Sunday, July 31, 2005
Advice from a former holdout: Don't be a `fool'
Rashaan Salaam, Bears' top pick in '95, is sorry he held out. Will Cedric Benson feel the same?
By David Haugh
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 29, 2005
Here is a little food for thought. If anybody has #9's cell phone number, I would pass this link along! Matt Jones should be in camp! He has put a target on his back, raised expectations, and lost valuable conditioning time. MAJOR error.
Weekday mornings at 8, I am streaming "live" on WAI Radio.com and the show opens with a complete Arkansas roundup.
HAVE OUR SEATBELTS FASTENED AT 9:00 AM Monday! Like Dale Bumpers thirty-six years ago, a new fresh-faced, progressive, small town Democrat is going to announce he is entering the Arkansas Political Arena on the Pat Lynch show. Drew Pritt, a thirty year old Political Strategist who lives in rural Bradley County, is going to toss his hat into the ring and become the third Democrat to run for Arkansas Lieutenant Governor.
Calls are out to lots of newsmakers, so you don't dare miss a minute. Of course, if you do get interrupted, every show is in the WAI Radio archives.
The SIX FEET UNDER watching team will assemble at about 11:45. What a great and shocking episode!
My column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has moved to Monday! it's on the Voices page of the Arkansas section. (Hint: our senior United States Senator will not be pleased.)
A scandalous Arkadelphia INS raid is breaking as an important national story.
About 30 children, some as young as 3 months old, were left without their parents this week after immigration officials raided a poultry plant and took the parents away to face possible deportation.
Federal officers claim to have asked each of the 119 detailed adults if they had children. I am wondering exactly how they posed the question and if it ever occurred to any of these college educated morons that, perhaps, the question was not properly understood. They also might have taken into account that these proud hard-working people would never under any circumstance surrender their children to the United States government. Of course, that is a demonstration of character and nobody in government should be expected to "get" such an odd concept.
The other item concerns the United Airlines employee pensions. You may have heard that the airline has had a little "opps" on what I am sure many considered a sacred obligations. It turns out that, as you might expect, federal investigators are focused on everything but the real problem It's not how much money is invested each year but the appropriateness of the investment.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
SNAFU AT LR City Hall
No problem. Nobody plays golf on Saturday morning anyway.
Stay tuned for more sports fans?
Friday, July 29, 2005 11:11 PM CDT
The best and most interesting news story of the day is in the Pine Bluff Commercial (linked to the above headline). It is living breathing proof of the value of open meetings and open government. One little look at the corporate arrogance of the Altheimer school board shows an amazing "public be damned" attitude, that not only excludes reporters, which is contrary to state law, but locks out even some of its' own members - elected representatives.
Note well that not only was the meeting itself unlawful by its' exclusions, but the actions taken were probably contrary to law. There is a reason government likes to move in secret.
This even tops the recent Russellville pension board meeting, which was hastily and secretly called to cover up a large penalty imposed by state officials after the discovery of illegal activities.
Both instances cry out for criminal prosecution.
Friday, July 29, 2005
Next week’s guests include Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jim Lendall and Congressman Vic Snyder. The archives have press conferences with Senators Pryor and Lincoln. There is a bit of me in the Lincoln piece. Also, I have a short interview with Terry Horton from the Arkansas Wildlife Federation concerning the White River and I also ask about the ivory-billed woodpecker. Obviously, the hour with Asa Hutchinson is also available. Every show on WAI Radio goes directly to our ‘on demand” archives, which are linked from every page on our site. No Holds Barred had some tremendous interviews this week and you also need to catch Jim Harris’ “Arkansas Times Entertainment 120.” You can listen on your computer or download any hour as an mp3.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
03:50 PM CDT on Thursday, July 28, 2005
By ROBERT DODGE, TODD J. GILLMAN and ERIC TORBENSON
The Dallas Morning News
The plot thickens.
American's threat may not hold up. Cutting small town service also cuts part of the "spoke and hub" system of airline operations.
Still waiting to see if any of those communities are in Arkansas.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
By Aaron Sadler
Arkansas News Bureau
Arkansas' two living Medial Of Honor recipients, Nathan Gordon of Morrilton and Nick Bacon on Conway, have expressed opposition to the War in Iraq. Those remarks were reported in the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas story concerning a ceremony at the McArthur Military History Museum in Little Rock.
I do not require the approval of others to validate my beliefs, but it sure feels good to know that there are red blooded sure 'nuff heroes who also believe that our involvement in Iraq has been a terrible mistake. The story linked by the above headline is one of the most important items in today's news.
Protect us, St. Blanche
U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln today introduced legislation which would supposedly make the Internet a safer place for America’s children. Lincoln said her legislation, “The Internet Safety and Child Protection Act of 2005,” would help relieve the anxieties experienced by parents due to the lack of controls they have over what their children view online. She said that it’s time the costs of protecting our children online shift from the American taxpayer to the actual purveyors of online pornography.
In fact, what Lincoln has in mind would be a regulatory nightmare, an unconstitutional infringement on free speech, and an added cost that would ultimately be borne by every internet subscriber through higher ISP fees.
A so-called “think tank" known as Third Way reportedly conducted research that produced some shocking results. It finds that children between the ages of 12-17 are the largest viewers of Internet pornography, and the average age at which children are first exposed to online pornography is 11 years of age. If true, and such alarming statistics will be difficult to substantiate, there is a serious issue raised by the disclosure. Do these children have parents? If so, where are they?
Of course, Lincoln’s proposal won’t cost anybody anything. A Trust Fund will be financed by a 25% excise tax on Internet pornography transactions.
Question: how will we know which sites to tax? Will there be a Federal Board of Review? Will alleged pornographers voluntarily identify themselves?
Her measure also requires age verification for adult sites. That’s a brilliant idea. We know kids in search of cold beers never steal their parent’s credit cards, buy a fake ID, or get an older buddy to go in the liquor store and make the purchase.
Senator Lincoln has unwittingly created a vibrant new cottage industry for shady mob types. There will be a fortune made in phone internet age verification credentials.
This is a nothing but a boondoggle and a bunch of shameless political grandstanding. Period.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
NLR Tax Heats Up WAI Radio.com
Matthew Richard is absolutely against the one-cent sales tax proposed for North Little Rock. He says that nobody ever asked for a new stadium or improvements in the senior citizens center. Richard feels that the city council rushed things along and that lots of folks don’t even know there is an election coming up August 9. He also has a list of big cities with high sales taxes and North Little Rock is right on top with 9% if the tax passes.
He was a outstanding guest and we aired some good phone calls, but you won’t get to hear any of that in the WAI Radio archives because of the freakish power failure that took the station down at about 11:45. That halted the automatic recording. I’ll try to have him back in the next few days so you can catch it “live” or in the “on demand” archives.
WAI is linked in the left hand column.
Mayor Hays also visited for a few minutes about 9:00 and his interview is in our archive. He considers the current salary negotiations with police and fire personnel to be completely separate from the stadium issue. He expects to submit a satisfactory package to the city council soon. Hays touted the economic development benefits and minimized parking problems in the new riverfront facility. He compared it to parking at the arena.
Voters will be asked to approve one-cent for two years, which will raise about $32 million. That will pay to build a baseball stadium on the Arkansas River and expand the senior citizen center.
Early voting started yesterday and continues till Election Day at the Laman Library. Election Day is August 9.
Monday, July 25, 2005
We also hear a strong rumbling about an opponent for Republican Asa Hutchinson. Former federal prosecutor Chuck Banks is currently in the Lite Governor's race, but is reportedly considering a run for governor. He has the creds and name recognition.
Stay tuned, sports fans!
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Bodies, statue would go to Elmwood, park to UT
By Jacinthia Jones
July 24, 2005
Memphis Commercial Appeal
Nathan Bedford Forrest has a checkered reputation smeared across Civil War History. He founded the Ku Klux Klan, which according to sympathizers was originally founded as a kind of Kiwanis Club on horseback. Things for out of hand and Forrest distanced himself from the intimidation and lynching, or so the story goes.
Memphis is deeply engaged in a discussion about public places that bear the names of important historic figures like Forrest and Jefferson Davis. I guess this might be considered meddling, but I recall back in the "bad old days" when the Soviet Union also attempted to rewrite history. For many years, old Joe Stalin, reposed alongside revolutionary saint Vladimir Lenin, but authorities wanted Stalin forgotten. They moved the body. It was powerful symbolism for a state seeking total mind control.
I say let old Nathan rest in peace and may he be judged by the content of his character, whatever that might have been.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Parents Have Rights Too
Laurie Taylor has been in the news lately for questioning the book selections in the Fayetteville school system libraries. She started off opposing three items, and over time the list is now over 50. How this happened is apparently an exercise in how things just get out of hand. It started with something called, “It’s Perfectly Normal” and goes on to include such immortal goodies as “The Teenage Guys Survival Guide.”
Taylor was on my show at WAI Radio (linked on the left) and you can listen from our “on demand” archives. Unlike her guest shot with Big Dave on KARN, she gets to speak intelligently with me for about 48 minutes. You get a real sense of what she’s all about and the real issues. Between the corporate twaddle and Big Dave’s boundless ego, those KARN listeners were cheated.
A lot of unfortunate misinformed people will get all worked up at anything that smacks of a new idea, any nudity, or has the slightest hint of bad language. I guess the books Taylor doesn’t like would fit into all of those categories, but none of those excuses, taken by themselves, would be a strong enough reason to restrict these widely circulated works. I’ll bet that I disagree with curtailing many of the selections on Taylor’s expanded list. Nonetheless, what I have seen shows a shocking casual attitude toward making important life decisions.
The problem, as I see it, is that the works I have seen seem to promote a casual approach to serious issues like sexual preference self-identification, respect for others, or facing consequences. Young numbskulls are being steered away from the counsel of parents, who are, in all likelihood, totally in the dark anyway. So they should figure things out for themselves? You must be kidding.
Of course, the wrong kind of people will make a hero out of Taylor. Those are the public school hating, creationist, racist, flat earth morons, and she is nothing like that. Taylor may have fallen in with a bad crowd. I don’t know, but she should not be found guilty on the basis of guilt by association. As a parent and taxpayer, Laurie Taylor has every right to be heard by her local school district. Unfortunately, this process will be an expensive mess for the schools and public trust will suffer. That raises the question as to how these apparent elitists in the education establishment have gotten so completely out of touch. Parents are responsible for the physical and emotional development of children and nobody else.
Speaking of snobs, how about Governor’s School? Now, I love the ACLU and most of the time it hits home runs, but whether or not a inconsequential bunch of smart kids and their snooty teachers get to congratulate each other over how smart and how cool they are while cooing over the script of “Angels in America” is not worth a thimble full of spit. All this energy would be better spent showing the average Arkansas parent that working hard in school is worth the trouble.
When parents stick up for their own religious and personal convictions, that is not censorship. There is nothing wrong with making the government’s school librarians pay attention. Parents have rights too.
Yet Another Do-Gooder!
My twin brother, Rev. Hezekiah Stewart visited the WAI Radio studios this morning. He is the founder and director of the Watershed Project. He provides services for the poorest and most oppressed people in Central Arkansas. He does it cheerfully and diligently. We talked about the troubles of the impoverished folks, race relations, and Jermain Taylor’s victory over Bernard Hopkins for the middleweight boxing title. The Hez is part of an event on August 15 at Shorter College thanking our United States Senators for the apology for not opposing lynching. I have missed feelings about that. The entire interview is informative and entertaining, true Pat Classi. It is in the WAI Radio archives.
Rev. Stewart does much good and he really needs your money. Send your checks to: Watershed Project, 3701 Springer Blvd., Little Rock, Ar.72206.
Lawmakers discuss bills to close airports as Love Field debate widens
11:07 PM CDT on Thursday, July 21, 2005
By SUDEEP REDDY and SUZANNE MARTA / The Dallas Morning News
The war over expanding long haul airline service out of Dallas Love Field has gotten much more intense, and very very funny. There is an entire series of stories on this, if you scroll down. I promise a huge laugh in today's update.
It may also be that, in all this foolishness, a significant legal issue may have accidentally been exposed.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Thu Jul 21, 4:21 PM ET
Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s diplomatic correspondent, got roughed up by police in Sudan and, based on the media whining, you would think the world was about to end. Since I am starting to become a grudging fan of President Bush and the general Republican disregard for fundamental human dignity, I thought I might try to imagine how an American judge, maybe even John Roberts author of the famous French fry decision and now nominated for the Supreme Court, might view the incident. Keep telling yourself: this is only satire. This is only satire.
The treatment accorded to Ms. Mitchell was certainly unfortunate and, we are certain, not typical of all arresting officers. To forcibly remove one from a hotel room, in fact, does impose an inconvenience and must have been a humiliating experience. The lack of a search warrant raises serious concerns. There is testimony that, during the course of the detainment, Mitchell’s wrists were pulled tightly behind her, that she was handcuffed, and that considerable physical pain resulted from this procedure. It is, furthermore, related that authorities only ceased to question when contacted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, also a guest in the hotel. While all of these facts tend to outline what must have been a frightening and unpleasant experience, this court finds no violation of constitutional rights.
Taking into consideration the Fourth Amendment guarantee of no searches and seizure without a properly executed warrant, particularly describing the area to be search and the items to be searched for, we point out that nobody believes in that hokum any more. Don’t tell this count about privacy rights. Ever since we started making kids pee into a jar, that went completely out the window. Besides, if Ms. Mitchell has nothing to hide, we wonder what she would be afraid of anyway?
Being rousted out of a hotel room by armed strangers may cause discomfort and inconvenience, but we need to ask ourselves, who the hell cares anyway? This court finds that taking a more formal and courteous tact might have been the most desirable procedure; cops are busy people who certainly do not have time to take the wishes of mere citizens into account.
A question has been raised about the handcuffing and alleged physical pain caused as a result of being forcibly dragged out of a hotel room. Although this type of incident is unfortunate, it is apparent that protecting public safety must take precedence over any supposed personal freedoms. It seems perfectly logical that, upon occasion, individuals must be harmed to maintain public safety. The court takes due notice that no bones were broken and Mitchell seems just fine now. It should also be noted that this ruling should not be interpreted to imply that merely breaking some innocent schmuck’s bones would create some sort of automatic threshold to proving police brutality. We reserve the right to decide such things on a case-by-case basis.
Law enforcement personnel must presume that every individual is a potential serial killer, international terrorist or cannibal. A comparatively tiny woman of 5 feet and 3 inches in height can do enormous harm if proper restraint is not applied. If you bunch of left-leaning, commie-loving, weak sisters have not heard, we have been at war since 9-11.
It is further determined that the extended questioning of Ms. Mitchell was disruptive to her personal activities, but that purely personal consideration is far outweighed by the need for police to operate efficiently in the cause of protecting freedom. Besides, the Secretary of State, that incredibly hot chick, Condi Rice, personally intervened with the president, and the interrogation immediately ceased. So, what’s the big deal? No harm done. Whenever any of us get in trouble, we call our powerful wealthy friends and they push all the right buttons.
In summary, what do you think this is, America? Sit down, shut up, and quit your gal-darned griping and complaining.
By David S. Broder
Thursday, July 21, 2005; Page A23
A couple of weeks ago, Washington Post columnist David Broder made a splash out here by mentioning Asa Hutchinson as a possible nominee for the Supreme Court. Today, Broder focuses on Governor Mike Huckabee as “the next man from Hope.”
Huckabee’s self-righteousness is well known around these parts but he lacks the totally smug, arrogance of the neo-conservative flame-throwers of the far right. The Huck we know genuinely cares about people, even poor folks. As a former Baptist minister, he can be expected to instinctively favor the rich and powerful, but there is also a bit of the true pastor in the man. This is what outsiders, those not fully initiated to the Huckabee aura, will find engaging and refreshing.
The governor has struggled with his weight and who hasn’t? Many will applaud the strength of character, others will resent inference that, if you have a problem with the waistline, you must be somehow weak and inferior. It cuts both ways.
