Doug Thompson and Daddy Warbucks

A sign of the times–gone
By Doug Thompson
The “Support Our Troops” stickers are gone.
Those little magnetic yellow stickers in the shape of ribbons used to be everywhere.
I noticed the disappearance on the way to a news conference in Springdale on Monday morning. I decided to take a closer look on my way back. I even checked out the cars in the parking lot of the burger joint after stopping for lunch. The cars in the drive-through were checked too.
Nothing. There were none from east Emma Avenue in Springdale all the way down College Avenue in Fayetteville. I looked in parking lots while driving past. Finally, I saw one — one —  on a dark blue SUV in the parking lot of AQ Chicken in Fayetteville. There were no more before I arrived at my desk in deep downtown.
It’s a small sign of what we already know. It’s just a little reflection of what we read in polls, in the reactions of our congressmen, even in the public statements of some.
We don’t want to win this war as badly as we want to get out of it.
Don’t expect some screed about how America’s losing its edge. This disengagement is a totally predicable and natural reaction to years of being lied to and taken for granted. Another thing is that too few of us ever had a stake in this war. We never even raised our taxes to support it.
The “surge” plan won’t work. It won’t work because the idea is to get Iraq stabilized enough to hand it over to the Iraqi government. The Iraqi government is naked, defenseless and contemptible. You don’t have to agree with the Iraq Study Group’s findings to be as deeply shocked as it was at the feebleness of Iraq’s armed forces and the worthlessness of their police.
There is no Iraq government worth handing the country over too. It’s a Continental Congress with no George Washington, no worthwhile Revolutionary Army and no Minutemen. Those are all in the militias who don’t like a powerless Continental Congress that tells them to disarm.
So what do we do? Publicly or privately, we start negotiating with the people who have power. Power is armed force. That would be the biggest militias. Either that, or we give Iraq the best government and troops money can buy. We build up an army and, in the process, probably a dictatorship.
A strongman or an Ayatollah; Those appear to be our options, and either one will be preceded by  murderous chaos.
How little things have changed. I barely remember “Reflections on the Revolution in France.” Written in 1790, I read it many, many years ago, when I was really too young. I looked it up Monday, though. Sure enough, it could be a fresh description of the Iraqi government, as a few of its closing lines show:
“To make a government requires no great prudence. Settle the seat of power; teach obedience and the work is done. To give freedom is still more easy. It is not necessary to guide; it only requires to let go the rein. But to form a free government; that is, to temper together these opposite elements of liberty and restraint in one consistent work, requires much thought, deep reflection, a sagacious, powerful, and combining mind. This I do not find in those who take the lead in the [French] National Assembly ….
“I do not deny that, among an infinite number of acts of violence and folly, some good may have been done. They who destroy everything certainly will remove some grievance. They who make everything new, have a chance that they may establish something beneficial ….
“I have told you candidly my sentiments. I think they are not likely to alter yours. I do know that they ought. You are young; you cannot guide, but must follow the fortune of your country [France]. But hereafter they may be of some use to you, in some future form which your commonwealth may take. In the present it can hardly remain; but before its final settlement it may be obliged to pass, as one of our poets says, ‘through great varieties of untried being,’ and in all its transmigrations to be purified by fire and blood.”

Daddy Warbucks
‘Butler’ service coming to downtown?

Daddy W. thinks the Fayetteville Downtown Partners folks have way too much time on their hands and way too many high minded ideals. Fayetteville IS NOT Manhattan, South Beach, Rodeo Drive, South Fork Ranch or any of the other high-end toney hot spots for the rich and glamorous. The plan the FDP folks are floated around—some call it a concept— is for a super concierge service (plain speak translates to a butler, handyman, gardener, personal
shopper, maid service, errand runner) for certain residents of the many planned, proposed, under construction and existing condos in the inner city. “What?” the average Fayetteville residents will ask themselves is this fee-assessing group wanting to do? Are they going to enter the labor market and start fetching dry cleaning and catering exotic dinners for two? Or is Fayetteville Downtown Partners wanting to perpetuate elitism and stature by forming some type of office to coordinate these activities and assess yet another fee on the willing participants to be pampered just because they can afford to live in some high dollar townhouse in downtown? What the Fayetteville Downtown Partners needs to be focused on is how to keep downtown alive and keep the business and retail spaces full of unique and profitable businesses. If they haven’t noticed, more and more storefronts are turning out to be duds in the downtown/Dickson Street area. This committee needs to address needs and think about solutions and forget these pie-in-the-sky plans.

Another Good Deed
The Bank of Fayetteville, once again, has stepped up to the plate for the on-going medical future of Northwest Arkansas. There was a tiny blip in the pencil press about a $100,000 gift to kick start a new round of fundraising for Washington Regional Medical Center. If Daddy W’s long term memory serves him correctly, the last big campaign for WRMC started with a $100,000 plus gift from BOF. And that, my friends, started waking up other banks in the area – ahem – to open up their checkbooks as well. Yea. BOF, again, leading they way for better health for all.

He’s Really Retired
The ground shook last week along Dickson Street when Lewis Bryant, after 60 years, retired from Collier’s Drug Stores. Truly one of the good guys down through the years, his retirement celebration was a private affair. There would not be enough room in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium for all those who have been helped by Bryant over the years. Best wishes in retirement Mr. Bryant.

Less Hamburger
Tyson Foods has acknowledged what everyone already knew. The protein giant is cutting back on cattle slaughter because of the depressed red meat market. The plants are slowing to 32 hours a week instead of 40. So a lot less cattle are going under the knife – that is until the price of beef edges up.

Flex Spending Fad
Wal-Mart and Sam’s Clubs has joined the flex-spending club.. that is they are now allowing corporate credit cards (debit cards) used in flex spending rewards for employees to be redeemed at their locations. Yet another electronic way to rake in the bucks.

Another Tyson Sign
The poultry giant announced it will not rebuild it’s Heflin, Ala., processing plant that was severely damaged by fire recently. Cutbacks and transfers to other area facilities will help the sagging bottom line at Tyson.

Supermercado…not yet
The Harp’s grocery store chain admits that the Supermercado Supermarket was a good idea, but only downside was the building lease and rent. Harp’s, which sought to capitalized on a large Hispanic food store in the region, quietly closed and directed folks to Price Cutter (also owned by Harp’s) across the street. What’s going in the Supermercado location? Nothing yet.

Closings are coming
Several smaller businesses have announced closings in the area. The Tatman’s of Tatman Jewelry in downtown Springdale have announced their retirement and are having a big closing sale. Others soon to be shuttered are the long time Party House on Township and the Colony Shop near the Northwest Arkansas Mall. Daddy hears more stores may be following suit. Anyone have details?

Daddy Warbucks reports on the local business scene. Send comments and tips to daddyw@freeweekly.com.

Categories: Legacy Archive