April 6-12, 2011

It was a good week for …

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CHILDREN AND OTHER HUMAN BEINGS. The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the meanly intended initiated act that prohibited adoption or foster parenting by sexually cohabiting couples. It targeted gay people — who are prohibited from marrying thanks to an effort mounted by the same bigots who pushed this act — but caused all sorts of collateral damage to families gay and straight.

COMPROMISE. Nobody seemed to like it much, but a compromise congressional redistricting plan was headed to legislative approval at press time. With bipartisan support, even. Which means Republicans got just about everything they wanted.

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The STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. It resoundingly defeated an expansion plan by the LISA Academy charter school. It is not enough, the board said, that you can beat the Little Rock public schools’ overall test scores with fewer poor and minority students. You have to reach the kids who really need it most, which LISA hasn’t done so well.

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It was a bad week for …

The UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS BOARD OF TRUSTEES. A Times FOI revealed the board is operating under the belief that two members of the board can meet and discuss business without public notice. The Arkansas Press Association’s attorney says they’re wrong. Legal or illegal, it’s a sneaky way to conduct business. New Board Chairman Carl Johnson says he intends to continue the search for a system president in a more open manner.

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SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN. A Times FOI request uncovered the fact that he hadn’t been in office two months before he was arranging a $54,000 round of “values” — based strategic planning from a church college-based think tank, complete with a retreat to Northwest Arkansas. An expense account padder as a legislator though an avowed budget cutter, Martin now has a new car purchase, improper Board of Apportionment spending and this on his list of double-talk.

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