Friday, June 30, 2006

Apple iTunes update

The Washington Post has a story this afternoon about a security problem with the popular iTtunes software. Apple has a "patch" so remember to do the upgrade. It's important.

50 Years of Interstate Highways

The following commentary is especially noteworthy because, according to heavy rumblings, Amtrak may be only hours away from invoking the 180 day rule to cancel many of its' western passenger trains, including the Eagle which passes through Arkansas and the City of New Orleans, which goes through Memphis and down the Delta regions.

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the interstate highway system. President Eisenhower pushed in through as a national defense measure, and Ike was a five star general. It was a good idea, even if better highways did mean more and cheaper automobiles. The highways also killed the interstate passenger train.

The Interstate Commerce Commission did add a bit of federal regulatory assistance to push the train into its' grave. What remains today, Amtrak, is hardly a national transportation system, although it is essential in the northeast where fast trains carry about twenty million passengers a year.

This is no time to get sentimental about how things used to be, but it is worth noting that the loss of passenger rail service has been a huge detriment to many small and medium sized towns. Let's not bring back the passenger train. That would never work.

It would, however, be a good idea to create a reliable national system of fast ground transportation for intermediate length trips, like the rest of the world. Folks would not give up their cars, but we should have a choice on how we go places. After 9-11, airlines were shut down and there was no good alternative.
(Broadcast June 29, 2006 on the Arkansas Priority Radio Network)

Fair Taxes? Nah!

The latest bunch of Einsteins have submitted another report on the state tax system. There are two pieces of good news here. One, we did not pay for it. Two, it wasn’t written by Yankees. The consultants (insert nasty side references of your own choosing here) have decided that Arkansas should make the income tax fairer to the middle class. Thanks guy, we needed that.

They also figured out that exemptions to the sales tax should be abolished. That notion has only been kicking around for the past fifty years. It was a huge topic of discussion in the original push to improve public education back in 1983. Somehow, the experts seem to have omitted increasing the severance tax on natural gas. That seems especially appropriate since the Fayetteville shale has brought so much activity to the state. It seems that they did not even discuss the sales tax on groceries.

I, for one, am certainly grateful to the Center for a Better South for stating the obvious. Unfortunately, state lawmakers seem a lot more sensitive to the whims of lobbyists than the folks back home. The benefit of this kind of information being released is that we do need to be reminded so that things don’t get any worse.
(Broadcast June 30, 2006, Arkansas Priority Radio Network)

Friday anticipation

The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that a state regulation banning gays from becoming foster parents was unconstitutional, stating that the board that issued the regulation did not have the power to do so.

The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a ruling that Calvary Christian School in Forrest City defamed a student who was expelled after his parents complained about a video camera in a classroom that was used as a dressing room for school events. The jury awarded $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to the boy for defamation. The Parents complained about the camera to school authorities at a school meeting attended by other parents. Suzanne Hess, one of the school’s principals, denied the camera’s presence but later admitted it was placed there by a School Board member. Hess admitted telling the board and the other high school principal, that she had a photograph of the student “giving her the finger.” No photo was ever produced.

A group of Phillips County residents has filed a pair of class-action lawsuits that question the constitutionality of last month’s primary election in the majority-black Delta region. The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court, say voting problems and redrawn districts have disenfranchised black voters in Phillips County.

The state will pay $265 million to help finance public school construction projects across Arkansas, including new school buildings in at least 16 districts.

Arkansas highway officials commemorated the history of road construction with an eye on funding future highway needs from the state's general treasury. Officials view sales tax revenue and a burgeoning budget surplus as potential sources of new revenue to supplement motor fuel taxes to fund future upkeep of the Arkansas' interstate highways.

Gas prices are on the rise again, just ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. AAA reports the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded is now at $2.86 a gallon. That’s 65 cents more than a year ago.

William D. Downs Jr., professor of mass communications at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, has been chosen to serve as chairman of the Arkansas Educational Telecommunications Network Commission for the third consecutive term.

The Arkansas Racing Commission heard public testimony on how the state should regulate “electronic games of skill,” complex wagering machines that two Arkansas racetracks hope to install.

About 150 Arkansas National Guard soldiers have been called up to support U.S. Border Patrol enforcement in the Southwest along the border with Mexico. The soldiers from Arkansas' 39th Infantry Brigade are part of the assignment of 6,000 National Guard soldiers from several states to the Mexico border.

A driver can’t be cited if an adult passenger in his vehicle isn’t wearing a seat belt, according to a recently released opinion by the Arkansas attorney general’s office.

James T. Conway, a Marine Corps lieutenant general, has been nominated by President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to become the 34th Marine Corps commandant, the nation's top Marine. General Conway was born 58 years ago in Walnut Ridge.

Arkansas should be working harder to attract plants that produce alternative fuels such as ethanol instead of automobile plants, state Rep. Allen Maxwell of Monticello told the Pine Bluff Kiwanis Club. “We do not need to be working to attract Toyota plants,” Maxwell said, stressing the need to promote agri products and wood products, as well as agricultural based alternative fuels.

An emergency landing late Wednesday afternoon at the Newport Municipal Airport resulted in no injuries, but led to the temporary closing of runway 422 until the Federal Aviation Administration could begin an investigation.

The latest two days of enforcement at Cadron Settlement Park by the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office resulted in 11 arrests on a variety of solicitation and public indecency charges. One man charged in the June 15 sweep was back to be arrested again this week and another gentleman who resisted officers was also charged with thrd-degree battery.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

JetBlue is true blue! Red, white and blue!

Ya' gotta love the little guys at JetBlue for standing up to the backroom dealers that have tried to steal Love Field from the traveling public.

Here is this afternoon's latest development from the Dallas Morning News.

JetBlue Airways Corp. founder David Neeleman said Thursday he has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to block the local Wright amendment compromise or pull federal funding from Dallas Love Field.

JetBlue supported efforts by Southwest Airlines Co. to repeal the Wright restrictions, Mr. Neeleman told The Dallas Morning News. But the latest deal is unfair, he said.

What right, on earth, do a little clique of airline executives and city bosses have to demolish an important piece of transportation infrastructure. Yet the deal worked out in secret between local governments would destroy at least six gates and an entire airline terminal.

I hate to sound like an old railroad guy, but once you tear up the tracks, they will not be put back any time soon.

Airline travelers deserve convenience and competition. The so-called compromise provides none of the above.

Thursday Sunshine

State utility regulators have reversed themselves and approved a 9.9 percent rate increase that will hit Entergy Arkansas Inc. customers just as summer brings the highest electric bills of the year. The increase is effective today, the start of Entergy’s July billing cycle.

The Arkansas regulator of payday lenders fined Dennis Bailey of Fordyce more than $1.3 million Wednesday and ordered him to close 14 stores across the state for operating the businesses without a license.

Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott has affirmed the retailer’s support for an increase in the minimum wage after the retailer’s chief lobbyist had said the Bentonville retailer was “neutral” on the issue.

Arkansas junior Ronnie Brewer was picked No. 14 by the Utah Jazz in the first round of the NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Parents and students in the Elaine School District cite racial concerns and lengthy school bus rides in a lawsuit that seeks to halt the district’s merger with Marvell. The complaint, filed in Phillips County Circuit Court by Little Rock attorney John Walker, says Elaine schools should continue operating in the 2006-2007 school year, rather than become part of the Marvell School District.

A federal grand jury in Kansas City issued an indictment Wednesday on charges that an Arkansas firm, led by Robbyn Turney of Rogers, the chairwoman of the Benton County Democratic Party and candidate for the state House of Representatives, hired undocumented workers.

John Brackin, the director of the state Department of Emergency Management, has resigned because he felt the governor lost faith in him after employees gave federal authorities a report detailing Arkansas’ inability to manage a catastrophe, something they did not give the governor.

While Governor Huckabee continues on his Asian travels, and Senate President pro-tem Jim Argue is also out of state, House Speaker Bill Stovall is acting governor.

Amy Schlesing reports in the Democrat-Gazette Arkansas National Guard troops are headed for New Mexico’s southern desert in the coming weeks as part of Operation Jump Start, a two-year mission on the Mexican border.

Pulaski County jail task force members have voted to refer a one-fourth percent sales tax geared toward operating and building more jail beds to the Quorum Court for consideration.

Teenagers Christopher Welch and Kimberly Beck of Siloam Springs are dead after being struck by a pickup truck while trying to assist a Tulsa woman with a flat tire on U. S, 412 west of Tointitown. Welch and Benck, both 17, and Clinton Barker, 15, tried to divert eastbound traffic away from the disabled car. David Orman of West Fork reportedly struck the three after drifting onto the shoulder. Traffic charges are pending and state police will forward a report to the Benton County Prosecutor.

The Nashville News reports Arkansas Governor Mike and Janet Huckabee's lake house on Lake Greeson is for sale. One area realtor said a close is expected within two to three weeks. Realtors would not disclose the identity of the potential buyer or buyers. The rumor in the Mount Joy community is that the asking price is $380,000, a figure that a realtor with knowledge of the deal said is too high.

Former President Clinton said he and his wife oppose a change to the Democratic presidential primary calendar that would allow another state, perhaps his home state of Arkansas, to hold a caucus after Iowa and before the New Hampshire primary.

Questions about the validity of signatures on petitions seeking a vote to allow package liquor sales in Benton County have forced proponents to cancel their efforts, spokesman David Routon said Wednesday.

Rod Bryan, the independent candidate for governor, was on the show and I can only say that I don't think he will get the endorsement of the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce. He has a link!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Coach Ron Crawford visited Tuesday morning and he was, again, full of facts and hard arguments in favor of small school districts, including Paron. Crawford was unapologetic for his support of Republican candidate for governor Asa Hutchinson. Crawford said he was "excited" that rural schools may become a campaign issue.

Wednesday early warning

Arkansas’ United States Senators split on a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit flag burning. Senator Mark Pryor voted against the ban, saying an amendment was unnecessary. Senator Lincoln cited letters from veterans as the reason for her support. The measure failed by a single vote, the closest such a measure has ever come.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s plan to move 3,000 mobile homes out of Hope has been delayed while the agency’s staff deals with trailers it set up two years ago in hurricane-stricken areas of Florida.

Arkansas Times Blog reports on some quick and quiet scheduling in the nation’s capitol. The Senate Judiciary Committee will have a nomination hearing today on Magistrate Bobby Shepherd of El Dorado. He's been nominated to succeed Judge Buzz Arnold, who's taking senior status, on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Kathleen Mosley, A 21-year-old Little Rock college student whose dead baby was found in an ice chest, told a judge Tuesday that the child was stillborn, but she didn’t explain why she never alerted authorities about the birth of her daughter. Mosley pleaded guilty to concealing a birth, a Class D felony that carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, in exchange for five years of probation.

Cynthia Howell reports in the Democrat-Gazette that the Academics Plus Charter School in Maumelle appears to have met and exceeded its minimum 286-student enrollment goal Tuesday, the number school leaders said they had to have by Saturday to keep the college-preparatory school open in 2006-07.

“Many” Acxiom Corp. clients have asked to be released from their contracts if Value-Act Capital succeeds in ousting management, chief executive Charles Morgan said Tuesday in a lengthy, harshly worded letter to ValueAct’s Jeff Ubben.

The Jefferson County Election Commission will ask Prosecuting Attorney Steve Dalrymple to look into allegations that four convicted felons voted in the June 13 Democratic party runoff.

Benton County Senior Judge Tom Keith refused to recuse from a case Tuesday, and then cut three years from the prison sentence a jury recommended for a woman convicted of blinding and crippling her daughter by shaking her. Keith sentenced Darra Barritt to 12 years in prison. According to the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Clyde Ford of Lowell, a juror in the case, visited the judge afterwards expressing uneasiness with the guilty verdict.

According to the Benton Courier, Shannon Hills Alderman Robert “Bobby” Riley is facing prosecution after being arrested for theft charge and will be extradited to Kansas, where he faces additional charges for theft and forgery. Riley was arrested after police received information that he had allegedly installed an $880 alarm system in his ex-wife's house without paying for the Family First Security Systems unit.

A private sports arena planned near the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport has already attracted the attention of a minor league hockey organization, one of the venue's developers announced Tuesday. Chris Talley says the East Coast Hockey League wants to place an AA minor league team in Northwest Arkansas by fall 2008.

The Japanese Prime Minister will visit Memphis Friday with President and Mrs. Bush for lunch at the Rendezvous and an afternoon at Graceland. Folks in Marion are supposedly wondering if his visit will include a trip across the Mississippi to visit the site of a proposed auto plant.

Stephens Media Group reports former President Bill Clinton joined New Hampshire First Lady Susan Lynch to teach children about how to stay fit Tuesday, but he contradicted the pediatrician's advice about turning off the TV. After Lynch emphasized the correlation between obesity and children who watch more than four hours of television per day, Clinton repeatedly told the audience full of children to watch Nickelodeon, the children's television network he teamed up with last year for a campaign to nudge kids to eat healthy and exercise.

U.S. Rep. John Boozman has distinguished himself on a ranking in Washington. Golf Digest lists him -- alone among Arkies -- among the top 200 golf handicaps in official Washington, including top lobbyists. Republicans dominate this list, by the way. He's 95th, at 12.9 handicap, just a whisker behind Sandra Day O'Connor.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Independent candidate for governor, Rod Bryan, will stop by the Pat Lynch Show Wednesday morning at 9. The weekly press briefing by Senator Mark Pryor has been CANCELLED. He will be far too busy voting like a Republican to speak to the press.

Next week will Rock. Here goes.

Lyncho returns to Little Rock radio on Wednesday morning July 5 at 9 a.m. on KDXE 1380 AM. The "in studio" guests that morning will include Congressman Marion Berry.

Democratic party chairman Jason Willett is ready to be on Thursday program

On Friday of next week, Travs manager Bill Valentine will discuss cuisine, politics and baseball.

Also, you need to check my NEW and VERY BOSS homepage:

On-time Tuesday!

The Arkansas Times blog reports that Governor Huckabee, immediately upon returning from his trip to Asia, will be taking his presidential campaign to Cedar Rapids, Iowa on July 8 to 10. Huckabee is scheduled to meet with officials of Toyota in Japan Thursday.

The secretary of state's office says Rod Bryan, a Little Rock musician and record store owner, had gathered sufficient signatures to qualify as a candidate for governor as an independent. Needing 10,000, the secretary of state's office stopped counting when it got to 10,052. Jim Lendall, gubernatorial candidate for the Green Party, will be in court today seeking to be put on the ballot. Hehas already submitted enough signatures, if valid, to run as an independent, but a third-party candidate needs 24,000 signatures, which Lendall argues is unconstitutional.

An 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel has declined to release the Little Rock School District from decades of federal court supervision of its desegregation efforts, instead affirming a 2004 lower court order requiring the school system to evaluate academic programs.

Arkansas slipped to 45th out of 50 states in the 2006 Kids Count Data Book, which is produced annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and is a nationwide survey of children’s well-being. Only Tennessee, South Carolina, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi ranked lower than Arkansas. New Hampshire captured the top spot.

North Little Rock’s Electric Department will double its annual cost to purchase power for its customers after the City Council approved a three-year, $80 million contract late Monday.

A judge has stayed the execution of Don W. Davis, scheduled for July 5, so he can pursue a claim that Arkansas' lethal-injection protocol amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Davis was convicted in 1990 of the murder of a Rogers woman.

Two former Magazine School District teacher aides are scheduled for arraignment next month on charges they had sex with two 17-year-old students. Misty Dawn Siddons of Booneville and Angela Dawn Ryan of Magazine are charged in Logan County Circuit Court with one count each of first-degree sexual assault. The charges accuse the women of having sex with minors.

An anonymous tip has led Fayetteville police to a man they say is responsible for a hit-and-run accident that killed a University of Arkansas graduate student on July 2, 2005. Police issued an arrest warrant for John Stanley Secrest of Fayetteville on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident with injuries in the death of Karthik Sennimalai.

The floor in the new Faulkner County Jail will be installed July 6 and employees can begin training during the next week. After months of delay, the new facility is expected to receive prisoners in August.

Monday, June 26, 2006

(Late again) Monday

(Sorry. Mornings have been busy.)

A Pulaski County circuit judge has temporarily barred the state from shutting down rural Paron High School in Saline County until a full hearing is held in a lawsuit aimed at saving the school.

Efforts to move all students in the Palestine-Wheatley School District to one campus in Palestine came to a halt, when United States District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to move the Wheatley campus to Palestine. The school board will have to decide what to do about the middle school building in Wheatley that was party destroyed by a fire in February.

14-month-old Zachary Bowden is dead, less than 24 hours after his mother left him in her vehicle at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas in De Queen. The boy’s mother, Kristin Bowden, the vice chancellor and dean of academic services at the community college will reportedly not be facing charges. Prosecutor Tom Cooper cited the infant’s disabilities and the mother’s recent brain surgery as mitigating circumstances.

Former Wal-Mart executive Robert Hey is facing one day in prison and six months of supervised release and a fine of $3,000 for wire fraud convictions in Fort Smith Federal Court. Hey manipulated Wal-Mart accounts to defraud the retailer into paying almost $40,000 for hunting trips and seminars which never took place. Hey also charged Wal Mart $3,000 for repairs to a 1999 Ford pickup truck.

The Arkansas State Medical Board is challenging a Russellville doctor’s medical care after 10 patients died from a lethal mix of drugs or an overdose of prescription medications. The Medical Board has accused Dr. Randeep Mann of prescribing excessive amounts of controlled substances to patients he knew or should have known had histories of drug abuse and overdoses.

A state Senate candidate who lost a Democratic primary election in which an equipment malfunction left more than 400 votes uncounted has filed a lawsuit requesting a recount. Former State Sen. Alvin Simes of Helena-West Helena is asking a judge to throw out the results of the May 23 District 16 race and the subsequent runoff in Phillips County. Simes also contends that there are almost 200 additional votes in Phillips County unaccounted for.

The Jonesboro Sun reports that city officials in Marmaduke are considering how to hand out over $42,000 in contributions for families effected by the April tornadoes. The money should be distributed in late July.

Fort Smith City directors have selected hometown Police Chief Randy Reed to be the city’s new administrator.

A financial shortfall h threatens to delay the October opening of Saline County’s $1.8 million, 180-bed jail. The uncertainty lies with a lingering federal lawsuit brought by 30 current and former sheriff ’s employees who won a verdict against the county last month and were awarded over $257- a sum that could be doubled, under federal law. Including all damages and legal fees, Saline County faces a possible $1.2 million judgement.

Sunday’s third annual gay pride parade in Conway went off without incident. Two former employees of Signal Media’s KABZ, 103.7 The Buzz, were charged with felony counts of with distributing pornography to a minor after the 2004 event. Both were fined and performed community service under terms of a plea bargain on reduced charges.

FOX 16 reports authorities in Faulkner County say a disaster was averted when five people suffering from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning at a raceway near Greenbrier were revived. Officials say the family members were in a camper trailer at the Twin Creeks Raceway when a nearby generator vented into the trailer's air intake. All received medical treatment and returned to the raceway.

If you have reservations for the lodge at Mt. Magazine State Park, better get ready for disappointment. Arkansas Times blog reports on would-be vacationers who were, at the lst minute, informed by the lodge that, over the next few weeks, it is overbooked by hundreds of rooms.

Kroger workers statewide have ratified a four year contract, averting a possible strike.

Roby Brock reports that Wal-Mart and several of its counterparts were in court on Friday challenging a Maryland law that requires Wal-Mart to spend more on employee health care. The Maryland law, which was passed earlier this year, would require private companies with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least 8 percent of its payroll on health care or pay the difference to the state.

The Democrat-Gazette reports when Jeff Gardner and Francis X. “Skip” Frantz take the reins of Windstream Communications, they’ll get a generous going-away present from Alltel Corp. - retirement packages that combined are worth nearly $17 million.

After four days of competition, Miss Central Arkansas Amber Elizabeth Bennett, 22, was crowned Miss Arkansas 2006 late Saturday night.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

In Memory of Bob Harrison

Those of us who still miss Bob Harrison remember his early morning news blocks with Sharon Lee, his KOLL-95 days, and the wonderful evenings when he would broadcast from Ray Winder Field. Bob was such a great sportscaster that he made ME listen.

There is another Bob, but this one is named Bob Wall. You may have heard that he once did a very successful gig early mornings on an "urban" station in Chicago. Now, there is a site which has posted a recording of our friend from that happier time in the 1980's

Let us all remember that radio is the moral equivalent of circus. We should enjoy the parts that can be enjoyed, but not let it rule our lives. Bob is, in my opinion, the finest individual broadcaster to ever sit behind a microphone in Little Rock. He loves his kids, he loved his church, he loved his friends. Bob is so terribly missed.

Allow yourself a little trip down memory lane and enjoy some real vintage Harrison.

(I would love to hear one of those Travelers games.)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Baby left 4 hours in car dies

Here is one from the Democrat-Gazette that will knock you on your butt. This kind of thing happens every year, but this story is especially shocking because of the local prosecutor's depraved indifference to human life.

A 14-month-old boy died Friday morning, less than 24 hours after his mother left him in her vehicle at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas in De Queen.

Zachary Bowden was pronounced dead at 4:16 a.m. at Arkansas Children's Hospital, according to information from the Pulaski County coroner's office.

The boy's mother, Kristin Bowden, the vice chancellor and dean of academic services at the community college, reportedly left the baby in her car for about four hours - from 8 a.m.

So, gentle readers, we know the mother is smart enough to know better. Stressed? Probably. Did she intend to do it? Nobody would suggest that. Do other similarly situated parents face serious criminal charges for the same thing? You know the answer. Absolutely.

So why is do-nothing prosecutor Tom Cooper of Ashdown doing nothing? Sit down for this.

He cited several mitigating factors, including the mother's recent brain surgery; the child's disability, which limited his ability to cry, and the fact that the boy's grandmother usually dropped the boy off at preschool.

The mother's medical condition is a matter for a jury to consider in passing sentence, but the real kicker is that the infant's disability is cited as a mitigating circumstance.

In other words, we were doing Zachary one big huge favor by letting him live at all, and if there should be some terrible moment when somebody stops caring, that just tough. Sorry, Zachary, you don't count.

For whatever reason, Ashdown's resident municipal weasel Tom Cooper is scared of messing with an official of the local college. If the mother had been poor or black, would Cooper have even questioned the circumstances of what he calls a "tragedy" Kristin Bowden needs to be brought to court, and, if the evidence is as the prosecutor says, she should wear an bracelet for a while and do some community service. People should know that society will not put up with this kind of behavior, even from somebody we like.

And folks in Ashdown should not put up with Mr. Tom Cooper.

Here is a Kodak moment. It's me, Mark Johnson, and Jim Lendall yucking it up outside the studios.

Mark is my lifelong friend, and advocacy consultant at AARP. He was talking about payday lenders and mentioned the website that gives information against that sort of thing.

Jim Lendall is the Green Party candidate for Governor.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Forgetful Friday

(I just knew there was something I forgot earlier today. Here it is, just for the record.)

Congressman Vic Snyder was the only Arkansas representative to vote against tax breaks for the super-wealthy, as the United States House of Representatives acted to cut the estate tax.

A Texas businessman said Thursday that he's halted a campaign for voters to allow his company to run casinos in Arkansas.

Little Rock has recorded homicide number 34 for 2006, and, in an unrelated incident, there was a double shooting and robbery at a downtown American Legion club.

Former Pine Bluff police officer Robert Bergstrom has been found guilty of one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault for encounters with a 15-year-old girl during 2002 and 2003. He was sentenced to 10 years on the first-degree sexual assault charge and five years on the other assault charge, the sentences to run concurrently.

Three murderers, including the cousin of a Saline County murderer whose release last year sparked an outcry from a prosecutor, have been recommended for executive clemency. Johnny Withamhas been imprisoned since 1974 for the slaying of Stanley Wells of Little Rock, which he committed with his cousin Denver Witham. The two beat Wells to death with a steel pipe and left his body near the China Grove cemetery in rural Saline County. Denver Witham was released last year after winning clemency from Gov. Mike Huckabee

A year of all-expenses paid travel and teaching in Taiwan is in the planning stages for a number of Arkansas' elementary and secondary school teachers, Gov. Mike Huckabee announced from his Asian tour Wednesday.

The Little Rock School District's 107 buses that ran on biodiesel in 2004 traveled an average of 1.1 miles per gallon farther than their diesel counterparts, saving the district thousands of dollars and grabbing the attention of Northwest Arkansas school transportation directors.

According to David Smith's report in the Democrat-Gazette, Arkansas is experiencing its first slowdown in home sales in at least 10 years. Sales in May, compared with May 2005, were down 5 percent statewide. In the state's most populous counties, home sales declined 9 percent in Pulaski County, 16 percent in Benton County and 22 percent in Washington County.

Centerton in Benton County heads the list of the top 10 fastest-growing cities. It's population grew by 138 percent between April 2000 and July 2005. Blytheville is the city with 10,000 or more residents which had the largest population decline. It's population fell by 8.95 percent to 16,638 from 2000 to last year. Cabot, Maumelle and Shannon Hills, all in central Arkansas, were among the top 10.

Insurance may not cover damages after a vehicle veered wildly through a fence and nearly ended up in the deep end of the Atkins Municipal Pool last week. Mayor Jerry Don Barrett told the Atkins City Council that a 10-year-old girl was driving the car, under the supervision of her grandfather. City Attorney Bill Swain said the city may have a problem. The owner of the vehicle's insurance may not cover the damage because a child was driving.

The $411,000 bill for federal taxes and penalties is a problem, one Leachville City Council member told the Jonesboro Sun Wednesday.

Travlerocity blog reports that Bill Valentine plans for the new Dickey-Stephens ball park in North Little Rock to have an adults only bleacher section, served by a draft beer concession, where smoking will be allowed.

The Northwest Arkansas Ghost Connection will investigate apparitions, rattling doorknobs, unexplained loud noises and displaced items at the St. Francis County Museum in July.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Friday will be busy on Pat Classic at and the Arkansas Priority Radio Network. We examine the latest developments in the Payday Lender lawsuit at 9 with Mark Johnson from AARP.

At 10, Jim Lendall, the Green Party candidate for Governor will give the latest update on his battle to get on the ballot. He has been around state government forever and has an opinion on just about everything.

Ron Crawford had to reschedule his visit Thursday morning. I expect to have him on Monday or Tuesday morning and he might even have a court decision on Paron in hand.

Warming up Thursday

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock is considering expanding to Northwest Arkansas, its chancellor said Wednesday. I. Dodd Wilson cited an expected shortage of medical personnel over the next 10 to 20 years.

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas reports the state has expanded a payday lending lawsuit to include two more storefront lenders accused of charging exorbitant interest rates on loans. The action added Money in A locations in Little Rock and West Memphis to the lawsuit filed Feb. 28 against the firm's Jonesboro location. The attorney general's office also filed a separate lawsuit against, a similar operation in Magnolia.

