Saturday, December 31, 2005

While you are enjoying the lengthy holiday weekend, download one of our archived hours (mp3 format) on that new iPod! The hour from December 21 with Senator Jim Argue is especially noteworthy. He gives an intelligent legislative outlook on the most recent Lake View decision. He is not completely there with the court either, but he is looking for the practical solutions. Lots of great insight.

Also in the archives is an hour with Hank Klein, founder of Arkansans Against Abusive Payday Lending, and Arkadelphia lawyer Todd Turner. They have the complete sordid story about the ugly practices of an ugly industry. That one was on December 27.

Here are a few others in the FREE "on demand" archives at WAI that will completely entertain and inform.

Dec. 7, John Robinson of the National Weather Service
Dec. 6, Little Rock attorney, Bettina Brownstein, describes her travels in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia
Dec. 5, Zoo Director Robert Blakely
Dec. 1, Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines with background on the jail crisis
Nov. 28, Betsey Wright discusses the impending execution of Eric Nance
Nov. 18, Children's author Darcy Pattison
Nov 4, David Kaczynski, brother of the Unabomber, tells his story.

These are a few of my most recent favorites. There are many recent hours of "pure Pat" filled with news and absorbing commentary. Check it out and let me know which are your favorites. Play safe!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Good News From the Big Easy

Reopening night
A French Quarter icon is back in business,
but feat is clouded by post-Katrina uncertainties
By Howard Witt
Tribune senior correspondent
Published December 30, 2005

Today's Chicago Tribune has the follow-up to an earlier story about the difficulties facing the high dollar tourist oriented businesses in New Orleans. Anyways, follow the above link to I believe you will consider a positive development

First thing Friday morning

Neither the state Adult Protective Services worker nor the Meals on Wheels delivery people who entered the apartment of Shirley Chittum in the weeks before the elderly Bentonville woman’s death could tell that beneath her blankets, maggots and flies had been growing amid her bedsores, a Division of Aging and Adult Services official told legislators Thursday.

The case file into an investigation of an Oct. 13 incident involving the injury of an 12-year-old girl and alleged inaction by Caraway Police Chief Jerry Vaughn afterward has been turned over to Brent Davis, second judicial district prosecuting attorney, officials close to the investigation told the Jonesboro Sun. Vaughn was suspended with pay Nov. 10 after a Caraway City Council meeting in which residents stated that Vaughn allegedly refused to conduct a blood alcohol test on driver Sammy Hicks.

The state's chief fiscal officer argued Thursday that it's unconstitutional to divert any of the 25-mill property tax that Arkansas law mandates for schools, to fund a tax increment financing district in Fayetteville.

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas had this one too. Additional impact fees are needed to cover the cost of growth, according to Siloam Springs city officials. The city needs to charge at least $3,000 per new residential lot to expand electric, water, sewer, sanitation, police, fire and park and recreation services because of growth and population increases, City Administrator David Cameron said.

A British newspaper says that Merle Haggard will be the opening act for the Rolling Stones in their March 9 stop at Altel Arena.

Today will be last call for greens, pork chops, sweet potatoes and boiled cabbage as Brother T's in Conway serves up its last helpings of authentic soul food.

Federal prosecutors have taken over the case of a Pennsylvania man accused of child pornography. Motivational speaker Michael Fortino was arrested by Fayetteville police Nov. 30 after sexually explicit pictures were found by employees at a local electronics store on a computer he'd dropped off for repair. Over one-thousand pictures involving children were reportedly discovered.

Two occupants of a Middle Road home were arrested by the Faulkner County sheriff's office on suspicion of obstructing government operations. They tired to re-enter the home and rescue their pets, including dogs, squirrels and birds. 25 snakes were reportedly killed and several goats outside the home escaped injury.

Drought conditions have cancelled many fireworks celebrations set for new Year’s Eve.

FROM THE SOUTHWEST TIMES RECORD: About 15 fire departments battled more than a dozen grass fires that burned over 200 acres in Crawford and Sequoyah counties and destroyed several out buildings, but no occupied structures were damaged and no one was injured in the fires. Sequoyah County saw most of the damage with six separate grass fires that destroyed more than 150 acres, according to the Oklahoma Department of Forestry.

According to the special census, Centerton has doubled its’ population to over 5-thousand and that means more state money and a full-time mayor. The Mayor’s salary goes to 40k.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday early morning gathering

John Hamlin has resigned as fire chief of the Jericho Volunteer Fire Department in the aftermath of a Dec. 22 fire that killed a wheelchair-bound man trapped in his home in the tiny Crittenden County town. Mayor Helen Adams says she changed the locks on the building in which the fire truck was kept and tried to get in touch with the chief about it. The fire truck was reportedly not in running condition anyway.

During November, Benton County apparently had the state's lowest unemployment, at 2.4 percent. Lee County had the highest, at 8.3 percent. Statewide, the jobless rate also slipped one-tenth of a percent, to 4.8 percent.

A Widener man is facing several charges, including endangering the welfare of a minor, after leaving his three-week old infant inside a vehicle following a chase with police.

Police are searching for one of the two suspected murderers who escaped from the Warren jail on Christmas Eve. Jesus Pablo Morales and Derek Sales overpowered a jailer and fought with a police officer and several Warren PoJlice Department employees about 6 p.m. Saturday before fleeing on foot. Sales was captured shortly after his escape, but police were still searching for Morales, who is considered “extremely dangerous.”

The Log Cabin Democrat reports that Faulkner County Administrator Mike Hutchens notified the Finance and Administration Comittee members the sheriff's office requested $37,000 to cover year-end expenses. Last month, the court appropriated $86,000 to get the department through the rest of the year. Justice of the Peace Catherin Blankenship says, "We gave them money they asked for to get by on fuel and utilities, and they spent it on other things."

Ozark Aircraft Systems and several employees have been named in a second lawsuit stemming from the January 2004 crash of an Egyptian airliner into the Red Sea that killed all aboard.

A competition to establish a new mascot for Hendrix College will be open through Feb. 1, the college announced. Faculty, staff, students and alumni of the college are being asked for submissions. "The Warriors" has been stitched across the front of the college's athletic jerseys since 1929. Since 2000, however, a shield has acted as Hendrix's insignia and the only visual representation of the name, although the school does not consider the shield a mascot.

The State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP) has submitted the Pottsville Dipping Vat, located in Rankin Park on East Ash Street, to the National Register of Historic Places. The vat, in use from about 1915 to 1943, was a 42-foot long concrete structure used to dip cattle in an effort to eradicate the Texas Tick Fever.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Berghoff says 'auf wiedersehen'

Venerable restaurant to close after more than 100 years
Tribune staff reports
Published December 28, 2005, 2:44 PM CST

First, we loose all of New Orleans, now this!

The wonderful restaurant was within an easy walk of Chicago's Union Station. The food and atmosphere were a delight and the only consolation in this loss is that, since Amtrak is no longer worth riding, the odds of me ever ending up in downtown Chi-town for pleasure are just about non-existent.

Somebody better break this to Richard Allin very gently.

Dirksmeyer Rumblings

While authorities investigate the murder of Nona Dirksmeyer, there are plenty of rumblings. This story has achieved national interest and prosecutors and police must be feeling the heat. At last weeks press conference, the official position stated that there is only one suspect.

While I am not ready to gossip about this story, and never will resort to such tactics. It is, however, worth noting that there may well be more than one viable suspect. Of course, this is just a hunch.

All the news reports seem to point to a boyfriend, who along with his mom and another companion, discovered the young woman's body in her apartment. What if there is a logical reason for all three to be together and checking up on Nona? What if this odd looking circumstance is actually quite understandable? Would that open the door to other possibilities?

Police are able to question witnesses and take statements which are presumed to be truthful. They professionally gather evidence. Sometimes things are not as they appear to those on the outside looking in, and this may be such a case.

Take a deep breath. A little more patience may be in order.

Daybreak Wednesday

A man died from injuries sustained in a house fire, and the chief of a volunteer department in the town of Jericho that didn't respond to the blaze has been forced from his position. The victim was reportedly confined to a wheelchair. When firefighters from Marion and West Memphis finally arrived on the scene, the house was engulfed in flames.

The State Game and Fish Commission will officially dedicate an artificial lake near the Governor’s hometown of Hope as “Mike and Janet Huckabee Lake.”

The Little Rock School District has submitted to a federal judge the third of four program evaluations that are prerequisites to the school system’s release from almost 50 years of federal court involvement in the racial desegregation of the 26,000-student district.

The Boston Globe counts Arkansas among seven states that have efforts underway to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot in 2006.

The Pine Bluff Commercial reports today about a recent study compiled from federal data which identified northern and central Pine Bluff as being in the top 5 percent of areas in the nation for potential health risks from industrial air pollution.

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas reports that one-more-for-the-road traditions over the long Christmas weekend pushed driving-while-intoxicated arrests to a new high in Springdale. Officers arrested 22 people on DWI charges in the four-day period from 6 p.m. Thursday to 6 p.m. Monday, compared to 12 such arrests a year ago during the same four-day period. That's an increase of 83 percent.

St. Francis County Sheriff's officers are investigating an incident near the town of Colt in which a horse was shot. It is speculated that someone was night hunting and mistook the horse for a deer,

The documentary Hoop Dreams and footage of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake are among the 25 movies picked this year for the National Film Registry, a compilation of significant films being preserved by the Library of Congress. One of the players in the story of inner-city basketball players ended up at Arkansas State University.

Former Saline County prosecutor Joe Kelly Hardin is dead of natural causes. He was 55.

On Jan. 1, a new law takes effect in Tennessee that requires first-time DUI offenders to pick up highway litter for 24 hours while wearing an orange vest that says in 4-inch letters: "I am a DRUNK DRIVER."

Warmer weather can be blamed for Bentonville’s ice skating rink partially melting, according to the city’s Advertising and Promotion Commission president.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wednesday morning will bring a visit from retired moral philosopher and yak herder, Bill Vickery. He has an opinion on everything. Pat Classic will be reviewing all the top state and national news through the well-trained eyes of Pat Lynch. Be logged on 9 to noon at WAI

Dirksmeyer Watch

The investigation into the murder of a Russellville beauty queen continues. Local authorities say they have a suspect, but no charges have been filed. The Courier has a new story which has no substantive new facts, but does contain an excellent roundup or previously released information.

It is an unshakable of our criminal justice system that the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven otherwise to a jury of his peers.

Tuesday Toppers

After months of negotiations between St. Francis County officials and Attentus Healthcare, a deal to operate the Forrest City hospital has collapsed only hours before parties were to sign a lease. Negotiations have resumed with Community Health Systems after Attentus announced that it could not fulfill terms of its’ previous offer. Baprist Hospital of Memphis announced plans to stop running the hospital last year.

The Times-Record in Fort Smith reports that, with drought conditions predicted through March, officials are exploring a temporary alternate water source and more restrictive conservation measures. The drought has reduced the levels in Lake Fort Smith, Lake Shepherd Springs and the Lee Creek Reservoir to the point that, if no additional rain is received, those sources have a four-month supply remaining, according to city officials.

In Central Arkansas, drought conditions are even more serious in Perry County.

Arkansas correction officers use force much more often than four years ago, according to a data from the Department of Correction reported in Sunday’s Democrat-Gazete. The Department declined to provide the forms which must be completed whenever officers use force, saying these are parts of inmates records and not subject to Freedom of Information.

A Saline County program aimed at getting parents to pay back-child support has resulted in six felony convictions and more than $100,000 in restitution orders in its first year of operation.

Firefighting airplanes will not arrive at Drake Field in Fayetteville until after the spring fire season. The U.S. Forest Service is establishing an air tanker base at the airport, but will not move from Fort Smith until May or June.

St. Nona

Part of my mission in life is to look at things from the unpleasant perspective that most folks just hate. Today's story in the Russellville Courier on Nona Dirksmeyer requires commentary.

She was, doubtless, a wonderful young woman who will be deeply missed by her friends. One must always, however, be sensitive to those who would "taint" the prospective jurors by creating a sense of rage over the crime.

In view of the fact that police say they have a specific suspect, and that many of us have surmised who that might be, is it right to get folks stoked up over it? The suspect deserves a fair trial.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Yet Another Blog

You will find linked in the left hand column Arkansas' newest, and I think, most original blog. I wish I had thought of his one! Arkansas Pictures is already outstanding and it will be even better with your contributions.

Digital cameras give each of us the opportunity to be creative and to capture wonderful scenes. The blogger invites contributions, so get with it and enjoy!

Monday is Pat Lynch Day in the Democrat-Gazette

Today, I offer up an array of festive flying arrows. Darksiders will especially enjoy the column, which can be found on the Voices page of the Democrat-Gazette.

I have not yet received my official banning from the city limits of Fayetteville and all Razorback events, but I DID get another press release from drew Pritt. Ordinarily, I would not encourage him, but this one comes with the offer of a state job, which comes with a PENSION. Hmmmmm, better think this one over.

Contact : Drew Pritt at 1.501.454.4093 or

Drew Pritt, Democrat for Lt. Governor, says that should he be elected Lt.
Governor he believes the best individual to be his Press Secretary would
be the Little Rock Press Legend, Pat Lynch.

"Pat Lynch possesses the qualities of humility, sincerity, and an innate
almost Presbyterianesque or Lutheraneque disdain for political
self-promotion," said Pritt. "Pat Lynch however never promotes WAI Radio,
rather trusting in an unseen predestination-like attitude of scheduling
guests, promoting the internet radio station, or talking about important
issues of the day. Also, I don't think Pat Lynch has EVER asked for or
suggested guests/politicians should buy advertising with his radio

Pritt feels after a campaign on ideas, like a heavy holiday Turkey or
Goose dinner, the Arkansas public needs light and non-intrusive reporting
from the Lt. Governor's office.

It was on Pat Lynch's morning show that Pritt announced his candidacy for
Lt. Governor. This can be found online at

Also, more of Lynch's humble commentary can be found at

Pritt points to Lynch's virtuoso of manifest-destiny views on the news of
the day at

There is no comment yet whether Pat Lynch would accept the position.

(NOTE TO THE READER - This is my kind and playful response to Lyncho's
political jab at me today in his column.

"Drew Pritt, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, is on fire. He
rolls out about a dozen press releases in a slow week outlining his
carefully reasoned position on every social and economic circumstance
known to mankind. I fully expect to get an e-mail soon with a subject line
that goes something like this : "Pritt issues 17 media announcements in
one week, breaking his own world record for shameless self-promotion."

For the actual record and you can quote me, Pat Lynch is a great guy!)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Day was just about the best ever. Marie and I exchanged gifts. I had a long telephone chat with my brother, John, in Oklahoma. We visited the dog park with Molly and had dinner with friends. We are blessed people and I hope your holidays are equally as joyous. We have 11 more days to go till Epiphany!

I am back at work Tuesday morning at 9 on WAI

Saturday, December 24, 2005

After Church, Marie and I drove around some of the well lighted neighborhoods. Lakewood Village, you rock.

I do enjoy passing by the huge vacant shopping centers late on Christmas Eve. It reminds me of the finality of life. Christmas is the same way. After months of hurry and stress, they lock up the doors and send everybody home. The end comes to everything and then there is an accounting. Christmas morning is part of the finality of life. Enjoy.

Our sincerest wishes for a joyous and blessed Christmas Day.

Russellville Police Have a Suspect

Today's Courier has a story about the murder of Nona Dirksmeyer. While it is not exactly "breaking news," officials confirm that there is a particular suspect.

This is probably the most emotional case of homicide since the killing of three West Memphis children, so it is worth nothing that the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. There is a heavy burden on prosecutors to come up with conclusive evidence.

If you have a good memory, you may recall the hysteria around the arrest of some young folks who were, in addition to being presumed killers, were also allegedly Satanists. One of the suspects was a guy named, of all things, Dameon.

Most of the presumptions center around the "boyfriend," so let's just remember that there is a lot of pressure on police and the prosecutor, who is also a politician, to get somebody charged and convicted. For them, delay looks like weakness.

Those of us who follow such things should not jump to any unfounded conclusions. This case will start looking a lot different when they start putting people under oath.

Friday, December 23, 2005

May you experience joy during this Holiday Season, from Molly Marie and me.

911 Excerpts fron Dirksmeyer call

Today's Russellville Courier runs segments from the transcript of the 911 call in which the death of Nona Dirksmeyer is reported.

It is a phone call made to the Pope County 911 Dispatch Center at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 15, from 1006 South Inglewood Apt. 12. The call was from Janice Jones, mother of Nona Dirksmeyer's fiancee Kevin Jones. Kevin Jones and Ryan Whiteside were also present at the time of the call.

We've all seen too many episodes of CSI, but there are a few things about all this that do not add up. You can figure it out for yourselves. Just remember, that it's pure speculation. Police gather evidence and the rest of us just gossip.

I am wondering about the "idle chat" referenced in the transcript. You're standing in a bloody crime scene with a long dead corpse of a young person you knew well, what is the idle chat? Not meaning to be disrespectful, just wondering.

It may be that somebody will put the recording online. I will link it here.

Apparently there is a suspect.

The Democrat-Gazette files this complete and professional report.

Channel 7 also did a story.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bob Harrison

My friend, Bobby, was possibly the most talented guy to sit behind a radio microphone in Little Rock. He was a morning anchor at KARN and the Voice of the Travs. As I recall, he was Sportscaster of the Year more than once. Bob Harrison left this life two years ago today and I can not let it pass without saying how much he is missed.

