On public education

In response to the letter from J. Fred Hart Jr. in the March 27 edition of the paper, I would like to point out an omission. While it is true that public education is not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, it is mentioned in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 by the Congress of the Confederation of the United States.

The Articles of Confederation were the form of government before the enactment of the Constitution. The Northwest Ordinance was reaffirmed by the Northwest Ordinance of 1789 by the First Congress under the Constitution.

This ordinance had to do with the organization of the territories of what is now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota. Among other things, it detailed how the land was to be surveyed, and our present system of townships came from that ordinance. According to the ordinance, one section of each township (often section 16) was set aside stipulating that, "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." The section of land (640 acres) was to be rented or used in other ways to support public education.



Observations on tap

Just a few thoughts, observations and questions:

1. Everyone is so easily offended these days. It seems that it only takes one person to say they are offended by something to change years, and perhaps decades, of traditions and practices. I don't get it.

2. If you take out a loan, you pay it back. Not me.

3. Note to pickup drivers (me included): There isn't a magical force field that keeps stuff in the bed of your truck as you travel down the highway. Just drive any road in Arkansas for proof.

4. Can anyone help me understand how their life is markedly better now that all of those mean ol' statues have been torn down?

5. I am not an economist. I'm not. But with our national debt approaching $35 trillion and the budget deficit at $1.6 trillion for fiscal year 2024, where are we getting all of the money that we are giving away? Are we just printing it?

6. President Biden has taken a lot of flak for his obvious cognitive decline. I do envy him in one thing though: It must be nice to eat ice cream as fast as you want and not have to worry about brain freeze.


Hot Springs

The problem of waste

The editorial "Miracle derailed" about "misguided environmentalists" mentions Three Mile Island. That incident, fortunately contained with minimal radiation release, revealed a lack of planning and design inadequacies and raised legitimate concerns that additional oversight was required. Those public concerns did lead to additional regulation and safety requirements that made nuclear power less cost-effective. An equally significant objection, however, was the failure to realistically address the long-term costs of dealing with radioactive waste. The "More no-nukes" editorial also ignores that problem.

The early euphoria about nuclear power in the 1950s ignored the 100 percent reality of radioactive waste. Dealing with the radioactive waste from fuel replacement and eventual decommissioning of nuclear plants was left as a problem for later resolution. Some of those byproducts must be contained for tens of thousands of years before they are safe--a longer time period than any structure or government constructed by man has ever survived. The long-term waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nev., is still not operational after many decades. I thought it interesting that a piece originating from the Las Vegas Review-Journal would seem unaware of this issue, since opposition in Nevada is one of the reasons the Yucca Mountain facility is in limbo.

For now, each nuclear power plant is storing its own radioactive waste on-site, meaning all nuclear power plant sites must be guarded indefinitely by future generations against accident or attack. Forcing hundreds of future generations to pay for the upkeep of sites that only benefit our generation hardly seems fair. We need to give them better alternatives than dealing with our nuclear garbage.

At the very least, any new nuclear power plants should use emerging reactor technology that produces less nuclear waste than the water-cooled reactor design used by existing nuclear power plants.



Missing small venues

Each Thursday I would check the entertainment section around the state. I enjoyed seeing who was playing in Conway, Maumelle, Eureka Springs, Mountain Home, El Dorado, Hot Springs, or at the Folk Center in Mountain View, to name a few. Now all we get is extended coverage of who's playing at the AMP, Simmons Arena, The Hall and other large venues.

You could still cover those, but please consider putting the smaller venues back in the paper.



Recycle glass bottles

It's been recently announced that Little Rock is considering adding glass to its residential recycling program. I hope this happens. When family and friends who live outside Little Rock visit, they assume recycling glass is a given. However, I have to remind them that in Little Rock they can't put glass in the bin. It's time to change that.

Recycling helps the environment, reduces landfill use and creates jobs. Expanding what can go into the cart is a good thing.


Little Rock

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