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Report Detailing Forest Road Disrepair Released as Bush Administration is Poised to Change Roadless Rule

Clinton, AR– A report released today by Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) details the extensive disrepair of the USDA National Forest road system. The report comes just weeks before the Bush administration is set to change the Roadless Area Conservation Rule and shows that the road maintenance and capital improvement backlog has reached a record $10 billion. Additionally, the report states that between fiscal years 1998 and 2002, the timber industry received $140 million in taxpayer subsidies for logging and road construction.

“Our national forests already have over 380,000 miles of roads,” said Don Richardson, organizer for Arkansas’ Heritage Forests Campaign. “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to further subsidize the timber industry’s logging roads when the current road system is falling apart. However, the Bush administration is moving forward with plans to allow more costly road-building in our forests.”

On March 2, 2004, Undersecretary of Agriculture and former timber lobbyist, Mark Rey, stated that he expected to make changes to the roadless rule within a month. He made the remarks after a Forest Service budget hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Conservationists charge that these changes, which are expected to let governors decide whether they want protections for national forests in their states, could severely weaken protections for millions of acres of roadless areas.

“The Bush administration has already eliminated roadless protection for Alaska’s Tongass Rainforest,” said Richardson. “Now, Arkansas’ last wild forests are at risk.”

The roadless rule was enacted to protect 58.5 million acres of national forest land from most commercial logging and road-building. The rule is a balanced policy that allows access to private land, maintains recreational opportunities by keeping all trails open and permits appropriate wildfire management. Arkansas’ National Forests:

<> Contain 95,000 acres of roadless areas in the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests.
<> Have $91 million in road maintenance backlog.

“With more than half of America's national forests already open to development we need to protect roadless areas to safeguard the clean drinking water, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities they provide,” said Richardson. “We call on our nation’s leaders to uphold the Roadless Area Conservation Rule because it’s good for the environment, taxpayers, and future generations.”

For more information, contact:
Don Richardson, 501-745-8266, or
Keith Ashdown, 202-546-8500x110,

Bumps and wobbles...
So... we're back. After a few days of dealing with niggling hostsever issues, the fine folks at HyperTech have got us back online in fantastic form... proving once again that no matter how annoying technology can sometimes be, we mere mortals are the masters of it!!! To which I can only say, Bravo!!!

Anyway, I'm now facing a stack of updates... which it's going to take me a while to work my way through. But in the interim, know that all is well... thanks for your patience... and you'll be hearing more from me again real soon!!!

Understanding IDIOTS...???
The other day, I received the following from a loyal Gozarkian:

March 20th Global Day of Action - The World Still Says No to WarI don't know if you have a place on "Gozarks" for something of this nature, but I have been thinking about this for a while and have decided to see what you think.

I know there are a lot of people like me that have questions of  "Why do People do the things they do?" If you let people e-mail you with a question that they would like to post on Gozarks and then let people respond and post their own answers.

I guess I just want to understand people more and find out why they do CRAP! But then I think about it again and I think to myself "Why do I need to understand IDIOTS?"

Oh well, just sounding off.

When I read this note -- because I know the writer of it rather well -- I started laughing so hard that I nearly fell out of my chair. I could "hear" exasperation roiling along the edges of her cynical good humor. And, I totally relate to what she is saying.

Why DO people behave like jerks? What blinds them to their (self-serving) displays of lunacy? How can their behavior appear to be so rampantly destructive to me, and yet at the same time be so apparently acceptable to them?

Another email, from a reader I've only just recently encountered, ponders similar questions from a political point:

The whole privatization issue is bothersome to me... I can't believe that any group of people believe that the populace will willingly return to the dark ages, although in their arrogance they might believe that the "sheeple" will fall for anything.

I wonder if they don't see any connection at all between satisfaction of the populace and safety on the streets and in the gated communities. Do they really believe there are no negative consequences to money being sucked up into the pockets of the elite? Worse yet for me is to realize that essentially they want to churn the economy, churn the money flow.

