Thursday, May 31, 2007

Making electric rates "fair"

One of the most vexatious stories in the news concerns higher electric rates which go into effect for Entergy customers July 1, It’s nearly thirteen percent, but I guess it could have been worse. That does not take away the sting.

The Federal Energy Regulation Commission has decreed that it would be plumb inconsiderate to make Mississippi and Louisiana electric users pay for their own system inefficiencies. To be fair, which hurts more than you know, there is a contract called the System Agreement, and that legalizes this kind of corporate thievery.

This is the same nonsense that brought the crushing electric rates of the 1980’s in the Grand Gulf decision. It cost Arkansas billions. If there is a silver lining to this ominous cloud, Entergy is getting out of the System Agreement one of these days. Maybe we will live that long.

The problem is the nuclear power plant at Russellville. It generates too much power for too little cost. Naturally, that must be punished. Entergy in Mississippi is getting ready to build another plant at Port Gibson, the Grand Gulf site. It’s about time and our friends in Cajun country should do the same.

(Broadcast May 31, 2007)

Remember the West Memphis Three

My friend, Mara Leveritt sent this important reminder of an event this weekend.

What: "Standing for Justice," a peaceful gathering to express concern
When: Saturday, June 2, 2007, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Crittenden County Courthouse, Marion, Arkansas

The event will consist of brief statements about concerns that justice has not been achieved for Christopher Byers, Steven Branch and Michael Moore, who were murdered in 1993 in West Memphis.

Speakers will include: Mara Leveritt, author of Devil's Knot, a book about the case; Rebekah Kennedy, a Fort Smith attorney and Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate; Kelly Duda, a Little Rock documentary film maker; and Lanette Grate, a writing professor at the University of Central Arkansas.

Their statements will be followed by a 14-minute segment of silence, representing the 14 years that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. have been imprisoned, following their convictions for those murders. Many of those in attendance believe that the investigation and trials in the case were inadequate, raising concerns that the verdicts were groundless.

After the silence there will be an open-mic session, during which supporters of the murder victims and the men convicted may symbolically "tell the court" why they believe the case should be re-examined.

All attending are asked to park respectfully, to bring drinking water for their own use, and to remember that the courthouse will be closed, so bathroom facilities will be limited.

Lake View Case Ends

Arkansas schools ruled constitutional.

Thanks to State Rep. Steve Harrelson.

Thursday summary

Hino Motors USA is expected to announce today a multi-million dollar expansion of its parts plant in Marion, Ark. Gov. Mike Beebe has scheduled a 3 p.m. press conference at the $160 million plant. Sources tell the Memphis Commercial Appeal that Hino will announce an expansion of the plant, which produces axles for the Toyota Tundra truck.

Wal-Mart Chief Executive H. Lee Scott, recently accused by a fired marketing executive of accepting sweetheart deals from suppliers, bought a diamond ring from a Wal-Mart vendor, according to that vendor’s officials. Robert Kempler, president of the New York-based company. declined to discuss the terms of the diamond sale other than to say Scott hadn’t received preferential pricing.

MMI Investments, the New York-based hedge fund opposing the $3 billion deal to take Acxiom Corp. private, has proposed three candidates for the board of the Little Rockbased data management firm, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Brandon Rains, project manager with The Barber Group, says the Springdale-based developer is withdrawing its plans for the Divinity hotel and condominium project between Church and Block Avenues near Dickson Street in Fayetteville.

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor says he is trying to work with the auto industry on legislation to increase fuel efficiency in American vehicles, despite the industry's recent launching of a nationwide advertising campaign opposing new efficiency standards.

The New York Times reports that, when states were ranked by school spending as a percentage of personal income, Arkansas’ proportion was the highest, followed by Vermont, West Virginia, New Jersey and New York.

A legislative committee is not impressed with proposed rules requiring state-funded preschool programs operated by private providers to hire only teachers with bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education or child development and give existing teachers six years to obtain degrees.

In the wake of a circuit judge's decision to allow a red dirt mine to operate in Benton County despite opposition from county government, state lawmakers plan to review the state's dirt mining rules.

Traces of methamphetamine so small a forensic chemist couldn’t weigh them were insufficient to convict a Crawford County woman of drug possession. The Court of Appeals ruling, which turned on a finding that drug residue found in small plastic bags was too minute to use, exonerates Kathleen Ann Porter now of Fort Smith.

Authorities have recovered the tractor portion of a tractor-trailer rig reported stolen last week from a truck stop near Forrest City, but the search continued for the trailer section said to have been transporting about $5.5 million worth of pharmaceutical drugs.

A Mississippi County teen-ager will serve to 60 years in prison for shooting a Jonesboro officer and the rape of a woman in late 2006. Steven E. Hill Jr., 17, of Blytheville entered a guilty plea to criminal attempt to commit capital murder and rape at Craighead County Circuit Court in Jonesboro.

A 25-year-old Sherwood father admits to inflicting injuries that left his infant son with broken bones and internal injuries. Percy Jones IV was scheduled to stand trial Wednesday on a charge of first-degree domestic battery, but instead pleaded guilty to the Class B felony charge for injuries he inflicted on his then-7-monthold son in May 2005. He faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 3.

Grandsons of the owner of Arko Inc. were arrested Monday as commercial burglary suspects, after persons close to the family told police of an alleged break-in as it happened at the Arko's Conway facility. The police report listed for both suspects possible felony charges of commercial burglary and criminal attempt to commit theft. The owner of Arko, J.C. Jones, has been under medical supervision for weeks now after a stroke.

Donnie Collins will remain superintendent in the Palestine-Wheatley School District for three more years. Collins will earn $95,000 per year for the next three years. The new contract will increase Collins’ salary by close to $20,000 per year.

The Metroplan board of directors voted Wednesday to work with state and local officials on plans to improve the Interstate 630/Interstate 430 interchange and develop a light-rail location along the major commuter route. The resolution gave state highway officials enough commitment to go forward with design of the Little Rock project, which they say must include widening I-630 to eight lanes from the interchange to University Avenue.

Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau leaders unveiled a new system Wednesday for tracking businesses delinquent in paying their hotel and restaurant taxes. It was revealed earlier this week that the Arkansas Travelers minor league baseball team did not pay the so-called “hamburger tax” for over 30 years.

Little Rock is debating whether to ban pit bull terriers over concerns that the dog breed in the hands of some pet owners threatens public safety.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Too bad about Rosie

Let’s get down to the really important stuff, Rosie O’Donnell’s departure from The View. I like Rosie, even though she is frequently misinformed. Rosie fervently believes that the official version of the World Trade center collapse is wrong. That is pretty stout.

It is a shame to see her go off in a huff. Rosie claims to have felt like an adopted child on The View, which shows how totally out of touch with reality she has allowed herself to become. Rosie made a boatload of money on that show and enjoyed national prominence. I am sure she made more than other contributors. Of course, as host that is to be expected. Still, it is always unbecoming when the privileged classes whine and complain.

Take it from old Lyncho, Rosie, it gets pretty lonely when you say things that powerful people don’t want said. If you need to be loved, change your opinions and move over to the unfair and unbalanced news channel.

Rosie O’Donnell is mostly on the right side of things and has a viewpoint that is sadly lacking from the mainstream media. To borrow a line from The Godfather, she’s taking it very personally and it was only business.

(Broadcast May 30, 2007)

Thursday is for liberals on the Pat Lynch Show - UPDATE

All those pain-in-the-rear-end wusses who think I went over to the dark side better sit down for Thursday's show. At 9, glen Hooks from the Sierra Club will come by to discuss the controversial and economically irresponsible idea of fuel efficient automobiles.

At 10, my guest will deal with the Media Matters survey on balancing religious viewpoints in the news. Eric Boehlert is the author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush (Free Press, 2006). He worked for five years as a senior writer for, where he wrote extensively about media and politics. Prior to that, he worked as a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. Boehlert has a bachelor's degree in Near Eastern studies from the University of Massachusetts and is a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America.

You can listen online or tune to one of our stations listed at the right hand column.

I will post both segments on my home page sometime Thursday afternoon.

UPDATE - Both have been posted as the above linked home page.

Arkansas tops per-student spending

With thanks to State Rep. Steve Harrelson for pointing this out in his excellent "Under the Dome" blog, here is the scoop.

When states were ranked by school spending as a percentage of personal income, Arkansas’ proportion was the highest, followed by Vermont, West Virginia, New Jersey and New York.

One (deceitful) interpretation of this news might be that Arkansans are over-taxed on education. If that were true, we would today have the very best schools with the finest facilities. Since we know that simply is not so, these numbers must mean something different.

Could it be that Arkansas, being way behind in personal income and academic attainment, is rushing to catch up. It takes more of our behind-the-curve personal incomes to provide the funding for public schools.

Enemies of public education will make a lot out of this information. Some thoughts.

Students deserve to attend classes in clean and safe buildings. That is still not the case in every district.

Students deserve to have libraries and labs which meet some sort of minimal standards.

Students deserve teachers that are being paid a wage that somewhat reflects the responsibility of the job.

All of this takes money, something that is in short supply in Arkansas. We have made a deliberate, and wise, decision to invest in young folks. Improving grades seem to suggest that this was the right choice.

The New York Times article is full of good information. Overall there is an argument that can be made to disconnect spending levels from academic performances. That would only hold true when your districts are already successful. Case closed.

Wet Wednesday summary

Starting in July, and in each year afterward through 2013, Entergy, which has 675,000 customers, will send hundreds of millions of dollars to Entergy customers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In order to comply with the FERC order to “roughly” balance production costs at plants throughout Entergy Corp.’s four-state service area, residential users’ charges will increase by 12.6 percent.

Average gasoline prices in Arkansas dipped after breaking records in the past two weeks. The AAA reported that the average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.11 on Tuesday, down a penny from a day before. Arkansas' average price slid from a record high a week before of $3.18 a gallon.

With gas prices in the state still averaging above $3 per gallon, several Arkansas business people on Tuesday joined a national campaign opposing legislation that would increase fuel efficiency requirements for new vehicles.

The annual pep rally, entertainment extravaganza and business gathering — otherwise known as the Wal-Mart shareholders meeting week — is under way.

Windstream Corp. will acquire Concord, N.C.-based CT Communications in a deal valued at $585 million.

As U.S. Rep. Marion Berry attends agriculture trade talks this week in Cuba, Arkansas rice producers and others watch from afar, hoping restrictions on trade to the Communist nation will be lifted.

Letting University of Arkansas football Coach Houston Nutt investigate a booster’s critical e-mail to a former UA quarterback was akin to allowing Nutt to investigate himself, a lawyer suing UA officials said Tuesday in a court filing.

Rejecting the advice of its staff and lawyer, the Pulaski County Planning Commission has denied plans for the first phase of a proposed development near central Arkansas’ main source of drinking water. The panel voted 5-1 to reject the layout of John “Jay” DeHaven’s planned Canterbury Park project just west of Lake Maumelle.

A growing backlog of state prisoners being held in county jails across Arkansas prompted the state Board of Corrections on Tuesday to invoke the Emergency Powers Act, making up to 739 inmates eligible to apply for early parole.

A Lonoke County man accused of raping children at his wife's in home daycare is dead. Authorities believe Thomas Dexter hanged himself. Dexter faced six counts of raping children at his wife's in home daycare and was out on bond after being arrested twice on the charges.

The AmeriCorps program in Arkansas is budgeted to provide more than 1,000 tutors for at-risk students in the state’s public schools beginning next fall, which would be a tenfold increase from previous school years and the largest number since the service program began in 1999.

Ross Francis, a 1997 Benton High School graduate has attended his first Hollywood movie premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Francis has a small role in the Kevin Costner thriller “Mr. Brooks” which opens nationally Friday, June 1.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Pumping up gas prices

Governor Mike Beebe has called on the federal government to investigate why gas prices are rising. Well, that should get the ball rolling!

Of course, that little unpleasantness over in Iraq probably has a little something to do with it, but there are other reasons. What follows is by no means a comprehensive commentary. Being radio, this is hit and run information.

It is not only Iraq that is unstable. Nigeria is having problems and there is that nutcase Hugo Chavez down in Venezuela. For some strange and totally inexplicable reason, oil and gas seem to come from places which do not have the best government.

Another problem is the 700 pound gorilla in the parlor, China. Not only are these despicable tyrants the worst polluters on earth, they are beginning to really put the squeeze on oil supplies. I hate to sound like I am sticking up for President Bush and his Texas cronies. Heck, they don’t give a rip what happens to real people, but it just isn’t their fault alone.

The problem, of course, is the automobile, but what are people in Arkansas supposed to do anyway? We make less money and drive older less fuel-efficient cars. We live in the country and drive greater distances.

The first part of finding a way out of the energy crunch is leadership. Good luck, USA.

(Broadcast May 29, 2007)

The last word on American Idol (for now)

If the season finale of American Idol was not an atrocity, it could be rightly described as a disappointment. Of course, the right person won. Jordin has a wonderful vocal instrument, which ought to beat out the mediocre singer most days.

Last season we saw Meatloaf, Prince and Diane Warwick bring down the curtain with some real drama. This year it was Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Sanjaya. That was a travesty. The return of Brandon Rogers great voice underlined the incredible injustice of keeping Sanjaya around too long.

Carrie Underwood, the winner from two years ago, was her typical boring magnificent self. Rubin reappeared. He looks good and the velvet voice is still there. Bette Midler was beyond awful and who picked out that weepy “wind beneath my wings song?” That sappy piece of nonsense, which the winner is required to sing, is enough hokum for one evening.

Thank the Lord up above for Tony Bennett, who, at age 80 can still deliver a great performance. Melinda Doolittle deserved better placement, but she was always my favorite. I am informed by those who are more culturally hip that Blake’s beat-box performance was very cool and the dude he did whatever it was that he did with was also very cool.

The show looked like a train wreck. It gave the appearance of being hastily thrown together.

(Broadcast May 25, 2007)

Testimony taken in Janie Ward death

The murder of Janie Ward has been a blot on the legal system since 1989 when she perished in a cabin not far from Marshall. There has never been an adequate investigation until the parents lawsuit to get the manner of death changed to "homicide." The Ward's attorney is taking depositions and gathering evidence, while the special prosecutor has done nothing in over two years. Tim Williamson has received $10,000 to investigate this case and has, to date, done zip.

ABC News is wrapping up a Primetime special on this story which reportedly will run in August. You can hear the interview on my home page,

Background on Allell FCC filing in spectrum auction

Sounds pretty boring, huh? Roby and I just have too much fun with some of these business stories when he visits on my radio program. You can get all the latest scoop on Roby's and hear the great interview from the audio "on demand" section of my home page,

By the way, I also manage to get off some pretty good shots at Wal Mart. The big annual shaeholders meeting begins this evening. Should be highly entertaining to see the public relations wizards navagate the paths of popular opinion. Life is good.

Tuesday summary

An Arkansas National Guard Soldier participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom is dead. Spc. Erich S. Smallwood, of Trumann died near Balad, Iraq, on May 26, 2007, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle

Julie Roehm, the marketing chief fired by Wal-Mart for alleged conflicts of interest, accused executives of accepting free plane travel, concert tickets, and, in the case of Chief Executive Officer H. Lee Scott, discounts on yachts.

Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton visited a woman’s college that is considering a sale of more than $100 million of American art to raise funds, the New York Times reported, citing a director of Walton’s museum. The collection of the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Va., includes paintings by George Bellows, Edward Hopper, William Merritt Chase and Georgia O’Keefe.

With maintenance costs outpacing revenue, the U.S. Forest Service wants to turn seven campgrounds and one group-use facility in the Ouachita National Forest over to private operators. The U.S. Forest Service will continue to operate the 1.8 million-acre forest’s remaining 52 sites, which include campgrounds, picnic areas and other facilities.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will build a clinic in Pine Bluff to treat 1,012 current patients and 338 new ones on an outpatient basis. The clinic will provide primary care as well as routine and urgent procedures. Mental health services will also be available.

Television commercials for unhealthy foods continue to use jingles and animation to attract children despite an industry's promise to limit such ads, a new study by the University of Arkansas shows.

Gov. Mike Beebe is asking President Bush and Congress to investigate skyrocketing gas prices.

The University of Arkansas board of trustees approved tuition and fee increases at all of its four-year campuses.

Jay DeHaven, a real estate developer known for building much of Maumelle, will bring a proposal to poison Little Rock’s main source of drinking water before the Pulaski County Planning Commission. Earlier this year, Deltic Timber reached an agreement with Central Arkansas Water on nearby property.

Seminars designed to help businesses implement the reduced sales tax on groceries that goes into effect July 1 are planned in each of the state’s 75 counties, according to the Department of Finance and Administration.

The seminars are free and no registration is required, but they will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis, said Tom Atchley, excise tax administrator for the state Department of Finance and Administration.

A five-student team from Little Rock Central High School won the 2007 National Fed Challenge, an economics competition sponsored by the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C.

Arkansas State Police seized a hard drive from one of the city of Helena-West Helena’s computers. Mayor James Valley stated that state trooper Dell Arnold aided state legislative auditors as they secured the electronic media dealing with payroll records for 2006 and 2007.

Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann, the sheriff of the northeast Arkansas county where Andrew Golden and another boy killed four classmates and an English teacher in 1998, warns he can't guarantee his safety. Golden turned 21 Friday and is presumed to have been released from federal custody.

The Pine Bluff Commercial reports charges have been filed against a Rison man for allegedly trying to hire someone to “take out” Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department investigator Gary Young.
James A. Bowling is charged with solicitation to commit capital murder after an investigation by the Arkansas State Police revealed Bowling had allegedly asked others to help find “someone with a bow to take Gary Young out,” according to the probable cause affidavit.

A Conway man already on probation for misdemeanor domestic battery is facing further charges for allegedly pushing a woman from a rooftop. Alan Dewayne Randall was taken into custody on suspicion of felony third-degree domestic battery.

A Rogers woman faces second-degree domestic battery after biting off part of her new son-in-law’s ear. Police say Julie Lynn Jenkins bit Leland Knighting’s ear. Knighting married Jenkins’ daughter, last week. Julie Jenkins, who also had an outstanding warrant for failing to pay a fine for disorderly conduct, told officers Knighting had pinned her down and she had bitten part of his ear off in self-defense.

Anchor Packaging will expand its manufacturing operations in Paragould and create up to 69 new full-time positions over the next 18 months.

As Searcy moves forward with plans to ask residents for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund infrastructure improvements and help hire and keep employees, leaders of other White County communities say any new levy should be imposed countywide.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

New friends at "The Seminal"

The Lynch at Large blog has been fortunate to be included among the 275 sites linked on "The Seminal." It's an honor. Of course, thier link has been added at the right.

Here is how they describe themselves.

The Seminal presents an independent media viewpoint outside of partisan politics and corporate control. Hailing from all over the globe, our writers bring you thoughtful commentary on current events. Join the discussion and take part!

This is already one of my favorites because of the diverse and unique viewpoints, absent the heavy hand of corporate control.

This is also a good opportunity to mention that Punditbuzz is another fine forum providing various viewpoints well organized around specific topics.

