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Recent Comments

Re: “I'm sorry

I am glad to see that the Arkansas Times is apologizing for it's insensitivity to all the sure signs that have led our country to where is now is. I am glad that it is owning up to consistent editorial support of a campaign that is now being admitted was out of touch (this week, Jay Barth even went as far as observing that the local demigod Bill Clinton gave a boring speech last summer).

Too little too late.

What did we expect to happen when the Clinton campaign was making war-mongering provocations against "the Russians" to distract attention away from the irregular behavior of the DNC, the Clinton Foundation, and the doings of Secretary of State Clinton? Why are we so surprised when Mrs. Clinton alienated whole swaths of the electorate, including millennials, Black Lives Matter, and "deplorables"?

Or when Trump was silent concerning details about his own agenda and background, except for unfocused shouting about "Crooked Hillary" and rigged elections? And why was Mrs. Clinton silent about the racist Cross Check system that may well have helped her opponent?

For that matter, state electoral colleges haven't spoken yet. Like Yogi Bera said, it ain't over until it's over.

3 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Citizen on 11/18/2016 at 11:33 AM

Re: “Conway Mayor Tab Townsell picked to lead Metroplan

The mayors of Little Rock and North Little Rock along with Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde (I never figured out why county judges are on the board of Metroplan) came out backing the AHTD scheme a couple of weeks ago, wanting to lift an old Metroplan policy against over-6 lane highways... Then the Metroplan board agreed the other day (33-1)...

But community groups and urban planners are against this "waiver." Even Metroplan's executive director voted against it!

Stodola said AHTD has “basically moved a complete 180 degrees” from its earlier 10-lane proposals... The "new" AHTD scheme envisions 3 lanes on either side (6) plus 2 feeder lanes on either side (4). 6+4=10

Talk about “split-diamonds” and “boulevards” and "tree-lined sidewalks" distracts attention from the fact that more lanes lead to more pollution, congestion, and dangerous driving conditions.

What does the supposed $630 million cost mean for the tax burden of Arkansans and Americans in general? And nothing is said about how much contractors stand to profit...

Something is very fishy about 30 Crossing and about elected officials who back it...

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Citizen on 09/04/2016 at 10:06 AM

Re: “Video: pro-Bernie delegate from Arkansas gets loud at the DNC; denied credentials over anti-TPP sign

I sent a letter to Vice Insalaco, the chair of the state Democratic Party, last week about the disaster of the Democratic convention (Frank Klein was not the only person this happened to), and the anti-democratic arrogance and incompetence within the state Democratic Party leadership. Of course, no response. I also sent a copy to the Arkansas Times and to Jay Barth, among others. No response from them either...

Posted by Citizen on 08/11/2016 at 8:13 AM

Re: “Democratic endgame

Well, another doozy! The Donald has nothings over Gene Lyons. Sure, free speech is priceless, whether practiced by progressives like Bernie Sanders, hypocrites like Hillary Clinton, or by McCarthyites like The Donald and Gene. Gene REALLY does not like anyone who disagrees with him or, God forbid, anyone on the Left. Or who is an intellectual. Brainy folks. He literally believes that red-baiting is legitimate behavior in a democracy! Any discussion of economic and social equality makes Gene sick.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Citizen on 06/12/2016 at 1:11 AM

Re: “Trump fantasies

Gene Lyons rightly calls out Donald J. Trump for not opposing the U.S. invasion of Iraq a decade ago, posing the question "can he get away with it?" But Gene is trying to get away with promoting Trump under the pretext of criticizing him. And not such a good job of criticizing him, either. Gene makes off-hand remarks in a kind of shatter-shot way. While I guess remarks about Trump's family are supposed to be witty, they actually play into Trump's hands. Why? Because they turn everything into a personality contest and, thereby, ignore important issues that matter to people.

Where did Gene get the inside scoop that "millions are thinking about voting for Trump for president"? From the mainstream media? And let's get something straight. We are still in the primary season, not the general election. And then, of course, there are the incidents of voter suppression that have been popping up all over the country this spring. Or doesn't Gene think that's newsworthy?

It does the public no service to portray Trump as a "debauched" lounge lizard. Now isn't that how Bill Clinton was portrayed when he was president? Speaking of the Clintons, isn't it a wee-bit hypocritical to ignore Hillary's past and present, which is no less frightening? There is one difference, though. Unlike The Donald, Mrs. Clinton has been an official pubic servant.

But according to reports by Bloomberg, The Guardian, and Politico, both candidates share at least one thing in common: They have established companies in Delaware in order to escape taxes and regulations in other states. Now isn't it newsworthy to get to the bottom of that story before someone else exploits it? Or will Gene write about something more important in his next column?

