Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday fun

A McGehee man is under arrest and charged with capital murder and kidnapping in the Aug. 27 murder of 17-year-old Casey Crowder of Pine Bluff. Officers of the FBI, the Arkansas State Police and the Desha County sheriff’s office pulled over Kenneth A. Osburn just north of McGehee around 3:50 p.m. Osburn is a truck driver, said Desha County Sheriff-elect Jim Snyder. Authorities are not saying how Crowder was killed or whether she was sexually assaulted.

Most Arkansans who use natural gas to heat their homes can expect slightly lower bills this winter, state regulators said Thursday. Natural gas producers also project that much of the nation will see a similar outcome, ending three years of escalating bills.

This Sunday those Arkansas Workers who are employed at minimum wage will be getting a raise thanks to the new minimum wage increase that will go into effect Oct. 1, 2006. Workers will now begin to receive $6.25 an hour as opposed to the previous rate of 5.15 per hour.

The Senate endorsed President Bush’s plans to prosecute and interrogate terror suspects, all but sealing its congressional approval. The 65-34 vote means the bill could reach the president’s desk by week’s end. Arkansas’ Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat, voted against the bill; Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor supported it.

The Saline County sheriff’s office arrested more than 20 men on charges of stalking children over the Internet in the past three months, including eight men who were arrested in this week’s sex sting operation in Shannon Hills. That sting drew suspects to a newly built home in Shannon Hills where they thought a 14-year-old girl was waiting.

Benton County Coroner Kimberly Scott has agreed not to attend death scenes until a criminal case against her is resolved, she announced Thursday. Meanwhile, she'll continue her administrative duties with full pay.

A Little Rock fire captain was reprimanded Thursday for calling another city employee a derogatory name, and the body that hears city personnel matters suggested that firefighters, from the chief on down, need to clean up their language. The issue arose from an internal affairs investigation of a claim made by another firefighter that the work environment at the station included racial discrimination.

Angela Floyd, who gave a child up for adoption in the 1980s, is suing a Fort Smith doctor who she claims disclosed confidential information about her to the child’s adoptive parents. Floyd alleges she was contacted by the girl’s adoptive father in March 2006, after Dr. Samuel Koenig wrongfully disclosed Floyd’s confidential patient information to the adoptive father.

A boycott of businesses within the Watson Chapel School District is being considered by FED UP (Fighting Education Depriving Uniform Policies), a group opposing the district’s student dress code and its enforcement measures. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union is reportedly in conference with Little Rock civil rights attorney John Walker on the possibility of initiating legal action on behalf of FED UP against the district and its board, which established the district’s uniform policy.

The Jonesboro Sun reports flooding along the Black and Cache rivers downstream from the heavy rain areas in Sharp, Randolph and Clay counties has not been as bad as many have feared. According to Lawrence County Judge Alex Latham, county roads and crops fared much better than he thought they would. Randolph County Agent Mike Andrews said two broiler houses in north central Randolph County were flooded, killing about 40,000 broilers. Some damage to rice and soybean crops has been reported, much hay lost, and several cows drowned.

Linda Calliouette reports in the Democrat-Gazette’s “Paper Trails” that on Oct. 31, Arkansas’ literary world takes a hit as August House, a Little Rock-based publishing company closes. The firm, founded in 1979 by Ted and Liz Parkhurst, has - in the course of nearly three decades - published more than 600 titles and garnered such praise as being named one of the 100 best independent publishers in the nation.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday items of note

University of Arkansas football broadcaster Paul Eells was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the July 31 traffic accident on Interstate 40 in Pope County that claimed his life and the life of B.J. Burton of Dover, a private autopsy on the sportscaster revealed. Dr. Frank Peretti, an associate state medical examiner, conducted the postmortem examination the day after the accident, at the request of Eells’ wife. Peretti said Vickie Eells gave him permission to release information about the toxicology report “There was no evidence of alcohol or drugs in the body,” Peretti said. “Mr. Eells died of injuries he received in the accident.”

Conway police arrested eight people protesting the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military after they refused to leave a Navy recruitment office. The sit-in began after Esther Mead, 31, of Conway was not allowed to enlist after she mentioned to a Navy officer that she was gay.

Legislators received word Wednesday that the cost of fixing up Arkansas’ public school facilities will likely be $250 million, which they expect will likely come from the state’s surplus. The ballpark estimate for school facilities over the twoyear budget cycle is to be debated in the 2007 legislative session.

Alex Daniels of the Democrat-Gazette reports both of Arkansas’ senators expressed concerns over legislation defining appropriate treatment of suspected terrorists, butut they stopped short of saying they would vote against it. Lincoln said reciprocity - how foreign governments would treat captured U.S. soldiers in light of any new rules - was a sticking point.

The Shannon Hills police chief was hurt during a sting operation which resulted in the arrest of eight suspected internet child predators. Shannon Hills police and Saline County sheriff’s deputies lured suspects to a home that purportedly had a young child inside. Police Chief Richard Friend injured a leg after a suspect’s car hit the pickup he was in. Friend was released from the hospital early Wednesday with a cast.

Waldron Mayor Troy Anderson has resigned, effective Sunday. Anderson faces charges of abuse of public trust and patronizing a prostitute, and is expected to finalize a plea agreement by Monday, Anderson allegedly exchanged city water services for sex.

Dassault Aviation of Paris has signed a $1.1 billion deal to sell NetJets Europe 24 Falcon 7X jets, the company said. The order, the largest business jet order in European history, will be completed at Dassault Falcon Jet Corp.’s plant at Little Rock, the company said. The deal is Dassault’s largest ever private jet sale.

In the wake of an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Tyson Foods will pay $1.5 million to about 2,500 women and minorities that it did not hire. The OFCCP conducted its investigation from 2002-04 at poultry plants in Broken Bow, Okla., Grannis, Clarksville, Berryville and Van Buren.

Springdale Mayor Jerre Van Hoose and Rich Baseball owner Bob Rich signed copies of the contract for the Wichita Wranglers to move to Springdale for the 2008 season.

Economic development in the Mississippi Delta will remain difficult as long as workers there continue to experience a high incidence of diabetes, Delta Regional Authority officials said Wednesday. They announced a new effort to help area residents get medical help in battling the disease and keeping track of their progress.

Another new Jonesboro eatery has filed for a private Club permit with the state ABC board. If granted, the Brockhouse would become the fourth Main Street business serving alcoholic beverages.

Delta State University's "Fighting Okra" mascot has landed a leading role on an episode of The Food Network's "Good Eats," a family cooking show starring Alton Brown. The episode, Okraphobia, will premiere at 9 p.m. Wednesday with additional air dates at midnight Thursday, 9 p.m. Friday, 1 a.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Oct. 6.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My radio archives

There are several excellent audio download offerings available on Here is a quick inventory.

T. J. Miller and Anthony LaBlanc from Chicago's famous Second City improv comedy show gave me a memorable hour, and you will get through it in 43 minutes.

My visit with Leonard Krout, the Pope County Coroner is getting a lot of hits. It deals with the odd story of Paul Eells blood samples.

Ron Crawford's reaction to the weekend editorial in the Democrat-Gazette concerning Paron High School and remediation (scroll down here for the story) is posted. He is quite the debater.

Randall Woods is the author of a new LBJ biography and did an outstanding interview.

Civil War historians, professional and amateur, will appreciate my hour with Dr. Carl Moneyhon from UALR.

Michael Blakely, director of the Little Rock Zoo, talked about his relationship with the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irsin. Mike also hit on bird flu, what the animals are up to, and Boo at the Zoo. Fine segment.

All of these downloads are free. It is my sincere desire to provide excellent service to my listeners. If you have a guest idea or a suggestion, write me.

Utility Customers Unite!

Could I get a little anger here! A little emotion, please!

Let me highlight an item that was on today's headlines and I thought SOMEBODY would catch on. Entergy of MISSISSIPPI is CUTTING rates! I thought the ALMIGHTY SYSTEM AGREEMENT caused rates to be spread out around the system. This was highlighted in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and it is a hell of a story.

Entergy Mississippi will be lowering rates for the third time this year when an 18 percent drop begins in October.

The decrease will mean an average residential bill will fall from $107 per thousand kilowatt hours to about $88. It will last through December when Entergy re-evaluates its fuel costs.

Entergy and other utilities are able to pass the cost of fuel directly to customers. Entergy bills have fallen $40, or 31.5 percent, per 1,000 kilowatt hours since March for its 427,000 customers in 45 counties.

OK, as a mere high school graduate, I am often confused and bewildered by the confusing world around me, HOWEVER, I can not figure out how one part of the Entergy system is having consecutive rate CUTS while Arkansas has had at least TWO increases.

Excuse me for hollering, but darn it, I am just stoked.

Top of Wednesday

Attorneys for murder defendant Kevin Jones are accusing Pope County prosecutors of being slow to hand over evidence which might implicate another suspect in the December homicide of Russellville beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer.

Entergy Mississippi will be lowering rates for the third time this year when an 18 percent drop begins in October. The decrease will mean an average residential bill will fall from $107 per thousand kilowatt hours to about $88. arolyn Shanks, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, credited the lower prices and Entergy's efforts to diversify its sources of energy. Natural gas sold this month for $4.55 per 1,000 cubic feet, compared with $15 last December.

The incoming speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives told business officials Tuesday that he wants to earmark some corporate taxes to help low-income residents. Rep. Benny Petrus, of Stuttgart, speaking to a meeting of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas, said he wants to help cut taxes for business, but only to a point. He said he’s ready to cut but not eliminate the state sales tax on energy used by manufacturers.

The state Health Division is expecting to receive more than 238,000 doses of influenza vaccine this year, health officials told state legislators Tuesday. That’s about 25,000 more doses than the state had ordered this time last year. The state expects to spend about $2.86 million on the vaccine.

Arkansans are increasingly anxious about what they see as a lack of progress in Iraq and about the unremitting violence there, Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation said Tuesday. The delegation’s lone Republican, Rep. John Boozman, told the Democrat-Gazette that his constituents, while wanting “the troops home as soon as possible,” still “understand this thing is important and would like to see it through.”

Farm-state Democrats tried to bypass House Republican leaders Tuesday and force a vote on a controversial disaster relief bill. The group, including Reps. Mike Ross and Marion Berry announced the move to circumvent House procedures with a "discharge petition." The petition requires 218 signatures from House members in order to advance the measure for a vote. By Tuesday afternoon, the petition had 66 signatures.

Stephens Media Group reports that exploration companies are keeping close watch on declining natural gas prices while proceeding with full-scale development of the Fayetteville Shale in northern Arkansas, an industry executive said Tuesday. Natural gas prices, currently trading below $5 a million BTUs, are down nearly a third from last December.

Advance America Cash Advance Centers will voluntarily stop making payday loans to “active, full-time members of the military” effective Oct. 15. Payday lenders typically ring military bases where local laws allow and have become a point of contention for military officials. One of Advance America’s 2600 locations is outside the Little Rock Air Force Base.

Crawford County is continuing to pay for the crash of its computer system that occurred last December. Budget Committee Chairwoman Marsha Woolly said the cost to the county for the crash of the county’s mainframe and server has totaled $52,280. The figure includes new computer equipment, software licenses, $1,300 for classes, labor for recovery of two years of lost data and the installation of additional security systems.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, salvagers and others have poured into a Spring River campsite in search of canoes, butane bottles, scrap lumber and other debris tossed around by Saturday’s flooding now that the water has receded. Hardy Police Chief Ernest Rose has not arrested anyone, but he and other law-enforcement officers are taking inventory of items removed from River Bend Park in hopes of preventing the sale of any property for scrap without the consent of the rightful owners.

Deanna Bobo, A former Greenwood schoolteacher, was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison after a jury convicted her of having sex last year with a then-14-year-old student.

A former North Little Rock School District music and band teacher pleaded no contest Tuesday to charges of sexually assaulting two Faulkner County boys in his Conway home. Bryan Deaver was sentenced to 10 years each on two counts of felony second-degree sexual assault, to be served concurrently. Each count was punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

A Conway Police report, released on Monday, says a gunshot was heard after "200 to 300 juveniles" were seen screaming and pushing one another after the Faulkner County Fair on Friday. The conflict was said to have occurred around 11:30 p.m. at a school near the YBMA Fairgrounds.

Russell and Crystal Rinehart are being held in the Sebastian County Jail without bond, facing two counts each of endangering the welfare of a minor, a Class D felony. Their two small children were discovered unattended at Northside High School barefooted and appeared not to have been bathed recently. The boy had a cut on his big toe and a burn mark on his chin, which he said his mother gave him with a cigarette, a police report states. The girl had a scrape on one leg and bruises on both legs.

Dirksmeyer Developments

Grant Merrill is following a new development in the Dirksmeyer murder case. He will have an update on the Russelville beauty queen's homicide investigation at 7:45 this morning. I will follow the story throughout the morning. Log on to or tune in to one of our outstanding affiliate stations.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The brilliant comedians from the Second City improv in Chicago are performing at the Arkansas Rep, and they are on Pat Classic Wednesday morning at 9. Don't miss it. Log on to or tune in on the STAN Radio Network.

Ron Crawford is still steamed

Last Saturday the Democrat-Gazette ran a dandy of an editorial concerning Paron High School and the remediation rate. It turns out that, despite previous reports from the Education Department, it was not zero. This put our old pal, Coach Crawford, into a full-scale dither. He checked in Monday morning and the audio from that interview is FINALLY posted on I don't agree with him, but the other side deserves to be heard. Besides, he is one tough debater.

Pope County Coroner on Paul Eells' blood sample.

This is an unpleasant story, for which I apologize. The Russellville Courier has raised questions (damn good ones in my opinion) about how evidence from the scene of Mr. Eells' fatal accident were handled.

This morning, I interviewed Leonard Krout. He is the Pope County Coroner and he seems like a completely honest guy. You can listen and download (16 min) from

Crisp Tuesday morning

The Russellville Courier reports that Pope County coroner Leonard Krout questions the handling of blood samples from a July 21 accident that killed sportscaster Paul Eells and B. J. Burton of Dover. Krout says the samples were never in the custody of UAMS, which, he says, should have determined if the samples had, in fact, been ruined by the heat while being shipped to Little Rock. Krout claims to have sent the samples directly to Pulaski County Coroner Malcolm – at Malcolm’s suggestion. Malcolm decided the samples were ruined. Stout further says that Malcolm has not returned the viles of blood despite his repeated requests.

The second person missing from weekend flooding in Sharp County has been found. Jackie Robinson’s body was localted 200 yards from his van in Riverbend Park, where he had gone to seek shelter.

Gov. Mike Huckabee declared six counties in Arkansas state disaster areas in the wake of weekend storms that rolled through the northern part of the state.

War Memorial Stadium officials have announced changes for Arkansas Razorback football games in Little Rock, including the introduction of reserved tailgate spots and revised traffic routes. With a loss of 2,000 to 3,000 parking spots because of construction around the stadium, Stadium Commission Chairman Gary Smith says new procedures are needed to make the tailgating process easier.

Forty-nine years after crowds greeted them with jeers and taunts upon integrating Central High School, the Little Rock Nine were honored Monday with the dedication of 10 marble benches on the school’s front lawn. Three of the nine attended the event. The tenth bench is dedicated to past present and future students of Central.

A circuit judge has dismissed a lawsuit contesting the results of the District 16 state Senate runoff election because it failed to include the Arkansas secretary of state and the Democratic Party of Arkansas State Committee as parties to the case. The complaint accused the Election Commission chairman of misconduct and the St. Francis County clerk and county poll workers of making election-related mistakes. It also questioned the legitimacy of at least 186 votes.

Deliberations in the case against Deanna Bobo continue today. The attorney for a former Greenwood teacher accused of having sex with a student told jurors Monday that Greenwood police investigators were incompetent and botched the investigation of her client. In closing arguments before the Sebastian County Circuit Court jury, Shannon Foster of Fort Smith characterized the investigation as “Keystone Cops on a witch hunt.”

The 13-year-old female Stuttgart Public School student who claimed she was raped on the Stuttgart High School campus on Sept. 6 has recanted her story, the Stuttgart Police Department announced Friday.

A jury took only 21 minutes to rule in favor of a company that was sued for selling a chicken feed that plaintiffs alleged contributed to a Prairie Grove boy’s leukemia seven years ago.

None of the 50 or so people who attended Monday's special meeting of the Gentry School Board was likely late for dinner. That's because the meeting lasted only six minutes. The meeting was called to discuss the recent resignation of former Gentry High School football coach Jeff Stewart. Stewart resigned Sept. 11 after getting into an argument with a fan at the Sept. 8 Pioneers' game at Elkins. Supporters of Stewart submitted a petition, signed by nearly 250 people, calling for Monday's special meeting.

A proposed agreement of about $330 million has been reached in the class-action lawsuit that was filed against Murphy Oil USA Inc. over the spill of crude oil from the company’s refinery in Meraux, La., in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Former WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers, who is 65 tears old, will report to federal prison today. A federal judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison. He will have to serve 21 years and four months before he can become eligible for parole He was convicted earlier this year of securities fraud, submitting false claims to the SEC and conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

The New York Times reports scientists have found evidence of ivory-billed woodpeckers, this time in Florida. But having observed the turbulent disputes among ornithologists and birders that followed the report last year that the bird had been found in Arkansas, these researchers are proceeding with caution.

As many as 500 employees at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.’s Texarkana plant will lose their jobs when the company switches from full-time production to “flex” production to compensate for decreased tire demand, according to a company statement.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mighty fine Monday

The Democrat-Gazette has filed the second of two reports about Bobby Joe Rylee, who died five days after a July 15 altercation with Russellville police officers. Police dragged a handcuffed Rylee by his arms into the Pope County Detention Center after Rylee said that he couldn’t feel his legs and that his back and legs were broken, according to a jailer who helped pull him inside. Rylee subsequently refused medical treatment.

Sharp County authorities recovered the body of 16 year-old Christopher Bodkins, who was swept away to his death in the rushing flood waters of Martin Creek. Bodkins was among rescuers responding to a call for help from a woman and three children stranded in Saturday night’s storms and floods. The search will comtinue today for the body of another man believed drowned.

Clay, Fulton, Randolph and Sharp counties declared disasters Saturday, but had not yet requested state assistance on Sunday. Fulton County Judge Charles Willett estimates that 70 percent of his county’s 2,000 miles of dirt roads had been washed away in the downpour. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service’s North Little Rock office traveled to northern Arkansas on Sunday and confirmed that at least three tornadoes had touched down Friday evening.

The government is investigating claims of abuse inside a Butterball turkey plant in Ozark after an animal-welfare group released undercover video footage showing workers throwing and sitting on live birds.

Hot Springs, North Little Rock, Little Rock, and Pine Bluff lead the state in overall crime per-capita, according to the Arkansas Crime Information Center’s statistics for 2005.

The Arkansas Board of Parole has recommended that Gov. Mike Huckabee pardon a burglar whose 2001 clemency outraged prosecutors and made headlines after news broke that his stepmother was a member of the governor’s staff. Donald Clark has a lengthy criminal record filled with burglary, theft, hot-check and illegal-possession-of-a-firearm arrests when he was sentenced to 40 years in prison by a Clark County judge in 1995 for burglary convictions in four counties.

A Morrilton man accused of stealing his mother's car and checkbook to make several fraudulent purchases in Russellville is in police custody. When asked by District Judge Don Bourne if he had any comments about a $30,000 bond, 34-year-old Cedric Criswell paused and said, "I stole from my mother; I don't think that bond's high enough." Criswell remains held at the Pope County jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond on pending forgery, theft and drug possession charges.

Arkansas Game and Fish officials say a summer count of deer in Little Rock likely underestimated the population within the city and they need to look again before recommending whether the city should thin the population.

Plans to build ethanol and biodiesel plants on the grounds of a shuttered chemical plant at Helena-West Helena have been scrapped, and state environmental regulators are moving forward with cleanup efforts at the contaminated site.

A Mayflower man has run into the long arm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers while trying to expand his business' parking lot. Ken Wiles, owner of Wiles Antiques, has been required to file for a permit to build on a government-protected wetland and provide mitigation for the wetland he is already using.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums have accredited the Little Rock Zoo for another five years. Accreditation hearings are held every five years for AZA member institutions.

CSI forensics consultant Gary Telgenhoff will speak Thursday at Arkansas State University.

Area leaders are hoping to drum up support to keep Greenville, Mississippi’s federal building. A “Save Our Courthouse” rally is scheduled for today at 5 p.m. in front of the federal building at the corner of Main and Poplar streets. Officials in Cleveland have been lobbying to move the courthouse there.

A philosophic note ...

Since I take off on Mike Beebe in my column, which runs on the Voices page of today's Democrat-Gazette, I thought it might be good to clarify a few things. I have said in the grocery tax debate of 2002 and the recent jail tax debate, it is not the obligation of the opposition to come up with funding alternatives. Amen and Amen.

It is, however, an obligation to be rational in one's position. I think the No New Taxes bunch down in Texarkana might want to give some thought to a campaign which has caused, and will bring more, harm to local public schools. Talk about totally uninformed. Here is the quote from today's Democrat-Gazette.

Opponents of the tax do not have an alternative funding plan.

“I’m for good schools, but against more taxes. With a $32 million budget, there has got to be a lot of money floating around out there that can be redirected,” said Randell McKnight, leader of the No New Taxes group. “The administration might be too big. The money will probably have to come out of payroll.”

Watch out for that money floating around out there! You never know where it might land.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Polling Little Rock's Mayor Race, Part 2

My old pal, Silas Dogood Jr., has managed to come up with some numbers of the developing race for leadership in Little Rock. It may be somewhat surprising to many. Follow all the developing Little Rock political news at Little Rock 2006.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The truth about Paron

Ouch! This hurts. One of Coach Ron Crawford's favorite venues for the "zero remediation" yarn, used as absolute proof as to the superiority of public education in tiny - and now extinct - Paron, was my show. Well, what can you say when confronted with a STATISTIC?

The editorial writers at the Democrat-Gazette hit a home run with a bit of investigative reporting which is to be commended. This is a very very important piece, and I am fully aware that Max and Warwick have already hit it on the Arkansas Times blog, but this is IMPORTANT. Arkansas has made some very real and EXPENSIVE strides to improve public schools and they should not be sabotaged by the likes of Jim Holt.

It turns out that the academic performance of Paron grads ain't as good as previously advertised. This is really important. Sadly, Jim Holt's well meaning supporters probably don't care about anything as troublesome as facts, but you should know.

You must read the entire thing in the

A little digging produced the real story behind the remediation rates. Our thanks go to (deep breath ) the National Office for Research Measurement and Evaluation Systems at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. NORMES did the heavy number-lifting. It's the outfit that collects all the numbers used by the state's Department of Education.

You can try this at home. To begin with, here are the number of graduates that Paron produced in recent years:

2001-02: 20 graduates.

2002-03: 13 graduates.

2003-04: 14 graduates.

Now for the remediation rates for those years:

2001-02: 57 percent.

2002-03: 71 percent.

2003-04: 56 percent.

So it looks like Jim Argue had it right after all. Some of us always knew it would end up this way.

I am frequently in disagreement with the newspaper's editorials, but today I am so proud I can hardly stand it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More political polls

It happened again this afternoon at 3:47. A company called TTO Research from California is working for somebody, but the operators are calling from Utah. They asked to speak to a registered voter.

Get how they pose the question.

If the election were held today, would you vote for Democrat Mike Beebe or Republican Asa Hutchinson?

Did you get it?

Well, of course I had to mess with them, so I said I would be voting for Independent Rod Bryan. Please understand, this should NOT be taken as an endorsement. I just wanted to see what would happen.

What happened? The lady just moved right along to the next call.

The problem is puffed-up sanctimonious blowhards like the broadcasters who exclude Bryan and Lendall from public forums (on public property, I might add) because they "don't have enough support." And how do they know? From surveys that are set up to exclude Bryan and Lendall.

Totally unfair.

More on Ray Lincoln

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ran a wonderful editorial about Ray Lincoln today. You can read it in the edition.

There was a very kind mention of me, and I am very humbled by the wonderful compliment.

RADIO in Little Rock and way beyond was always duller when Ray
Lincoln was gone, and he probably quit or got fired from more stations than even Pat Lynch, and usually for the same reason: He was too good / uninhibited. Ray may have been Pat’s ideological opposite, but that didn’t keep them from being friends.

Friday formalities

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette begins a series on the death of Bobby Joe Rylee in the Pope County jail. A tired and frightened Rylee anticipated a confrontation with Russellville police early in the morning of July 15, according to the woman who was with him at the time. Rylee died in custody several days later. An FBI investigation is underway, an officer and dispatcher involved in the incident have been disciplined, and Rylee’s family has sued the police department.

Jurors in the first-degree sexual assault trial of former Greenwood teacher Deanna Bobo heard testimony Wednesday from two people, including one of her ex-husbands, who said they had sex with Bobo while she was teaching at their schools. Bobo, 38, is accused of having sex with a male student while she was employed as a teacher at Raymond E. Wells Junior High School in early 2005. The alleged victim testified Tuesday that he had sex with Bobo on two occasions.

Jackson, Mississippi’s mayor and his two bodyguards waived their arraignments, tentative trial dates were set, and a judge issued a gag order - the latest developments as the high-profile cases continue to receive national attention. Mayor Frank Melton and bodyguards Marcus Wright and Michael Recio were indicted a week ago for allegedly helping wreck a duplex on Ridgeway Street in northwest Jackson.

Though he said he hadn’t missed an opening weekend of deer season since 1967, special Circuit Judge John Cole rejected a motion Thursday asking that he put off a Lonoke County criminal case until the end of hunting season.

A high-speed pursuit ended Thursday morning when the suspect traveling 90 miles per hour and a Rogers police patrolman lost control of their vehicles. The 15-year-old driver failed to negotiate a curve at high speed and lost control of his vehicle, which went over the shoulder and struck parked cars in an adjacent parking lot, according to the police. Officer Mike Lira also lost control of his vehicle and hit an embankment during the high-speed pursuit. Lt. Mike Johnson of the Rogers Police Department said both vehicles were totaled.

A former Little Rock fireman who bilked his mother’s sick, 88-year-old neighbor out of nearly $95,000 must pay the money back at $200 per month, Pulaski County Circuit judge Chris Piazza ruled Thursday. Bill McEntire will need 39 years to pay back the entire amount.

The Board of Corrections on Thursday followed a member’s advice and unanimously approved a renewed attempt to persuade the state to designate special attorneys to prosecute inmates who attack officers.

The Saline County sheriff notified the county judge Thursday that the Texas company providing telephone service for county jail inmates was prepared to sue to keep the contract, which the Arkansas attorney general’s office has suggested might be illegal.

Wal-Mart is applying its famous price rollback strategy to health care by announcing it will make nearly 300 generic drugs available to customers and employees for only $4 per prescription. Wal-Mart officials announced the news Thursday at a live conference in Tampa, Fla., attended by Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Bill Nelson.

Drought conditions persist in much of Arkansas, but a Sunday cold front brought much needed rainfall to most of the state, including more than 4 inches in the northeast. Improvement is expected through November, according to a National Weather Service forecast. Year-to-date rainfall deficits through Wednesday range from 12.56 inches in El Dorado, to 6.44 inches in Texarkana, 5.95 inches in Harrison and 4.04 inches in Monticello. Unique among the major reporting stations, Jonesboro had received 35.55 inches of rain through Wednesday, 2.35 inches more than normal.

