Suggestions for panel
KATV recently ran a story about the Arkansas Parole Board. I have the following recommendations to make to the governor on the operation and structure of the board, based on the boards on which I have served in three states.
Increase members to 11 to allow for absences and ensure the needed quorum for decision-making. Members should come from all parts of the state and from different positions and parts of society. State senators should submit candidates to the governor. Terms will be two years, no exceptions. All meetings would be held virtually and digitally recorded.
All inmates would be provided ample notice of any action the board will be taking up concerning them, and victims (if there are any) would be afforded the same notice.
To avoid potential conflicts of interest, no members of the board will be present or past Arkansas attorneys. An Arkansas attorney would be assigned to the board to answer any legal questions members may have, but would not be a voting member.
Attorneys who practiced outside Arkansas and no longer practice in any fashion may be appointed to the board.
No member may be a current or past member of any Arkansas law enforcement agency, again, to prevent conflicts of interest. Retired law enforcement personnel from outside Arkansas may become members if their past positions have not involved Arkansas.
The governor should strive to have at least one member with a medical background, be it a doctor, dentist, or nurse practitioner, etc., and at least one member with experience or background in substance abuse, mental health issues, and the like.
All board members must be required to complete an annual conflict of interest statement and recuse themselves from any proceeding in which they, their immediate family members or their business associates have a vested interest.
This is to maintain the integrity of the board and its decisions.
After columnist and Lyon College professor Bradley Gitz set a new standard for ignorance about the human body, Dr. Bruce Haggard wisely took exception. Then he was attacked for having exceeded "common sense."
As a child raised up among Victorians and having learned proper manners, how to set a formal dining room table, and never showing up with dirty fingernails, I understood that "common" meant, as my venerable unabridged dictionary put it, not excellent or distinguished in tone or quality; in short, coarse, vulgar, and low.
Perhaps Dr. Gitz should become Lyon College's new president.
MICHAEL B. DOUGAN
Still supporting Biden
Bradley Gitz, yes, I'm still "ridin' with Biden." Your disingenuous column criticizes a leader who, whether you agree with all his Afghanistan decisions or not, repeatedly addressed the nation, took difficult questions (no, I did not like all the answers, but that's beside the point), consoled the families of the slain with dignity, and feels the weight of the office and the criticism, justified or not.
He was not in hiding during his campaign nor "AWOL" during the collapse of Afghanistan, which went faster than almost anybody predicted. He focused on getting people out and did as well with that as anyone could have given the bad hand he was dealt. He is deep into "damned if you do and damned if you don't" territory, and doing his duty nevertheless.
Did he say 300 instead of 300,000? Big whoop. I know what mild cognitive impairment is and is not, and what dementia is and is not, and it is apparent enough to me that our president has neither. He didn't leak secrets about covert rescue missions, withhold information or utterly fail to get people out (how many Kurds got out of Turkey?) as did the prior administration. There is a line between presidential imperfection and unfitness, and it's clear which side ours is on.
Your insinuations are nearly as ridiculous as they are unfair. There's no gold medal for armchair quarterbacking. And the only people who want Trump back are the ones in whose eyes he could do no wrong in the first place.
Mr. Charles Hughes defends Bradley Gitz's claim that there are only two genders on the grounds that common sense is superior to Bruce Haggard's scholarship. Not only is Gitz misinformed, but common sense itself often proves to be nonsense.
If sex determines gender, why is it that several societies, including some Native American ones, have had more than two genders? As they say, you can look it up. May scholarship based on scientific evidence rescue us from such common-sense notions that the Earth is flat, some races are superior to others, and that two sexes result in two genders.
JAMES R. BRUCE
I'm happy with him
I feel I must respond to Thomas Harper's recent letter to Biden supporters where he asks how us Biden supporters feel after the horrendous events in Afghanistan.
To be sure, I think every American was saddened by the murder of our brave men and women at the Kabul airport. And the evacuation was clearly poorly planned. But here's the good news: After 20 years we have a president who had the guts to end this madness that should have been done 10 years ago after we got Bin Laden. President Biden told us it would be messy and it is. Trump lied to us every time he opened his mouth. Didn't matter what it was, from the crowd size at his inauguration to a "stolen election" and literally thousands of lies in between. President Biden doesn't have criminals in Cabinet positions, and lackeys running the various departments in Justice, Commerce, Intelligence, Defense and State. President Biden pays his taxes! How many deaths from covid can we assign to Trump due to mishandling the pandemic: 300,000 ... 400,000?
So yeah, you bet I'm happy with Biden.