Bob was so gifted that I deliberately listened to his calls of baseball games at Ray Winder Field. I went up in the booth with him once or twice.

He was a personality on a black station in Chicago, WGCI. That was an enormous success, but Bobby just could not manage his own life.

He was a fine cook and keeper of the Harrison family secret Caesar salad recipe.

Bob Harrison figured out how to properly install the DSL modem card in my Mac clone. He could be pretty spooky by being so smart. Like a good Catholic, he remembered his share of Latin.

When Malachi Martin would be a telephone guest on my old show at KARN, Bobby would bring him up on the air at the end of his own show while Dr. Martin was waiting for me. Bobby would tease about what an unbelieving pagan I was and, together, they would recite the Prayer to St. Michael.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Bob was so sad at the end,

Radio is very cruel. Often the battle is bloodthirsty, and over nothing but a pile of scraps. It hardly seems worth the fight.

Life is still good and despair is Satan's greatest lie.

If only Bobby knew.

Thursday Thumping

Funeral Services for Russellville beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer will be held today and local police plan to release the first official information on her apparent murder over one week ago.

Prosecutors filed adult felony charges Wednesday against a 17-year-old who, along with two other boys, is believed to have deliberately run down an off-duty Rogers police officer in order to rob him. Travis McCombs of Tunbridge Drive in Bentonville was charged with aggravated robbery, leaving the scene of a personal-injury accident and theft by receiving.

From the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, A 42-year-old Bentonville woman faces a rape charge after being seen performing oral sex on a 13-year-old boy. Donna Sue Turner was arrested Sunday when a man reported to the Benton County Sheriff's Office he caught her with the boy. The teen's parents had gone to bed when Jerry Turner walked in on his wife and the boy.

Drew Pritt of Warren, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, said Wednesday he would sponsor petition drives to authorize a statewide lottery and elect a constitutional officer to oversee public education.

State health officials administered free chickenpox vaccinations at the Green Forest School District this week after a reported outbreak.

Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia is nearly doubling its land size with a donation of more than 650 acres from the family of the late Arkansas Gov. Ben T. Laney.

Schlumberger confirms that it has begun construction on a regional office and service facility on a 20-acre site on Amity Road in the Guy Murphy Industrial Park in Conway. It could mean 100 new jobs.

A Tennessee development group wants to add another attraction to North Little Rock’s resurgent downtown, McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, a combination theme restaurant and entertainment venue.

Pine Bluff School District patrons will soon be asked to vote on a millage increase for the district after its school board unanimously passed the proposal onto the public.

Russellville’s new anti-noise ordinance, which becomes effective Jan 13, prohibits “the creating of any unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise of such character, intensity or duration as to be detrimental to the life, health, safety, welfare, comfort or convenience of any individual, or in disturbance of the public peace, health, safety and welfare.” Persons who violate the ordinance can be found guilty of a misdemeanor and are subject to fines of no less than $250 or no more than $500.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Four days to go

Every December 21, Paul Greenberg comments about the long-ago death of a drifter in Pine Bluff. Joe Telles left this world in 1967, and Greenberg has written about it every year since. Today's offering is especially thoughtful.

Yeah, it's in the Democrat-Gazette, so you will need a subscription. If you must, go buy a copy. This column is a tradition which will rouse those who are still capable of feelings, and greatly enhance your enjoyment of the season.

Joke of the Day

Republican family values. (Always a joke unless you happen to be the top 5%.)

Back when President Reagan started mouthing off about budget cuts, he said there would be a "safety net"" to protect the "truly needy." At the time, I knew he was kidding. His neo-conservative agenda is a well-crafted rationalization for hurting decent working people and advancing the wealthy. Today, it has all come true for his political children. This is my opinion.

Here is what Senator Lincoln had to say about today's budget cuts. She is 100% right.

M. President, at a time when America’s working families face so many challenges – rising gas prices, unaffordable health care, and out-of-control child care costs – I am deeply disappointed that we are considering such harsh spending cuts that directly impact millions of hard-working American families. This budget reconciliation bill contains nearly $40 billion in cuts over five years and burdensome program changes to Medicaid, child support enforcement, Supplemental Security Income for the elderly and poor, foster care, and other programs. It also places new, inordinate burdens on states administering the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program while providing sorely inadequate child care funding. Additionally, it fails our nation’s farmers by delaying commodity program benefits.

I understand the need to tighten our belts. Our nation’s deficit is exploding, and I am committed to addressing it. However, I don’t believe that we should make middle and lower income Americans, children, and individuals with disabilities foot the bill. The entire burden of reigning in our nation’s deficit should not fall on their shoulders. It is unconscionable that Congress would make it harder for working families to get child care so they can go to work, for single parents to get child support checks so they can afford to feed their families, for children to get physical therapy to lessen the impact of a disability, or for a middle class family to afford nursing home care for their elderly parents struggling with dementia or other chronic illness.

The cuts to Medicaid would force families to pay more for their health care and would provide them with fewer health care benefits. Children would no longer be guaranteed complete health care, potentially leaving them without proper vision screenings, therapy services, or medical equipment that would allow them to attend school. New, overly punitive asset transfer policies would penalize the elderly for not accurately anticipating their future health care needs, leaving them with few, or no, options for long term care. Community pharmacists also are at risk, particularly those serving rural communities.

I have long been involved in the reauthorization of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. One of my priorities has been to reward states for getting people into good jobs instead of rewarding states for pushing people off the welfare rolls. This bill takes the absolute wrong approach, telling states that getting people off the welfare rolls is more important than helping them get good paying jobs. The most blatant example of this "get them off the rolls" approach is reflected in the horribly inadequate child care funding.

M. President, this bill also includes $8.3 billion in cuts to Medicare over five years. Seniors, individuals with disabilities, and health care providers bear the burden of these enormous cuts. Even though the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) strongly recommended to eliminate the so-called "stabilization fund" for health insurance plans, the conferees decided to maintain this large subsidy to insurers. Ending this subsidy for insurers would have saved taxpayers and Medicare seniors $5.4 billion over five years.

But the conferees of this bill did not want to take money away from health insurance plans. Instead of obtaining Medicare savings from a common-sense policy, this bill cuts payments to home health care by $2 billion. It cuts hospital quality improvement by $300 million. It cuts Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments by $1.2 billion, durable medical equipment by $2.9 billion, and imaging services by $2.8 billion.

On top of all that, it increases Medicare premiums by $1.6 billion and fails to hold premiums harmless from the temporary payment fix for Medicare payments to physicians. This hits seniors right in the pocketbook. While I support ensuring that physicians do not receive a cut in Medicare payments, seniors in Arkansas are already struggling to pay their monthly Medicare premiums, and we should not be adding to that burden.

In 2005, premiums increased by 17% to $78.20 per month. This marked the second consecutive year of double-digit increases. In 2006, the Medicare premium will rise to $88.50 per month. And these provisions will increase it even more. Right now, millions of seniors are choosing a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. In Arkansas, they are deciding between at least 40 different plans, all with different premiums and benefit packages. An increase to their Part B premium may dissuade them from signing up for a prescription drug plan. They may decide they simply cannot afford it. And that is a tragedy.

Additionally, farmers should view this reconciliation effort as a clear indication that the commodity provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill are in jeopardy. Commodities, unlike conservation programs, were not extended in this bill and will likely face a considerable push from the Administration to make drastic changes, if not, wholesale elimination of the programs as they currently exist when the Farm Bill reauthorization occurs in 2007. Specifically, the Budget reconciliation will cut commodity programs by $1.4 billion through a reduction in the advance direct payment to farmers. This will result in farmers facing uncertain futures with respect to receiving their commodity title support payments. This is especially troublesome in light of the Administration’s refusal to give farmers emergency disaster relief funding during one of their most difficult years.

M. President, in conclusion, this budget reconciliation spending bill is irresponsible and shows some the misplaced priorities of this administration and some of my colleagues. We should be talking about ways to help our fellow Americans who are working hard to provide for their families, to keep their families healthy and happy, and to take care of their aging parents. We shouldn’t be tearing them down and making their lives more difficult. This bill is filled with misplaced priorities and I wholeheartedly oppose it.

Wednesday morning stuff

In an exclusive interview with Pat Lynch on WAI Radio, Congressman Vic Snyder expressed opposition to oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. That measure was attached to a defense appropriation bill and is now under consideration in the U. S. Senate. Snyder also said that charges against President Bush for domestic spying should be carefully considered in a bipartisan manner.

Mitch Mustain, the Bulldogs quarterback who earlier this month led Springdale to its first state championship since 1989, has been named the Parade magazine All-America High School Player of the Year.

Arkansas shelters and services for the homeless will receive just over $4 million in federal funding in 2005, a drop of 27 percent from the amount awarded for the same programs the previous year.

State auditors continue investigating allegations of missing money in a Damascus city office. The City of Damascus (pop. 303) is one of America’s most notorious speed traps and, according to the Democrat-Gazette, the police chief who made the original allegations of wrong doing has been demoted by the city council.

The Forrest City Police Department arrested five boys on felony charges stemming from more than 32 incidents that began in 2003 and continued through November this year, with the last incident being the decapitation of a statue of St. Francis of Assisi at the local Catholic Church.

The future of education for 174 students in the Palestine-Wheatley School District will be on one campus if the Department of Education agrees to a plan that will be submitted early next year.

Kevin Tuberville of the Jonesboro Sun reports that USM “escaped with a 31-19 victory” over ASU in the New Orleans Bowl.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

When Christmas triumphs over the Lord’s Day

The Prayer Book Society: News: When Christmas triumphs over the Lord's Day

One of my favorite writers, Dr. Peter Toon, was kind enough to toss a theological hand grenade into the discussion of churches which are closed on Christmas day, which this year falls on Sunday. Here is a perspective I bet you ma not have not heard.

And just wait till 2006 when the Feast of the Nativity falls on Monday. That will be a liturgical train wreck! Oh, the humanity!

Congressman Vic Snyder and I had a wide ranging discussion about many matters of national importance. We talked about Iraq, oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, Katrina recovery, and whether President Bush should be impeached. We talk about the current revelations of government wire taps. Snyder serves on the Armed Services Committee and he has good observations on Iraq. UPDATE: The interview is now in the FREE "on demand" archives and it is worth your time.

Hint: Snyder is against drilling in Alaska and moderate on the President and Iraq.

Leifel Jackson is a former gang member. He's started an after school program called "Our Club" that provides a safe place for inner-city kids to do homework and have fun. He has a great story. How did Leifel get hooked on drugs? You will never believe the answer. This important hour in the WAI "on demand" archives. It rocks.

Getting Ready the New Orleans Bowl

Tonight is the big one for ASU fans! Our resident creative genius has put together some ingenious ploys designed to increase awareness for this important football competition.

top ten motivating factors for the asu indians in the Tuesday bowl:

10) over 2,000 tickets sold!
9) undersized linebacker arrested before the underwhelming game!
8) competitive fire fueled by Monday morning oreos and milk!
7) back in the olden days, brett favre played for southern miss!
6) don't want people laughing at you in a city named lafayette!
5) maybe chris berman will make a joke about "matt" jonesboro!
4) today the Tuesday bowl, tomorrow the music city bowl!
3) recruiting in places like hazen and wynne becomes possible!
2) a chance to snub the outraged native american football audience in a national format!

and the #1 motivating factor for the asu indians in the Tuesday bowl: "more cookies and milk for the winners!"

Tuesday early stuff

Federal regulators affirmed a ruling expected to cost Entergy Arkansas Inc. customers hundreds of millions of dollars a year starting in 2007. As a result, Entergy Arkansas officials told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette they will exit the “system agreement” that led to the predicament, but that will not necessarily spare ratepayers the expense.

The state Crime Laboratory has completed an autopsy on the body of an Arkansas Tech University student and beauty queen, but the Russellville police decline to disclose the results.

A judge has thrown out a federal lawsuit in which a former Jacksonville High School student accused school officials of failing to protect her from being gang-raped by nine boys on the campus in 2003.

Former Atkins superintendent Al Davidson, who was suspended with pay in October for the remainder of the school year, and elementary principal Rebecca Sheets were apparently reimbursed for thousands of dollars worth of questionable expenses, according to documents obtained from the school district through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which is reported extensively today in the Russellville Courier.

The Bentonville School Board has approved the expulsion of a fourth grade student involved with recent threats in the district.

Money has been raised for all 207 members of the Fayetteville High School Band to participate in the Rose Parade on Jan. 2.

The Fayetteville Public Library Board of Trustees will ask voters to increase property taxes to remove the library from city funding.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that Junior linebacker Chris Littleton will play in tonight’s New Orleans Bowl game. Littleton was arrested Saturday night on a citation for alleged battery of a police officer and resisting an officer after an incident on one of the team’s tour buses. He was released on bond. According to the Jonesboro Police Department, Littleton has had at least three other run-ins with law enforcement.

A prize-winning duct tape prom gown inspired by a Picasso painting has won two Forrest City teens an extra honor -- inclusion in Parade magazine's "The Best and Worst of Everything" year-end wrapup. The largely tongue-in-cheek tribute to the best and worst cites Krystal Long and Casey Isringhouse for "The Best Taped Event."

Love's financial state disputed

Southwest, city deny claims of unfair fees
10:12 PM CST on Monday, December 19, 2005
By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News

Now, the neighbors are getting into the Wright Amendment scrap. Boo hoo hoo.

Does Southwest get a sweet deal at Love? Only if you ignore the improvements made by the airline and the substantial restrictions imposed by Wright.

There is a really neat Herb Kelleher quote in this story, which is linked by the headline.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The President's Speech

I watched it. This will be a fair analysis. See for yourself and add your own reactions.

What will victory look like? Who are we fighting? Where do they come from and how many of them are there?

Practically speaking, a forced withdrawal of American troops on a rigid timetable is a bad idea. From the political standpoint, war opponents in Congress do not have many other avenues of protest available.

The President is right that a sudden withdrawal would betray local allies, send a message that the USA does not keep its' word, and turn the country over to the wrong element. That sad ending seems to be exactly where we are heading.

Many of the people in South Vietnam loved us dearly and we won most of the battles. Still, we badly underestimated the enemy's willingness to fight.

And, Lyndon Johnson used to say EXACTLY the same stuff about how ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) was going to take over the fighting soon. We all know how that ended.

I am dismayed for our men and women serving in Iraq and I wish them every bit of good luck.

According to the Constitution, making war is a political decision. It is left exclusively to Congress. While the administration used poor judgment getting us into this mess, Congress will pull the plug, sooner if not later.

President Bush has bad advisors. He should have learned b now that those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

I wish it were otherwise.

Segregation-Era Signs Found in Arkansas

Associated Press Writer

This story was first reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette last week It is about a discovery made while remodeling he Osco Drug building on Main Street.

If you are a certain age, like me, you remember segregation. I will remember downtown Mobile and the segregated rest rooms and water fountains. Of course, there were separate lunch counters and waiting rooms too. The farthest east large room of the old Union Station at Markham and Victory was the waiting area for black railroad passengers. I guess the signage is long gone. The much older Rock Island station,now the location of the Clinton School of Public Service (or whatever the dickens they are calling it) had rooms for whites, blacks and women.

Mayor Dailey is right. The wall with the racial designations for segregated water fountains must be saved. Otherwise, future generations would never believe we were so stupid.

Jack Anderson

There was a time, back in the days of the original political and smart Pat Lynch Show, that I could call Jack Anderson whenever I was in a tight spot to find a guest. He always treated me with the greatest respect and kindness and I appreciated his professionalism and regular availability.

He was knowledgeable on everything. Jack was always an outstanding interview and he never seemed to mind that I depended on him when I was in a jam.

The Reuters report says quite a bit more abut his illustrious career, which includes a Pulitzer Prize

Anderson was most memorable when he talked about Joe McCarthy, the anti-Communist crusading Senator from the early 1950's. He recounted his personal conversations with McCarthy which showed that McCarthy only used toe "red scare" for political advancement. Of course, I guess just about anybody could figure that out.

Jack invited me to visit his D. C. office, but I never made it. Darned shame.

Lake View Ruling

My column in Monday's Democrat-Gazette deals with the Lake View ruling, which was released last Thursday. The Saturday editorial in the Democrat-Gazette was an excellent review, with which I concur. (See, reading legal decisions does this to you.) Meredith Oakley has a column today with which I concur in part. Anyway, you might need to read the decision for yourself, so here is a link.

In my opinion, Justice Robert Brown hits yet another home run. By contrast, one must wonder if Chief Justice Jim Hannah, who wrote the loudest dissent, got his law degree at Wal-Mart.

UPDATE: Max and the gang at the Arkansas Times blog have some legislative reaction which lets you know that they either did not read the ruling or did not understand it. Wonder which it could be? Laziness or stupidity? What a conundrum!

Domestic Snooping

Yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker that well summarizes the country's sad condition.

"OK, you were right. Character matters. Impeach Bush now!"

So the president spies on his fellow-Americans. First of all, for a man who stole the presidency and has consistently lied all the while since, who can possibly be surprised?

Now, in typical alcoholic fashion, he blames everybody else, except himself.

"Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations," Bush said. "As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk."

The federal government had sufficient intelligence authority in place before 9-11. Plenty of people knew that Mohammad Atta was a threat. FBI agents wrote memos describing Middle Eastern Men taking flying lessons for large aircraft and not sticking around to learn how to land.

There is absolutely no need for any Patriot Act. The enemy is the domestic surveillance, which will do infinitely more damage to every one of us and our children. Arab terrorists can only kill thousands. The federal authorities can enslave millions.

