especially with local bartenders. But come on. It has been over three years and now Rock Town has 13 products, soon to be 14. Bartenders can't hate all of it. And yet restaurants like Local Lime, Natchez, South on Main, all these places that can't wait to remind you how local they are, don't carry the only liquor you can call local. What is up with that? And I like the food there, don't get me wrong, but the hypocrisy has been leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
You might wonder why I am writing all this. I have talked to the bartenders; I know what they have to say on the subject. Doesn't seem like they're budging anytime soon. So does it matter what I think? It probably doesn't. But I think someone should say something. I think it is, for lack of a better word, complete bullshit. Buying local is not just about quality, although quality matters a lot (and I'm not saying Rock Town is of low quality because it isn't). Buying local is also about working together. Supporting your neighbor. We could use a little more of that.
Prisons need to focus on job training
If the governor and legislative leaders really want to cut down on the number of cons who just go back to prison after violating their parole, then the prison system has to do a better job of providing in-class and on-the-job-training for inmates in things they can do in self-employment and fields that don't require a criminal background check.
There's no reason prisoners can't be trained and work under the supervision of state-employed master plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, carpenters, construction equipment workers, gardeners, forest firefighters and even webpage designers and in computer maintenance and wiring.
Trained prisoners could act just like the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration workers did — building and fixing things for the government and society in general.
Jacksonville's Dupree Park floods every time we get a good rain because Bayou Meto overflows. A couple deep overfill lakes up and down the creek channel to contain and delay most of the heavy flood of water would prevent flooding and provide recreational opportunities plus water for cattle.
Prisoners operating bulldozers and ditch diggers could create the canals needed for the projects to provide river water to farmers in Lonoke County and elsewhere.
Prisoners with electronic-ankle monitors on could be bused to schools in the evening and do maintenance and grounds work for just the cost of a couple guards patrolling inside and outside the school that they are working on. In the summer time they could work on building additions, improving playgrounds, painting classrooms and halls, and fixing everything from A to Z.
Prisoners need job training and should pay society back for the cost of their imprisonment.
Blaming the pope for being Catholic
I read with interest the response from Richard Emmel in your Comment section (Nov. 14) in regards to the firing of a woman who worked for an institution (the Roman Catholic Church) whose teachings are at odds with the identity that she embraces as a partnered lesbian. In that response, Mr. Emmel cited the famous story from the Gospel of John where Jesus is confronted by an angry crowd that was ready to stone a woman who had been caught in adultery.
It is true that Jesus said, "He who is without sin cast the first stone at her." But it is also true that Jesus said something else that day. He turned to the woman who was caught in the sin of adultery and said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; and from now on SIN NO MORE." By pointing out the hypocrisy of the ones who would kill this woman, Jesus did not at the same time change his view of adultery. It was still an offense to God and needed to be repented of.
To expect the Roman Catholic Church to change their teachings on human sexuality based off how our current culture has changed its views on sexuality is merely blaming the pope for being Catholic. I would imagine at the more liberal and tolerant institutions in our society like the Southern Poverty Law Center, NPR or the ACLU, if an employee joined the Ku Klux Klan, or embraced some other public position of hate or intolerance they would be fired out of hand. Would Mr. Emmel then level charges of "hurling the stone of job loss" at them? Most likely not.
The truth is that each institution, be it a conservative Christian one, or a liberal/progressive one, serves its own narratives, being true to who they are. You can disagree if you want, but don't accuse one of throwing stones when the side you align with does the same thing every day. Let's just be honest about what we disagree about, and not turn the other side into executioners because of that disagreement.
Rev. Sam Seamans
Assisting Bishop in the Reformed Episcopal Church
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