A blow to the death penalty
I think that the election of Tim Kaine as governor of Virginia will be a transformational moment for the abolition of the death penalty. He was open about his opposition to the death penalty. His opponent ran vicious ads claiming this made him soft on crime, and the ads backfired.

Never again can a politician in the South make an undisputed claim that opposition to the death penalty is automatic defeat. I realize that many things went into the victory, but nobody will argue that the death penalty issue was a front and center issue. The state of Virginia has given us a new threshold, thanks to Governor-elect Kaine’s willingness to stand by his true beliefs.

Execute justice, not people.
Betsey Wright

Lying to Americans
Under the guise of protecting the American people and making the world a safer place, this administration has done just the opposite.

Just how long can the American people place their faith and trust in an administration which has deliberately deceived members of Congress and the people in order to invade a country which had done nothing to merit an invasion?

Just because a lie isn’t told in a court of law doesn’t make it more palatable when American lives, America’s future, and America’s standing among other nations of the world is at stake.

The president says we do not commit torture, when the facts belie his words. Republican congressmen are up in arms about the outing of information concerning secret prisons for “suspected” terrorists in foreign countries which allow torture of suspects. The “American way” espoused by this administration is not the American way of past presidents, patriots, and most citizens.

Like the boy who cried “wolf,” this administration’s scare tactics are growing stale as are their practices of saying one thing and doing another.
Marilyn Fish Bryan

Bush lies, soldiers die. This White House has brought shame on this country of ours. I think the president and vice president should also be indicted for war crimes. They should be led out of the White House in handcuffs. The Christo-Fascists in this country are cowards, and will do anything to keep him in office. I think we should make our senators and congressmen force Bush and Cheney out of their elected offices.
Phillip Kucia

Talking small
I just wanted to pass something along that happened recently.

My wife and I took a trip to Memphis last weekend. We decided we wanted to stop at Tommy Robinson’s liquor store in Brinkley just to see if he was still there. We were rewarded in seeing him and having him wait on us after we entered. The first words out of his mouth were, “All the taxes are included in our prices,” then when I am sure he felt comfortable he was talking to a “white male,” he leaned over to whisper, “the brothers can’t figure the taxes out, so we make it simple on them.”

Within 30 seconds of entering his store, I hear a racial slur from the mouth of the infamous Tommy Robinson, former congressman.

It was at that point that I realized that when I uncharacteristically voted in the Republican primary for Sheffield Nelson to “go out and defeat Tommy Robinson early” years ago, I performed a great public service.
Johnny Spinks

Mothers in prison
During the recent legislative session, one of the most progressive pieces of legislation came from Sen. Jim Luker. It would have allowed incarcerated mothers who have committed non-violent offenses, whose children are aged 12 and under, and who are to be released from state prison one year before their transfer-eligibility date, to be with their children in substance abuse treatment facilities in Arkansas — under supervision.

At a meeting in September, a member of the Board of Corrections expressed concern about children of incarcerated mothers being “perpetrators of criminal acts.”

These children are innocents. That statistics suggest they may follow in their parents’ footsteps to prison is further reason to offer a program for them.

Dr. Denise Johnston’s continuing research tells us that the risk of these children becoming offenders is a result of the grief and loss their parents’ incarceration has caused and their enduring traumas. This new program, which brings the children together with their mothers, is a healing opportunity for the Arkansas youth who are among the 3 million American children who have parents in jail.

Why do we punish the innocent? Let’s all get educated to help, not hurt.
Dee Ann Newell
Board Chair
Arkansas Voices for the
Children Left Behind

Mix ’em up
I was outraged by the statement by Kathleen Wesho-Bauer in Leslie Peacock’s article Sept. 22 about grants for Indian students given to students who can’t demonstrate a relationship to federally registered tribes. I’m Indian. Many, if not most Indian people in this country, are descended from Native Americans whose ancestors were never given the dignity of a treaty or a reservation. Land was stolen from us outright or swindled. We were left to fend for ourselves without benefit of treaty, land or the government handouts given to reservation Indians. This wholesale robbing of Indians of their lands was especially true of tribes east of the Mississippi. We did our best to survive as laborers on farms or as laborers and servants in cities. All the while passing on to our children our identity as Indians.

It’s easy for Wesho-Bauer to talk about passing for white when her people had the option of retreating to a reservation with government handouts to survive on. But for many, if not most of us, we had to survive and protect our children in the white man’s world, on his terms, as best we could.

When Wesho-Bauer condemns us because we are not card-carrying Indians, certified by white bureaucrats, she becomes a collaborator in the 300-year effort to rid the country of the “Indian problem.” A wedge is being driven between the “treaty-reservation Indians” and those of us who are not. We will not surrender to the latest efforts of the government, or their collaborators, to rob us of our Indian identity.
Bob Degnen
Woodside, N.Y.



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