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Incarceration, child welfare entwined
Once again, your articles on mass incarceration and the efforts within our child welfare system have gained the attention of many, including people outside of Arkansas. I have just returned from the Soros Foundation's Senior Justice Fellowship conference in Baltimore, and Arkansas's prison plight was topical at the event. Thank you for the two pieces that highlight the most difficult problems facing our citizens in Arkansas: the over-incarceration of adults and the increasing number of children in foster care without adequate oversight or enough placements.
I wish we could cross-pollinate these two issues as they are entangled in so many ways. With 20 percent of our children in the state's custody due to parental incarceration, the connection with mass incarceration is obvious, but few want to talk about the intersection, much less seek a solution that might transcend conventional thinking. I teach a course on this intersection at the University of California Davis and am witness to the many incarcerated parents and children who are caught in the web of these two systems.
Dee Ann Newell
Write more on Bernie
The Arkansas Times isn't paying enough attention to Bernie Sanders, the only true progressive in the field of presidential candidates. I've heard contributors to this publication refer to it as a "lefty rag." If that's true, and this is a leftist paper, then why do your journalists have their heads so far up Hillary Clinton's ass? She is about as close to a progressive as any contender in the current Republican field. You guys are the closest thing we have to a liberal publication in this state. If you truly want to own this moniker, then give your support to a real progressive.
From the web
In response to "Rally round, designers for a new Little Rock flag" (July 23):
I think that Pinnacle Mountain actually looks like a pile of dog poop. Must instead refer to the Big Dam Bridge.
Create a wide blue winding strip to represent the river, then have six curved strips going over that to represent the six bridges. A little dot could be added to represent the Little Rock. The Little Rock side of the river (winding blue strip) could be green and North Little Rock side left white.
In response to "Root Out Hate," a guest column by Acadia Roher about standing up to hate groups:
The Southern Poverty Law Center's numbers are dubious, at best. It was their director of intelligence, Mark Potok, who predicted "explosive growth in hate groups" in 2008, due to "the tanking economy and a Black man in the White House." This was the "reliable source" for the Department of Homeland Security report.
In 2009, the first full year of the Obama administration and the worst year of the great recession, Potok counted exactly six new "groups" for an explosive increase of less than half of 1 percent. Since then, according to Potok's own "Hate Map," the number of "hate groups" has dropped 27 percent. Potok's "explosive growth" turned out to be a damp squib.
Last March, Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League told reporters from the South Jersey Times that Potok's numbers are inherently inaccurate:
"The Southern Poverty Law Center's list is wildly inflated," Pitcavage said. "They list skinhead groups in places where there are no organized groups, but instead it's just a couple of individuals."
Potok is a public relations man. He creates his annual hate group lists as part of the SPLC's decades-long fear campaign. Last year, Potok's map brought in more than $40 million in donations, and that does not include the $21 million in tax-free interest generated by the SPLC's $302 million endowment fund.
Sadly, there is much genuine hate in the world, but citing the SPLC's fundraising materials is a poor way to document it.
From the Arkansas Blog, in response to a picture of The Eagles performing at Verizon Arena:
Don Henley grew up in east Texas. He founded a group called the Caddo Lake Institute, which works to improve the ecological health of Caddo Lake — the only natural lake in Texas, although now highly altered and degraded.
Arkansas needs a conservationist philanthropist like him. It's shocking to me that there's no one, at least none that I know of, who has put real money into protecting and restoring the threatened gems of Arkansas. The Rockefellers come closer than any but Winthrop never rose to the level of Laurence or David in landscape preservation efforts. I guess people figured they'd done all they needed to do in "saving" the Buffalo River, in name if not in fact. To be fair, in those days if you stopped a dam you saved a river. That was before the industrial livestock holocaust came into being.
By the way, one of Arkansas's only natural lakes, Grassy Lake, was protected by a group of wealthy businessmen only to be trashed in the last few years by SWEPCO's massive Turk Power Plant. Sadly appropriate that it is right down the road from a place called Hope. Fitting, I suppose, that that is where Huckler or Huckstick or whatever his name is started his campaign.
Oh well. I'd better take it easy, and try not to let the sound of my own wheels drive me any crazier than I am already ... .
Thanks, Eagles! Come back and play again sometime while you're still able-bodied. Welcome to the Hotel D'Arkansas. There's plenty of room.
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