White Hall

Capt. Hot Dog is back

Old-timers in Arkansas remember Tommy Robinson. Loved or hated, he never failed to make an impression. He did good. He did bad. He always was ready to grandstand. Probably did more good than bad overall, and that is high praise.

In particular, Tommy dealt with prison overcrowding in his own style. Yep, failed prisons in Arkansas backing up inmates into the county jails was not invented by the current Board of Corrections, despite Gov. Sarah Sanders' rants to the contrary. This was in the 1980s. Same story. Politicians hollering "lock 'em up" but without the place to do so. It's like déjà vu all over again. Tommy came up with the bright idea of taking inmates to the prison gates and handcuffing them to the fence. It was wildly popular at the time in this state.

A retired county sheriff I knew back then had a different view on that. His idea? Tommy ought to have been locked up himself for the stunt. "You cannot handcuff a man to a fence and leave him there," was what the old sheriff had to say about it. At first I disagreed with him, but time and maturity has brought me around to see just how right he was. What Tommy did was illegal. Immoral too. Just because someone is incarcerated does not mean you can do anything you want to them.

Ain't it like "Groundhog Day," the movie where the same old stuff happens over and over again? Please do not loan handcuffs to the governor.



Could be much worse

I hate potholes as much as the next guy. However, be thankful that we don't live where the ground freezes.

I was stationed in Rhode Island for a year while I was in the Navy. There, the freezing ground would cause roads and highways to buckle, forming instant speed breaks. Until the thaw, the only thing that street and highway personnel could do was put up a sign that read "Frost Heaves."

Unless you slowed to a crawl as you went over one of these "heaves," you would take the bottom out of your car or truck.


North Little Rock

Protect women, girls

In 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion state laws, which didn't include exceptions for rape and incest. When called out for the cruelty of making girls and women carry their rapist's offspring, he said Texas would ensure fewer rapes, as if that were remotely possible. The rapes have clearly continued.

Recently, research reported from a very credible source (JAMA) estimates that since the overturn of Roe, roughly 520,000 reported rapes have left 65,000 girls and women pregnant in the 14 states with virtually total abortion bans. A walloping 45 percent of these pregnancies were in Texas. Obstacles to health care due to current Texas law have kept all but a few girls and women with no in-state recourse. Ten or fewer legal abortions were granted per month there for any reason. One must wonder how Arkansas girls and women fare in comparison.

Gripping stories of women who almost died because they couldn't get timely, local care during pregnancy crises are appalling, revealing politicians' often unacknowledged cruelty and hubris that puts at risk anyone getting pregnant, married or not, given the frequent complications that pregnancies bring. The psychological and mental distress of being seen as mere chattel for the use and pleasure of men and boys is heartbreaking. That "boys will be boys" is often the casual answer, and that boys and men rarely suffer the consequences of their part of the pregnancy equation, is sickeningly clear.

Arkansans will soon be out in force working to pass a referendum that provides somewhat better protection to pregnant girls and women in Arkansas. Please join those of us who care in signing the petition to get the referendum to the November ballot. And please vote to protect and respect girls' and women's decisions!


Little Rock

System's messed up

I wholeheartedly agree with the Jan. 26 editorial on our messed-up process to choose presidential candidates. How can anyone justify letting only Iowa and New Hampshire decide who are the candidates for president? Nikki Haley needs to stay in the race for many more primaries. Besides the real possibility that Donald Trump will finally be held accountable in the courts of law, her continued presence will completely drive Trump off the deep end, and he will even alienate his followers.

And why do Democrats think that Joe Biden is the only one who can beat Trump? Come on, man.



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