Gentlemen (and gentlewomen) grab your NCAA brackets.

The line is open. But let me mention:



* DROOPY DRAWERS: A bare 19 people — most of them Republicans — had the good sense to vote against Rep. Tracy Steele’s bill to ban droopy pants in school. It passed the House and goes to the Senate. I can’t believe there’s a school district in Arkansas that isn’t already capable of enforcing proper dress codes.


* TAX CUTS: It’s official. As I related this morning, the House, Senate and governor are on board for a $35 million package of tax cuts. Some further government trims may be necessary, including pay raises for higher level employees. Could yet be some squabbling over the revenue stabilization act, but I think most of the money issues are done. All can claim victory. Well, verdict’s out on the general public welfare of all this.

* HYPOCRITE OF THE DAY: Let’s give it to Rep. Andy Mayberry, who owns a community newspaper and who masquerades as a government-cutting fiscal conservative. He OPPOSED a bill passed in the House to allow counties to save millions by publishing certain legal notices on the Internet rather than in newspapers. Mayberry, just to show how uninformed he is, claimed that newspapers are still citizens’ primary source of information. Sorry, Andy, the Internet surpassed newspapers THREE YEARS AGO.


* FISH KILL WASN’T COMMIE PLOT/BIRD WATCHING OK, SORTA: Sigh. That big fish kill on the Arkansas River had something to do with high oxygen and nitrogen in water after spillway releases. Next they’ll say the Beebe blackbird deaths has a natural explanation, too. And keep reading on the jump after that amazing news. The Game and Fish Commission today resolved that it was OK to go to selected wildlife management areas just to look at wildlife, not kill it. But the commissioners took pains to say that sissy bird watchers would not be allowed to get in the way of real men shooting stuff or jerking it out of the water. Someday, Ark. G&FC will join even Texas in recognizing that wildlife enjoyment is just as profitable for the state as wildlife shooting and hooking and provide something more than this sort of grudging B.S. resolution by way of a welcome mat to watchers, hikers and simple lovers of the outdoors. But, by Arkansas standards, this remains progress, however slight. PLEASE SEE JUMP FOR DETAILS

* HATE CRIME: Here’s the federal release on the men arrested on civil rights charges for allegedly fire-bombing the home of a mixed-race couple near Hardy.

* LU HARDIN: The former senator and UCA president who has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges filed a petition with the Arkansas Supreme Court today for voluntary surrender of his law license.