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What women want 

Real women want to see Sarah Palin given equal treatment.  Instead, she has become the poster child for affirmative action done badly. “Joe Sixpack” would be laughed out of the race if he were not a woman. The media needs to take the gloves off and treat her like a politician who seriously wants to be taken seriously. Sarah Palin is still unqualified to be vice president of the United States regardless how many times she is allowed to dodge a question, says “doggone it” and “darn right,” winks at the camera, quotes Ronald Reagan, or mentions hockey moms.

Sarah Palin is the candidate who doesn't seem to know that the U.S. is not the world leader in the fight against global warming. She would likely be surprised to find out that other countries want the U.S. to follow their lead in the fight against global warming, and these countries have been frustrated by our lack of concern with climate change for years. 

Sarah Palin is the candidate with “energy expertise” who doesn't understand that a nation using 25 percent of the world's oil supply simply can't meet its own needs when its reserves total only 3 percent of the world's supply, no matter how many new wells we drill, Baby. She may be an energy expert, but she can't do the math. 

On energy issues, Sarah Palin IS George Bush, right down to that charming little mispronunciation of the word nuclear. Would someone please tell the energy expert that the word is not pronounced “nuke-you-ler”?

Finally, Sarah Palin is still the candidate who says that on Iraq, you don't have to take her word or McCain's. On Iraq, says Sarah Palin, you can “believe [Gen.] Petraeus and the leader of al-Qaeda.” Those who fail to treat a woman who exhibits such ludicrous lack of knowledge with the same derision they would heap on a man tacitly concede that women can do no better. I beg to differ.

Leah Hennings, DVM
Little Rock

What will the city be?

As one who sat in on more discussions about downtown zoning than I care to count, I am amused by the current flap over the height of a proposed Aloft hotel with retail in the River Market district, as it reminds me of the opening question posed by Hamlet's famous soliloquy — “To be or not to be, that is the question.”

In this case, do we want to be a metropolitan city or not? While there are many great cities around the globe, each with their own unique character, I would argue that the common trait they all share is mass, meaning people, which is precisely what our downtown desperately needs. One of the most efficient ways to obtain mass is through building height, something all of those magnificent new structures in River Market have attempted to achieve, and for some to get bent out of shape over seven stories is just plain silly in my opinion. My God, how does New York City, which I would further argue is one of the most pedestrian friendly places on earth, even exist if tall buildings were so detrimental? That brings me to the second part of this issue, the infamous design overlay district, of which I am no fan. Not only do these urban planning tools require an enormous amount of time and resources to compile, they can be overly restrictive and impractical to impose and, as a result, often times morph into something entirely different. Does anyone remember the Highway 10 Scenic Corridor? As I recall, that design overlay district was originally intended to have limited commercial development at intermittent intersections. Now, it has evolved into a byway of continuous commercial development all the way from I-430 to Chenal Parkway. So, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”

Larry Lichty
Little Rock

Irreligious

An item in “The Week that Was” Sept. 25 characterizes the Family Council not as a right-wing political lobby but instead as a “religious group.” To clothe an intolerant and extremist political organization with religiosity seems outrageous to at least this reader.

Who made the determination and then printed the assertion that Family Council qualifies as “religious”? By what stretch of the imagination? The group's own propaganda? For Arkansas's self-styled newspaper “of politics and culture” to lend its authority and imprimatur to a hate group by labeling their antics and agenda as “religious” is a libel on anyone with a soul.

If the offensive choice of the adjective in question was meant to be interpreted cynically or sarcastically, then the remark belongs on the editorial page. In the reporting of news, in particular, the employment of this sort of farce by a seemingly reputable publication only feeds the misunderstanding and bigotry that these fanatics hope to impose on us all.

Vincent Vinikas
Little Rock

For better food reviews

I love reading reviews in well-respected, statewide magazines that refer to the writer's unrefined palate, and otherwise “plebeian” tastes about as much as they do the food. I read this newspaper for intelligent insight from people who (I hope to God) are smarter than I. I refuse to let this paper embarrass itself and the state with self-deprecating comments that, to an outsider looking in, do nothing more than reaffirm the belief we are just a bunch of unsophisticated, bumbling rednecks.

I'm not advocating that everyone who writes for your column be some gourmand. But, considering the review of Cantina Laredo, I do think that a columnist should investigate things like whether or not it is truly “odd” for new potatoes and green beans to be found in traditional Mexican cuisine (it's not), or whether that spicy item in the salsa was really horseradish (it wasn't). I like our state's Tex-Mex, catfish and BBQ culture as much as anyone, but let's celebrate that culture and not demean it and ourselves when something unfamiliar or new is in front of us. I don't read Mr. Brantley's or Mr. Brummett's articles and expect them to lay out all of the reasons why they don't understand or are unqualified to speak on the matter at hand and I expect the same from the dining column as well.

John Beachboard
Little Rock

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