Ledge update

May 20, 2011 LITTLE ROCK — Officials at the state Department of Human Services are working to correct problems at the State Hospital.One area of concern is treatment of children with dual diagnoses, meaning they suffer from mental illness as well as a developmental disability.  An advocacy group has asked federal authorities to review disciplinary incidents to determine if treatment of children put them in danger. The group also is seeking changes in how medications are prescribed to avoid excess use of sedatives as a method of keeping the children docile.

GOP on health care: Twist & shout

May 19, 2011 The best thing about the upcoming 2012 election is that the ominous “Obamacare” was a Republican idea. But now since this alternative to Hillarycare was signed into law by a (gasp) Democratic president the GOP has been trying to peg as a radical socialist Kenyan — Republicans now have to be against their own ideas.Politicians who are already adept wafflers and wrigglers are shadowboxing with their pre-Obama-Administration-selves. It’s a very avant garde off-off-Broadway production sponsored by Koch Industries and Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Finding of tomb creates mystery

May 19, 2011 An article in the Oct. 7, 1882 edition of the Hartford (Mich.) Day Spring newspaper tells of an unusual artifact found a few days earlier by stonecutter J.H. Cook of Hartford while quarrying on a farm owned by W.L. Thomas in the community of Bangor. Both Hartford and Bangor are in Van Buren County, Mich.Writers Carol Stone and Roy M. Davis, telling the story in the September 2007 edition of Ancient American magazine, state that had the relic been saved, it would have been of inestimable value to antiquarians.

‘Interesting’ communication from students

May 19, 2011 Most of my college students are bright, fun to teach, and work hard.But each semester I get interesting letters, emails and phone calls from a few students. I save these, and occasionally I compile them into a column. Last year I shared some, and I thought I’d share a few more this week. This semester, some of my colleagues have also forwarded some on to me, and the first three are from them. I don’t think any of these comments need any explanation, other than to say I changed or removed any names for anonymity, and some I had to pare down a bit:

Common’s ‘poetry’ not common

May 18, 2011 The first motion picture to be shown in the White House was D.W. Griffith’s “A Birth of a Nation.” Progressive Democrat (yes, I wrote Democrat) president Woodrow Wilson showed the highly controversial silent film that was later used as a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) recruiting tool portraying KKK Klansmen as superheroes rescuing white women from uneducated sexually aggressive African-American men. This Democrat president used the valuable tool of entertainment to communicate an extraordinarily bad message.Times have changed, but the method has not.

Power, love and a haircut

May 18, 2011 My son Joshua bucked me like a wild bronco for years after he was born every time I went to cut his hair. You’ve never seen a kid throw such a ruckus over a simple buzz cut. He just doesn’t like ’em.My friends at church were no help. They’d rag me to no end every time Josh would come in looking like a punk rocker that’d lost his fight with a demon possessed Flow-Bee. “Did you do that?” they’d accuse. A standard volley of ‘weed eater’ jokes would always ensue.

How sleep deprivation ruins your relationships

May 18, 2011 Think you’re doing your employer or family a favor by giving up on sleep to get more done?You’re wrong.We may tell ourselves that we’re sacrificing sleep for the benefit of others, but the data says otherwise. Studies show that when you’re exhausted you’re less empathetic, quicker to anger, less emotionally engaged, and — there really is no dressing this one up — more self-absorbed.Think about it, how focused can you be if you’re dead-dog tired?

Is 2012 the year of the good-looking?

May 17, 2011 During a recent conversation with a friend I was reminded that Mitt Romney and President Obama have more in common than their appreciation of universal health care.Apparently they both have plenty of female (and male) admirers as well.

‘Newt can run, can’t win’

May 17, 2011 Out of elective politics for over a decade, dithering on the sidelines like a moody Southern-fried Hamlet, Newt Gingrich jumped back into the ring announcing plans to run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. And for every analyst and every pundit and every satirist everywhere, allow me to say: Hooray! Thank you, kind sir. May I have another?

Risk of rabies

May 17, 2011 All the articles we’ve published in the Guard over the years about rabies infestations, I never really thought it would end up in my backyard. On Sunday, that’s just what happened. At least, that’s what we believe.