Many of you already know about Slate. I guess i better add a link for that one too. It is an outstanding source of solid information from outside the unreality of conservatives' alternate news universe in which inconvenient facts don't exist.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I am just now getting around to commenting on the season finale.

This is one of the best series on television. I am starting to think that the Island is a metaphor for our struggles. Ben seemed to be the ever-present nagging voice we all sometimes hear whenever we want to take a chance and grow a little.

Those scenes in the future were pretty cool, huh?

NLR neighborhood blogs

There are two new links in our comprehensive listning of cool and useful sites in the right hand columm. Both represent citizen journalists in North Little Rock. Argenta News reports on the downtown neighborhood. It has been around for a while and does some serious local reporting. The Levy Project is focused on a historic and colorful section of town. Two of my favorite businesses are in Levy. Hogs Meat Market is just a great place and Neighborhood Wine and Spirits is right next door. Drop in and say "hi" to Doug and the gang. He has been a listener since the flood.

Friday summary

Somewhere in the United States, Andrew Golden will likely step outside of prison today for the first time as a free man since being arrested as an 11-year-old after he and another individual killed four classmates and an English teacher at a Jonesboro middle school.

Rhode Island’s state treasurer has asked federal regulators to investigate whether Wal-Mart violated securities laws by not disclosing that the son of the retailer’s chief executive works for a company that does business with Wal-Mart. Eric S. Scott, son of Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott, works for Jacobs Trading Company, which buys unsold furniture from big retailers like Wal-Mart and resells it to smaller discount stores.

Warren Stephens defended his firm’s role in Alltel Corp.’s proposed $27.5 billion buyout and assured a packed audience at the Clinton School of Public Service that the $27.5 billion deal — and the proposed $3 billion sale of Acxiom Corp. — will have no near-term adverse effects on Arkansas’ economy.

It's the gasoline refiners, not the retailers at the pump that drive your gas prices up and up, said state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. Northwest Arkansas' higher prices are a result of the different pipeline that serves this area, which goes through Oklahoma and ends in Rogers, he said. The eastern and southern areas of Arkansas are served by another pipeline that passes through Arkansas on its way to the East Coast and allows lower prices to those regions.

As a sweeping immigration proposal makes it way through the U.S. Congress, Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, says he could see himself supporting the bill but still has some unanswered questions. Senator Blanche Lincoln called on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation Rep. John Boozman, the only Republican in the Arkansas delegation, predicts what he calls an "amnesty" bill will not pass the House of Representatives.

A Pulaski County Circuit judge sided with a Little Rock woman who was seeking records from the private Public Education Foundation of Little Rock under the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

The Little Rock School Board voted 4-3 to buy out the remaining two years of Superintendent Roy Brooks’ contract, an abrupt move that negates the need for next Wednesday’s hearing on whether to fire Brooks but will cost the district about $500,000 in severance pay.

State Court of Appeals Judge Wendell L. Griffen plans to call ministers, judges and legal scholars to defend him in a case in which he stands accused of breaking rules governing the judiciary, according to papers filed in the case.

The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau will work to collect sales taxes it is owed from the 2004 and 2005 Arkansas Travelers baseball seasons. The minor-league baseball team did not collect or pay the 2 percent tax on concession sales at the team’s former midtown Little Rock home, Ray Winder Field, since the tax was initiated in 1970.

Seminars designed to help businesses implement the reduced sales tax on groceries that goes into effect July 1 are planned in each of the state's 75 counties.

Members of a regional committee say that while the odds are bad, the weather will ultimately determine if the coming ozone season will keep central Arkansas from failing to meet federal air quality standards.

The city of Searcy says it had agreed to a $30,000 settlement of a lawsuit filed by a District Court probation officer who said she was underpaid for 16 months.

Deborah Frazier, interim chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, is University of Arkansas System President B. Alan Sugg’s choice to run the two-year campus permanently.

A former Bella Vista foster parent charged with sex-related crimes is under investigation on child pornography charges in Oregon. Brian J. Bergthold is accused of sexually molesting boys in his care and producing child pornography in Arkansas and is being held on a related federal charge.

A man who rammed his Hummer into a Fayetteville apartment building is sentenced to prison and ordered to pay restitution. Jonathan Brent Butler pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree criminal mischief and aggravated assault stemming from the Nov. 30 incident. He was sentenced to 10 years at the Arkansas Department of Correction, with four years suspended, and ordered to pay $11,191 restitution.

A Russellville business owner is facing charges of burglary and theft after a Pottsville woman set up a surveillance camera in her kitchen in an attempt to discover who was stealing her pain medication. Doug Lowe appeared before District Judge Don Bourne and was ordered held on $10,000 bond and to stay away from the victim.

Three men arrested in connection with the weekend raid of a cockfighting operation made their first appearance in Crawford County Circuit Court. Judge Gary Cottrell ruled there was probable cause to file charges against Mark Hyatt and Timothy Sprinkle, both of Van Buren, as well as Justin McHone, who gave his residence at Arrow Point. Prosecutors identified Hyatt and Sprinkle as major operators in the organization and said McHone owned birds that fought at the events.

Fort Smith police arrested Marcus Marquis Lane, a convicted sex offender, for allegedly touching a minor in an illegal manner. Lane was arrested on suspicion of sexual indecency with a child after investigators interviewed him on three separate occasions concerning an allegation that he touched a child in an inappropriate manner. A female in her early teens said that she was sleeping in her bed and woke up to find Lane, who had been trying to date her mother, rubbing her leg.

The Osceola City Council agreed Monday to add commercial land use areas along Arkansas 140 for the 100,000-square-foot Wal Mart Supercenter which will potentially add 100 new jobs.

Riverfest begins in downtown Little Rock this afternoon.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Senator Blanche Lincoln supports immigration reform (Good for her!)

This is not exactly some sort of breakthrough, but Lincoln does mostly come down on the right side of things. Of course, she's still tough on illegal immigrants. They might have entered legally, at the whim of American economic interests, and the tacit approval of the United States government. Undocumented workers may pay taxes and provide essential services, but let's not forget to be tough. There's absolutely no reason to deny oursleves the delightful sensation of moral superiority.

Lincoln is mostly right. It's a conversation dominated by evil windbags, so I guess we should be grateful for all sane voices.

Washington – U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln Thursday called on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation to fix our nation’s out-of-date and broken immigration system.

“Our immigration system is a difficult and complicated issue and fixing it won’t be easy. The problems we face today with border security and illegal immigration didn’t appear overnight and they won’t be solved overnight,” Lincoln said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday.

Lincoln called the current debate on immigration the kind of meaningful, bipartisan approach the American people expect of the United States Senate. Lincoln said she strongly believes that Congress should work to complete an immigration reform bill this year because the more time that passes, the harder it will be to get a handle on this ever-growing problem.

Lincoln, who supported last year’s bipartisan effort that passed the Senate, recommended comprehensive immigration reform that is “tough, fair, and practical.”

“Without a doubt, our top priority must be border security. In this day and age, the safety and security of our citizens is paramount, and I will not support any legislation that does not accomplish that goal,” Lincoln said.

“In addition, I believe it is to the detriment of taxpaying Americans if we don’t address the millions of illegal immigrants living in our communities in a practical and realistic way. No reform proposal should grant amnesty. Those who have broken the law – including employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants – must face proper recourse. Any solution must require illegal immigrants to pay taxes they owe and make businesses pay the wage taxes they routinely avoid. By creating an earned path to citizenship and tough enforcement policies for businesses, we can eliminate the shadow economy that encourages illegal immigration.”

Lincoln stated that an enforcement-only policy is impractical and ineffective, does nothing to restore the rule of law, and relies on the same plan that caused the problem in the first place.

“I believe we can make progress for the good of our country and produce a reform plan that reflects our American values if we continue to have the kind of bipartisan debate we’ve seen this week,” Lincoln said.

Thursday summary

The Searcy Citizen reports the story of an area couple that purchased a bag of bagles from the Searcy Wal Mart Supercenter which Pepperidge Farms confirms to have contained rodent droppings. Despite complaints to the store management, A Daily Citizen visit to the Searcy Supercenter on May 17 revealed what appeared to be mice droppings on the lower shelf of a bakery aisle where the Pepperidge Farm and other brands of bagels were stored.

FBI agents have seized city computers and records over the past five months in an investigation of city spending under former mayor and congressional candidate Mickey "Stubby" Stumbaugh, documents obtained by the Cabot Star-Herald show.

The discovery of an antifungal agent in some imported catfish in the state is a major concern for the catfish industry. Many see the importation of less expensive catfish from Asia as a threat to the Arkansas' $500 million a year catfish business and the catfish industry throughout the Mississippi Delta. The state Department of Health and Human Services reports that tests found levels of the dye crystal violet, which is prohibited in the United States, in samples of Ocean Park Chinese catfish.

Today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the Arkansas Travelers Baseball Club operated for more than 34 years without collecting a required 2 percent tax on concession fare sold at Ray Winder Field. Orville Abrams, a Little Rock accountant who served on an independent investigation, said bureau employees he interviewed told him taxes were collected unfairly, with deals cut for business owners who were friends with former bureau chief Barry Travis or had other connections.

A former Justice Department official testified that the No. 2 man at the department misled a Senate panel about his knowledge of Tim Griffin's hiring as a federal prosecutor in Little Rock, as new correspondence made public showed that Griffin boasted to former colleagues about a published "swipe" at Sen. Mark Pryor.

As investors upset with Alltel Corp.’s $27.5 billion sale continue filing lawsuits to block the buyout, ties that link a half-dozen Alltel officials and Stephens Inc. face growing scrutiny. One litigant accuses Alltel directors of “attempts to complete a squeeze out of Alltel’s public shareholders” shortly after the company experienced one of its most successful years ever in 2006.

