Typical Republican 

In an op-ed piece on May 16th, Clint Reed, executive director of the Arkansas Republican Party, criticizes Mike Beebe because of the number of tax increases he has supported in Beebe’s 20-year Arkansas Senate history. Beebe, in his view, is “Kerry-esque” because he allegedly keeps changing his positions to suit the audience.

His central theme, however, is that Beebe supported $10 billion in tax increases during his Senate tenure, and he seeks to wrap it up in a neat little package with the famous Santayana quote, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” But, I see it quite differently.

“Tax and spend; tax and spend.” That’s all that’s missing. But Mr. Reed ignores the obvious and begs these questions: How many of those tax increases did Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee sign into law during his nine years as governor? How many of those tax increases were the Republican governor’s idea? And is Mr. Beebe blamable for that? Typical Republican double-speak. Or is it just a typical Republican overgeneralization to deflect our asking questions? Republicans, after all, have turned that into a political art form.

What good can any Republican say about their party today? Not a word apparently, because Mr. Reed doesn’t. His focus is on attacking Mr. Beebe.

In truth, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it” means voting Republican in 2006.
Dr. Alison B. Hall
Little Rock

Best doctors
I was reading your April 20, 2006, article “Best Doctors List” and I failed to see the doctor I consider the best doctor in Arkansas, Dr. Sue Caruthers. I also did not see the best rheumatologist, Dr. Donald Leonard, or the best gastroenterologist, Dr. Alonzo Williams. I did see a couple of doctors I consider to be the worst doctors in Arkansas. I wondered who votes on these doctors? I went back and read that other doctors vote. What is this, a popularity contest?

If you really want to know which doctors are good doctors, ask a sick person, especially one with a chronic illness.
Sarah Mays
Little Rock

Dumas should rejoice
Not that I think a journalist as distinguished as Ernie Dumas needs defending against a verbal assault such as Paul Greenberg’s letter May 25, but I’m writing anyway. Ernie Dumas a “once workmanlike editorial writer”? and “bitterness has ruined more good newspapermen than drink ever did”? To coin a cliche of mock shock: “My word.”

The fact that the Democrat-Gazette has published editorial caveats about Justice Antonin Scalia’s injudicial speechifying does not invalidate Dumas’ observation that he is adored by Democrat-Gazette editors. Have they suggested that he is unfit to sit on the Supreme Court? No. Apparently, a penchant that disqualifies Wendell Griffen for the Arkansas Supreme Court is mere foible that good citizens will gladly overlook in Justice Scalia.

Dumas should rejoice that he is in the select club of those whom Mr. Greenberg has deemed unfit. Think Vic Snyder. Think Maureen Dowd. Think Paul Krugman.

I could not help noticing that Dumas’ column May 25 marshaled some facts about favored tax treatment of investment income. Only about 10 percent of 1.125 million Arkansans who filed federal tax returns had any taxable dividends or capital gains and the 9,200 richest Arkansans got 65 percent of all dividends and 67 percent of all capital gains realized in the state.

To overlook or ignore or soft-pedal such facts bespeaks an editorial writer in decline much more than Dumas’ failure to note the Democrat-Gazette’s occasional tut-tutting about Justice Scalia. A wise teacher once styled “hypocrites” people who were rigorous about tithing mint and anise and cumin, but neglected weightier matters of the law.
Edwin Stanfield
Little Rock

Thanks from a teacher
I just wanted to take a moment to thank Max Brantley for his support of the Little Rock School District teachers. I just read his column, “Can We Get Along?” and as usual, I was impressed with his perceptions and talent. The situation [between the School Board and teachers] is a ticking bomb. It is through support such as his that we can hope to come to some agreement and work to improve the education of the children in our district. Keep up the good work!
Teresa Knapp Gordon
Little Rock

On Death Row
A couple of weeks ago, I shared my anger, frustration, and grief over the 2005 Texas murder of my niece, Heather. Now Governor Huckabee has decided that July 5 is the date to kill my Death Row friend, Don Davis.

When I learned about Heather’s murder, it was hard to believe, but it was real and it had already occurred.

Knowing about Don’s murder before it happens brings a very different kind of anxiety and horror than I felt with Heather’s murder. Don committed murder, but I have also learned so much that is good about him. All murders should be stopped, starting with legalized murders conducted as the business of Arkansas.

Why July 5? Why was Eric Nance’s execution set for the first working day after Thanksgiving? I guess that the governor wants the media to be busy covering holiday activities instead of focusing on the state’s business of killing people.

My last visit with Don will be on the Fourth of July, the birthday of our nation, and my own birthday too. What a horrible association I will have on all the rest of my Fourths of July.

Since my article about the murder of Heather, I have received three calls from tearful Arkansas family members of murder victims who oppose the death penalty for the ones who murdered their loved ones. Their gratitude will keep me going.
Betsey Wright

Incompetents in charge
The head of Homeland Security is no more qualified to be head of Homeland Security than was Michael Brown to be the head of FEMA. When is this president going to appoint qualified and competent people to high office rather than those who are rewarded for political efforts and loyalty, with the best interests of the country amounting to naught?
Marilyn Fish Bryan



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