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Free, for $127 

Free, for $127

I was delighted to hear that as a senior citizen I could attend college here in Arkansas for free. I was not so happy to find out that my free class cost me $127 in fees. I explained to the registrar that the law seemed to suggest that seniors would be exempt from all tuition and fees. They backpedaled a little bit, regrouped, and told me that the registration fee was not a fee, the infrastructure free was not a fee, and, of course, the tech fee was also not a fee. I would have pursued the matter further but was afraid that they might end up charging me additional fees for the lesson in Orwellian logic.

David Malcolm Rose

Hot Springs

Vegetarian Noah

TV host Glenn Beck and other stalwarts of the Christian right have attacked the recent blockbuster "Noah" as being "pro-animal" and unfaithful to the Bible. Well, yes and no. The film is both pro-animal and faithful to the Bible, at least to the Book of Genesis, our only source for the story of Noah.

After all, Genesis 1:29 admonishes "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-yielding fruit — to you it shall be for food." It is only after the flood, with fruits and vegetables no longer abundant, that humans get permission to eat animal flesh.

Even then, the Bible stipulates that lives of only select animals may be taken and always with reverence and minimal cruelty. This is certainly a far cry from today's factory farm and slaughterhouse practices.

Regardless of how we may feel about "Noah's" interpretation of the Bible, each of us can recreate the recommended diet of the Garden of Eden in our home by dropping animal products from our menu.

Lewis Mermell

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the March 20 article about Valero's plans to build a crude oil pipeline through Arkansas's wildlife management areas:

I love technology and the lifestyle it provides me. I also love the outdoors. If a new pipeline is needed, I'd like to see it routed right down the middle of I-40, where the additional impact over what already exists will be minimal, thousands of people will know it is there and witness both the construction and the day to day operation, see things like if it is being maintained or not, and report any leaks within minutes.

Current laws or regulations prevent that? Then change them! Oh, and just so one company is not profiting via the dollars it saves by using public property, be sure to charge them a little something that is still a bargain for them but generates revenue to maintain I-40 or some other infrastructure that serves us all.

Cowper Chadbourne

In response to the March 27 cover story about continuing economic hardship caused by the Pegasus pipeline oil spill in Mayflower a year ago:

I remember the oil spill on Palomino Drive in Orcutt, a suburb of Santa Maria, Calif., by a leaky tank in a tank farm built by Union Oil. After many cancers in children and elderly persons, some deadly, the whole fairly new suburb street they all lived on, some 16 or so houses, was bought and razed by Unocal, the people settled for fairly large amounts of money, and hardly a peep was heard from the local media: A quarter century ago, Unocal was a major economic presence in the medium-sized farming town of Santa Maria.

Hopefully, there will not be the terrible health consequences in Mayflower that we saw in Santa Maria (although the symptoms sure sound similar to what was reported there). Hopefully, Exxon will settle with all residents who want out — I know I would not want to live on a spill site or anywhere near it. And hopefully, state and federal governments will do their part to protect citizens' rights.

Peterjkraus

In response to Jay Barth's March 27 column, "Hobby Lobby case affects more than just contraception":

Perhaps the key issue at stake in the case, Jay, is whether or not government regulations can supersede the fundamental protections afforded U.S. citizens by our Constitution. Last I checked, the right to the free practice of religion IS protected. I'm not aware of any guarantee of free or discounted access to the morning after pill — particularly at the expense of another citizen who conscientiously objects to it.

SteveB87

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