May Thursday talk commence. But, at the top:
* UP ON CRIPPLE CREEK: Much as I hold dear my hometown of Lake Charles, La., I’m hoping Levon Helm is in a better place. RIP. He died today at 71. Good tribute here from Charles Pierce, with sound track. YouTube has him in action on “Last Waltz.” Primary coverage from the Times coming at Rock Candy.
* LET THE PEOPLE RULE: The attorney general has signed off on a cleaned-up version of a proposed initiated act to strengthen Arkansas ethics law by ending gifts to legislators, including free meals and drinks; setting a two-year cooling off period for legislators moving to lobby ranks, and by ending corporate contributions to campaigns. Information here on joining the grassroots effort, Regnat Populus 2012.
* ASU GRANTS REPRIEVE TO HISTORIC HOME: Arkansas State University has announced a reprieve of at least one year for the mock Tudor former president’s home that had been slated for demolition to make way for sorority house construction. The school will work on a plan to preserve it. ASU had received enormous criticism for the decision.
* ARKANSAS TECH TUITION GOING UP: Ark. Tech joins the parade of colleges jacking tuition up, with a 3.9 percent increase voted today.
* LIBERTARIAN SLATE: The Libertarian Party has qualified for the 2012 Arkansas ballot and nominated a number of candidates, including one in each congressional district.
* GAY MAGAZINE PUBLISHER HONORED: Mike Halterman of Fayetteville, publisher and editor of the Out on the Town magazine, which targets GLBT readers in the Mid-South, has been featured as a “40 under 40” to watch nationally by the influential national magazine, The Advocate. It wrote, in part:
Little did Mike Halterman know that Arkansas school board member Clint McCance’s 2010 Facebook rant about a “purple fag day” would help further his dreams. Spurred by a vacuum of LGBT responses in the Deep South, readers flocked to Halterman’s then month-old magazine, Out on the Town, for a response to McCance. Today, Halterman distributes 10,000 copies everywhere from Pensacola, Fla., to Shreveport, La.
* ALOHA — OH!: The Fort Smith newspaper reports that a planned trip to Hawaii by the Southside High School band may be in jeopardy. They’re unable to find the travel agent who’s already been given $267,500 toward the $485,000 trip.
* SUPPORT THE LAWN MOWER BOYS: Funny one. Nine kids at Huntsville High suspended for riding lawn mowers to school.
* HALF-FULL, HALF-EMPTY?: U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin today bragged about his vote today for what Republicans have styled as a “small business” tax cut. The Democratic Party cites an analysis that shows half the tax break would go to people making more than $1 million a year and that he refused to block payments to people profiting from dealing with Iran as well as pornographers and lobbyists set up as “small businesses.” The tax break will cost $46 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office says it’s a poor job creator, maybe one job per $1 million in tax breaks for the rich. It’s a one-percenter gift and won’t pass the Senate.
* BY POPULAR DEMAND: A video follows that many of you have already referenced. It’s only the latest iteration of a gimmick that seems to work well in every use I’ve seen: Hitler reacts to firing of Bobby Petrino.