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Recent Comments

Re: “Mass killings and domestic violence, a correlation

The Air Force is going to have to answer for this: According to NYT just now, the killer, while in the Air Force, assaulted his stepson so severely that it fractured the child's skull and then "pled to doing it intentionally." He also assaulted his then-wife.

He was sentenced ... to 12 months' confinement and reduced to the lowest possible rank. After his confinement he was discharged from the military with a bad conduct charge. (NYT)

A Dishonorable Discharge is a felony. The USAF did not give him one! They gave the lighter Bad Conduct discharge. This masked the domestic violence conviction. Such a domestic violence conviction, under federal law, would have prevented him from passing a background check to buy a gun.

So - what the hell, Air Force? By any lights, this man committed a felony crime that should have been on his record and followed him all his life!

I know that he could have obtained an AR-15 another way (thanks, NRA). I know that the USAF actions did not CAUSE or ENABLE this mass murder. But let's start with branding a felon with a felony record!

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by mag on 11/06/2017 at 2:42 PM

Re: “Happy cities list: No Arkansas winners but a big loser in Fort Smith

Follow the money, I say.

Nowhere can I find the full, actual list of survey questions asked in this particular ranking. National Geographic used the data collected by a Gallup poll and "indexed" it for 15 criteria to determine "well-being." Max has quoted some of the criteria above.

I'm not sure how those criteria were weighted, but surely financial security of the individual is one of the most important factors.

Refer to the U.S. Census and the far more frequently updated Bureau of Labor and Statistics for job/income statistics and they will show great changes in the last 10 years in the kinds of jobs on offer in Fort Smith; namely the decline in what were reliable manufacturing jobs. Huge factor: the 10-year, gradual and then complete departure of Whirlpool (a unionized plant), once the region's largest employer. In 2006 Whirlpool employed about 4,600 people. By 2012, 0. This departure also wiped out many related supplier companies and jobs.

Currently the top five employers in Fort Smith, ranked, are
Sparks Health System - 2,400
Baldor Electric Company - 2,393
O.K. Industries - 1,800
Fort Smith Public Schools - 1,783
Mercy Hospital Fort Smith - 1,487

Seen any volatility, lately, in 3 our 5 of those biggest employers' categories, healthcare and manufacturing? Any reason to feel shaky, uncertain?

Let's throw numbers 6-9:
Rheem Manufacturing - 1,157
University of Arkansas - Fort Smith - 951
ArcBest Corporation (ABF) - 936
City of Fort Smith - 900

Down the list, the number of employees per company drops under about 1,000 but are mostly either manufacturing or healthcare related.

Now, consider that the median household income currently, is
Fort Smith $36,777;
Little Rock, $62,561;
Arkansas median household income is $40,531 (IN A RANKING THAT INCLUDES WALTONS);
U.S. $59,516.

So in the 49th-poorest state overall (including with Waltons), second-largest city Fort Smith has a mean income slightly under the whole state's.

Arkansas as a state overall ranks 49th in U.S. state median income (thank God for Mississippi) once again.

MSA size:
1. Little Rock-NLR-Conway
2. Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers (plus bordering Missouri county)
3. Fort Smith (3 Arkansas counties plus two bordering Oklahoma counties)

Which one of those areas is a unicorn compared to the whole nation? NWA. Home of the world's most ambitious and successful retail monster corporation, NWA kicks the ass of the whole state for opportunity, population growth and, likely, "happiness."

On the same list this news story is about, here are the national rankings of those three areas:

29. NWA or Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Lowell, Bentonville
174. Little Rock area
189. Fort Smith area
There's the gap between NWA and the rest of us.

State rankings of "happiness" in the same survey:
46. Arkansas
(Thank god for)
47. Indiana
48. Oklahoma
49. Kentucky
50. West Virginia

"Happiness," I posit, is very, very related to income and income opportunity.

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by mag on 10/29/2017 at 2:40 PM

Re: “Judge orders state to provide information, legislative testimony in Fayetteville civil rights suit

Justice! It's so heartening to see it in process.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by mag on 10/16/2017 at 5:54 PM

Re: “Puerto Rico: Trump's Katrina

You've got to love the logic. Had Puerto Rico possessed a modern electrical grid, the hurricane would still have destroyed it. The end result is the same.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by mag on 10/01/2017 at 6:55 PM

Re: “Fort Smith state Rep. George McGill to run for mayor in 2018

George McGill is a fine man with a record of hands-on help in this community. He leads a mentoring program in a local elementary that is especially effective. The members are young men selected by teachers and the principal whom, as he said, are going to be "leaders" whether negatively or positively. The group of men turns this group of elementary-aged boys into helpful kids with strong self-confidence, every year. Some of the men in the group follow these same students into junior high. They hope to conduct their mentored students into a similarly strong high school program. McGill is practical, as good as his word and very participant in efforts he supports. I'm going to support him for mayor.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by mag on 09/09/2017 at 11:44 AM

Re: “Womack gets questions. He doesn't answer

Big thanks to the Indivisible members who took the time to make that out-of-the-way trip which was openly designed to keep constituents safely away from their representative. Thank you, all of you.

37 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by mag on 08/22/2017 at 11:49 PM

Re: “Tom Cotton meets the resistance

Thank you, Be the Change Alliance AR, for persisting and obtaining the hour of time Sen. Cotton OWES to his constituency. It's a pittance on his debt of service to Arkansans, but you wrung it out of him. Your members stood for all of us and I really appreciate all of you for making him work one hour for his employers - all of us.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by mag on 07/11/2017 at 7:53 PM

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