Amen to Griffen on incarceration

Wendell Griffen’s recent letter, “Summit won’t help mass incarcerations,” struck a positive Amen chord with me. How many young lives have been ruined and will be ruined because of our antiquated drug laws? It is ridiculous to have so many nonviolent offenders overflowing our prisons when law enforcement could be focusing on the rampant violence in our state.


We need a leadership that will talk less and act more. A leadership that will in fact lead — not just reflect an ideology. I would also suggest that a leadership that attacks and defunds Planned Parenthood on the basis of Arkansas’s “family values” while continuing to fund Rep. Justin Harris’ religious school and questionable adoption practices is not leadership at all. Enough of this smoke and mirrors.

Bill Russell



Age and ‘A Walk in the Woods’


I can imagine movie reviewer James Matthews being disappointed in the movie, “A Walk in the Woods,” having read the book. Can anyone name a movie that has done total justice to a book? I can’t. However, having seen the movie just yesterday, I can tell you this: 1) it was one of the funnier movies I have seen since “Blazing Saddles.” I actually laughed out loud several times, which I rarely do; 2) the scenery and the dialogue were beautiful and poignant. The description of natural objects and our own human insignificance were thought provoking; 3) it was refreshing that there was no slaughter, no violence, no overwrought sex scenes; and 4) it was delightful to see two older men embark upon a taxing adventure (yes, I know Bill Bryson was much younger when he wrote the book). I would like to know how old James Matthews is. Being older myself, I found the movie to be one of the best I have seen in a long time. Maybe you should have had an older person review it for your magazine.

Phyllis Haynes

From the web

In response to a blog item on the “grand opening” of the redesigned portion of Main Street:


Narrowing the street was fine. The bioswale idea was fine. Making the neighborhood more walkable is more than fine. But the corner trying to turn south on Main at Third Street is as close to impossible as it can be. Heaven help you if you’re not driving a compact car. The curbing on the corner is ridiculously close to the actual lane. They seriously need to go and jackhammer it back some.


In response to Arkansas Blog reporting on Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against the state Department of Human Services for withholding of federal dollars:

Some 60 percent of pregnancies (after fertilization and implantation) do NOT reach full term. Those so-called “babies” (so-called by theocrats, but not by scientists or even simple dictionary definitions of “baby”) are aborted naturally and spontaneously.

Calling a fertilized or implanted egg a “baby” or a “child” is a lie. So is referring to an aborted embryo or fetus as a “lost life.” It never had an independent life to lose in the first place.

It’s an irrational emotional appeal by theocrats to sentimental simpletons who prefer Hallmark Cards to real life.

One may as well refer, ridiculously, to a removed appendix as a “lost life.” It isn’t.

If, for whatever reasons, a woman and her physician deem an abortion advisable, that medical choice cannot legally or constitutionally be decided by some theocrat who lacks any understanding of nature or science and instead depends solely on false sentiment and lies to control and subjugate women’s reproductive choices and medical health care.

Governors like Asa Hutchinson promote that theocratic lie by asserting that Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue from aborted fetuses. It doesn’t. 

Governor Hutchinson claims that the thoroughly discredited video hoax perpetrated by the Center for Medical Progress, a right-wing group trying to discredit and defund Planned Parenthood, is true. It isn’t. It is a fabricated hoax.

Governor Hutchinson is a liar on this as on other topics beloved by Christian theocrats.

He and governors like him will ultimately lose in the courts. It will prove costly to their states, and profitable to attorneys for both sides. All of that taxpayer money could be better spent on many constructive measures of lasting value to citizens, instead of bolstering the power and control of religious bigots.

The relentless chipping away at a woman’s right to choose an abortion has shut down legal abortion clinics everywhere, largely at the expense of less fortunate women who are least in a position to be effective parents — thus forcing unwanted babies into the world, and perpetuating the very problems overpopulation and poverty engender, with all their additional future human misery and costs to society and taxpayers.

Religions that use ignorance, emotionalism, fear, superstition, threats, intimidation and violence to maintain their misogynistic dogmas at the expense of the world’s greater good are — no exaggeration — cancers on societies.

From the Pope to Asa Hutchinson, those who spread these cancers are liars. They know it and so do increasing majorities.

The only antidote is to speak out and speak the truth. Loudly and often, wherever the lies are raised. Like here. Like now.

Norma Bates