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Satisfied author 

I noticed that another local author found fault with what Doug Smith of your staff wrote about her book. I thought I should let you know that I have no complaints about his review of “The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney.” Smith obviously read the book — or most of it, anyway — and he concluded that it had met his perfectly reasonable requirements as a reader. Any author should be satisfied with that, as I certainly am.

Michael Barrier
Little Rock

Good show

My wife and I attended a performance of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival at the University of Central Arkansas. This took place at the beautiful Reynolds Auditorium where we have seen several different types of shows. This could become a very strong entry in the Arkansas summer cultural lineup. The cast was excellent. The professional actors did their jobs with polish and – except at the end when Bottom had the audience and cast all rolling on the floor with laughter – did a wonderful job. We had a wonderful time and will definitely be first in line next year.

Jerry Donoho
Little Rock

Good visit

I have just returned from a wonderful visit to your beautiful state. You are a well-kept secret. Mountain Harbor Resort on Lake Ouachita with its beautiful harbors, marina and chalets hanging over the lake impressed me. The lush forests and miles of hiking trails created by the Trail Dog Organization were pristine and the idea of benches dedicated to those you wish to honor is a unique way to obtain wilderness funding. Turtle Cove Spa was an added bonus with its great massages.

I was also impressed by the bathhouse renovation under the leadership of Josie Fernandez, national park superintendent. Josie has brought them back to their original luster. Lisa Gavin, head of the bathhouse visitor’s center, has developed a Hot Springs souvenir bear that I love.

After Hot Springs, we stayed in Little Rock and dined at a truly local and superb restaurant, the Starving Artist. Chef Jason Morrell came out and visited us. My pasta and my husband’s salmon were beautifully flavored and presented. Visiting this cafe truly enriched our Little Rock experience. It was nice also to listen to a great guitarist during dinner.

I want your readers to know how much we enjoyed Arkansas.

Sheila and Don Cluff
Ojai, Calif.

Toyota plants

There has been some speculation about why Toyota did not choose East Arkansas. After reading in a UAW magazine about pay and working conditions at the Toyota plant in Kentucky, I think maybe out state should stand up and say we don’t want Toyota.

My husband is UAW retired. We moved back to Arkansas in 1983. I got more news from your Arkansas Blog in the last year than at any other time. Here they tell us Memphis is local news. I want to thank you for being there.

Claudine Humphrey
Wynne

Bush v. Carter

Were recent Democrat-Gazette editorials and columns critical of Jimmy Carter written to distract us from the possibility that the present president, endorsed by the Democrat-Gazette, will be judged the worst of all?

Jerry Shell
Leslie

President Carter was right to identify George W. Bush as the worst president in U.S. history. Bush is a blatant, well-documented proponent of human torture and CIA concentration camps. A president cannot sink any lower.

By November of 2004, Americans knew full well that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were heartily promoting the value of human torture, yet many Americans supported the Bush administrators at the polls. These constituents may join President Bush on the list of the worst in history.

But history is not finished with Bush, the decider who makes bad decisions. America is still in the process of learning the hard lesson that President Bush has set a new low standard which trumps human decency and the Geneva Convention. Human torture, concentration camps, pre-emptive war, military occupation and door-to-door annihilation are once again acceptable methods, especially in America. We have taught our children to conquer and torture. Their future looks ever more deadly.

It is a sad tragedy so many Americans lack the moral and ethical character that they must be chided and lectured on why human torture is wrong.

Some day President Carter will not be around to state the obvious. Who else is so brave?

Gene Mason
Jacksonville

A veteran on Iraq

My father served with the Third Infantry Division as a company commander in the Korean War. I served three years as a JAG captain with the Third Infantry Division in the early 1970s. I remember with pride seeing the Third Infantry Division shoulder patch on the U.S. soldiers that cut a swath through the Iraqi army, raced into Baghdad and overthrew the dictator.

This was America at its finest. The bad guy had threatened us. We had responded with clear and overwhelming force. And we were right. At least we were right based on what Colin Powell told us. There was a time when, if Colin Powell said it, I believed it.

But that was then and this is now. Now we need to correct the dialogue about “should we stay in Iraq until we win the war.” Dude, the war is over. The United States crushed the enemy. Major combat operations ceased when Saddam’s statue toppled. The question now is “Why are we still occupying Iraq?”

Congress, having exclusive constitutional power to declare an end to war, owes the debate an unequivocal statement that the war is over and we are now an occupying force.

The United States sacrifices presented the Iraqi people a golden opportunity, but they continue to turn inward and brutally kidnap, torture and murder each other for their own individual and tribal political gain.

Congress should adopt a resolution that the military is applauded for defeating the enemy, that the occupation no longer serves the national interests of the United States and that the president should outline immediate steps to end the occupation of Iraq.

Tripper Cronkhite
Little Rock

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