Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
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In response to an Arkansas Blog post, "Republicans ready to bring DC gridlock to Arkansas," about Republicans' willingness to consider Medicaid expansion in Arkansas only if their conditions, including applying co-pays and drug-testing, are met.
Using the "equal protection" argument, if drug-testing is to be required for Medicaid patients, ANYONE who receives public money should have to pee into a cup and test negative before they receive a dime. That would include all contractors (including physicians, people bidding for highway contracts, suppliers of goods and services), public employees, and all elected officials.
Think about all of the high-tech analysis labs that such a law will bring to Arkansas; we will be awash with pee-testing jobs.
If the Repug pee brigade were to require drug-testing for Medicaid patients, revealing the results to a state agency would be a violation of federal privacy laws intended to protect patients.
In addition, it would be conducting a search without a warrant. Legions of lawyers are salivating on the sidelines waiting to extract financial penalties from the state agencies that might decide that the Constitution can be shredded on a whim. As always, Repug solutions to save money end up costing us more, both financially and spiritually.
With the huge range of legal pharmaceutical medications that can produce false positives, expect even more litigation. In order to avoid some false positives, people would have to reveal all of their medications — another violation of patient privacy.
It's just bad policy to assume that all Americans, or even a segment, are automatically guilty and should be forced to prove their innocence before they can receive medical help. What does that say about us? Are we in the process of shredding whatever vestiges of civilization are left? How soon will it be that the only thing protected by law is a fetus?
Finally, the major outrage is that those who can least afford the consequence of an error, the poor, will suffer the worst from this worthless publicity stunt, while the Repugnuts strut around cackling that they stuck it to the 47 percent again.
In response to Gene Lyon's Oct. 31 column, "Romney: Trojan Horse."
Nothing against Mr. Romney but for the life of me I can't understand why a man who has so brilliantly used a corrupt system to put himself in a position to make on average 10 million a year without batting an eye wants to be the president of the United States. A position that if you look at it in its truest sense is almost impotent. The position really should be called the Great Suggestor because literally it's almost all a president can do. Congress can and does make and pass laws without the president. His signature is just part of the process. Mr. Romney can do more with his money as a private citizen than as president.
In response to Bob Lancaster's Oct. 31 column, "Sick list."
Sorry you're sick, Bob. Must be the same bug that has had me in a fever for, oh, about 30 years — ever since I first heard the phrase "trickle down."
Will we ever be cured? I doubt it. Leastwise, not until them beeves gazing over the fence rail finally have one of them there epiphanies.
In response to a blog post on the Arkansas Journal of Social Change and Public Service "Food for Thought" symposium at the Bowen Law School on Oct. 26, particularly the panel, "Food trucks in the Little Rock landscape."
Were minority food truck operators asked to be involved in this talk? Perhaps they were. There are a great number of minority-operated trucks in Little Rock, from the various taco trucks that have been covered here to the 'Hot Lanta truck I just recently reviewed on Eat Arkansas. There are others. Was Taqueria Samantha, a mainstay of the moribund University Market, asked to participate? Was Big Daddy's Dogs?
The last Main Street Food Truck Festival brought nearly 3,000 people to Main Street on a Saturday, despite horrible weather. Do we have that many people on Saturday walking down Main regularly? No, we don't. It's a veritable ghost town. South of I-630, they've started doing SOMA Second Thursdays, a food truck event at Bernice Garden that offers an evening meal option to a neighborhood that doesn't do much business after 5 p.m. Boulevard Bread Co. and The Root don't serve supper. Why not?
As someone who eats in all sorts of places, and as someone who has a limited lunch break, let me break it down to everybody: People who want to stop at a food truck aren't generally going to sit down at a brick and mortar place. On the flip-side, people who are taking clients to lunch downtown aren't going to make them line up at the window of a truck.
In the end, food trucks have brought some focus to two areas of town — Main Street and South University — that many people avoid. The South University experiment failed due to a hot summer, but the Main Street event still draws crowds. If brick and mortar restaurants want to compete, they might take a lesson from Rocket 21 and Vieux Carre, both of which offer a reasonably priced, perfectly delicious lunch menu apart from their normally pricey fare. And in the case of downtown restaurants like Lulav, maybe they should take time to self-reflect on their bad reputation for food and service and use that opportunity to improve. Little Rock's food trucks are generally friendlier than its sit-down restaurants. Food trucks are happy you came. Many of our sit-down restaurants act like the customer is privileged to be served by them. That's the big difference.
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