Essays/Opinion

Recent Articles

Motel 6, You Might Try Leaving the Light Off

You may remember a commercial where Tom Bodett would proudly announce “We’ll leave the light on for you” to make customers feel at home, but apparently leaving the light on invites another unwanted guest in Livingston, Texas as well.  Imagine slipping into the only room left in town while you’re tired, stressed, and just ready to unwind with your evening meal and catch some reruns of an old television show.  You roll your bag in, set your dinner on the table and flip on the light.  What greets you could easily be a scene from a horror movie for most people.  The room is filled with creatures of an unknown type in the windows, floor, walls, and light fixtures.  You pause just a moment and brace yourself for the onslaught that you are certain will end your life through an unexpected heart attack. Does it all sound like a horror movie?  Well it should because it seemed that way on September 18 as I strolled into the last room of Motel 6 in Livingston, Texas.  The only saving grace, and perhaps the reason I did not succumb to an unexpected heart attack, was the fact that all these little creatures…these bugs…were dead.  They were dead in the window sills, dead behind the door, dead along the edge of the floors and even dead hanging from the walls. I began checking the rest of the room and found a microwave spattered with food on the inside top, a light fixture in the bathroom full of dead bugs, and even a water bottle cap stuck between the mattress and wall which indicated the bed must not have been moved much.  The worst part was that I am confident that the cleaning crews must have seen these bugs since the window curtain was pulled back and clearly revealed a sill covered with bugs. Once I determined there was no bed bugs and there were no other rooms within a fifty-mile radius, I resigned myself that I was going to sleep in the car or the room.  I ended up pulling the sheets down, and sleeping on top of the fitted sheet in my clothing.  I had to leave my shoes on as well since the floor was dotted with little dead bugs. One thing I have learned in the age of the Internet and social media is that major chains look for their hashtag and at symbol’s mentioned.  These chains are especially conscious of Twitter.   I took to my own Twitter account at https://twitter.com/ClintonSThomas and started posting pictures.  By the time I was finished, I had posted twenty-five pictures of the room, and made several comments @motel6 to get their attention or with the #motel6 to get their attention.  Within a short time, I received a tweet back from the fine folks who have assured me they leave the light on for me – that’s apparent by the dead bugs who must have been attracted to the light.  Motel 6 wanted me to contact their customer service number at 1-855-303-0045 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time.  It was now 10:30 p.m. Central time. Continue Reading →

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The Outcome of Confederate Statue Hysteria

 

Dallas is now following other city councils as it prepares to remove a Confederate statue at taxpayer’s expense no matter what the taxpayers want.  In bold moves, city and area councils, are deciding that it is in their best interest to ignore the public input, ignore local and national polls, and ignore the high cost of statue removals while pushing ahead with the removal of these statues and monuments.  They are doing this regardless of what the taxpayers want or request, and they are promoting a form of hysteria, filled lies to meet their agenda. National and local polling has found that most people do not want the Confederate statues removed.  African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Caucasian Americans, and many others have spoken up asking such questions as “Why move this statue after a hundred years?” or “The statue is harming nobody, why move it?” or “I’ve never thought about it before, it’s just always been there.  Why move it now?”  At last count, an NBC 5 poll in Dallas online showed 79% thought that the city should not be removing the statue of Robert E. Lee from Lee Park.  21% supported removing it.  Obviously, if this poll was representative of a public vote, the statue would stay; however, the council voted to move the statue, put it in storage, and move it someplace else…..someday. Former Congressman and Conservative speaker Allen West noted on his site (allenbwest.com) that he attended the council meeting.  He points out that the city has a failing pension plan for employees such as police and firefighters, but they still want to spend money removing a statue from 1936.  He also rightfully points out that nobody has ever complained about these statues until the shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.  In a prior post, West stood in front of the statue and stated that as a black man he did not feel the least intimidated by the statue. Arlene Barnum, a descendent of an African American Confederate soldier, passionately plead on social media for the defense of the statue as she has for others.  Several times she challenged those voting to “not use the color of her skin” as an excuse for removal.   She was one of over 70 people who spoke in favor of keeping the Caddo Parrish Confederate Monument in Shreveport, Louisiana recently.  At that time only about 10 people indicated it should be moved.   Ultimately the committee assigned to review it recognized overwhelming support to keep the monument, recommended that it stay, and offered that additional monuments to Reconstruction and Civil Rights should be built as part of a compromise.  The city council, much like the Dallas city council, seemed to refuse to listen and is pushing forward with a vote that will likely force the removal of the statue.  The statue in Shreveport alone could cost taxpayers over a million dollars just to move it and store it, and that does not even count for all the legal battles in Louisiana that will surely be filed once they make the decision.  A quick run through social media reveals hundreds of comments stating the statue should stay.  It has been on-site for well over a hundred years and most people do not seem bothered by it. Dallas, like most other city councils, continues to state that the statues represent white supremacy, slavery, and oppression. Continue Reading →

