Monday, October 31, 2005


Meired – messed around with and generally deprived of previously earned gratuities based on not being sufficiently subservient to the ruling oppressors. Derived from early 21st Century Supreme Court nominee who, while adhering to all the fundamental tenants necessary for consideration, was found to be unsuitable because of having previously entertained an independent thought.

Example: Pat Lynch has been meired by John Brummett in a recent column that lists only one liberal Arkansas political blog.

Being Borked is bad enough. Just when things are going along splendidly, somebody starts digging around in your previous speeches and writings. Judge Robert Bork has plenty to say on just about everything and some of it was unpleasant. He was denied the advancement that probably was due such a fine Yale intellectual.

Then there was Ginsberg, and I ain't talkin' about Ruth, although I would bet she has smoked a blunt somewhere down the line.

I don't want to seem sentimental about Ms. Meirs. She would have been a completely dreadful justice, I am sure. Still does it not seem a little unfair to dismiss a lady because of her obvious libertarian tendencies? Conservative Republicans may talk about judicial restraint, but that is just fancy talk. What they really want is fire-breathing fundamentalists to impose sharia law right here in Arkansas.

Gosh, Meirs promised Carl Rove that she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Rove told James Dobson and that was good enough for the final authority on all judicial appointments. What more could anybody ask?

There was that little episode on the Dallas City Council when Meirs seemed to favor including Hispanics in the local government. Of course, that was a dangerous shortcoming, but probably attributable to youth.

To top it all off, Harriet, who is not much of a looker, adored the heck out of W. He thought she was qualified.

I am certain that Harriet Meirs is a hard-core conservative nut, but I do feel sorry for her anyway. I am in the same situation. I ask you candidly: what more must I do to prove my liberal credentials?

Let us examine my record. Tax and spend? Absolutely? Against the death penalty? Of course. Legalizing Marijuana? I'm for it. Tort reform? I'm again' it.

OK. I will own up to being on the wrong side of same-sex marriage, but so what? All the homophobic morons who are also against it can't come up with a single rational reason to hold the same opinion. I do believe that marriage and families exist to protect weaker individuals, like women and children.

I confess that, on more than one occasion, I merely genuflected when coming in the presence of former United States Senator Dale Bumpers. I deliberately violated the explicit understanding that all true liberals must drop to both knees, but I am getting older and it hurts.

I have also been less than adoring to Bill Clinton, but I generally support his policies. That should count for something.

Once, I publicly referred to ACLU Executive Director Rita Sklar as "a total babe." In this case, while I admit the wrongful deed, I also assert that truth is an absolute defense.

I also attend a church that believes in something beyond mere “social justice.” I can’t imagine what got into me.

I am meired and it is a bewildering sensation. I could promise to be ideologically pure, but that would be a lie, and it’s too damned much trouble.

One more thing, Arkansas Times blog is more liberal and it really rocks.

Mark and Allison Johnson are just back from New Orleans and you will want to hear the "first person" account of destruction and the "black mold and mildew." Allison describes going back to her apartment after Katrina. Mark drove around on his own. It's an awesome story and you can listen in the WAI FREE "on demand" archives. It's today's 11 AM hour and the first 20 minutes of the noon hour as well.

Camie Boggess is an old friend who got just a bit too deep into the Halloween spirit. I am sure she is having trouble getting around on the broomstick with all the bad weather. The NCAA men's basketball tournament first round is coming to Alltel Arena in a few years. What does it take to get in on an event like that? Camie has lots of insight on that and also a few legislative notes. She is on in the 10:00 hour, which is also available in the WAI archives.

In the first hour today, I had commentary on the passing of Rosa Parks and some recollections on segregation. It is certainly worth your time.

TUESDAY GUESTS: Jim Lynch, the community activist from UALR WILL BE IN THE STUDIO AT 10, SO BE LOGGED ON AT WAI RADIO.COM. I am sure we will discuss my column in today's Democrat-Gazette about secrecy in City Hall.

Friday, October 28, 2005

North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays stopped by Thursday morning at 9. He had a lot of background on the county jail story. Even though that is a county responsibility, he had lots of good insights. You will never miss out on a great segment on Pat Classic thanks to the WAI Radio "on demand" archives. The station is linked on the left hand column.

NEXT WEEK will be huge. An old friend visits Pat Classic Monday. Camie Boggess knows all the local sports scene, including the NCAA presence in Central Arkansas. She is also a lobbyist and general know-it-all. Camie is on at 10. Look for local activist Jim Lynch to be talking about the mess in local governments on Tuesday morning. On Friday, it is Dan Kaczynski, brother of the unabomber, Ted. He will be talking about his opposition to the death penalty. Pat Classic Streams ?"live" weekdays 9 to 1.

MONDAY GUEST UPDATE: Mark and Allison Johnson will be by at 11 to describe their latest visit to New Orleans. There is a lot more cooking this week. Be sure to check it out at WAI

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What? Perjury is a crime?

Talk about gooses and gandors.

My pals at Arkansas times noticed an amazing Washington Times opinion piece on the special prosecutor in the CIA Leak case. Ah, the sharp contrasts between Fitzgerald and worm-in-residence Kenneth Starr.

The Arkansas Times Daily Blog is linked in the left column and they generally have the right take on what all good Americans should believe.

Also, the Early Warning blog is also linked across the way and it is a "must read" from the WAshington Post on national defense and homeland security.

I might add that I was also excluded from the famous gubernatorial luncheon for press buddies who were sure to back the new road program. Although my show runs from 9 to 1, I am always prepared to completely shut down our "live" feed whenever free food is on the line. I have suggested a "pay your own way" lunch for the "unclean" of Arkansas media. I'll let you know how it works out.

Since I am thinking about the highway bond issue, I must with deep sadness report that our friend Drew Pritt has lost his ever -lovin' mind. Pritt send out one of his famous press releases yesterday (he usually gets four or five out every week) in which he compares Huckabee to Hitler. All I can say is, "time out." Pritt will be in the penalty box for a while.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rosa Parks

We take a lot for granted.

At age 55. I am able to remember a very much different world in which the people we called “colored” endured state enforced second-class citizenship.

Well-bred decent people called them “colored,” others had harsher names for Negroes. Some of the language used to describe black folks was unimaginably hateful and reflective of the deepest bigotry. Most southerners were kinder people, but the loudest voices set much of the social tone of the day. Too many people of conscience went along with the accepted norms of discrimination for too long. Rosa Parks put the first dent in thick heavy armor of racism.

Segregation was a political symbol of white supremacy which was the ready tool of skillful political demagogues. Despicable hate-filled warts like Eugene “Bull” Connor, Birmingham’s bigoted sheriff, and Georgia Governor Lester Maddox come to mind immediately as the kind of guys who take to the politics of hate and division like ducks to water. Fellows like George Wallace and Orval Faubus played the race card for political advantage. One way or the other, it was an era of the rawest political manipulation.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that Montgomery city bus, she was certainly taking a risk. Many political empires were built on the basis of playing to the economic and racial insecurities of ignorant underclass white folks and “uppity” black had to be put in their place. You have probably seen old news films of the fire hoses, the police dogs and the gassings.

There is a National Jim Crow Museum that has the artifacts and history of post- Civil War America. For most of a hundred years, the federal government had consistently failed to pass and enforce legislation to protect the rights of former slaves. The Montgomery bus boycott was not the first such event, but it was important in modern times. There were protests even in my hometown early in the last century. The condition of the country 50 years ago is hard to imagine today, especially since the mood of the country seems to be denial of any unpleasant facts.

I vividly remember separate drinking fountains for whites and blacks. There were separate waiting rooms in all sorts of public places, including train stations. On the railroad, black passengers could sit anywhere if they were going out of state, but there was a “Jim Crow” car for “coloreds” traveling in the same state. Segregation was a useless and silly social ritual whose only purpose was to prolong the state sanctioned domination of African-Americans by individuals who could never earn their way to the top except by intimidation.

False teachers, greedy corporations, and ambitious politicians easily mislead weak human beings. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Coming soon: a Wright faceoff

Nov. 10 Senate hearing to pit Southwest founder, American chief
12:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, October 26, 2005
By TODD J. GILLMAN and SUZANNE MARTA / The Dallas Morning News

This is huge. This is bigger than Taylor against Hopkins!

American and Southwest take the gloves off and the roasted peanuts will be flying. The above head takes you to the story in today's Dallas Morning News. The U. S. Senate has scheduled hearings. This will rock.

The fate of Dallas Love Field will have a bearing on transportation in Arkansas. Stay tuned!

Although I do not have a firm opinion on whether the Wright Amendment should be repealed, I do generally believe that what is good for Southwest Airlines is ultimately good for the traveling public. Commnets, anyone? Post 'em here.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mark the Magician has all the latest poop on the Breeder's Cup, which is Saturday at Belmont Park. Interestingly, Mark foresees a very competitive and interesting Oaklawn meet beginning on January 22. The reason for the improvement is Hurricane Katrina. He says that the race track in New Orleans was destroyed and the Fairgrounds meet is being moved to Shreveport. This brings the horses closer to Arkansas and things are going to fill up fast.

Mark also had a few things to say about the Hot Springs slot machine election.

If you want to know more, the web address is

The entire noon hour, along with every other segment of Pat Classic, is in the free WAI Radio "on demand" archives. The station is linked at the left.

In the first hour of today's program, there is an entertaining chat with the President of my fan club, who lives in Florida. Check it out too.

On Tuesday's show, Janie Ward's dad, Ron Ward, will talk about the non-investigations into his daughters murder. This is the story Mike Masterson has doggedly pursued for years. It should be quite an hour.

The Bulldog Take on Saturday's Game

Here is a blog linked from the Atlanta Constitution.

Things are not well in Dawgland USA. Poor coaching? This time it's not HDN catching hell. Understand, he is the king of excuses, but it sometimes helps to see things from another direction. As is so often the case, the headline is the link.
One more thing. It goes without saying that Georgia does not deserve to be ranked #4 after only getting past the biggest cupcake in the SEC.Merry Christmas. Dawgs.

Mike Masterson is 'da Man!

Mike's Thursday column was compelling, informative, entertaining, and about ME Even though the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is a subscription site, it will be worth your while to grab a hard copy and check out Masterson on the Voices page.

Some highlights,

It can feel like Friday night at the Elks Lodge bar to banter with Little Rock’s Pat Lynch.

I never know where the Great White Shark of Arkansas talk radio will lead our conversations. I just know I can always expect him to reflect elements of common sense filtered through liberal orientations all packaged in shrieking eloquence.

Mike knows how to kiss up.

Lyncho finally has learned that whenever he unconsciously invites me onto his show, he can simply ask a question, then head off to polish the light fixtures or visit the men’s room for the next 15 minutes. I strive, you see, to help preserve those vocal cords that likely will be bronzed and mounted one day in the Arkansas Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Mike Masterson is a favorite and he WILL be back next time the lighting fixtures get dusty.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Today's Brummett

Much as it pains me to say so, John Brummett is an unequalled political reporter and this morning's column proves that point.

It's about the leadership of the State Senate. It is blunt and in language so clear that even nitwits like me get the ;oint.

My column appears Monday in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. It's the dreaded Amtrak column and I think you might find a few nuggets of value. It's on the Voices page.

Bigdaddyo Checks in on the Hogs

Bigdaddyo is certainly in a bad mood this morning. The following is his latest submission.

top ten messages left on houston nutt's voice mail Saturday night:

10) "hey, coach, it's cole barthel. ...i ain't gettin' any younger!"
9) "this is the georgia defensive line. thanks for not calling more pass plays! our palms are red and swollen!"
8) "coach, it's marcus. marcus monk. M -O -N -K! i won't be at practice on Monday because i'll be doing something productive with the new guys over at springdale!"
7) "it's danny. i could fake that brainstem thing again if you think it'll help!"
6) "this is peyton's mom and i want to know what you've done to make peyton drop so many punts! we never had this problem when we were wampuscats!!"
5) "coach broyles heeyah! just a remindah, we aren't playin' horseshoes or throwin' hand grenades so 'close' don't buy you job security! ...did i evuh tell you about winnin' the '64 national championship with a bunch of freshmen and sophumowuuuhs?"
4) "houston, it's nolan. did you shoot my damned horse?!"
3) "honey, don't forget to bring home milk and toilet paper this time or your position at home is on thin ice too!"
2) "phil fulmer here. what exactly did you promise that mustain kid? ...don't think i won't do it! ask alabama!!"

and the #1 message left on houston nutt's voice mail Saturday night: "this is louisiana state university returning your call. i'm sorry, but the job is no longer available."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hogs, be not proud

Any time Arkansas gets beat by less than three touchdowns, it is a moral victory. Today, the Arkansas Razorbacks played with the faintest hint of intensity. This raises the question: is it really necessary for jobs to be on the line for fans to see this team try to win.

I think the defense looked better. Reggie Herring must not want to move just yet.

Robert Johnson looked better, in my opinion. I know some of the fans are still mad at him. I think they are wrong.

It is obvious that HDN and some others who thought they had jobs for life got a rude awakening. Nice job, hog fans.

In the end, Nutt will become Athletic Director and mediocrity will be permanently recognized as the highest ideal of Razorback football.

Hell, we may someday yearn for the days of mediocrity.

The very cool folks at Arkansas Times have dug up a wonderful old column from the legendary sports writer, Orville Henry from the earliest days of the Nutt debacle. That item is linked at the left.

Bird Flu Risk is Minimal

By Aldemaro Romero and Jeannette M. Loutsch
Jonesboro Sun

The source of this story is Arkansas State University, so it's got to be on target? Right?

Dr. Romero is chairman and professor and Dr. Loutsch is assistant professor of biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State University.

But seriously folks, professors contend that the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed 5 percent of the world's population, was caused by swine flu, not birds.

I am feeling better already!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

More of the Whole Story

In case you missed it, is the portion of my Monday Democrat-Gazette column which is causing all the discussion over on the Arkansas Times blog. I urge you note the word "theory." Discerning readers will find that Halter did not claim Clinton's support.

The knowledgeable and most lofty authorities discreetly let it be known that Bill Halter has been dispatched on behalf of the former Governor and President, Bill Clinton, to do battle with Mike Beebe for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. There is some history that might tend to reinforce that theory. Halter hooked up with Clinton in 1983, while the Alma school funding case was being worked out, and ended up researching education initiatives around the country. During the Clinton presidency, Halter was Acting Commissioner of Social Security. He is articulate, good looking and professionally coached. He seems to know the answer to every question before it is asked. This guy is both a Catholic High grad and a Rhodes Scholar.

One could argue that comments by supporters of Mike Beebe and Wes Clark at a recent fundraising event were very much out of place under the circumstances. The entire discussion points out the theme of my column. Democrats may need a better candidate to take on Asa.

Arkansas Times Blog has a most entertaining thread on all of this.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The whole story

Over on the Arkansas Times blog (link is at your left hand column) there is quite a heated discussion about Bill Halter's political prospects. The sometimes boisterous discussion is based on my Monday column about Halter's visit a few weeks ago.

Here's where I am. Halter is for real. As of today, the race for the Democrat nomination for Governor is wide open. What Clark or Clinton have to say means nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip.

Mike Beebe is in trouble. Just watch.

The Halter interview is in the free "on demand" WAI archive, which is linked on the left hand column

Antoine's next course

A culinary icon reflects the struggle to rebuild a city
By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
Published October 16, 2005

Today's Democrat-Gazette runs a Paul Greenberg "evergreen" about a Bourbon Street landmark, Galatoire's. New Orleans nostalgia is very big these days and the above linked article brings into perfect focus the difficulties of reviving even a legendary business in the historic city.

Looking Toward Heaven

Two items are in my mailbox that might be worthy of your attention.

Hurricane Wilma formed in the Carribean as a tropical depression on October 15, 2005, becoming the 21st named storm of the 2005 hurricane season, the most active on record save for 1933, which also had 21 named storms.

EXTRA: Amateur astronomers are monitoring a growing dust storm on Mars big enough to see through backyard telescopes.

Looking for Mars?
Tonight you can find it using the Moon as a "landmark." Go outside between 9 and 10 p.m. local time and look east. (You can do this even earlier if you have a clear view of the eastern horizon.) You'll see the Moon and Mars rising together in the eastern sky. Both are bright: The Moon is almost full and Mars looks like a brilliant orange star. If you're impressed by Mars tonight, you'll be even more impressed two weeks from now when Mars makes its closest approach to Earth for the next 13 years.

Battle Over Love Field Turns UGLY

Southwest renews talk of relocation
Airline ups the ante in Wright fight; American calls comments a threat
09:04 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 18, 2005
By ERIC TORBENSON and SUZANNE MARTA / The Dallas Morning News

The outcome of this fight could effect airline service in Arkansas. The latest developments are breathtaking. Clink the headline, see for yourself, post a reaction in the comments area.

UPDATE: The link is now working correctly. Also, Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas had a weekly press briefing, which was webcast on WAI When asked, he seemed to know little about the issue. Check it in the free "on demand" WAI archives. It is the second half of the 10 AM hour today.

High School Sports is an Unfunded Mandate?

Dr. Ben Mays, the Clinton veterinarian, checked in on Tuesday's show to talk about how local school districts report (or sometimes don't report) spending on varsity athletics. The Rogers district, among others, has recently sued the state over supposedly no sufficiently funding public education. Mays has some probing questions for the districts and places the total cost of high school athletic programs statewide at around $200 million. That is no small sum considering that about half of the sixth graders are not reading at grade level and many high school students are functionally illiterate. Mays had a lot to say, which is all available in the free "on demand" archives of WAI, which is linked in the left hand column.

The most recent Lakeview episode involved claims by the Rogers school district and others that the $5400/student funding formula did not give them sufficient funds to pay for "unfunded mandates". The question is this: What about the unfunded, non-mandates, like sports programs? How can school district officials claim to be unable to pay for unfunded mandates when they're spending big bucks on programs that are not mandated? The Rogers school district reported (or half-reported) spending almost a million dollars on their varsity programs last year. (The true figure is probably closer to $2 million.) The question is, why wasn't this money used for mandated programs instead of for non-mandated sports? But the bigger question is this: Why didn't the attorney general's office ask this question during the recent hearings with the special masters? And why didn't the masters ask it? It seems to me that for those in charge, the most important aspect of the education reform movement is to preserve, at all costs, the sanctity of sports.

And then there is this question: Is there not a constitutional problem with diverting---for nonmandated sports programs---huge portions of money taken from taxpayers for the purpose of fulfilling the constitutional mandate of adequate education? Shouldn't this question be raised before we're asked to pay even more taxes for more "reforms"?

At the risk of stating the obvious, it is grossly inadequate to audit only 20 districts sports spending every year. It is a proposal designed to protect the status quo, which is typical of state government.

Plane-crash survivors text-message for help

This story was reported in yesterday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, but that is a subscription site and linking can be a problem. Today, the AP version runs in the Conway Log Cabin Democrat and the headline is, of course, the link.

The important thing to understand here is that out in the wilderness one probably does not have a strong enough link with a cell phone tower for a voice call BUT you need almost no signal to send a text message. That is how the victims notified relatives so the search could begin. Ain't technology wonderful?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Critical FEMA Memos

October 18, 2005
Jackson Clarion-Ledger
Memos: FEMA hindered by internal chaos
E-mails are part of House panel's investigation into slow storm response
The Associated Press

Even though I have no particular admiration for this administration or Homeland Security, it is a bad idea to allow the hapless Michael Brown take the fall for the whole Katrina mess. His e-mails show a glimmer of recognition of how bad the storm is going to be. It is also worth noting that the federal government was completely overwhelmed, so it is rather out of place to put it all on a female governor who happens to be a Democrat. This is a good feature.

Blowing up Baptist

Baptist demolition work on schedule
3 viewing areas designated
By Maria Burnham
Memphis Commercial Appeal
October 18, 2005

With the demolition of the 960,000-square-foot Baptist Memorial Hospital patient tower scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Nov. 6, officials announced plans Monday to designate three viewing areas for people to watch the implosion.

The public areas are:

Gambro Healthcare on the southwest corner of East Street and Linden;

United Wholesale Florist on the southeast corner of Dudley and Linden;

Union Avenue and Walnut, adjacent to Xpedex.

Each location will have a tent where coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts will be served.

(Baptists and doughnuts. Who would have seen that one coming???)

Rick Schaffer in Turmoil

The man does not need me to defend him, and I am not sure this is a defense.

after eight years of pass-the-kool-aid rationalizations about the manifest ineptness of Houston Nutt, Rick is bound to take some criticism as the Nutt mystique unravels. A few facts:

Rick is a good and sincere man.
Rick knows where the power lies in Fayetteville.
Rick depends on the Fayetteville power elite for his income.
Rick is in a somewhat compromised situation today since it hardly seems reasonable to argue that this is a rebuilding year. For HDN every year is a rebuilding year and the good years are always next year.
Rick correctly points out that HDN has had two good years, but there is no relief insight this year.
Rick did not put it all on Johnson, but he is the quarterback. The position demands accountability.
Rick has trouble saying out loud that HDN should be subject to the same accountability as the players and assistant coaches.
Rick can not say out loud that the football program is a mere toy of the Fayetteville power brokers.
Rick is still a nice man doing his best under bad circumstances.
Rick can not say out loud that college football is only a game.

Rick Schaffer's "turn the other cheek" style of commentary does get old after a while and there is no reason to get off his case. He makes damn good money as the apologist for big money. Hell, somebody's got to do it.

Whither Faulkner County?

Wet-dry vote of 1943 ended alcohol in county
Special to the Log Cabin

It is always humorous to report on the "limited government" crowd, especially when they use the police power of government to enforce their own narrow beliefs.

None could possibly be more narrow or ill-conceived than the war against demon rum. This is a social income transfer scheme since "dry" counties enjoy the revenue from liquor sales in"wet" counties. It also establishes an entertaining albeit unholy alliance between local church folks and the liquor store owners in neighboring counties. I would also include bootleggers, but I guess that doesn't go on any more. Sure nobody is stupid enough to drink that stuff in 2005?

Anyway, this story is a nice background piece on the "nanny county" and how it attempts to save weak minded residents from themselves. Now that state law allows some alcohol sales in these backwards towns, the rest of us can take personal responsibility for a little civilized enjoyment.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ben Mays, the trouble making veterinarian from Clinton, Arkansas will be on Tuesday's program. He has a number of looney and potentially dangerous proposals. For instance, he believes that local school districts should account for how much they spent on athletics. Well, everybody knows that is not possible, and, if it were, the result would be the collapse of civilization. There have been a few news developments on this front so there will be plenty to hash out. Catch the program "live" 9 to 1 or in the free "on demand" archive at WAI!

The Opry at 80

Grand Ole Opry hails 80 guitar-pickin' years
Country stars salute venerable music show
By John Gerome
Associated Press
October 15, 2005

The Grand Ole Opry has been around longer than Pat Lynch. It is one of the most significant broadcasts in the history of radio and certainly the longest continually running show. Anybody who truly loves radio loves the "live" excitement of the Opry.

Thanks to WSM for eight decades.

I was once a country music DJ at KMON in Great Falls, Montana. I kinda' liked it, but country radio did not care much for me. Go figure.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

How 'bout them hogs?

I stayed up late last night and listened to The Fifth Quarter. That is the Randy Rainwater and Rick Schaeffer duet of love for everything Razorback.

Let me tell you these are tough times for Razorback fans. One could hear the tones of dread in Rick's voice. This "nice guy" routine is no act. Rick genuinely cares if some assistant coach gets canned. Rick know that people have families, and so on and so on.

I would be falling down on my duty not to mention here that nobody seems to care very much when Pat Lunch gets the ax, which has happened twice in the past five years.

But back too the Hogs. Rick was clear that a fan boycott would do no good. Of course, he's right. It seems to finally be soak in in on a few of the die-hards that the program operates for Jim Lindsay and a bunch of good old boys who use the Razorback business as a huge personal ego trip.

Who is this defensive coordinator? His parents named him after a fish that people like to have creamed and pickled and he just can't get over it. Yeah, one of Randy's callers got it exactly correct. If Auburn has a Merry Christmas schedule, WE are the biggest stocking stuffer.

It is pathetic to see my direst predictions come true and I am horribly embarrassed for Frank Broyles, who I suspect has been indifferent to HDN for some time now.

Picking on the Arkansas Razorbacks is no longer cool or fun, so I will cease and desist.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Drew Pritt, the Movie

Drew Pritt brought along a documentary film crew. Who knows when we will get to see it at the Rave? I can't wait! If you missed it, the entire thing is in the WAI archives and it is free.

Lots of good political chat but no news. Pritt is against the highway bond program suggested by Mike Huckabee. Pritt may be right. He is in favor of the lottery. Well, Arkansas IS surrounded.

Drew Pritt says that a gay guy can win statewide office. He claims to get lots of support in rural Arkansas.

Wright hearing in works

Senate panel could spur legislation based on ideas for Love Field
09:27 PM CDT on Thursday, October 13, 2005
By ROBERT DODGE / The Dallas Morning News

It looks like this hot transportation issue is about to heat up again with Senate hearings next month. How do I feel about repealing the Wright Amendment? Generally, I approve of anything that might help Southwest Airlines, but Arkansas needs to be careful that we do not end up with less air service. The headline takes you to the latest information.

There is news on an unrelated transportation issue. People who follow Amtrak know that there is very big news there. I will post something over the weekend on breaking up the Northeast Corridor.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Another Analysis of Disaster Response

October 11, 2005
In one Louisiana parish, flexibility trumps bureaucracy
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.,
National Journal

If you are not completely worn out on the subject, here is something a reader sent my way. It is about finding a more fluid modern management style for dealing with emergency situations. It follows a true story and successful outcome. A good read. The headline is the link.

Power Hungry Morons

'Hell Night' lawsuits ask $30.2 million
Kin of fire recruit left in coma blame 'dehumanizing' training
By Sherri Drake
Memphis Commercial Appeal
October 13, 2005

Sometimes we discover an item which demonstrates an old adage. Today, our text is "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely."

What happens when the wrong people are put in charge? Click on the headline and find out. Hell, you can even watch the video.

The real problem is human nature. From the top down, people love to be in charge and to dominate others. It is more powerful than greed or sex. The use of power is especially intoxicating to high school coaches, small town cops, and some lower middle-level managers who would never be taken seriously anywhere else.

Sadly, this story does not have a happy ending, which is so typically the case whenever anybody gets too much authority.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Condi vs. Hillary?

New book sez only Rice could keep Clinton from White House

Talk about your pure malicious pack of total lies, this one is a dandy. It's a new book by former Bill Clinton adviser-turned-nemesis Dick Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann. With Clinton out of office for six years now, most of us have been missing the typical mindless truth-busting Clinton-bashing tirades that the far right manages to dream up on the six days of the week they ain't slapping each other on the back, singing praise songs and feeling smug for being the only ones who are right with the Lord.

But I digress. There's nothing really wrong with Dick Morris for wanting to get his toes sucked every now and then.

These guys are real nuts. Morris is an old pal and advisor of Governor Mike Huckabee. To hear these guys tell it, if Hillary wins things will be a complete police state. Things will be worse than the Patriot Act, I suppose. That would be bad. Wonder if things would be worse than inside the New Orleans Convention Center.

Let me come directly to the point. Here is one of the most far-fetched misstatements from the book.

"Hillary has a sense of entitlement that leaves her vulnerable to the temptations of financial misconduct," they write.

Anybody remember the notorious cattle future trades that the far right goofballs has so much fun spinning into absolutely nothing. Mrs. Clinton had a goal to earn $100,00 for her daughter's college education. Here is how this wicked and desperate woman behaved. She sold her position when she made her money and then, to top it off, paid the taxes on it too. These are the inconvenient facts that get in the way of so many good stories.

Here is m question. If Senator Clinton is so bad for America, why not attack her based on her record and her statements?

I have known Hillary Clinton (not closely but as an acquaintance) for 20 years. I have interviewed her. She is tough and smart. Maybe she would be a terrible president.

Secretary of State Rice might make a fine commander-in-chief. Isn't it something that should be decided on a little higher level than downright fabrications?

Want a real scare?

Big trouble
New York Daily News

President Bush is shamelessly using fear of a flu pandemic for political purposes. If people are fearful they will be more compliant with the greedy intentions of his unashamedly self-serving administration.

Nonetheless, it could be real. Just because Bush plays it up for personal advantage doesn't necessarily mean that we should not take it seriously. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Lisa Jones' feature is, I think, the best thing yet on the flu epidemic of 1918 and what might happen here. Click on the headline and prepare for the worst.

Give HDN a break?

Wally Hall begs for mercy and Bigdaddyo springs into action. Enjoy.

top ten reasons houston nutt will keep his job:

10) he's bouncing around and showing lots of enthusiasm!
9) he's special!
8) 4 & 7 season won't look so bad next to jermain's post December 3d shattered jaw!
7) houston gets sympathy votes after peyton hillis' mom bloodies his nose!
6) state realizes how lucky we are to have him after seven top high school programs show interest!
5) he already made a deal with the devil...i meant to say, he already made a deal with frank!
4) basketball program sucks so bad those four victories look mighty sweet!
3) nobody else knows the words to the fight song!
2) has removed the baloney sandwich from his briefcase so there is now room for detailed diagrams of three plays instead of two!

and the #1 reason houston nutt will keep his job: "mitch mustainamaniababy!!"

Hate Crimes?

Here is an item from the New York Daily news which will tell anybody exactly why hate crime legislation is such a bad idea. Of course, for me it is part of that ACLU thing. I think people should be judged based on what they DO, and not on what they think.

In Orwell's Animal Farm, all the animals were not equal.

And the other guy's religion looks nutty too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Study backs Wright

American report says repeal risks D/FW hub; Southwest disagrees
08:51 PM CDT on Monday, October 10, 2005
By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News

Could it be that the Southwest Effect is just PR and not for real?

Guess what, that is exactly what American Airlines wanted to discover when it hired professional researchers to do the dirty work.

The Southwest Effect is a standard term in the aviation industry which states that fares go down and traffic goes up when Southwest enters a market. All of this matters because Southwest is still campaigning to repeal the Wright Amendment which restricts flights from Love Field.

You know the drill. The Headline is the link. Enjoy.

Brummett (almost) gets it right

I must concede that John Brummett is the second best columnist in Arkansas. If you think I am going to nominate myself for the top slot, forget it. Paul Greenberg easily ascends to the top and I must also ad that David Sanders is staging a powerful assault upon the high ground. Lyons and Oakley have me fat out-classed. Brummett is awfully good.

Maybe that's the problem.

John's column is linked above and it is a rare disappointment. He is, of course, correct about the mentality apparent among reporters covering the state capitol beat, but he goes plumb over the top.

John, we know you are too good and far too smart to attend ordinary press conferences with mere mortal reporters. They aren't as good as you, but you don't need to dish it out.

We know you're far too good to watch ordinary television like the rest of us mellon heads. No need to rub it in.

Ease off on Alice Stewart. She is among the most knowledgeable movie reviewers and quite literate. I bet she might have even read you, John.

As to where she used to work. Mr. Brummett, you are sounding like a fellow I used to work for a few years ago. How easy it is to dismiss another professional.. You would be the FIRST to decry the unfairness of ratings taking off your favorite show. (If you ever admitted to watching commercial television, that is.). As you may have heard NOBODY listens to Pat Lynch or reads his column. That has been the rap on me for 22 years now. Let me tell you this. Bad as it may be, SOMEBODY watches that station. Lots of somebodys.

It looks to me as if Mike Huckabee isn't the only one getting a little too big for his britches.

Special Masters Get it Right

You may have been wondering, as have I, about the recent scolding administered by Special Masters Newborn and Jesson. The legislature probably did not do enough for public education, but maybe it was a close call. Maybe they tried?

The above headline takes you to a story in today's Morning News of Northwest Arkansas that sums things up well.

West Fork is the 14th. poorest district in the state. Building repairs have been needed for years. The state has given the local district a grant for $1..1 million but the zinger is that the local folk shave to make up a third of that. Part of the money will be used to deal with asbestos, a significant safety concern.

So, my question is this. While Arkansas is racking up a surplus which totals in the hundreds of millions of dollars AND builds football fields for towns that don't have a team, how is it that this basic need can not be met completely and immediately.

Two things. The General Assembly did NOT do enough. Governor Huckabee should sit down and shut up. Better yet, the Huckster should go back to Iowa and Let Alice Stewart run things.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Monday Memo

First off, my column on the Voices page of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette probably assures that I will (once again) not get on the invitation list for the Governor's Christmas party. I would link the item, but the newspaper is a subscription site. It's worh grabbing up a copy, if for no other reason than to share in the Hog euphoria of a shattering victory over North Louisiana Welding Institute.

This will be another huge week on WAI and Keith Jones is on today at 10. My show is streaming "live" 9 to 1.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

There are some outstanding programs in the WAI Radio archives from this past week, and they generally stick around for over a month. Mayor Jim Dailey (seen sending messages via Blackberry from the studios) visited Thursday as did potential gubernatorial candidate Bill Halter. Friday morning it was AARP's Mark Johnson with the COMPLETE rundown on the Medicare drug benefit.

Halter danced around the questions but he did so with such skill and grace, the coaching was obvious - which is not necessarily a bad thing. Give it a listen and you sill read between the lines that he is running. You will probably also get the general impression that he was sent by Bill Clinton to save the race for a candidate with some possibility of beating Asa Hutchinson. Halter certainly says the right things and he has lots of political polish.

I sometimes wonder, does Jim Dailey only make sense when he talks with me? Dailey said straight out AGAIN that he favors changing Little Rock's form of government to a mayor council style, such as most Arkansas cities already use. North Little Tock has this kind of government and it is designed to give the mayor both authority and accountability. The Little Rock version is run by a city manager. This is set up by state law. Voters need to change the form of government in an election.

Let me be more specific about what is wrong with the city administrator format, which is used in Little Rock. The main failing is the FOUR "at large" positions. Three directors and the mayor run citywide and that means they need MONEY for advertising and promotion. Raising campaign contributions means getting into bed with special interests. West Little Rock has two ward seats and those would generally be taken by somebody who is sympathetic to real estate developers and financial interests. Southwest Little Rock and the east side are outnumbered.