Six Arkansas businessmen have been fined more than $430,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for undisclosed activities in connection with First Community Bank of Crawford County.

Arkansas can expect to see its sales tax collections drop if gas prices continue their record climb, a legislative researcher tells lawmakers.

A Circuit Court judge will rule today whether the Public Education Foundation, which receives funding from the Little Rock School District, is subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Civil Rights Attorney John Walker says he is seeking foundation records because of the influence he believes its board of directors has on district operations.

In the coming months, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will consider new restrictions to keep storm-water runoff at drilling sites from polluting rivers and streams. And the state’s Oil and Gas Commission will look at giving its field inspectors authority to flag environmental infractions as activity increases along the Fayetteville Shale.

Selected counties will be reimbursed for using county jail inmates to help pick up the tons of trash that litter the state under a pilot program the Arkansas Highway Commission voted to establish.

The Arkansas Highway Commission will fine Union Pacific Railroad $2,500 for blocking five railroad crossings in West Memphis late last year.The railroad blocked five crossings in excess of 10 minutes on the morning of Oct. 21. Union Pacific reported a net income of $386 million for the first quarter of 2007.

Prosecuting Attorney David Gibbons says he will review the Monday Interstate 40 car crash that killed Brittany Pennington, 24, of Russellville, and the final Arkansas State Police report to determine if charges will be filed against the driver, Jannell Honaker. She has two previous DWI arrests from February 2004 and June 2006, which are still pending in Pope County Circuit Court.

Lakeview Recorder-Treasurer Iva Deborah Barnhart resigned Wednesday, six days after her arrest on a charge of forging a drug prescription.

A Memphis woman injured on the Twist ’n Shout roller coaster in July 2006 has filed a complaint against Magic Springs & Crystal Falls and the ride’s importer, Zamperla Inc. of New Jersey. The lawsuit alleges the ride was supplied to the theme park in a “defective and unreasonable condition.” The suit also accuses Magic Springs of negligent seating, improper restraint and improper passenger handling.

One day after federal agents detained 136 of its workers near Springfield, Missouri as suspected illegal immigrants, poultry processor George's Inc. said it makes every effort to comply with immigration laws and verify that employees are in the country legally.

Public opinion is divided on a proposed extension of Conway's zoning jurisdiction to areas up to two miles beyond the city limits. The Log Cabin Democrat reports about a public hearing when a concerned resident asked those in opposition to the extension to stand, the minority remained seated.

Visions of blueberry, strawberry and peach-topped pancakes clutter the minds of Russellville residents who await the construction and grand opening of IHOP. Work has begun at the location on East Harrell Drive.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

American Idol IS Jordin

Who else? Go to bed.

Random observations.

Sanjaya got a solo! Appauling.

Tony Bennett can still bring it. He tore it up. God bless Tony Bennett. The man is over 80 and gave us the highlight of the evening.

Bette Medler was nearly as bad as Sanjaya.

Nice to see Taylor Hicks doing well.

Rubin is a mere shadow of his former self and the guy still has a great voice. Kewl duo with Jordin.

Gwen Stefani was like something you might hear at a wedding. (Thank you, Simon.)

Brandon Rogers has real talent and he was GONE before Sanjaya. This is one reason ratings on AI are sliding south.

Gotta' love Carie. Clive Davis obviously does. Great news about Chris Daughtery.

That idiot Fowler woman from Atlanta got more face time than Melinda Dolittle, another proof that AI is fading. Melinda was buried in the Gospel graveyard. I would think the producers could have given her some justice.

Nice to see Smokey Robinson.

Too bad we did not see more of Phil. More proof ...... la-de-dah.

It's late and I have to get up before dawn and start doing the work of 10 men.

Final word. To say that the past season is mediocre is to give the producers of American Idol far more credit than is due.

Iron Chef returns!

There’s good news for fans of the original Japanese cult hit and cooking contest, Iron Chef. Food Network has taken on an American version that is absolutely top notch.

There was an earlier attempt with William Shatner in the role of “chairman” and it was a big disappointment. This time, producers do not so much rely on big names as solid production values and attention to detail. In an age when the trend is toward cutting corners, taking shortcuts, and jamming mediocrity in the consumers face, this is a big and pleasant surprise.

The set is a beautiful double kitchen known, as it is in the original, as “Kitchen Stadium.” The show does not take itself seriously, which goes a long way to catching the easy spirit of the classic. Each week, a challenger will cook original dishes using a secret theme ingredient under a one-hour deadline. It is true that the amateur chef and pick up a few little tricks along the way. I sure have.

Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Mario Batali join Iron Chef Morimoto, from the older hit show. Fans of the spoofy and witty Iron Chef with Chairman Kaga and his fabled Gourmet Academy will not be disappointed in Iron Chef America on Food Network.

(Broadcast May 23, 2007)

What, me make a mistake?

During another outstanding Wednesday Wake-Up on KARK-TV Channel 4, there was extensive discussion of one of the greatest living Americans, former president Jimmy Carter.

As you probably have heard by now, there has been some controversy over Carter's (correct) statement that the current president is the worst president. This very intelligent administration has spent a surprising amount of energy telling everybody who will listen that Carter is irrelevant.

OK. I'll bite. If he is irrelevant, why are they talking about him at all?

But let's put logic aside and get back on this morning's TV program in which I ended up making reference to the presidential election lf 1980. I said something to the effect that Reagan barely beat Carter.

I let Wikipedia decide all important disputes.

The election was held on November 4, 1980. Reagan beat Carter by almost ten percent in the popular vote. Republicans also gained control of the Senate for the first time in twenty-five years on Reagan's coattails. The electoral college vote was a landslide, with 489 votes (representing 44 states) for Reagan and 49 for Carter (representing 6 states and the District of Columbia). John Anderson won no electoral votes, but got 5,720,060 popular votes.

Therefore, it was by no means the biggest defeat in presidential history. 10% in the popular vote is not so awful, especially when we consider the presence of "third-party" candidate John Anderson.

That's my story and O'm stickin' with it.

Wednesday summary

During an interview on the Pat Lynch Show, Congressman Marion Berry continued to raise questions about the Delta Regional Authority. Berry contends that the federal agency spends too much on salaries and that some of the grants have been found by federal auditors to be in appropriate. Earlier, Berry had complained about DRA’s slowness in providing information and stated he would favor zero funding.

State Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen on Tuesday asked a Pulaski County judge to throw out a petition seeking to force him to testify in a misconduct case filed against him. He argues the petition contains an error, and suggests it demonstrates the panel hearing the case is biased against him.

Republican presidential candidate and Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee said Tuesday that he will skip a Baptist conference organized by Jimmy Carter after the former president called the Bush administration the “worst in history” in international relations.

Anne Woods Patterson, a Fort Smith native and veteran diplomat who heads the State Department's anti-drug programs was nominated by President Bush on Tuesday as the new U.S. ambassador to Pakistan.

New construction permit values were $76 million lower in April than in the same month last year among the five largest Northwest Arkansas cities, as some builders and bankers hit their brakes.

A Benton County justice of the peace suggests the county dissolve its coroner's office and create a new department, in part because of drug charges the county's current coroner faces.

One person is dead and three others are injured as the result of a shooting Tuesday afternoon in a busy part of North Little Rock. The investigation shut down Main Street for several hours. Someone closely connected to the store where it happened tells FOX 16 this wasn't an attempted robbery and those who were injured were the robbers.

An Arkansas man wanted on child rape charges is locked up in Alabama Wayne Poland was wanted for his alleged involvement in the rape of two minor children in Arkadelphia.

A 16-year-old Maumelle Middle School student is accused of raping another student. The alleged incident happened two weeks ago on campus. The suspect will be charged as an adult, but is a juvenile, therefore his identity is not being released.

The Arkansas prison system has moved Jay Campbell, the convicted former Lonoke police chief, to custody in Missouri to help protect him from other inmates.

A tip from somewhere on the east coast led 125 officers from various agencies, including the Arkansas State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation, to a secluded indoor stadium located in Crawford County. Approximately 62 individuals who were allegedly participating in an elaborate cock fighting and gambling operation were arrested in weekend raids.

Police arrested a 17-year-old male student at Conway High School-West last week on suspicion of felony firearm possession. Authorities found a loaded .22-caliber rifle in the back seat of the vehicle. The student said he had taken the gun fishing and forgotten to take it out of the truck.

The University of Central Arkansas will begin offering community development consulting for cities June 1 through its new Strategic Growth Institute.

Donald R. Sampson, the city’s head of community development, told the Pine Bluff City Council Monday that the city is moving to determine what steps the municipality can take to help develop a downtown entertainment district.

Tests for antibiotics in catfish imported from Asia have come back negative, the state Department of Health and Human Services says

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another wild Wednesday

Bill Vickery and I will get up early for the Wednesday Wake-Up on KARK TV Channel 4. Who are this week's winners and losers? Will fists fly? You must tune in or set your VCR.

I will be at the studio by 8 to get the show going with the news and weather. Of course, I will have the Roby Brock business update.

At 9, Michael Blakely from the Little Rock Zoo will be by. He is an incredible source of information and cool stories.

The curtain is nearly ready to come down on the American Idol Viewing Team.

Rep. Berry Rips Delta Regional Authority

A little bit of clarity is beginning to emerge from the story we picked up on from a recent clip in the Democrat-Gazette. Yesterday I interviewed former state senator Kevin Smith, who expressed concern about the possibility of doing away with the DRA.

This morning, Congressman Berry was on my show and had a few lively comments on the slowness in supplying requested information. Berry says the agency spends too much on salaries and that federal auditors have found some of its' grants to be of questionable quality.

Is there more to this story? Only the Shadow knows, but you can listen in the "on demand" audio section of my home page,

Tuesday summary

The U. S. House of Representatives passed overwhelmingly a bill to prevent retailers like Bentonville-based Wal-Mart from opening banks. The legislation approved 371-16 prohibits companies that generate less than 85 percent of revenue from financial services from owning banks known as ILCs, industrial loan corporations.

In an interview with Pat Lynch, former state senator Kevin Smith is calling on Congressman Marion Berry to explain his recent negative comments concerning the Delta Regional Authority. Berry reportedly said that he had not received requested information, and thought the federal agency should get zero funding.

Little Rock’s Central High ranks 24th and Mills University Studies High in the Pulaski County Special School District ranks 35th among the country’s top 1,257 public high schools, according to Newsweek magazine’s latest Best American High Schools list. The rankings are based on the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge exams administered last spring, divided by the number of graduates at the school.

Gov. Mike Beebe says that the state needs to focus more on encouraging production of alternative fuels before it considers offering incentives to alternative fuel and hybrid-vehicle buyers.

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville officials are proposing the lowest tuition increase in 22 years. If approved by trustees, a 3.95 percent tuition increase would take effect for the fall semester.

A ballot proposal to repeal the requirement that state Supreme Court justices be attorneys and to prohibit licensed attorneys from serving in the Legislature or holding a constitutional office was rejected Monday by the state attorney general. The text of the proposal contained too many ambiguities, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel concluded in rejecting the measure's popular name and ballot title.

Chemical teams at the Pine Bluff Arsenal have successfully destroyed the last of the most dangerous nerve-agent stockpile on-site, sarin.

The Bentonville town square is Arkansas’ newest internet “hotspot” with free wi-fi service.

Union employees are back at National Wire Fabric in Star City, nearly 22 months after they began a strike that a state labor official believes became the longest in state history. Among the issues that led employees to walk out were seniority rights, vacation and health insurance.

A former Bella Vista foster parent, Brian John Bergthold, will remain in the Benton County Jail until at least Wednesday, when his attorney will argue for pretrial release on a federal complaint of child pornography. Bergthold was free on bond in connection with similar state charges.

A nine-month investigation into a cockfighting operation in Crawford County resulted in the arrest of more than 140 people Saturday and the euthanization of nearly 300 fighting cocks.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Brother Jerry

Jerry Falwell will be buried this week. Here are a few final thoughts for a man who did more harm than good.

When you add up his life and recount all the nasty things he had to say about various factions, gays, pagans, homosexuals, and witches, one wishes he had pointed a few of those well polished arrows at the wealthy. How would the world have been if Brother Jerry had ever let loose at the insurance companies, the pharmaceuticals, the land developers, or banks? Each of those works overtime to rob the average American of his God-given birthright.

Falwell was insistent that religious folks should get into politics, and one can hardly argue with that. Of course, he specifically had in mind only those whose religious beliefs were agreeable to his; and, more importantly, drew a certain political affiliation out of that spirituality.

We must always hope that there will be good Christian people seeking public office and that they will be guided by their beliefs. Falwell seems to sincerely not understand the danger of asking the government to legislate religion, which is far different from legislating morality. When government promotes your religion today, it might make it illegal tomorrow. That is why it is a good idea to keep church and state apart.

(Broadcast May 21, 2007)

Berry questioned over Delta Regional Commission

A former state senator, Kevin Smith of Helena, voiced concern today over Congressman Marion Berry's recent negative comments about the Delta Regional Commission. Berry reportedly has expressed displeasure at not getting all the information he has requested and suggested the Commission get no funding. Smith says he is not planning on a congressional race. You decide. It is posted on my hone page,

Dillards gets LYNCHED!

I am a bit upset that the Democrat-Gazette reporter failed to note the length of this year's Dillard's shareholders meeting. Usually it's around 22 minutes, or even shorter. This is a family operated business and obviously running in a parallel universe with rules much different from our own.

Anyway, the social activists have been (rightly) all over Dillard's and that is totally delicious. Here is how the newspaper covered it.

Dillard’s Inc. on Saturday announced its shareholders have rejected a “sustainability” proposal, with Chief Executive Officer William Dillard II adding that the Little Rock-based retail chain doesn’t “take it upon ourselves to be a policeman.”

The proposal by shareholders, including Christian Brothers Investment Services Inc., an investment advisory firm for Catholic institutions, requested that Dillard’s issue a report by the end of March 2008 that would include a companywide review of environmental and social policies and practices and other issues.

Dillard said the company already doesn’t work with factories using child labor. But he also noted, “We don’t spend our efforts trying to fix the world.”

In other words, some of the most privileged people in America don't mind gulping down all the milk and honey, but they darned well don't want to ever have to accept any responsibility. I should have come down on 'em a lot harder, but listen anyway on my home page, It's in the audio "on demand" section.

Monday summary

Alltel Corporporation has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners, in a transaction valued at approximately $27.5 billion. Under the terms of the merger agreement, TPG Capital and GSCP will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Alltel for $71.50 per share in cash.

Little Rock-based Acxiom Corp. says that its chief executive, Charles Morgan, has moved to Dallas and the company plans to open a new office in that city in the next month. Morgan, Rodger Kline, Acxiom’s chief administrative leader, and Chris Wolf, Acxiom’s new chief financial officer, all will have their offices in Dallas. Morgan is reported to receive over $80 million if the Axciom sale closes. Texas does not have an income tax.

Roby Brock of reports that Governor Beebe is hinting positive economic development news for Central Arkansas. Brock says it may involve the manufacturing of windmill blades at the Port of Little Rock. This would entail $150 million in infrastructure and 500 new jobs.

Attempting to further delay proceedings against Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen. the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission is seeking to question Griffin under oath about comments reported in various publications. Griffen, who is representing himself, observes that it is illegal and unethical to compel him to testify.

Rep. Chris Thyer of Jonesboro, co-chairman of the Joint Budget Committee, is accusing officials from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences of having a “lack of forthrightness” about plans to establish a campus in Fayetteville. Sen. Dave Bisbee of Rogers says that at the Capitol “everybody in the whole building knew” of UAMS’ plans to expand and doesn’t understand why Thyer is just now hearing about it.

Dennis Milligan of Bryant is the new state Republican chairman. The 49-year-old businessman was the only candidate to succeed state Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, who announced his resignation last month.

The Arkansas State Police has its new $4 million airplane and Gov. Mike Beebe released a new policy on its use stating that his office would, in most cases, reveal the purpose of each trip.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared 68 Arkansas counties disaster areas because of crop damage caused by the late-season freeze of April 7 and 8.

Four Lincoln juvenile males are under arrest in in connection with the rape of a girl. Three 16-year-olds and one 15-year-old are accused of raping a 15-year-old girl May 9. Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Threet says his office is considering charging the individuals as adults.

Little Rock police are investigating the city’s 14th homicide of the year on Saturday. The victim is identified only as a while male.

A Wilson township constable is facing charges for harassment after he allegedly got personal information about a woman from a job application. Gary Clark works part-time at Dollar General in Atkins and reportedly took personal information from a woman who applied for a job there. It is charged that he contacted the woman by text messaging her 30 times concerning the job, although his position at the store does not involve hiring new employees.

Authorities broke up a suspected cockfighting and gambling operation in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Police executed search warrants in the Crawford County towns of Cedarville and Rudy. Arrests were made in at least one of the Arkansas locations.

Zaudi Ramirez, the Community Liaison and Coordinator for English as a Second Language at Conway Public Schools tells the Log Cabin Democrat that number of Hispanic elementary and secondary students enrolled in the city school district has increased by 70 since 2006.

The Delta Regional Airport project to be built at Colt recently received word that the effort will receive close to $400,000 as part of a $5.3 million grant to Arkansas airports from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The owners of North Hills Country Club are seeking an end to a six-month moratorium the city of Sherwood placed on developing the now closed club and golf course. Club owners say in their lawsuit that the city improperly singled out the property and effectively stopped a $5.1 million pending sale with a residential developer.

Congressional politics heats up

Former state lawmaker Kevin Smith is on the Monday program at 9. He will come out guns a-blazing at Congressman Marion Berry, who has had negative things to say about the Delta Regional Commission. This could be interesting. Things are heating up in the first congressional district!

Dillard's had the always entertaining annual meeting over the weekend. I have commentary.

Of course, there is the looming Alltel story.

My column in today's Democrat-Gazette is a commentary on Republican presidential candidates, and other lower life forms.

Highway funding in trouble

This had to happen.

Here is a little item in this morning's Memphis Commercial Appeal.

A cash crunch is fast approaching for the government trust fund that pays to build and repair highways and bridges.

The federal tax on a gallon of gas has not risen in 14 years and Congress is reluctant to increase it. People are demanding more fuel-efficient vehicles -- less gasoline used, fewer dollars for the fund.

Arkansas has paid for its' major interstate program with these funds. I think it was presumed that this would also pay for the next round of highway repairs.

This is not only bad news for highways and the trucking lobby which considers those slabs of concrete a private corporate domain, this will spill over into all sorts of more intelligent and humane transportation projects.

It just goes to show that you never know when that old law of supply and demand will rear its' ugly head and bite ya' on the ass.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

More waste in air transit sector

This item in today's Democrat-Gazette business section just set me off.
The two major airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have greeted a proposal for a second commercial airfield for metro Atlanta with skepticism.

Officials with Delta Air Lines and AirTran Airways said last week that they have no problem with a study of increasing metro airport capacity, but questioned the concept of a second airport to complement Hartsfield-Jackson, the world’s busiest airport.

Of all the stupid, brainless waste of time and money stunts, this one is way up there on the list of all time idiotic ideas.

More air conagestion over Atlanta? Brilliant. That's exactly what we need.

Of course, any improvement of rail transportation would be a total waste, right?

It makes me nuttier than I already am.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ah, the good old days

Let’s turn today to one of my favorite subjects, me. You may not know this, but I am extremely sentimental. This shows up in all sorts of strange and unexpected ways, including my celebration of anniversaries.

It was 27 years ago today that Mt. St. Helens in western Washington state erupted, killing 65 people and leaving a grimy plume of ash and pumice. I well remember the mid-afternoon that day when a huge black cloud appeared over the horizon in Spokane. Shortly thereafter, it rained dirt. The smell was a hideous mix of sulfur and rotten eggs. It clung to your clothes and your skin and ruined automobile engines.

It was a tremendous catastrophe and I had the great privilege to cover it for KSPO Newsradio. There was great uncertainty and fear. It was fun and exciting. I was 30 years old and got the opportunity to do talk shows because all the qualified people were exhausted after the first week of non-stop coverage. It may have been a disaster for some, but the eruption of Mt. St. Helens volcano is real special to me.

(Broadcast May 18, 2007)

Friday, May 18, 2007

NOT St. Vic!

Kelly Duda is the producer and director of a new documentary that will run in the Little Rock film festival, Factor 8. It deals with the tainted blood scandal in the Arkansas state prison system. It is an old story that Mara Leveritt reported on back in the 1980's. I interviewed Kelly a week ago and it's a good segment you can hear on

Over the years, a lot can happen and a lot can be forgotten. One would have presumed that, once the story was exposed, it would be stopped and there would be no more story. Alas, that's not how things work.

Kelly sent me a note drawing some of the newer issues into focus. He makes chilling mention of our Second District Congressman, Vic Snyder, who is both a physician and an attorney. Here is part of Kelly's note.

she did not know about Canada or where any of this blood was going. Nothing had been traced back to Cummins at that time... She did not report about the failed international recalls in the early 1980s, the FDA shutdown of the program, the revocation of the center's license, the restart of the program six months later .... She did posess/cite FDA investigation or CDC documents from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Mara also did not report about HMA, the group that was contracting with the prison system at the time when all the major problems in the 80s happened. Nor did she talk about Gov. Bill Clinton (and all the governor's men) or Vic Snyder and their links to the goings on at the ADC. Nor of the problems in 1960s with Dr. Stough and when the plasma program he started there. ... Hers was a cautionary tale, a warning. (And I wished the state had listened.) However, there was NO public scandal at that time. Mine was/is the full account of what occurred.

Here is some more from an earlier letter. It is fairly astounding that the consequences of such a dumb idea are still evident.

Last fall, F8 had its European premiere in London at the Raindance Film Festival. UK victims were so outraged by the film that they demonstrated against Mr. Clinton's visit to Glasgow (see article). Testimony began for a public inquiry into UK's tainted blood scandal this month (see article below).... I am told that I may be asked to testify at the inquiry.

In the last year, I have been successful in helping tainted blood victims in Canada receive a 1B compensation package from their federal government, assisting victims in Japan win three landmark class-action lawsuits over hepatitis infections, and assisting the efforts of UK victims of contaminated blood get an inquiry there. All received tainted blood and blood products from Arkansas prisons.

When Arkansans hear about this story they are floored, and always ask "WHY haven't I heard about this before?"

Good news for Central Arkansas

Roby Brock of was up against the clock ending our interview this morning and he did not get to disclose a highly interesting story about economic development in central Arkansas.

Remember the tax breaks for windmills?

Well the folks who manufacture the blades may be locating in the port of Little Rock. $150 infrastructure. 500 new jobs.

UPDATE - the entire interview (15 min.) is now posted in the "on demand" audio section of my home page,

Roby has lots of good background on the AXCIOM story, a new industry in England, and anxiety in Fort Smith over a nursing home headquarters.

Friday summary

A lawyer for one of three men convicted as teenagers for killing three young boys at West Memphis conferred at the state Crime Lab with prosecution officials about DNA evidence from the 14-year-old case. Dennis Riordan of San Francisco, attorney for Damien Echols, sentenced to be executed for the 1993 slayings, would only say after the meeting at the Crime Lab that the session was “useful and productive.”

The unpaid debts of former U.S. Rep. Tommy F. Robinson and his wife, Carolyn B. Robinson, will not be erased even after the couple exits Chapter 7. “The evidence clearly establishes by the required preponderance that the false statements and omissions were made under oath knowingly, intentionally, and with fraudulent intent,” Judge James G Mixon wrote. The judge concluded that both Robinsons should be denied the “fresh start” that the federal bankruptcy code affords most debtors.

Rep. Marion Berry remains the wealthiest member of the Arkansas congressional delegation. Berry and his wife, Carolyn reported assets of between $1.98 million and $6.98 million. Senator Blanche Lincoln and her husband, Steve reported between $656,016 and $1.62 million in assets and no debts. Congressman Vic Snyder, the poorest member of Arkansas delegation, reported that he and his wife, the Rev. Betsy Singleton, had assets worth $561,857 in various retirement and market funds.

University of Arkansas Chancellor John A. White handled nasty e-mail to a former quarterback properly, and a lawsuit seeking further action should be dismissed, an attorney for the university said in a court filing Thursday.

Concluding that federal court involvement is no longer warranted, U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Eisele dismissed Superintendent Roy Brooks’ lawsuit against the Little Rock School District and its board members.

The likelihood that the Lake View school funding case will end soon does not mean the state can stop striving to improve education, Gov. Mike Beebe told members of the Arkansas Kids Count Coalition. Beebe says he is "cautiously optimistic" that the lawsuit filed by the now-defunct Lake View School District in 1992 is on the verge of being resolved.

A company that manufactures natural gas and oil field drilling equipment plans to build a plant and employ 175 in this rural Central Arkansas community. England OilField Services Inc. says it plans to build a 33,000 square-foot facility on 10 acres in the England Industrial Park and pay workers an average wage of $18 an hour.

A state agency on Thursday awarded $78.4 million in state and federal tax credits for the construction or renovation of more than two dozen apartment complexes around the state, including two that will replace a housing project near downtown Little Rock.

Renovation of Little Rock's historic Capital Hotel is in the homestretch and hiring will ramp up next month for a grand reopening later this year, the general manager of the downtown landmark said Thursday. "We haven't decided when to open the hotel and we don't have a specific date yet, but we're looking toward the end of the summer or early fall," Joseph Rantisi said.

Legislation introduced in the Senate encourages Americans to replace outdated heating and cooling systems and may give job security to 3,500 Fort Smith workers who manufacture such equipment.

An Arkansas man pleaded guilty to charges arising from an online undercover operation that resulted in him traveling to Washington to have sex with 10- and 11-year-old children. Aubrey Lynn Shepard, 63, of Benton faces up to life in prison for enticement and distribution of child pornography. Under sentencing guidelines, he likely will face 24 to 30 years in prison.

A man can be required to pay child support even though a paternity test subsequent to the divorce found he’s not the father, the state Supreme Court ruled. In the 5-2 decision, the court said that an Arkansas statute that allows a court to relieve a man of child-support obligations if a test finds he isn’t the father applies only to paternity cases, not divorce cases.

Owners of pit bulls and American bulldogs living in Jacksonville have 30 days to sterilize, microchip and register their dogs with the city before a ban on the breeds takes effect.

A man accused of stealing a cow and selling it at an auction barn was by Pope County Sheriff’s Deputies. Lonnie J. Duvall was ordered held on $20,000 bond and to stay away from all cows, by District Judge Don Bourne.

The 16th annual Atkins Picklefest begins at noon Friday and will continue through Saturday evening.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Beebe takes on state colleges

It feels like I have spent the day tanning under the TV studio lights at KARK Channel 4. Bill Vickery and I have this road show that is somewhat entertaining and often highlights the differences of opinion that can develop among good folks.

We talked about the Republican presidential nominees, Jerry Falwell, oil prices and Mike Beebe. It was the governor that got us to come together in sweet accord. My theory is that the proposal to give public colleges and universities incentives to keep and graduate students is sheer brilliance. That will tend to highlight which schools are performing at the highest standard, and suggest possible areas of consolidation.

While being one of the most undereducated and poorest states, Arkansas has a system of higher education that tends to have some duplication and maybe even redundant campuses. Each of the schools may have a certain niche, but taxpayers, and students, deserve the best bang for the buck.

Beebe is on the right track here. When polar opposites come to agreement, everybody better pay attention. Change is in the wind, and it is a good thing.

(Broadcast May 17, 2007)

Thursday summary

Acxiom Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by two private equity firms for $3 billion. ValueAct Capital, the San Francisco-based investment firm that failed in a hostile takeover bid last year, and Silver Lake Partners, an investment firm that focused on technology-based industries, are joining forces for the purchase.

Governor Mike Beebe will help announce new jobs in Lonoke County this morning. Local and state leaders will be on hand along with company officials. The announcement will take place at 10 am at the England Fire Station.

A federal judge in Little Rock on granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing Wal-Mart of using racially discriminatory practices in hiring over-the-road truck drivers.

State police have a new airplane, which will be available to transport the governor. Lawmakers have approved the new position of “state police pilot” with a starting salary of $60,000 annually. In addition, starting salaries for troopers will be increased from $28,000 a year to $36,000.