Huckabee has something that might be lost so some, a sincere desire to “win souls” for the Lord. This manifests itself in what may seem to be very soft and politically shrewd answers on abortion and the other hard social issues. He wants to avoid being offensive so that he can preach the Gospel. It is an instinctive thing and enhances his image as a moderate.
Hells bells, the loony right will be mad at him for allowing taxes to be raised for such foolishness as public education. Huckabee permitted the tobacco settlement money to fund health programs instead of providing additional tax breaks for rich Republicans and corporations.
John Brummett used to have a nickname for the governor. As I recall, it was “his poutiness.” I could be wrong. It might have been, “his huffiness.” My theory is that, after so many years of having to deal with the wealthy minority that wields undue influence in so many congregations (otherwise known as Deacons) and absorbing abuse and criticism, Huck’s hide is not tougher, but even more tender. Huckabee hates criticism.
In the world of presidential politics, anything can happen. I was the first Arkansas journalist to foresee a Bill Clinton presidency. That was based on his remarkable personal political skills. The Huckster has some talent and, as Broder observes, a number of darned good networks. The question is, how far will it take this man from Hope. He might go all the way. It is possible, but not likely.
There is Wayne Dumond, and the governor has zero experience with international relations. Of course, neither did Mr. Clinton, although being a Rhodes scholar and leading efforts to bring foreign business home to the Natural State certainly added some luster to his crown. That is why Huckabee is off to Japan and we can expect even more traveling overseas.
Win Paul Rockefeller’s health issues have also created a tremendous void in the Republican gubernatorial race. There is bad blood between the moderates, of which the governor would be included, and the staunch “true believers” of the Asa Hutchinson variety. Could Mike Huckabee take a long-sot chance at the presidency and allow Asa to have a realistic opportunity to become Arkansas’ chief executive? Could Asa be trusted to keep the Mike Huckabee legacy intact?
Yes, Asa can beat Mike Beebe, if he even wins the Democratic nomination. It is very early, gentle readers.
Huckabee can not run for governor himself, but he must be looking for somebody - anybody - to take a turn with Asa Hutchinson.
Questions. Questions. Questions.
And for Love Field
03:41 PM CDT on Thursday, July 21, 2005
By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News
The latest developments on the Wright Amendment concern maneuvering among Dallas airlines over options if repeal ever became a fact. The DMN story (linked above) lays out a scenario whereby American Airlines, which already has a few gates at Love Field, might start to put the squeeze on. This is a saga of political dramatics and free market strategies. Read on and enjoy!
By Stanley Ziemba
Tribune staff reporter
Published July 21, 2005, 4:05 PM CDT
What happens some some sociopath kidnaps your pet and holds it for ransom? In this case, the victim said no. What happens next is not a good thing.
The huge question is how the pet owner figured out where to find his dog.
Charges have been filed and I can only say that this is a story I will be keeping from Molly. This creep is about as cool as the very compassionate baseball coach who paid one of his kids $25 to beam a handicapped child to keep him out of the game.
Is the end at hand?
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Clues sought in Roberts' legal record
First of all, Judge John Roberts will be confirmed for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court. While Ann Coulter complains that stealth candidates, those without much of a judicial paper trail, always serve conservatives poorly, Roberts has plenty of a record to suggest that he is exactly the kind of mind Mr. Bush was seeking. He is obviously smart and very conservative.
In my mind, the most distressing thing about Roberts is his decision in the French fry case. This is the episode of the teenage girl who was handcuffed and taken off to jail by District of Columbia transit cops for the offense of eating a French fry in the subway. This is another in a sorry chain of rulings which seem to say that police need not take the rights of ordinary people seriously and that any type of public humiliation or physical is just part of being an American.
Figuring out where Roberts stands on abortion is like trying to predict the future using chicken bones tossed into the air. He once wrote a decision for the government, which was his client at the time, arguing that Roe was wrongly decided. Later, he went to pains pointing out that his opinion was actually the opinion of his employer. That has Ms. Coulter in a dither, but I am not sure you can read much out of it.
Several Democratic Senators, including Kennedy and Boxer, have promised to pose some extremely serious questions. While well intentioned, I wonder if they would tolerate the same tone being taken toward a more liberal candidate.
Right wing fanatics will be trying to devine where he is on property rights, as if the high court made some sort of enormous legal blunder in the recent Connecticut eminent domain case. The Democrat Gazette has a terrific editorial in the Wednesday paper that also takes a shot at GOP gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson. It is nt linked, so you will have to find a copy on your own.
Without some sort of Anita Hill type revelation, Roberts will be confirmed within the month. That development may prod the ailing Chief to step aside. Things are tough, but donÂ’t blame me. I voted for Kerry.
01:18 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 20, 2005
By TODD J. GILLMAN / The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau
Until today, repealing the Wright Amendment looked like it might have some merit. Now, I am starting to wonder where I went wrong.
OK, Druggies, Pay Attention!
Warren K. Bickel, Ph.D., is director of the UAMS Center for Addiction Research and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the UAMS College of Medicine. He was one of those always-enjoyable “gifted and talented “ additions to Pat Classic. The interview was broadcast “live” at 11 this morning and you will find it in the internet archives of WAI Radio,, which is linked on the left side.
Bickel has an interesting theory about addictive behavior that divides the brain into two operating sections. One of the “executive” and is the center of long-term thinking. That is the part that considers consequences and rewards. The other area is the “old brain” and it takes care of ordinary cravings, such as for food and drink. When one becomes addictive, if I get this right, the “old brain” overpowers the “executive.” It is interesting that UAMS has several innovative programs dealing with addictive behavior, after all this is the methamphetamine capitol of America. It was an outstanding interview.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Bill would ban Love flights
09:30 PM CDT on Tuesday, July 19, 2005
By ROBERT DODGE / The Dallas Morning News
If you have been reading along here in the saga to repeal the Wright Amendment, this story takes the ever-lovin' cake. On the same day that legislation was introduced to repeal Wright and allow direct long-haul from the main Southwest hub a pair of Senatorial nutcases have a proposal to close Love entirely to commercial traffic.
I guess things are about to get interesting! This one is worth a million laughs.
The author, Bob Ferguson, is a retired professor from the Royal Military College. He believes that Catholics are unlikely ever to see changes in policy on birth control or on the question of married or female priests. In fact, he says change won't come until the churches are forced to comply with the same human rights legislation that affects the rest of society.
You won't believe the complete freedom-hating nonsense linked above.
Here is the value and beauty of free speech. Even dangerous idiots can express their wicked ideas. The essay was broadcast on a major credible national network.
If is actually sort of refreshing to know that there are real nuts like this guy out here.
By BILL HENSEL JR.
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
There is new legislation on the way which would repeal the Wright Amendment. Southwest is now actively supporting the campaign to open up Love Field in Dallas for direct long-haul flights. Check it out.
School Consolidation Blues
She has 21 years of classroom experience in several districts and makes a good sounding case against school consolidation. Some of what she says is worthwhile. Her main argument against closing small school districts is that it is being done by the numbers and things should be taken on a case-by-case basis. That may be so, but many of the districts being shut down are predominantly African-American and state authorities must be careful when they are enforcing policies. That is why criteria exist by which districts either stay open or close. That way, there is no possibility of racial discrimination. The same yardstick is used in every instance.
She gave a great interview. WAI is linked in the left column, and I would enjoy seeing your reaction. Always feel free to leave a comment.
Wesley Clark Supporters Gather in LR
"The first annual NCCM (National Clark Community Meetup) in Little Rock was way more than a conference to talk, strategize, and prepare for 2008. NCCM took former staffers, draft Clark members, and supporters and molded it into something half-conference/half-family reunion. I have never encountered anything like it unless it's dealing with Wes Clark."
They apparently had a good time. Maybe I will get more of the substantive stuff in the next few days.
Rockefeller Leaves Race Over Health
Our friends at Arkansas Times have the most comprehensive report. They are linked on the left. Here is the heart of the matter.
"Rockefeller announced at a 4 p.m. Tuesday news conference that he'd learned in April that he had a rare form of bone cancer. He said he'd tried a drug treatment that wasn't successful. He now needs a bone marrow transplant. The treatment could take six to 12 months and it will prevent him from staying in the race."
