What if Arkansas electric consumers had not paid $300 million a year from 1985-95 to Middle South/ Entergy? And that $3 billion had been spent on education? Three billion dollars was the Arkansas cost of the Grand Gulf power station in Mississippi. Now there is a very good chance Arkansas will have to pay another $200 million a year for 7 years, or $1.4 billion. This latest is the same as a $200 million a year tax increase — with the $$$ flowing to Louisiana! We might ask who appointed the FERC commissioners.
Robert Johnston
Little Rock
Johnston was chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission from 1983-89.

The highway bonds
First, thanks to the Arkansas Times for its brave and insightful news coverage and the newspaper’s editorial independence to stand firm opposing the recent question on the road bonds. Also throw in a “thank you” to the core of issue voters in the state who saw fit to “turn back” every poorly engineered and ego-driven referred question in mid-December.

The decisive vote, 60 percent against the highway measure, showed just how much Gov. Mike Huckabee is out of step with the Arkansas voters. His face and voice, pushing on Question No. 1, caused its defeat.

While the governor may rest on his past political laurels, voters handed him his worst political defeat in the sunset of his political career here in Arkansas. His quote a day after the vote was announced still angers me. If in the last decade, while he has been governor, Mike Huckabee really was concerned about those “people who are hungry and hurting” in our state, he would have done more in the Delta and southern regions. I see only more decline in vast pockets of the Delta and Southern Arkansas and less and less help from the governor. He seems too busy flying out of state, in the state-owned airplane, on various personal political agendas.

Why did he (and others, especially the state highway commissioners) think giving more than one-third of all the federal highway funds to bond-daddies and bond lawyers would slip past the tight-fisted Arkansas voters?
Maylon T. Rice

A piece of history
In the 15000 Chenal Parkway photo in the Letters section of the Dec. 15 Arkansas Times, there is something significant you cannot see. In the process of prepping the property for an auto dealership, they took out a slice of the railroad tram line of the Little Rock, Maumelle and Western Railroad (Neimeyer Line) that was constructed about 1907. When construction for another dealership across the street to the west is started, it too will impact another segment of the abandoned line.

It is too bad these new businesses can’t level some of the vacant, deteriorating buildings in Little Rock and build in those sites. I understand though; they are in the wrong part of town. That is the reason they are vacant and deteriorating in the first place.
George Gatliff
Little Rock

Bush’s PR
In his latest PR spiel George Bush chided opponents of his Iraqi adventuring as believing his war “isn’t worth another dime or another day.”

Again, he is either in error or dissembling. The objections are not about dimes and days. They are about the honor of the United States of America and the cost in American blood.

Many opponents of the war would gladly see many more Euros contributed by sincere allies for the pacification of Iraq. The would also gladly see as many days spent as it takes to educate the Middle East in the ways of productivity through non-violence.

Of important immediate note given recent developments in the Republican executive and legislative branches of our government is a denial of the idea that you can save the Constitution of the United States by destroying it.
Kirby Sanders

No big deal?
Social Security is going to play a big role in the future of the United States. Its existence is part of the reason America enjoys the highest standard of living the world has ever seen. Yet even the most optimistic projections tell us that, without reform, Social Security will go bankrupt in the foreseeable future. President Bush understands this and is leading the fight to save Social Security.

But Sen. Blanche Lincoln doesn’t think there’s a problem. Here are her own words: “I share many of your concerns about the long-term challenges the Social Security program now faces, and I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to work together in a thoughtful way to address these challenges. But we must be truthful with the American people and to call Social Security’s current state a crisis is disingenuous.”

Senator Lincoln is missing the point. It’s not the current state of Social Security that should concern us. It’s the future state. And if we don’t institute the proper reforms now it will be too late to do so when the inevitable crisis occurs.
Art Robertson
Little Rock

Witless wonder
Having never trusted that witless wonder in the Oval Office since he arrogantly offended most of our oldest allies with his big mouth, I grow angrier daily.

But one thing that hurts as well as angers me is the references to “our fallen heroes.” Don’t these idiots know that soldiers who “fall” can usually get up and continue, or at least come home alive?

Their nice-sounding euphemism does NOT in any way honor our dead servicemen and -women. They are dead. Not going to breathe any more. Not going to laugh or hold their babies or see their mothers ever again. Their mothers are seeing them one last time. Then they are buried because they are dead, not just fallen.

When we are allowed by our president and his cohort to see those flag-draped coffins and the dead soldiers are referred to as dead and not just as fallen, perhaps the smirk will be wiped from Bush’s face and Rumsfeld’s hubris will bite him in the butt. Then perhaps, too, the armchair warriors in Washington will know what they bear responsibility for causing.
Karl Hansen


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