The Saturday night line | Arkansas Blog

The Saturday night line

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A lovely day. Calls for a trip to suburban Gravel Ridge and the Arkansas Times barbecue amid Farmer Al Leveritt's pole beans. Before I go:

ASU: Coke is it.
  • Chelsea Weaver/The Herald
  • AT ASU: Coke is it.
* THE REAL THING AT ASU: No, I'm not talking about the head football coach at Arkansas State versus the fellow in charge at the University of Arkansas. I'm talking about soda pop. UA this week decided to stop being a Coke school and become a Pepsi school, Southern traditions be damned. A reader provides an interesting piece of soft drink history. Arkansas State's Red Wolves wave the Coke banner. They made the switch after 10 years as a Pepsi school last August. The Herald covered the story, with the photo shown.

* CALL THE ROLL ON LR SEIZURE OF PRIVATE PROPERTY: Last week, the Little Rock Board of Directors wouldn't deign to put a proposal by Director Kenneth Richardson on the agenda for debate and public discussion. He proposed an ordinance to prohibit use of city tax money to condemn private residences to build a building to house private business in the proposed Little Rock Technology Park. Director Erma Hendrix first seconded, then withdrew, a motion to put the ordinance on the agenda. Technically, city directors could honestly say they had NOT voted to allow use of sales tax money to take people's homes against their wishes. They merely wouldn't allow it to be discussed.

But wait ....

City Attorney Tom Carpenter has done some research. Friday, he notified the city Board that, by resolution, it is city policy to allow any director the RIGHT to place an item on the board agenda, whether other directors want it there or not. I await word on whether Richardson will place the ordinance on the board agenda and call for a vote — private property rights versus taxpayer subsidies for private business? Call the roll.

Oh, generally speaking (though a majority vote can waive the rule), two weeks' notice is required to add an agenda item. This is hindrance only to unpopular items, you can be sure.

* DISMISSED/LAID OFF/FIRED/DISCHARGED: Any way you slice it, you're SOL. When Windstream announced last week that it would be reducing the ranks of management employees, I hesitated for a minute as I always do at terminology. Were jobs to be "cut"? Were workers to be laid off? Here, courtesy of Jim Romenesko, is a copy editor and words columnist for an Illinois newspaper, whose final column was killed because he delved into the terminology of employment termination and concluded there's not much way around it: He, the Windstream employees and all the rest of us who've felt the ax were "fired."

* SOUTH TO THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION: I've written often about the radical attack on conventional education underway in Louisiana thanks to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and his supporters in the Republican-majority legislature. Now that they are solidly in control, the wrappers are coming off the Trojan horse of charter schools and "reform." Now comes the outcome that was always intended — a transfer of public tax money to vouchers for private schools, including small church schools with not only creation science, but, yes, Bible-based math books. Most charter schools are functionally private schools with public tax dollars anyway — they get scant public oversight, they have no elected school boards and some of them are already delving into a little preaching on the public dime, even in Arkansas. For example, check some of the posts on this Little Rock charter school's Facebook page. The Louisiana plan will arrive in Arkansas with Republican legislative control, if that happens to be of any concern to you.

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