- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Jan. 8, 2015

The Huck is back

Rev. Gov. Presidential Aspirant Michael Dale Huckabee—not necessarily in that order—is back. Currently a Floridian, at least the way Bill Clinton is a New Yorker, he was on another book tour, the campaign trail, or both mixed the other day. He popped up in metropolitan Blue Eye, Missouri, (pop. 167), just across the Arkansas state line in the Show Me state. The Rev. Gov. was there to hawk his latest book—God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy—on the ill-starred Jim Bakker’s latest broadcast venture. Hey, what a country, and country in this context refers to the Bible Belt, which is a country all its own. And one that Mike Huckabee knows well.

Brother Huckabee might have made a more auspicious start if he has a serious presidential campaign in mind. The last revivalist to make a close run or two for the White House may have been William Jennings Bryan, who offered a mix of that old-time religion and new political acumen. (“You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!”) If he became a figure of fun in his old age, let’s not forget that, as Woodrow Wilson’s secretary of state, he also foresaw the bloody folly that entering the First World War and Calamity would prove. And to think, it was Woodrow Wilson who was hailed as the farsighted progressive and William Jennings Bryan who today is dismissed as a political neanderthal.

Never underestimate the power of faith to see through worldly affairs, too. But mixing the two doesn’t always seem to have the best results, as the sad story of decidedly former radio and TV star Jim Bakker illustrates. And this is the character Mike Huckabee chooses to appear beside at what may be the start of his Presidential Run No. 2.

Yes, we know, the Teacher from Nazareth didn’t shun the likes of publicans and sinners, but He also never considered running for political office, having a higher calling and authority. Indeed, He proposed a healthy division between the two: Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s, which is still good counsel in 2015 anno domini.

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Texarkana Gazette, Jan. 11, 2015

Opportunity

On Monday, a big change came to the city of Texarkana, Arkansas.

Ruth Penney-Bell was sworn in as mayor. She is the first woman ever to serve as mayor in Texarkana history.

The Board of Directors gained four new members as well. Tim Johnson will now serve Ward 3, Travis Odom was elected from Ward 4 and Barbara Minor took the Ward 5 seat. Allan Wren was chosen to fill Penney-Bell’s unexpired term as Ward 1 director.

Essentially, we have new leadership in the city. And that means the opportunity for a new beginning.

The past four years have been tumultuous for the Arkansas side. There has been an ongoing controversy over City Manager Harold Boldt and the new convention center and water park.

There have been questions of improper, even illegal actions regarding these projects.

Boldt resigned, received a hefty severance and then came back again to fill the position.

That, among other issues, caused a split among the some board members and Mayor Wayne Smith. There were those in the community who stirred the pot and kept the controversy brewing.

We won’t try to fix blame. There are at least two, and usually three or more sides to every story. You can make that call for yourself. Let’s just say the atmosphere at City Hall was toxic. And that’s not good.

It’s time for that to change.

And now that possibility exists, a reason to hope for such a change.

We hope the new mayor and the city board put aside political differences, cast aside factions and will be able to work together for the benefit of the people of Texarkana, Arkansas.

We believe they intend to do so. We think most people who run for public office have the greater good in mind.

But it’s easy to get caught up in political infighting. That’s what happened for the last four years.

It should not happen again.

Our newly elected officials have a great opportunity here. But it is up to them to make the best of it.

We wish them great success.

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El Dorado News-Times, Jan. 11, 2015

Schlafly suggests ‘solution’ to sexual assaults on campuses

In the past, we have at times criticized various political leaders and public figures for saying things that are, to put it mildly, less than intelligent.

Most of the time, these people have been men, but this week, a woman is in the hot seat for having not said, but written, something astonishing.

Enter conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, who is worried about the fact that in most cases, women outnumber men on college campuses, a phenomenon that she insinuates has contributed to increased sexual assaults on those campuses.

Her solution to the problem? Why, it’s obvious, of course - stop letting so many women into college.

Yes, you heard us right.

In an editorial last week for the far-right website World Net Daily, the longtime anti-feminist crusader lamented the declining number of male enrollments at colleges and universities in the U.S., and argued that it may be time to implement quotas to ensure that men constitute at least half of a college’s enrollment.

“Long ago when I went to college, campuses were about 70 percent male, and until 1970 it was still nearly 60 percent,” Schlafly wrote. “Today, however, the male percentage has fallen to the low 40s on most campuses.”

Schlafly then, in an alarming bit of near victim-blaming, proceeded to link the problem of campus sexual assault to the increased enrollment of women.

“The imbalance of far more women than men at colleges has been a factor in the various sex scandals that have made news in the last couple of years,” she stated.

“So, what’s the solution?” Schlafly asked. “One solution might be to impose the duty on admissions officers to arbitrarily admit only half women and half men.”

Thus, of course, denying some women admission simply on the basis of the possibility that they might be involved in a sexual assault.

“Another solution might be to stop granting college loans,” she suggested, “thereby forcing students to take jobs to pay for their tuition and eliminate time for parties, perhaps even wiping out time for fraternities and sororities. I went through college while working a full-time manual-labor job, and I don’t regret a minute of it; it was a great learning experience.”

She also suggested that colleges and universities bring back men’s sports that were cut by “an extremist feminist application of Title IX.”

More sports for men means more men on campus . and less rape, apparently.

Frankly, we can’t decide which sex Schlafly’s comments offend the most. On first reading, she seems to blame the women, of whom she says, “Girls do not want to be left out in the cold (because there are too few men), so they compete for men on men’s terms. This results is more casual hook-ups that are dead-end encounters with no future and no real romantic relationships.”

On the other hand, she seems to suggest that men would rape less if there weren’t so many consensual-sex-seeking college women to prey upon . as if the men are unable to control themselves.

We are comforted by the fact that none of Schlafly’s “solutions” to the “problems” resulting from an uneven balance of the sexes on college campuses will ever come to fruition (at least we hope they won’t), and we are amazed at her lack of faith in our young people, the vast majority of whom are not at college to “hook up,” commit crimes or “husband hunt.”

They are there to get an education.

We are also astonished that a woman like Schlafly, who went to a liberal arts college (Radcliffe for her undergraduate work) would make any sort of statement even suggesting that other women not go to college simply because they might get raped, or make enrollment numbers disproportionate. Because of her education, Schlafly has worked as a constitutional lawyer, conservative activist, author and enjoyed tremendous opportunities throughout her life, and she should not in any way hinder young women from enjoying the same higher education from which she has so benefited.

It has always seemed to us that at the heart of her views, Schlafly would prefer that all women be stay-at-home wives and mothers, and there’s certainly nothing wrong or dishonorable about that, if that’s the life they choose for themselves. But this is the 21st Century. It’s 2015, not 1950, and it’s about time that Schlafly realized that.

And stopped living in the past.

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