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.
Time for road fix
Anyone who knows anything about Economics 101 knows that this is the best time to do a major fix in how we pay for our road system. For several years Congress has been making up the shortage the trust fund has run up in our attempt to maintain our highways. The biggest problem is how the trust fund is funded. A set amount of tax on a gallon of gas has to keep up with inflation or you have to reduce service. How much do you think prices have increased over the last 20 years?
The gas tax hasn't changed one cent. Could you live on your pay from 20 years ago? And Congress still has no intention to deal with it! This tax is one of the fairest out there: The users of the system pay the entire tax.
To get things back on a sound footing Congress should do one of two things. They should raise the federal gas tax to 25 cents a gallon or change the fixed tax per gallon to a percentage of the cost of a gallon.
The first option would put much-needed funds into the trust and assure engineers can keep our roads at current levels of service. We've been and are still going backward due to underfunding.
We're talking 6.5 cents a gallon more. About a dollar on a fill-up to get the trust fund stable. A dollar! That's not going to break you with current fuel prices.
The other option Congress could do is make the gas tax a percentage. To make every thing neutral, since no one wants to raise taxes, the current percentage on $2.25 per gallon of gas is around 8.25 percent. Congress could make the federal tax rate 8.25 percent and not change a thing in the current environment. What this would do is let the tax stay on par with the cost of the fuel. As prices climb, so would the trust fund.
We used to have the best road system in the world. But because we've not kept funds coming in to maintain it, we are slowly going down the list of first-class roads in the world. Now is the time to take care of the trust fund. Contact your congressman and tell them you can afford the extra buck a tank and raise the rate to 25 cents. Or at least make it a percentage, if nothing.
I am really taken aback by comments made by your paper regarding a billboard put up by Thom Robb.
Personally, I can't say that I know the man. However, I am white, and I am proud of being white, and by no means a racist.
I have Hispanic neighbors and no problems. Black neighbors and no problems. But from what I've read, you consider it wrong to be proud of being white. Remember that the next time your paper donates to the NAACP or United Negro College Fund. Anything pro-black or pro-any other race is OK, but anything pro-white is racist?
I have to ask then, who is the real racist? Folks that are proud of being whatever color they are (including white) or those ridiculing those of a specific color? Like what you have done?
In an item in "The Week That Was" (Dec. 25) you wrote, "The amount of hours ..." Doug Smith is spinning in his grave! Obviously, it should read, "The number of hours ..." A later reference to "The number of Arkansas Congressmen" was correct.
Although the sentiment behind the article in your Big Ideas issue to plant with native plants [Dec. 18, "Go native with plants") instead of introduced exotics for the benefit of the environment is commendable, the misinformation is deplorable. Of the eight species of plants that the author cites by name as wonderful examples of "native" species to plant, three (blackberry lily, Queen Anne's lace and spotted knapweed) are unequivocally not native to North America, much less Arkansas, and the latter two are troublesome invasive weeds that negatively affect native ecosystems. Spotted knapweed is an especially nasty and detrimental weed in North America and great pains are being taken to try to eradicate or at least control it. The simplest research on these plants should have brought to the author's attention the status of these species ... most of the first items that are retrieved when performing an Internet search on "spotted knapweed" contain headline references to its "invasive" nature.
Providing such inaccurate information that the public is likely to take as fact given the source greatly undermines the effort that groups like the Arkansas Native Plant Society and other competent professionals in the fields of botany, ecology and natural resources management have put forth to create an educated and informed public regarding these issues.
Arkansas Native Plant Society member
From the web
In response to "The Internet gap in Arkansas education" (Dec. 25) by Benjamin Hardy:
Good luck getting decent speeds to some of the more rural schools. No big provider is going to lay down the cost or infrastructure to get to them. There are fixed wireless solutions, but even that technology requires bandwidth from somewhere.
I have spent my career in small rural school districts. Speeds were always lightning fast. Don't know why they haven't been going after the APSCN software for the last couple of decades. APSCN was adapted from a suite of software named Pentamation used in very large corporations. Many years ago the State Department [of Education] asked for suggestions. There is even school management software available open source (free) developed in South Africa, as well as scheduling.
In response to "Unrestricted high explosives, available at a sporting goods store near you" (Dec. 17) by David Koon:
Fear mongering at its best. Way to go AT.
Fear mongering?!? How many US citizens in the last 10 years have been arrested for building/using/threatening to use explosives? Hello! You can go to Sports Authority and buy your premade high explosive in unregulated large quantities, pack a car with it, drive it to the Capitol building or target of choice, and set it off with a cell phone from wherever the F you want! It's not fear mongering, it's concern that crazy people do crazy shit with high explosives all the damn time, and we shouldn't make it easier for them to kill indiscriminately. Any terrorist with a fake ID or less could buy this without any trouble, and how would we find them after?
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Supreme Court? That idiot?
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