The line is open. Notes:
* DUGGARS: To several who have inquired: I will not play the count-the-Duggars game.
* LIGNITE: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is pushing a state expenditure of $3 million to encourage lignite mining in Arkansas, an environmental disaster waiting to happen. Again, government spending must be cut unless it enables a Republican corporate interest.
* GOVERNMENT SPENDING: The House defeated all its members' bills for spending out of the General Improvement Fund. There wouldn't have been much to split up this year anyway. Some are styling this as a victory over earmarks, though that's a stretch of the term. The Shiite Republicans also beat a batch of budget bills today. The bills drew 70 votes, needing 75.
* EARTHQUAKES. Correlation is not causation, but, nonetheless, seismic activity has decreased since closure of two injection wells in the Fayetteville Shale. Also: Several have inquired about Entergy's statements relative to the disaster in Japan. Here it is. The company, which operates a number of nuclear plants including Arkansas Nuclear One near Russellville, is promising some updated fact sheets on earthquake issues and the reactors.
* MACHINE POLITICS: What's this? A Republican official is part of the ruling junta in Helena-West Helena? This defies boiling down, but it includes nicknames like "Car Wash," "King Deuce" and "Ga Ga." (The last is no lady.)
* SEVERANCE TAX: Rep. Tommy Baker has withdrawn his bill to increase the gas severance tax on some gas production to raise money for highways. This was never going anywhere. House Speaker Robert Moore is now able to say he at least tried with this completely sensible proposal. Bring on Sheffield Nelson's gas tax referendum and give Arkansans a chance to choose between putting the severance tax on filthy (and I do mean filthy) rich energy companies to pay for the road destruction they cause or raising the diesel tax and the sales tax on groceries to pay for four-lanes to nowhere.
* BASKETBALL: Texas newspaper says Arkansas close to hiring Tubby Smith to coach Razorback basketball.