Pine Bluff City Clerk Loretta Whitfield says that the question of a higher minimum wage for city employees and employees of contractors doing business with the city will be on the Nov. 7 general election ballot. The ordinance calls for all uninsured city employees, or uninsured employees of contractors doing business with the city, to be paid at least $10.55 per hour. Employers who provide health insurance or child care at the rate of $1.25 per hour would have to pay employees at least $9.30 per hour.

David Pryor, a Democrat who served Arkansas as governor and senator, is poised to become the newest member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s board of directors at a time the congressionally chartered nonprofit is struggling to maintain a politically neutral stance.

Deluxe Media Services Inc., a manufacturer of DVDs for motion picture studios, announced Thursday that it will shut down its North Little Rock plant by late March, putting about 500 workers out of jobs.

The massive collection of American Indian artifacts to be auctioned this weekend began as a hobby 50 years ago for two Jackson County brothers disenchanted with their jobs. Stephen J. Graham and Gus Graham started searching fields near their Tuckerman home in the mid-1950 s for arrowheads and spear points - as well as scrapers and other ancient tools - when not working at their family mercantile store. They would toss their finds in 5-gallon buckets and assorted boxes, then trade them with store customers for other artifacts. This weekend, Grady Auctions and Realty Inc. of Newport will auction off nearly 13,000 pieces of Stephen Graham’s collection at the Center for the Arts on the Arkansas State University-Newport campus.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Randall Woods, professor at the University of Arkansas, has a hot new book about LBJ. He has had access to previously unreleased tapes and declassified documents. Woods is on Friday morning at 9. I will post the interview on later Friday.

I also promise a preview of the Arkansas game against Alabama.

Pat Classic on weekdays 9 to 1 at and the Super Talk Arkansas Network (listed in the right hand column).

Ray's Day

September 21, 2006

More than half of the school districts seeking millage increases succeeded Tuesday, with some cashing in on a 2005 state law that will help them pay to build or expand school facilities. Forty-two of the 245 school districts in Arkansas sought public approval of property-tax increases. Voters in 23 districts accepted higher levies; voters in 19 districts rejected them.

State officials and lawmakers are discussing requiring all students to take the tougher “Smart Core” curriculum and eliminating the existing provision that lets students - with parental permission - opt out of higherlevel math and science classes. Education Commissioner Ken Jamestold several hundred educators and community members that the existing optout clause sends a mixed message to the state’s 452,000 students and their parents at a time when state leaders are convinced that higherlevel academic classes are essential to a high school graduate’s success in the work force or in postsecondary education.

Arkansas’ unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent in August, a drop of one-tenth of a percent from 5.4 percent in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday.

At the urging of in-state companies, notably Wal-Mart, members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation have crafted legislation to suspend import duties on goods ranging from toenail clippers to clock radios. Wal-Mart and others argue that eliminating tariffs on imported goods results in lower prices for consumers.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals has reversed a Workers’ Compensation Commission ruling and ordered the commission to determine a benefit amount for Tina Engle, who fell into rocks on an employee “team bonding” outing at Bull Shoals Lake, injuring her back, breaking both her wrists, her left leg and five ribs, and leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. The commission ruled Engle was having a good time and not working. Judge Terry Crabtree wrote, “It defies reason to assert that Engle was required by her employer to find a place from which to jump, but was not expected to participate in jumping.”

Problems with suppliers, subcontractors and others may delay opening the new Jefferson County Adult Jail by the end of the year. County Judge Jack Jones told a meeting of mayors and law enforcement officials that there are “some players who don’t want to open it until March 1.”

After consulting with the Saline County auditor and county attorney, County Judge Lanny Fite says that he has asked the sheriff to rebid a legally questionable contract to provide telephone service for county jail inmates. The sheriff’s office will comply, a spokesman said.

White County Sherriff Pat Garrett has begun moving into a 98,000 square foot Law Enforcement Center.

Jefferson County Justice of the Peace Richard Hall, who was arrested last week and is currently hospitalized, has resigned from the Jefferson County Quorum Court.

Lisa Rivers of didn't show up for her first-degree murder trial in Huntsville Wednesday. Prosecutor Terry Jones of the 4th Judicial District believed she wasn't a flight risk and released her after she was arrested in January.

A 34-year-old Little Rock man who was shot in the head early Wednesday died several hours later after being removed from life support, marking the capitol city’s 48th homicide for 2006.

A 28-year-old man is behind bars this morning charged with the first murder in Cleveland, Ms. for 2006. Patrick Simpson of Cleveland was arrested for the fatal stabbing of Keith Williams, 40, also of Cleveland.

A court-ordered election that was held Sept. 10 has not ended a dispute that has divided a Buddhist temple in Fort Smith for the past 15 months. The defendants have filed notice in Sebastian County Circuit Court that they are appealing the election’s outcome and all court rulings leading up to those results.

The Daily Citizen reports that Albert Yarnell, patriarch of the Searcy’s sweetest industry, has worked his way to the whipped-cream and cherry top of the ice cream world. Dan L. Worrell, dean of Sam M. Walton College of Business has announced the chairman of Yarnell Ice Cream, will be a 2007 Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Inductee.

Election worries

This is important. Two stories are in the news this morning which deal with electronic voting machines. Both involve our old friends in Nebraska, Election Systems and Software The first, is in the Dallas Morning News. The in-depth story begins in Jefferson County Texas earlier this year and moves on.

Election watchdogs fear similar problems or worse – perhaps even fraud – as thousands of U.S. counties use such machines for the first time in November's general elections. In Texas, most big counties, including Dallas, have already made the switch. But as smaller counties switch over, many voting experts are warning that people may face long waits at the polls, wrong vote tallies or recounts.

Some also fear that without a paper record of how people voted – which Texas law does not require – election results could be lost in any system meltdown."If history is any guide, we have the potential to see problems in 30 percent of counties this fall," said Kimball Brace, president of the nonpartisan political consulting firm Election Data Services Inc. Since 2000, about 46 percent of counties have switched voting equipment – most of those in the past two years, according to company figures.

Mr. Brace projects that 40 percent of voters will use electronic machines in November, many for the first time.

The change is part of the long hangover from the hanging-chad debacle that fouled the 2000 presidential election. In 2002, Congress approved the Help America Vote Act, requiring that all voters have access to electronic voting, and lawmakers gave states and local governments $3.9 billion to do it by January 2006.

That meant a rush to have machines up and running by the 2006 primaries, with some counties choosing to mix electronic ballots with more traditional paper-scan methods.

The Times-Herald in Forrest City ran an informative item on Tuesday's problems over in the Delta. ESS gets praise from local officials in this one.

Tuesday’s countywide school election was scheduled to be a test run for the county’s new election equipment.

St. Francis County Election Commission Chairman Frederick Freeman said the test failed.

According to Freeman, preparation prior to the election and out in the field on election day eventually led to issues which left election officials tallying votes into the early morning hours today.

“We performed poorly in our prep work prior to the election and then out in the field on election day with problems at several of the polling sites. That ended up affecting our counting last night,” said Freeman.

The delays started shortly after the close of polls at 7:30 p.m., and actual counting did not begin until after 9 p.m.

“The information did not come in as requested from several locations, and that delayed us in getting started. Primarily, our computer chips, the tapes, used ballots, sign-in sheets, PEB’s (Personal Electronic Ballots) and PCM cards were supposed to be placed in the old ballot boxes and brought in, but there were cases where pertinent information was not where it needed to be, and that even included some of the information being left at a polling site,” he said.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Arkansas State University fans take note

The Chicago Tribune has a story about the nutty protests by "native American" activists. Darn it, the Indians lose again! (The complainers not the athletes.)

Dances by Chief Illiniwek, the University of Illinois' athletic mascot, do not violate the state's civil rights laws, a divided state appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The Illinois Native American Bar Association filed suit last year against university officials, alleging that the Chief's performances humiliate Native American students and create a hostile environment that dissuades them from attending games or participating in other school activities.

AG Candidates online

The Dustin McDaniel interview is posted on Also, there is an hour with Gunner Delay. You can hear both of the AG candidates with a FREE click of the mouse.

Ray Lincoln's Funeral

The funeral service will be at 10 a.m., Thursday, September 21, 2006 at Parkway Place Baptist Church, 300 Parkway Place, Little Rock. The family will receive friends at Roller-Chenal Funeral Home (501) 224-8300 from 6 until 8 p.m., Wednesday. Memorials may be made to ARORA, 1100 N. University, Suite 200, Little Rock, Ark. 72207.

Wistful Wednesday

September 20, 2006

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation, six correctional officers have been fired, and seven others warned or suspended after an internal probe concluded that an inmate was repeatedly kicked, punched and beaten with a baton at the Maximum Security Unit in Tucker in May. A separate state Department of Correction investigation into another excessive-force allegation at the prison led to the resignation of Capt. Eric Hobbs, a nephew of Deputy Director Ray Hobbs.

Federal statistics released this week show violent crime in the U.S. rose by 2.3 percent last year, the first increase since 2001, while property crime decreased. In Arkansas however, violent crime rose at three times the national average - up by 6.1 percent - and property crimes increased by 1.7 percent.

A Fayetteville pro-marijuana group has collected enough signatures for a November ballot initiative seeking to make marijuana arrests in Eureka Springs a low law enforcement priority.

Wendell Collier, wanted for questioning in a double homicide over the weekend in Howard County, was found dead Tuesday near his home in neighboring Hempstead County, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Howard County Sheriff Butch Morris said.

The parents of a teenage boy who prosecutors say was sexually assaulted by his teacher testified that they contacted authorities after discovering numerous e-mail messages, some of them sexually explicit, between the teacher and their son. Prosecutors have charged former Greenwood teacher Deanna Bobo with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, alleging that she had sex with a male student on two occasions in early 2005.

For the second consecutive year, enrollment at public and private higher education campuses in Arkansas grew about 3 percent, reaching a record setting fall enrollment of more than 145,600 students.

Hendrix College has received a $20,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Education Charter School Office to train leaders of charter schools.

A lawsuit challenging this past summer's annexation of the Elaine School District to the Marvell School District has been transferred from Phillips County Circuit Court to the circuit court system in Pulaski County. Attorney John Walker's lawsuit said the merger of the two districts creates a hardship for students and staff at Elaine, because of transportation concerns and educational problems arising from the "dismal quality of education which exists in Marvell."

A Washington County jury deliberated less than 30 minutes before awarding a Springdale couple $100,000 for land taken by city officials to extend Har-Ber Avenue to Arkansas 112. The city offered the couple $23,900.

The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission has approved spending $15 million on the existing passenger terminal, including improved baggage handling, while devoting $5 million to its potential replacement at the state's largest airport.

The Clarion-Leger reports that defenders of Jackson, Ms. Mayor Frank Melton have begun a street campaign aimed at discrediting the criminal investigation that led to his eight-count indictment last week. A throng of Melton supporters convened at City Hall on Tuesday evening armed with signs expressing their outrage.

Hard to be Green

Jim Lendall is the Green Party candidate, but was for many years one of our best legislators. After Monday night's joint appearance by the "major" candidates, he sent out the following reflection. It is well worth your time.

Except for exposing the lie when Beebe said he was the first candidate to propose removing the sales tax from food, I'm not going to comment on the lack of substance of the Jonesboro "debate" right now.

What I am going to discuss is the blatant discrimination practiced by the state's universities regarding political expression.

While the 2 corporate candidates were campaigning inside the public college facility, I was threatened with arrest for campaigning outside, more than 100 feet from the entrance to the hall. I stood my ground.

ASU, UAF, and UALR are providing taxpayer supported facilities and personnel for the 2 wealthiest candidates to advertise their campaigns. The policies, of the same public campuses, severely restrict the free speech of the other candidates.

Any campaigning is required to take place in sequestered "free expression zones" often located far away from normal student traffic. The colleges feel they must protect students from being exposed to ideas. The compelling fear of potential litter is more important than free speech.

If the state's universities are giving free campaign services to the candidates who can most easily pay for their own, shouldn't the universities at least ALLOW the other candidates to conduct real campaigns on campus?

Stated in another way:

Even worse than the exclusionary debates is the virtual ban on campaigning on campus for the other candidates. If I want to campaign on campus, I have to get a permit from the security department, wait several days for an ok, and then only campaign in designated areas that are usually far away from the normal walkways for students.

If the 2 corporate candidates want to campaign on campus, they contact the campus p.r. office and get a free room and free publicity contributed by the university.

Combine this with the fact that the nomination procedure for the major parties is completely funded by the taxpayers; candidate filing fees are pocketed by those parties. The petition process and nomination convention for third parties comes out of their own pockets. Is there any wonder why it is so difficult for third parties to emerge?

When the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette mistakenly editorializes about the sanctity of the two-party system, they forget that the two major out-of-touch parties started as third parties and this country did not self-destruct then, ... until now. The major parties control the political process and can exclude any dissenting voices. That is infinitely more danger to this country than new ideas.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mayor's race on the web

It has been a large, and somewhat disturbing, day. There are two "debates" tonight which need commentary and I sitll have something more to say about Ray Lincoln.

My friends over at Little Rock 2006 are stiring up coverage of the local municipal election. Silas has a review of the candidates internet sites. It is well worth your time and, I think, a bit revealing.

Dustin McDaniel, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, is on Tuesday morning's program at 9. Make it a point to log on or tune in on the Super Talk Arkansas Network. I can also promise some kewl Ray Lincoln stories Tuesday morning.

UPDATE: Grant Merrill, Barry Mac, Bob Terrell, Craig O'Neill and others join together to remember the life of Ray Lincoln. Tuesday on Arkansas AM.... it starts at 6 A. M.

Ray Lincoln passed away today. We had our differences, but that is all in the past. Life is too short for grudges. Go over to for a neat photo of Ray and Maxine. In the "Pictures" section, I have a couple of Ray. One is with me and another with Joe Cobb, the legendary Chicago broadcaster.

I have some quotes in tomorrow's Democrat-Gazette and will have further thoughts posted here. To tell the truth, I am a little sad.

Marvelous Monday

About 4,000 customers around Arkansas lost electricity Sunday night after thunderstorms rolled through the state, officials said.

Two candidates for governor will meet tonight in a joint forum on Jonesboro television. The Hutchinson and Beebe campaigns had previously arranged the ground rules, which among other things, exclude independent candidate Rod Bryan and Green Party nominee Jim Lendall.

Forty-one of Arkansas 245 public school districts are seeking increases in the rate used to figure property taxes -- a major source of funding for Arkansas schools. The districts are asking voters to approve millage increases Tuesday.

In a case that has been closely watched across the country, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has won a victory against a Benton woman who claimed that the company’s hormone drugs caused her breast cancer.

The state body that investigates judicial misconduct will proceed with an inquiry into whether Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen violated rules restricting judges’ public speech, officials said Friday.

A legislative committee voted Friday to increase the daily tax-free payment, or “per diem,” lawmakers get for attending meetings The Arkansas Legislative Council approved raising the per diem from $125 per day for meetings in Little Rock to $130 per day.

Rev. Benny Johnson, A member of the task force that recommended that Pulaski County ask voters to approve the sales-tax increase that failed at the polls this week now says the state should bail out the county’s financially troubled jail. Both Gov. Mike Huckabee and County Judge Buddy Villines say that isn’t going to happen.

Members of the Arkansas Legislative Council on Friday questioned whether the state could afford to support an irrigation project with an unknown price tag and told the state agency in charge of it that an independent review shouldn’t add too much to that cost The council ordered the independent review last month because the most recent cost estimate of the Grand Prairie Irrigation Project, which puts its sticker value at $319 million, is nine years old.

Ted Holder and Joe van den Heuvel have became the first gay couple in Arkansas to have their relationship blessed inside an Episcopal church. The Rev. Ed Wills, priest in charge at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in west Little Rock, presided at a service.

A double homicide Sunday afternoon is under investigation in Howard County near Nashville. The relationship of the victims is unknown. Law enforcement officials from Nashville, Howard County and state police are involved in the investigation.

Pine Bluff District Five Justice of the Peace Richard Hall was arrested Friday afternoon after he allegedly pointed a handgun at several people, including a police officer.

United Steelworkers’ demand that the Dutch banking giant, ING Group, use its influence to end the 13-month strike at National Wire Fabric at Star City, so far, seems to have fallen on deaf ears. It is the longest strike in Arkansas history.

Addressing monthly water bills topping $800 for some customers, the mayor of Tull acknowledged last week he had some kinks to work out with the water service provided by his Grant County town. “It started about three months ago,” Mayor Frank Gilbert said. That’s when Tull Water began buying its water from Malvern, switching over from Benton.

A 1998 graduate of Forrest City High School has made it onto ‘American Idol.’ According to the Paper Trails column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, LaTanza Meabon-Whiteside, a member of the 314th Airlift Wing, Maintenance Squadron, has been selected for the popular Fox television show.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Media ownership

Radio has been just about completely destroyed by the concentration of ownership allowed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. (Well, I THINK it was '96, but you get the picture.) Cities no longer receive adequate public service programming, weather updates of local news coverage, since these are viewed as nothing more than red strikes against the bottom line.

And what do you think the regulators have done? Well, there was a rare bit of insight today from a number of national publications. Herre is a portion from the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press.

The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.

The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) received a copy of the report "indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public," said Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.

Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that "every last piece" of the report be destroyed.

"The whole project was just stopped--end of discussion," he said.

This explains a lot of other problems the administration has been having, such as in Iraq. When we don't like the facts, cover up the facts and everything will be OK.

Friday finals

The state Crime Lab has completed the processing and testing of a “vehicle of interest” in the Casey Crowder abduction and murder case. Desha County Sheriff-elect Jim Snyder says he doesn’t know if the crime lab found any evidence that would link the white Chevrolet pickup truck to the 17-year-old Pine Bluff girl. Snyder said police believe they may know why Casey was killed but declined to disclose the possible motive.

Dr. Patrick Chan, until recently the only neurosurgeon at White County Medical Center, remains in the Pulaski County jail after being arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Chan is charged with taking kickbacks for medical equipment paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. During a detention hearing in the federal courthouse in Little Rock Thursday, Chan said he was worth $10 million and made $200,000 a month.

