Another week done. Finishing up early and opening the line:
* SCHOOL EMPLOYEE INSURANCE TALKS: Legislation is floating about some sort of fix of public school employee health insurance. The surplus would reduce rate increase impact in the year beginning Jan. 1. After that, surplus and some redirected money would sustain that. There’s not yet agreement on a long-term fix, which Gov. Mike Beebe has said he wanted. A modest rate increase, which an infusion of money would produce, still would only slow the death spiral of a plan that is underutilized and overly generous. The plan also likely means higher deductibles for members.
* BEST SPORTS COMMENTATOR IN ARKANSAS: That would be former Hog great Bruce James, who has a fine interview with Jim Harris on Sporting Life Arkansas. Money quote:
Bruce: In all due respect, most fans know very little about football. They think if they played high school or junior high football that they know everything about the college game. They do poorly in studying the Arkansas opponents. It’s always been this way in this state. If Arkansas wins a game or two, then they are world-beaters, and if they lose a game or two, the coaches need to be fired. I don’t read message boards or listen to call-in shows because it’s comical to me they think they can come up with the solutions that would work in place of the guy they are paying $3 million to coach.
* OUT OF WORK YET? The furlough toll continues to mount, with heavy blows in such non-essential areas as child abuse workers and the National Guard. Keeping up is sort of pointless. The growth will be exponential (catastrophic on Nov. 1) unless House Republicans come to their senses. Remember, their condition of reopening government seems to remain further damaging budget cuts first. If not Obamacare, federally supported jobs like yours or your friends are in their sights’. And, despite talk of progress on ending the Republican hostage crisis, it appears they still haven’t let go of attacking Obamacare. Some 1,600 state employees get furloughed Monday.
* THERE WILL BE BLOOD: Mayflower is hardly the beginning of oil spill calamities. An ocean gushed unnoticed for a good while on a North Dakota wheat field. Lion Oil spills of some magnitude have occurred in South Arkansas. (Like 1,500 barrels here.) Paging Tim Griffin. Where are your press releases on these other victims of Big Oil pipeline spills? Or do only Mayflower residents get concern?
* THIS EVER HAPPEN TO YOU?: Sit around watching TV, getting drunked up, getting mad at stupid politicians? Whatever you do, don’t call a national park and threaten to blow up their tower. You could get arrested.
* THE CLUB FOR GROWTH MOGULS STAND MUTE: Washington Post tried to get comments from some of the fatcat magnates who bankroll the Club for Growth and its campaign to encourage government shutdown and debt default as strategies to reduce government spending. You’d think professional financiers might have some thoughts. They don’t want to talk to the press. They didn’t seek major donor Jackson T. Stephens Jr. of Little Rock. He’s not exactly a professional money manger, but more of a spender of the fortune he inherited from his father.