It's back. Not new and improved. But back. Sorry about last night. My fault. Closing out.
* REFRESHER COURSE ON ETHICS
: AP reports
that House and Senate leaders will hold a "seminar" on ethics Sept. 26. A "refresher course," it's called. In other words, a how-to session on ways to pocket as much money as possible and direct as much in political directions as possible without running afoul of nosy reporters, political opponents or the Ethics Commission. Not to worry about the Ethics Commission.
You can spend money on your girlfriend and get away with it. Give thousands to your colleagues and get away with it. Buy Razorback tickets for a cut rate and get away with it. Call trips around the world "enhancement" of your public office and get away with it. Here's the bottom line: Just about the only limit on campaign finance in Arkansas is shame. And it's in short supply.
* DISASTER DECLARATION
: Gov. Mike Beebe today asked for
a federal disaster declaration
for six northern counties inundated by heavy rains. Will Rep. Tom Cotton
* TAX CUTS AND POLITICS:
More notes from the Capitol today. Another round of discussion abou
t tax cuts
, largely devoid of talk of consequences or commone sense, and news that both parties want a primary to pick nominees for the race to succeed Paul Bookout in the Senate seat he resigned.
* LIT GETS $5.1 MILLION
: A $5.1 million federal grant was announced today for the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport
. It will be used to rehabilitate the taxiway and runway lighting systems and reimburse the airport for land purchases. (Driven around the north end of the airport lately? The former East End is largely cleared, with vast blocks of mown areas beneath huge shade trees. It would make a wonderful park, but for all the planes flying overhead.)
* KEESA SMITH NAMED DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF DHS
: Keesa Smith, 32, credited with eliminating a 4,000-case backlog of unemployment claims as director of the state Board of Review, will become deputy director of the state Department of Human Services
next month. She'll oversee five divisions — Aging and Adult Services, Youth Services, Child Care and Early Childhood Education, Community Service and Nonprofit Support and Services for the Blind. She's also served on Gov. Mike Beebe's staff and oversaw the federal stimulus program in Arkansas for more than a year. She's also a lawyer.