When there are laws passed to allow privatization of some sort, they'll push as much as possible to get more passed and extract money along the way (brokers, commissions, fees, lousy investment guidance, etc.) and then -- when it fails and there is anarchy in the streets as in the '30s -- revert to another round of public social security creation and reap money from that process. It seems they are poised to make more money from chaos, rather than peace and harmony.

I suppose people have to come to question the whys and wherefores of all these behaviors and start to look for interconnections on their own. It does seem to make sense to "follow the money" as others have advised.

He penned this brief note to me in response to something I'd written to him, about Kucinich having nailed the manipulative federal (fear and scarcity driven) economic tactics Greenspan has publicly admitted to, and I quoted the following from a Kucinich speech:

The pharmaceutical companies had so much power that a couple months ago they worked with the administration to create a so-called prescription drug benefit under Medicare that was a farce because they took the cost controls off of the prescription drugs they're going to charge Medicare exorbitant prices so they can sink Medicare so they can tell the American public "Oh it looks like Medicare is out of money, looks like Medicare doesn't work anymore." This is the game that's being played about health care. Health
care has become an engine for redistributing the wealth of America upwards. Out of all of your pockets and into the hands of the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies.

All of which brings me right back around the block to the corner where I started, wondering how people can see things so very differently as to end up being polarized as warring camps? I mean really... how many "right" ways are there to treat ALL people with dignity and respect?

And why do some people seem to not care?

Why does any among us choose to NOT look at the "interconnections" among all the various things that wreak havoc and/or foster well-being all across the face of the globe? What will it take to get ALL of us thinking and behaving in accord of the proverbial "Golden Rule"?

In other words, how do we get people to STOP being IDIOTS???

And really, the only true answer I know of is to NOT be one, myself.

PS: I love my new car more everyday...

"Spring Rights Rock 'n' Revue"
Sunday, March 21, the Arkansas Green Party is sponsoring a day-long musical event -- the "Spring Rights Rock 'n' Revue" -- to help obtain Arkansas ballot access for the Green Party in the 2004 presidential election.

The venue is the Press Box, 3301 Fair Park Boulevard in Little Rock. All-day admission is $5.00 per person. Featured musical acts include Blind Boy White, Frank Wood, Becky Parkerson, the Amy Garland Band and Ho-Hum. These artists are known throughout the region for their superb songwriting, artistic ability and showmanship.

Doors open at noon. The Press Box grille and full bar will be open. There is plenty of parking space.

To run a presidential candidate in the November 2004, general election, the Arkansas Green Party needs 1,000 valid signatures of registered voters. Those attending the "Spring Rights Rock 'n' Revue" will be given the opportunity to sign the ballot access petition, but will not be pressured to do so. "No hard sell," remarked a veteran Green Party campaigner about the ballot access petition drive.

"You won't hear any strident speeches or appeals," said Charlie Smith, chairman pro tem of the Van Buren County Green Party. "That's not our purpose."

There will be brief talks between musical performances to explain the ballot access process. (Gotta do something while the drummer moves his gear!)

Green Party members will be available to provide-on request-information regarding ballot access, as well as information and literature regarding membership and the party's principles and positions.

"Some voters may not understand that signing a party's ballot access petition is not an endorsement of that party's candidate or platform", according to Smith.

"Signing the petition simply means that you don't mind if there is
another choice on the ballot. That should be an easy decision. More choices reduces your chances of being stuck between Tweedledum and Tweedledee come Election Day."

"Besides", he chuckled, "An all-day party like this one, fueled by a
top-shelf entertainment lineup, is loaded with opportunities to
demonstrate that politics and the electoral process can be a lot more fun than your Civics teacher ever led you to believe."

