Thursday, June 30, 2005

Butch Stone Joins WAI Radio

This is huge news. Butch will join the WAI owner and president, Steve Freeman, as co-host of No Holds Barred. Stone is a trouble-maker and a consummate wise guy. This is going to be good!

The station is linked on the left column with an official announcement on the home page.

Amtrak Still on the Tracks

Read about it in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

There is so much to say on Amtrak, and so few people who care!

As one congressman observed, Spain has a better inter-city train system. It's a national security issue. Where did travelers turn after 9-11? Amtrak. Too few trains. Too little capacity.

BUT, pouring money on it won't help. There needs to be a plan.

There I go again!

Online Publication Ranks Huckabee Top Presidential Candidate

The is from the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas.

Tim Saler, a Philadelphia freelance writer who wrote the article for listing the top five potential Republican presidential candidates said "there is very little unattractive about Huckabee's candidacy."

Since I have covered Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee from Little Rock, here are a few observations.

The election is in 2008, for cryin' out loud! Mike Huckabee has some credentials and it is never a bad thing to have connections with the Christian right. Some of us liked him better fat, but most of the national audience never knew the "old" Mike, so it matters none.

His public record includes a softness on immigrants and a certain reasonableness about running state government. He even backed raising taxes for such suspect purposes as improving the sorriest public schools in the country.

Then, there is Wayne Dumond. Huckabee granted clemency to the convicted rapist despite protests from the victim and prosecutor. Dumond went onto kill somebody in Missouri. Can you say Willie Horton? He has released a number of bad men.

Have I mentioned our First Lady, Janet? let's save that for another day.

Governor Huckabee may someday reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Bill Clinton did it.

Rod Bryan for Governor

The candidate has a clever web page.

After almost 23 years of interviewing Arkansas politicians, I can say that Rod is one of the smartest. He is blessed with brains and that may get in the way of political savvy. He gives lengthy and thoughtful answers. He's for real and that will carry him a long way. Still, you have to believe that Asa Hutchinson would shred him.

That meeting, if it ever happened, would be very entertaining. Bryan has no use for Asa.

He's handsome, overly smart, owns his own business, and believes in a woman's right to chose without going off the deep end with the feminists. He's a Presbyterian. Rod's minister marched at Selma. He is also an environmentalist.

About his band, a listener writes, "Ho-Hum is one of the best music acts to ever come out of Arkansas--including Cash, Al Greene, et al. Beautiful songs, gorgeous sound."

The complete interview is in the WAI Radio archive, which is linked in the left column.

Southwest considers new airport in Seattle

Dallas Morning News

Southwest Airlines is shaking things up in the Northwest. Gotta' love these guys!

Activist wants Souter's house toppled

Los Angeles Times story.

Here is proof positive that the "touchy-feely" element of American politics has moved far right. If you thought the hippies out in San Francisco were emotional, this is a pure case of neo-con PMS.

The high courts knows that the decision on eminent domain has a bad outcome, but it is the law. The justices also told everybody the way to fix it. If people don't like the ruling, and I certainly don't, go to your state legislature and change it. That ought to be relatively simple considering the vast unpopularity of any notion of taking people's houses for private developers.

Conservatives have no rational reasoning power. It feels good to bulldoze Souter's house. I even like the idea, but it won't do any good.

Republican children need to grow up and start taking some responsibility.

Judge Says Case Against UA Student Weak

Stephens Media Group, Morning News of Northwest Arkansas

A University of Arkansas graduate student accused of trying to join the Palestinian holy war against Israel will likely be released on bond until trial, pending the outcome of a mental evaluation, because the government's case is weak, a judge said Wednesday.

Arwah J. Jaber of Fayetteville was arrested by federal authorities earlier this month on a criminal complaint accusing him of knowingly attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The support is wanting to fly home to visit relatives and the crime is allegedly admitting a desire to commit suicide.

Too Many prosecutors. Too much power. Raw hysteria.

This guy might blow up the world, but let's put him on an ankle bracelet. Here, gentle friends, is one more University nitwit. Nothing more.

Thank God above that Little Rock attorney John Wesley Hall is on the job!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Court May Revise Rule On Death Row Appeals

Washington Post

Back when I was on the ACLU National Board, I learned a lot about constitutional law. One thing for sure is that, unlike statutory interpretation in cases like the eminent domain ruling, constitutional issues can come out almost any way depending on the facts of the case.

It's important to know that the high court is not a trier of fact. Believe it or not, they presume that judges and juries down here get that part right. Therefore, it follows that, if all the rules of due process have been observed, mere innocence is no cause to overturn a perfectly good verdict. In death penalty cases, this is especially problematic. Innocent people very rarely accept being put to death without putting up some sort of stink.

Finally, the Supremes are getting around to fixing a tremendous injustice. High time.

Lawmakers Target Eminent Domain

From the Dallas Morning News

Everybody can cool it on the supreme court ruling that said local governments can take your home for commercial development. The long and the short of it is that they were doing their job. No more, no less. Certainly this ruling could not be called "judicial activism" by any tortured stretch of the imagination.

