Equal opportunity heckler 

Is Ernie Dumas being deliberately dishonest, or does he just not know what he’s talking about?

In his column in the May 11 issue of the Times (“Old-time lynching”) he accuses us at the Democrat-Gazette of unfairly singling out His Honor Wendell Griffen for our criticism of judges who sound off outside the courtroom.

Old-time lynching? My word. That kind of rhetorical excess is worthy of Judge Griffen himself, who tends to get carried away by his own eloquence with some regularity.

What is the evidence of any racial bias on our part? My old friend Ernie, or at least old acquaintance, claims we’re discriminating against Judge Griffen while another judicial speechifier, Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court, is “adored by the Democrat-Gazette editors.”

Really? A check of the clips shows we’ve taken Mr. Justice Scalia to task for his injudicious words and actions at least six times in our editorials or my columns over the last few years. The latest example: “Justice Scalia strikes again,” which appeared Feb. 26. Whatever we’ve shown Mr. Justice Scalia, it ain’t adoration.

We’ve also criticized His Honor Roger Harrod, a district judge from Maumelle, for his comments outside the courtroom. When it comes to judicial showboats, the record will show that we’re an equal opportunity heckler.

Ernie’s accusation is as regrettable as it is misplaced. There is something unutterably sad about a once workmanlike editorial writer who’s still fighting the newspaper war some 15 years after it was concluded — and fighting it dirty. Why would he do that? My theory: Bitterness has ruined more good newspapermen than drink ever did.
Paul Greenberg
Editorial Page Editor
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Downward slide
It is sad to see that Bob McCord continues his downward slide. I have a great deal of respect for the man and his past contributions. But he’s made several large blunders of late. His comments about current trends in the evolution of our country’s ethnic heritage smacked of blatant xenophobia and racism. His whining about income taxes a few weeks ago could have been written by David Sanders. His endorsement of Samuel Alito ... well, need I even say anything about that one?!

McCord’s most recent mistakes came in his insensitive report on the new online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. He wrote that Arkansas’s history goes “back to 1686 when it was first settled,” in clear denial of the rich heritage of the Quapaw, Osage, Caddo and even older tribes whose names are lost to us. The encyclopedia itself knows better; one of its articles states that human beings have explored and lived in Arkansas since the Pleistocene Epoch, 13,500 years ago!

McCord goes on to praise the encyclopedia’s staff because it has “refused to print ‘wikipedia’ [sic].” Ignoring the nonsensical reference to one website “printing” another, I feel compelled to inform Bob and your readers that Wikipedia has become one of the most respected information resources on the Internet, utilized and praised by laymen and researchers alike.

At the risk of committing the un-PC offense of age bias, I must say that McCord’s inability to grasp such developments suggests that his transgressions arise in part from the obsolescence of his experience. Let us hope that they do not also signal a slide into senility, as well.
Steve Barnhause

Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press is still our God-given right. But our tax dollars are paying the salaries of employees of the governor who have been ordered not to release information to your newspaper.

The highest of this state have violated the rights of “we the people.” “Black-balled,” a word associated with the Roaring Twenties, bathtub gin and Al Capone, is a giant step back for Arkansas.

Now, for the good news. The Arkansas Times website is going to be flooded with people from all parties wanting to the read the truth that this state’s administration doesn’t want published.

If the Times sues, it is the duty of the state’s highest attorney, Mike Beebe, to defend the governor. It will be the fairest trial the state has ever witnessed.

We’re on the map. A phrase, “oh the possibilities,” comes to mind. 2008 hopefuls will watch and think.

Freedom of the press is a flaming sword. Hold it high. Guard it well.
Peggy Anderson

Heckuva job
Scott McClellan never could. Maybe Tony Snowjob can explain the following to us dumb ’Mericans: gas prices, international relations, unprovoked invasion, Medicare, Social Security, illegal wiretapping, tax cuts for the rich, Arab ports deal, absence of WMDs, cutting veterans benefits, prison abuse, corporate scandals, Katrina, mission accomplished, no-bid contracts, CIA leak, going from a robust economy to a trillion dollar deficit, “My Pet Goat.” You’re doing a heckuva job, Bushie!
Missy Harris
North Little Rock

Confederate heritage
The large majority of Southern Americans today seem to care little or even know that the month of April was set aside as Confederate History and Heritage Month to honor those in our families who served the Confederate States as soldiers, sailors and marines. The laws of Arkansas have even set aside a special day in April to be proclaimed Confederate Flag Day.

Many non-Southerners remind us constantly that “You lost the war many years ago and you just need to get over it.” If it were only the war we lost it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But the North didn’t only win the war, it sought to destroy our culture afterwards. They and their modern day politically correct comrades are still trying to complete their job today. Why do you suppose there is so much fuss going on over students that wear Confederate-oriented material in government schools, and why some cities are eagerly trying to change the names of streets and city parks that bear the names of former Confederates?

Just last week while watching a news segment on one of the cable networks, a breaking story reported on some high school in the South that had just banned the students’ traditional raising of their flag outside the school. I hesitated for a minute thinking it was just another Southern flag falling to political correctness. To my surprise and shock the reporter stated that it was the “United States flag” that was being removed from the school because the school administration didn’t want to offend the many Hispanic students and their families that lived in the area. I guess this was done in the name of tolerance and diversity for all cultures — all cultures but ours.

Think about what is happening to your country and who’s behind it. If you don’t, you just might not have a country for your children to inherit.
William E. Dudley

Still more on evolution
Thanks for a very interesting column regarding Arkansas’ failure to teach 20th and 21st century science. It was enlightening. I am saddened however, since I feel bad for those students who graduate high school and hope to go on to a decent college in order to prepare themselves for the technological challenges of a global planet. Tell me please: Does anyone ever discuss the “theory of Jesus”? It’s never really been proven that character ever lived, you know.
John Fitzpatrick
From the Internet

I read your sad but interesting article. Nice write up! I try and stay up on all the different states’ idiocies concerning this subject so I know where not to hire future employees. The bottom line is if they learn ignorance in school they are not worth investing in as employees. Call it survival of the most knowledgeable since you aren’t allowed to call it by its true name, natural selection.
Terry Peterson
Billings, Mont.

I don’t necessarily believe that evolution should not be taught in school, just that the lies be taken out. The textbooks are riddled with misconceptions and outright lies about the evolution theory and it is a theory not fact as it is taught in most universities and schools. “Bob” should get on the web and find the transcript of the Scopes Trial. The Scopes Trial is a perfect example of the lies spread by some on the evolution side.

I have no problem with Bob telling that he thinks rocks are 3 million years old or the earth is 4.5 billion, but that is all it is, his opinion. No one knows the age of the earth. The dating methods we use are nowhere near accurate enough for that. Some are good for dating thousands of years but not millions or billions.

I would like to see you do a little research into some of this; you would be amazed at some of the problems you will run into with the evolution theory that aren’t talked about. And you will see how it is their religion and not science in a lot of cases. If you question them on it they get mad and call you stupid or worse. Science is things that can be observed, tested and discussed.
David Barbee
Big Spring, Texas


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