Our new look 

The Arkansas Times shifted to a new production schedule this week. We now go to press on Tuesday instead of Wednesday to fit into the schedule of a new printer. The new printer staples and trims the newspaper, which produces a neater and slightly smaller paper. It also uses a print process that should allow more, and better quality, color photographs. We hope the earlier deadline will put many of our papers in newspaper racks by Wednesday evening. The rest will go in boxes well before lunch hour Thursday. That should allow more time for readers to plan their weekends. We hope our mail copies also will arrive a bit earlier. The publication date of the paper will change from Friday to Thursday. The schedule changed while I was taking a couple of days off. Short of time, I'll finish up by mentioning some odds and ends that cropped up this week. See The Nation magazine (www.thenation.com) for a reprise of David Corn's 1998 list of 66 very specific reasons you should NOT remember the Reagan presidency with great fondness, however much you may have liked The Gipper himself. Convictions of top aides, huge budget deficits and illegal diplomacy are just a few of the lowlights. Also, please note the error of recent claims that Reagan left office with the highest popularity rating of any president. The most popular departing president so far, according to Gallup, was Bill Clinton. I'm weary as you are of complaining about Gov. Mike Huckabee's free-handed clemency policy. I still credit him for having the courage to grant clemency. I still wish he'd explain why some are found deserving while others are not. But the latest batch of 33 lucky inmates again prompts a question - are his decisions as disproportionately in favor of white inmates as they seem to be? Speaking of ethnic issues and the governor: Democrats are not satisfied that Bob Trevino, the governor's liaison on Hispanic affairs, was unseated in his bid to be re-elected head of the League of United Latin American Citizens. They want another pound of flesh -- specifically some press coverage of the fact that Trevino, who co-chairs the Bush campaign in Arkansas and has been organizing Bush events targeting Hispanic voters, doesn't speak Spanish. The complaint about Trevino has gone around for years. I asked him about it this week. Trevino says the definition of fluency is, well, fluid. Compared with non-Spanish speakers, you could say he speaks Spanish, Trevino said. "I can get by … but I would never attempt to hold a diplomatic conversation in Spanish." Does lack of fluency matter? Trevino said in a prepared statement that his record of service to the community speaks for itself. "The Hispanic community that I serve is not interested in my language proficiency, but how I can help address their needs." He said the question itself demonstrates a lack of experience with the Hispanic community and is meant to be divisive. "Hispanics recognize that this is an English-speaking country and our strongest currency is mastering the English language," he said.


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Visit Arkansas

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

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A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.

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