Blind Boy White (Chris Thompson, once a Fayetteville ne'r-do-well and local cutup) will open the show at 2:00 PM. At 2:30, Frank Wood will perform, accompanied by Blind Boy White. Becky Parkerson, singer-songwriter of extraordinary and soft-spoken talent, displays her artistry at 4:00. The Amy Garland Band kicks off and roughs up the place at about 6:00. Ho-Hum, local legendary cult heroes, start moving the walls around between 7:30 and 8:00.

Directions: Take the Fair Park Boulevard exit off of I-630 and go south (in front of the La Quinta, not the zoo) to 32nd street. 3rd building on the left past 32nd. For more info, contact Charlie, 501-745-6910, or Anita

For starters, I'm increasingly irked by the lazy ignorance that recently raised our state sales tax... and my plan is to do something about it. In fact, I've already begun...!!!

That is, knowing that this fate was sealed, I decided to take the plunge and -- for the first time in nearly 30 years -- do the lock-step deed with a finance company to procure for myself a new vehicle, which I invite you to have a gander at in the photo below:

L-R: Shawna, Christine, Joshua, Adam, Shalom, and Daniel Weiss, in front of Caldwell Toyota, Conway, Arkansas,  with MY brand new 2004 Toyota Matrix!!!

I consummated this illustrious deed rather quickly and very pleasantly, managing to get the transaction done prior to the new sales tax going into effect, due almost entirely to the professionalism of Caldwell Toyota sales specialist, Kyle Phillips -- to whom I extend apologies as it had been my intention to post a photo of him and myself shaking hands next to my new wheels... but I looked terrible in that photo and my ego wouldn't let me post it!!! Anyway...

ITEM #2 (or is it #3?)
Persistent rumors seem to be circulating that legislative plans are afoot to require all Americans to carry identification at all times -- which as we all most certainly know would constitute an illegal nullification of our Constitutionally sacrosanct freedoms and liberties. Yet a joke I just received is based on this idea and this article is being widely forwarded as factual. Thing is, I checked out the alleged source of the article (The Washington Times) and could find nary a trace of it... which leaves me wondering about a lot of things, some of which I'll go into...

I feel like there is a big wave, a tsunami, just over the horizon.  Examples of this: I have been keeping a community events calendar on Gozarks for (almost) 4 years, and I have been (what many would call) an "altruistic activist" for longer than I've known how to put my  feelings about my penchant into words. Which is not to say that I've actually arrived at a conclusion to this, but it is to admit that I have begun to start. <<<grin>>> Anyway...

For four years (and longer) I've been tracking the quantity and quality of local, regional, national, and global happenings as these are (imho) related to the universal establishment of well-being and peace. And for four years (and longer) there has been (what has appeared to be) little more than a trickle of such activities.

At the same time, it seems that the world has grown increasingly violent. Social injustice and corruption hold the fix of our public airwaves and mainstream media like a hostage as the "might makes right" hierarchy seems to bulldoze everything in its path.

Yet at the same time there has been a steady rhythm. An incessant and almost imperceptible "lub-dub," reverberating with a like-minded pro-peace theme. And now it seems that, with the effervescence of bubbles in a freshly poured glass of Champaign, these spirits are cascading to the surface of human events, gathering gusto as they rise. Thus what I sense is coming, and in fact is now at hand, is as a tsunami of unity amongst those of us who are dedicated to one simple thing:

An afternoon picnic in the park with loved ones, spread on a blanket of global well being and peace.

And I assert that this actuality is, in fact, cohering among us, right now at this very moment in time. I make this prognosis based on a multitude of reasons, factual evidence for which abounds.

For one thing, take note of the dramatic amount of pro-peace enthusiasm on the Internet. Google the term "pro-peace" and you'll come up with over 22,000 references.

Secondly, because this virtual activism is surging forth in the form of (truly grassroots) political rallies and civic events all around the globe and seem to be sprouting up like Jonquils right here in these blooming Ozark hills!!! And if you don't believe me, take a look at this list.

