New press agent working wonders for Arkansas

Posted: April 11, 2017 at 1 a.m.

New press agent working wonders for Arkansas

I believe the state of Arkansas has hired a new press agent, appointed by the governor, and I must say he or she is doing a marvelous job. Usually a quiet, unassuming state, not given to great newsmaking except for the the odd double murder or horrific tornado disaster, Arkansas has burst onto the national media scene lately with several most newsworthy events. Examples are as folllows:

Page 9 of the Sunday, April 2, New York Times details new legislation that says Arkansas doctors must investigate the pregnanacy history of any woman seeking an abortion, to be sure she is not choosing abortion as "sex-selection." Apparently this is a problem in our state that most of us did not know about, but old reliable Charlie Collins did, and he is avowed to stop it. Invasion of privacy? Charlie says that is a "trade-off."

Page 19 of the same Times discusses our new exemption from handguns at college sporting events. This was made necessary by the Southeastern Conference's objection to fans having access to both alcohol and firearms at a partisan athletic event. The Legislature says this is an allowable infringement on Second Amendment rights because otherwise the Hogs might get booted from the conference.

Our new-found media attention is not limited to print. I heard an interview on NPR last week with a criminology professor who discussed the negative psychological effects on corrections officers on having eight executions in a little more than week. He says it makes them depressed and unable to do their jobs properly, not to mention the negative vibes for the prisoners. I expect a follow-up story on that issue as soon as we complete the death sentences. The new press agent can stretch that story out, if he or she is any good at all.

Most of the other stuff I've been reading about the Natural State has to do with the Legislature grappling with the consequences of medical marijuana. They don't like it, don't want you to smoke it, and want you to pay lots of taxes to use it. Of course, you are supposed to be sick to get the stuff, but still, gosh, it's dope!

The best news should not go unmentioned. A teenager found a seven-carat diamond at the Crater of Diamonds. He said he wanted to keep it as a souveneir rather than sell it. Good for him.

Stay tuned.

David Crittenden


Resistance to climate change is futile

In the face of tremendous irony, Mr. Ronald Karron's April 7 letter denying "global warming" was published on the heels of terrific pieces by Dr. Robert McAfee, Dr. Malcolm Cleaveland, the columns of Dr. Art Hobson as well as some great recent guest writers and Voices page contributors. Their expertise continues to inform me.

It is a mystery to me why there is such debate over such obvious global climate disruption. Perhaps confusion stems from the terms "weather" and "climate," which are not synonymous. I look at it in the easiest way possible: Weather is what's happening in my local area; climate is weather over time -- a trend. It is not as simple as "If it's snowing at my house, then there is no such thing as global warming" despite the misinformation spewing from Fox News.

From disappearing animal, marine and insect species to devastating droughts; from torrential rains to encroaching deserts; from disappearing glaciers to melting polar ice; from dangerous sea-level rise to the loss of critical plant species that feed the world -- climate change is happening. It is real. It is visible. It is devastating. It is measurable, provable. It is the stuff of terrorism, territorial wars over critical resources, eco-migrations, hunger, hopelessness and death.

It is time for all of us to learn all we can, "fess-up" to our roles in the degradation of our planet, and get ready for the bumpiest ride imaginable.

Welcome to the Anthropocene, folks.

Linda A. Farrell

Bella Vista

Commentary on 04/11/2017