Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
Suggs at Parkview
Recently, Dr. Dexter Suggs, Little Rock School District superintendent, made a very bizarre appearance at Parkview High School. All Parkview seniors, including myself, were instructed to go to the auditorium where the superintendent led an assembly that quickly spiraled out of control. After instructing all teachers to leave us alone, Suggs gave us a vague lecture about picking our future path. It wasn't until I left that I began to feel as if the assembly had been a strange kind of political theater. Suggs seemed very ill-informed about the college process or about high school in general. He did not understand teenagers and behaved more like a politician than an educator. He often averted our questions, only repeating over and over again the same mantra about setting life goals. When one student mentioned that he felt stressed, the superintendent changed the subject and conversationally asked, "How could a teenager be stressed, I mean you don't pay bills?" to which the entire class erupted in frustration.
Suggs seemed in over his head throughout the entire rest of the assembly as many students rose to tell serious stories about the stress they have in their lives. Eventually, students became angry and talked over one another. In what appeared to be desperation Suggs told the group his email address in case we needed anything. He later randomly promised to take the entire senior class out to lunch. Suggs' appearance at Parkview felt more like the assembly in "Mean Girls" than the motivational talk that had been intended. Most of us left confused and annoyed that we had used our class time for his talk. Suggs seemed very overwhelmed by his position. We were much taken aback by the superintendent, who we felt was merely using us to fulfill his own agenda.
Race conflicts with Jewish holy day
I was greatly disappointed to learn that the Komen Race for the Cure is scheduled on Oct. 4, in direct conflict with Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish members of our community. It is the Day of Atonement, observed from sundown, Oct. 3, to sundown, Oct. 4. There is no way the Komen Foundation could not have known as it is listed on every calendar, including those on smart phones and tablets. Scheduling the Race for the Cure on that day deprives Jewish women, many of whom have supported the Foundation and the race itself since its inception, of the opportunity to participate in race activities. It is especially cruel to those Jewish women who are survivors or who have lost loved ones to disease. This is wrong. Other organization planners have scheduled the dates of their events so as not to be in conflict with Yom Kippur out of respect for these members of our community. As a human being, and a strong supporter of the race, I find the Oct. 4 date at the very least insensitive. In response to inquiries, you state great attention was given to avoiding conflict with Razorback games. Really? Can this affront be more offensive? I think not.
From the web
In response to "The 40th anniversary of the Arkansas Times" (Sept. 18):
I am forever grateful to Alan Leveritt for starting the Arkansas Times. Where would we be as a state today without this rare media company? We'd be worse off, for sure. The Arkansas Times has improved our state in a unique way, and we are fortunate to have this business operating here. It is quite possible that it could survive for another 40 years, and I hope that happens.
In response to Gene Lyons' Sept. 18 column "Reality sinks in: No answers in Middle East":
There were plenty of options, but this president played politics rather than Commander in Chief. Now he has created a situation that was worse for his incompetent handling.
Mother Jones' Kevin Drum is right that we should not have left. One of Obama's generals told the president that leaving Iraq completely on its own would have consequences. Obama wasn't worried about consequences, he was worried about politics. Now it is more difficult to go back.
Several other Arab nations have made ISIL a priority, but ISIL is not a local problem. They held strategic territory, and are still holding towns. It isn't over by a long shot. Add to that the fact that Obama is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into a situation where he cannot even get a proper coalition going spells more disaster for Barry the Bungler.
About Max Brantley's Arkansas Blog post, "Reviewing the Ross-Hutchinson gubernatorial debate":
View from afar: So, pretty much the same proud God, Guns, Gays visionary leadership that's kept The Natural State neck-and-neck with Mississippi for last place since, oh, forever. That about it?
The Republican Twitter machine is working to create a narrative that Ross was angry and frothing at the mouth while Asa! was measured and steady. I'm not sure which debate they watched last night — maybe they confused Kansas with Arkansas. Ross was superior on substance. I would prefer to see him relax a bit but he was nowhere close to angry or over-amped. I prefer substance over a guy that smiles a lot and can't articulate a clear position on pre-K, private option and the minimum wage. Don't be sucked in by the Asa grin and cute ads; he's still the out-of-touch, hypocritical guy he's always been.