Thus I am hopeful and I hope that you are, too. Because hopefulness is a vital commodity and an essential component of peace. However the cost is admittedly high. Because to be truly hopeful one must be willing to sacrifice every trace of fearful behavior, and this requires an act of courage so powerful that it evaporates the (superimposed and culturally addictive) "need" for fear.

Anyway, that's my hodge-podge of the moment, except to note that some new links have been posted to the Voter Education index (on the right side of every Gozarks page), and to share with you the most recent news release from the Arkansas Kucinich camp:

Voting Your Beliefs: It’s Not About the Polls
The “electability” of their chosen candidate was among the list of topics discussed during an open house meeting of the Arkansans For Kucinich Presidential Campaign, held Sunday, February 29, at the group’s state campaign headquarters, “For Mother Earth,” a jewelry, crystal and hemp clothing boutique in Norfork, Arkansas.

“What it all seems to come down to,” Christine Weiss, editor/publisher of and media liaison for the Arkansas Kucinich camp, summarized, “is that if all the people would simply take actions based on their most deeply held altruisms -- instead of reacting to their fears -- and started campaigning to support what they say they believe in, someone of Dennis' caliber would already be in the White House.”

On Monday, March 1, Kucinich volunteers met in Fayetteville at the Washington County Kucinich campaign headquarters, Sidney's Emporium, a custom tie-dye clothing, wall art, and tapestry salon in the old U-ARK Theater on Dickson Street. Emporium owner and Washington County Coordinator of the Kucinich campaign, Sid Simons, said that Sandie Cloud, State Coordinator of the Arkansans camp, and fellow activists “took to the street” with pamphlets, signs and CDs, spreading the campaign’s issue-based message about universal health care, rebuilding infrastructure, ending war and achieving full employment.

“The point is, it's NOT about the polls,” Weiss emphasized. “Just like it’s not about Dennis Kucinich,” she elaborated. “It's about the message. It’s about the importance of taking purposeful, unified, cohesive, strategic and deliberate actions that are for something we want instead of against something we don’t. And this message is absolutely getting through.” Weiss referenced a broadening tide of public commentary that is building around the die-hard Kucinich campaign.

As one example, Weiss pointed to a recent op-ed by Jim Strang in The Plain Dealer about the man that everyone in Cleveland, Ohio, endearingly calls “Dennis.” Strang writes that in his striding campaign for President, Dennis Kucinich “carries the distilled essence of what the Democratic Party used to be about, and in which most rank-and-file members, down deep in their hearts, still believe.”

”I agree with him,” Weiss continued. “He clearly makes the point that the biggest obstacle to Dennis winning this campaign is getting ‘his fellow Democrats to believe in themselves.’ And we are changing this,” Weiss affirmed. “I mean really, look at the tenacious example Dennis is setting. He is role-modeling the stature of statesmanship, patriotism and courage that does Andrew Jackson, FDR and JFK proud. And no matter what the polls and pundits say, we’re going to keep on waving this banner until, like that line in that Coca-Cola commercial, the whole world sings along.”

For more information about Kucinich campaign activities in Arkansas, contact Sandie Cloud, 870-499-5514, Sid Simons, 479-444-0726, or Christine Weiss, 501-723-4322, or visit
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As always, I'm wishing all of us a life worth living, filled with all those things we prefer, desire, wholeheartedly celebrate and richly deserve to enjoy.

Christine Weiss

Hey! Come visit us at SassafrasWilds!!!

~ Gozarks Endorses ~ Dennis Kucinich for President: Light Up America

I'm serious... Dennis J. Kucinich, Democratic candidate for President of the United States of America, supports single-payer universal health care for all, no more nukes, regulating marijuana like alcohol, free education for all (including college tuition), organic farming, no GMO's, Veteran's benefits, and the end of the WTO, NAFTA, the SOA and the Patriot Act. I mean really folks... isn't this what we're "saying" we want...???

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Photo: Exterior of the Van Buren County Child Care Center building.