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Central idea 

I truly admire the Arkansas Times' effort to explore the Central High integration issue from so many different angles, yet in each there seems to be a dominant theme. It is the perspective of the individual that hinders progress.

Once we get past seeing ourselves as Caucasian or Latin-American or African-American, we will shed exclusivist tendencies. These racial tags have a lot of baggage attached to them. This added weight drags thoughts to the past instead of the future.

Unfortunately there is comfort in the familiar and many fear losing their identity if their “group” becomes integrated into the whole. Positive results will be achieived when the “us against them” mindset is discarded.

Denny Bell

Little Rock

We're No. One

We lost our number one ranking in teen pregnancies, low teacher pay, per capita beer drinking, UA football, etc., but thanks to former Gov. Mike Huckabee we hold a national first place ranking for crushing publicly owned computer hard drives — 93.

The only hard drive crushing I recall were those of former Secretary of State Bill McCuen. He thought he had erased his hard drives, but the FBI resurrected enough information to pack him off to prison. Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards tried to destroy his office records and was also sentenced to prison. We somehow connect the destruction of public information with the possibility of wrongdoing. I wonder why.

Jim Parsons

Bella Vista

The decline in hunting

The recent Insider item that said participation in hunting and fishing has been declining in Arkansas is reflective of the nationwide trend showing people losing interest in violent blood sports. The state Game and Fish Commission is concerned about this trend because it needs to sell hunting licenses and collect the excise taxes affixed to the cost of weapons, hunting equipment and ammunition if it is to remain on solid financial ground, but fortunately for the Commission selling violence is not the only way for it to earn revenue.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, between 1996 and 2006 the number of hunters and anglers aged 16 and over in the state declined, but the interest in non-violent wildlife watching increased over the same time period.

As interest in hunting wanes, non-consumptive wildlife watching has become the wildlife-related outdoor pursuit of choice. By acting on this trend, Game and Fish can take advantage of an opportunity to remain financially solvent if it is willing to change with the times and promote wildlife watching over its archaic hunting programs.

Wildlife watching has the ability to support an economy that far surpasses the current one dependent on weapons and violence. Let's repeal the tax on weapons and ammunition and replace it with a similar tax on items such as binoculars, cameras, and other outdoor-related equipment used by wildlife watchers. The monies collected can be dedicated toward the protection and preservation of wildlife and the areas where they live, making the need to depend on hunting, weapons and violence obsolete. The time has come to sever the relationship that state and federal wildlife agencies have with the weapons industry and move toward a peaceful world for wildlife. To learn how you can help, please visit www.cashwildwatch.org.

Joe Miele, Vice President

The Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting

New Paltz, N.Y.

Foot in mouth

Arkansas Republican Party Chairman Dennis Milligan put his foot in his mouth again when he complained in the Democrat-Gazette about Democratic congressional investigations of the Bush administration — “a disservice to the people of Arkansas,” he wrote. Does he not know about the Kenneth Starr investigation of Bill Clinton? Tear him up, Max.

Joseph T. Wood

North Little Rock

More on Larry Craig

While I couldn't agree more with Ernest Dumas' column regarding the hypocrisy of the Republican Party in connection with Larry Craig's escapades in a men's room, I must say that if Craig is a victim, he is a victim of himself more than the newspaper. True, news headlines are meant to shock readers into buying the paper, and many, many times they go way too far — hanging on the periphery of what is decent and even true. But the newspaper didn't come on to a cop in a sting operation, and sting operations are usually conducted because there is a reason! The guy got caught, red-handed.

And the difference between Vitter and Craig is that one confessed, and the other didn't. I don't see why it's necessary to make this a “gay issue,” it's common sense (and I'm an independent). Would you ever, and I mean ever, confess to a crime you did not commit? I wouldn't. No way, no how.

Calling a rich senator who leads a double life a “victim” of anything but himself seems just a bit naive.

Andrea Bennett

From the Internet

Roots

Alan Leveritt's argument for amnesty because America has an immigration history is not a wise idea. A policy has to stand or fall based on its merits for today, not the past. Likewise immigration policy should be designed primarily to benefit the United States, not to ease the ills of the Third World. The purpose of our open door immigration policy historically was to populate the nation. The U.S. is already overpopulated in places and a large influx of immigrants is no longer necessary. Some argue that if immigration is not slowed America is headed toward unsolvable population problems similar to the Orient and Africa.

Immigration is lowering the wages of American workers. A study by Dr. George J. Borjas, Center for Immigration Studies, found that by increasing the supply of labor between 1980 and 2000, immigration reduced average earnings by roughly 4 percent and 7.4 percent among natives without a high school education. The effect was greater on native-born black and Hispanic workers because they are in direct competition with immigrants for jobs.

The Democratic Party and a sliver of the Republicans are using immigration for selfish purposes. The Democrats without immigration would be a dying political party. The Republicans are accommodating a bourgeoisie profit motive. Neither understands just how ticked off people are about their unwillingness to control the borders.

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