Once freedom is lost, it is seldom regained.

Kill the Patriot Act. Impeach Bush.

No, bad idea. Keep Bush. Cheney is way to smart and far too dangerous.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: Lions lay down with lambs ... Developing

Scene from the Lyncho 2006 Festive Holiday, Jingle Jangle, Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Pre-Kwanza Party...

Brummett on the truckers

John Brummett is certainly one of Arkansas' finest political writers and his column today does well to flesh out the curious circumstance in which the Arkansas Truckers Association opposed a highway program.

Readers of my weekly column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette got a much more superficial analysis before the election. On November 21, I addressed this matter.

There is a theory about why the Arkansas Trucking Association did an about-face on the highway bond program. Truckers had given Governor Huckabee assurances of support, but later backed off. The essence of it has to do with an old grudge against the constitutionally independent Highway Commission. Some have suggested that the truckers are afraid that, given this seemingly permanent source of income, the Commission will become even more powerful. Now the trucking lobby is not as formidable as the nursing home moguls, but they are pretty darned stout. The ATA thinks it would fare better pushing around a bunch of rookie lawmakers than a seasoned corps of transportation professionals. Go figure.

I came back to this same subject on November 28.

The Arkansas Trucking Association plans to use this election as a referendum on the constitutionally independent Highway and Transportation Department. This is the first skirmish in an all out war to repeal the Mack Blackwell Amendment, which voters enacted 50 years ago to protect themselves from the likes of these powerful special interest groups.

I have a strong hunch that the truckers have a definite plan and a time line for bringing up the necessary amendment to repeal Mack-Blackwell.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Friday first glance

The Arkansas Supreme Court has mostly upheld the Special Masters report and given the legislature fill Dec. 1, 2006 to ascertain what an adequate public school system might look like. Governor Huckabee is taking a “go slow” approach on calling a special session.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln met Thursday with Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, saying afterward she remains undecided whether she would support his confirmation.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a Washington County judge’s ruling not to compel arbitration between a car dealership and three employees who sued it for breach of contract. Washington County Circuit Judge Mary Ann Gunn ruled that the dealership and its employees’ arbitration agreements lacked mutuality.

A 53-yearold Bigelow man, Elgie Caruth, who authorities said has admitted to molesting children for more than two decades appeared before a judge in Perry County District Court on Thursday on two counts each of rape and first-degree sexual assault involving a 5-year-old girl and a 3-yearold boy.

Three Russellville High School students are under arrest after being found with a plethora of stolen electronic equipment. According to a Russellville police report from Terry Cobb, the school’s resource officer, a teacher reported viewing what appeared to be a car radio in a student’s backpack.

Professional football is coming to Northwest Arkansas. The National Indoor Football League announced the addition of the Arkansas Stars to the league during a news conference Thursday. The team will play its home games in the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville.

Jim Bob Duggar's household has lost ground among the nation's largest families, but the former Springdale lawmaker said Thursday that he and his wife are open to additions. Vladimir and Zynaida Chernenko of Sacramento, Calif., announced the birth Dec. 7 of their 17th child, David Chernenko, weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces, a Christian news service reported Thursday.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Eyewitness to a killing

December 14, 2005 : California
Steve Lopez: Points West
A Barbaric End to a Barbaric Life

This is in today's LA Times.

In an odd way, the most disturbing thing about watching a man die by lethal injection is how discreetly death creeps into the room.

No sudden jolt, no snapping of the neck at the end of a rope, no severed head.

The inmate gets a shot, he closes his eyes, he sleeps.

Sunrise Thursday

The Democrat-Gazette reports on potential wrongdoing in the worst speed trap in Arkansas. State auditors, aided by a computer turned in by the mayor of Damascus, are investigating allegations of missing money in a city office in the tiny community on the Faulkner and Van Buren county line.

Pulaski County Assessor Janet Ward must pay her former spokesman $51,000 in lost wages and damages for firing him after he refused to support her re-election campaign last year and for discriminating against him because of his religion, a jury ruled Wednesday.

Higher education officials are working to place the same bond program defeated Tuesday on a special election on the general election ballot next fall, Alan Sugg, president of the University of Arkansas System told the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas.

Prissy Hickerson vowed to keep Arkansas interstate highways as smooth as the one she drove on Wednesday, despite voter rejection of a bond program to fund interstate repairs.

For the second time in two years, Crawford County voters rejected a sales tax increase to pay for a new county jail. Justice of the Peace Travis Steele said the rejection means the county will have to continue to house prisoners outside the county, which he said could cost the county as much as $1 million next year.

The earth under the New Madrid Seismic Zone either isn't shifting or is barely shifting at all, say three independent university analyses of global positioning system stations stuck in the ground and monitored for a decade. The results contradict a study by scientists at the University of Memphis. One of the detractors of that study, geophysicist Eric Calais of Purdue University, said the U of M results were certainly a statistical anomaly, probably an instrumental error, and, regardless, not anywhere close to the motions of the San Andreas fault.

Muldrow firefighters were kept busy Tuesday putting out fires that authorities say were intentionally set, and the search continues for the two men officials think might be responsible. Joe Shamblin, chief of the Muldrow Volunteer Fire Department, said eight fires were reported.

The Russellville Courier reports a man sustained bruising and lacerations after receiving a head-butt from his pet deer during feeding time. “I’ve been here 11 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this — not in the city,” said Scott Williams, a local fireman.

Tunica already has casino gambling and is planning an auto-racing track, but the newest plan for economic development is a major auto manufacturing plant. At the heart of that effort is the newly unveiled "Metro Mega Site," a 2,221-acre plot Tunica's economic planners believe is ideally situated to meet the needs of large scale manufacturing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Glenn Hooks, from the local Sierra Club, came by for a wide ranging discussion of environmental issues. On the federal level, we got into the proposed changes in the laws concerning endangered species and legislation to trim back the basic environmental policies. Congressman Marion Berry has joined up with the forces of evil.

And we did review the legislative "naughty" and "nice" lists. There were some surprises!

If you missed all the fun, the entire hour is in the WAI FREE "on demand" archives.

Wednesday morning jolt

The highway bond proposal was soundly defeated by Arkansas voters yesterday, as was an item to fund improvements on college campuses. The higher ed issue lost by about 700 votes statewide. The wife of a convicted sex offender, who resigned his seat in the Arkansas General Assembly as part of a plea bargain, was elected to the same seat yesterday.

Governor Huckabee is thinking about supporting a state ban on smoking in workplace.

Preliminary census figures indicate Springdale is now the third largest city in the state. The special census estimates the population of the city at 62,050, an increase of 15,983 residents more than the 2000 census.

Tiffany Nix of Benton will serve ten days in jail for the death of 9 year old William “Isaac” Brian, who was killed when he was struck by her Jeep Grand Cherokee after getting off his bus on Northshore Drive in Benton. In accepting the guilty pleas, Circuit Judge Gary Arnold adhered to an agreement reached between attorneys in the case. He sentenced Nix to 10 years of supervised probation.

A Bentonville man was sentenced to 25 (actual) years in federal prison Monday after pleading guilty to possessing more than 300 images of child pornography. James Hale Stewart pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors to one count involving the sending of child pornography via computer and a second count of possessing child pornography. A third count was dismissed in exchange for a guilty plea.

J. W. Investments, Inc., owner of Adult World which operates a video and book retail outlet on the outskirts of Wiedner, has paid a $40,000 fine as part of a negotiated settlement in order to keep 5 of its’ employees from facing criminal charges in St. Francis County. A criminal trial was to have begun yesterday.

Fort Smith-based Beverly Enterprises Inc. is sticking with its new buyer, Filmore Capital, after a Monday deadline for more bidders passed without any new offers.

Gulf Coast residents still stranded in Arkansas can get help at an assistance fair planned this week in Little Rock, the state Department of Emergency Management announced Tuesday. The event is scheduled for 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday at the Arkansas Workforce Center, on the second floor of University Mall.

Down in flames

For better or worse, and I believe it will be much worse, the people of Arkansas will have exactly the interstate highways they deserve.

Maybe, just maybe, if Drew Pritt had not come out against Number 1. (deep sigh)

Maybe if they had thrown in some Razorback goodies, like extra club seating, Number 2 could have had a chance.

God bless the United States of America, the poorest and most under-educated state among them all.

With friends like these ...

The newest attack ad from an outfit called the Judicial Confirmation Network on Judge Alito is a real piece of work.

Suddenly, I am feeling like a liberal extremist, AND DARNED PROUD OF IT.

It was a tactic of the Soviet police state to use children to spy on parents. That is one good reason to be cautions about any efforts to search or question children without parental consent. Of course, if police think somebody's kid might be a mule, there are plenty of judges who would quickly, (and rightly) issue search warrants. The issue is protecting freedom and some of the Judge's "friends" seem to have a problem with that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Sam Alito Moves to Naughty List

Today's Memphis Commercial Appeal (free registration required) digs up an old local story which became a major Supreme Court case. Until today, I was not deeply worried about Judge Alito, but now he has my full attention.