Win Paul is OUT
"Win Rockefeller has scheduled a 4 p.m. news conference at his campaign HQ. Here is what could be happening. Rockefeller is not in the mood to get into a money chase with Asa and Mike Beebe. He bows out now, "for party unity" He separates from the party and the apparent loss they may take with Asa, but he plays the good soldier. He also separates from the fine levied against the party. He lets Asa get plowed under by Beebe, then works to build the party up in his image, with his people, returning triumphant in 2010 to unite the state and defeat Beebe for a second term. Or the other possibility is to switch to another race, either U.S. Congress in the 2nd against Snyder, or more plausible a U.S. Senate race. All are possibilities."
Monday, July 18, 2005
Senator Mark Pryor on WAI Radio.com
Pryor believes the “gang of 14” will hold and also noted that there was no working definition of what exactly might constitute a “extraordinary circumstance,” which might justify filibustering a Supreme Court nominee. He did make an analogy to somebody who thought that the Dred Scott decision should be the law of the land. Lordy me! That was the 1850-something case in which the Supremes affirmed slavery. In other words, there will be no “extraordinary circumstances” to allow a filibuster. Pryor also said that it was exclusively up to the “gang” to decide exactly what might be an “extraordinary circumstance,” and not other senators.
We also touched briefly on what has been deceptively called the “death tax” by right wing extremists in radio and TV commercials. Bottom line: Pryor says the law needs some technical work but that almost nobody in Arkansas pays it since the first about $1 million is exempt from taxation. Wonder how many of those WWII guys from the “greatest generation” really pay that tax? I told Pryor that, whatever it was, I thought it should be TRIPPLED.
The entire interview is about 15 minutes and is in the WAI Radio archives as part of the 10:00 hour beginning about 10:45, The station is linked over yonder on the left.
By Harry King
Stephens Media Group
This is a good column from somebody who was there.
By Rob Moritz
Arkansas News Bureau
America's First Lady-in Waiting, Janet Hucakbee, keeps up with the home town crowd even when she's on the road to the White House with Mike. I am a bit surprised that she even bothered with that dumb old National Governor's Association meeting. Nothing ever happens in Des Moines.
Hopkins starts fighting too late
Jermain Taylor is good for boxing. His wholesome persona is good for HBO. He brings a star quality to a sport that could use it.
Ordinarily, I am told, the champ would get the presumed edge in a close bout. Hopkins made more than one strategic miscalculation. As Hirsley observes, he started to get serious too late. Hopkins over-estimated his own importance to the sport.
Everybody get off ?Rex Horne's case. This Houston congregation totals 30,000 every Sunday. The opening of the new facilities look a bit like a political pep rally, which is probably not by accident. Still, the trend to smaller churches.
By John Brummett
The latest John Brummett piece is a decent analysis of the Karl Rove case so far. I might suggest that we make Rove twist in the wind a bit longer in the criminal investigation. Brummett is brilliant, but I would like to humbly suggest that a "name" is an identity which only belongs to one person and, in this case, the identity should not have been confirmed. Whether or not he is ever charged with a crime, Rove is being exposed and so is his boss.
David Sanders is also in the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas and, amazingly, does not agree with me on the state budget surplus. I don't have him linked today, but I bet you can find it. Unfortunate opinion, but a good read. My Democrat-Gazette column said exactly the opposite.
If you haven't seen my exclusive photo of the bloodthirsty young Sanders, scroll down. You will get a laugh.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
This little tid-bit is bound to make some folks nervous. She is way ahead of John Kerry 8 months before the election.
Axciom Takeover Discussed on WAI
Widely discussed layoffs could cost 100 Arkansans jobs at Axciom. Taulbee points out that there have been four rounds of cutbacks in six years.
Taulbee, who is a LOT smarter than me, says the entrenched "visionary" leadership at Axciom is getting a little jolt from ValueAct. I won't put words in his mouth. Give him a listen.
Chip's email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOLLOW-UP: Lake Dardanelle Dog Rescue
Our intrepid partner Molly has the scoop. Her link is at the left.
Reported by Kathleen Berger
This one is certainly a blockbuster. I can only hope that the Department of Homeland Security was notified about the horrendous breach in our nation's fragile safety net against the dangerous hordes of international terrorists.
OK, but now on to the story.
It was a bad thing how the station was unsecured. I think the FOX folks gained entry through the back door on the inside. Any time I have been around there trackside during the day the exterior doors have been locked.
I thought AMTRAK discontinued checked baggage in Little Rock last year.
If you stand on the platform watching trains, or worse taking pictures, the Union Pacific authorities are bound to take notice. They own the tracks.
The positive aspect of this story is that thousands of people now know that Arkansas has AMTRAK service. So thanks Kathleen and FOX 16. The bad news is that some of them might try to use it.
By JOHN SOLOMON
Here is the smoking gun. This is the C. Y. A.
Rove reported his own version of the conversation with a reporter to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. This is what prosecutors call "consciousness of guilt." Rove already knew that he was the second source to have implicated a CIA agent to a journalist, and that it was illegal to do so.
The Bush White House obviously thinks we are all stupid.
Friday, July 15, 2005
NLR Tax Proposal Moves Quietly Forward
Before the plans was made public, Backers commissioned a survey of public opinion which indicated widespread support. It would appear that further polling within the past few days shows continued strong public support, but this is with no serious debate. That could all change. Stay tuned.
Chicago Tribune, AP Report
Versions of this story are running in the major news outlets today. A "word game" is being played. It is a case of "don't read my lips, diagram my sentences." An unnamed source laid it all out to the Associated Press. The Chicago Trivune story says,
"The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, told The Associated Press that Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh Iraq war critic, worked for the CIA."
Nice try, Karl. Here are the facts.
Karl Rove is a seasoned political insider and is accustomed to press interviews.
Rove knew the purpose of Novak's call was to CONFIRM THE IDENTITY of the CIA agent.
What Novak said was in fact a question and Rove knew that, and Rove understood the specific purpose of the conversation.
Novak would not have proceeded to publication without Rove's confirmation, which was given.
Rove is still "on the hook."
Dallas Morning News
Southwest Airlines makes its' case for repeal of the Wright Amendment in today's DMN. One aspect of this article worth noting is how Southwest controls the price of fuel. A good read.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Rocky Takes a Wild Swing!
Max and the gang at the Arkansas Times blog do an excellent job and it is linked in the right hand column. Scroll down to the “WinRock Attacks” headline and read all about Win Paul’s defense of presidential hatchet man Karl Rove,, who is caught up in allegations of criminal wrongdoing in the outing of a CIA agent.
It is refreshing, if somewhat of a jolt, to see the sedate Mr. Rockefeller get in the middle of a fight. Equally disappointing is WPR’s invocation of a mantra that was completely worn out 20 years ago.
Since when do Republicans care about “the politics of personal destruction.?” Hell fire, if they didn’t invent it, they certainly perfected the technique. It was reduced to a cruel and tortuous art form during 8 years of brutal Whitewater investigations. This is one pity party I plan to skip.
The Wall Street Journal ran an article the other day about how Karl Rove was a hero for giving information that resulted in the spy being made public. It was an adventure in situational ethics.
Ordinarily, this kind of hypothetical would be grossly unfair and I would never sink so low, but here goes anyway: how lenient do you think the far right crowd would be if this had happened in the Clinton administration?
From the political standpoint, it is very interesting that Win Paul seems to be plugged in to the White House talking points. Could that be possible?
Based on today’s statement by candidate Rockefeller, I wonder if Democrat-Gazette editorial page editor Paul Greenberg still has doubts as to whether Rocky is capable of taking the low road on immigration?
How refreshing to see that the vaudeville still flourishes in small town Arkansas. This, I think, is the kind of little community of which Brummett was speaking in his column about who has the real power in statewide elections. Rural enclaves, like Higginson, hold sway, and that should make us all darned proud.
It is a sorry state of affairs, indeed, when any yokel, even a relative of the mayor, can stand up and read off the town council. This is the natural result of activist judges twisting the First Amendment into something the founders never envisioned. Of course they favored open expression, so long as it was the RIGHT KIND of opinions. Taking issue with the ordained representatives of the Almighty is what you get from a judiciary run by liberals, commies and atheists.