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Citizen on 05/05/2016 at 10:30 PM

Re: “Critic asks Highway Department to tell truth: No park in 10-lane freeway plan

As I listened to the Studio Main presentation at the AHTD informational meeting Tuesday evening, I was thinking "this has nothing to do with the highway scheme!"

I sent in a letter to the editor about the meeting. But while I'm at it, here it is:

After short speeches by representatives of contracting firms (Garver Engineering, Studio Main, and Nelson/Nygaard), we were invited across the hall to see maps, charts, and video simulations. All was very impressive to the eye. Each member of the audience was given a full-color handout and the opportunity to fill out a "Citizen Comment Form."

The only options under consideration were "no build," 6-lanes ("collector/distributor lanes and single point urban interchange"), 6-lanes ("collector/distributor lanes and split diamond interchange"), 8-lanes ("general purpose lanes and single point urban interchange"), and 8-lanes ("general purpose lanes and split diamond interchange"). The scenarios were imaginary and presumed that traffic will increase in a foreseeable way. It was taken for granted that these changes must happen.

But nothing in any of the material presented so much as mentioned a light rail system or how the atmospheric effects of increased traffic will be absorbed. Furthermore, nothing was said about that 900-pound gorilla in the room: Economic development of downtown Little Rock and beyond.

It was as if the problems of carbon emission and climate change do not exist.

Funding for the "30 Crossing" project is to be from a hodgepodge of revenue streams. Interestingly, what was completely absent was any presentation of how much each contracting firms stands to profit. A general figure of $631.7 million was thrown out, though. Of course, in the budgetary agenda of our times, numbers like this will always rise. But one thing that will remain constant is that the people of Arkansas will have to bear the cost, directly or indirectly.

Furthermore, more lanes will bring more pollution, more congestion, and more dangerous driving conditions. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. While 6 lanes or 8 lanes might be better than 10 lanes, it's still an increase in the number of lanes! No amount of rhetoric about "split diamonds" and "green spaces" will make that fact go away.

What is the point of having bicycle paths in an empty city? Assuming that we want the space we live in to be more than a highway interchange.

The 30 Crossing plan is either designed to accommodate inter-state commerce or to meet some perception of "convenience." But we must remember that this not a matter of convenience for commuters. More lanes lead to more congestion, more pollution, more complaints about convenience, and more frustration, to say nothing of other "retail" effects. Instead, We should be looking for true convenience and true community. That comes with a transportation infrastructure that accounts for the health of all people in greater Little Rock and the surrounding environment.

Except for a few vested interests that stand to profit, how can the present 30 Crossing scheme benefit a struggling city like our own?

3 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Citizen on 04/28/2016 at 5:18 PM

Re: “Never wrong

Last week, Gene Lyons was asked what gyrations will he go through to explain away the evasive answers Hillary Clinton gave about the federal minimum wage in the latest debate with Bernie Sanders. Well, Gene certainly followed through: He simply ignored the matter, offering rambling comments instead.

His only reference to the debate is to observe how Bernie resembles a puppet that was on the “Howdy Doody Show.” He also had a throw-away line about the likelihood of “one geriatric aspirant or another” having a stroke. Perhaps that was intended to be witty.

We should be concerned with issues that affect the country, not with personal politics. But Gene opens the door to doing just that. So fine, let’s talk about the Clintons. They are perfect storms of strange behavior.

Gene makes a sideswipe about Bernie not admitting error. But isn’t Mrs. Clinton Dogged by her refusal to discuss her own controversial voting record? Isn’t that a problem? To be fair, maybe Mrs. Clinton doesn’t consider her support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq or the 2008 Wall Street bail-out to have been errors. Maybe she thinks it’s no one’s business what she said in those expensive speeches given to Goldman Sachs.

For years, the Clintons have stood by as their actions are explained away by loyal supporters as naïve mistakes. There’s one problem with this defense; the Clintons keep doing the same things over and over. Gene doesn’t see that as a problem. Talk about being “doctrinaire.”

What does he mean by saying that Mrs. Clinton was “dragged through one make-believe scandal after another”? But maybe she doesn’t see anything wrong with shady financial investments or with facilitating arms deals as Secretary of State. Perhaps nothing illegal happened. And there’s the old excuse that everyone else does such things, which she has used in public at least once.

To his credit, Gene is doing Arkansas a great favor. He is showing us there’s no principled opposition to anything that smacks of social reform—and this opposition is on both sides of the aisle. It goes without saying that Gene’s Trump-like ideas deserve to be aired. But we must wonder how committed he is to honestly addressing newsworthy issues like voter suppression in Arizona and New York.

2 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Citizen on 04/24/2016 at 4:16 PM

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