Favorite

While we were sleeping ... 

HOT SPRINGS — From last week's annual Arkansas Rural Development Conference, where officials of small communities pick up grants, I came away with a few observations.

The first is that Secretary of State Mark Martin, the Republican having trouble getting his bearings in state constitutional office, is, shall we say, not a scintillating public speaker.

It does not appear likely that he will be able to talk himself out of very much of the abundant trouble into which he has already found himself. That's mostly over dubious spending in his office that defies the tea party spirit that elected him, including a reported $54,000 for an employees' retreat in which a Wal-Mart-endowed institute at John Brown University was supposed to inspire everyone to work in a value-oriented way.

You need to bring your pre-existing values along with you when you enter public office. You're not likely to experience any significant applied learning of new ones by going to a weekend retreat.

I had no objection to the standing ovation the large audience gave Martin at the beginning and end of his mercifully brief luncheon remarks. In fact, there was something nobly egalitarian about a respectful demonstration, even perfunctory and tepid, for an office that, as its main duties, is charged with keeping the Capitol maintained and the Capitol lawn mowed.

Here, then, are my recommended values for the secretary of state, offered for a $54,000 discount: Evenly cut grass looks best. Precision lawn edging is good. Marble looks exquisite when expertly cleaned.

The panel of legislators I moderated immediately after lunch wasn't much more scintillating than Martin had been, or didn't seem so at the time. But then I kept discovering worthy comments as I remembered and reconsidered the discussion.

House Speaker Robert Moore, while not compelling as a public communicator, is passionate about developing geo-tourism to try to save his beloved Delta. He's also passionate about building good roads between dying towns to try to bring jobs.

He said a couple of profoundly truthful things, one being that, in the Delta, they don't covet business tax cuts to save or restore manufacturing jobs because there never were many manufacturing jobs there in the first place.

Dozing audience members perhaps missed state Sen. Jack Crumbly's poignant lamentation at the panel discussion's 90-minute mark over the 10-year difference in the life expectancy for a child born in Phillips County and one born in Benton County.

His point, a good one, is that our panel discussion of Medicaid should not center solely on those rising costs and how to reduce them, but on how Medicaid is the very lifeblood, indeed the only chance for a healthful start, for far too many of our state's children.

The legislative panel following ours, moderated by colleague Doug Thompson of those Northwest Arkansas papers, was described as more lively. Having fled the haunting echoes of my own panel, I wasn't there to behold for myself the scaling of this subterranean bar.

One advantage was that Sen. Gilbert Baker of Conway — like him or not, and I do and you might not — was on that second panel, and he has some energy.

He expended a little of that energy before lunch charting for me on scratch paper how the Republicans were going to gain three seats or more in the next election and seize outright control of the state Senate.

He seemed to think legislative redistricting, at least on the 35-seat Senate side, would not be a matter of dramatic altering.

He wondered how I might deal with GOP control.

Actually, I tend to find the current crop of state Republicans more personable and personally enjoyable than the Democrats, with a few exceptions, of course, though I've said quite enough already about Mark Martin.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Executionpalooza

    Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
  • Not justice

    The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
  • Judge Griffen writes about morality, Christian values and executions

    Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who blogs at Justice is a verb!, sends along a new post this morning.
  • The Ledell Lee execution thread

    Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Haralson, Smith named to Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Art bull

    • Well, when the Bull was first put up there, it meant one thing, and that…

    • on April 24, 2017
  • Re: Art bull

    • the nice thing about art is that it is what it is, but what it…

    • on April 22, 2017
  • Re: Executionpalooza

    • Fantastic work-from-home opportunity for everyone... Work for three to five hrs a day and start…

    • on April 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation