Over to you. Closing out, in addition to a little soulful singing from the president, joining a long line of tuneful top dogs:
* PRISON GUARD SLAIN: Barbara Ester, a female prison guard, was stabbed to death with a homemade knife at the Brickeys unit by an inmate serving a life sentence for murder. According to Channel 11, Latavious Johnson reportedly stabbed her repeatedly after she entered his cell to check contraband tennis shoes.
* JUDICIAL NOMINATION: The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on the nomination of Kristine Baker of Little Rock to an eastern district federal judgeship the afternoon of Jan. 26. Can President Obama sneak another appointee through from Arkansas before the election year is out? Her support from both Sens. Mark Pryor and Dr. No Boozman, could help her with Republicans who’ve slowed judicial confirmations to a crawl. Glenn Sugameli, who follows nominations closely for Judging the Environment, predicts the Baker nomination will be confirmed this year.
* SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND PROPERTY: A neighbor reports that the Board of the Schools for the Blind and Deaf continued to discuss last night what to do about 10 acres of state land leased to Easter Seals at the end of Lee Avenue across a ravine from the campus. Easter Seals has vacated and wants to sell its leasehold and the building, but neighbors objected to their proposed commercial buyer and have contended the lease should be voided because Easter Seals violated its terms by ending rehabilitation services there. Doug Martin, a Stephens Inc. executive, has proposed to buy the property for a single-family house, with half the property permanently dedicated to park land. The talks continue.
* GO, NEWT, GO: Gallup says Romney numbers are collapsing nationally.