Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
I keep hearing folks calling for immigration reform. What I don't get is why those folks are not calling for strong enforcement of existing laws on that issue.
There are laws long since passed that provide for the imposition of heavy fines on anyone hiring persons not in this country legally.
There are many businesses, both large and small in this and many other states, that knowingly hire illegals at sub-standard wages and no real effort has been made to fine them for that.
Like any market, the labor market for illegals is what keeps them coming. Remove that market by aggressively applying the present laws and making it expensive for their employers then they will no longer come in such numbers.
The most serious question not being answered is why this law has not been enforced by previous administrations and is not being enforced by the present one either. They can't legally vote so it is not their votes that is the influence. It must be the money pouring into the coffers of the politicians who have sold their allegiances to big businesses by way of the lobbyists.
Walmart has put thousands of small retailers out of business and has now grown so large and powerful in influence that the federal and state governments cannot and will not seriously try to curb its activities.
We restrict trade with Cuba while Walmart's practices fill China's coffers. They're both Communists and supposedly Cuba is a threat to democracy. And China is NOT? How about Vietnam, a major trading nation with the U. S.?
It's time some of you folks who are signing petitions to make more laws to control immigrants wised up to the fact that big money augers against you and stops enforcement of existing laws. Do you Tea Partiers really want government out of businesses? Isn't it you who are screaming against "illegals"?
Work on getting that fixed, please!
Recently the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Graham v. Florida that it violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a juvenile offender to life without parole when he has not committed homicide.
The court ruling went so far as to say that the states did not have to guarantee such juveniles eventual freedom, but the state would have to guarantee juveniles some meaningful opportunity (other than clemency hearings) to obtain release upon demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation. In other words, they would have to make these juveniles parole reviewable.
However, Arkansas officials misled media researching this case by stating that Arkansas does not sentence anyone including juveniles to life without parole who has not committed homicide. What these officials failed to mention was that we have many juveniles in Arkansas prisons with a regular life sentence who have not committed homicide yet are not parole reviewable. In Arkansas, a life without parole sentence is the same as a life sentence for parole review purposes – there is no possibility of parole review for either sentence.
Some Arkansas juveniles have not committed homicide but have been imprisoned more than 30 years with no parole review with more arriving daily. I can give you a long list.
Please contact your senator and representatives and demand that Arkansas comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling and give these mostly minority juvenile offenders serving regular life sentences for non-fatal crimes meaningful parole review. We have another unique opportunity to quell the racist history in the South by doing the right and moral thing in this racially unbalanced and unconstitutional practice.
Robert Lee Williford
What kind of change?
In 2008, we asked for a change in leadership and we apparently assumed that included being led in a different direction as well. There are many who tell us we got what we asked for. Others tell us we are getting what we asked for only it's happening so slowly we aren't able to appreciate it yet. Some describe only a change in names and faces.
Still others seem so terrified that the names and faces have changed they can't be bothered with noticing a change of course.
Now that the bright lights and carnival music of the campaign sideshow are gone, I think we got exactly what we were promised: thoughtful leadership. Unfortunately, being thoughtful isnt the same as being correct or making the best choices.
Having a leader who seeks to understand multiple perspectives and wants to appeal to the most reasonable of those views isn't the same as having a leader who rouses the desire to do the right thing and then marches "through hell for a heavenly cause."
We got a thoughtful leader who somehow forgot to choose a passionate standard bearer to carry his banner of reason through the sucking quagmire of government process.
If our history is reliable, now we voters will find that passionate champion and, in another paroxysm of shortsightedness and stupidity, throw away reason in exchange for mindless short-term excitement.
Politics have become so entertaining these days, public policy is really no longer a factor. Even if President Obama balanced the federal budget, restricted abortion, reduced taxes and negotiated peace in the Middle East, Arkansans still would not vote for him. Arkansans do not want Obama's kin. Arkansans prefer the Floridian, Mike Huckabee.
The only Democrats Arkansans will tolerate anymore are the Virginian, Blanche Lincoln, and the New Yorker, Bill Clinton. Mike Ross and Mark Pryor will soon have to turn Republican, or move to other states.
Republicans have taught us that balanced budgets do not really matter. President Clinton balanced his budget, but we like Texan G.W. Bush better. Everyone knows that Republicans are responsible for the lax standards that led to the BP spill, but Democrats have to clean it up. Now that's entertainment.
Politics have become show business. The means to public policy have become more important than the policy itself.
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