You Lie, Governor!

ARKANSAS

BY
Richard Mason

You Lie, Governor!
That’s right Governor, when you say that you are committed to protect the Buffalo, the Nation’s first National River and an Arkansas treasure, you are lying! You say, you are depending on scientific studies to protect the river, when the scientific community has already spoken, and the vast majority are confident that the River will be polluted if the hog farm continues to operate. How much more scientific evidence do you need? So quit posturing! Show me one lying geologist who thinks the hog farm is no threat to the Buffalo, and I’ll show you a hundred who say it’s an almost certainty the hog farm will sooner or later pollute our National River. Governor, you are being “Politically Correct.” I know you are thinking what does politics have to do with the Buffalo? Okay, let’s look at the facts, and see if our National River is in danger of being harmed by our being “politically correct.”
But, first, are we just crying wolf about the Buffalo being endangered? Crying wolf means there is no wolf, and on the Buffalo that means the river is pristine and not being impacted or endangered by present or endangered by future actions. The answer is obvious. We are not crying wolf. The river may be already impacted by the Factory Hog farm as they dump hog manure in 11 fields in the Buffalo River’s watershed. This year the river has miles of out-of-control algae so thick that it covers a large part of the river. That is a nitrogen algae bloom that can be directly tied runoff coming from the river’s watershed. There are many possible sources, but I’m convinced the Factory Hog farm, which is producing an amount of waste each year equal to a town of 20,000, probably the main culprit. With that amount of untreated waste being dumped on land in the watershed to let Mother Nature dispose of it, where is it going to go? Rains will certainly wash a lot of it into streams nearby, and what body of water do these streams flow into? You guessed it: the Buffalo National River! But that’s not the biggest threat to the Buffalo. The Commission of the A. D. E. Q. allowed the factory hog farm to be sited on the worst possible geologic formation in the state, the Boone Limestone. The water that doesn’t run off percolates into the Swiss Cheese Limestone, and that water ultimately ends up in the Buffalo. As a geologist with an advanced degree, who has worked on the ground in the watershed area, and has written a Master’s thesis on the geology of the area, I believe it is a virtual certainty that with this huge amount of hog mature that over the years will be dumped on the Buffalo watershed, the river will be lost forever if the permit isn’t revoked. That Governor, is scientific evidence that any competent geologist will confirm. Check with Dr. Walter Manger, Chairman Emeritus of the Geoscience Department of the University if you don’t believe me.
For just a moment, try to think about the amount of hog manure that will be dumped on the 11 fields—-over the next 10 years—it’s equal to the waste of a city of 200,000 people! Governor, if you are honest in your analysis, you will know the Buffalo we now know today will be gone forever in less than 10 years. How are you going to feel when the National Park Service prohibits swimming in the River and then fishing, and finally closes the River for all recreational use?
Yes, Governor, you have appointed a new commission, and supposedly this commission is supposed to protect the Buffalo River. However, there is nothing in the commission’s charge of action that will give it the power to suspend the current factory farm permit that allows the operator to have as many as 6500 pigs on site. The commission is not a regulatory body, and it cannot regulate what goes in the river.
If the current factory farm isn’t shut down, it is an almost certainty that the River will be polluted to the extent that it will become toxic. But what really bothers me is that being politically correct is going to be the reason the River will one day be closed to swimming and fishing. Governor, you are a Republican, but the River’s health should be non-partisan, and I would think an order to suspend the permit because of the great threat of pollution would be praised by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Governor, this is not the time to be politically correct, and when the pollutions seep into the Swiss Cheese Boone Limestone, and begin to enter the river it will be too late. The seepage will probably continue for years to come even if the hog farm is shut down, and you, by being politically correct, will be blamed. Yes, Governor, if the Buffalo is polluted, it will be your fault, because you could have protected the River.
If we’re to save the river the factory hog farm must be closed and sited on a more suitable terrain. Only then will the river be saved.

A Token Woman

ARKANSAS
BY
RICHARD MASON

A Token Woman

Well, huh; what is a token woman? Of course, we all know, but we conveniently just ignore the situation when we see boards and commissions as either male only or with a ‘token’ woman. Yes, almost all of our boards, commissions, etc are made up of old, white men who either reappoint each other or wait until the old, white governor or old, white mayor appoints another old, white man to fill a vacancy. Yes, and when, low and behold, a token woman is appointed to a board of 15 old, white men, where they can brag, “We have the woman on our boards.” Yes, I know you might say a token woman is better than not having a woman at all, but that doesn’t make it right. “That’s just the way our political system works” you might say, and you’d be as dead wrong as ‘colored rest rooms’. Or you might say, “We can’t find any qualified women to serve.” Really? If I were a woman, and some old, white man told me “We couldn’t find any qualified women.” I’d slap his face halfway to Louisiana. With at least a million women to pick from why can’t our old, white governor find one to put on the all old, white man Highway Commission or Game or Fish Commission or…etc…or etc.
I’ve served on a number of commissions and boards, and from first-hand experience I can assure you an equal number of women on those boards would have improved their function immensely. Actually, there have been several nationwide studies that confirm a commission with a equal representation of women is more effective than a male only board, and while we’re at it please explain why a woman can’t be paid a salary equal to a man’s for doing the same job? Yes, it is discrimination just as much as ‘colored rest rooms’, but obviously we don’t have the guts to stand up and yell “discrimination!” it to our elected representatives.
Of course, we believe the good old USA leads the world in virtually everything, but we’re sorely lacking in gender equality. Western European Nations are head and shoulder ahead of us, and several countries have passed laws mandating equal pay and representation for women. I know you think it would choke a mule to see our government pass a law mandating equal representation on all public corporations, boards, and commissions. Well, we have laws against discrimination in housing, hiring, and a list of other areas of discrimination as long as your arm, so why not make it a law, and have equal representation? Maybe, if our state legislature could quit trying to pick a state book, duck, or dinosaur, they would have time to address discrimination that affects over 50% of the state’s population.
Okay, so the USA is behind Western Europe in gender equality, but how does our state rank nationwide? How about 43rd? A behind the times country, and we live in a state that is bringing up the rear. Yes, it is a shame when you look at local commissions and boards with just a token woman, and then it’s even more shocking when our old, white Governor continues to foster all male boards. Yes, that’s the problem, it’s the old, white men who control virtually all the boards, commissions, and an old, white-haired governor. (Yes, I know I’ve overused ‘old, white men’ but those rascals are the root cause of gender discrimination.)
If we want a well-run representative democracy, it’s up to us. We must post the membership of every local and statewide board and commission, and when vacancies come up, nominate and insist women be appointed. It was a hundred years ago when women received the right to vote and their right to vote was bitterly fought by the same type of old, white men who are opposing gender equality. Only today, it’s more backroom work of old, white men, and only when a list of new appointees are announced or printed in the paper do we realize women have been screwed again, when we see the next Highway Commissioner is a man.
If women were given equal representation and equal pay, our country would have a more representative government. It would increase productivity and efficiency creating thousands of new jobs and improve our quality of life immensely.

The Uglist Street in Town

Every town has an uglist street, but that street can be imporved.

Richard, the Paperboy

ARKANSAS
BY
RICHARD MASON
The Ugliest Street in Town
Well, just go to your local McDonalds, and you’ll usually be there. No, it’s not McDonalds that makes the street ugly, it’s what’s there along the street and what is not there. Yeah, I know that doesn’t make much sense, but stay with me, and I’ll tell you why it’s ugly and why it makes big difference to a town.
Since I mentioned McDonalds; let’s start there. We were in a distant state, and decided to stop at McDonalds for our morning cup of coffee. We were downtown, but the main gateway street into town was just a few blocks away, and in a few minutes we were there and sure enough there was good old McDonalds, the familiar sign, and the Golden Arches. However, instead of a giant sign on a massive pole, there was—believe it or not—a three-foot-tall sign!…

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