Favorite

Outside the crate 

“There is clearly a need to think beyond tomatoes.” — David Acheson, assistant commissioner for foods of the Federal Drug Administration.

And we suspect he was looking right at Arkansas when he said it. In Arkansas, in the summer, it is hard to think about anything other than tomatoes. Stop thinking about the tomatoes, with a July sun overhead, and you may start thinking “Why go on?”

But as the assistant commissioner reminds us, we must go on, with or without tomatoes and tomato thoughts. There's work to be done, a world to be saved.

Lu Hardin, president of the University of Central Arkansas, was all wrapped up in tomatoes when he told inquiring reporters that he hadn't received a secret raise from the UCA Board of Trustees. It was only later, when he gave his full attention to the subject, and when reporters all but showed him the canceled check, that he realized the extra $300,000 in “accelerated payment” he'd accepted might be viewed as a “raise,” or close to it. Undistracted by tomatoes, he would have explained all this in the beginning.

It was while focused on tomatoes that Little Rock City Director Stacy Hurst carelessly used $1,770 of the taxpayers' money to buy a magazine advertisement for herself. We can just hear her on the phone after her mistake was pointed out to her (by reporters, again): “Your honor, you won't believe what I've done.” Stamped her feet in frustration, most likely. “Those darn tomatoes!”

The minds of the members of the state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission were crowded with tomatoes when they voted not to name carbon dioxide as an air contaminant. Questioned, one commissioner said later, “Oh, you mean the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, the one that's melting the polar ice caps?! Gosh, I was so busy thinking about Better Boys I couldn't follow the discussion.”

This is the way great mistakes have been made throughout Arkansas history: Orval Faubus sending the National Guard to keep black children out of Central High. Frank Broyles' pooch kick. Mike Huckabee turning Wayne Dumond loose. All were spending too much time thinking about tomatoes; else, they would never have acted as they did.

The Arkansas tomato is a blessing not given other states, and Arkansans are right to be grateful. But we have to remember that the tomato alone cannot prevent secrecy in higher education, or the misuse of public funds, or the predations of sex offenders. Tomato-friendly? Yes. Tomato-dependent? No. We get your point, Mr. Acheson.         

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • New episode of Rock the Culture podcast: 'Know Your Why'

    Antwan and Charles provide perspective and conversation on the City of Little Rock’s initiative to find jobs for our homeless population, the State Board of Education’s decision to take over the Pine Bluff School District, and Governor Hutchinson’s press conference on Arkansas Works. They also discuss the entrepreneurial mindset with local business owner, Lydia Page.
    • Sep 19, 2018
  • Monday's video and open line

    Today's headlines: State recommends denial of new permit for C and H Hog Farm. A change at the top of Tyson Foods. Medicaid Commission 'alarmed' by lost coverage in Arkansas. Hot Springs agency strikes deal to acquire Preferred Family Healthcare assets.
    • Sep 17, 2018
  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: "T&A talk the 'V' word"

    This week Traci and Angie navigate vulnerability from within and without. They discuss their own vulnerability and the need for “safe” spaces and the importance of being an ally both in and out of our community.
    • Sep 13, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Moving deck chairs

    Governor Hutchinson has promised to soon reveal his ideas for "transforming government" — a reorganization aimed at reducing the number of departments that report to the governor.
  • Character judgement

    Probably it's not possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted then-15-year-old Christine Blasey Ford at a high school house party back in 1982. However, that's not the issue. Kavanaugh's not being charged with a crime, but with being a creep.
  • No sympathy for Sarah Huckabee Sanders

    Oh, to have the privilege to look at Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders through an objective lens. I sure can't, and I am to the point where if I hear one more progressive or even centrist Democrat claim they disagree with her policies then in the next sentence point out that she is "so good at her job" or she has taken on a "tough role," I may scream.
  • Tables turned

    Brett Kavanaugh's dilemma over a prep-school tussle with a girl provokes many proverbs, but one that seems most apropos is "what goes around comes around."

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Dress code bias

    • Dr. Hutchin-Bellur: RE: "Mansplainer": Thanks; that's just what I was shooting for. I think you'll…

    • on September 17, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation