Even in the face of seeming despair of high gas prices, a looming debt crisis and the ongoing Great Recession, a good number of young folks in Arkansas are just as motivated and positive as ever about the future.
Rick Crawford, whose personal financial disrepair was an issue in his election as Republican congressman from the 1st District, is a professed spending hawk. But according to a new report by the transparency website Legistorm, Rep. Crawford's words don't match his actions.
As golden jubilees go, the gathering of the '60s Freedom Riders and lunch-counter demonstrators over the weekend was unexceptional: the usual hugs, mutual compliments, nostalgia and jokes about the ravages of age.
It won't end the criticism for his recent unsympathetic remarks to a gay political organization, but Gov. Mike Beebe has at least declined to attend or endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry's gay-bashing extravaganza, scheduled for Houston next month.
After years of unprincipled money-grubbing, of banishing truth from his media outlets, of turning good newspapers into bad ones and making bad ones worse, what could Rupert Murdoch do that would lower him even further in the estimation of his fellow man? Now we know.
The Get Motivated! Business Seminar, featuring Laura Bush, Bill Cosby, Rudy Giuliani, Lou Holtz, Colin Powell and other muckety-mucks is coming to Verizon Arena on Aug. 30, and it's only $1.95 per person or $9.95 for an entire office. That's a steal, right?
Although the federal courthouse at Little Rock has been expanded and renovated in recent years, at considerable expense, Judge Morris S. Arnold of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals continues to rent space in a private office building. Public money pays the rent.
A new report on the amount of revenue the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery will be able to pass on to Arkansas college students this year finds the final tally is near $4 million dollars less than the revenue projection made by lottery director Ernie Passailaigue in late June on the day of the end of the lottery's fiscal year.
The former Harvest Foods building in the Riverdale shopping center will be branded as a Walmart Neighborhood Market, but will be more than 50 percent larger than the usual 40,000-square-foot model. It will have some 20,000 square feet of general merchandise, sort of a mini-Supercenter.
It was a good week for: the state budget, the University of Arkansas System, bikers and hikers, the UA Athletic Department and Joe Black. It was a bad week for transparency in the Arkansas Legislature.
A group called Conservative Arkansas announces a new website delving into a worthy subject — the practice of nearly all state legislators to enhance their pay by nakedly unconstitutional payments masked (poorly) as expense reimbursements.
At this morning's meeting of the Arkansas Lottery Commission, Ernie Passailaigue said the news that the lottery would only be able to pass on $94.2 million — instead of his earlier projection of $98 million — to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education came as a surprise to him, even though he'd publicly quoted the $98 million figure as late as June 30 (which is the last day of the Lottery's fiscal year).
Given the blizzard of Republican Party and aligned media noise about this race, you can understand the Democratic Party's desire to gloat a bit with the statement on the jump on Hudson Halllum's victory in the special state House race from Crittenden County.
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees will interview two candidates today for president of the UA System — John Churchill, who heads the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and Donald Bobbitt, provost of the University of Texas at Arlington.
Thanks to a tipster for a newly released Legislative Audit report on the Highway and Transportation Department.In brief: The auditors will refer to the Pulaski prosecuting attorney their finding that employees in the department's legal division, headed by Robert Wilson, have been improperly getting a half-day off, with pay, every three weeks, and an additional two hours paid time off (it's not clear if this is every three weeks or more or less frequently) for doctors appointments and "personal errands."
How often do you get cracked up by a restaurant? I mean, seriously laughing hard for a good reason or two? I have to say, I was more amused by Herman’s Ribhouse in Fayetteville than I have been by any restaurant in a long time. The fact they put out a damn good burger just enhances the restaurant’s esteem with me.
As I suggested the other day, a lot of people though Attorney General Dustin McDaniel had big-footed the State Police awards lunch the other day — some nonentity named Mike Beebe was the speaker — by insisting on airing a video of McDaniel, then in Hawaii, announcing that he was directing $700,000 from settlement of a lawsuit with drug companies to build a State Police classroom building at its shooting range in Wrightsville.
Jason Tolbert reports that the Sebastian prosecutor has filed a misdemeanor charge against State Police employee Chris Anderson for improperly accessing Arkansas Crime Information Center records on Tom Fite, a Republican candidate for state legislature.
I've been in and out all day, unable to get people on the phone, but here's a response from Randy Ort of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department responding to written questions about the new state audit that found abuse of time off policies in the legal division of the highway department.
I mentioned yesterday that Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office had spent roughly $6,000 on a brief video by which he announced at a State Police awards ceremony his decision to take $700,000 won in a lawsuit against drug companies to a classroom building at the State Police shooting range.
Stanley Reed, the Marianna farmer and lawyer who'd been a top contender yesterday for the job of University of Arkansas System president, died this morning in a one-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 64 east of Augusta, about a mile east of Highway 33.
Sen. Paul Bookout (D-Jonesboro), who's been a funeral director, is going to work for St. Bernards Healthcare in Jonesoboro as administrative director for system relations and government/public affairs at St. Bernards.
This week we're talking about the new UA System president, the latest in the legal battle over the SWEPCO coal fired plant, shortfalls at the Arkansas Lottery, the twice-fired State Trooper reinstated by the Arkansas State Police Commission, Dustin McDaniel's costly video blunder, state redistricting and, with A&E editor Robert Bell, the much-hyped US release of Spotify and the emerging landscape of digital music streaming.
The line is open. Final note:
* MORE HARD TIME: Federal Judge Bill Wilson today gave Cabot bookie George Wylie Thompson 103 months in prison for charges connected to gambling, a sham marriage and illegal firearms purchases.
I know nothing beyond the name on the current list of candidates who've filed for local school board seats, but a candidate — Norma Jean Johnson — has filed for the Zone 1 seat on the Little Rock School Board held by long-time member Katherine Mitchell.
Not mad yet? The first paragraph of James Stewart's Page One analysis in the NY Times today should do it:
The economy is still suffering from the worst financial crisis since the Depression, and widespread anger persists that financial institutions that caused it received bailouts of billions of taxpayer dollars and haven’t been held accountable for any wrongdoing.
Republican senators Fireball Holland and Death Star II Rapert lead the list of complaints in this Stephens Media article about the Senate districts proposed by Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, the Democratic majority on the state Board of Apportionment.
John Brummett reviews the latest hiccups at the Arkansas Lottery Commission and seems to conclude, on balance, that director Ernie Passailaigue is doing a pretty good job, though better on the startup than ongoing management and likely to depart before too long.
Funeral arrangements have been announced for Stanley Reed of Marianna. The 59-year-old former president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau died in an auto accident Friday near Augusta as he returned to his farm.
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality today announced an agreed settlement of multiple pollution violations by Poseidon Energy Services, a company headed by former ADEQ Director Marcus Devine.
Or maybe better headline phrase in this context: " ... tu madre, Juan." Attorney General Dustin McDaniel seems to unerringly choose a bad political direction from my point of view as he draws closer to a gubernatorial race in 2014.
A study from Texas raises questions about tough school discipline policies. New York Times reports:
Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece.
Three people involved in a prostitution bust last year in Cabot have filed suit against Lonoke County and their sheriff's department for malicious prosecution, unlawful arrest and defamation, among other things.
The town of Gould's adoption of an ordinance to prohibit formation of organizations without Council approval — aimed at shutting down a citizens group that has vexed some council members — has drawn feature attention in the New York Times.
It's open. In conclusion:
* MAIN STREET REVIVAL: Good interview by Leslie Newell Peacock on her Eye Candy blog with the young man with a plan — and money already behind it — to revitalize Little Rock's Main Street with projects aimed at luring artistic residents.
The Three Mouseketeers of Arkansas — U.S. Reps. Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford and Steve Womack — voted to wreck America tonight by endorsing a gimmicky bill that, credible economists say, would drive America into a deep recession.