Gov. Mike Beebe told some of the state’s leading business people Wednesday that he has no plans for broad-based state income tax cuts anytime soon.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says he will be part of a national task force that will examine legal issues related to school safety in the wake of last month's deadly Virginia Tech shootings.

Mike Huckabee's net worth of at least $500,000 was bolstered over the last 16 months with more than $300,000 in book royalties and speech honoraria, according a financial disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission this week.

Searcy needs to increase its sales tax in order to raise salaries, hire new police officers and invest in new vehicles and buildings, Mayor Belinda LaForce stated at a recent Town Hall Meeting.

The attorney for anti-alcohol forces in Conway says that the group won’t waste any more time and money contesting private-club liquor permits before the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and has talked about liquor foes in Jonesboro about new tactics.

Residents voted in November to allow Marion County to go wet, and on Wednesday the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board granted retail liquor permits to the first four of 18 applicants, which is the legal limit for a county of 16,000 population.

Central Arkansas concert promoter Butch Stone tells Pat Lynch that his plans for concerts this summer and beyond at Riverfest Amphitheater are on "hold." Stone notes that recent fencing has taken away 30% of audience capacity.

The family of a man who was slain in 2005 has filed suit in federal court alleging negligence and seeking damages from the killer’s stepfather. The estate of Jessie Odel Corbit states that Michael L. Gillooley “delivered a firearm and ammunition to his stepson,” and that Gillooley’s “negligent entrustment” resulted in the decedent’s wrongful death. According to Jackson Corbit’s complaint, Gillooley knew Breedlove “had a propensity for violence, drug use and deceit, and that he regularly associated with other like-minded and dangerous individuals.”

A small earthquake rattled the El Dorado area Wednesday morning, prompting calls to local authorities but no reports of injuries or damage.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jerry Falwell

To tell the truth, Jerry Falwell was mostly bad for America. Whenever a preacher starts mixing the politics into the Gospel of eternal life, there will be problems. There are many areas of religious belief on which Brother Jerry and I might agree, but his ideas about the rightful role of government is simply nothing short of a police state.

The people most likely to follow a man like Falwell are the least likely to ever think about the consequences of their actions if carried to the logical conclusion, and that is the very loss of the land we all love. While some are heaping ridicule and malicious fantasies of eternal vengeance on his memory, it might be well to remember the most fundamental teaching of the Christian religion; redemption and forgiveness.

If I expect Almighty God to overlook my offenses, it might be a good idea for me to cut the other guy a little slack. So, Jerry, here is your slack. God is full of abundant mercy and, if he can forgive me, then we can all overlook one slightly off-his-rocker Baptist preacher. Divine retribution is something we humans should keep a healthy distance from anyway.

(Broadcast May 16, 2007)

Lyncho-Vickery smackdown 6PM on KARK TV Channel 4

We must be certified stars!! Watch for me and Bill and TELL YOUR FRIENDS.

Butch backs up on Riverfest Park concerts

Butch Stone is always entertaining and frequently informative. The last time we sat down, Butch was hot to begin a short series of concerts this summer, with a full schedule next year. Now, that's all out the window. Stone says changes in the amphitheatre have taken away 30% of the capacity and destroyed the ability to host big shows. He is not feeling any love. You can hear it on my home page,

Our audio stream is UP

Thanks to engineer-in-charge, Pat Lynch. Log on.

Wednesday summary

A majority of Northwest Arkansas residents want U.S. troops out of Iraq within a year, a University of Arkansas poll says. The war is considered a mistake by 53 percent of those polled, and 57 percent want to bring most military members home, according to the results of the latest Northwest Arkansas Omnibus Survey from the University of Arkansas Survey Research Center.

Arkansas Reps. Mike Ross and Marion Berry, one a pharmacy owner and the other a pharmacist, warned Tuesday that rural drug stores may be forced to close if new Medicaid prescription drug regulations take effect as planned July 1. The two Democrats said at a Capitol Hill rally that pharmacists will likely reject Medicaid prescriptions for generic drugs as a result of the change.

The chairman of the Senate Education Committee said Tuesday that the state needs a “geek squad” to help promote more uses of technology in the classroom. Sen. Jim Argue, D-Little Rock, said he thinks the state’s education department needs to find more ways to promote technology among all of the state’s school districts.

A legislative subcommittee was appointed Tuesday to study the cost of an “adequate” education in preparation for the 2009 legislative session as actions of the 2007 session are before the state Supreme Court.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported record sales and profits Tuesday for its first quarter that ended April 30, but H. Lee Scott, president and chief executive officer, said that wasn’t good enough.

A company that could employ as many as 1,000 people in its second and subsequent years may be coming to Benton. One other Arkansas city and two in other states are among the places in the running for the development. Alderman Doug Stracener told the city council the business is what is known as an “incoming call center that would employ about 250 people in its first year.”

SEECO Inc., the Arkansas subsidiary of the Southwestern Energy Company, now has drilled 20 natural gas wells in White County, with 13 of them producing.

The Little Rock Board of Directors is holding off for two weeks its first detailed discussion this year on whether and how to boost mayoral power.

The Republican Party of Arkansas' state committee will meet Saturday to select a new GOP chairman. Dennis Milligan of Bryant, currently the party's treasurer, is the only announced candidate to replace the outgoing chairman, Sen. Gilbert Baker of Conway.

Attorneys for Kevin Jones have asked a judge to move his trial from Pope County. Jones is accused of the 2005 bludgeoning death of Arkansas Tech University student Nona Dirksmeyer in her Russellville apartment. The attorneys ask that the trial be moved to Franklin County, which along with Pope and Johnson counties make up the 5th Judicial District. Jones’ trial was scheduled for July 9.

Assuming “full responsibility” for his crimes and acknowledging his victims may never see fit to forgive him, Larry Dan Akins entered guilty pleas to 11 counts of rape and nine counts of second-degree assault. Akins was accused of raping and sexually assaulting children under his supervision at a Van Buren day-care facility. He will be eligible for parole in 28 years. Akins is 62.

A Paragould man faces a charge of second-degree murder after police said he rolled his unconscious brother onto the railroad tracks Friday night as a train approached. Barry Gene Nelson is scheduled for arraignment Thursday morning in Greene County District Court.

An early morning fire at a Holly Grove day care Tuesday is the latest in a string of suspected arsons in the east Arkansas community. A building that previously housed the Police and Fire departments has burned, as have several abandoned structures downtown.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Correct internet spam on lobby reform

Since there is a lot of foolish misinformation circulating on the internet, I thought it might be appropriate to get a breath of fresh air on an important subject. This comes from OMB Watch.

OMB Watch Urges House to Support Disclosure of Grassroots Lobbying Expenditures

May 8, 2007

Dear Representative:

We are writing to urge you to support disclosure of federal grassroots lobbying expenditures in the upcoming reforms of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). Disclosure of the funding sources, particularly behind big money grassroots lobbying campaigns, is a critical element in rooting out corruption and establishing a system that creates public trust. Systems to promote trust in government are precisely what Americans voted for in the last election.

Don't be fooled by misinformation!

There are a number of legislative proposals floating to require disclosing of grassroots lobbying. None of them impose reporting requirements on individual citizens, and most aim at those entities spending significant amounts of money. For example, Rep. Meehan ☼'s proposal (H.R. 2093) limits disclosure requirements to for-hire "grassroots lobbying firms," not citizen organizations. And only those for-hire firms paid more than $100,000 in a quarter to conduct legislative campaigns on federal legislation would have to register or report.

However, opponents of disclosure have inaccurately claimed that even the scaled-back version proposed by Rep. Meehan would burden citizen organizations. This is just not true, as a quick look at the bill's provisions will show you.

Disclosure by for-hire firms will not silence citizen organizations.

Even a bill reaching beyond the for-hire grassroots lobbying firms would not restrict direct or grassroots lobbying in any way. Charities have been required to report information about grassroots lobbying expenditures to the Internal Revenue Service for more than 30 years, and that has not silenced our voice. Labor unions are also required to report similar information to the Department of Labor. Fairness and the public's confidence in an open government require that the large sums of money being spent on grassroots lobbying by all entities — for-profit firms and nonprofit organizations — also are disclosed.

Grassroots disclosure has been successful at the state level.

While 23 states empower their citizens with information about the entities funding grassroots lobbying campaigns, the federal government so far has not. Our nation would be better served by disclosure of the role money plays in influencing legislative outcomes. For this reason, disclosure of high dollar grassroots lobbying campaigns will help to strengthen our democracy and in no way violates First Amendment rights to petition or lobby our government.

OMB Watch strongly urges you to support disclosure of grassroots lobbying expenditures when the House considers lobbying and ethical reforms.


Gary D. Bass
Executive Director

Wednesday Wake-up on KARK Channel 4

Bill Vickery and I have prepared our lists of winners and losers and we will be on KARK-TV Channel 4 early Wednesday morning. Sometime between :30 and 7 you will hear fromus and I think you may get a bonus segment this time around! Get up early!

Making an example of Paris Hilton

The Paris Hilton story has certainly taken on a life of its’ own. The heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune is known as star of internet porn, episodes of “Simple Life” filmed in Arkansas, encounters with alcohol, and incidents with cops.

She has disregarded the terms of her probation and disrespected justice. We talked about all this last week. She is due to serve 45 days sin jail. Considering her direct disrespect for the judicial system, that seems perfectly reasonable.

I am a little afraid now that things are starting to get completely out of hand. It has been seriously suggested that, with local jail crowding, Hilton might be sent to a tent city jail run by Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He has gained fame for running a jail on the cheap and everything he does is not completely bad.

