In defense of Cabot 

In defense of Cabot

With regard to Bob Lancaster's Best and Worst of 2009 article: One could (and should) assume that Mr. Lancaster is just another in a long line of liberal journalists who use their position to further stereotype good, hardworking, decent middle class Americans.

As to his inclusion of Cabot in his list as one of the “worst” — under the heading “you know Cabot” — I believe he is unfairly stereotyping an entire city. Mr. Lancaster's inclusion of Cabot is obviously an inaccurate reference to Cabot being mainly a city of white middle class citi-zens with lack of racial diversity or tolerance. Cabot schools could have possibly boycotted President Obama's speech, but I am not aware that they were taking up some form of a flag and bearing the standard for the state.

Mr. Lancaster then included the city of Bryant. In this listing he is implying that Bryant's ranking at No. 86 in the top 100 places is code once again for being “a white middle class community.”

Is it truly hard to believe that the reason Bryant and Cabot are two of the fastest growing areas of the state could be due to lower crime rates, strong school districts, and fiscally strong local governments among many other reasons?

Hey Bob, you are one of the reasons that race relations are still strained in this country, not just in two small areas of this state. You are stereotyping people. Quit playing the race card Bob!

John Campbell

Death penalty: illegitimate

Last fall, the American Law Institute dropped the death penalty from its Model Penal Code. Franklin E. Zimring, distinguished profes-sor of law and scholar at the Berkeley School of Law, noted in a recent article in the National Law Journal that the recent action by the ALI deprives the death penalty of any legal legitimacy. “The institute has pulled the intellectual rug out from under the current system of deciding between life and death,” said Zimring.

When the Supreme Court invalidated the death penalty in Furman v. Georgia in 1972, many states used the Model Penal Code to structure death penalty laws that separated the guilt/innocence phase from sentencing and set standards for when the death penalty was warranted. Again, Professor Zimring: “Now that the creators of the modern system of death penalty sentencing have disowned that sys-tem, there is no support for distinguishing the current death penalty lottery from the lawless system that Furman condemned. The appa-ratus that the Supreme Court rushed to embrace in 1976 has been exposed as a conspicuous failure.”

ALI President Roberta Cooper Ramo noted the ALI Council's action: “The Institute withdraws Section 210.6 of the Model Penal Code in light of the current intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital pun-ishment.”

The death penalty is flawed. To date, 139 men sentenced to death in the United States have been exonerated. Coupled with the action by the American Law Institute, can Arkansas continue to have confidence that its death penalty can be administered fairly and equitably?

David L. Rickard
Little Rock

UALR fees too high

The Arkansas Times reported last month that Michael Steele and Harold Ford Jr. are receiving $40,000 to participate in tonight's de-bate at UALR. Officials at UALR yesterday revealed that these two debaters have an agency that is booking these debates, and that the $40,000, which is coming from student activity funds, covers travel, accommodations, speaking fees, and an agency fee.

This is outrageous. Bill Clinton spoke at UALR last November, and UALR officials told me that he didn't receive a penny (nor did his foundation, Hillary, or any entity connected with the Clintons). So why can't Mr. Steele and Mr. Ford debate for travel expenses and a modest honorarium? In my opinion, $40,000 is not modest.

I question how many of the 11,000-plus students at UALR know that their student activity funds are being spent on this single event. UALR announced that students were “involved” in the decision to spend the student activity fees on this event, but it is not clear who actually made the decision.

However, the timing could not be worse. UALR, along with every other state institution, has received multiple budget cuts this year, and is in the middle of both a complete spending freeze and a hiring freeze. Departments cannot even buy paper for copy machines so that instructors can print exams. If UALR can spend $40,000 on this debate, then why shouldn't the public believe that its budget should not be cut further? I believe that UALR offers many wonderful educational opportunities for students, so I hope that does not happen.

Finally, I will note that the title of the event is Left, Right, and Forward: On the Future of America; however, the political left is not represented in this debate. Mr. Steele, a Republican, chairs the RNC and is an analyst for Fox News, while Mr. Ford, Democrat, chairs the DLC and is an analyst for MSNBC. While he was in Congress, Mr. Ford voted for the war in Iraq, against women's right to legal abor-tion, against civil rights for gay people, and against everyone's civil rights by voting for the Patriot Act. In other words, he'd make a pretty good Republican candidate.

Although I work at UALR, I am certainly not writing on behalf of UALR in this message. I am writing as a concerned citizen who has two family members that are UALR students.



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