Brummett's column is based on his observations from the recent rural school district meeting in Eureka Springs. It speaks for itself.
My weekly offering in the Democrat-Gazette (sorry, it is a subscription site so there is no link) is similar in tone in that it deals with an unwillingness of some office seekers to take a stand based more on reality and principle than convenience. My piece is about the state budget surplus and how Tracy Steele and Mike Huckabee are misleading the voters about the relative size of the amount and the true financial situation. Of course we should hang on the that money because things could head south in a hurry!
Do voters enjoy being treated like children? I wonder.
The good news is that, even in Arkansas, people mostly get the government they deserve.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Congress is considering legislation to take away victimÂs rights to sue the manufacturers. That denies a fundamental American right to have your day in court. It sets up a trust fund which will be quickly deleted by the millions of continuing claims from those whose lives have been diminished by a dangerous fiber that has been deliberately used in construction for decades despite the known risks.
Senator Lincoln needs to know that this is a bad law and hurts people who are in real need.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
The New York Daily news ran the story this morning. A highly decorated cop got canned because of his Web site, NYPD Rant - a forum for disgruntled cops that is brutally true to its name.
Operating under the name Polecat, Police Officer Edward Polstein allowed his Finest brethren to take shots at Mayor Bloomberg, top cop Raymond Kelly, pompous bosses and even the police union.
Police brass weren't amused - bringing departmental charges that have led to the dismissal of Polstein, a housing cop for 18 years. Now unemployed and trying to figure out how to support a wife and three daughters, Polstein defiantly says he did nothing wrong and is gearing up for a legal battle in federal court.
New York Times
You will need to register, but it is free. This is a perspective on Mrs. Clinton's slow deliberate drive to the right. Some believe that she is preparing for more than a run for reelection as New York state's senior U. S. Senator.
Is she betraying her liberal roots? Lots of folks ask me the same thing. That is a difficult answer when the very word "liberal" has been defined by the Karl Roves and Rush Limbaughs as unpatriotic, cowardly, unprincipled, soft on crime, hard on patriots and patriotism and generally representative of every repulsive human trait. This leaves those of us who do believe in protecting the weaker members of society from the Roves and Limbaughs to make it up as we go along.
The liberals I know dearly love this country and deeply mourn the sad state of affairs. We have no one but ourselves to blame for loosing our collective voice. America desperately needs what traditional liberals embody, fairness, openness, and generosity.
Dallas Morning News
The DMN story linked above is, so far, the definitive analysis of the proposal to repeal the Wright Amendment. American says that would be a serious blow to DFW. Naturally, Southwest disagrees.
The unknown factor is what, if any, impact this would have on the number of flights into Little Rock. Stay tuned.
The CAT's Meow on WAI Radio
Keith Jones is the director of Central Arkansas Transit. He talked about the federal transportation authorization bill, which has been held up for the past two years. Money to finish the next phase of the River Rail is included in that. He talked about the express service to Jacksonville and also out Highway300. Both of those should be getting additional runs soon.
CAT is suffering for lack of money and, considering the hike is gas prices, that is a darned shame. Taxpayers have rejected providing a constant source of funding, so there is not enough equipment not schedule frequencies. In the perfect world, transit would get a permanent quarter-cent sales tax.
There is a lot I can say about it, but you can hear all the interview in the WAI Radio archives, which is among our posted links.
Keep Your Hands Off My Doughnuts
Camie Boggess is an old buddy and she is representing the vending machine industry these days. I hate to ever admit siding with business, but when the health Nazis rise up to take away my divinely ordained right to woof down a dozen Krispy Keme doughnuts any time I darned well please, somebody needs to do something!
The core of the issue is a rulemaking process that is developing guidelines for school nutrition. Vending machines are an easy target while the do-gooders forget that the school cafeteria is FRYING chicken, fish, and potatoes. This interview, by far, provoked the highest caliber of email response. You can listen in the WAI Radio archive linked on the left hand column.
“A guy just called to see he’d had a heart attack listening to the vending machine lobbyist talk about how the business was going to be an agent of healthy change, or something like that. Please. Fill those machines with fruit now, Camie. Burn those Hershey bars. Lead us to the promised land of hard bodies and long lives.”
“When Came says: "well, Pat, What can I say"? It reminds me of Bernard Whetstone's brilliant defense of you at the Diabetes Roast. Are you and your guest aware that Coca-Cola is selling LITTLE ROCK TAP WATER for a dollar a bottle and calling it Dasani? They filter it and add some "minerals" but it's TAP WATER. Why would anyone pay a dollar for any kind of bottled water when the United States has the safest water supply in the world?”
“Cammie was a hoot, at least the candy saleswoman was honest.”
Camie left a link for the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, which has all the BMI info, as well as a copy of Act 1220 and the original recommendations of the Child Healthcare Advisory Committee http://www.achi.net/current_initiatives/obesity.asp
I am definitely on the vending machine owners side on this one. If they can push kids around like this, I am bound to be next.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Finally, Hard Questions About Karl Rove
“Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”
I have no idea which liberals he was talking about. I remember a few misguided hours of bipartisan cooperation in which Republicans got organized to write a half-billion dollar welfare check to their financial backers in the airline industry.
President Bush promised to hunt down bin Laden. That was four years ago. He’s another one who talks a good game. It’s just a game to the GOP and whichever special interest steals enough dollars from working people wins.
Finally the light has started to shine on Rove like one of those cockroaches you sometimes see run across the kitchen floor when the light suddenly comes on. Our buds at the Arkansas Times blog has a story and link about today’s White House press briefing which has some tough questioning about Rove’s alleged criminal involvement in outing a CIA agent.
It is a good read and linked to the left.
Mineta Fibs About Amtrak, Again
The headline is not exactly news, but it does describe the latest offense against truth committed in the name of destroying any reasonable chance this nation might ever have to enjoy a balanced and sensible transportation system. Fortunately, one local journalist saw through the haze and the analysis of the Transportation Secretary's speech is copied here.
If this is the level of truthfulness this administration employs dealing with a relatively insignificant program such as Amtrak, one must wonder what is the standard of truthfulness for bigger things like Iraq.
Oh, sorry. I guess we already know the answer to that one.
Comparing our super railroad to Amtrak is unfair, responce to Mineta's ARR speech.
8 July 2005 - Anchorage Daily News
By BETH BRAGG
The railroad depot at the airport is a bit like those destination-nowhere construction projects we Alaskans excel at conceiving and sometimes even building -- a bridge to nowhere, a road to nowhere, a tunnel to nowhere.
This is a depot for no one, or at least for only a few of us. A sleek addition that opened two years ago, it was built by the people ($28 million in federal tax dollars) but not for the people, except those who are cruise-ship passengers. The only way an Alaskan, or anyone else, can ride the rails that link the airport in Anchorage with the docks in Seward is to buy a rail/cruise travel package.
You had to appreciate the irony, then, of the depot providing the backdrop this week for a speech by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who used the occasion to bash Amtrak as a ``disservice to riders
and to taxpayers nationwide`` that each year ``gets in line for another subsidy.``
Strong criticism. Maybe even deserved criticism, given the huge losses -- $908 million last year -- Amtrak suffers annually.
But the words would`ve packed more punch if they hadn`t been spoken at a train depot built with federal dollars for the benefit of the cruise-ship industry.
This depot is all about the cruise industry -- so much so that the airport-to-Seward train schedule is set by the cruise industry, according to Tim Thompson, the Alaska Railroad`s public affairs officer. This year the train is making three round-trips a week during a 16-week summer season, for a total of 48 trips.
Once summer is over, it`s a depot with no trains. Eight months a year, the bronze plaque of Bill Sheffield -- the former governor and railroad president who managed to get his name attached to the glass-walled depot with little or no public input -- stands guard over an empty depot. Eight months a year, the tunnel connecting the depot to the main
terminal, a beautiful walkway where overhead light fixtures change colors to resemble the northern lights, gets little or no use.
Not exactly the ideal place to scold Amtrak for wasting money and ignoring the needs of riders.
