Favorite

Signifying nothing 

Politicians speak, reporters record, readers read. Often, no one stops to think how little the sound and fury may mean. Two examples from last week: The Hon. Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security at the Department of Homeland Security, jetted into Little Rock for a photo op with state troopers. He delivered a $29 million homeland defense check to a grateful Arkansas (which Asa would like to serve as governor). Hutchinson knocked out a straw man in his remarks, widely quoted. He said there are many who question the wisdom of sending homeland security money to rural states like Arkansas. (Really? Who?) Ignore such critics, Hutchinson said. The terrorists know the nation's weak spots. If Arkansas isn't adequately protected, it will be a prime target. No one wants to make light of terrorism. Indeed, a sleepy rural state might be an evilly inspired place for terrorists to strike. But here's the thing. Much of the money that Hutchinson delivered apparently will be spent on "wireless communication." In other words, it will purchase radios for "first responders" - fire, medical and police personnel - so they can communicate after something terrible has happened. Will it really deter terrorists to know our ambulances have the latest radios? It was opportunistic blather. It sounded good on TV. Thanks for the money, Asa. Next time save the taxpayers some jet fuel and put it in an envelope with a 37-cent stamp. Then there was Gov. Mike Huckabee's release on his meetings with Japanese auto executives about an assembly plant. He assured the citizenry that Japanese executives like to look you in the eye to determine if you're sincere. If Japanese can determine sincerity by peering into eyeballs, they are crafty indeed. (And it's not particularly good for us if the Huckster is the one getting the eyeballing.) Huckabee also issued this boilerplate blather: "I learned on my trip that Japanese executives have a healthy respect for the work ethic of Arkansans. They're also aware of the natural beauty of our state and the hospitality of our people. These are executives who have come to understand what Arkansas offers in terms of workforce, natural resources and overall business climate." Stipulated: Arkansas is a beautiful state with hard-working, hospitable people. So are the other 49 states. Think about it. If Arkansas is so superior, why are we so far behind? Business climate, now that's relevant. Huckabee could have been very specific: "The Japanese like our East Arkansas site. It's near a major railroad, two interstates and the Mississippi River. Plus, they know the electric co-op cut a heckuva deal on electric rates to land a steel plant a few years ago. We outlaw union shops and our wages are low. Our workers comp system rewards employers, not workers. Corporate income tax? There probably won't be any, thanks to our loopholes. We're well situated to serve the Mid-America market. We might be short on educated workers, but Memphis will more than pick up the slack. Plus, we're so needy, we'll give them whatever corporate welfare they require." Now that would be worth quoting.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Most Shared

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Pork barrel III

    Mike Wilson, the Jacksonville lawyer and former state representative, for the third time last week won a victory for the Arkansas Constitution and taxpayers and set back pork barreling.
    • Oct 12, 2017
  • Fishy lawmaking

    Last week, the legislature decided not to press a fight that could have further upended a balance of power in Arkansas already tilted too far in favor of the legislative branch.
    • Oct 5, 2017
  • LR Central at 70

    The city of Little Rock has finished its "Reflections on Progress" observance of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School and the people most affected managed to put well-placed asterisks on the notion that this was a story all about racial progress.
    • Sep 28, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

October

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Trust and obey

    • A very timely and beautifully written piece. Indeed, the whole frightening paradigm is about preserving…

    • on October 15, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation