by Max Brantley
The Thursday line is open. Final words:
* TRIBUTE TO LEVON HELM: Gov. Mike Beebe has ordered state flags to fly at half-staff Friday in tribute to Levon Helm, the Marvell native musician who died last week.
* ONE MORE REASON REPUBLICANS HATE OBAMACARE: It costs insurance companies money. Remember the requirement that insurance companies must spend 80 to 85 percent of the money they take in on health care?
By this August, insurers are projected to send consumers a total of $1.3 billion in rebates, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis released Thursday — $541 million to large employers, $377 million to small businesses and $426 million to people with their own insurance plans.
We have to nip that crap in the bud right NOW! Right, Timmy G?
* COWBOYS AND INDIANS: An 8-year-old boy took a .22 pistol to Daisy Bates Elementary today. It was discovered without harm to anyone. He said he wanted to play cowboys and Indians with friends and showed it to one friend, who alerted a teacher. The teacher found the gun in a backpack, cocked and ready to fire. His father told deputies he thought the gun had been in a locked cabinet. School officials said the child would be expelled.
* FIRST IT WAS OLD FOLKS; NOW IT'S STUDENTS: U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin has already thrown in on Republican budget plans that will end Medicare as guaranteed health coverage for seniors. Today, it's the young people he's screwing over. He'd earlier voted for a Republican budget that would allow doubling of student loan rates for 67,000 Arkansas students. Today, he voted against a Democratic Party plan to block the student loan interest rate increase and pay for it by ending tax breaks for big oil companies. Arkansas students or big oil companies? Easy choice for Republicans and Tim Griffin. They'll offer a plan to prevent the doubling of interest rates by taking it out of government support for health care, such as immunizations. Big oil tax breaks or money for kids in need of shots? Easy call for Republicans.
* TROUT HATCHERIES SAVED: Joe Mosby of Stephens Media is reporting that it looks like something has been worked on keeping important trout hatcheries in Arkansas operating.