Hot Springs Rotarians Learn about Women

Ann Stell on The Back of The Couch

Recently Liz Robbins at the Garland County Historical Society discovered an article written in the Sentinel Record. My mom, Ann Stell McDaniel, spoke to the Rotary Club at the Arlington Hotel. According to the paper 25 men were present including Ray Smith Sr., Congressman Norrell and Rotary President J. King.
For those who don’t know anything about my mother she was a beautiful, unconventional firebrand.
The article was entitled “Rotarians Hear Woman’s Side in Battle of Sexes”

“Mrs. McDaniel, frequently heard on radio and television is the wife of Architect I. Granger McDaniel. She covered her subject with quotations from Genesis down through Shakespeare and Dorothy Parker.
“If we sometimes seem to have an inferiority complex,” she said, “just remember that the creation of woman was done in an awful hurry.
“God took an entire day to create the birds and said that was good. He took another day to create the fishes, and called that good, but man was not satisfied. So God created woman one afternoon while Adam was asleep.”
Her them was that woman’s entire life is wrapped up in pleasing man and she quoted a sheaf of magazine articles such as “Are you Keeping up With your Husband?” To prove it,as well as tracing various fashion trends she had undergone to make herself attractive.
“Man, has seen no need for changing himself,” she said. “Go down on Bath House Row and see him wrapped in a sheet and there is very little difference from the garb of a Roman senator.”
Spiced with rich humor and histrionic ability, her talk was a novelty that rated high in Rotary entertainment.”

The date was Wednesday, September 21… 1955.
She was something.

The Problem with Luther in Prison

I have a friend who is in prison. He’s in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

Upfront, I’ll say my friend Luther, got caught up in something stupid. He was guilty and now he’s serving his time.

I got to give Luther a hug in the courthouse before he was sentenced. And he promised me he would make good use of his time in prison. He really wanted to learn woodworking and get some training in HVAC , so he could come home, get a job with an air-condition/heating company and take care of his daughters. That was the plan. He was going to make the most of the situation.

His plan was a good one but I’ve learned that’s not the way the prison system works. In six months Luther has been moved seven times. He’s signed up to take classes and to work on his GED when he first went in….he’s still waiting…six months later to attend a class. It seems to me teaching an inmate a new trade, a way to better himself, a way to support himself , should be a priority. But that’s not how it works….at least not for Luther.

If a man can support himself, maybe he won’t end up in prison again. Maybe he will change his stars, change his life, and never go back to prison. Isn’t that what they want?

I don’t know….if that’s what the Department of Corrections wanted wouldn’t they make that a priority?

In the beginning, while Luther was waiting to go to an Arkansas State Prison, he was held in several county jails. The first was fine. The second, in Camden Arkansas, was insane. Inmates there were not allowed to have books. BOOKS! Generally jails and prisons allow inmates to receive paperbacks via Amazon. I would think jails and prisons would want inmates to read instead of other things. Not Camden. No books….at all.

Finally, I called to ask some tough questions about that policy. The deputy on the phone admitted inmates could have a Bible or Koran….soft cover…but I had to hand deliver it. So I drove three hours to give Luther a Bible.

In the last four months Luther has been moved in and out of several Arkansas prisons. He always asks for classes but has never gotten into any, and then he’s been moved again and again.

Luther told me last week he’d been moved again, this time to Texas. They didn’t tell him why. Nobody has to explain things to inmates. So far, no classes, no learning just more of the same.

We all know Einstein’s definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Our prison system is not just flawed, it’s a nightmare. The Luthers of the world admit they’ve done wrong. They go to prison hoping they can learn something new, but the system won’t allow that to happen.

America locks up more people every year than any other country in the world. There are countries like India and China, who are much bigger…but we lock up more. And most who go to prison in America end up going back, over and over. Check out the numbers 50 to 75 percent of inmates end up back in prison.

It’s a big business keeping people locked up. A lot of people are making a ton of money keeping Luthers locked up.

Maybe nobody wants my friend Luther to learn a new trade. Maybe they don’t want him to become a better man. Maybe they are betting their future on Luther returning to prison.

Immigrants vs Plastic Water Bottles

Three weeks ago I bought a 24 pack of bottled water. Then, I had a conversation with my adult son, Jack. He asked me to start teaching my youngest child, Sandor, about the dangers of water bottles and plastic bags. Plastic bags and bottles take roughly 1,000 years to decompose. That means those 24 bottles will be gone from our land fills and oceans in 3018. Crap, this planet in trouble.

Everyone has heard of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive island of trash, made up, for the most part of plastic, and it’s bigger than the state of Texas.

Eighty five percent of sea turtles die because of plastic stuff in the ocean.

Plastic crap is destroying our beautiful little green and blue planet. And that’s what all my kids are afraid of….not immigrants. I have four kids and not one is worried about immigrants taking something away from them. They are all smart, educated young people. They are not naïve or stupid. And they simply understand the dangers of plastics and pollution.

They also understand that the likely hood of an immigrant or refugee ever doing them physical harm is statistically minute. According to Business Insider, ” The chance of an American being murdered by an undocumented immigrant terrorist is 1 in 10.9 billion per year. ”

Not one of my children wants a minimum wage job, so they are not worried in any way, about immigrants or refugees taking jobs. Plus, they appreciate the beautify and diversity new cultures bring to America. They love and thrive on new experiences and ideas.

My husband and I will be gone in 20 years and we’ll be leaving the great country to our kids and others like them. So I’m going to follow their lead.  They are not worried about immigrants and know with smart laws and restrictions there’s room in America. But they are terrified of the destruction brought on by plastics pollution. Plastics will take more form them, entire species of animals, clean water, air and land, than immigrants ever will.

You want something to be afraid of? Each day, people in the U.S. throw away more than 60 million plastic water bottles, most of which end up in landfills or as litter in America’s streets, parks and waterways.

We can only make things better when we recognize where the true danger and threat lies.