Beware of tar sands oil exposure 

Beware of tar sands oil exposure

Thank you so much for your work to publicize the horrific situation in Mayflower. Your articles are the only coverage being given to this terrible tragedy.

I live in Alberta, Canada, six hours south of the tar sands. In 1980, I got my first teaching contract in Fort McMurray, the center for the tar sands. Back then no one knew anything about the dangers. At the end of the first month after breathing the heavy pollution and seeing my daughter's health affected, I left. I would love it if you could write about the effects of these toxic bitumen-diluting chemicals such as benzene and PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] so that the residents can be aware of the dangers to themselves and to their future children. This stuff alters DNA and the effects are passed down through generations. I've done my utmost to warn the residents through the Mayflower Facebook pages, but articles by you would help convince people they simply cannot stay in the area. I know their reluctance, I endured several years of poverty due to having left that teaching job but nothing is worth more than the health of the residents.

Julia Lewis

Alberta, Canada

Access to UA board

I continue to read about the internal chaos in the University of Arkansas System. Recently the university fired John Diamond, who was in charge of university relations and apparently was very concerned about the University's lack of openness, accountability and freedom of information. All this follows on the heels of some stunning mismanagement in the financial fundraising office of advancement.

A small, but possibly relevant, hint as to the apparent insensitivity of many university administrators and trustee board members to public accountability and accessibility is on the web pages of these universities. For example, on the website of the University of Arkansas System Office there are wonderful photos of the board members and a paragraph about the background of each, but there is no prominent phone number or even a direct email address by which the public or employees may contact them directly without the filter of the university officials they are charged to oversee. This is also the case with a number of other universities in the state.

One would think that public institutions of higher learning would provide clear, multiple, and protected access for the public to the key decision and policy makers. Board of trustee members are at the top of that food chain.

William L. Russell


Offended by Rapert characterization

I read and appreciate your perspective and journalism for the Arkansas Times. Reading Max Brantley's online posting about Sen. Jason Rapert (Arkansas Blog, "Jason Rapert: Serves God before his constituents," Aug. 29) prompts this direct response to you.

First, in my opinion, Sen. Rapert has his priorities right, in line with his faith. His faith is not only a private matter, but since he is an elected official, it is public as well. Agree or disagree, he has the right to proclaim and live by his faith. As do you and I.

Secondly, I appreciate the post on the Arkansas Times online page. I would not have known otherwise, and informing the public is a core tenet of journalism in America.

However, I am offended and disappointed in the tone and inference of the "editorial remarks" in the post. Specifically, "Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway/Bigelow presumably won't anger the good Christians of his Senate district with a declaration that he serves God before them. Because, hey, he has a direct pipeline right? From God's lips to Jason's ears. Do what Jason says and you are marching for the Lord."

You have crossed the line from good and accurate journalism into sarcasm and lampooning someone with whom you disagree politically. And perhaps theologically.

Frankly, that is offensive to Sen. Rapert, his constituents, me as an American who believes in the freedom of religion, and the Arkansas Times.

I urge you to get back on a higher road. Please.

Bruce C. Alt

Little Rock

Repub Ricks

Where did all the Ricks come from? Govs. Rick Snyder of Michigan, Rick Scott of Florida and Rick Perry of Texas are mentioned in the newspapers, along with the financial and political difficulties they and their states face.

I've only known one Rick, I think, a guy in California who was arrested for attacking a deputy sheriff who had asked him to stop harassing beachgoers.

So, my personal experience with Ricks is limited. Did they all suddenly appear when another nickname for Richard achieved opprobrium? There was a baseball player named Richie who, as I remember, sparked some controversy. Were all the Ricks something else before they became Ricks? A lot of people didn't become Ricks. Dick Clark the music MC, Dick Donner the movie director, Dick Francis the writer.

Since Mr. Nixon and Mr. Cheney, the obvious answer is that the GOP doesn't want any more Republican Dicks in the White House.

Jon Zimmer


Changing political tide in Arkansas

Well, the political season has already begun, and the year is still 2013. Basically, candidates have around eight months until early voting begins for the primary elections next spring. The Republicans that win those primaries will likely go on to form our state government. In our federal delegation, there is only one Democrat left to weed out, Sen. Mark Pryor. The 2014 November general election will probably be Pryor's last.

The year 2014 will be bad for Arkansas Democrats. There will be no presidential election, so the youths that admire President Obama will be too busy at work or school to show up at the polls. Also, the Democratic base in Arkansas is shrinking, while the Republican base grows with Arkansas's general population. More Arkansans today are placing corporate values above democratic values, and are ready to sacrifice their own democratic powers. Arkansans do not realize corporations do not govern. Corporations manipulate. Corporations are not in business to provide responsible government.

For many decades Arkansas had a distinct political personality. Arkansas was like a sweet Southern belle that could be wooed by the fanciest man. Unfortunately, Arkansas's personality has changed. Twelve years of war mentality have made Arkansas meaner and less reasonable.

2014 will see the end of what Arkansas was, and a different Arkansas will emerge. The good old days are over.

Gene Mason


Fox up to old tricks

I just watched reactions to President Obama's news conference in which he announced that he will ask Congress to vote on America's response to Syria's use of chemical weapons on its own people.

The hypocrisy of Fox News knows no bounds. These people have no moral compass to guide them. Had our president gone ahead and bombed Syria, they would have been the loudest voices condemning his actions for not going to Congress. Now that he has decided to ask Congress to debate this issue, he is condemned by Fox for not just jumping into the situation.

Charles Krauthammer, and the other puppets of the founders of the Fox network, Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes, are moral cowards. Robots who just say what their masters tell them to say.

But what can you expect from anything created by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdock?

Murdock and his son, along with other key executives at Fox have been exposed in Great Britain, as corrupt, heartless trash.

Roger Ailes was the key advisor to Richard Nixon, the most corrupt president this country ever elected, and a master of political dirty tricks. He is a lying criminal, with no heart or soul, who should have been imprisoned long ago.

Fox News, fair and balanced, the no-spin zone. What a load of bovine excrement.

Butch Stone


From the web

In response to the cover story "The path of the Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas" (Aug. 29):

Thank you for this story. It puts names and "faces" to the places of the pipeline. Protecting the people of Arkansas, water and other natural resources is our responsibility.

Exxon is not a person, it is a company that looks at the bottom line. Exxon has many people that live here and care but in the end it is a numbers game. Using a 70-year-old pipeline as long as they have, even with occasional repairs and cleanup, is cheaper than building a safer newer line. Eliminating the need for the pipeline all together would be the best option.

Keep up the good work and keep us informed on any changes or developments.

Miss Ellie

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