Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
Publish the cartoon
In last week's issue (Jan. 15), The Observer commented, "... And so we can do nothing more than to write the names of the dead."
I think, instead, if you really wanted to make a comment, you could have published that which we all want to see. That which apparently angered the Muslims to the point where they murdered all those people. It isn't like the cartoons are child porn. It isn't like they were such an offense to our infidel sensibilities.
The media, our hifalutin journalists with their supposed ethics and free speech, somehow across the board are all now scared shitless that the same might befall them, I think.
If the "media" had published the cartoons, what would the Muslims have done? Killed everyone? I doubt it.
The New York Times, and other media, published Piss Christ for crying out loud. Really, what is your rationale for shrinking in the face of this controversy?
James R. Moneypenny
Health care without barriers
A recent post by Max Brantley on the Arkansas Blog (" 'Working' for private option's survival," Jan. 16) noted that our new Gov. Asa Hutchinson and a few of his allies were headed to D.C. and the speculation was that they were going to seek waivers from the Obama administration allowing them to increase the barriers between poor people and access to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Specifically, the speculation was that Hutchinson wants to add some work requirements and perhaps a requirement that poor people pay a greater percentage of their already low income for health care insurance. A statistic noted in the same post implied that 40 percent of those served by the Medicare expansion approved in Arkansas are not engaged in gainful employment.
If either of the speculations about Hutchinson's motives for seeking ACA waivers is correct, then it's apparent that Hutchinson views work as punitive and an appropriate punishment applied to poor people. Otherwise, why seek the waivers? If Hutchinson believes that work is a beneficial activity and that having more people gainfully employed would be good both for individuals and for the state, then there are many more efficient and more cost-effective ways of accomplishing that goal than attaching a work requirement to access to health care. If our new governor is connecting a work requirement with increasing the tax base then he also must know that instituting a more progressive tax on both personal and corporate income is a much more effective way to improve the tax base than more heavily taxing low income people, as has been definitively demonstrated both historically and statistically. If Gov. Hutchinson believes that poor people should pay a greater percentage of their already low income than they do now for access to health care, then he is morally bankrupt. I strongly suggest that he read the New Testament of the Christian Bible and consult with his chosen deity before seeking to impose greater burdens upon those who are less fortunate than he. I think the message offered in the New Testament is "Jesus loves you," not "Jesus will bill you for his services."
Reuven Rivlin, the president of Israel, said, "Jews have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety. But I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, the state of Israel, the historic homeland that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children." Prime Minister Netanyahu added, "Today more than ever, Israel is our true home, and the more numerous we are, and the more united we are in our country, the stronger we are in our one and only state."
I hope he will also say, "Palestinian Muslims and Christians have the right to live in many countries, and it is their right to live in perfect safety, but I believe that they know deep in their hearts that they have only one country, Palestine, that will accept them with open arms, like beloved children. Today more than ever, Palestine is their true home, and the more numerous they are, and the more united they are in their country, the stronger they will be in their one and only state."
Torture damages America
So a new year has arrived. Last year was both good and bad. Toward the end of 2014, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee released its conclusions on the CIA's torture practices. The worst attitude was expressed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, who vowed to continue promoting the use of human torture.
I never thought I would need to explain this to my fellow Americans, but human torture is wrong. People who resort to human torture are depraved and need psychological counseling. Political leaders who condone torture are the cause of unraveling of society's moral fabric. Those who claim to have extracted information via torture have admitted their guilt and must be punished, starting at the top of the command chain. No excuses. Any "what if" scenario is the stuff of TV drama. The Bush-Cheney administration's promotion of torture has made the world more dangerous for America. Worst of all, Bush and Cheney spawned a new torture culture in America that thinks the United States has the raw power to get away with it.
Some Republicans, like John McCain and Asa Hutchinson, warned Bush and Cheney not to promote torture. Unfortunately, McCain and Hutchinson supported Bush and Cheney in every other endeavor, so McCain and Hutchinson are guilty of aiding and abetting torture criminals.
Let us hope America finds its spine this year and punishes the leaders of our new torture culture.