After riding the train from the downtown depot to the airport depot (a scenery-packed trip that took 21 minutes), Mineta praised Alaska`s privately operated railroad as a subsidy-free model for the rest of the country. He called Amtrak a ``dysfunctional monopoly`` in need of reform, and he hailed the Alaska Railroad as a prototype for inter-city rail travel in the rest of the country.
``Here in Alaska, you know how to run a railroad,`` he said.
No argument there. Most of us are proud of the Alaska Railroad and love the blue-and-gold cars that you can only see here.
Like Mineta said, it operates privately and profitably. It`s ambitious and inventive -- it just opened a new depot in Fairbanks, it`s upgrading much of its tracks and ties, it`s experimenting with ways to reduce whistle noise, and it`s forged a successful partnership with the cruise-ship industry. It boasts a safety record considerably better than
railroads in the Lower 48.
It carries Alaskans to homes and recreation areas off the road system, and it carries tourists by the carload. Of the nearly 500,000 passengers who rode the Alaska Railroad last year, 67 percent rode on cruise-company rail cars.
But mostly the Alaska Railroad hauls freight. Of the $129.5 million in revenue the railroad pulled in last year, $89.5 million came from freight.
That`s why touting the Alaska Railroad as a model for Amtrak isn`t fair. Amtrak doesn`t haul freight. Amtrak is all about long-distance passenger transportation, with routes that criss-cross the country. The longest passenger route in Alaska is the 350-mile stretch between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Mineta hammered on the fact that Amtrak exists on federal subsidies while the Alaska Railroad is subsidy-free. That`s true. The Alaska Railroad uses no federal money for operating costs.
But suggesting no federal money goes to the railroad is flat-out wrong.
Since 1996, the railroad has received more than $372 million in federal grants for capital projects. According to Bill O`Leary, the Alaska Railroad`s chief financial officer, about $15 million of the railroad`s revenues last year came from federal grants. That same year, the railroad reported a profit of about $15 million.
And then there`s that $28 million airport depot. The place built by the people for a few of the people.
Mineta was on the right track when he praised the Alaska Railroad. But to do so at the expense of Amtrak was disingenuous.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Will Win Paul Stand Up to Asa?
Is it that Greenberg really likes WPR, or is it that he simply detests Asa Hutchinson? The editorial page editor is really fair to Win, even about being boring and stinking rich. He treats Rockefeller just like he actually has a chance to win the Republican nomination for Governor, which, of course he does.
Here is a taste of what Paul Greenberg had to say in today’s Democrat-Gazette,
“Immigration will be the hot-button issue in this election, and it’ll be interesting to see how three good men deal with it, and what compromises with their conscience they’ll be tempted to make. Yes, politics can be fascinating. Especially when it’s about more than politics.
“An election tests not just the candidates but the voters. Will they go for the base appeal or be moved by high principle? We’ll know more about each candidate’s character a year from now—and about the state’s.”
Win Paul Rockefeller just better hope that immigration is the hot button issue of this campaign because he might just win that issue if he hits the ball hard enough. He will knock it out of the park by reminding voters that Asa was not exactly a ball of fire as Undersecretary of Homeland Security. There must be a dozen right-wing web sites with plenty of quotes and information on Asa’s reasonableness on the issue. WPR can win if he is willing to knock the daylights out of Asa Hutchinson for having essentially the same inclination towards inclusion as himself. Greenberg may be right. It might be that Rocky is just too darned decent to demagogue the issue.
I believe that immigration will provoke the big fight in this race. Asa wins when he invokes the “A”-word.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
A Bit of Light Reading for the Weekend
Our friends at Arkansas Times has one hell of a terrific piece today on Mike Huckabee's shameless posturing on the eminent domain issue. You have read about that at length here but there are even newer and better insights waiting at the Times news blog linked in the left hand column.
Thanks to Tildy over at "Matilda's Rants and Advice" (also linked at your left) you can watch the ugly dispute blossom into full scale war between Democrat-Gazette columnist Mike Masterson and special prosecutor Paul Bossom, who dashed off a harsh letter to the editor concerning Masterson's ongoing crusade to get justice in the 16 year ago murder of Janie Ward. This is good stuff. Usually I can not link Democrat-Gazette material, including my own Thursday column, because it is a subscription site, but Matilda has posted Mike's entire column online. Bless your heart Tildy!
Keep having a great weekend and I will check in as needed.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Watch Out for David Sanders
It would be pleasant and polite to say that David Sanders comes disguised as a nice guy but, as you can see, he comes disguised as a bomb-throwing follower of the Gipper. He visited my show on WAI Radio.com this morning and I can truthfully say that a good time was had by all. We even got a huge laugh out of the economic summit in London. It was mostly at the expense of suffering third-world nations and the BBC. All good clean fun.
There was talk of terrorism and the Supreme Court vacancy. Over the weekend you can hear that interview, or any other part of our programming, in the archived. The station is linked in the left column.
I will be keeping up with developments over the weekend, so keep checking back here!
Molly found this item which outlines Catholic Church teaching on animals. It contains the views of the late Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI. It is worth considering how we should treat animals and what is the moral underpinning of that position. I would have a lot of arguments with these guys, but I think they are right on target this time.
Benedict says that animals have the "breath of life," just the same as human beings. H says they have "souls." He did not say that they had "immortal souls" or that they were completely equal to human beings. This would tend to suggest that there are absolute limits on how animals may be treated.
I guess the Farm Bureau or the Poultry Federation won't like this one damn bit.
Bush had asked State Attorney Bernie McCabe to investigate Schiavo's case after her autopsy last month. He said he now considers the state's involvement finished."
- AP Story from the Washington Post
One must hope this does not hurt Florida Governor Jeb Bush's Presidential aspirations! Would it not have been better to harass and hound the widower, Michael, for a few more years. Certainly the gracious in-laws would be glad to help out.
Is this the beginning of a trend? I doubt it and think that, frankly, Jeb Busy just follows the public opinion surveys - just like the rest of them.
You don't need a study to prove it, but somebody did a story showing (drum roll, please!) insurance companies are screwing doctors on malpractice insurance.
Who could have ever seen THAT one coming?
So-called tort reform is one of the cruelest weapons used by Republicans against working people. It is based on the false premise that juries in malpractice cases give outlandish awards to undeserving plaintiffs. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Furthermore, when you are harmed by a physician or a hospital, the result can be financially devastating. The civil lawsuit system is the only way little folks have of keeping powerful medical establishments and greedy insurance companies in line.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Transit Response to London Bombings
The following appeared on trainorders.com and is an overview of some responses to this morning's attacks against public transportation in London. It is worth noting that over 8 million people ride London trains and buses every day.
# Amtrak train system, which runs through nearly every state, has increased its security threat level as a response to the London bombings. The security increase involves the deployment of more officers and canine teams, as well as asking the railroad's employees to continue to be vigilant and on alert for suspicious activity, according to an Amtrak statement. "There has been no specific or credible threat made against Amtrak," the statement said. "The railroad will continue at this heightened security threat level until we have a better understanding of the events in London."
# Metro Transit Police have deployed special response teams, armed with machine guns, and bomb-sniffing dogs to patrol Washington's subway stations, trains and buses, according to a statement from Metro Transit Police. Metrorail station restrooms also have been temporarily closed for security reasons. Police are asking riders to report any suspicious activity to authorities.
# Although there has been no direct threat to New York City, police have been deployed to secure the underground subway trains and public transportation buses, Post said. Officers from the organized crime unit and narcotics division have been assigned to help with the increased security around the transit system.
# Post said a "Hercules Team" -- an emergency unit with heavy weaponry -- "is carrying out TOM -- or train order maintenance -- at Bowling Green subway station. This entails two or more officers boarding each car on every train."
# MTA employees have been instructed to be extra vigilant and employees are checking the trains before they leave terminals, according to NYC transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges.
# The "first platoon" of NYPD officers -- the group that works the 12 a.m. -7:30 a.m. shift -- is being held indefinitely. The officers will continue to work indefinitely and used for "counter-terrorism and protection of mass transit." A police source said this step adds "thousands of extra officers."
# Authorities in Atlanta, Georgia, have beefed up security at the city's MARTA transit stations, federal buildings and other locations as a precaution, according to Atlanta Police Department spokeswoman Sylvia Abernathy. Local law enforcement authorities have been in touch with the FBI throughout the morning, she said.
