The right side of history 

Quote of the Week

"It's fundamentally the wrong thing to do."

Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock), speaking in the Arkansas House of Representatives against Senate Bill 202, which will prevent cities from protecting gay people with anti-discrimination ordinances. The bill prohibits local governments from extending civil rights protection to classes not protected in state law. Tucker said his grandfathers had taken unpopular stands as school board members in support of school desegregation in Little Rock and Fort Smith and urged his colleagues to stand "on the right side of history" in regard to LGBT rights as well. The bill passed anyway, 58-21, and went to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk. He says he will allow it to become law without his signature. (See columns, opposite page.)

The pen is mightier

The state House approved a bill by Rep. Kim Hendren (R-Gravette) to require that cursive writing be taught by the end of the third grade. Supporters such as Rep. Justin Harris (R-West Fork) said research shows writing in cursive "creates synapses in the brain" and lamented a hypertext-filled future in which children are unable to read the script of the Declaration of Independence.

Opponents said the bill infringes on local control of school curriculum, which it does, but the commonsense argument against the bill was best summed up by Rep. Nate Bell (R-Mena). "Communication evolves," Bell said. "How many of you can read the Bible in the original language as a manuscript? I can't."


State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) took a break from legislating to offer some helpful advice to the U.S. military last weekend about how to combat ISIS: Create a mushroom cloud over Syria. "A strategically placed nuclear weapon would save the lives of our soldiers and quickly turn things around," Rapert wrote on Facebook. "It is time for the insanity to be stopped." When he was widely ridiculed for the remark online, Rapert said he was calling only for the use of "small" tactical nukes and complained that "liberal bloggers" were trying to make his words "look outrageous."

The shame of the state

Once again, the bill to separate Robert E. Lee from the Arkansas state holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. failed in committee, despite the best efforts of its unlikely sponsor, Rep. Nate Bell. Lawmakers of both parties bowed to slavery apologists such as Mountain Home lawyer John Crain, who said the bill went "against my ancestry." No racism there, though: Crain said he was "proud to call my colored brothers, my brothers."

African-American Rep. John Walker (D-Little Rock), who has fought racial discrimination in Little Rock for decades, condemned Crain's insulting phrase as "a relic of slavery." He got little sympathy from committee chair Richard Womack (R-Arkadelphia), who told a reporter after the meeting, "I'm not sure what he heard that was a racial slur, honestly. I didn't see any malintent there at all." It's been a painful week to watch the legislature.

Finding common ground

A few weeks ago, Gov. Asa Hutchinson miraculously neutralized the toxic debate over the private option within the GOP by creating a task force to study the issue. Now he's trying to replicate the same magic trick on the issue of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which many conservative activists (and some nonconservative ones) badly want to ditch. Establishment GOP figures such as Jeb Bush staunchly defend the standards.

Last week, Hutchinson created the "Council on Common Core Review" and appointed Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin to head it; the governor has created an application form online for interested citizens to apply to serve on the group. Hutchinson and Griffin repeatedly emphasized that they're not yet passing judgment either for or against the Common Core. Griffin said, "I want to listen to Arkansans all over the state, from every part of the state, from every background. Whoever has an opinion on this, I want to hear about it." We're guessing he'll get his wish.


From the ArkTimes store


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Eligible voters removed from rolls

    Arkansas Times reporters contacted election officials around the state to see how they had handled flawed felon data from the secretary of state. Responses varied dramatically.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Real Republicans don't do pre-K

    Also, drifting away from trump, Hudson's downfall at ASU and more.
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • Asa on pre-K

    • Aug 17, 2016

Most Shared

  • Hutchinson lobbyist moves to Teacher Retirement System

    Rett Hatcher, director of legislative affairs for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, has left the governor's staff to go to work Wednesday as deputy director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.
  • Obamascare

    Republicans at long last may be about to see their most fervent wishes and wildest predictions materialize — millions of people losing their medical and hospital coverage, unaffordable insurance, lost jobs, a Medicare financial crisis, mushrooming federal budget deficits and fiscal crises across state governments.
  • Megyn vs. Alex

    As vigorously hyped broadcast events go, Megyn Kelly's televised confrontation with internet conspiracy cultist Alex Jones proved something of a dud.

Latest in The Week That Was

Event Calendar

« »


  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  

Most Viewed

  • You're doing your 401(k) wrong

    Hundreds of thousands of retirement dollars could be at stake.
  • Monkey wrenches

    Junior is 17 now, and shows no interest in driving, or even taking the driving test. It's got his Old Man a little concerned, and not just because we're running a car service for one these days.
  • White men can jump

    For many years people would ask me where I was when President Kennedy was assassinated. I assured them I had an alibi. I also never enslaved any people of color, marched any Jews into concentration camps, bashed any gays, or stole any land from native peoples. I rent.
  • Using words but saying nothing

    Also, counter on damage lawsuits doesn't advance and more.
  • Mobile art

    This cellphone photograph by Rah Howard is part of the ArkMoPhs (Arkansas Mobile Phoneographers) "Explore Arkansas" exhibit at the Innovation Hub in Argenta. The juried show, the group's fourth annual exhibit, features the top 30 smartphone photographers in Arkansas.

Most Recent Comments


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