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The more things change — corporate welfare edition

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:37 AM PST

A rueful blast from the past in today's "Other Days" column in the Democrat-Gazette. It was timely given what I wrote here yesterday about Little Rock's continued handout of $300,000 to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce to pay salaries of people who lobby against the wishes of many people whose sales tax pennies cosset them.

Feb. 11, 1968
• The Central Arkansas Labor Council says it will go to court if necessary to stop cities from paying dues to chambers of commerce. A resolution to that effect was adopted unanimously Wednesday, Lloyd Ringgold of Little Rock, the Council president, said Saturday. The resolution, written by B. J. Utley of North Little Rock, president of Amalgamated Transit Workers Division 104, called chambers of commerce unions of business interests supporting "union-busting laws with phony titles to fool the public and a good percentage of the legislators."

In the years since 1968, the chambers have worked to kill most unions and the state Constitution now protects shipment of tax money to chamber lobbyists for a multitude of corporate-friendly uses.  That the money is shipped by people (Little Rock City Board, for example) who depend on corporate campaign cash and other benefits is not coincidental.

Lies, Damned Lies and Facebook Memes

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 10:13 AM PST

Looking over my recent Internet history, I realized that most of my online searches have been journeys to counter the racism, sexism and outright lies found on so many Facebook memes.

The other night I was responding with some irritation under a typical Facebook meme trumpeting not only falsehoods, but racism, as well, when I found my anger replaced by pity. This was a person - one among so many - who post lie upon lie on an almost hourly basis, and never removes them, once the lie has been revealed.

I suspect for such people - and many of their Facebook "friends" - removal of such a post would constitute an act of surrender to the forces of evil they sense all about them.

I should tell you at this point that even though pity - or as much of that feeling as I could generate - filled me, I still posted my angry retort to their racist post. I am only human, after all.

It would be so nice if I could say it was just racist conservatives who post falsehoods online, but it just ain't so. Liberals post just as much nonsense, and all because they find something that conforms their worst suspicions of the Other Side, and in their excitement, all intellectual discernment leaves them.

Like their brothers and sisters on the Other Side, they neglect to go to the search engine of their choice to check if what they are posting is even true or not.

And so, hundreds of years of human progress goes down the toilet, as racist and ignorant memes are posted, and the peanut gallery gives in to their Internet Outrage, showing off their rage and contempt online.

I had a whole list of such memes in front of me when I began to write this, but I scrapped it. In the time it took to write the above paragraphs, a hundred new memes have no doubt been added to Facebook, some funny, but those are outnumbered by the memes that are vile beyond belief, racist or sexist.

I'm still naive enough to believe that folks will respond to passion, eloquence and facts, but in an age when folks proudly show off their ignorance, well, it's harder and harder to hold on to that belief.

Well, refuting their lies has taken up way too much of my time, especially when, after one of their posts has been proven to be a lie, they swiftly follow it up with three equally as ugly.

I guess that's what happens when folks spend too much time dog-paddling in their own genetic pool.


Today's Soundtrack

Dog-paddling down Moon River today, soaking up a little Andy Williams as I write.


Now on YouTube: Peter Tooker

My interview with Fayetteville Renaissance Man Peter Tooker. Writer, former Grapevine editor, former public access board member and ACORN volunteer, Peter represents Fayetteville at its finest.


"On the Air with Richard S. Drake" celebrates 27 years years on the air in 2018.


Quote of the Day

Civil War? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers? Victor Hugo


The Trump base: Wife beaters?

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:53 AM PST

Donald Trump
is said to have gone "off script" yesterday by expressing sympathy for men accused of abusing women while showing no concern for the victims.

Not his own script, that's for sure. When you're a celebrity, he's said, you can do no wrong to women. You can grab them by the pussy, "anything."

But here's the thing: Trump has a knack for saying things that energize his core supporters, maybe 35 to 40 percent of the electorate. Immigration. Muslims. Guns.

You'd think, however, that the people most likely to respond to a defense of men accused of abusing women would primarily be — men who abuse women.

Is that a winning strategy? Are there that many of them out there?

Meanwhile, Trump is getting ripped for how he put his Tweet of sympathy for people like Rob Porter, accused by three women — one with a photo of a black eye to prove it.

"Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation," the president wrote on Twitter, adding: "There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?"
Due process? From a man who continued to call for punishment of men exonerated by DNA evidence in a Central Park assault; who urged "lock her up"; who built the birther attack on Barack Obama out of whole cloth; who's famous for introducing his latest attack line with "people say." As several have noted, Trump is getting due process from Robert Mueller. Sounds like the kitchen is getting hot.

Griffen speaks out against bias against LGBTQ in mission work

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:31 AM PST

Wendell Griffen, the circuit judge and Baptist preacher whose penchant for free speech regularly gets in trouble with legislators, is taking on a church establishment now, though the topic likely would rile the same lawmakers who don't like him speaking out on capital punishment.

In his latest blog post, Griffen takes issue with the recent adoption of a policy by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, an organization in which his church participates, to bans LGBTQ married people from working as missionaries or in supervisory positions.

This policy is unjust. It reinforces bigotry towards LGBTQ people. It violates the Great Commandment of Jesus that we love our neighbors as ourselves. As pastor of New Millennium, I denounce the announced policy as unworthy of our support.
He has much more to say here on his blog. He said he'd no longer support the organization financially.

There's a touch of irony here. For those who need a religion scorecard, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is theologically moderate. It withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention after a conservative takeover of SBC. Among its core beliefs is separation of church and state. There are a scattering of CBF-affiliated churches in the Little Rock area.

The Arkansas legislature has passed and the governor signed a law that allows people to discriminate against LGBTQ people by asserting a religious pretext.

Remington Arms seeking financing for potential bankruptcy filing

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:12 AM PST

Reuters reports that Remington Arms, one of the country's largest gunmakers, has been seeking financing to allow it to file for bankruptcy. The company operates an ammunition plant in Lonoke County.

The gun business, which Arkansas has been ardently seeking to develop through efforts of the governor and its economic develoment agency, apparently holds some downsides. From Reuters:

Some potential financing sources, including credit funds and banks, have balked at coming to Remington's aid because of the reputation risk associated with such a move, according to the sources.

Remington, which is controlled by buyout firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, was abandoned by some of Cerberus' private equity fund investors after one of its Bushmaster rifles was used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Connecticut in 2012 that killed 20 children and six adults.

The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Remington did not respond to several requests for comment. Cerberus declined to comment.

Credit rating agencies have warned that Remington's capital structure is unsustainable given its weak operating performance and significant volatility in the demand for firearms and ammunition.
When Barack Obama was president, the theory (false) that he was intent on seizing weapons encouraged frequent gun-buying sprees.

Heny Wilkins won't run again for Jefferson County judge

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 06:01 AM PST

The Pine Bluff Commercial reports today that Henry Wilkins IV, a former state representative, has announced he won't seek another term as Jefferson County judge, the top county elected office.

He's completing his first term.

Wilkins, who served 16 years in the House, issued a lengthy statement touting his work in office and said he'd made the "difficult" decision not to run again on account of unspecified "opportunities" in the private sector "national in scope."

Former county judge Dutch King has announced as a Democratic candidate. Wilkins defeated him in the Democratic primary in  his first election

Wilkins' time in office has been spotted with controversy, particularly surrounding the County  Election Commission, now controlled by Republicans.

Another Saturday night

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 02:03 PM PST

Here's an open line.