I am getting a bad feeling about the seeming rush to make some sort of example out of Ms. Hilton. Don’t get me wrong. That is part of the purpose of the court system. Still, sending a jail prisoner completely out of state for the purpose of getting publicity for the get tough judges and prosecutors seems to put Hilton in danger and it just treats her different than your typical scumbag. Not fair and not constitutional.

(Broadcast May 15, 2007)

Public corruption? In Arkansas?

You have possibly heard that two state audits that found that two former employees of the state Board of Architects collected more than $230,000 in improper travel reimbursements have been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The audits also have been referred to Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley. Criminal offenses involving state government are prosecuted in Pulaski County. I learned that back in the era when Chris Piazza prosecuted the attorney general.

The accused certainly are entitled to the presumption of innocence. The taxpayers are entitled to a thorough investigation as well. I understand that the prosecutor does not have an investigative arm, so he will rely on the FBI, and perhaps state police. The accused former employees have made some restitution and have pretty much said they should be allowed to move on with life.

Not so fast. So far there has been no action, except for a big yawn, after all the no-bid hanky panky uncovered in the Little Rock Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. It makes one wish the Lonoke prosecutor would move to Pulaski County and restore law and order.

(Broadcast May 14, 2007)

Falwell is dead

My religion demands forgivenss. If God can forgive me, me is entirely capable of overlooking Fallwell. Case closed.

Butch Stone has the straight dope on Riverfront Park

You will get the absolute truth out of Mr. Stone Wednesday morning at 9. He is always a great source of amazing stories, so be logged on or tuned in.

The American Idol Viewing Team is ready to meet at 10. Rock on MELINDA DOLITTLE!

Jim Harris is alive!

Our old bud is blogging at Arkansas Business' primo outlet "The Ladder."

Rumor has it that Jim will soon have his own platform on which to report and pontificate upon all sports stories, local and national. Check him out and wish Jim Well.

I sure do even though Arkansas Business ran my picture with that awful story last year. No matter, life is short and all is forgiven.

Short Film Rages Against Billy Bob Thornton

One of the best interviews lately was a sit down with Tim Jackson, director of "Where's My Close-up, Mr. Thornton?" This is pretty strong stuff, if you have spent any time in entertainment. Jackson has created a great Arkansas movie. (Congrats to my pal Keith Lynch for the guitar work.) Marie and I will attend the 6 PM Friday evening screening at Rivderdale. It's part of the Little Rock Film Festival. This is a fine interview and you can listen on

(The headline is just a little hyperbolie. Can't anybody take a joke anymore?)

Leverett laments divided Little Rock School District - UPDATE

Mara Leveritt, my favorite independent journalist, visited today to discuss the West Memphis Three and the protest set for early June. We also got into a story she broke many years ago and retold by Kelly Duda in his film Factor 8. Then, we got on the Little Rock School District. It was an awesome hour and you can listen free from the "on demand" audio section of my home page.

UPDATE: Kelly Duda, who speaks highly of Mara Leveritt, puts a little different tilt on the story. I think this is worth note.

he did not know about Canada or where any of this blood was going. Nothing had been traced back to Cummins at that time... She did not report about the failed international recalls in the early 1980s, the FDA shutdown of the program, the revocation of the center's license, the restart of the program six months later .... She did posess/cite FDA investigation or CDC documents from the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Mara also did not report about HMA, the group that was contracting with the prison system at the time when all the major problems in the 80s happened. Nor did she talk about Gov. Bill Clinton (and all the governor's men) or Vic Snyder and their links to the goings on at the ADC. Nor of the problems in 1960s with Dr. Stough and when the plasma program he started there. ... Hers was a cautionary tale, a warning. (And I wished the state had listened.) However, there was NO public scandal at that time. Mine was/is the full account of what occurred.

Tuesday summary

A 33-member committee likely will recommend dropping “Indians” as the name of Arkansas State University sports teams, effective in 2008, to comply with NCAA guidelines, committee Chairman Jim Pickens said at the panel’s first meeting.

Arkansas’ Department of Health and Human Services is scrapping a drug discount program for which it has spent more than half a million dollars preparing. When funding for the program was approved in 2005, supporters estimated that up to 400,000 Arkansans were without health insurance and many could enroll. 2800 actually did.

Lacking any violent criminals to investigate, law enforcement agencies statewide next week will begin Arkansas' sixth "Click It or Ticket" campaign, an effort to aggressively enforce the state's mandatory seat belt law. The state police and 100 other local law enforcement agencies will put more officers on roads during the two-week enforcement mobilization.

Jermain Taylor of Little Rock defends his title on Saturday against Cory Spinks of St. Louis an HBO-televised fight at FedExForum in Memphis.

Little Rock voters would be asked to give their mayor more direct power under a proposal the city Board of Directors will begin to consider today.

Diminished revenues from Fayetteville's hotel, motel and restaurant tax did not stop the city's Advertising and Promotions Commission from handing out $130,000 in funds to local events Monday. Neither did a $94,800 budget for the requests.

All tobacco products, including smokeless, will be banned from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s 345-acre campus effective July 1, 2008.

The Rogers School Board listened to two patrons arguments but made no motion and took no action on the request to supplement high school biology textbooks with additional critical analysts of evolution.

David Alsobrook, the first director of the Clinton library, will leave his post to direct a smaller library in his home state of Alabama. Alsobrook will make the transition from working in the modern Clinton library to directing the Museum of Mobile in the 150-year-old Southern Market/Old City Hall building in the coastal Alabama city.

Eureka Springs Aldermen unanimously approved a domestic partnership registry that will allow residents and tourists to record their relationships with the city clerk’s office.

Today’s Democrat-Gazette reports that Larry Wilson succeeded in blocking Bank of the Ozarks’ plans to expand into Jacksonville, but John Allison says his First State Bank won’t succumb to Wilson’s opposition and give up on plans to enter tiny Quitman.

Diners in downtown Van Buren may enjoy the first legal liquor served there in 65 years if the efforts of a local business owner are successful. Richard Hodo, the recent recipient of the citizen of the year award, has begun the application process for a private-club permit at a new Main Street restaurant, Sisters Gourmet Bistro.

Pat McClanahan of Mena is facing charges after she reportedly confessed to killing her ex-husband, Joe Campiglia, and disposing of his body in a 7-acre lake located on private property near Waldron. The owner of the lake was fishing Wednesday when his hook latched onto a rope. He reeled in the rope, which brought with it Campiglia’s torso, wrapped in a tarp. Campiglia was probably murdered in January 2003.

Monday, May 14, 2007

About the audio stream

I wouldn't normally bring this up, but with Mara Leveritt on this show tomorrow morning at 10, it seems like a good idea to address the problems with the stream since Thursday. Director Tim Jackson is also likely to attract listeners from around the world.

Honest, we know when Mara comes on, it is a BIG deal which creates unusually high traffic on our internet stream. With Tim on in the first hour, we will have many folks wanting to log on, so I want to be up front about it.

You ain't never gonna' believe this in a million years, but it ain't our fault and it is not Live365 either.

Comcast has been on the roof of our palatial intergalactic headquarters on Bowman Road in West Little Rock, and they punted to Windstream, who passed the torch to AT&T. One theory is that something got damaged in last week's storm, but I don't think we had enough wind or lightning.

The sum of it all is that there is a small army working on this and we are somewhat hopeful that at least part of the Tuesday morning show will be webcast. If not, I promise to get the TWO blockbuster hours in the "on demand" audio archive early tomorrow afternoon.

Here's a thought. Tune in to one of our "terrestrial" stations (listed in the right hand column) like most of my other listeners. 99.1 KSMD in Searcy and 710 in Bald Knob carry parts of north and west Pulaski County, respectively.

OK, that's hard if you live in Buenos Aires.

If you would like to log on to the internet broadcast (8 to 11 AM weekdays) follow this link to the old WAI web site. (It's 2 years old. On the internet, that's longevity!) Scroll down to a thing in the center column that looks somewhat like a radio, and click on the red "launch player" button. It may or may not work.

If you have firewalls, or work in a very security minded office, you may not be able to listen "live." There may be instructions to disable your pop-up blocker. You are strictly on your own because I am too stupid to explain it all.

So there, now you know. (Sorta')

Supporters of ‘West Memphis Three’ to hold protest

Mara Leveritt, one of Arkansas' foremost independent journalists, will be on the show tomorrow morning at 10 and she passes along the following press release.

Supporters of the men known as the West Memphis Three will protest the convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr., on Saturday, June 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Crittenden County Courthouse in Marion.

Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were teenagers when they were convicted in 1994 of the murders of three eight-year-old West Memphis boys–Christopher Byers, Michael Moore and Steven Branch–in West Memphis the previous year. Echols was sentenced to death, Baldwin and Misskelley to life in prison.

Since their trials, concern about the proceedings has grown. Critics point to the absence of physical evidence linking the teenagers to the crime and to the apparent lack of motive, beyond the state’s unproven claim that the murders were committed as part of an “occult ritual.”

The courthouse event will include a 14-minute segment of silence to symbolize the 14 years the West Memphis Three have been imprisoned. Speakers will outline concerns about the case, including the likelihood that the children’s true killer (or killers) remains free.

The protest is part of World Awareness Day, an annual observed by supporters around the world to focus attention on the case. World Awareness Day events in the past have been held in Little Rock and in other cities across the United States and Europe. This will be the first event held in Crittenden County.

Organizers intend for the protest to be dignified and peaceful. Anyone who shares that intention, along with doubts or concerns about the controversial convictions, is invited to attend.

Rudolph Giuliani LYNCHED!

It's been a tough day for the former New York mayor turned presidential candidate. So he plays the devout Catholic card when questioned about the Pope's latest word on abortion. Do you honestly expect me to just let this pass?

My brief comments are available for your download and listening at the "on demand" audio section of

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