Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Immigration reform smart
Arkansas may not be known for its high share of immigrants — they compose only 5 percent of the state's population — but immigrants have begun to play a larger role in both the economic and political landscape of our state.
Immigrants keep Arkansas vibrant and competitive. For every dollar the state spent on services to immigrant households — including K-12 education, healthcare, and corrections — it received $7 in immigrant business revenue and tax contributions in 2010. The economic contribution of immigrants grew from $2.9 billion in 2004 to $3.9 billion in 2010. And this contribution is expected to grow further as immigrants and their children increase their share of the state's total population and workforce.
In recent years, one in four of America's new small business owners were immigrants. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by a first- or second-generation American. Immigration makes us more prosperous. We are a nation of values, founded on the idea that all people are created equal and that all people have rights, no matter where they come from or what they look like. Our immigration laws must reflect our values, not our fears. Passing immigration reform is not just the smart thing to do; it's the right thing to do.
Good story on Oxford House
I frequently read your newspaper and have enjoyed many articles, but the story about Oxford House was the best that I've read for a long time. Leslie Peacock wrote a well-balanced, factual story. It appeared that she spent a lot of time to research this so thoroughly. I was happy to hear both sides of the issue.
Congratulations on having such a talented writer on your staff.
From the web
In response to Jay Barth's column on Sen. Mark Pryor's political strategy:
"Provincialism" is too polite a word for Pryor's tactics. Pandering is closer, but still too mild. Long a mewling placater, after his vote against a vast majority of Arkansans' (and the country's — unlike Pryor, I do not suffer from provincialism) common sense support for background checks, he can no longer be considered merely some vague, lumpen milquetoast who's traded his father's name for a half-hearted career, but a corrupt manipulator dealing in lies without respect for his constituency or himself, turning his back on his responsibilities and the lives of innocent people and children he's sworn to represent, standing over their dead or grieving bodies facing away from Arkansas toward Washington to receive a check for his loyalty (or fear) from the NRA. Boozman and Griffin are only better because we expect worse from them, which they deliver in spades. When we earn and demand better, we may expect it returned to us. Until then, those paying for representation will continue to receive it. ... but that is not the way it is supposed to work, that is the corruption we need to fix, so let's vote these wretches out of office and build a better country.
I note with amusement the haranguing by the intellectual toads over Pryor's rightful vote against the supposed background check. Most of those that are howling about how a wonderful law was given short shrift have never read all 49 pages.
Pryor did absolutely right to vote against this excrement. Bloomberg and his millions should not have any say in Arkansas. The NRA is far more representative of Arkansas than Bloomberg and his paid bully pulpit.
There are values that are inherently Arkansan that cannot be shared with New York or California. The reverse is true, too.
That is part of the beauty of the nation and the 50 states, that while there is a foundation document that ties us together, we still have 50 different ways of doing things across this country. They aren't inherently bad simply because they are different. Respect the differences.
In response to Max Brantley's column on attitudes at Boys State toward gay marriage:
It's always surprising to find that "believers" (of all three Abrahamic faiths BTW) are strict constructionists when it comes to Leviticus and homosexual relations, and, at the same time, overt "judicial activists" when it comes to individual and national failures to adhere to the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.
In response to Gene Lyons' column on NSA phone monitoring:
Sorry boys, but Congress voted to legalize telephone data-mining in 2008. It's been common knowledge ever since. That's not the same as tapping phones, which requires a search warrant.
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