Sen. Blanche Lincoln is holding firm on her legislation to remove derivatives business from banks. However cynical her calculation, it has succeeded in giving her a purchase on the title scourge of Wall Street. How valuable this is in Arkansas is a question I can’t answer.

This did occur to me: I guess the Walton family doesn’t plan to get into the derivatives business any time soon through their bank. Otherwise, this legislation would evaporate in Lincoln’s continuing effort to serve the interests of the Billionaires of Bentonville.

But maybe I’m wrong. Other news headlines today talk of the Waltons’ aggressive move into retail banking, a move community banks hope to deter in financial reform legislation. Maybe Lincoln will line up with the community banks on that. Think?

SECOND CITY: Would Fayetteville center become second-string if expansion takes place in Bentonville?

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  • SECOND CITY: Would Fayetteville center become second-string if expansion takes place in Bentonville?

The Billionaires of Bentonville are all over the papers today, in fact. They’ve sent word, as long expected, that there’s only one place for a bigger fine arts center in Northwest Arkansas if the backers expect major Walton financial support. That would be Bentonville, where it would complement the Waltons’ coming Crystal Bridges art museum. The Fayetteville arts center would remain, but as a smaller player.

Someday, it will be interesting to see what is generally recognized as the first city of Northwest Arkansas. Will it still be Fayetteville, home of the University of Arkansas (unless the Waltons pay to move it to Bentonville —don’t laugh), or will it be the booming Bentonville, with its growing roster of Walton-funded amenities, along with the job-rich headquarters of their Walmart store chain?

UPDATE: Here’s the letter from the Walton Family Foundation indicating it would give major support only to a Bentonville expansion. The Walton Arts Center response is on the jump.