One would expect the Bush administration to select a conservative. They, after all, won the election. Alito wrote a memo suggesting rationale why the United States government should support the shooting of an unarmed 15 year old boy fleeing from a Memphis police officer. The Commercial Appeal reports on it this morning.

In his memo, Alito disputed whether the shooting really constituted a seizure and called the court of appeals' thinking "dubious."

He also argued that the age and crime of the suspect was "essentially irrelevant" and what counted was that the officer had to make a decision about whether to let Garner escape.

"If he shot, there was the chance that he would kill a person guilty only of a simple breaking and entering," Alito wrote. "If he did not shoot, there was a chance that murderer or rapist would escape and possibly strike again. I do not think the Constitution provides an answer to the officer's dilemma."

The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, 6-3, with an opinion written by Justice Byron White.

This kind of illogic is pretty embarrassing. What the nominees was suggesting is that police ought to, in a split second, try convict and execute possible criminals. Remember, the kid was not armed and was running away.

How can such a heartless foolish and stupid man have come so far? Maybe Sam Alito was having a bad day. If that is the case, he needs to say so at his confirmation hearings.

Bush aide: No Entergy bailout

Officials still pushing for bankrupt utility
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
By Keith Darce
Staff writer
New Orleans Times-Picayune

This will be a huge story when Arkansas ratepayers are called upon to foot the bill for a half billion dollars in infrastructure losses along the Gulf Coast.

The pius sanctimonious whining from the White House about not bailing out a private company is mighty shallow. First of all, anybody can figure out that electric utilities perform an essential public service and has until recent years, been exempt from competition. Electricity is so important that there was a massive federal program to extend service to all of rural America. After 911, the Bush administration was not in the least bashful about offering handout to friends in the airline industry.

Of course, the federal government has not been shy about awarding massive no-bid contracts to political favorites on the Gulf Coast and there have been allegations about Mississippi's Governor. Who knows?

The point is that, without sufficient infrastructure, New Orleans will never be rebuilt. It may be that this is the purpose of administration policy. That would kill, once and for all, a city crawling with poor folks, racial minorities and Democrats. I can not believe that even George W. Bush is so cruel, calculating and unprincipled.

As the New York Times has editorialized, it is time for an honest New Orleans policy.

This is of more than passing interest to Arkansas customers of Entergy.

AA, Southwest battle at Love

12:36 PM CST on Tuesday, December 13, 2005
The Dallas Morning News

American Airlines will begin new service from Dallas Love quicker than predicted. Start date for new flights to Kansas City, St. Louis, and some Texas points is set for March 1. Southwest started Missouri service last week. So far, no impact on Arkansas air service.

Early Tuesday

Governor Mike Huckabee, in an interview with Pat Lynch on WAI, responded strongly to the charges raised by trucking interests that, if Referred Act #1 passed, Arkansans would lose their right to vote. Huckabee emphasized that the measure applies only to highway expenditures for interstate maintenance and can be ended by a simple majority vote of the legislature.

In this morning’s Democrat-Gazette, Cynthia Howell reports that a national team of scholars invited by Gov. Mike Huckabee to inject a fresh perspective into Arkansas’ efforts to improve public education on Monday recommended strengthening academic standards, relaxing restrictions on charter schools and basing teacher pay on the achievement gains of their students.

Verizon Wireless will make official its entrance into Arkansas Thursday with the opening of three stores and service in central Arkansas. The company says that by the end of 2006 it will invest up to $200 million to build 175 cell sites in central Arkansas, with 107 of those cell sites completed by the end of this year.

Jury selection begins today in the trial for employees of a Weidner store specializing in adult movies, novelties and books. They could see charges dismissed as part of an agreement between the prosecuting attorney and the corporation that runs Adult World.

This is from the Southwest Times Record. Listening devices have been used at Jim Ray Nissan to monitor conversations, but the devices are not hidden and are used for quality control, according to an attorney for the auto dealership. Jim Ray Nissan in Fort Smith is being sued by 40 people who claim the dealership systematically defrauds and deceives customers.

Arkansas Business reports that Whirlpool Corp. will lay off 730 workers at its Fort Smith plant in October as a new plant that makes side-by-side refrigerator/freezer models in Mexico becomes operational.

One more arrest is expected in connection with an investigation of child pornography that police said was created by a Rogers couple who committed suicide Saturday. Sgt. Hayes Minor of the Rogers Police Department said he anticipates arresting a 19-year-old woman who was shown kissing the breast of an underage girl in at least one photograph seized during the investigation.

Pulaski County will pay no more vendors from its general fund until January, according to Treasurer Debra Buckner.

A former spokesman for the Pulaski County assessor’s office testified that he was wrongly fired by Assessor Janet Ward because he wouldn’t support her campaign for reelection last year, refused to go to her church, objected to her “romantic” relationships with three of her subordinates and complained that she discriminated against women and older workers. Tom McDonald’s testimony also revived charges of witchcraft in Ward’s office.

Birds caused the weekend power outage that left 6,000 Fayetteville electric customers without power for 3 hours.


Granting Williams clemency could have cost Schwarzenegger even more GOP support
Mark Martin, Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writers
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

So this is how it is.

Kill a man for a few votes. Republican moral values.

Decent people would be ashamed.

For Charles Barnes

There is an IMPORTANT election in North Little Rock today. The Democrat-Gazette editorial, which is quoted below, is entirely too civil. Voters run the real risk of sending the wife of a convicted sex offender to the legislature. What makes this situation particularly offensive is that the former Representative Dwayne Dobbins resigned office as part of a plea bargain.

Theres another important election on todays ballot if you live in North Little Rock. ThatÂs where a special election is being held to fill the seat left vacant when a state representative resigned amid less than the most honorable of circumstances.

One candidate, Charles Barnes, offers to give House District 39 a fresh new start. A 36-year-old pastor and business consultant, his election would wipe out any trace of the unpleasant taste left by his predecessor. Which is why we join the North Little Rock Times in endorsing Charlie Barnes today. He represents a better future.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Many developments on the education front and Shane Broadway, the state Senator from Saline and West Pulaski County County, will be on the line.

I have tossed a bone to a highway bond opponent who will be checking in.

Be logged in 9 to 1 Tuesday morning and remember, if you missed the hours with Governor Huckabee or Lu Hardin on today's election issues, you can hear each in the FREE "on demand" archives at WAI

And before I forget about Survivor ...

A very attractive lady named Danni Boatright won the million bucks and Stephanie, coming back from a previous game, ran second. I was naturally, pulling for underdog Steph.

Last night's finale was the typical Mark Burnett bait designed to take up an entire evening, and it worked! I was amused to see that they had enough ammunition to incite PETA and Jerry Falwell. There was an authentic animal sacrifice and some old guy ripped the head off a chicken. It was better than a rock concert. Then the case ate the sacrificial bird and were subsequently punished by the angry local deities for that grave error in judgment. I can only wonder what they might say about adultery or lying.

Survivor goes back to Panama next and I will be there in spirit.

Death of an American City

This is an extremely sobering New York Times editorial I have no idea how it is available from behind the subscription wall, but let's not argue with good fortune.

If you care about New Orleans, read this.

Somebody compared Katrina to the Florida hurricanes. One bit of internet span/trash circulating compares the Katrina disaster to recent winter storms in North Dakota. Surely such talk is a joke. This is for real. Check it out.

"Yes" on Number One and Number Two

The WAI archives have two hours from today which will give you all the best “for” arguments on each of these propositions. It goes without saying that I strongly support both.

Taking #2 first, it’s just plain stupid not to vote for any educational proposal most of the time. This is a one time only bonding authority which provides about $150 million for specific building project at Arkansas’ colleges and universities. Not one dime goes to sports facilities. It allows for an economy of scale because the schools can do all the building at once. There is also a substantial program for internet upgrades. This is a wise use of taxpayer money that has to be spent anyway. Should be totally non-controvercial and there is no orgamized opposition.

It is quite a bit different for #1, which has been opposed by the truckers. Governor Huckabee was quick to add on my show today that the opposition is not nearly unanimous among the trucking industry. The Arkansas Truckers Association, knowing that there will soon be a rookie governor and a legislature full of even more inexperienced lawmakers, can smell a chance to go after the constitutionally independent Highway Department.

Passing the bonding authority for the highway department gives them the same ability enjoyed by most private businesses, a revolving line of credit. The $550 million can only be used to maintain interstate highways. Voters or the legislature still approve everything else and you DO NOT give up the right to vote. That is just BS.

Governor Huckabee was unequivocal today. A simple majority of the legislature is all that is needed to end this program.

This will substantially save money by bringing larger contractors in to bid on larger jobs. Arkansas had the worst roads in the country back in 1999. That is the logical consequence of “pay as you go.” Let’s keep our good interstates in good repair. I am voting “yes” and you should too.

Failing to pass just about assures les highway department dollars for rural highways.

It ought to be a "no brainer."

Huck & Hardin at WAI

The pre-election interviews with Governor Huckabee and University of Central Arkansas President Lu Hardin are in the WAI archives.

Monday Morning Madness

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas Leads with a major article on Springdale quarterback Mitch Mustain’s decision to keep his options open on his college football career.

According to the latest Census date, Arkansas, with an estimated median household income of $33,445 in 2003, ranked 49th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Only Mississippi and West Virginia ranked below the Natural State. The U.S. median income was $43,318.

Cynthia Howell reports in Sunday’s Democrat-Gazette that a task force of national education scholars will conclude a yearlong study of public education in Arkansas with the release Monday of its findings and recommendations. Gov. Mike Huckabee invited the 11-member Koret Task Force from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University to do the assessment of Arkansas’ public education system as a way to inject a national perspective into the debate over reforms to the system.

Tomorrow will mark a statewide election on bond initiatives for interstate highways and higher education. Fairfield Bay has a local issue of smoking in public and Sherwood will decide whether to extend local officials terms to four years. In Crawford County, it’s a jail tax under review.

After hearing from constituents in the medical field that a shortage of flu shots had again hit his region, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross has asked the federal government to create a vaccine center at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

The Benton County Daily Record has news that a couple charged last week with childsex crimes including incest and possession of child pornography committed suicide at their home Saturday evening. Joe Billy Canoy and Shawna Lee Anne Canoy were found dead of suspected asphyxiation after a neighbor, thinking something was wrong, broke down the door to the Canoy home.

Great News for Hog Fans!

Mitch Mustang is leaving his options open! The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas has the report. Read it carefully and discern how Springdale Coach Gus Malzahn used the uncertain situation to his own advantage at the U of A.

Having paid top dollar for a HIGH SCHOOL COACH to become offensive coordinator, time may finally be running out for Houston Nutt! It would seem that hiring Malzahn may not have assured Mitch Mustain's indentured servitude for four years.

This is what I call the Matt Jones effect. Mustain's job is to save Houston Nutt's job by being made personally responsible for winning every game. Recruiting at Hogland USA is just that shallow.

John Brummettt has an excellent column on the matter over the weekend.

Mitch Mustain is good enough that he can enjoy a real college career where he might learn something from professional coaches and have some fun with other talented players. Everybody that cares about Mitch should wish him a happy college football career - SOMEPLACE ELSE.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Election Cancelled, Beebee Crowned Governor

The Sunday Democrat-Gazette breathlessly recounts the stirring meeting of 200 well-connected Democratic party insiders and the rousing endorsement received by Attorney General Mike Beebe. Doesn't it figure?

Unfortunately for General Beebe there is an election coming and he is due a contest and several hundred thousand Arkansans will have the final say.

Enjoy the party, Mike.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Entergy appeal for New Orleans aid rejected

By Richard Cowan and Chris Baltimore
Friday, December 9, 2005; 7:48 PM

The Washington Post is running a story which will probably make a dent on Arkansas ratepayers. Shades of Grand Gulf as Arkansans pay for out-of-state power generation. Entergy claims (correctly) that the feds have some responsibility for the levee system, which failed and caused the floods which destroyed Entegy's generators.

Feds are suddenly concerned about propping up corporations with taxpayer money. Strangely, that rule seems not to apply for Haliburton contracts.

Entergy is probably wrong, but it would seem more likely that the Republican Bush administration is doing everything possible to make sure that New Orleans does not return as a hotbed of racial minorities and Democrats. Keep money intended for hurricane relief tied up in Washington. That's the GOP game plan.

Throw David Gunn from the Trains

His Amtrak Sack
By Matthew Schuerman
New York Observer

This article is, by far, the most insightful report on the Amtrak firing of David Gunn as President. This is a very salty old man. At 68, he's been around some real railroads, including Illinois Central and Santa Fe.

Why exactly did Gunn get the ax?

Mr. Gunn was fired six days after a critical report by the U.S. General Accounting Office on Amtrak came outone that the Bush administration has pointed to as evidence of Mr. Gunns incompetence. It is hogwash, he told The Observer, full of outdated facts from before he took over in 2002. The real reason he was fired, he said, is that he was capable of subverting the U.S. Department of Transportations plan, which was, in Mr. Gunns term, to bankrupt the railroad.

It is my theory that, because of the federal law which requires six months advance notice of route discontinuance, the Amtrak board wanted the big move against long distance service (including the Texas Eagle through Arkansas) to be complete before the mid-term elections.

Give the story a look and you will gain an insight into one of the worst administrations ever. Get ready for a lot of desperate moves as GWB hunkers down.


It's a subscription site, but the Democrat-Gazette is full of important and interesting news items this morning. Go buy a copy, if you must. You will be rewarded on the Voices page with a letter from the absolute worst lawmaker in Arkansas history, Joe Yates.

Since he landed the kewl government subsidized job at the Chicken Excellence Institute, I thought we would at least be rewarded with public silence. No such luck. Joe is against the highway bonds, but who would be surprised? He's always against something.

First Thing Friday

From Bob Holt in the Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt has a couple of messages for Razorbacks fans. First, Nutt isn’t interested in the Colorado job. Also, he’s working hard to make the best decisions he can for the Arkansas program and appreciates your patience.

The Morning news of Northwest Arkansas reports that state auditors have uncovered further mismanagement in rural school districts. Auditors informed legislators that an employee in the Earle School District was paid nearly $100,000 last year for two jobs, one as director of finance for the district, a salaried job, and the other as administrative assistant to the superintendent, for which she was paid $30 an hour.

The mayor and police chief of Springdale were dropped Wednesday from a lawsuit against the city. The suit claims the city and some of its officials started an internal investigation as retribution against Det. Ed Motsinger after he testified anonymously in an independent investigation of Sid Rieff, former police chief.

The chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission has named a committee to interview consultants to assist the commission in drafting rules defining electronic "games of skill."

Today’s Democrat Gazette reports that a bird better suited to the frozen tundra of Canada is recuperating in central Arkansas after making a mysterious appearance in the South. A snowy owl, a downy white bird flecked with brown spots and possessing bright yellow eyes, was spotted in Quitman on Nov. 27 by a couple looking for a Christmas tree.

The Southwest Times Record files this one. Charges will not be filed in Newton County against Greenwood teacher Deanna Bobo. Newton County Deputy Prosecutor Wes Bradford says that case files show Bobo allegedly had consensual sex with a couple of students when she was employed in Newton County at Western Grove School District. However, there was no sex crime law on the books that fits for the first incident, and the statute of limitations has run out on the second incident, Bradford says.

Detainees in the Benton County Jail can no longer count on getting free medical treatment during their stay. Sheriff Keith Ferguson decided last month his department can't afford to pay medical bills for inmates with pre-existing conditions.

Darrell Wayne Hill, whose 25 years on Arkansas' death row made him the state's longest serving prisoner awaiting execution, died Thursday of natural causes. Hill's son, Jeffrey Timothy Landrigan, is on death row in Arizona.

Exopack has sold its Monticello facility, but company representatives, bound by a confidentiality agreement, say they can’t disclose the name of the new owner, what the new company will manufacture or how many of Exopack’s 155 employees will be retained.

In order to stay in line with other schools in the Southland Conference, the University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees raised ticket prices on football and basketball games.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

From the Sports Desk ...

Bigdaddyo is just on a roll. What more can I say. Here is the latest.

top ten takes on the new news that gus mahlzon, mitch mustain and damian williams ARE coming to arkansas:

10) steve spurrier: ...says nothing but sets a new visor throwing record!
9) lsu: "wind, water, georgia bulldogs and now this? are we job?!" (pronounced jobe-see your sunday school lesson)
8) phil fulmer: "where's my trenchcoat and sunglasses?"
7) robert johnson: "yes, information, i need the number for the university of arkansas at pine bluff."
6) jermain taylor: " nutt, want me to go ahead and actually hit you this time?"
5) frank broyles: "look at this! and no little blue pills necessary!!" ...hang on, that's a little too edgy, let's go with: frank broyles: "forget everything i said in my memo, 'the virtue of punting on third down'!"
4) university of southern california: "after watching these guys dismantle benton, we're not taking this one lightly............HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!"
3) ken hatfield: "but how are those guys gonna' make a difference?!"
2) rick schaeffer: "...does this mean i'm out of a job?"

and the #1 take on the new news that gus mahlzon, mitch mustain and damian williams ARE coming to arkansas: coach houston nutt: "which one of you guys wanted the cream, no sugar?"

