The political season 

Once again, those running for office have not gotten the message that we are sick of negative ad campaigns.

I was chatting with friends the other day that we really haven’t heard much from Asa on his campaign and lo and behold the first thing I see on the TV is a negative ad about Beebe raising taxes. Beebe’s ad is about what he will do — cut the grocery tax, represent the little guy. Asa fires back with an ad suggesting that Beebe is no better than a used car salesman. Do you think we had our fill with the Kerry smear or the spin from this administration? We are ready for the facts, the truth and some common decency among our political candidates.

There ought to be a law that allows candidates to only produce ads about themselves, what they will do for the people, what their platform is. If they want to show us how their opponent addresses those issues, then let’s have public forums, debates and rallies. Enough lies, smears, backstabbing, and focusing on the other guy/gal. Toot your own horns, promote your own programs, sell us on you rather than debasing your opponent.
Ruth Fissel
Little Rock

Re Bob Lancaster’s Aug. 25 column, “Persons of Age”: The older the violin, the sweeter the music.

Richard Reynolds

Ignorance of the law
A Russellville doctor was questioned after 10 of his patients died from a lethal mix of drugs or an overdose of prescription medicines. The Arkansas State Medical Board decided whether to revoke his license based on whether his care was “grossly negligent or ignorant malpractice.” Gee, I wonder if I killed someone if a court would accept ignorant murder as a defense.

Jane Marshall
Dover, Tenn.

The media
WHY did the Arkansas media mostly ignore, and in the case of one television station blatantly LIE about the threatening remarks made by the racist organization LULAC ?

Channel 11 News reported: “Cervantes says, ‘I think eventually somebody’s going to get hurt,’ ” when the truth is the progressive racist leader clearly stated: “I think eventually somebody will probably get killed.” The others simply ignored the statement completely.

Charles Cervantes of Little Rock, state director of the Arkansas chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, spewed a disgusting personal attack against the members of the Minuteman patriotic group describing them as “retired old men who have nothing else to do other than play cowboys and Indians out in the desert.” and later said “... they are just U.S. citizens.”

Carl L. Steplock III
Hot Springs

Fighting terrorism
Here’s my big question: With all the money our government has spent on counterterrorism in the last five years, why hadn’t some well-paid expert at TSA anticipated something of this sort and banned liquids in carry-on luggage many months ago?

What the radical Islamists in Britain had planned isn’t a tactic that had occurred to me. But, then again, I’m not paid to think about stuff like this. It’s just simple chemistry, not rocket science.

Bill Shepherd
Little Rock

Because they cannot admit failure, the current administration continues to use fear tactics to keep the public on edge. The inability to deal with any foreign policy that works is obvious in every thing that has been done in the Middle East starting with the invasion of Iraq and continuing with the lack of involvement in the recent crisis between Israel and Lebanon. This current administration has displayed a complete bankruptcy of leadership. Wake up, U.S. citizens.

Brenda Ball Tirrell
Hot Springs Village

The vice president’s comments aimed at Connecticut voters after the U.S. Senate primary were ridiculous ... again. His and this administration’s collective behavior continue to harm the nation and are an embarrassment to real patriots who love the United States. The war in Iraq has diverted attention from protecting America from terrorism. Recently, 9/11 commissioners said Iraq is distracting from security at home. The war in Iraq has inflamed the whole Middle East and is helping al Qaeda attract new recruits. Osama Bin Laden is still on the loose and Dick Cheney thinks Connecticut voters are al Qaeda sympathizers. Good grief! When will it end? Hopefully beginning in November. It’s time for regime change in our own country before it is too late.

Paul Wilson

Terrorism thrives by sensationalism. The terrorists have succeeded in capturing an inordinate amount of our attention and, more importantly, resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Worldwide, the National Counterterrorism Center reported 3,192 separate terrorist incidents in 2004, involving 28,433 victims, 6,060 of whom were killed.

As the primary agency for funding research into cures and treatments for lethal and debilitating diseases, the National Institutes of Health might expect that its financial support would reflect the dramatic emotional and financial consequences of these diseases. However, for his FY 2007 budget proposal, President Bush requested only $28.4 billion for the NIH (and nearly $1.9 billion of that was for biodefense outlays). This pales in comparison to the counter-terrorism budget when one considers the relative impacts.

Given the harsh and sometimes cynical nature of the current political environment, I can imagine that many of our elected officials feel handcuffed by the reality that they must send the money where the votes are, and I recognize that the electorate has been manipulated politically to place great emphasis on terrorism. Aside from the obvious argument that this is playing precisely into the hands of the terrorists, I would encourage officials to consider the political gains hinted by the numbers above. How many people know someone who has lost a family member to terrorism? Now, how many know someone who has lost a child to illness? I urge Americans to break the cycle of fear and champion reason instead. We all should work to increase support for the efforts of the NIH.

Steve Barger



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