Plan doesn't help us
I believe if you're not rich, Republicans are not your friends. The proposed cuts to Medicaid will wreck our state budget and hurt people in our community who already are struggling to make ends meet. Budget experts predict that out-of-pocket expenses will skyrocket because companies will shift costs to their employees. That means thousands of dollars less in the pockets of working people (which ultimately affects the economy). Their plan weakens Medicare. It gives a huge tax break just to people earning more than $200,000 a year.
Their plan does nothing to deal with skyrocketing prices for medical care and prescription drugs, nor does it address the problem of Big Pharma's practice of putting the bottom line before their customers' medical needs.
The people cutting America's health care under the banner of reform have never had to worry about care for themselves or their families. Or, like Paul Ryan, have gotten it as part of a government "entitlement" (in his case, Social Security as a child) and now has the fabulous "congressional" package (which is part of the reason he doesn't relate to our health-care problems) and who now wants to eliminate the programs for his constituents--nice!
It seems CEOs, billionaires and right-wing politicians get the best care because cost isn't a factor for them. The rest of us don't have that luxury. Instead of cutting medical benefits, Congress should focus on expanding coverage for more working people, not putting high-quality care out of reach.
On denying the facts
Bradley Gitz implies that the often-quoted figure of 97 percent of climate scientists believing that humans contribute to global warming is false; and says that figure comes from one poorly executed survey from 2009. Both statements are seriously misleading.
There have been numerous surveys about the number of climate scientists that support the hypothesis that human activity is increasing global warming, including some from later than 2009. For instance, a 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reviewing 1,372 climate researchers, found that "(i) 97-98 percent of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC (Anthropogenic Climate Change) outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers." Another survey is that of John Cook and associates, from 2013. They looked at 11,944 climate abstracts from 1991--2011, with about 33 percent expressing an opinion: "Among abstracts expressing a position on [Anthropogenic Global Warming], 97.1 percent endorsed the consensus position that humans are causing global warming."
Other relevant facts: NASA's website lists concurring statements from 18 scientific societies from around the world and provides a link to a list of "nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action." Thirty-four national science academies have endorsed this finding, as have numerous other scientific societies.
Climate change is undoubtedly the greatest danger facing our planet today, and Dr. Gitz's failure to properly present the very clear facts is a disservice to his readers, to the country, and to the entire world. I invite him to respond--if he first does some serious research into the matter.
Committed to the law
I believe Judge Neil Gorsuch is pure impressive to the point that these hearings in the Senate should be a teaching video. Judge Gorsuch set up class right there in the judiciary committee. Senators who oppose him should have been listening to learn what a Supreme Court or any other justice based their decisions on--the Constitution of the United States. It's not what one thinks, likes, or agrees or disagrees with.
Sadly it seems some exposed themselves as unqualified to holding their high positions in the U.S. Senate. Judge Gorsuch was consistently clear and precise and demonstrated a extremely high degree of intelligence, yet was not a cold, uncompassionate person. He is committed to the Constitution.
Let executions occur
A lot of people are missing the point of the executions. The right to be executed must be earned. There's no sign that says "walk-ins welcome." Let these executions occur. The rights of these men have been violated too long.
RAYMOND G. HOWARD
North Little Rock
Governor Hutchinson: The Little Rock Friends (Quakers) are aware that your office has set eight Arkansans to be executed during a 10-day period in April. We understand that the state's supply of a key lethal-injection drug will expire soon and there is concern that more cannot be obtained from manufacturers.
We are also aware that these eight individuals have been convicted of actions that grossly defy the sense of life's sanctity most of us hold dear, either as believers or simply as human beings. We understand your duty to uphold this value and to provide for Arkansans a feeling that our lives are secure.
Nonetheless, we ask you not to go forward with the plan to execute these men.
As the Quaker John Bright wrote in 1868, "The real security for human life is to be found in a reverence for it. If the law regarded it as inviolable, then the people would begin also so to regard it. A deep reverence for human life is worth more than a thousand executions in the prevention of murder."
Consider the effect it would have if, instead of siding with the urge to destroy, Arkansas held that killing someone is so unacceptable that Arkansas itself will not do it. We believe that the most life-affirming course of action for you to take under the present circumstances is to commute the prisoners' sentences to life without parole.
Abide by your oaths
This letter is for all elected officials, Arkansans, people of all faiths. "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
My reason for sending this quotation: I am disappointed that most who represent us are not abiding by the oath taken--the laws are not to be broken or compromised. They stand solid for each of us. Same is true of the Ten Commandments. Love one another as l have loved you. Powerful words--simply stated--yet hard to live up to by some individuals.
This great country was built by blood, sweat and tears. There is crying now because too many persons are hurting due to injustice, greed and power. Live each day as God ordains--love and service and forgiveness. This is Lent, a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of Easter and the Resurrection. A joyful time for all.
Puppies and politicos
Whatever else happened Thursday, the most important had to be that it was National Puppy Day. Now where's my puppy? They said there'd be puppies.
Great use of legislative time, passing a resolution on the refs at the Hogs game. They have such hard jobs to do. Sheesh.
Editorial on 03/27/2017