Early Thursday Slush

Speaker of the House Bill Stovall says that he will receive a report today detailing what he called the “very strong concerns” of legislative attorneys that a proposed interstate highway bond program may be unconstitutional.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is considering calling a special legislative session the week before Christmas if a bond election funding higher education passes, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette education reporter Cynthia Howell reports that science education standards used in Arkansas’ public elementary and secondary schools since 1999 earned a letter grade of D and a ranking of 38th in the nation in a new study published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Arkadelphia officials say they want to return $1.3 million to people who made taxable purchases in the Clark County city between March 1 and Oct. 31 of this year. This comes about because of a local bond issue for parks which was passed in 2000. Those bonds were paid off in February but US Bank of St. Louis, which handled the bond financing, failed to alert the city of the surplus revenue until September.

Asda, Wal-Mart’s British subsidiary, has introduced a line of greeting cards and “commitment rings” this week — just in time for the country’s legalization of gay civil partnerships.

Man's best friend shares most genes with humans

Man's best friend shares most genes with humans
Full genome sequence to be published today
Carl T. Hall, Chronicle Science Writer
Thursday, December 8, 2005

Scientists are publishing today the complete DNA sequence that makes a dog a dog, and it turns out to be uncannily close to what makes a person a person.

Genome sequencers at Harvard University, MIT and their affiliated Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., led an international team of scientists through a unique landscape of doggie DNA.

Molly, when reached for comment, said that she was certainly not surprised by these developments.

Exclusive: Southwest pilots to fly more

Deal puts them in air an extra 1½ hours each month
11:01 PM CST on Wednesday, December 7, 2005
By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News

This saves Southwest roughly $4 million annually, because the discounter won't need to hire as many pilots as it expands its schedule about 10 percent a year, the union said.

Creative Genius at Work

My buddy, Bigdaddyo, is letting his life as an aspiring gag writer for the Tonight Show get in the way of his real job. But I don't care so long as it benefits me. Here is his latest offering.

top ten takes on the mitch mustain situation:

10) jermain taylor: "i, i, i just don't love you no more, mitch!"
9) gary brashears: "kid didn't have cool hair anyway!"
8) coach houston nutt: "well now, that is definitely not special!"
7) basil shabazz: "potential shmotential! potential don't pay the light bill!"
6) matt jones: "but could he catch the ball?"
5) peyton hillis' mom: "his mother should butt out!"
4) janet huckabee: "cute kid, but it's not like i'd help him with his belt or anything."
3) marcus monk: "throw me that basketball!"
2) joe klein: "my favorite pasta dish is spaghettios!"

and the #1 take on the mitch mustain situation: casey dick: "more champagne anybody?"

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Thursday Pat Classic on WAI

Laurie Taylor is back and this time she's MAD AS HELL! Laurie has been turned down in her efforts to get a perfectly harmless little book out of the Fayetteville High School Library.

"Deal With It! A whole new approach to your body, brain and life as a gURL"
Drill, Esther & McDonald, Heather & Odes, Rebecca
Pocket Books
Approx. 300 pages
Copyright 1999

The book describes oral sex, anal sex, group sex, masturbation, orgasms, sex toys including dildos and vibrators, homosexuality, bisexuality, and other sex topics. The book has specific instructions for different sex acts along with cartoon images and "advice" from girls taken from the website describing their own sexual experiences and viewpoints. What could possibly be wrong with that? Laurie is some kind of prude!

AND, AS IF THAT IS NOT ENOUGH, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Mike Masterson is on at 11!

Thursday will rock and you should be logged on every week day 9 to 1 at WAI

John Robinson from tne National Weather Service had a bit of insight on the impending winter storm He also had a lot to say about winter weather paterns and how the Weather Service inspects the locations of tornados. He talks about the recent hurricane season too. This is a great and informative hour!

HINT: it looks like another typical Arkansas winter on the way,

Wednesday Mornin'

Critics of a $575 million interstate highway bond issue plan to criss-cross the state today in opposition to the proposal to be decided in a Dec. 13 special election.

The Poultry Federation and the County Judges Association have signed on to the highway bond proposal. Arkansas Farm Bureau is still on the fence.

An eight-member internal review committee agreed that "Deal With It: A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a gURL," a controversial book at Fayetteville High School, is a "valuable addition" to the school's library and will remain on the shelf. Laurie Taylor, a district patron and mother of two daughters, challenged the book as too sexually explicit for students to read without parental consent.

Interstate 40 in Arkansas was the most improved highway in the nation, according to an annual trucking magazine survey. Another Arkansas interstate, Interstate 30 between Little Rock and Texarkana, was the third-most improved highway in the Highway Report Card from Overdrive magazine.

Uninsured patients can receive steep discounts on medical services at Washington Regional Medical Center, if they pay their bill in full within 30 days, said hospital officials. The change resembles one St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock announced last week, but Washington Regional said their policy went into effect in June.

Money is the only obstacle standing between the Fayetteville High School Band and its appearance in the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. As of Tuesday, the band still needed to raise about $13,000 for all 207 band members to make the trip.

The Jonesboro Police Department will purchase a record number of new patrol cars next year, effectively replacing all cars with 100,000 miles on them. The City Council's Finance and Administration Committee agreed Monday to recommend the purchase of 40 new patrol cars.

Pine Bluff police are asking for help in identifying and locating suspects in seven unsolved homicides in the past two and-a-half years, including five this year.

Whether to allow firearms to be discharged inside the city limits is a hot topic for the City Council in Vilonia.

In his Stephens Media Group column, Harry King predicts two championship fights for Jermain Taylor next year. The first one will be a show for the home folks and will be part of a plan to set up the second fight, probably against Winky Wright for big money in Las Vegas.

MEMO to Southwest Times Record

You are a fine and professional publication and I always check your outstanding web site in preparation for my daily chores. That process is, however, NOT wholly a pleasure due to your latest marketing techniques.

I am a capitalist and able to appreciate new ways to raise revenue. Your latest innovation is a bit aggravating.

I can accept the furniture company the first time I open a link to a story, but could we possibly limit it to ONCE.

The audio "pop ups" are rather annoying. Please, leave internet radio broadcasting to the pros at WAI

It's beginning to look a lot like....

Thanks to Ken Zigenbein of the Arkansas Railroad Club for outstanding pics of the streetcars in North Little Rock. More equally festive photos are also available. For dial-up folks, try this link. Happy Holidays! (That should drive Falwell nuts.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Wednesday on Pat Classic, it's Jim Robinson of the National Weather Service at 10. He surveys tornado damage and is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist. We might just get a peek into the oncoming first winter storm too!

On Monday's show, get ready for a pre-electionparty. Governorr Huckabee is set for 10 AM. He will be promoting the highway bond proposal. At 11, UCA President Lu Hardin will be talking about the college bond issue.

Pat Classic streams "live" weekdays 9 AM to 1 PM on WAI If you miss the show, it always ends up in the free "on demand" archives.

Lyncho the Darksider

I have recently come to a deeper understanding of myself. I really truly honestly love the Hogs. I love the helmut so much that I actually want the Razorback to win!

although I am not a dying child, I would still like to fulfill this dream and there is only one way. Houston Nutt must go. Mitch Mustain's apparent case of "cold feet" gives me the perfect opportunity to make a point.

Ask yourself this question. Do it seriously. If it is announced that Mustain has selected Arkansas over Tennessee, does anybody expect panic in Knoxville?

Why not?

Could it be that Tennessee has a top notch recruiting program. They are not depending on a "savior."

Now, another question. What quality college program would be seriously considering a high school coach? What program would allow a prospective recruit to dictate hiring a high school coach? Remember, I said "quality."

Yes, I am really concerned.

Bigdaddyo Rocks With Yet Another TOP 10!

Nobody can ever say that our old friend Bigdaddyo has been wasting his time.

top ten not too edgy to be read of the air or reprinted online colored rubber wrist bands and the charities they support:

10) brown printed with the words "duct tape" supporting chronic diarrhea sufferers!
9) red printed with the words "touch it, i dare you" supporting those with nospecific rashes!
8) yellowish green printed with the words "booger factory" supporting those with sinus conditions!
7) double bands printed with the words "this one" and "no, this one" supporting the crosseyed!
6) plaid printed with the words "repeatan por favor" supporting the hispanic hard of hearing!
5) zebra striped printed with the words "left is right and right is wrong" supporting a hillary clinton/jesse jackson presidential ticket!
4) hot pink printed with the words "man enough" supporting the metrosexual!
3) white on the outside and black on the inside printed with the words "yo, whassup" supporting wiggers worldwide...ooops, let's change that one to: red white and blue on the outside and only red on the inside printed with the words "patience comrade" supporting closet communists!
2) black on top and either taped, glued or weaved to gray beneath printed with the words "avoid the wind" supporting toupe wearers!

and the #1 not too edgy to be read on the air or reprinted online colored rubber wrist band and the charity it supports: "changing color depending on which way the wind blows printed with the words "too big for our britches" supporting high school quarterbacks and their controlling mothers!"

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