Today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports on the tape recording of a conversation between a Russellville police officer and a dispatcher after a fight that led to the death of 61 year-old Bobby Rylee. Officer Bobby Stevens told dispatcher Denise Robinson “He needs an ass kicking worse than we gave him …We split his head open …All the people from Waffle House and Exxon started filing out, so we had to lay off a little bit.” The FBI is investigating.

The Arkansas Claims Commission will recommend the state pay Dylan Beeson’s family $125,000. Beeson crawled into a bathroom and drowned in his foster parents’ hot tub on Feb. 2, 2003 - one day before his first birthday and on the day he was to be reunited with his biological mother. State caseworkers began monitoring the family in February 2002 after Dylan’s mother brought the baby to the emergency room at the Medical Center of South Arkansas because of a bruise on his head. Although authorities found no evidence that parents had harmed the infant, it was removed from the home in April because a caseworker found the father had taken a motor apart on the living room floor.

Frustrated with a lack of progress in the 23-year-old Pulaski County school desegregation case, legislators have directed the state education commissioner to prod all the parties in the litigation toward resolution. Ken James, commissioner of the state Department of Education, said that within a month he plans to confer a meeting that will include leaders of the three school districts as well as the Joshua Intervenors, which represents black students countywide.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has refused state Court of Appeals Judge Wendell L. Griffen’s request to open a meeting today of the state body that is investigating his public statements.

Saying he was “selectively prosecuted” on felony theft charges because he is black, former West Helena Mayor Johnny Weaver has filed a federal lawsuit against Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long of Forrest City. Long charged Weaver, along with the former West Helena city clerk and five ex-aldermen, with felony theft of property in March. The charges arose from actions taken by the West Helena City Council in late 2005, when the aldermen voted to pay themselves for service in 2006 even though they would no longer hold office because their city would no longer exist. Weaver cashed checks for over $20,000.

Senate leaders Thursday stopped the latest effort to provide new disaster payments for farmers, leading Sen. Blanche Lincoln to blame the Bush administration. Senate Republicans thwarted an attempt to add about $6.5 billion in disaster relief as an amendment to a port security bill.

Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services officials say they need another $4.2 million a year to more than double the number of people tasked with protecting the elderly from abuse and neglect

Several legislators say that they expect the General Assembly will significantly cut the state sales tax on groceries in the legislative session that starts Jan. 8. The state sales tax rate is 6 percent. It raises about $2.5 billion a year, including about $270 million a year on the sale of groceries.

June through August was the second-hottest summer on record for the continental United States, with an average temperature of 74.5 degrees, according to a report released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Only during the height of the Dust Bowl era, when the nation’s average summer temperature reached 74.7 degrees in 1936, has it ever been hotter since national record keeping began in 1895.

A Van Buren man pleaded not guilty in Crawford County Circuit Court to charges he raped and abused children at a day-care center he operated with his wife. Larry Akins is charged with 11 counts of rape and nine counts of second-degree sexual assault.

The Catholic Diocese of Memphis faces new lawsuits charging sexual abuse by priests, and additional suits are likely to follow. In separate suits filed in Circuit Court Thursday morning, plaintiffs listed simply as Jane Doe and John Doe alleged multiple counts of sexual abuse by two local priests dating back to the mid-1980s. Miami lawyer Jeffrey Herman, whose firm represents both plaintiffs, promised this is only the first "wave of suits" from other abuse victims.

Any hope of approving gambling restrictions this year in Congress may have died Wednesday when the House failed to pass a bill to require Indian casinos to be located on tribal lands.

Wal-Mart says that it will end its purchase layaway program that dates back to the company’s early days under founder Sam Walton

Delta State University has officially announced its headcount enrollment for the fall 2006 semester at 4,216 students, the most in the university's history.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Get Kinky!

Arkansas politics has gotten so darned personal and humorless (and pointless), I have almost given up. Down in Texas, meanwhile, there is an independent candidate for governor who is making a few laughs and waves too. The Dallas Morning News covers this story.

Now, he was perhaps a bit insensitive about suggesting that some of the folks that moved to Houston after the hurricanes were "crackheads and thugs." So as far as I am concerned, truth is an absolute defense.

He's for legalizing marijuana too, so every right thinking person must endorse Kinky!

Here is a sample of the kind of free-spirited politics we need in Arkansas. Can you imagine Asa of Beebe saying something like this?

"I don't mind being called a flip-flopper," he said, a description Perry's campaign has placed on him. "I think we actually could use a flip-flopper as governor because a flip-flopper is a human being open to change, and God knows change is what we need now. We don't need a guy who is driving this train into a ditch because he stayed the course. And I mean the governor."

This guy should move to Arkansas!

Michael Blakely from the LR Zoo was an unbelievable guest today. I did not know that he has worked with Steve irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. Great stories there and plenty more in this great hour, including details on BOO AT THE ZOO! you can download the hour FREE on my home page,

Thursday throughput

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. paid bonuses to store managers that encouraged them to limit employee meal and rest breaks, a human resources consultant testified Wednesday at a trial over claims the company cheated workers in Pennsylvania. The bonuses, based on a ratio of profit to sales, sometimes exceeded managers’ salaries, Frank Landy, a Colorado-based psychologist, said in a third day of testimony in Philadelphia.

Clothing maker Hanesbrands is sending over two thousand American jobs to Central America in a move to make the company more profitable. The Marion, S. C. plant will close and 60 jobs will move to the Clarksville plant in Arkansas, which presently employs about 425.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. announced Wednesday it will build a regional headquarters in White County, a facility that will create about 30 jobs.

A pistol-packing church choir member came to the aid of a robbery victim and killed her assailant late Wednesday in a church parking lot. Little Rock police say this is homicide number 46. There have been no names released, although the choir member produced a 9mm and shot the robber in the head.

A Mammoth Spring man charged with capital murder in the death of his girlfriend’s infant daughter was found hanged at the Sharp County jail Wednesday morning, authorities said. Jailers found Shane B. Hagginsin his cell at 6:02 a.m., Sheriff Dale Weaver said in a news release.

A man who had just complained to the Marion County Quorum Court about road conditions in his neighborhood was escorted from the meeting room Tuesday night and arrested on a charge of impersonating a police officer. Ronald C. Bourg allegedly presented a phony law enforcement identification card during a traffic stop last month.

A father and son were arrested at the Forrest City Medical Center Wednesday evening after allegedly attacking a doctor near the emergency room. Dr. Sudhir Kumar was walking toward the emergency room when he was struck by two men who were angry and cursing. Charles Ray Lytle and Charles Ray Lytle, Jr. were being restrained by hospital employees on the floor when police arrived. Both men reportedly admitted to having consumed alcohol and also reportedly made racial slurs to the black arresting officer.

A pair of escapees from the Bolivar County jail in Cleveland, Ms. are back in custody this morning.

A defendant in a Lonoke County corruption case has asked a special judge to delay the trial because the state's coming deer-hunting season will attract many would-be jurors into the woods. Bobby Junior Cox is scheduled for trial Nov. 8 with other defendants. According to attorney John Wesley Hall's calculations, using figures from the state Game and Fish Commission, a full 10 percent of Arkansas' population could be planning hunting trips for when the season opens Nov. 11.

Jackson, Ms. mayor Frank Melton has been accused of participating in the destruction of a duplex on Aug. 26, and members of his entourage have been accused of beating a handcuffed manager of The Upper Level Bar & Grill hours later. Attorney Dennis Sweet has filed a notice to sue the city, the mayor, the police department and 10 unnamed officers on behalf of his client, Jennifer Sutton, who owns the demolished duplex.

A car driven by Lauren Huckabee, a daughter-in-law of Gov. Mike Huckabee, was in an accident Wednesday morning that left one man hospitalized in critical condition. Huckabee, 24, the wife of the governor’s youngest son, David, was unhurt in the accident. The driver of the other car, Robert Echols of Forrest City was cited for careless and prohibited driving.

The ongoing struggle between Cleveland and Greenville over the future of the federal building and courthouse will have to take place without the input of the Sunflower County Bar Association. The Delta Democrat reports that attorneys in Indianola voted against adopting a resolution in support of locating a federal building and courthouse in Cleveland.

The Fort Smith Planning Commission has conditionally approved a new downtown location for The Next Step Day Room, which offers the homeless a variety of services, including individual counseling, a temporary telephone number and mailing address and computer-training courses. Opponents promise to appeal to the city council.

Pine Bluff has gained its first professional basketball team. The American Basketball Association’s Arkansas RiverCatz, formerly the Little Rock RiverCatz, held their first news conference Wednesday at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The RiverCatz, originally slated to play in Little Rock, side-byside with the NBA Development League’s Arkansas RimRockers, will begin an 18-game home schedule at the Convention Center on Nov. 10.

There will be no dangerous animals in the house when Michael Blakeley from the Little Rock Zoo comes around this morning at 9. Log on to or tune in to any of our affiliates (listed in the right hand column.

If you missed the interview with Republican candidate for Attorney General Gunner DeLay yesterday, it is available for download on my web page.

The Democrat contender for AG, Dustin McDaniel, is on Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Arkansas ambassador of good will?