One day after publicly withdrawing his support for a proposed $50 million baseball stadium, the Rev. Ronnie Floyd said Wednesday that he hopes a stadium is built but that alcohol is not served.

Two people, including the granddaughter of the victim, remain jailed after an initial court appearance on charges of capital murder in the June 15 slaying of the mayor of Mc-Neil. Nena Danette Bolton and Shaunte Myron Smith both of McNeil, were arrested Tuesday in the death of 83-yearold Ralph Ward. Bolton is Ward’s granddaughter. She was recently released from state prison after serving a sentence for the 1998 murder of her estranged husband, Larry Bolton.

A federal judge sentenced Lola Thrower, a former administrator of the state program to assist people with AIDS, to five months in prison and ordered her to repay more than $19,000 in taxpayer funds that were discovered stolen as a result of questions raised by an FOI request from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Three of six men who escaped a day earlier from the Van Buren County jail, but the one considered most dangerous remained at large.

The phone calls and e-mails streaming into Craighead County Sheriff's Investigator Gary Etter's office are all the proof he needs that a nationally televised program about the unsolved murder of Amanda Tusing achieved its goal. Court TV aired its new series, "Haunting Evidence," last Wednesday night to spotlight the 6-year-old murder case of a Mississippi County woman near the Lester community in eastern Craighead County. So far, there has been no arrest.

Gunner DeLay, the Republican candidate for Arkansas attorney general, proposed Wednesday using part of the state's $332 million budget surplus to build more state prisons.

Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody apologized for allowing the cost of the wastewater system improvement project to exceed estimates by $55 million and urged voters to support a special election on Sep. 12 to complete it by passing a bon disuse. Otherwise, city leaders say water and sewer rates will go up.

Construction on what is projected to be the busiest of Arkansas’ state-run nature centers is set to begin within two months, after state and Little Rock officials on Wednesday ceremoniously shoveled dirt at the riverside site where it’s due to be open next year.

The Fayetteville Veterans Nursing Home admitted its first patient Wednesday, after five years of funding and budget delays. Fenton Whiteley, 97, a World War II veteran from Green Forest in Carroll County, was the first patient admitted.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Texas Investigator on Dirksmeyer Murder

You will never in a million years believe the story about a dude named Glen Owen, supposedly some sort of former Texas law enforcement officer.

He has been looking into the December 2005 murder of ASU student and local beauty queen, Nona Dirksmeyer and apparantly heoping the Russellville Courier. Read the feature and ask yourself how a credible small town newspaper can show such poor judgment.

This is not a "profile," but the Courier fans the flames of local interest with Owens' "findings."

Owen is long on the gab and short on credentials. Apparantly, his formost qualification is a bad attitude.

Wednesday Happenings

Aaron Sadler of the Stephens Media Group reports the new “adequacy” report from the same consultants who prepared the state's first such study in 2003 calls for the state to "re-engineer" its schools with tougher curriculum, smaller class sizes and schools with between 400 and 600 students. The consultants renewed their recommendation that the state's teachers be paid depending on their knowledge and skill levels, instead of a seniority-based system. The report recommends that bonuses be given collectively to teachers in high-performing schools.

Nearly 72 percent of Arkansas public school students finish high school, a graduation rate better than the national average. A report released Tuesday showed 71.8 percent of Arkansas students completed high school, compared to 69.6 percent nationwide.

A task force created to review apparent failures in the state's protective services system that allowed an elderly Bentonville woman to turn away state assistance just days before she died recommended sweeping changes, including hiring dozens of new state workers at a cost of $1.7 million. Other proposals would require extensive assessments of elderly patients living a home, broaden the state's authority to remove patients from their homes when a judge is not available and add to the list of those required to report suspected adult abuse.

Today’s Democrat-Gazette reports Acxiom has taken the rare corporate step of asking the Federal Aviation Administration to stop publishing flight information for its two jets. The move comes after the Democrat-Gazette and The New York Times published stories in May examining personal flights that chief executive Charles Morgan made to his private golf club in Mexico. ValueAct Capital Partners had begun to combine flight information with other public records in the hedge fund’s effort to oust board members at Acxiom’s annual meeting in August.

The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas reports The Rev. Ronnie Floyd cried "foul" when learning beer would be sold at a proposed $33 million baseball stadium in Springdale. Floyd, who leads 16,000 members of the First Baptist Church in Springdale and the Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers, originally endorsed the project in a video that was shown at a Springdale Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center last week.

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln will be on CNN’s Larry King Live tonight to discuss the legislative priorities of the nine Democratic women serving as senators. The show airs at 8 p.m. CDT.

The Nature Conservancy and Game and Fish Commission have announced a $10,000 reward for information that leads one of their biologists to an ivorybilled woodpecker nest, roost cavity or feeding site in Arkansas.

A Bentonville jury recommended Tuesday that Darra Barritt serve 15 years in prison for shaking her 2-month-old baby and leaving the child severely brain injured and blind. Kira, now 17 months old, suffered bleeding to her brain and eyes that doctors said could be caused only by repeated violent shaking.

Six inmates, including a man accused of capital murder, escaped through holes cut in the ceiling of the Van Buren County jail early Tuesday, and some of them were later believed to have stolen a newspaper carrier’s car.

The Scott County Quorum Court authorized its attorney and bond underwriter to prepare to sell $6.5 million in bonds for a new county jail, although there is presently no funding guaranteed to operate such a facility.

Conway’s third annual Gay Pride Parade is scheduled for Sunday with no protests announced so far. The first parade was marked by the arrest of two employees of Signal Media’s KABZ Radio Station, 103.7 “The Buzz”, on felony charges of distributing pornography to a minor. Those charges were eventually reduced to misdemeanors.

Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Frank Melton has reiterated his pledge to declare a state of emergency and impose a curfew if a spate of violent crime continues in the city.

Longtime Hot Springs resident Sarah French was recently crowned Miss Missouri and will go on to compete in the Miss America pageant.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Meredith Oakley, Voices Page editor and political columnist in the Democrat-Gazette is on the Wednesday Pat Lynch Show at 9. She is loaded up on a variety of topics.

John Wesley Hall Jr., the attorney for Arwar Jabar, will have a lot to say about his client's acquittal on terrorism charges. Hall is set for 10 on Wednesday morning.

Senator Mark Pryor's weekly press briefing is scheduled for 11 AM on Wednesday morning.

Coach Ron Crawford will be on Thursday at 10. He is working to save the Paron school. Coach has a lot to say about rural and isolated schools.

Tuesday scan

A federal court jury found 33-year-old former University of Arkansas student, Arwar Jabar, innocent of the most serious of six charges he faced: attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. It was the only charge he wasn’t convicted on. Jurors found Jaber guilty on the five other felony charges, including two counts of using another person’s Social Security number to obtain credit cards.

A 24-yearold woman who authorities say was driving drunk while trying to use her cell phone has been charged in the February traffic death of her daughter. Autumn Brooke Lewis faces a felony negligent homicide charge in the Feb. 27 death of her 3-year-old daughter, Anna Clair.

An attorney for Arnell Willis says the defeated candidate for Senate Seat 16 will challenge the results in court. A recount in St. Francis County confirmed a 100 vote discrepancy in totals announced on election night. Officials say the differences are because of a clerical error. Earle School Superintendent Jack Cumbly was declared the winner of the Democratic nomination for the seat.

Pine Bluff Alderman Janice Roberts has introduced an ordinance that would ban the use of city-owned vehicles outside the city limits unless the driver is on official business, meaning the police chief, fire chief and both fire marshals - among others - couldn’t drive their city vehicles home after work.

The former physical-plant director at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville says he was fired just hours after a letter to the editor he wrote criticizing student housing was published last month in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Luebker’s letter criticized the university, among othe things, for housing eight Asian students in two large rooms without locks. “The students are human beings and should not be housed in a construction zone,” he wrote.

Entergy Arkansas has asked state regulators to reconsider their suspension of a 9.9 percent rate increase request. Entergy proposes that the 9.9 percent increase originally set for April begin in July instead. It would let Entergy recover about 78 percent of its request by year’s end and save ratepayers about $18.6 million of an estimated $25 million in interest costs.

The owner of a private club which has operated for over 20 years in Russellville's city limits has filed a lawsuit against the city after it passed an ordinance last month to limit the hours of the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. According to the lawsuit, the court should declare the ordinance unconstitutional because its wording is arbitrary, capricious and vague. In addition, the lawsuit indicates the ordinance is a substantial taking of property rights and the plaintiff is entitled to a trial by jury to determine damages for lost property rights and earnings.

Brian Baskin reports in the Democrat-Gazette a proposal to end restrictions on air travel from Dallas’ Love Field would make it easier for travelers to fly from Little Rock to points west on a single Southwest Airlines ticket - assuming they don’t mind making a few stops along the way. After the change, a traveler can depart Little Rock any time of the day for Los Angeles through Love Field, instead of the two current scheduled departures.

That new roof going up on the 81 year old part of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Conway is made of copper. It will last a long time and has an appearancewhich is typical for buildings of that era.

John Knox, where are you?

Those crazy Presbyterians, fearful that they might be beaten out by the Episcopal Church USA in a hotly contested race to become the first mainline American church to completely abandon the Christian religion, today took a substantial step toward that end.

The divine Trinity--"Father, Son and Holy Spirit"--could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer and Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.

Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them.

The Chicago Tribune has the whole enchilada.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Episcopal POLITICS

So you like politics? You think Arkansas politicians play rough? Well, hang on to your hats. (Bishops, hang on to your miters.)

I have been busy on other projects, but the story out of Ohio is compelling. Let me say clearly that I do not enjoy what is happening. I do not think a crisis should ever be provoked, especially among Christian people.

I FREQUENTLY differ with the harsh tone of David Virtue, who is the source of this report. It might have a grain of truth to it, so follow the link.

Also, Kendall Harmon's blog, Titusonenine, is so overwhelmed with traffic that you may have difficulty getting in there. Keep trying.

Finally, I do not hold "conservatives" blameless. They must shoulder part of the blame for a difficult situation.

Up for Monday

The New York Times reports at least 90 officials at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security — including the department's former secretary, Tom Ridge; the former deputy secretary, Adm. James M. Loy; and the former under secretary, Asa Hutchinson — are executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars' worth of domestic security business.

The Democrat-Gazette’s Washington correspondent, Paul Barton, reports U.S. Rep. Marion Berry has received more than $800,000 in federal farm subsidies since 1994 using a corporate structure that some experts say might not have withstood close scrutiny by agriculture and tax officials.

At $6.5 million per year, a Medicaid program that pays for prenatal care for immigrant women is costing the state more than five times what officials predicted two years ago. The unexpected higher cost stems from Medicaid officials underestimating the number of women who would qualify and failing to factor in the cost of prescription drugs and hospital stays after deliveries.

Former Circuit Judge Fred D. Davis of White Hall, a convicted felon, voted in the May 23 Democratic primary election, but county officials turned him away when he tried to cast a ballot in the June 13 runoff. Prosecuting Attorney Stevan Dalrymple of White Hall says he will look into it.

The St. Francis County Election Commission will focus on issues surrounding two close races from the Tuesday primary run-off when they meet tonight. The topic will be the races for Senate District 16 between Jack Crumbly and Rep. Arnell Willis, and the race for Justice of the Peace in District 3 between Billy Gene Ray and Larry White.

For the second time in three weeks the fate of two Jackson County justice of the peace candidates was decided by lottery following a recount that left the pair tied with 236 votes each. Jim Bishop, former sheriff, ultimately unseated incumbent Kenneth Grady Sr.

State lawmakers voted Friday to investigate the source of voting problems encountered during the May 23 primary, with one Republican senator saying whatever problems exist should be fixed in time for the November general election.

Cynthia Howell reports in the Democrat-Gazette that Relatives of Paron High School students told a Pulaski County circuit judge Friday that closing the rural Saline County school and sending the approximately 100 students to Bryant Middle and High schools will put their children on hazardous roads for close to two hours each way, jeopardizing their safety and academic success.

About 150 people — including Pine Bluff School District officials and teachers, elected officials, community leaders and other patrons — gathered for a ground-breaking ceremony that marked initiation of construction at nine sights within the district.

Arwah Jaber cried as he testified that he never planned to join the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in June 2005, despite making such statements to University of Arkansas professors and students out of anger.

Bernard Byais, of Jonesboro, is charged with criminal attempt to commit capital murder and arson for a May 17 incident which seriously injured his mother. Witnesses reportedly told police that Byais had planned to set his parents' home on fire with them inside the structure. Evidence showed the fire started in a couch near the front door. During a police interview the younger Byais told officers he "did not care for his parents and made the statement that nobody has got proof I set nothing."

The DNA testing of prisoners in the Arkansas Department of Corrections has resulted in the arrest of Ronald Lipe, an inmate Cherokee Village serving time on drug charges, for a 1999 rape in St. Francis County.

Faulkner County Sheriff's deputies worked Cadron Settlement Park last week. Undercover deputies and reserve officers allowed themselves to be solicited and arrested eight individuals.

The Springdale City Council is expected to approve the demolition and removal of 16 structures to allow room for widening the south side of Huntsville Avenue and creating a four lane avenue. This phase of a $105 million bond program is expected to begin this summer.

The American Taekwondo Association World Championships, which will kick off this week in Little Rock, will infuse some $3.5 million into the city’s economy, according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For Winky Wright and Jermain Taylor, it was a draw Saturday night at the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis. Under terms of the contract, a rematch is not necessary if there is a draw.

Arkansas' unemployment rate rose another two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.3 percent in May. The declining payrolls were especially hard on minorities as the jobless rate for that sector of the labor force hit double digits for the first time since November 2004.

About 255 workers at Superior Industries in Fayetteville will be laid off this summer. The California-based company blamed the lay offs at the chrome-plating plant on a slowdown in the sales of expensive chrome wheels.

Wal-Mart is being sued for allegedly selling counterfeit versions of Fendi brand bags and wallets at Sam's Clubs. But Wal-Mart claims its Fendi products are authentic and that it has the documents to prove it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Episcopal leadership's brilliant strategy

I apologize that the events of the past weekend have simply set me off. I am sure this will pass in a day or two. I have a few things on my mind about the election of a woman to lead the Episcopal Church USA. That is going to take a while and probably needs to wait for tomorrow afternoon.

I do have one strong reaction, however. As a piece of strategy, the gay activists, political liberals, and feminists have had a stroke of genius. By electing a person who will make conservatives uneasy and Anglo-Catholics outraged, the power structure has served notice on the minority faction in ECUSA. It is summarized in two words: get lost.

They control all the power, property and seminaries. Case closed.

This is a deliberate insult to three Episcopal bishops: Ackerman, Iker and Duncan. I have my quarrels with each of these men, but they deserve more respect.

That attitude also seems to include the international Anglican Communion. In many jurisdictions, the thought of a woman minister is impossible and this action makes dialogue with the (official) American branch impossible.

If anybody cares, and I don't, this also makes reunion with Rome an impossibility.

The Episcopal Church USA is well on the way to making itself an independent province. Does that matter? It depends.

More later, I promise.

Episcopal Church Elects 26th. Presiding Bishop

This is old news to many of you. The following comes from Episcopal News Service, as does appropriate photo credit.

[Episcopal News Service] Katharine Jefferts Schori, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, has been elected June 18 by the House of Bishops as the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The House of Deputies is discussing a resolution to confirm the election, as is required by church canons. ENS will post more information after that vote.

If you want the straight dope, Kendall Harmon's great blog has the latest news and many great links for reaction (if you can get in).

My reaction? You will need to wait.

The Gentrification of Pleasant Valley Drive

I hope whatever ends up being built on this lot goes right up to the property line and is six stories tall.

(WHEW, sure feels good to get that out of my system!)


Very attractive, I know. Markham and University in Little Rock.

Am I the only one wondering about this great new shopping center?

That lunatic book-burning woman from Springdale, Laurie Taylor, will be back on Pat Classic on the stations of the Arkansas Priority Radio Network. Yes, this is the same far right extremist who was a regular member of out American Idol Viewing Team. I quake to think what might happen, but be logged on or tuned in Monday morning at 9!

Meredith Oakley, Voices Page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, will be by Wednesday morning.

No Recruiting at Shiloh Christian!

Whew! For a minute there, I was concerned!

Follow this link for gallons and gallons of whitewash. Hell, you could whitewash fences between here and the moon with this one!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Religious liberals?

There is a problem in the language we often use to discuss religious issues. We use words like "liberal" and "conservative" as if one's political views must follow them into the sanctuary. This can cause misunderstandings, especially if, as is the case with me, the political liberal happens to hold some traditional religious views.

This is especially confusing because so many of my political brethren have as part of their agenda to control and undermined the mainstream protestant denominations.

The words "orthodox" and "apostate" seem to better classify the differences of religious opinions. (Darned generous of me not to use the "heretic" label, wouldn't you say?)

There is nothing whatever conservative about the Christian religion. It is against greed, materialism, exploitation, lying and all the ills of modern society. Followers of Christ are looking for the Heavenly City and do not forcibly impose their beliefs on anybody.

You can decide for yourselves about conservatives.

Traditionalists hold to "the faith once delivered,' the creeds and the church fathers. While not taking a fundamentalist approach to scripture, the orthodox hold scripture as the authority for Christian living.

This week's meeting of the Episcopal Church USA has my guts in an uproar. Although I am not a member, it is nonetheless painful to see such pain and open dishonesty. Most of the wickedness is being perpetrated by people who see a church as nothing but the logical social extension of political movements. In the illicit construction of modern theologians, man does not need a Savior, but a saving government.

Of course, I agree with the political principles held by the left of center church leadership. The job of the church is to peach the Gospel, awaken the conscience, and equip faithful believers for godly living.

The civil rights leaders of the 1960's stood against social evil based on an aroused understanding of human weakness and out tendency to hurt our fellow human beings for the purpose of personal advancement. Anglicans have done much good for America.

It is also true that our wonderful Prayer Book tradition has anesthetized many consciences to sin and corruption.

The current leaders of ECUSA have put social justice at center stage in place of God's justice. I don't know exactly what to call them, but they hardly deserve to be called "liberal."

Pat Goes Leviticus

The errors of the Church of Rome are well known, but when they do something right we ought to stand up and cheer. What the American Catholic church has to say about liturgy should be especially important to Anglicans. This week, American bishops, not without the expected simpering from the left-leaning political activist crowd, straightened out a few long standing problems.

Anglicans and Episcopalians, pay attention.

One of the most annoying, and totally wrong, innovations since the 1960 is the desecration of the proper liturgical greeting. Usually it goes something like: "God is with us," and the response can be anything equally as empty.

Just for the record, the proper and ancient prayer of the church is correctly offered first by the minister. "The Lord be with you." That is a prayer for the congregation, a blessing. The correct response is, "and with they spirit." That is also a prayer, a blessing from the people for the minister. If the RC's can finally get it right, everybody else pay attention.

The left-wing sissy element of the American Catholic bishops was, of course, concerned that the people might be confused.

My, my, my. Perhaps if some of these guys who wear their collars backwards had been doing their jobs all along, we would not have to be concerned about the presumably empty heads in the pews "getting it."

If you are completely lost on liturgy, let me suggest a fine thought by Garrison Keillor.

The AP story has a summary of laudable improvements in the language of prayer which will soon be heard in a Roman Catholic church near you. Let us hope this sets a trend.

FEMA Follies

This was my network commentary a few days ago....Pat

Since hurricane season is here, and since it is supposed to be bad, and since many folks from Louisiana and Texas ended up in Arkansas after Katrina and Rita, I thought it would be a good idea to consider the latest report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This bunch of bureaucrats have not exactly been wrapped in glory since last year’s mix-ups and the latest news about NFL tickets, Hawaiian vacations and even sex change operations being paid for at taxpayer expense are not exactly comforting. The total supposedly comes to somewhere around $1.4 billion. It is a bit uncomfortable for me to rise in defense of FEMA, but here goes anyway.

First of all, it is way too easy to make these hapless bozos the fall guys for everything that ever goes wrong. When a terrible disaster strikes, we all want fast response. I know I do. That means errors will be made. Look at the thousands of trailers sitting around Hope with nowhere to go.

When a bad storm rolls in, or bird flu spreads, I want quick and sure-footed response and not a debating society. Prosecute the crooks to the fullest extent of the law, but keep the relief checks coming.
(Broadcast on APRN June 15, 2006)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Very big news for me!

Here is the press release. Not much more to say except how pleased and thankful I am!

CONTACT: Grant Merrill, Director of Operations

Gordon Heiges, President/CEO

LITTLE ROCK – A brand new statewide network has launched and is returning popular radio personality Pat Lynch to terrestrial airwaves as of this week.
The Arkansas Priority Radio Network will be anchored by Little Rock station KDXE 1380 AM as the station entered into an affiliation agreement earlier this week. As of Wednesday July 5 th, the station will air APRN's "Arkansas AM" with Grant Merrill from 6 AM to 9 AM and Lynch's Pat Classic from 9 AM to 11 AM. This follows similar affiliation agreements with stations in Searcy, Newport, El Dorado, and Fort Smith. The Arkansas Priority Radio Network was home to the widely publicized radio debate between attorney general candidates Dustin McDaniel and Paul Suskie earlier this week.
This network concept was developed by Merrill and Lynch more than a year ago when both were out of the radio business. "Our goal was to provide Arkansas based programming for affiliate radio stations in multiple markets, because outside of the sports arena, nothing like this existed." Grant Merrill said. "You see shows like Chuck Barrett's and Randy Rainwater's that have a huge impact on Razorback fans, but there is no reason that the same concept can't work in news and politics."
Over the past year, Lynch's show has been distributed via internet outlet WAI Radio. Merrill joined the company full-time in February after helping launch KFPW 94.5 FM, the Fort Smith market's only FM news/talk station in 2005. Longtime market personality Carole Kramer joins as Lynch's producer and the company traffic director.
On the sales and management side, APRN is owned and operated by longtime market executive Gordon Heiges , who is widely known for helping develop several successful music stations in Little Rock. Along with Heiges, longtime radio executive Ray Daugherty joins as Vice President of Sales.
"We're more than excited. We're elated!" Heiges said in an on-air announcement Friday morning.

The Arkansas Priority Radio Network airs programming on the following stations:

KDXE 1380 AM – Little Rock
KFPW 1230 AM/94.5 FM – Fort Smith/Van Buren
KHGG 1580 AM/103.1 FM – Fort Smith/Van Buren
KMRX 96.1 FM – El Dorado/Camden/Magnolia
KELD 106.5 FM – El Dorado/Camden/Magnolia
KAGL 93.3 FM – El Dorado/Camden/Magnolia
KSMD 99.1 FM/KWCK 1300 AM – Searcy
KAPZ 710 AM – Bald Knob
KAWW 1370 AM – Heber Springs
KNBY 1280 AM – Newport

Friday, at last!

An issue of 100 votes has turned into a controversy in the Delta, because whether or not those votes are allowed to be counted will determine the winner of state Senate District 16 seat in Tuesday's Democratic run-off. After the initial vote count, unofficial returns saw Arnell Willis of Phillips County with a narrow 35-point lead over Jack Crumbly of St. Francis County. Frederick Freeman, chairman of the St. Francis County Election Commission, says the results were either called in or typed in incorrectly.

Gov. Mike Huckabee says that a flight he took on a private plane provided by the director of a youth ranch that has an $8.5 million contract with the state is considered an in-kind contribution to his political action committee and doesn’t pose a conflict of interest.

Seth Blumley of the Democrat-Gazette reports today that despite the Legislature’s hope that a $380 million tax increase in 2004 would mean a greater emphasis on instruction, districts on average spent 61 percent of their budgets on instruction in 2004-05, the same percentage as the previous school year, the consultants said. Consultants Allan Odden of the University of Wisconsin and Larry Picus of the University of Southern California said the state should get more involved with school districts to enhance schools’ teaching strategies to help students learn.

A turf war in northwest Arkansas has air ambulance services "fighting over dead bodies" and heaping thousands of dollars of extra medical costs on bereaved families, the Benton County coroner told legislators Thursday. Coroner Kim Scott testified during a hearing at the state Capitol that rival helicopter medical services are flying dead people to local hospitals simply to collect fees of up to $6,000.

State utility regulators want assurances from Entergy Arkansas President Hugh Mc-Donald that customers won’t foot part of the bill for a “Grand Gulf II” under its “system agreement” with other Entergy Corp. utilities. The Arkansas Public Service Commission gave McDonald three weeks to answer several questions on future ratepayer costs - including the potential impact of two new nuclear power plants and a coal-fired station that Entergy may build in Louisiana and Mississippi.

A former CIA officer has testified that he doesn't think a Fayetteville man accused of trying to join the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is a terrorist. Frank Anderson, an expert on Middle Eastern terror groups, told jurors Arwah Jaber's actions in the days leading up to his arrest last June were inconsistent with his statements that he was going to Palestine to help the group fight Israel.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that a medical clinic had no obligation to notify authorities of a case of suspected child abuse that one of its doctors failed to report. A three-year-old boy died of blunt trauma 10 months after a doctor at Pro-Med/Cooper Clinic in Van Buren first assessed him as being a battered child, but state law required the physician, not the clinic, to report such cases to the state child abuse hotline, the high court concluded.

Arkansas Supreme Court justices Thursday questioned a state Department of Health and Human Services lawyer trying to determine why the state banned gays from being foster parents.

Preliminary census numbers show about 9,000 more people living in Fayetteville since 2000. The city will recoup over $2 million annually from the state based on the new numbers.

Heifer International of Little Rock has a new two-pronged strategy to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. The international nonprofit says it will provide livestock to increase incomes so impoverished families can afford AIDS medication and teach sustainable farm methods integrating livestock with crop production to add protein to family diets so the AIDS medicine will be more effective.

Allstate Insurance says it will no longer write earthquake insurance in Missouri and Illinois.

A sales clerk at Vinson Electrical Supply on South Arkansas Avenue in Russellville said Wednesday she was about 15 feet away when a Chevrolet pickup truck crashed into the store's showroom. Sales Clerk Debbie Neal said she couldn't believe her eyes when she glanced out of the window near the front counter and saw a truck headed straight for the showroom.

Truman City Council members voted to make it unlawful for owners or the occupants of a residential or commercial building to use their premises to store inoperable motor vehicles.

Fight, anyone?

You can't say that the town is buzzing over this weekend's fight in Memphis. It would appear that the pricey tickets at Fed Ex Forum are not selling well. They could have sold out Altell, but that matters none now.

My pal, Bigdaddio, has been inspired, so here is the latest TOP TEN LIST:

top ten excuses the loser of the jermain taylor/winky wright fight might use:

10) distracted by the echo in the 3/4 empty fedex forum!
9) burned out retinas after inadvertently looking david bazzel directly in the teeth!
8) strained "something" on the toilet trying to make weight!
7) bought into the yes men i surrounded myself with!
6) ...but he couldn't stop laughing and stuff at the staredown!
5) thought those people in the cheap seats were yelling, "yoooooooou big ...sissy!"
4) next time i have a pre-fight massage, i'm NOT going for the happy ending!
3) i should have punched him in the nads!
2) got creeped out when he blew in my ear in the clinches!

and the #1 excuse the loser of the jermain taylor/winky wright fight might use: "i guess the check bounced!"

