The Thursday night line is open. Final words:
* THE MEAN STREETS OF LR AND THE MEAN LR COPS: The Guardian has taken another look at use of force by the Little Rock police force, with detailed reporting on pending legal actions over excessive force. The article includes comments from the Arkansas Blog. I still hold to the belief that an independent review of police behavior past and future is vital to restore confidence in the force in many elements of the community (and not only the poor, black parts of town, but particularly those.) The Guardian also has separate articles on the case of Landris Hawkins and Colin Spradling.
* ENTERGY’S NEW DISTRIBUTION DEAL: Entergy announced today that it was nearing completion of the approval process to switch its membership in an energy transmission network from the Southwest Power Pool to Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator. The company said the Public Service Commission had approved the transfer subject to continued compliance with PSC conditions. Entergy said the company now has a clear path to join the new system by December, a move that Entergy said should save ratepayers $25 million a year over the next 10 years.
* SUPER SID: Article on Sporting Life Arkansas bemoans the failure of Hog and pro great Sidney Moncrief to be chosen for the pro basketball hall of fame.
* GROWING GOVERNMENT: The House passed Republican legislation to create an inspector general’s office to investigate Medicaid fraud. But Rep. Bruce Westerman got worked over pretty good in the process by Democrats who sharply noted that Republicans were proposing to create two new six-figure jobs in the office with some of that free federal money they normally decry. Most of the unit will be composed of existing integrity unit employees now at work in DHS. Westerman said he was sure the new independent unit and the new employees and increased bureaucracy would more than pay for itself in trimming fraud, waste and abuse. The questioning rankled Rep. John Burris who took to the well to criticize the “junior high” behavior. Seemed perfectly fair to question an opponent of bigger government why he was proposing bigger government without much of a case that a couple of $150K employees would suddenly produce huge new savings for existing fraud operations at DHS, the attorney general’s office and the Insurance Department.
* JOHN MCCAIN IN TOWN FRIDAY: Sen. John McCain’s Clinton School lecture has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Robinson Center.
* ARKANSAS LOTTERY OPPOSES LEGISLATED SCHOLARSHIP MANDATE: A bill to require expenditure of 75 percent of lottery revenue on college scholarships will be considered in a legislative committee and the lottery has distributed a statement about its opposition, which you can read on the jump. The lottery is right. If the lottery is required by law to pay more in scholarships, the money can be made only by reducing its biggest expense, payouts to gamblers. If odds grow longer and payouts reduce, the likelihood is that gambling will decline.