Today, the Arkansas Times blog reported on a young man from Little Rock who has become the first Naval Academy midshipman to swim the English Channel. It was so uplifting and inspiring that I decided that we all needed to be knocked down a peg or two.

25 year-old Martin Heidgen was, at one time, a Little Rock resident and, if memory serves, a native of Arkansas. Today's New York Daily News reports on what he's been up to over the last year. Warning, this is not a nice story.

What next for the Pulaski County Jail?

On the day after taxpaers get a break from the smug elitist special interests that run things, here are a few observations.

It is not the opposition's responsability to offer solutions for every bad idea.

Pulaski County, due to fiscal mismanagement and unfortunate circumstances, is in need of expanded jail space. The Hoglawyer, one of Arkansas Times bloggers, raised the issue of roof repairs and other structural issues on the current facility. That should be laid out truthfully and addressed by county officials.

The Quarum Court should propose a one-eighth cent sales tax five years. That produces $45 million for operations, repairs, opening the closed "pod," and reopening the "warehouse" facility for lesser offenders. There would probably also be some funds available for a modest construction project.

If they are serious, it should not take tha tlong to get moving. Just like the arena, voters will pass a sound proposal.

The hour with Republican candidate for Attorney General Gunner DeLay is now available for FREE listening and downloads on my home page,

Democrat contender Dustin McDaniel is ready to next Tuesday morning on the Super Talk Arkansas Network.

Hump-day horrors

Gas prices continue to drop around Arkansas, and Russellville had some of the lowest prices in the state. A Web site which logs the cheapest and the most expensive locations to buy gasoline in the state showed the Flying J, a struck stop that includes a service station, convenience store and restaurants on Interstate 40 in Russellville, with the lowest priced gas at $2.22 a gallon.

State officials suggested ways to curb non-payment of child support, including a grant program to provide prosecutors with more resources to handle the caseload and a freeze on property transfers by deadbeat parents, during a joint committee meeting Tuesday.

State Appeals Court Judge Wendell L. Griffen on Tuesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to force the state body that investigates judicial misconduct to allow the public to attend a preliminary hearing into his public statements.

For the third time in a decade, Pulaski County voters rejected a sales tax aimed at creating more jail space and stopping the release of nonviolent offenders before they see the inside of a cell.

Fayetteville voters approved increasing the sales tax and issuing $110 million in bonds Tuesday. Fayetteville residents overwhelmingly approved four ballot questions, allowing the city to fund ongoing improvement of its wastewater treatment plant, 13 road projects and expansion of the city's trail system.

The Jackson County jail in Newport is dangerously overcrowded. Sheriff David Lucas told the Quorum Court that the jail, which was built to hold 27 prisoners, housed 48 last weekend. He also noted that there was a fight a few weeks ago in which a prisoner suffered a broken jaw.

The Saline County sheriff apologized Tuesday for his agency’s sale of confiscated firearms to a Little Rock man in March 2004 and welcomed an “independent investigation into this matter.” The sheriff ’s office sold 108 weapons for $3,765 to John Norrell despite court orders that the guns be destroyed, unless retained for lawful use.

Chuck Peebles has been arraigned in Searcy District Court on charges of first-degree murder in the death of Ronnie Kissinger. Peebles, who has bone cancer and is confined to a wheelchair. Claims Kissinger was shot in self-defense after diving at Peebles.

Donald “Jerome” Jolly, who initially fought 23 counts of animal cruelty and felony dog-fighting charges filed against him July 14, pleaded guilty Monday, a day before his trial was to begin.

A Stuttgart Junior High School student is alleging that she was raped last Wednesday by a Stuttgart Senior High School student during school hours. The state police is conducting an investigation.

Former mail carrier Judy Christine Branch has pleaded guilty to one count of theft of U.S. mail. at a hearing Monday in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith. Postal inspectors discovered that she was stealing mail from a man on her route who was receiving donation after being burned out of his home. Branch could be sentenced to up to five years in prison and/or fined up to $250,000.

Bolivar County law enforcement officers, along with Mississippi state officials, continue the search for a pair of state prisoners who escaped from the county jail Monday afternoon.

Several groups of Arkansas and Mississippi residents want to have a four-lane corridor built from Batesville, Miss., to Brinkley Ark. A new four-lane bridge at Helena would be involved. The Delta Regional Authority, The Delta Bridge Project and the Memphis Regional Economic Council have initiated a petition and resolution to be presented to Congress requesting the appropriation of the necessary funding for this multi-million dollar project.

Warren A. Stephens has received final regulatory approval for his sole ownership of Stephens Inc. and all related financial companies, he announced in a news release Tuesday. The 49-year-old Stephens announced in May that he was purchasing 100 percent of the stock from his cousins, Witt Stephens Jr. and Elizabeth Stephens Campbell. The deal closed late last week.

Arkansas State Fair officials hope to make this year’s event more accessible for visitors. All livestock trailers will be parked at an off-site lot to make more room for fairgoers. Gate 7 on Schiller Street, one of the entrances to the fair grounds, will get a facelift and more lighting. Fair visitors also will be able to pay, enter and exit at gate 11, farther down Schiller Street, to speed up the flow of traffic.

The voting process

First of all, check the calendar. This is Wednesday morning and the counting is apparently complete, but went very late. Most of us went to bed not knowing the final count, which turns out to be good news - a narrow "no" vote. This delay is despite the universal presence of new computerized voting machines and the not-quite-so-new optical scan voting machines. We had both available where I voted yesterday, Terry School.

What in the hell is wrong with this picture? Why are results not instantly available? This look to me like a wide opening to corruption in a hotly contested race for some important public office.

That thought brings me directly to November and the general election. Maybe I am missing something, but it takes four distinct steps to vote on each item. There was only one item yesterday, and no lines. It will take the average Arkansan at least one minute to vote each item. In a long ballot with long lines, it may take each individual 10 minutes or longer.

In Pulaski County, this is the classic instance of fixing something that was never broken. What was your experience, and what do you expect? Comments are moderated (sorry), but I will get them up as quickly as possible. Feel free to post your reaction.

Later today, we will deal with the next step in fixing the Pulaski County Jail.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Pray for Watson Chapel

Thanks to Mica Cook, a parent in the district, who called in and described what must have been just about the oddest public meeting I have ever heard of. Another parent has made available this description which I provide without comment.

Oh, hell, I will comment. There is nothing on earth like the light of scrutiny to put petty tyrants in their place.

The Pine Bluff Commercial also has a report on the proceedings in Lovely old Watson Chapel.

Here is Amanda's version.

Wow, what an experience.

People were literally packed into the administration building. There was zero elbow room. The bulk of people were trapped in an area where they could hear/see nothing. The meeting room entrance consisted of two large double doors. They would only open one. The other remained closed and locked so that we couldn‚t open it ourselves. Yet the crowd stuck in the lobby area didn‚t budge.

In addition to the regular board meeting, they decided to have a whole separate meeting beforehand in which the administrators from each school gave their own report. It went on forever, with the intent of tiring people down and forcing them to leave I'm sure. It didn't work. It also didn't work when they intentionally turned the air off. The temperature, combined with the body heat became severely unpleasant. Again, the crowd didn't budge. Didn't they know that would only agitate an already irritated crowd?

Before the meeting, several FED UP parents and students protested outside of the building (IN THE RAIN) with signs (designed/created by Amanda, thank you). It was wet and nasty, but it was necessary.

Guess what else. There were two Pine Bluff Police Officers and one other security guy there to keep everyone in check. At a school board meeting?? C'mon. There's plenty of violent crime elsewhere in the Bluff to prevent. The 5-0 told us we could not bring our signs into the meeting room. They asked someone to leave who brought in her particular posterboard sign which said; The 14th Amendment Protects My Parental Rights. Dressing my Child is my Right

I wondered if these officers had ever heard of the whole First Amendment thing? The crowd was agitated. The officers were continuously pulling people to the side who got too loud. They were continuously putting their hands on people who were being disruptive. I was sickened. After the open communications on the uniforms began, however, the police didn‚t have a chance in Hell of keeping the crowd quiet.

Wendy spoke first. Great job, Wendy. She received much applause and invoked quite a response in the crowd. After Wendy, parent after parent began taking the mic. After about only 6 speakers, the school board decided to shut it down. Led by some crazy girl in the room *coughs*, the crowd then began to chant "no more uniforms" in unison at the board members as they left the room. They didn‚t like that. Security didn't like that. But they had chosen to end the meeting without letting everyone have a turn who deserved a turn. They demonstrated that they were not concerned with what the public/their residents felt. They deserved the shouting.

I was somewhat disappointed with the news coverage because none of it captured the important things that occurred at that meeting. None of it captured the true spirit of that crowd nor did it clearly convey the sentiments being expressed by the students and parents in attendance. Surprisingly, the media source that really did it up right was the Pine Bluff Commercial *gasp*.

If the administration stays true to their history of tyrannical supremacy, the outcome of the meeting will NOT lead to change in the policy. But, I wouldn‚t call this meeting a total effort in futility. Bonds were formed at this meeting. A step was made towards a genuine unified front among parents. I am confident that if nothing else, there will finally be some very clear and visible opposition to the Administration, who for too long has gone unchallenged due to the lack of a cohesive and consistent group of concerned people unafraid of retaliation. That group is in place now and
will only grow!