The Supremes pretty much said that it was a bad law and that, if states want to change it, they are free to do so. That is exactly what Texas, and a few other states, are doing. The decision was not a good outcome but the high court told us exactly how to fix it. It's time for state legislatures to get busy.

UPDATE: Progress in WLR

This came from a fiend at the Highway Department. Once again, making way too much sense.


If there is a new business (car wash) going in at Mark & Shack, I hope the city comes to fore and requires the new owner to put in a RIGHT TURN LANE ON MARKHAM.

The City forces others to widen the street in front of a lot when "improvements" are made, and a right turn lane would help beyond means!

It only takes one car in the right hand lane of those going east on Markham to hold up a long line of cars trying to turn right to go south on Shackleford and on to 630.

If the city is on there toes, here is where some real progress can be made in traffic flow in that intersection.

I'm off to call Bill Henry now.

Passenger Group Backs Wright Amendment Repeal

Dallas Morning News

Don't Put Brakes on Amtrak

Editorial, Memphis Commercial Appeal

I agree 100%

Flag Burning

Here is a Letter to the Editor in today's Democrat-Gazette. Mr. DuBose is close to a sensible thought. Read on.

It is obvious the so-called flag-burning amendment will make everyone from the kooks on the far left to the wingnuts of the far right unhappy because it (a) goes too far and/or (b) doesnÂ?t go far enough.
How about we sort of straddle the middle with a constitutional amendment that goes something like this:
"Whereas the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of expression; therefore, an individual, hereinafter to be known as the Protester, may at any time and any place burn and/or otherwise desecrate our national flag. And;
"Whereas said First Amendment equally guarantees freedom of speech and expression to all sides of an issue, any American citizen, hereinafter known as the Protestee, who finds said actions of the Protester to be offensive, stupid, childish and/or just plain ignorant may feel free to beat the ever-livin'? dog snot out of said Protester without fear of civil or criminal penalties for said action."
As the law of the land, this may not exactly satisfy both sides in this issue, but it would give each a modicum of satisfaction, keep from further cluttering up our already overloaded legal system with asinine lawsuits and certainly result in an upgrade to our nation's gene pool.

The right to free speech is our most cherished freedom, or it should be. Society generally demands gomannersers when one speaks, and burning Old Glory is certainly insensitiveive and stupid act. Somebody so foolish as to set that blaze certainly runs the risk of causing a public outrage, and who would convict the person who beat the dog snot out of a flag burner? Case closed. Justice done.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Porn Star Attends GOP Fundraiser

An AP item.

This story speaks for itself. All the "family values" talk is jus talk. No real problem here. All politicians lie, right? Sure. I'll grant that.

Here is the real point of it and the part that is really offensive. So called "cultural conservatives" talk a good game when it comes to cracking down on the 5% of the population which might be gay, but have no interest in dealing with the things that really hurt the American family, such as divorce and deadbeat dads.

Pornographers have an absolute right of free speech, but that is no reason to bring them into your political movements.

It's really about money and power, and that never changes.

Dallas Mayor Seeks Compromise on Wright Amendment

From the Dallas Morning News

Here is a story I have been following for some time. The Wright Amendment restricts flights from Dallas Love Field and, I think, favors flights into Little Rock as a consequence. The law was intended to give DFW a competitive advantage at the time it was built.

Whether repeals happens or not, it sure has caused some uneasy stomachs.

Bush Asks for Patience on Iraq

An Associated Press story.

It hurts too much to watch President Bush say the same things Lyndon Johnson said 40 years ago. It is a little spooky.

LBJ promised that the Vietnamese boys were learning to defend their land. Bush says the same thing tonight about the Iraqis .

LBJ cited the bloodthirstyness of the Viet Cong.

LBJ promised that it was worth the sacrifice and we would not pull out until some unspecified and unknowable job was done.

Sad. Very sad for all the families that will loose a loved one.

Audit questions $1.4b in Halliburton bills

A linked report from the Boston Globe.

As old Ev Dirkson used to say, “a billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Of course there has to be some sort of mistake. Maybe there were transposed numbers or some confused apprentice posting clerk. This can be resolved, I am sure. Dick Cheney’s good name depends on it and he would never associate himself with chicanery.

Some paranoid reporters have been asking impertinent questions about his visit to a Colorado hospital while he was out there to speak to a secret meeting. You would have to be one messed up conspiracy buff to believe that the Vice President of the United States checked himself into a hospital under an assumed name because of an old knee injury and was immediately moved to the CCU.

Anyway, the very intelligent PR rep of Haliburton likened the current misunderstanding to something a few months ago when, due to an innocent bookkeeping error, the Pentagon was charged $200 million for food services. It was a harmless good and the company settled for payment of $145 million. On that basis, this incident should work out to an $800 honest mistake, and that can happen! I make mistakes every day.

