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November 22, 2020 at 1:55 a.m.

Admitted ignorance

Reporting that he is seeing more people than ever wearing masks these days as the covid-19 infection rate peaks across the nation, Mike Masterson has recently suggested that there is perhaps a yet unknown path of viral transmission, which presumably is not prevented by wearing a mask.

One might well feel that this makes about as much sense as doubting the efficacy of sunblock because the incidence of sunburn is highest just when sunblock sales are at their highest. Are we to suspect that sunburn has some as yet unknown cause? The position of the planets, perhaps? I think not.

In any case, I believe, and I hope Mr. Masterson would agree, that his speculations based on rather limited data in the absence of any epidemiological training are little reason to give up on wearing masks just yet. Wearing a mask is annoying, and a great many people, forgetting that they have an obligation to their fellow citizens, will neglect the practice for the slimmest reason--even the speculations of a journalist who readily admits his ignorance of the subject.


Little Rock

Rumor and innuendo

So Donald Trump was trying to unite us but the awful Democrats wouldn't have it, according to Mike Masterson's "anonymous Trump supporter." The supporter's list of grievances includes the Russia investigation, most of which has been confirmed by U.S. courts and investigations, including a Republican-controlled Senate committee. And, he says, it's the press that's always lying, not Honest Don.

It seems for Trump supporters history begins in 2016. They conveniently don't remember Mitch McConnell's pronouncement after Obama was elected that his job was not to work with the new president, but to make sure he was not re-elected. Or later, his blocking of a sitting president's Supreme Court nominee. I'm not sure where the Republicans found that stunt in their pocket Constitutions.

When Masterson switches to his own voice he leaves no doubt that he believes that Trump has been cheated by "skulduggery" and "shenanigans," but of course offers no evidence beyond a reference to unsubstantiated "sworn affidavits."

It seems odd that if Democrats were so good at fraud that they didn't go ahead and steal the Senate too. This is the playbook in the Trump era: Spread distrust and doubt, and when proof is found lacking, move on, always insisting that you were right just the same. I find it inconceivable that anyone in a position of influence would try to undermine trust in our democratic process with nothing more than rumor and innuendo as evidence. I expect better of this newspaper and my nation.



Pay that man more

I'd be willing to pay twice my subscription rate if you published more Philip Martin columns. He could write about painting a fence in Hannibal, Mo., and it would be wildly entertaining. And thought-provoking. Whatever it is you're paying him, it's not enough.


Fort Smith

For the math whizzes

Regarding "By the numbers" editorial: "There are three types of people in the world. Those who are good at math, and those who aren't."

Damn, that's funny! None of the people I run with get it. Guess I'll have to move. Love your writing.



Has common sense

I'm grateful that here in Arkansas we have a governor with common sense. Governor Hutchinson gives the impression that he weighs both the pros and the cons when it comes to actions that we can take in our state to combat the pandemic. This is certainly in contrast to some other states where it seems that their governors just issue orders without any thought of the impact that they will have on their population and/or their economy. I hope that he continues his present levelheaded actions. In these trying times, we need more leaders like him.


North Little Rock

Closer to the center

After voter suppression, attempts at vote count suppression and now attempts at electoral college vote changing by Republican legislatures, President-elect Biden will still be sworn in on Jan. 20.

President Trump is attempting to destroy democratic institutions such as a free press and free and fair elections. No president in history has ever done this. Republican secretaries of state and election commissioners in states that went to Biden have been pressured to change counts and have received death threats, this from other Republicans. Trump says it is a rigged election if he loses, but OK if he wins. He said the same in 2016.

More lies from the man who has lied from his first campaign (Obama birtherism). His continual lying regarding covid has cost lives of people who believe him and don't take precautions. Once he is gone I hope Republicans throw off the shackles of Trumpism. The far left and far right cannot keep the ship of state on course; only the center where Republicans and Democrats of good will are willing to compromise can do that. Three things that might bring us all closer to the center are (1) reapportionment after each census should be taken out of the hands of politicians; more areas with mixed political views make it harder to lean left or right; (2) presidential candidates should be nominated and determined by party conventions, not primaries; and (3) presidents should be decided by popular vote. No country on Earth but ours says you won the vote but lost the election. Biden has won by more than 5.9 million votes and counting. He got more votes than anyone in history.

At some point we need to start listening to the better angels of our nature.



Inconvenient, sure

I've just made a list of the inconveniences that go along with wearing a mask. The list is quite long, but that is nothing compared to the inconvenience of contracting/spreading covid-19. Exceptions for folks who have valid reasons not to do so. As for the rest of us: Let's wear the mask.


Little Rock


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