by Max Brantley
It's all over but some of the voting. Post your thoughts here. My final words today:
* POPUP MAIN STREET: I mentioned a few days ago the Popup Main Street movement, which is aimed at using intelligent design to continue the redevelopment of South Main as a people-friendly old-fashioned neighborhood. Another step came today with the hay bales pictured above near Main and Daisy Bates, soon to be replaced with trees. Instead of a four-lane street here, it's two lanes for cars, with a bike lane. The median work will "calm" traffic significantly, making street crossing by pedestrians a safer venture. For what it's worth, Boulevard Bakery was swarmed with people at lunch today. Feels good down there. Home-made ice cream from an old-fashioned soda fountain counter two doors away.
* MATT JONES TO HAVE SHOW ON THE BUZZ: Sports talker Bo Mattingly has left The Buzz and, beginning Monday, former Razorback quarterback Matt Jones and Trey Schaap will take over the 1-4 p.m. time slot as "Overtime," on Radio 103.7. Jones has been appearing from time to time on the station and has an easy radio style. Mattingly is moving his show in the Little Rock market to Fresh Talk 93.3 KKSP-FM. It will air from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, beginning Dec. 10.
* $1.2 MILLION WINNER: I mentioned over the weekend that Mike Townsend, a former Bayer pharmaceuticals rep, had won a million-dollar verdict from a federal court jury in Pine Bluff over his firing by Bayer for blowing the whistle on a Pine Bluff doctor who was buying a Bayer-made IUD from Canada and charging Medicaid for the higher-priced FDA-approved U.S. version of the same drug. The doctor was convicted in the case. Bayer came up with a pretext for firing Townsend 11 months after it was revealed he'd told authorities about the scheme, but the jury didn't buy it. Brian Reddick, co-counsel on the case with Chuck Banks, said the jury awarded about $320,000 in lost wages and benefits since the firing, doubled by the statute, plus $568,000 for Townsend's emotional distress, for a total of $1.21 million. The judge took under advisement a claim for $850,000 in "front pay," or future wages lost on a job paying about $130,000 a year to a man with another 10 years of work life expectancy. The judge also will determine attorney fees and costs that are allowed under the whistle blower statute. It's unknown if Bayer will appeal.
* MILLION DOLLAR WINNER: The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery says Tat Sing Wong of Marion won $1 million with a $20 “Lucky Lottery Ticket” purchase at the E-Z Way Food Market, in West Memphis. Taxes will take a third of it or so.
* PANTS ON FIRE: A friend reports getting a mailer from Republican Sen. Missy Irvin that says she's working to strengthen Medicare for all Arkansans. Did you know the Arkansas Senate governs Medicare? Me neither. Because it doesn't.
* PAUL RYAN GOES HUCKABEE ONE BETTER: Paul "Marathon Man" Ryan has topped Mike Huckabee's suggestion that people who vote Democratic are headed straight to hell. A second term for Obama will imperil the whole dang country's Judeo-Christian tradition, Ryan says.
* GIVE PEACE A CHANCE: In this contentious season comes a UALR lecture of a different sort. Dr. George A. Lopez, chair of Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will speak on “Can We Achieve Peace in the War on Terror?” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall in UALR’s Fine Arts Building. There's an informal reception at 6 in the Fine Arts Gallery. It's all free and open to the public. Working with David Cortright since 1992, Lopez's work includes “The Sanctions Decade: Assessing U.N. Strategies in the 1990s.” Lopez and Cortright’s research detailing the unlikely presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq appeared before the war in “Disarming Iraq” in the September 2002 issue of Arms Control Today and then later after the war in “Containing Iraq: the Sanctions Worked” in Foreign Affairs (July/August, 2004).
* IF YOU CAN'T LAUGH YOU MIGHT CRY: The following e-mail is going around liberal circles. Perhaps you've seen it. It hints at an expectation of Armageddon tomorrow. I still thought it was funny, even if it was addressed in our direction from The Enlightened States of America (and I'm not saying you should take the statistics as scientific certainty):
Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.
Dear Red States:
We're ticked off at your Neanderthal attitudes and politics and we've decided we're leaving.
We in New York intend to form our own country and we're taking the other Blue States with us.
In case you aren't aware that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the rest of the Northeast.
We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country of The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A).
To sum up briefly:
You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states.
We get stem cell research and the best beaches.
We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren. You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.
We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs.
You get Alabama.
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.
Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.
With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country's fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation's fresh fruit, 95% of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulphur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.
With the Red States you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia.
We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.
38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.
We're taking the good weed too. You can have that crap they grow in Mexico.
Citizen of the Enlightened States of America