Political column by David S. Broder
Asa Hutchinson got mentioned in a prominent national political column today as somebody who might get easy Senate confirmation to replace Sandra Day O’Connor.
I have known Asa since he was the federal prosecuting attorney for western Arkansas. There are many qualities that commend him, but David Broder better get ready for “the rest of the story.” Here are a few of Asa’s negatives.
He attended Bob Jones University. This is real bedrock fundamentalism at its’ Bible-thumpin’ scariest. My sweet liberal friends (who all believe that I have crossed over to the dark side) latch on to this one as if a college kid believes everything he is taught. Hell, I had 12 years of Catholic school and look what that did for me. The insinuation here is that Asa is inflexible and possibly racist. The latter accusation arises out of the former Bob Jones policy forbidding inter-racial dating. Let me tell you this. Asa Hutchinson may be a lot of things, but he is no racist. I have had many interviews and conversations with him and consider Hutchinson to be respectful of others’ opinions and willing to listen.
When he was federal prosecutor, he broke up a bunch of white separatists known as the “Covenant Sword and Arm of the Lord.” He brought a peaceful end to a dangerous siege. Plenty of skinheads hate Asa.
As Undersecretary of Homeland Security, he was sufficiently “soft” on immigrants to set off the anti-immigrant crowd.
Asa Hutchinson did a stint running the Drug Enforcement Administration and pretty much stuck by the same old failed policies of criminalization and punishment. As far as I can tell, he opposes legalization of medical marijuana.
Congressman Hutchinson served on the House Judiciary Committee and was one of the “House Managers” in the impeachment trial of President Clinton. If he had more of a role in the prosecution, things might have ended differently. Asa is a professional and convincing advocate. Too bad he was on the wrong side.
He is running for Governor of Arkansas but he registered to vote in Virginia. What was Asa thinking?
Compared to John Ashcroft, this guy is a sweetheart. Asa is certainly better than his brother Tim, the hypocrite.
President Bush will probably not appoint Asa Hutchinson, but it might be a smart move. Democrats are so stupid. The Barbra Boxer crowd would get all over him for stuff 98% of Americans agree with. His lack of judicial experience is a definite plus. There are no decisions to defend, and he can blame any of his other deficiencies on youth or politics. He is highly articulate.
Just in case you are not intimately familiar with Arkansas politics, it must be added that he would be considered strongly anti-abortion.
I do not often agree with Asa, but darn it, I do like him. He would be as fair as a Republican is capable.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I don't own an iPod. Maybe someday. I have used a Macintosh since 1987 and, at one time, each Mac sold had an impression of the signatures of the original design team on the inside of the case. The founder of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs, is one of those people.
The founder of Apple Computers called the dad of a boy murdered for his iPod offering whatever sympathy one can under such circumstances. Maybe that is shrewd public relations. Whatever it is, I am glad to see human beings acting like human beings.
Paul Suskie Looks at AG Run
The North Little Rock city attorney, Paul Suskie, was a guest on Pat Classic. He has been in office for about 10 years and is exploring the possibility of running for attorney general. He’s smart young and attractive, so why not?
Suskie is just back from Afghanistan and has a load of great stories and descriptions of a land largely without electricity or running water. Parts of the eastern mountains are not even accessible by helicopter. If you want to hear it all, check the WAI archive, linked on the left column.
Stephen Bright Shines on WAI Radio
Stephen Bright is an up-and-comer. The Maumelle lawmaker showed up on my WAI Radio show this morning. He, of course, thinks the state budget surplus of over $100 million should go back to the taxpayers, but he is quick to add that it might also go to school facilities. Nice save, Stephen.
The big news of the morning is that there is special legislative session brewing and, according to Bright, the main topic will be highways. Governor Huckabee reportedly has a plan and he will call lawmakers to town when the necessary votes are lined up. Yeah, that sounds a little backwards, but why include the little folks? How will the state pay for improvements on state roads? Bright claims not to like any of the options developed so far, including toll roads. There is supposedly a proposal to have a bond issue backed by future gas tax revenue. It is a work in progress.
This is the same representative who has been the outspoken champion of the “granny cam.” He has introduced legislation about web cams in nursing homes in the past two sessions. Bright made an enormous misjudgment by negotiating with the dark-siders from the nursing home industry. Naturally, the whole business got so convoluted that we were lucky the bill died a merciful death. Bright takes responsibility.
We also spent a few moments lamenting the decision of Baptist Medical Systems of Memphis to leave the Forrest City hospital. Bright believes that it could be a serious situation. He says the legislature is willing to help small town hospitals and something might come up in the special session. He also remarked on the weekend Democrat-Gazette feature on hospital charity services. You may recall the young lady who declared bankruptcy because she was unaware of St. Vincent’s charity policy. Bright says that hospitals will need to deal with this issue or some unpleasant solution might come up in the General Assembly.
Bright ruled out a run for state senate but made no other commitments about his political future. Maybe some statewide office?
You can hear the entire interview in the archives of WAI Radio, which is linked in the column on the left. There will also be a photo posted in the gallery.
He was Ross Perot's running mate in 1992, but political enemies can still be great men.
Best quote from the campaign, "Why am I here? I don't know."
Humility and honor can live together in the same person.
Governor Huckabee Needs Some Help
Even Paul Greenberg and I darn near agreed on the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the local government's right of eminent domain. The only shade of difference, as I could see it, is that I believed the case had a bad outcome. Paul and I concluded that, if folks do not like the ruling, there are numerous ways to fix it.
Arkansas' Governor sounds like he may not completely understand the issue. The Democrat-Gazette reports his incoherent reaction to the decision:
Huckabee called the decision "one of the more un-American rulings the Supreme Court has come up with" and said he hoped to see new justices who disagreed with the opinion appointed to the countryÂ’s highest court.
"ItÂ’s one of those rare issues that seemed to unite people on the left and on the right," Huckabee said. "You ask what can be done? We get some different-minded people on the Supreme Court."
The governor also said an amendment could be added to the U.S. Constitution banning such land seizures. But that amendment must be approved by individual states, which Huckabee called "a lengthy, laborious, and almost impossible process."
"It is very troubling," Huckabee said. "I think I share the sentiment of many Americans who just thought that this was an outrageous decision, grossly over-reaching, and really an affront to the basic right of Americans to own and have a sense of real long-term ownership of their property."
Since when is it "un-American" to correctly interpret the law - even a bad law? Once more for the slow students, the high court told us how to deal with this ruling. Please read the earlier entries on this blog.
Mr. Huckabee is totally confused. If only he were a regular reader here, he would already be basking in the sunshine of information and enlightenment. No amendment is necessary to undo the lamentable outcome of this troubling ruling. State legislatures and municipalities can change local laws todayMIKEKD HUCKABEE CAN CALL THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO CONSIDER LEGISLATION TO MAKE SURE THE POWER OEMINENTNT DOMAIN IS NOT ABUSED IN ARKANSAS.
I think Governor Huckabee must be spending too much time with Win Paul Rockefellerer.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Paul Greenberg Comes a Calling
I’ll say that he is a mighty snappy dresser too, right down to the way cool suspenders.
We batted the baseball around a little bit. He’s looking forward to a new baseball stadium.
Mr. Greenberg is a fan of Monk, the cable TV comedy about an OCD detective. Paul thinks I might have some of those strange behavior patterns and even asked how many times I go back to make sure I locked the front door. Of course, I don’t need to do that any more because I give myself a little speech when I lock it.
Mr. Goofball here forgot to take a picture of the Pulitzer Prize winning nationally syndicated columnist (my Aunt Katherine in Mobile worships him) and my boss at the Democrat-Gazette, so it is not on the WAI web site. The interview was quite good and it is in the station archives. WAI Radio is linked in the left column.
This is both an interesting transportation story and a political saga. Arkansas' delegation seems not to have it on the radar, and maybe repeal will not change Southwest Airlines service in Arkansas, but I wonder.
Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (a stout Amtrak supporter, by the way) seems to be against any changes to the Wright Amendment, so "big mo" is missing.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Aruba, Just Another Slave State
So tonight I tune in and the latest report is that a couple of teenaged boys, already in jail for the past month in connection with the disappearance of an Alabama teenager, have been ordered released. That is certainly a nice gesture, especially since neither one has ever been charged with anything.
It gets better. There is another young man, a son of a Dutch official, who is also in police custody, and, according to FOX, is expected to remain under arrest for another 60 days. Again, local authorities are holding suspects without any formal charges.
Knowing that some of you vacation down there, am I the only one who finds it troubling that a supposedly advanced and civilized government, a Dutch possession, holds people in jail for extended periods without a trial? This is the most fundamental of human rights and such a flagrant abuse tells me that more bad things happen in Aruba than we know now.
I bet the Department of Homeland Security would love to do this to American citizens, but there I go again!
This is one bigger than all the important news developments reported on by Max and the gang at the Arkansas Times blog. They have plenty on how the low education levels keep big companies out of the South (as if that is some sort of surprise),a review of the big concert at Ray Winder, and an item about oppression of fat people. The indolent and slothful staff of Lynch at Large congratulates Arkansas Times (linked in the left column) for reporting circles around us, and everybody else, even on a holiday weekend.
Still, we were able to come up with the complete report on this year's Nathan's hot dog eating contest. Japan gets even for ... er ... .Maybe we should just say that the coveted mustard colored belt will be going back where it has been most of the past decades.
Perhaps tomorrow morning I will ask Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial page editor Paul Greenberg to give an opinion as to why America seems incapable of producing a champion hot dog eater. (That's at 10:00 Tuesday morning on WAI Radio.com and, yes, this is a shameless self-promotion.)
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Max and the boys have discovered another outrageous item on high school athletic spending, a dab of politics, some road construction controversy, and a Frank Rich column in the New York Times on War of the Worlds. (His is not as good as mine. The review below is much funnier and less frightening.)
WAI Radio is streaming some very cool reruns of Pat Classic and No Holds Barred and there are some really cool interviews in the archives at wairadio.com.
Paul Greenberg, the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial page editor of the Democrat-Gazette and one of my bosses there, is my guest on Tuesday’s show, so be sure to post any hardball questions you think I might toss his way.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Memo to: Otus the Head Cat, Fur Will Fly
One more mess up like this, Mr. Head Cat, and there will be SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES.
If you, gentle readers to this internet journal, missed the highly intelligent, well informed and most perceptive letter on the Voices page in Today's Democrat-Gazette, the full text follows here along with the accompanying note from the editors.
How long must these outrages continue?
Otus, have you no sense of decency?
Now, the letter of complaint.
A disservice was done
As the curator for the state of Arkansas for the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, or BFRO, I am appalled at the column your newspaper printed in regard to a Miller County bigfoot sighting and a witness named as Carl "Cooter" Scroggins.
The BFRO does not publish witness names and the person who submitted that report was neither named Carl "Cooter" Scroggins nor was he from Black Diamond, Ark., as the column stated. Anyone who submits a report to the BFRO may rest assured his name will not be released by the BFRO to the public for reasons demonstrated in the newspaper column.
For an impartial look at the BFRO, the Web site bfro.net is available and a much better resource than the Democrat-Gazette for information regarding the existence of an unknown species of primate here in Arkansas and across North America.
[Otus the Head CatÃ‚?s] column has done a disservice to the BFRO and to the readership to suggest that someone submitting a sighting to the BFRO will have his private information broadcast publicly. Witness names and addresses are kept completely confidential and out of the public view unless a witness prefers otherwise.
The column regarding the BFRO and the Miller County sighting report was not representative of the organization, but of the newspaper that printed it.
Editor's note: The column in question was clearly identified as a "humorous fabrication."
Lynch back, now. Dear editors, so it's OK because it's a "humorous fabrication?" Don't you know that WE ARE AT WAR. There are no jokes permitted.
We get lots of visitors from the blog linked above, so I thought I would say thank you and welcome! Enjoy my many wise sayings and keep coming back for more. Don't forget to leave your opinion behind here too.
To clarify one small point, I respect Mike Huckabee's abilities and some of his positions. I wish he would lose the chip from his shoulder.
War of the Worlds
Ordinary working people start the day as if there were no sinister forces at work against us, and at first the brutal attack looks like a mere thunderstorm. Human beings are prone to deny the seriousness of any situation. Soon the monsters rise from the earth, symbolic of the Enrons, Worldcons and Halliburtons, whose plague of corporate greed sucks the lifeblood out of decent folks just trying to get by.
The forces of evil are powerful and employ long snake-like appendages to peer into every little corner of personal lives. This is representative of the Patriot Act, which has also degraded the private lives of citizens without regard to the sacred constitutional protections and God-given rights common to all Americans.
Even Amtrak becomes a fiery victim of the powerful forces that control transportation policy as it is symbolically reduced to a blazing train to nowhere.
The Bush machines of destruction would have been victorious except for one crucial thing. Like the tripod invaders that rise from the earth, they are totally removed and alien from the struggles and real world dilemmas that have hardened and taught the kind and generous folks who inhabit the United States.
In the end, the power of good working family people triumph because they know how to exist in the free market economy where you take your chances and occasionally get a little dirt under your fingernails. The monolithic GOP machines of state sponsored terror just couldn’t take it, and collapsed under their own greedy bloated excessive weight.
Friday, July 01, 2005
Justice O'Connor Retires
It looks like Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, one of the “gang of 14” will have a significant role if there is to be a confirmation fight. The “gang” agreed to numerous Bush judicial nominations and promised to avoid a filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances. Are we headed into such a situation? Maybe. There is an “advice and consent” clause in the Constitution, and some lawmakers are seeking to give the president some substantive advice.
Understand that I believe George W. Bush to be among the worst presidents. Having said that, he certainly has a point about a dignified and fair confirmation process. Everybody should want that, except the professional paid attack dogs on the payroll of various interest groups. The game is to scan a candidate’s writing and decisions and try to discover some blemish, and everybody has one. The bare knuckles attack strategy does not serve the country well.
O’Connor is now labeled “moderate,” so the argument is that a similar “moderate” must also be named. There is a flaw in the seemingly benign theory. Supposed Rehnquist or Scalia should decide to head for the rocking chair. Then, according to this fractured logic, it would be completely acceptable to propose some loony right-wing ideologue.
Without becoming simplistic, it might be good to consider how hard it is to cast anybody as a philosophical purist. Sandra Day O’Connor was generally protective of abortion rights, but she also argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers. Clarence Thomas may not possess the finest judicial mind, but he has an outstanding record on free speech issues. Under the present circumstances, it would be much better to find men and women who are vigorous thinkers. After all, it is an academic job.
Ah, Sweet Aruba
Did you notice that in Aruba, a holiday destination for many Americans, an accused person can be held up to 8 days without any criminal charges. In this island paradise, there is no Writ of Habeas Corpus, a fundamental freedom enshrined in the main body of the Constitution. That’s BEFOE that pesky Bill of Rights!
It has also been reported that police are accusing the father of one of the suspects of obstructing justice. You may wonder what happened to suggest such a serious accusation. Well, from what I get from reports, the dad had a conversation with his son concerning his legal rights. Ain’t that a scream? I guess the local Barney Fifes wanted to take the kid down to the basement and beat a confession out of him, but the old man got in the way.
The moral of the story is, when you visit one of these bass-ackwards third world hell holes, remember that your God-given rights ended at the U. S. border.
Arkansas' Governor Mike Huckabee is high on the list of Republican presidential contenders. He gave quite a speech to the national convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens meeting in Little Rock. Huckabee said that America is great because it has always opened its doors to people seeking a better way of life.
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," Huckabee said, citing the Golden Rule. "I have tried to govern that way, and it stands to reason that I really do believe that what made this great country so great and so unique is that it has always been a place for people to run to Â— and not run from.
"I would hope that no matter who we are, or where we are from, that America should always be a place that opens its arms, opens it heart, opens its spirit to people who come because they want the best for their families ...,"
The largely Hispanic audience gave him a standing ovation.
Why is Huckabee saying things to completely out of sync with national Republicans? Is he very dumb, or very smart? I vote for the latter.