Reconsider part of SB81
I am a retired school librarian who has served at all levels of Pre-K -12 public education (elementary, middle and high school) as well as director of library services for a school district and as executive director of a national association of school librarians. I have interacted with thousands of school librarians. Their greatest commonality is a passion for creating readers and developing competent and discerning researchers.
School librarians accomplish this through the careful selection of both print and digital resources. School librarians stay abreast of the latest media and technology as well as the skills that their students need to stay safe online. In many schools, the school library program serves as a gateway to parental involvement by welcoming volunteers into the library.
Through the efforts of school librarians, the library serves as a safe haven for all students. I invite you to take a moment to reflect on how your child's education has been enriched by the services of the librarian in your child's school, then I urge you to review SB81. The legislation codifies a process, already long in use in school districts, to determine if material deemed "obscene" will remain in the school library.
Embedded within the bill is a section criminalizing the distribution of material deemed to be "obscene" to a minor by school or public librarians. No matter the legal course this legislation takes, I would like you to consider how necessary it is to demoralize present and possibly future school librarians by labeling them as potential criminals?
I urge you to take a moment to reach out to your elected leaders and ask them to reconsider the wisdom of this provision of SB81.
So now, according to Saturday's front page (Feb. 25), we've had another overflow, spilling millions of gallons of wastewater into Gulpha Creek, at least the second time this year. And once again, city officials can offer nothing but excuses.
According to the article, 1.38 million gallons of wastewater escaped during one incident alone in mid-December. Gulpha Creek eventually flows into Lake Catherine, so residents there look forward to swimming and boating in wastewater.
The article went on to cite the upcoming price increases all residents can look forward to on their upcoming water bills, which the article says will then continue to go up 3% annually.
Our city government is currently as incompetent as its ever been, and that's saying something. Entire departments are unable to do their jobs competently, and why would they? City Manager Bill Burrough, mayor Pat McCabe, and our board of directors have shown no inclination to hold anyone accountable, including themselves.
We might not see the effects of the escaped wastewater for some time, but if anyone looks to examples of incompetence, they need only drive on our broken and buckled streets, or take a trip down to the eyesore that once was the Majestic Hotel, which city leaders have done exactly zero to remedy.
My prediction on this wastewater issue? The board will commission an independent study from an outside consulting group that will cost taxpayers a minimum of $50K and will accomplish absolutely nothing.
Lack of attention
What amazes me most about pending legislation HB1174, "To add protections for unborn children by allowing prosecution when a person causes the death of an unborn child, & etc." is the apparent lack of media attention to it. I have seen neither printed notice nor word announced from any media source as to HB1174's existence, let alone its profound and manifold implications.
Rep. Richard Womack, principal sponsor of HB1174, has been kind enough to answer several of my questions concerning the bill. Herewith direct quotations from our correspondence:
TH: " ... just to be perfectly clear: Are you saying that mothers who have abortions will be open to prosecution under the final form of HB1174?"
TH: "Since mothers will be open to prosecution under the provisions of HB1174, what happens to their protections from prosecution under current abortion law?"
RW: "The language that provides the protection would be removed from the current statute."
In other words, assuming passage of HB1174, mothers in Arkansas who have abortions will be subject to prosecution.
I believe it is the duty of responsible print and electronic media to fully investigate the origins, intent and ramifications of HB1174.
Until that time, sufficient to the facts are the implications thereof.
Made in USA -- or not
This morning, my alarm clock alerted me to a new day. As I turned it off, I noticed that it was made in China. I then read my Daily Devotion, "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young, and noticed that it was printed in China. I needed to know the local weather and news so I turned on my Sony TV which was made in Slovakia. I thought that Sony was a Japanese company -- but I guess they import stuff, too.
The Weather Channel said they were using a "European Model" to determine when it would rain here. Isn't the Weather Channel (broadcast from Atlanta) now owed by someone in England? As I made up my bed, I noted that my sheets from Dillard's (founded in Arkansas) were "Noble Excellence" 500 Thread Count 100% Egyptian Cotton Sateen made in Bahrain.
The wrapper on my Dial shower soap said it was made in the USA but my shampoo stated that it was made in the USA of "imported ingredients." Go figure -- I guess it is cheaper to dig something up elsewhere and freight it to the U.S. than it is to dig it up here. I dried off with a "Turkish" towel that was made in India.
My hairbrush was made in Germany and I weighed on a digital scale made in China. It lied. There is no way that I am that heavy.
My toothpaste was made in the USA from "foreign materials" while my toothbrush was made in China. My shaving cream was made in Canada and the Polo after-shave was made in France.
I swigged some mouthwash and discovered it was made in Mexico.
As I pulled on my "bloomers" I saw that the label said they were made in India. My jeans were made in the good ol' USA and my Martin Dingman leather belt was made in the USA from cowhide imported from Argentina. Don't we have cows in the USA any longer? My Ralph Lauren Polo shirt was made in China while my Johnson & Murphy Top-Siders were made in China. No socks today. My watch was made in Switzerland.
I retrieved two pills for my arthritis from a bottle of Aleve (owned by Bayer), and noticed that they were made in Mexico. The Ultra Strength Bengay Patch I had stuck to my left knee prior to pulling on my jeans was made by Johnson & Johnson in Taiwan.
I strapped on my Kimber 9 mm pistol which was made in Yonkers New York using my ankle holster made in China. I sent a good morning text to my kids and noticed that my LG cellphone, purchased at Verizon (once an Arkansas company), was made in South Korea. Before heading out the door for breakfast, I started a load of wash in my LG washer that was made in China.
I drove to my favorite breakfast joint in my Lexus LS460. You guessed it. Made in Japan. I sure hope my eggs and breakfast potatoes originated in the USA but I doubt that they were. I think my coffee was from South America somewhere.
What on earth is this world coming to? No wonder we have a deficit trade balance.