In the mayor council type of local government, there are none of the flaky "at large" spots. Everybody runs from a section of the city and it is not as expensive to be a candidate. It's "one man, one vote." Your vote counts as much as the real estate developer. Now, I ask you, is THAT a concept or what?

The people need to take back Little Rock city government. The only questions is, are the old money special interests ready to give up power? In a change of government campaign, they can be counted on to do what they have always done: LIE, LIE, LIE. I can only hope that Mayor Dailey will keep his word and run for another term on the platform of working to change Little Rock to a mayor-council form.

The interview is in the WAI Archives and we cover the recent story about raising the mayor's salary and giving the office more power. We get into several important areas. The "on demand" archives are free and WAI is linked in the left column.

Friday, October 07, 2005

45 years of joy, frustration and deadlines

Today marks a milestone. It is Jack Mosley's final column in the Southwest Times Record. Mosley has the distinction of possibly being the last reporter to question John F. Kennedy. His series on events in Dallas around the assassination were memorable. The column is, of course, linked by the headline.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Vast Maritime conspiracy hits NLR



Move over Matt Drudge!

No, I am not too proud to be a mouthpiece for Dwayne Graham.

The former "Seven on Your Side" guy is now a candidate for Pulaski County Sheriff.

Don't believe it? Call 834 7329 and be sitting down.

Things just for a little noisier!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Finally, Somebody agrees with ME!

Some Experts Say It's Time to Evacuate the Coast (for Good)
New York Times
Published: October 4, 2005

Growing up in Mobile, we did not have the highest respect for the power of Hurricanes. I have n idea why, but hurricane parties were common. You may have heard about the large number of revelers who perished in the 1969 storm, Camille.

Since we all pay the expense of flood insurance and building new roads and public facilities, it seems like a "no brainer" that the feds need to step in and stop development in dangerous places.

Don't we ever learn anything?

Gas Prices Hit Little Rock Hard

How much are higher gas prices hurting you? In some cities, even-costlier gas, longer commutes and lower incomes make the pain worse. Little Rock ranks comparatively high, according to Forbes reporters. Nationally we are #18 in hard hit cities.

The above headline is the link and the complete listing is on the second page of the story. Do you agree? Post your reactions.

Beverly Sales Draws Attention in Mississippi

This little item came in under the door. Looks like the nursing home jig is up. Perhaps Mississippi lawmakers will get to do what has not yet happened in Arkansas. It would be a breath of fresh air for the buyers of Beverly to be held publicly accountable. Remember, 76 percent of Arkansas nursing home residents are on either Medicare or Medicaid. Taxpayer money is the mother's milk of an industry that was entirely greedy before the arrival of real estate speculators such as NASC. This is very much the public's business. Read on.

Press Release for October 5, 2005 from Jackson Mississippi:
Today, State Representatives Percy Watson-Hattiesburg and Jamie Franks-Mooreville announced their intention to hold legislative hearings to address rising concerns about recent developments in the nursing home industry.

"We have become increasingly troubled by a trend that may seriously affect nursing home residents in Mississippi," stated Watson, who is the Chair of House Ways and Means Committee.

The 25-year veteran of the Mississippi House expressed concerns over recent developments involving the sales and pending sales of a number of large nursing home chains, namely IHS, Mariner, and the pending sale of Beverly Enterprises to out-of-state real-estate developers. Court documents show that these recent sales have resulted in the parent corporations being stripped of assets and vendors and medical suppliers of the homes not being paid.

He is joined by Representative Franks who stated, "The Mariner sale, for example, is troubling in light of recent stories that show the new owners are not paying vendors - some of whom are based right here in Mississippi. As a member of the Ways and Means as well as the Public Health and Human Services Committees, I am very concerned that tax dollars used to pay for care may not be going to care", he stated. "And now the same people who purchased Mariner are poised to buy another large nursing home chain."

They announced their intention to meet with representatives of the Mississippi Department of Health in an attempt to understand what these transfers might mean to the care of residents and how the state's regulatory authority may be hindered. They will also ask the agency a series of questions in writing for their presentation at the hearing. For example, they will ask them to compare care at the Mariner facilities before and after the sale to determine if resident care has suffered at any of these homes.

A similar hearing in Arkansas revealed that as chain-owned nursing homes are divided into multi-layered corporate entities, state regulatory oversight is hindered. It was also revealed that in the event of a home closure due to a lease expiration, the state would be powerless to stop the closure and would have "zero" capacity to handle resident care.

"These transactions are concerning at several levels, but most importantly on what it may mean to resident care" Watson added.

Neither states when the hearings would be conducted given the current special session, but hoped to do so within the coming weeks.

Bush: Troops needed for flu

If pandemic hits, talks of quarantine
By Ron Hutcheson
Knight Ridder Newspapers
October 5, 2005

As if I didn't already have enough to worry about.

President Bush, possibly the worst chief executive in our nation's history, has been exercising his large brain on what to do if the worldwide flu breaks out. The answer is, let's use the Army to enforce a quarantine. Brilliant.

This idea comes from the administration that still has not found the weapons of mass destruction.

Bush gives away all the plumb jobs to his cronies and never mind qualifications. Let's not even pretend. His own party is about to come undone over the latest Supreme Court nomination. You ought to read George Will's column. I will link it here later.

Does anybody remember New Orleans?

Maybe it is just me, but I don't think I trust George W. Bush to plan a Sunday picnic. Still, you need to read the story linked to the above headline.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, none of us will be around to see it, but you need to remember to be logged in Thursday morning! It is going to be an exceptional day. Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey is on at 10 to talk about expanding the powers and compensation of that office. At 11, be buckled up for a wild ride with (sorta') candidate for Governor, Bill Halter. The show always rocks on WAI

UPDATE: We will get a Wednesday morning telephone call from Hollywood and John Mark Huckabee. He's been hanging around with the cast of West Wing and Harry Thommason too.

