You're not being too harsh, Mr. Brantley 

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In response to Max Brantley's column, "Asa's talk is cheap" (April 30):

You're not being too harsh, Mr. Brantley.

If the majority of Arkansans were as informed, thoughtful and objective as you, The Natural State wouldn't continue occupying the bottom rungs of the 50 states as it has since its statehood.

But the majority isn't. So it does.

"Arkansas Values" were ugly and hurtful (not just to blacks; to your entire state's population and economy) in 1957.

As embodied in Gov. Hutchinson and his administration, they still are in 2015.

Bigots were wrong then; they're wrong now. Bigots will always be wrong, no matter how they dissemble. That's how the world works.

Kudos to you and the entire Arkansas Times staff. Especially during the past year or two, your coverage and reporting have risen to unprecedented and impressive new heights!

Norma Bates

In response to an Arkansas Blog post, "Martha Shoffner's attorney objects to possible 20-year sentence; argues for 12 to 18 months":

She feels bad about what she did, she needs a new roof and she went through the dreadful experience of going to jail.

Would these things be taken into consideration if she was an economically disadvantaged minority person who committed a crime? If not, then why take them into consideration now?


Who did she actually harm? The state lost no money on her sidebar payoffs.

That's the problem with our over-full penal system, we're sending too many to prison because we're mad at them, not because they're dangerous or a threat to society.

Your regressive, backward attitude and values is why the U.S.A. with 5 percent of the world's population has 25 percent of world's imprisoned.


Just remember that in federal prison there is no parole, so she will serve the complete sentence, except for a little bit of good behavior time, unlike state prison, where a person usually serves about one-sixth of the time they receive. I'm not defending her, but 20 years is ridiculous, given the fact that, as Chuck Banks pointed out, there was absolutely no proof that the state lost money because of the bribes. I think two or three years is reasonable. She won't live much longer than that.


Is Chuck playing the "age discrimination" card? Martha was aware of what she was doing.

She did it more than once. She was elected to do a job. Before running she knew what the job paid. (Or did she?) Ignorance not a valid excuse.

None of this: "Steele, why hast thou forsaken me stuff? Steele: "Well, Martha, to save my own ass, of course."

Martha: "I had this impression that getting into politics and winning an election gave the winner, uh, well, you know certain unspoken but well-deserved perks."

Steele Stephens just happened to be one of them, "no harm, no foul."

I'm too old for prison; they'll make fun of me. Probably tell me to shut my pie hole all the time.


In response to an Arkansas Blog post, "KKK billboard erected in Russellville; mayor speaks out":

Like I said earlier about Harrison, the Russellville Chamber of Commerce could and should blacklist the owner of this billboard and make him/her a pariah among the business community. Plaster their name in publicity so that no one else will ever do business with him/her again. Boycott their ass off. I seriously doubt that they only own one single billboard. Put them out of business and I suspect they would decide that renting their billboard to racists is not a good business decision.

Certainly we have and must protect free speech in this country; but, by the same token, the owner of the billboard has the freedom to refuse the business of racists. Until he/she does so, the people of Russellville, just like the people of Harrison, have the freedom to refuse to place ad on any of his/her billboards ... and if they are truly unsupportive of racist bigotry, that's exactly what they will do. Otherwise, they deserve to be painted as a racist city.


Excuse me but when did only African Americans have the right to express their views? I oppose bigotry but come on people, this is a subtle advertisement as opposed to burning down a city and of course the freedom of expression called looting. This PC nonsense has gone too far in one direction. I'd wager all would applaud if it said "no justice no peace."

Maggie Smerf

I am 100 percent free speech but the KKK has a history so intertwined with murder, terrorism and pure evil that you can't separate it from anything else it does. This would be the equivalent of Al Qaeda putting up a billboard. This would be the same as Hitler saying, "But I am a good artist, can't you compartmentalize that?"

Clem Hooten

In response to an Arkansas Blog item "Hutchinson names another study group -- this one on highways":

I'm actually for dedicating some or all of the sales taxes from vehicle sales, vehicle repairs, tires, vehicle parts, vehicle additives like oil and gas additives, Freon, etc. to roads with 50 percent for the state based on the county or zip code in which the money is collected from, 25 percent for the city and 25 percent for the county in which the money is collected.

That way the money is spent where the people live and the tax is collected from.

If people from Cabot drop their car off at Gwatney on their way to Little Rock or the Air Force base, then they should contribute to the maintenance of roads they drive on. If they take their car to a car dealer in Cabot, then the money stays in Cabot.


Didn't Asa say something about a special session for some issue or another? Let's hope special sessions won't be needed for each task force or working group issue. We'd never get rid of the scum bags who are supposed to represent us, not the special interests who can wine and dine them every "working" day.


While it would have done some good when the energy needs were going on and not this slump, we tax natural gas far too low. We tax at 1/20th of what Texas charges because they tax all, at retail, at their borders. We gave them so many gifts that the drillers should be paying for a hooker pad for the legislature.

couldn't be better



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