Progress in West Little Rock

The busiest intersection in Little Rock is within a mile of my residence. Markham and Shackleford is “ground zero” in Little Rock. This is the true center of the city.

You can only imagine how concerned Marie and I became when the friendly Texaco, which has for years graced that corner, closed down. We didn’t go into mourning, but we were concerned. How could it be that a large service station in a prime location would go out of business? Maybe the owner retired and moved to Mexico? We like to think that, no matter how unlikely.

Our grief turned to horror today as we continued to witness the daily demolition of the former Texaco. In a way it was somewhat exciting to speculate what might go in. A bank? We don’t have enough of those, and each one that is built is an architectural masterpiece. We were full of expectation until the sign went up.

What in the love of might is the deal with a Suds-something-or-other car wash? This is the highest and best use of the finest piece of commercial real estate in west Little Rock?

OK, I am getting a bit carried away, but you would think they could find something more entertaining and significant than a car wash!

Alright, car wash owners, flame away!

Jim Lynch Proposes Countywide Tax

Jim Lynch makes way too much sense. At the very moment North Little Rock’s mayor is speeding like a runaway train to get a new citywide tax on the ballot, along comes the rational professorial Lynch to break the spell.

That is exactly what happened on my WAI Radio show today. You can hear the entire hour in the archive section of, which is linked on the left column.

The other Lynch (no relation) used his memory and mind to take us back to 1995 when Pulaski County passed a one-cent sales tax for one year to pay for construction of the Alltel arena. He says that things are much the same today except that the same levy would raise about $10 million a year more - $65 million.

Jim Lynch thinks that this current competition is part of an old pattern of negative behavior. I reminded him, and Jim agreed, that locating Alltel on the north shore made it politically and culturally OK for people in Sherwood and Jacksonville to vote “for” the tax.

Supposedly, Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines is against the idea because the county jail is in such a mess, but Lynch counters that part of the new sales tax should be permanently earmarked for jail operation and the present annual assessment on cities would be abolished. For Little Rock and North Little Rock this would be a $1.5 million annual gift.

There are public opinion polls that show Little Rock residents would resist giving up the Travs, but that is probably because there has been almost zero public discussion of the alternatives.

Anyway, the balloon has been launched.

Amana, Iowa

A Chicago Tribune travel feature.

One of the stops on my "road to fame and fortune" was Boone, Iowa. There is plenty I can and will say about that bump in the road, but Iowa is a place of wonder and mystery. Boone had its' own dairy and a colorful downtown even into the 1970's It's probably been destroyed by Wal Mart, but the colorful people who settled the state left a powerful mark.

Monday, June 27, 2005

KTHV Techno-circus

While KTHV builds a better and more sexy set for the evening news, the anchors sit around a card table. It creates an interesting effect.

The real problem is the severe audio splatter in some of the commercials. This seems to have been a problem for about a week, and maybe longer. Around 6:30 this evening the Subway spot had quite a bit and the Conway Collision Center ad was so bad it was unintelligible. Who pays for those spots?

I guess the new set will look really great, right?

Bill Valentine at Bat

Bill Valentine was supposed to have a press conference at 2 this afternoon, but that got scrubbed. He has been in negotiation with North Little Rock city government for 7 months now and it would appear that things are not going well.

Valentine was on my WAI Radio program (linked on the left column) and the steam was obviously pouring out of his ears. You can hear if in the archives. He was on in the 10 and 11 o’clock hours. Apparently broadcasting is not the only industry beset with a plague of ignorant consultants. Some wise guy from a distant city somehow projected average Travs attendance at the as-yet-to-be-built NLR stadium as 4,000 on average per game. This same Einstein saw a ball team profit of $900,000. Now, while some might take that as a good thing, it put Bill Valentine on a rampage.

The Trav’s manager thinks those numbers are way too high and he also thinks Pat Hays and the NLR crowd may have bought into them. Valentine plans to use any “profits” for park maintenance and to buy things the team might need, such as uniforms and buses.

Here is an opinion. It looks like things have gotten a bit personal.

Greyhound Takes New Direction

Story linked fron the Dallas Morning News

It is, perhaps, appropriate that the first entry in this journal is not about a particularly romantic form of transportation. It takes a special kind of person to enjoy a Greyhound bus trip. To be most specific, it takes a skinny person – which I am not.

More than 20 years ago, I had the brilliant idea of riding the grey dog from Spokane, Washington to Oklahoma City. It was exhausting and I got a mild case of laryngitis from being exposed to the winter weather changing buses somewhere near Billings.

While I lived in Clinton, Oklahoma, I often caught an early morning run to the big city where my brother lived. It took about 2 ours, which is about all a young healthy person can endure.

Greyhound provides an absolutely essential part of the national transportation service available to small towns, but it has been working hard to cut off as many of those little communities as possible. It hurts the poor and also small businesses that depend on the intercity buses for package express service.

It sucks to be poor and it sucks to be Greyhound, which has been bleeding money for some time. It may be a great idea to add some amenities in larger towns, but that will be small comfort to those stranded by service cutbacks.

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