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Warming up Thursday

This week’s Arkansas Times reports the Cessna jet which lost one of its two engines during a flight carrying Governor Huckabee to a North Carolina campaign appearance, and made an emergency landing in Chattanooga, is owned by Southeastern Asset Management, a corporation registered in New Hampshire whose manager of record is Ted Suhl. He is a director of a non-profit called the Lord’s Ranch, which gets payments for services through Medicaid — about $8.5 million in fiscal 2006, according to DHHS. State tax revenues provide about 25 percent of Medicaid’s budget in Arkansas.

The Democrat-Gazette’s Amy Upshaw has reviewed documents released in the April death of Leroy Johnson. They offer little explanation as to why he fought with employees at the Alexander Human Development Center or what happened in the moments before he died. Afterward, one person was fired and two others were repri manded. The documents do show that the facility has been admonished for failing to ensure that more than a dozen employees were CPR-certified.

War Memorial Stadium this summer will install a new $400,000 field, its second playing surface in four years. The current surface was supposed to last eight. The state commission that oversees the Little Rock stadium has already canceled one summer event because of the turf problem and will have to pay for the new surface itself - the company that installed the old one is out of business.

Arkansas will receive $7.4 million over three years to plan, start and evaluate charter schools from the federal Department of Education.

A former University of Arkansas secretary testified Wednesday that she called the FBI in May 2005 over Arwah Jaber’s threats to join a Palestinian terrorist organization because her university bosses refused.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed the first-degree sexual-assault conviction of former Shannon Hills Police Chief John H. Brown Jr., ruling 4-2 that the defense should have been privy to a calendar used by his 15-year-old accuser to help with her court testimony.

The attorney for death-row inmate Don Davis, who was convicted in 1992 in the slaying of a Rogers woman, has asked a court to delay his execution until a ruling can be made in his claim the drugs used for lethal injection cause excruciating pain.

Former Pine Bluff Alderman Jack Foster has until 2 p.m. Wednesday to report to federal prison to begin serving a three-year sentence for one count of aiding and abetting an attempted extortion.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's financial report shows the family made more than $8 million last year, the bulk of it in speaking fees to the former president.

Flowers Baking Co. of Pine Bluff will close in mid-August. The bakery closing will affect about 62 employees.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

One more day on Wright "compromise"

It is astounding that Southwest, after so much bluster, would cave in to a proposal which imposes 8 or 9 years of Wright Amendment restrictions at Dallas Love Field. The mayor of Dallas says the final announcement will be delayed till Thursday. The Dallas Morning News has the story.

Some highlights.

The current terms of the agreement would allow immediate through-ticketing, letting Love Field passengers fly anywhere in the U.S. if they first stop in a state within the Wright perimeter. And it would cap the number of gates at Love Field at 20, limiting Southwest to 16 gates, American to two gates, and Continental Airlines to two gates, a Dallas official said.

The airport's remaining 12 gates would be permanently closed or demolished

Yes, DEMOLISHED. OK, it's the railroad guy in me, but once infrastructure is destroyed, it is gone forever. Are these Texas dimwits saying that the need for airport capacity will decline in the coming years?

The recent activity over Wright may have scuttled a deal for the former Legend terminal between Love Field Partners and Pinnacle Airlines Corp., the regional partner of Northwest Airlines Inc. Pinnacle flies regional jets that would fall inside of the 56-seat limit and would not be restricted by the Wright amendment.

Bill Brewer, an attorney with Bickel & Brewer who represents Love Field Partners, said his clients were "no more than weeks" from signing a letter of intent for a $100 million deal for the property.

Amazing. Incredible. The public be damned.

Wednesday, Wazup?

Jake Bleed of the Democrat-Gazette reported late last night that State Rep. Dustin McDaniel of Jonesboro and North Little Rock City Attorney Paul Suskie repeatedly swapped leads in the runoff election for the Democratic nomination for attorney general, a race too close to call as the tally neared completion. Elsewhere on the statewide ballot, it’s Halter and Shoffner.

Governor Mike Huckabee will depart Sunday on a 13 day trip to Japan, Korea and Taiwan. High on his intenary will be a meeting with Toyota executives, who are poised to announce a new American plant sometime this summer.

Ronnie Floyd, Pastor of First Baptist in Springdale, and Jerry Sutton of Nashville, Tennessee only managed to rack up around 24% each in the first round of voting for President of the Southern Baptist Convention. By a slim majority vote, Messengers elected Frank Page of Taylors, South Carolina to lead Southern Baptists.

Two University of Arkansas professors who worked with a Fayetteville man accused of trying to join a terrorist group had different recollections of his demeanor as trial continued in federal court. Arwah Jaber is charged with knowingly attempting to provide material support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group the U.S. government considers a terrorist organization.

Boone County authorities are investigating multiple shootings in Lead Hill which appear to be a double murder and a suicide.

Heather E. Carter, of Alexander, a third-year science teacher at Malvern High, is accused of second-degree sexual assault involving a 17-year-old female student. The Class B felony count is punishable by five to 20 years in prison. Police said they learned of possible inappropriate contact between Carter and the girl after the husband of another school employee found a letter in Carter’s car May 19 and turned it in to the principal.

Pine Bluff City Clerk Loretta Whitfield will not answer a Pine Bluff Commercial reporter’s questions about the process of verifying signatures on petitions seeking a referendum that challenges a city ordinance giving the mayor authority to hire and fire police and fire chiefs.

A concerned parent questioned the Mayflower School District's bullying policy Monday night. Melanie Newby said her 11-year-old son Tanner has been bullied at school. While Newby blames the principal, school officials deny all allegations.

Villonia and Mayflower school districts have agreed to a land swap. The Villonia school board also accepted a bid of $134,000 from the Bleacher Company for a section of seating at the football stadium.

Local school officials in Hughes will ask voters for a millage increase, an idea that has been defeated twice in the past five years. Hugh enrollment has simultaneously declined from over one-thousand students to just under six hundred. Hughs was one of four districts officially designated as fiscally distressed by the State Department of Education earlier this week.

The Democrat-Gazette reports that Arkansas farmers are wrapping up their first row-crop harvest of the year, and the news could hardly be better. Soft red winter wheat is up in terms of acres harvested, yield and price.

Buildings going up in flood prone areas will have to raise the level of their bottom floors under an ordinance passed by the Cabot City Council this week. The ordinance revises the city’s flood-plain regulations and adopts a revised flood insurance map.

Black Enterprises magazine released its second list of the best companies for diversity, and Wal-Mart is included. Wal-Mart was mentioned on two sections of the list: the 40 best companies for diversity and the 10 best companies in marketing diversity.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Wright proposal: ludicrous

If local interests are allowed to control the fate of air travelers nationwide, restrictions will remain on Dallas' Love Field till 2015. The Dallas Morning News carries the grim report.

The latest compromise in the fight over long-haul flights at Dallas Love Field would leave most of the Wright amendment in place until 2015, rather than gradually phase it out, a Dallas official close to the negotiations said Tuesday.

However, the resolution would immediately allow so-called through ticketing, allowing passengers to travel anywhere in the United States if they first stop in a state within the existing nine-state Wright amendment perimeter.

We ask, what is in it for Southwest?

What is in it for the traveling public?

More dangerous is the proposal to destroy valuable gate capacity. We presume this means, among other things, the new Legend terminal. Since transportation facilities can not be easily rebuilt, and are fantastically expensive when they are, this is nonsense and one would hope that SOMEONE would stop the madness. You can read the entire disappointing mess in the Dallas Morning News update.

Tuesday items of interest

Today is election day and there are statewide runoffs in the Democratic Primary for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Treasurer.

Attorney General candidates disagree on whether there will be a change in abortion law. On APRN’s Pat Lynch Show. Dustin McDaniel says he believes, if President Bush gets another Supreme Court nomination, Roe will be overturned and back in the hands of state government. Suskie does not believe Roe will be changed.

Several weeks without significant rainfall along with high winds have forced St. Francis County Judge Carl Cisco to issue the third burn ban of the year for the county. The ban was issued Monday morning.

Prosecutors will ask for the death penalty not only for the man accused of pulling the trigger in a May road rage shooting, but also for the suspected driver. Benton County Prosecutor Robin Green said an aggravating circumstance justifies seeking the death penalty against Manuel Enrique Camacho. Police say Camacho encouraged a passenger, Serafin Sandoval-Vega, to shoot at the car in which Ray Francis was a passenger as it sat at a stoplight in Rogers. One bullet struck Ray Francis, who died from his injuries.

Opening statements in the case against Arwah Jaber are set to begin this morning in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville. Jabar is accused of trying to aid a Palestinian terrorist group.

The next execution in Arkansas, set for July 5, will likely be delayed after yesterday’s Supreme Court decision allowing inmates to appeal how lethal injection is administered. Don Davis is set to be executed for the murder of Jane Daniels of Rogers in October 1990. Davis has not filed notice of appeal on those grounds, but another death row inmate, Terrill Nooner, did so in May.

