Favorite

An unpalatable week 

It was an appropriate week for the annual Gillett Coon Supper, a hoary political rite full of fake bipartisan bonhomie and bad food.

Coon manages to make wild duck, one of the night's side dishes, look good, particularly if the duck is wrapped in bacon and stuffed with jalapeno. Field dress these "duck bites" and you're left with something palatable (I say as a veteran of Southwest Louisiana duck blinds and the ensuing gumbo of gamey, heavy metal-laden waterfowl.)

The bipartisanship is so insincere that Republicans feigned dismay that Sen. Mark Pryor wished for passage of a farm bill when greeting the farmer-heavy crowd. He made no dig at opponent Tom Cotton, lurking nearby. It was unnecessary; Cotton has distinguished himself as a singular foe of farm legislation broadly supported in Arkansas.

Pryor's cheer for farmers couldn't have been less controversial in this setting. The only thing more welcome would have been an honest politician proclaiming he preferred a Tyson's Buffalo wing to a coon haunch.

The coon supper came amid a backdrop of uncountable social media photos from Arkansas politicians blasting away with shotguns and displaying their duck slaughters — birds soon to add to the archaeological layers of uneaten birds in many an Arkansas deep freeze.

Coon and duck are just about as palatable as the week's political news.

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr did say he was going to resign Feb. 1 for illegal expense account and campaign spending. But he hasn't gone yet. And he blamed his predicament on politics. Meaning, I guess, that Arkansas isn't yet sufficiently in control of Republicans to excuse GOP plunderers.

Republicans manipulated the messaging. They managed to sound like good government advocates in saying Gov. Mike Beebe should ignore the law and work with them to avoid an expensive special election to fill Darr's seat this year. Yes, it would be to Democrats' political advantage to have a special election that could be won by their general election candidate John Burkhalter. Leading Republican candidates, as legislators, may not run in a special election. But this only means Republicans opposing the election also have political advantage in mind.

Last Friday, the state Board of Education approved a taxpayer-funded middle school for a white upper class neighborhood in Chenal Valley where parents don't want to go to school with poor black kids in other Little Rock middle schools. Why not approve it? The highest court in the land has made it clear race no longer matters in school enrollment in post-racial America. If schools are separate in terms of race and class and unequal in terms of achievement, well, that's just freedom of choice.

Three days later, a federal judge signed off on an end to the Pulaski County school desegregation case. In four years, a 1989 agreement that caused the state to spend a cumulative $1 billion will be officially over. The state had to pay for encouraging white flight school to the Pulaski County Special School District that surrounds Little Rock and other segregative actions.

The lawsuit didn't end racial disparity in test scores nor did it end white flight. North Little Rock is now majority black and Pulaski County has grown ever blacker and smaller as whites have fled to more distant suburbs. And how's this for irony? The much-lauded "historic" settlement doesn't really end the case. Pulaski County and eternal civil rights champion John Walker will continue to wrangle over the county's continuing effort, after 24 years, to end disparities in disciplining of black children and equality of school facilities. PS: The state will spend another quarter-billion before it's done.

Pass the coon.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Marking 60 years since the school crisis. Praise for the Nine and calls to action.

    The 60th anniversary of desegregation of Little Rock Central High School was lavishly recalled this morning with a ceremony featuring the eight surviving members of the Little Rock Nine, former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Mayor Mark Stodola and many other speakers.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Security tightens at Little Rock airport

    Security procedures will tighten at Clinton National Airport this week as the Transportation Security Administration requires separate screening of all electronic devices larger than a cell phone.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Central High at 60: Seize the day mayor. Stand up for LR schools.

    The conversion of a national debate on race is an apt commentary for the 60th anniversary of the Little Rock school crisis and the city's effort to sell it as an occasion to laud progress. Progress would be someone talking about the elephant in the room — the white establishment's takeover of the majority black Little Rock School District.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Aid politics

    The still-unfolding catastrophe in Houston is, first, a human tragedy. But when politicians try to tell you that a time of enormous human tragedy is not a time to talk about politics, it likely means the politics are embarrassing to them.
    • Aug 31, 2017
  • Save the statues!

    The Democratic Party of Arkansas has called for relocation of Confederate monuments from public places, such as courthouse squares and the Capitol lawn, to history museums or private grounds.
    • Aug 24, 2017
  • Charter secret

    These are hard times for those who believe in traditional public schools, run by democratically elected representatives, open to all on equal terms.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

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 Viewed

  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Nobody is blaming the victim. There also isn't some sinister patriarchy going on, it is…

    • on September 25, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • I'm in my 50's. I don't think I know a single woman who HASN'T been…

    • on September 25, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Here we see a "social scientist" who begins with an ad hominem argument, and then…

    • on September 24, 2017
 

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