I almost overlooked the following item (Could it be satire?), which ran in the Stephens Media Group papers In Springdale and Fort Smith. Here is what the Regional Business Editor, Michael Tilley, has to say about the impending sale of Beverley Nursing Homes. Of course, I totally disagree - well, I THINK I MIGHT disagree, but heck everybody needs a laugh now and then.

Exquisite Goofiness Proves Amusing, Puzzling
Now for a Sunday memo.

TO: U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., State Rep. Stephen Bright, R-Maumelle.

FROM: amused, yet puzzled, small-town business editor

RE: your exquisite goofiness related to the following news blurb:

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and State Rep. Stephen Bright, R-Maumelle, are questioning Beverly Enterprises' announced sale of its operations. Pryor has sent a letter to the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking them to ensure that the sale of Beverly Enterprises would not adversely affect the care and treatment of its nursing home residents.

Some folks say elected officials aren't good for anything, but you gentlemen have been good for a laugh.

As noted above, this paper had a story a few weeks ago about you, Mr. Bright, calling a special legislative committee meeting to investigate the pending sale of Beverly Enterprises to a group of big-dollar wavin' New York investors who collectively hail by the name of North American Senior Care. Beverly, a company based here in Fort Smith, fought off a hostile takeover by a company that would have removed its corporate headquarters and the more than 600 jobs it provides. Most of us, maybe all of us, really, in Fort Smith were very pleased to learn of the NASC offer and its intent to keep the company here.

Then you boys show up with your overblown sense of self and misplaced and suspicious "concern" for nursing home residents who might be — and I'm guessing here as to your concern — forced to work long hours making gym shoes and Pimp Daddy sweatshirts and turn over their government checks to Nurse Gambino just to help these carpetbaggin' New York investors recoup their costs of buying Beverly.

Or maybe that's a little much.

Which is a good way to describe your involvement in what is really a market transaction that will receive a look-see from federal health-care reimbursement regulators and the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

Many of us in Fort Smith were proud, no, relieved, to read Friday that State Sen. Percy Malone, D-Arkadelphia, and State Rep. Jim Medley, R-Fort Smith, were just as puzzled as we were.

"What is the purpose for us to be involved in these discussions at this point when there is not — as far as what I have read — an agreement ... for this (deal) to consummate?" Malone asked at the start of your recent hearing, Mr. Bright.

Then we read on into the newspaper story and came across probably one of the oddest things we've heard from a legislator — which is quite a feat, Mr. Bright, and you should be commended for your accomplishment.

In response to legislators who operate in the real world and were wondering as to why the sale of Beverly was any business of a state legislative committee, you, Mr. Bright, offered the following:

"Now, if we were going to turn our correction institutions over to a private bidder or to a private entity, wouldn't you want to ask questions?"

That's not just comparing apples to oranges, that's comparing apples to the bones of a unicorn. I mean, what the ... ? Mr. Bright, are you so terribly confused that you'd compare the privatization of a taxpayer-created and managed prison system to the sale of a shareholder-owned company to a legally formed investment group under the auspices of a complex set of rules and regulations drafted, revised and managed by the federal government since at least the mid-1930s?

And the good Sen. Pryor, well, as a former Arkansas attorney general, you should know better.

Many of us folks who voted for you are hoping that the letter you sent to Daniel R. Levinson, inspector general with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is similar to your predecessor's decision to mess around with a staff member — a big you-know-what mistake.

Your chief spokesman, Rodell Mollineau, admitted that you had not spoken to Beverly officials about the letter until you were ready to send it. Considering the number of factual errors in the letter, we believe him.

Mollineau also tried to pass off the letter as a "for your information letter only (to the inspector general). ... I think you are reading too much into the letter."


In the letter, you tell Levinson that the boys buying Beverly are broke and that "in light of these events, I am concerned that there is potential for the NASC purchase of BEI to result in significant hardship for many patients."

And then you note your "significant concern" that Beverly's prior agreement with the federal government to do the right thing by its patients will be voided once the company is sold — as if all the patients will be hustled into the Superdome once the transaction is complete.

The really good part of your letter — and by good I mean there is "significant concern" with your judgment — is where you note: "While I'm not making a comment with regard to the veracity of these allegations, I do believe that you should be aware of them."

We all know that game.

"Hey, Margaret, I heard the preacher is sleeping with his secretary. I'm not sure that's true but, my brother-in-law said he was told by his boss that the boss' wife saw them twice in the same month eating together down at the Feed The Five Thousand Cafe."

If you two gentlemen are really concerned about tax dollars and the well-being of residents, there are plenty of things you could do in your governmental jurisdictions to beef up patient oversight, reimbursement oversight and financial incentives for nurses and other caregivers.

Other than that, we'd appreciate it if you'd nix the goofiness.


State Senator Shane Broadway dropped by to discuss the Special Master's report. Where to begin? He disagrees with the report in most areas and thinks they got it wrong factually. In fact he believes there might be further hearings just to clear things up on the school funding formula. Broadway expressed surprise that consolidation was even mentioned in the filing, since it has little prominence in the testimony. He denies that the legislature has grown indifferent on school reform and also thinks that Governor Huckabee was in on the process. What happens next is anybody's guess, but his most interesting comments had to do with the next fertile ground for school litigation. If you guessed a federal court enforcement of the "No Child Left Behind" law, you win the trip around the world Senator Broadway's complete interview is in the free WAI "on demand" library (linked in the left column).

Monday, October 03, 2005

Debris piles up, depression sets in

October 2, 2005
By Julie Goodman
The Clarion-Ledger

The Jackson, Mississippi newspaper has painted a word picture of human misery on the gulf coast. What are survivors going through just east of New Orleans? The outlook is disturbing and vivid. As usual, the headline is the link.

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