The Republican nominee for Attorney General stops by The Pat Lynch Show Wednesday morning at 10.

Michael Blakely, the Little Rock zoo director, is set for Thursday morning.

Get ready for Dustin McDaniel, the Democratic candidate for AG, next Tuesday morning on the Super Talk Arkansas Network.

Decision Tuesday

The price of gasoline has been dropping in Arkansas, with an average price Monday of $2.52 per gallon for a gallon of self-serve unleaded, according to the AAA.

A federal jury will begin deciding this morning whether Wyeth Pharmaceuticals was responsible for a Benton woman’s breast cancer. The jury that has listened to three weeks of testimony in a Little Rock courtroom is the first in the country to hear details of one of about 5,000 cases with similar claims pending against the New Jersey-based company.

Voters head to the polls today to decide whether to further tax themselves to help Pulaski County reopen and build more jail space.

The state body that disciplines judges will keep the public out of a preliminary hearing to determine if appeals court Judge Wendell Griffen’s speeches violated rules constraining what judges can say publicly. The public, including the news media, will be barred from attending an investigative hearing Friday, even though the accused judge requested the proceeding be open.

The state Education Department may lobby the Legislature to extend the public school year or to allow districts to start earlier in August and end earlier in the summer. The discussion arose when the Board of Education considered a waiver for Cabot Public Schools, whose junior high building was destroyed in a fire last month.

The latest financial reports on Fayetteville’s Haas Hall Academy charter school satisfied state Board of Education members who last month warned that they were losing patience with the lack of detailed data.

Organizers seeking to allow alcohol sales in Arkadelphia failed to meet their deadline for submitting petitions, Clark County Clerk Rhonda Cole said Monday.

The Springdale Fire Department's hazardous material team spent nearly three hours Monday floating absorbent pads in Mill Creek to contain a diesel fuel spill.

A Hot Springs man who tried to carry a loaded automatic pistol on to a flight at Little Rock’s National Airport over the weekend is not facing federal criminal charges, the head of Arkansas’ Transportation Security Administration said Monday. Security guards at the airport found a.25-caliber Browning pistol in the carry-on bag of Calvert Addy, 64. The bag also contained two loaded magazines, and the weapon had a round in its chamber.

A baby sitter's 2-year-old son may have dealt the blows that killed an infant in March 2005, and not the baby sitter, a defense attorney suggested during the first day of a murder trial Monday. Attorney Drew Miller said he'll call the now-5-year-old son of Samantha Mitchell to testify. The boy told his father that his younger brother hurt the baby, Miller said.

Pine Bluff can boast it has another tourist attraction, the 1960s era McDonald’s Store Number 433 sign at 1300 S. Main St. Built in 1962, it is the only known surviving example of an early single-arch sign in Arkansas. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program Director Ken Grunewald announced.

Monday, September 11, 2006

One more "no" on the jail tax

The backers of this quarter-cent sales tax have had boatloads of money for advertising and promotions. You have probably seen the slick full-color mailings and seen the professional ads. Why are big money special interests so hot on this tax? The reason is that, with a county government windfall of well past $10 million a year, there will be lots to spread around.

Get this. The tax will bring in $18 million a year for Pulaski County. That is way more than what is required to open the closed parts of the jail and the minimum security portions too.

This is also a big windfall for local governments, which will be relieved of paying for their share of the county lockup.

A "yes" vote is a vote to reward mismanagement.

Do supporters know that this is a dishonest proposal? Absolutely. Why do you think they put this item on a special election (cost of $100,000) in the middle of September?

Opponents are NOT under any obligation to provide an alternative. We did not overspend. We have not created the problem. We did not close part of the jail and fire 25 essential employees. HOWEVER, if the county government presents a reasonable proposal, it would probably pass.

What is reasonable? One-eighth cent with a five year sunset clause. Let them come back to the taxpayers and report five years from now. That's fair.

It took several tries before voters finally approved a sensible plan to build Alltel Arena. It's the same thing with this jail tax.

In the meantime, it is a definite NO vote.

You can hear the interview with Jim Lynch and Paul Kelly on my home page. Download it for free and share with your friends.

Silas and Billy Bob have a bunch of good information on the jail tax at Little Rock 2006.

Monday morning

Flags will fly at half-staff today, the fifth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

The Clarion Ledger reports five years after the federal Transportation Security Administration was created to help fight terrorism, current and former TSA employees in Jackson, Ms. claim security at Jackson-Evers International Airport is compromised regularly. Those employees allege they are assisted by their supervisors in cheating on TSA security inspections, have been told to allow potentially dangerous passengers to board aircraft and that top managers ignore safety procedures in order to protect their jobs and to please the airlines flying out of Jackson.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded grants totaling $24.6 million to airports in Gulfport, Greenville and Raymond to improve safety, extend runways and replace buildings destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.

The Democrat-Gazette conducted an analysis of federal data which shows residents of Arkansas’ dry counties are no safer from death in a traffic accident involving someone who had been drinking than those in wet counties, five years of federal accident statistics show. The fear of drunken driving is a rallying cry for opponents to the spread of restaurants licensed to serve alcohol in dry counties, but an analysis shows that easier access to alcohol coincides with a lower risk of death in an alcohol-related crash.

Enrollment at the University of Arkansas’ flagship campus is up less than 1 percent for the fall semester. The most significant gains were in the number of international and Hispanic students on campus, while the number of blacks fell 3.6 percent, from 982 last year to 947 in 2006.

University of Arkansas officials broke ground Saturday on a new 7,000 square foot chancellor's house, made possible by a $1.75 million donation from Wallace Fowler.

The growth of per capita personal income for Arkansans living in metro areas slowed last year and in most areas trailed inflation, according to estimates released this week by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Legislators have complained that an audit report gave little insight into why prosecutors sometimes don’t pursue charges against people who steal money from public entities and worried that prosecutors were letting people go unpunished because of politics. Sen. Hank Wilkins, D-Pine Bluff, said the report left open the suspicions that prosecutors were making “good-old-boy decisions” when they don’t file charges.

Desha County authorities say they're awaiting results of DNA tests to try to find out who killed a Pine Bluff teen who disappeared near Dumas. "We're at a point of an arrest," sheriff-elect Jim Snyder said Saturday. "We're looking at a southeast Arkansan."

Eleven former employees of the Country Club of Little Rock pleaded guilty to federal identity theft charges and agreed to accept deportation to their native countries. Ten are from Mexico, while the 11th is from Honduras.

Incentive pay for bilingual employees returns to the Springdale city council agenda tomorrow night. The measure would pay city employees, in jobs where the skill is needed, an extra $100 per month.

Without saying why, Special Circuit Judge John Cole of Sheridan on Friday rejected defense motions to dismiss the principal charge of operating a “continuing criminal organization” against four defendants in a Lonoke County prosecution alleging illegal drugs, illicit sex and abuse of an inmate-labor program.

A wheelchair-bound cancer patient, Charles Edwin Peebles, is facing first degree murder charges in White County after shooting his the nephew, a licensed practical nurse who took care of Peebles and lived on the same acreage. Relatives have speculated that the recent discovery of natural gas on the property may have played a role in the killing.

The people of Faulkner County are already reaping the benefits of the sheriff’s new helicopter. In a joint operation with state police and National Guard, nine marijuana plants were seized Friday as the result of airborne survailence.

Attorneys in the U. S. Northern District of Mississippi are petitioning the General Services Administration to build a new federal courthouse in Cleveland. Greenville leaders have vowed to fight attempts to relocate the federal building and recently criticized Cleveland business and civic leaders for lobbying for the new building. The GSA has said the Greenville building needs to be replaced and last month suspended a site study so Cleveland can be considered as a location.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Walking horses crippled

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has a story of animal abuse that makes one wonder just how stupid (or indifferent) do humans need to be? Is there some sort of outer limit. Read at your own risk.

Are we safer?

The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi is running with a blockbuster story today about security lapses in the local airport. These are not tiny indiscretions either.

While the Bush boys go after big corporate profits in Iraq, real attainable security at home is nothing but a farce. This is a deeply disturbing story and you need to read it. I am trying to get the reporter on Monday's program.

The allegations include not arresting passengers who attempt to board planes with loaded guns, getting advance warning of surprise inspections, allowing suspicious passengers to board aircraft, and knowing permitting passengers with explosive blasting caps to board commercial flights. This is one huge mess.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Democrat-Gazette columnist Mike Masterson will be on at 9 Monday morning and Lord only knows where that insane conversation will lead us, but It will be a trip. Log on to or tune in to the Super Talk Arkansas Radio Network. Our stations are listed in the right hand column.

If you want more info on the jail tax election, which is set for Tuesday, get over to Little Rock 2006 and see what Silas and Billy Bob have today. There is also a number of posts concerning the developing mayoral and city director's races in Little Rock.

Scroll down here for my story about the first salvo in the mayor's contest, a telephone survey that raises some interesting questions.

My weekly column, dealing with the anniversary of 9/11, is on the Voices page of the Democrat-Gazette. My recent columns are in the archive.

My home page,, has the interview with Jim Lynch and former city director Paul Kelly giving the complete scoop on why every intelligent voter is against the jail tax. There are also a pair of very entertaining hours with broadcast icon Steve Stephens and Civil War historian Dr. Carl Moneyhon from UALR.

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