by Max Brantley
A slow start to this the first full week in a while. Final note:
* TRAVELING IN STYLE TO BOWL GAMES: A friend of the Times reports a big SUV with Game and Fish Commission insignia barreled past him on the way back from Dallas over the weekend. He presumes the vehicle was returning from the Cotton Bowl, as he was. Or perhaps G&FC was relocating Canada geese to Texas for Commodore Hays. I'm running a check on the plate and its out-of-state use. UPDATE: The Tahoe was the personal vehicle of Commissioner George Dunklin. All commissioners receive courtesy Game and Fish plates, but the vehicle is his own and thus purely legit for bowl game trips.
Which reminds me: Another reader inquired on how Gov. Mike Beebe got to the Cotton Bowl, where the University of Arkansas beat Kansas State, and then the Go Daddy Bowl where the Arkansas State Red Wolves played. His office said he flew on private planes arranged by the respective universities. The donated transportation will be reported on the governor's statement of financial interest in 2013. The governor was joined on the Go Daddy flight by his son Kyle, two staff members, a state trooper and fellow ASU alum Shane and Debbie Broadway. The governor, chief of staff Morril Harriman and a trooper were on the UA flight from the governor's office. They referred me to UA for any other passengers. I've inquired. Harriman's wife joined the flight home.
PS — Hey. You. Those legislators with briefcases meeting at Anatole. Who threw the confab? You reporting? They reporting? Can I get a second for a Walmart rule? Didn't think so.
* INTERROGATING CHILDREN: The Memphis Commercial Appeal has an engrossing retelling of a Camden case in which a 12-year-old was convicted of killing his sister on the strength of a confession his defense contends was tricked out of the boy in a case where no other evidence implicated him. It's part of an ongoing debate on whether full videotaping should be required of the entire interrogation in homicide cases. The Camden youth was released after his confession was declared inadmissible. The Arkansas Supreme Court last summer proposed that interrogations should be recorded wherever practical. The proposal drew a tremendous public response. Mara Leveritt wrote at the time that the rule didn't go far enough. She tells me today that the court still hasn't decided. Perhaps it's time for more letters.
* BANK BOMB THREAT: Odd story out of Fayetteville, where police said a woman went to a bank branch with a bomb attached to her leg. She said she'd been kidnapped and rigged up with a bomb as part of a robbery attempt. Her husband was found tied up at her home. No robbery occurred. No bomb exploded. And, at last word in this account, no arrests.
* REPUBLICAN DEBATE: Who has the biggest guns, can pray the loudest, can cut the most taxes? From 5 until 6:30 p.m., you can watch three 4th District Republican candidates — Tom Cotton, Beth Anne Ranking and Marcus Richmond — try to outboast each other in debate live-streamed by Talk Business. One candidate is missing, John Cowart, currently serving in Afghanistan.
Opening statement nuggets:
Rankin — "Government eats freedom."
Cotton — Only in America could a Dardanelle Sand Lizard run for Congress.
Richmond — There are no silver spoons on a dairy farm, only rusty shovels.