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Why Trump’s Afghanistan “reversal” is still America First

In February 1989, Soviet General Boris V. Gromov in dramatic fashion, exited his armored vehicle and walked the remaining distance across friendship bridge into Uzbekistan, becoming the last Soviet troop to leave Afghanistan. “There is not a single Soviet soldier or officer left behind me,” said General Gromov, “Our nine-year stay ends with this.” By Christmas 1991, Soviet Veterans of the Afghan war would no longer be Soviets, as the empire collapsed in swift and spectacular fashion, ultimately breaking into 16 separate nations. The loss in Afghanistan was a crushing public relations blow for the Soviet government. The Soviet politicians as well as their citizens suffered a catastrophic loss of faith in their system. Continue Reading →

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Elvis Left The Building Forty Years Ago Today

Forty years have slipped by since Elvis Presley left the building for the last time.  Jimmy Carter was President, and would speak to the nation later in the afternoon about the legend and impact on the country.  Millions of people would flock to Memphis, stand in the August heat, and mourn the man.  At roughly 3:30 p.m. Central Standard Time all three of the major television networks would interrupt their broadcast with the news that “Elvis Presley had died in Memphis, Tennessee at his home, Graceland.”

It seemed like from that moment forward a musical legend would rise to mythical proportions.  Fan clubs would triple overnight, an entire new generation of impersonators would pop up around the world, and a small-town boy from Mississippi would go from stardom to iconic status.  People would continue even to this day to argue that he’s still alive.  Other people would argue that he was killed as part of a mob hit, and still others would argue that he had to go into hiding because of his work with the DEA. Long after Elvis died, his impact on the four states area is still felt and known.  He had been a regular on the Louisiana Hayride show, often to get to that show he would drive down U.S. Highway 67, like other performers of the late 1950s, into Texarkana.  There are reports that he would fill up at a gas station just across the state line where Almost Everything is located today near downtown.  He would then perform at Walnut street on the Arkansas side.  Today there are still stories circulating about the man who would become the King of Rock-n-Roll and his early days in Texarkana.  Highway 67 outside Texarkana has been dubbed “Rock-N-Roll Highway 67” and there several pictures and stories recorded about Elvis in Texarkana. A few years ago, I had the honor of visiting with a friend of mine from Texarkana whose father had been involved with the stage work in downtown Texarkana during those early days when Elvis and other performed.  She and her friends spent time with him between his performances walking the streets from Walnut down through Broad Street.  This friend told me that at one time a group of them were walking down Broad Street when a Cadillac went by them.  Elvis pointed at the car and said, “One day I’m gonna have me one of those and it’s gonna be pink.”  She recalled that she had looked at Elvis and said, “No you’re not.”  As she told the story, she looked up at me and said, “And do you know what?  I’ll be darned if he didn’t go and get one and it was pink!”

Naturally there are hundreds of other stories about Elvis from Texarkana and the surrounding areas, but here’s a few interesting facts forty years later that you may not know about Elvis Presley:

Elvis’ 1972 Hawaii Concert was the first concert to ever be broadcast worldwide by satellite. During the 1972 concert, commentators talked so much that fans around the world heard more of them than they did of Elvis. During that concert a fan gave Elvis a crown. Continue Reading →

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S.C.V. Camp Places Memorial Stone in Miller County

Yesterday with the horrible events of the weekend still fresh on my mind where people from two radical, and in my opinion un-American, groups clashed in a wrong and shameful way over a Confederate Monument, I decided to attend a Confederate graveside service.  For those that may not know, since the United States recognizes Confederate army, navy and marine veterans as American veterans, the country places markers on graves which can be verified.  This act of honor is done for veterans from the Revolutionary War clear through our recent wars on terrorism.  It is a last honor, or tribute, to an American veteran.  Since the mainstream media seems content to overlook the fact that Confederate veterans have been recognized by the United States as American veterans, I felt it was important to go see this ceremony and see exactly what is done. I met a friend of mine who is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (S.C.V.).  This group is not be confused with any white supremacist group, klan, or any other hate group.  This group works to promote the history of the Civil War, honor their ancestors, give scholarships, promote unity, and ensure that the healing that begin after the last shot was fired in the war continues well into the future. We drove out into the backwoods of Miller County to a small cemetery.  Once there I observed the prayer, a dedication, and the placement of the memorial stone.  As we drove up I saw vehicles from Texas and Arkansas.  I saw elderly and young.  I saw decedents of the soldier being honored.  I also saw a truck of one member that brought the equipment to place the stone.  On that truck a Disabled American Veteran (DAV) sticker was present on the front and the back.  The men present were members of the Major John B. Burton S.C.V. Camp #1664.  They were dressed in jeans, button up shirts or t-shirts, boots or tennis shoes, and several wore ball camps.  I would estimate that their ages ranged from late 70s, maybe the early 80s, down to 8 years old.  They laughed, talked, and joked just like any other gathering that might take place in the community. What I observed at this ceremony was perhaps as important as what I did not observe though.  I did not see or hear anyone utter a single racial slur.  There were no calls for the “South to rise”.  There was no rallying behind a Confederate Battle Flag or cries about how the government mistreats all southerners.  No, what I observed was a group of men diligently dig a hole, place a monument, pour concrete around it and set it up for a man who died in 1905.  I then observed some pictures after the dedication and prayer.  But I also observed these men go further in their acts of preservation and honor.  It would have been enough for them to place the stone, recognize it, and then fan out and go home.  They could have done this simply because it was hot.  But they decided to do more. Continue Reading →

