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Thanks! 

Thank you

In less than two weeks, We the People are about to roll the dice and elect our next president. Just enough time left to dash off a few well-deserved thank you notes ... .

So first of all, a great big thank you to our Arkansas watchdog tea parties, and to their patron saints the Koch brothers, for birthing them out of the smoldering ashes of daddy's John Birch Society. Good to know that old-fashioned, flag-waving, Bible-thumping, patriotic paranoia never goes out of style.

And a special thanks for the right wing's frenzied letters and blogs and banners that openly confess all that moulders in their inky souls. Their hatred of the black man in the White House, their love of Fox News and fake web sites, and their fixation on some dead guy named Saul Alinsky. Their heroes are legion, demigods of the email underworld, supermen like Dinesh D'Souza and David Barton and Robert Jeffress and even Billy's boy, the very, very reverend Franklin Graham. Always pro-life and yet always eager for more kill-them-all smiting. Always peddling an improbable myth of American exceptionalism to beguiled folk along the desperate fringes of reality.

Thank you, Republican Party, for your three-ring political circus that gave us blow-dried, blowhard, scary-clown Donald J. Trump. He almost makes us miss George Bush and his bloody wars and blown-up economies. Almost.

Thank you religious zealots, for showing us your real family values. If you ever held dear the radical example of your long-ago messiah, you've clearly left it all behind for a last-stand mess of Machiavellian pottage, a devil's deal to somehow save the Supreme Court from godless liberals. We marvel at your mountain-moving faith in a madman who promises to build a beautiful wall that others will pay for, banish dusky strangers from this fair-skinned land and bring us into a millennium of it-will-be-so-fantastic gospel prosperity.

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for making us believe again in the magic of hair spray.

Thank you, America, for scaring the bejeezus out of every sentient being on our fragile planet. The world waits and wonders — and trembles — that we could even remotely consider this preening, predatory trumpery of a little man.

And finally, a brief apology to our neighbors in Canada and Mexico. We're really, really sorry.

John Ragland

Hot Springs

Midwifery regulation

Currently, the Arkansas Department of Health is proposing very restrictive midwifery rules on Arkansas families. We already have some of the most restrictive in the country. The ADH has outlined a number of medical procedures and tests to which they will soon mandate mothers consent to as a condition of being cared for by a midwife, rather than a physician. If the mother doesn't consent she will lose her midwife. It doesn't matter how far along the mother is in her pregnancy. Many obstetricians will not accept pregnant patients in the third trimester and some are unable to take any new patients. If these mothers can't find a doctor, they may experience a gap in maternity care, go without maternity care for the duration of their pregnancy, or hire an unlicensed midwife. Mothers who have had a previous caesarean are currently prohibited from hiring a midwife under Arkansas law. This mother will likely deliver in a hospital with a "policy" that requires she have another surgical birth.

There is a local law regarding the health department's authority to regulate public health. It states the government cannot infringe on a citizen's right to a health care provider, practitioner or healer. Furthermore, the proposed midwifery rules only impact women, who are a protected class. Additionally, there are ethical and anti-trust implications when a government agency, through a board of doctors who are also market participants, decides to make extremely personal health care decisions for women. The board members have a financial incentive to prevent families from hiring midwives and designing rules that make it difficult for them to keep a midwife.

The medical procedures and tests the ADH wants to mandate are procedures that expectant mothers can rightfully decline while under the care of a physician. When they make an informed choice to do so they will not lose their doctor, so why should they lose their midwife?

There is a Midwifery Advisory Board, comprised of consumers and midwives, who advise the ADH during the rulemaking process. They will have a public meeting sometime in November where the changes will be discussed. We want the public to attend.

Kesha Chiappinelli

Little Rock

From the web

In response to the Oct. 23 Arkansas Blog post "Welfare for the wealthy: More reasons to VOTE NO on ISSUE 3":

At some point, even when it comes to fishing, the streams run out of naive, born-in-the-stock-pond trout that will bite on anything.

Then there's nothing left but skeptical natives who've seen it all before and have a pretty good idea of what's food and what's just bait.

"Economic development"? "Jobs creation"?

... What else you got?

Joe Quimby

The same people who are proposing this hogfest are the ones who complain continually against food stamps (SNAP) and other help for the less well-off, many of whom work for these same companies, with their low pay, less than 40-hour work week and lousy to no benefits. 

The Good Suit Club, the Chambers and the 1 percent led by the Republican Party that routinely has a hatefest on the poor because of "welfare" are leading the way to take 10 to 100 times more for the already rich and those who contribute (bribe) to their campaigns. This is a definite NO!

couldn't be better

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