The Friday night line commences. Finishing up:
* ON THE FARM: Democrat Scott Ellington goes after agricultural issues, one of Republican Rep. Rick Crawford’s several failings, in a new ad posted on YouTube above.
* UCA AGREEMENT WITH OXFORD AMERICAN: The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees will meet next Friday and items include a memorandum of understanding with Oxford American, the magazine that has gotten some $50,000 annually in university support, as well as $690,000 in loans and office space to locate there. I received a draft of the proposed memorandum today through an FOI request to the university. The agreement would continue office space, $50,000 in annual expense payments. OA would provide two pages of UCA advertising in each issue of the magazine, guarantee at least two intern slots on the magazine each semester, create an editorial board including two UCA faculty members, work with UCA on joint writing projects, have an event on campus each year to promote OA and UCA. The magazine agrees to pay back the loans, at least half within five years (a commitment board member Rick Massey had made previously.) Oxford American Publisher Warwick Sabin was traveling today and I haven’t been able to talk to him except by brief e-mail, but this five-year agreement, if approved by the UCA Board, would appear to continue the association with UCA. The magazine has business offices in Little Rock and ambitious plans to use its headquarters on Main Street for dining and events as well as offices. A UCA spokesman said the proposal, as a draft, could be changed before Friday.
* BILLION DOLLAR TEASE: Talk Business reports hints of a potential $1 billion economic development prospect in
* ANOTHER JUDICIAL VACANCY: I mentioned this morning Judge Susan Webber Carter’s plan to take senior status, a form of retirement, next year. A reliable source says that though his name doesn’t appear yet on an official list, many lawyers expect federal Judge Jimm Hendren also to move to senior status before long. That would provide another seat to fill by Senator Mark Pryor or Senator Dr. No Boozman, depending on November. Hendren, 72, is also a George H.W. Bush appointee.
* DIANNE CURRY DRAWS LATINO SUPPORT: A backer of Dianne Curry, the incumbent school board currently in a runoff for her seat with , forwards me a letter from Terry Trevino-Richard that says he and his wife Rocio are supporting Curry personally in her race, though the nonprofit group he heads, the League of United Latin American Citizens, doesn’t make political endorsements. Trevino-Richard, who teaches at UALR, is the author of a study in recent controversy in the school district about complaints of mistreatment of Latino students by blacks and insufficient response by school officials.
* PORTIS BOOK REVIEWED IN NY TIMES: “Escape Velocity,” the selection of Charles Portis’ shorter works edited by Jay Jennings, is reviewed in this Sunday’s Times Book Review. Reviewer Carlo Rotella is clearly a fan, but he probably does other fans “jonesing for that sixth novel” no service by floating rumors one might be in the works. That prospect seems remote. Rotella says the collection stands well on its own, but also as a key to explaining his novels. His work as a journalist is illuminating, too, he said.
It’s a little startling, at first, to see the grand dragon, Bull Connor and Dick Gregory, among others, sketched as Portis characters in his journalism. But you begin to see how they share with his narrating persona and his fictional creations a heightened sense of self and mission, an urge to assert themselves in the world, an awareness of the grand sweep of history on the one hand and the ever-present threat of ridiculousness on the other.