When President Obamaâ€™s $825 billion stimulus bill was signed into law, he promised it would save or create 3.5 million jobs and keep the unemployment rate below 8 percent. Three years later, with 12.7 million Americans looking for work and unemployment above 8 percent for 37 straight months and counting, the economic recovery President Obama promised us still hasnâ€™t happened. By any standard, the stimulus has failed and only served to dig our country deeper into debt.
The Benton School Board took a bold step this week. Not only did it take measures to complete the sports complex but it also helped chart a course, along with others in the city, to set a footprint downtown that could dramatically change the complexion of Benton.
Recently, I had the good fortune of unfettered free time. A full day or two of nothing specifically planned to do. No agenda. No deadlines. No particular place to go. And thatâ€™s exactly where I went. Nowhere in particular...at least that was the plan. Unbeknownst to me, circumstances and surroundings had been charted for me.
I spent time exploring our fine county of Saline. The only goal I had was to find places to photograph interesting scenes, objects or people.
The scenes and people were interesting, but it was the objects that caught my imagination.
Watching the Academy Awards has been a ritual for most of my life.
My enthusiasm for the broadcast has waned in recent years since I don't go to the movies the way I did in earlier years.
In previous decades, I watched every movie, I knew facts about all the actors and I could spout out personal and professional information about most of them.
Several weeks ago I wrote a column about how important the early pamphleteers were to our nationâ€™s freedom. Part of that tome also pointed to how changing technologies had rendered the need for a printing press moot and that one of the Internetâ€™s greatest boons to mankind and freedom was that anyone with access can make their opinions known.
While I'm a staunch supporter of progress â€” real progress, not just change for change's sake â€” I do find it sad to see the passing of many institutions that once were at the heart of community life. Particularly in small towns.
One such entity that is a rarity today is the women's dress shop.
Every little town of any appreciable size had a nice dress shop and a men's shop. Benton can still boast having this for the male customer in Rhea's, but places like The Fashion, The Style Shop, The Happening (and others I may not recall here) are relegated to memory.
Lessons about life seem to just happen to me when I least expect it. The month of August has provided manyâ€¦and from the least likely of sources. Oddly enough, the catalyst for this month long journey of introspection and odd circumstances began with reading a flyer at work that I received in the mail.
Knowing of my passion for animals, someone recently asked me if in my formative years I ever thought about becoming a veterinarian.
I'm not sure why that never made it to my "wanna be when I'm grown up" list, but it didn't.
It might have had something to do with the fact that even as a youngster I knew a vet had to be proficient in science and chemistry and lots of stuff like that, none of which was my forte.
I was born and reared to deal with words and music and the like. Throw in a little drama and literature also. But nothing of the scientific for me.
I know it may sound a bit perplexing to hear a newspaper editor wonder about a situation in which a local government is embroiled in controversy, allegations of misconduct and counter-charges between conflicting groups in a city. After all, these shenanigans provide a constant stream of material and a ready source of news stories. But from the viewpoint of a citizen of this fine county, one has to look back at it all and ask, ‘When will it all end in Bryant?’
The other day I listened to some people talking about how the sight of blood nauseates them.
"I just about pass out when I see somebody with a really bad cut that's spurting blood," one person said.
I held my tongue for a time, then I had to jump into the conversation.
"You should have had the ready-for-blood-and-guts-and-anything-else indoctrination that I underwent as a young mother," I said.
That training came via my third child, who knew no fear.