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Author of What’s Really Eating You? Tells How to Keep Back-to-School from Becoming Back to Emotional Eating

 

ARLINGTON, TX- As lazy summer gives way to Back-to-School time, stress levels rise. Families coping with new teachers, new schools, new extracurricular activities and new schedules are in danger of turning to old friends for comfort: cookies, cakes, salty snacks and fast-food, says Renée Jones, author of the new book What’s Really Eating You? Overcome the Triggers of Comfort Eating. Jones says, “Parents are stressed about getting their kids settled, managing the routine and such, so they’re likely eating to soothe themselves—and they are harried, so the drive-through is an easy if not so nutritious option. They may think it will be easier to establish a nutritious lifestyle once things settle down, and yet it’s often easier to start amidst the transition.” Continue Reading →

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Fouke Food Pantry Opens with Success

Fouke, AR- The small town of Fouke has a lot going on these days.  If you haven’t heard, they have an outstanding Farmers Market, great schools, a growing community, some sort of monster legend, and a mayor that’s….well, we think he’s a pretty good guy. Yesterday that pretty good guy – Mayor Terry Purvis- shared a Facebook post for the Fouke Food Pantry noting that it had just opened last Tuesday and Thursday.  Since we honestly did not know this pantry was in operation, we’re thankful to the Mayor for sharing the news….. now it’s our turn…. The pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am until 2 pm and is located at the Fouke Family Clinic next to the Dollar General Store.  They have served well over 50 families in the area and the list may grow.  People in the community and friends of Fouke are encouraged to stop by during operations and see what’s going on at the pantry.  The post on the site notes that you can come by and “see our community at work.”

The pantry is encouraging people to spread the news not only for the hope of reaching more people in need, but also for the hope of reaching people willing to serve or donate.   Currently the pantry is in need of two large freezers and volunteers.  We are sure they can also use donations of canned food items and other things.  We encourage you to check out their Facebook page at Fouke Food Pantry. Remember, this organization is a non-profit organization – so all you big companies in town, restaurant suppliers, and others keep in mind that you are midway through the year – you may need a few tax write offs come January of 2018 – what better way to get those write offs than driving a large freezer down to Fouke and making a difference in people’s lives? Continue Reading →

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Texarkana’s Dorothea Towles Church

 

In the 1950s the barriers set up against African-Americans managed to exclude them from almost everything unless they fought ten times harder than anyone else to get it.  African-Americans were still segregated during these times and one of the many areas of segregation included the fashion industry worldwide.  While superstars rose as models in New York, Paris, and California and often managed to capture leading roles in movies, the African-American women were left out of this elite circle that often led to fame and fortune.  One African-American woman walked boldly up to the barriers set up by society, stretched out her long, elegant legs, and leaped over them in one historic move. Mrs. Dorothea Towles Church was one of seven children born to Mr. Thomas Towles and Anabella in Texarkana, Texas.  She was born July 26, 1922.  Among her siblings, Dorothea’s sister Lois would also work to break down barriers for fashion models, but she became known as a concert pianist and music professor.  It would be from those early 1920s in  Texarkana that Dorothea would leave to conquer the world of fashion and defy the prejudice barriers often found in the United States at that time. Continue Reading →

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Miller County Delinquent Business Tax List Hits Social Media

Miller County, AR – Some are calling it “Public Shaming,” but for the Miller County Tax Collector, she is calling it “Public Accountability.”  What is that “Public Accountability”?  It’s a list of  over $200,000 of taxes owed to the county that is hitting social media today.  Several media outlets have already published the list.  Most of the responses from the public have been supportive so far; however, there have been a few that prefer to call it all “Public Shaming” and feel that it should not have been done. Continue Reading →

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Best Ways to Cut Funeral Costs

I have been an Insurance Agent for quite some time. When one becomes a Funeral Director, Insurance is one of those collateral duties that compliments your skill set and assists clients as they come to the funeral home looking for assistance for their future end of life (death) needs. Insurance offers a vast selection of products based on the needs of the client. The issues related to product selection are that although clients can vocalize their concerns, they often do not understand which product provides the most efficient solution for them. In most cases, their purchase decision will be based on one of two facts. Continue Reading →

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