A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons tells the Forrest City Times Herald that the prison system is adequately staffed. This was in response to a story in which it was alleged that the BOP was forcing some employees to act as guards, who weren't hired as guards.

Two girls who were critically injured in a traffic accident that killed their mother and a University of Central Arkansas professor six years ago have been awarded $1.4 million by the state Claims Commission. Professor May Landreth, one of the drivers in the accident on I-430, was on a work related trip at the time. One of the girls suffered permanent brain damage.

Beff Kay Ray of Fayetteville received a settlement agreement of $39,832 from the Arkansas State Claims Commission for injuries she suffered from a dog owned and trained by the Arkansas State Police.

The Delta Regional Authority will hold a meeting June 22 to discuss establishing a four-lane highway connecting Interstate 55 in Batesville, Miss., with Interstate 40 in Brinkley. The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the authority’s offices in downtown Clarksdale.

Cross County, Hughes, Omaha and Turrell school districts have been added to the list of fiscally distressed districts.

Booneville School board members don’t want to talk about a meeting last month where members apparently discussed individual salaries in an executive session, which is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act. Board member Mike Faris resigned after the Board refused to apologize for the executive session which was called after school patrons were reportedly escorted outside.

Arkansas ranks 43rd among states and the District of Columbia in the proportion of its residents who volunteer, and the rate of volunteerism in the state is on the decline, according to a national report released Monday

Lawanda Johnson of Forrest City is charged with third-degree battery after allegedly hitting another woman in the head with a baseball in an apparent incident of road rage. After Amanda Wilburn rolled up the window of her car, Johnson is alleged to have broken out the glass and continued to strike Wilburn with the bat.

Bigdaddio scores a TKO

He is back to his old ways again. Here is the latest Bigdaddio Top Ten list for the Jermain Taylor fight.

top ten questions i, bigdaddio, have about the jermain taylor/winky wright fight on June 17:

10) are there any good seats left?!
9) will there be a t-shirt cannon at halftime?!
8) does david bazzel sign authographs?!
7) what other members of the razorback boxing team are on the docket?!
6) will there be any chicks punching each other in the boobs on the undercard?!
5) who is fighting in the MAIN event?!
4) are the judges allowed to bet on THIS one?!
3) ...when did they move alltel arena to memphis?!
2) does pat burns think training camp went well?!

and the #1 question that i, bigdaddio, have about the jermain taylor/winky wright fight on June 17: "will jermain be wearing frank's bathrobe, again?!"

Monday, June 12, 2006

Senior Master Kohl, Chairman of the International Tournament Committee, visits Pat Classic on the Arkansas Priority Radio Network Tuesday morning at 10. The American Taekwondo Association will bring Little Rock’s biggest convention to town next week and visitors will come to Arkansas from around the world!

Pat Classic is on and the Arkansas Priority Radio Network weekday mornings starting at 9.

More good news. The Mara Leveritt interview is now posted on She has written Devil's Knot, a book about the West Memphis Three. It's a great hour.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out that the download on is only 26 minutes. You bunch of small-minded petty listeners! So I guess you want the ENTIRE hour? Greedy. Greedy. Greedy. I will speak with the "higher authorities" that handle such things and see what can be done. I have no control over the radio station, network or content. The only thing I have any control over is this blog.

Thanks to Dustin McDaniel and Paul Suskie for making time for a joint appearance on today's show. I also need to thank Grant Merrill - without whom it would not have happened, Gordon, Carole, and John. Roby Brock helped out with quality analysis, for which I am grateful. I sincerely appreciate all the radio stations that made time for this important program.

If you missed the segment, it is available for download on All media are welcome to use audio bites so long as appropriate attribution is given.

Mid-day Monday (sorry I'm late)

Lawmakers learned Friday that John Harris, the director of the Arkansas Board of Architects, resigned earlier this year after state auditors said he received more than $100,000 in unauthorized travel reimbursements and falsified some travel records. His administrative assistant has retired after repaying $9,000 in travel expenses. A further investigation is expected.

Today marks the final day of early voting before the run-off election Tuesday. There are statewide Democratic races for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Treasurer.

Some northeast Arkansas farmers say they suspect dams on the Cache River were installed at an improper height, delaying the flow of water to their fields. The dams installed by a drainage district were supposed to be 3-5 feet high. Instead, some were built up more and are holding as much as 8-10 feet of water, reducing the flow downstream.

Congressman. John Boozman is taking a hard line on illegal immigrants, citing strong beliefs among voters in Northwest Arkansas that the best way to manage immigration is to fortify the country's borders while blocking undocumented workers from becoming U.S. citizens. Boozman backed a bill that calls for building 700 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border, making it a felony to be in the United States illegally, urging local police to assist with catching illegal immigrants and toughening penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued five citations totaling $63,000 against Crossland Construction following an investigation of a Hispanic worker’s death at a Rogers job site. Safety administration officials said the death likely could have been avoided if the company had followed property safety precautions. The Little Rock office of the federal safety agency undertook a statewide program last year geared toward Hispanics working specifically in residential building.

The driver of a tractor-trailer who caused an accident that left portions of Interstate 40 closed for more than 12 hours Thursday may be charged. Carl Moody of San Antonio approached traffic in the eastbound lanes that was already stopped for an accident, but he did not slow down till it was too late striking two other trucks and causing a chemical spill.

A Garland County sheriff’s deputy accused of exposing herself at a Lake Ouachita campground lost her job after being formally charged with misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. Dawn Rene Roberson of Royal has worked at the sheriff’s office since 1997 and was a sergeant in the detention center.

Saline County officials later this month will consider a smoking ban stricter than a new state law that will go into effect in July. The ordinance, if approved, would ban tobacco use on county property and in county vehicles. Justices of the peace will consider the measure at their June 20 meeting.

The new Guy-Perkins High School is scheduled for completion in August, and the school officials hope to be completely moved in by the first day of school.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I love Bank of America, but ...

Bank of America has been very very good to me. It hurts my heart to draw attention to a very troubling development reported this past week. This hot steaming pile can be found in the San Francisco Chronicle. David Lazarus reports.

"If people want their severance packages, they have to train their replacements," a senior engineer at one of BofA's Bay Area facilities told me. "There's nothing in writing that says this -- the bank's been careful about that. But it's made clear at meetings what we're supposed to do."

It gets even better.

Shirley Norton, a BofA spokeswoman, confirmed that while workers aren't being explicitly told they have to train their replacements or risk losing severance pay, they are being instructed that severance pay is contingent on satisfactorily completing their jobs.

Completing your job includes training your replacement, which means, in most cases, bringing somebody from India up to speed on what you have been getting paid to do.

Why would BofA hire Indians to work in the United States?

"Because they don't actually work for Bank of America," the engineer replied. "They work for Infosys Technologies and Tata Consultancy Services, which are both in India. They do the work at half the cost of what a U.S. worker gets paid."

There is a lot more to this story. Get ready for the next round of BOA moves to encourage business with Latino customers. Call centers will be exported to Latin America.

BOA has been good to me, but not so good to the country that provides the infrastructure and security for it to do business and provide earnings for investors.

Fraud in State Government? Not Possible!

My old pal Ray Lincoln always said that the really good news stories were stuck aside in the Saturday paper, and this week we have hit a gold mine.

Jake Bleed from the Democrat-Gazette reports.

The former executive director of the state Board of Architects falsely claimed to have driven 142,429 miles of business travel and received $105,140 in unauthorized travel reimbursements between July 2003 and February 2006, according to a report issued Friday by the Division of Legislative Audit.

John Harris resigned from the board March 1 and has repaid the money auditors say he shouldn't have been paid. His attorney, Patrick James of Little Rock, said Harris denies wrongdoing and repaid the money only "to put it behind him and go on with his life."

Note well, Mr. Harris has not been accused of a crime and would be entitled to the presumption of innocence if he were.

Furthermore, the above sounds a bit like, "since my client got caught, can't we just pay the money and forget it ever happened?"

If the allegations are true, a serious offense has been committed.

Several questions arise from this ugly little story.

1. What incentive did state auditors extend to Harris in return for his cooperation and ultimate payment of over $100,000? Was he offered immunity from prosecution?

2. If he was offered immunity, do legislative auditors have that authority?

3. Even if legislative auditors lack authority to offer immunity from prosecution, has Harris been improperly led to give evidence against himself? Was he "entrapped?" (if he was, there can be no criminal prosecution. One may not be compelled to give evidence against himself. It's the Fifth Amendment.)

Little Rock attorney Patrick James represents Harris. Here is his quote, which raises a few more questions.

"Cases are settled all the time when it's just easier to pay money than to litigate" James said. "When they say a certain amount is due, even though he disputes it, if he's paying it, then there's no more claim of any sums being due."

4. What case? Was a charge to be filed? What are the terms of the "settlement?" Who made it and how was it approved?

Most of us would think that $100,000 is a very handsome payment for a sum that is not owed. How gracious of Mr. Harris.

5. What was Governor Huckabee's interest here? Why would he call on select lawmakers to let this story go away?

The stink of this one rises to the heavens.

A broader investigation is to begin soon. That is a very good thing.

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