I enjoyed your article on the new mayor of Little Rock and my friend, Mark Stodola. He actually got to Fayetteville the Sunday before classes began in the fall of 1971 and didn’t know where the law school was on campus. I know this because he stumbled into the old student union where I was working as night/weekend manager. In those days that meant I was the only paid person in the building. This tired and confused Yankee boy came up to the desk and told his story. I sent him on his way with what apparently were good directions and advice. I was the first person he met in Arkansas and remind him constantly that I am his “first Arkie.”

Judge Jim Spears

Fort Smith

More sports

I’m a long-time reader of your publications. Over the last few months, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Little Rocking Blog’s sports column by JR and Henry on University of Arkansas athletics. They are much better than any sports column I have read in an Arkansas sports page in ages. Can we please get them into a mainstream publication? I believe this would be a great addition to your publication and increase your readership.

Blake Harrell


(We are giving the idea some thought. – Ed.)

From the Internet

For some time now, the Arkansas Times has allowed anonymous comment on our website (www.arktimes.com) to articles posted there. Though we generally require full identification for publication here, we thought that periodically readers might be interested in some excerpts of the commentary we inspire on the web.

Max Brantley’s column on the Little Rock School District:

From “Real Journalist”: When will the many victims of Max the Axe’s “opinions” get a clue and take legal action to put a stop to his slanderous, malicious, attacks? In Max the Axe’s latest childish tantrum, his humiliation of Superintendent Roy Brooks in the name of “objective journalism” is not acceptable. The underlying truth is that Mr. Brooks has no obligation whatsoever to “face the press” if facing the press means facing a non-journalist like Max the Axe who misuses the space here to harm, harass, demean, humiliate and slander him.

From “Tired LRSD Community Member”: Mr. Brantley only spoke the truth. He was not making things up about what Mr. Brooks had done. It always seems when people speak against people with money and speak up for the underdog, others always have a problem.

From “Responder”: Where in Brantley’s opinion piece do you see anything that would give Brooks cause to sue for slander and malignment? The LRSD has shown great restraint in not firing Brooks for insubordination as they should have last week.

Leslie Newell Peacock’s article on the $400,000 paid to settle a lawsuit against the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau:

From an anonymous reader: This is an agency that needs to be investigated and then done away with.

John Brummett’s column on U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder’s thoughts on the war in Iraq:

From “Patrick”: I can see the writing on the wall on this one. The neo-cons will say we almost had the war won when the Democrats caved in and let the bad guys win by not supporting the president’s plan. They are looking for someone to wipe their dirty hands on.

The Observer’s comments on seeing retired Gen. Wesley Clark at Mike Beebe’s inauguration:

From Drew Pritt: Who is the Observer to feel he deserves a royal acknowledgement? I too sat in the very front section, the same one as General Clark, and he is approachable as the front steps of the state Capitol itself. You need to reevaluate your evaluation of the general because there are way too many others who would disagree with this rare, biased, and wrong analysis of a great man!

The Insider item on the Cooper cousins, one, Jim, a nursing home lobbyist, the other, Eddie, head of a House committee that oversees nursing home bills.

From an anonymous reader: I know the Cooper family well. Jim is a Republican, Eddie is a Democrat. Both are nice people. Eddie can do this job.

The war’s toll

With semi-apologies to Robert E. Lee and Paul Greenberg, the proposed text of a letter.

“Farewell to arms. After four years …we yield. Valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss from continuing this war. I avoid the useless sacrifice. Officers and troops can return to their homes. War is so terrible. All this has been my fault. I do not blame the generals, the troops or the fates. I recognize victory and defeat, both as imposters.

“Geo. W. Bush/commander-in-chief”

Robert Edward Johnston

Little Rock

Sad anniversary

Jan. 11 was the fifth anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees to Guantanamo Bay. For five years, the vast majority of these men have been held in indefinite detention, without charge or trial. For five years, we have heard stories of torture and ill-treatment, hunger strikes, and suicides attempts and apparent suicides. And for five years, we have been assured that these detainees were captured “on the battlefield” and represent the “worst of the worst.”

Yet our government’s own tribunals have determined that over half of those detained never committed any hostile acts against the U.S. Most of those held at Guantanamo were not captured on any battlefield, but were handed over to the U.S. by others in exchange for cash rewards.

Undoubtedly, this practice of paying bounties for prisoners has led to mistakes, yet for five years the U.S. government has denied that these men have the basic right to challenge their detentions.

The America I believe in does not torture people, leave people in a hopeless legal limbo, or undermine due process. We should close Guantanamo, and either charge and fairly try the detainees, or release them.

Plans are now underway to form an Amnesty International local group in Little Rock. For information email reefa_tmahboob@yahoo.com.

Reefa Mahboob

Little Rock


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