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Below the Beltway

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Below the Beltway A new UALR law professor brings a bit of notoriety from his previous job. Robert Steinbuch, who did not return our calls, comes from Washington, D.C., where he worked as a staff attorney for U.S. Sen. Michael DeWine of Ohio. While on Capitol Hill he encountered Jessica Cutler, a fellow DeWine staffer with whom he had a brief relationship. Cutler anonymously chronicled her love life on a blog, called “Washingtonienne,” but eventually her identity was discovered and she was fired from DeWine’s office. Shortly thereafter she got a six-figure advance to write a novel (“The Washingtonienne”) that resembled her blog accounts, and she posed for Playboy magazine. Although Cutler referred to her companions only by their initials, the 37-year-old Steinbuch sued her for invasion of privacy. “Cutler’s outrageous actions, setting before anyone in the world with access to the Internet intimate and private facts regarding Plaintiff, constituted a gross invasion of his privacy, subjecting him to humiliation and anguish beyond that which any reasonable person should be expected to bear in a decent and civilized society,” Steinbuch’s complaint alleges. The big enchilada Ever hear about “Dirty Tricks,” a play about Martha Mitchell, the Pine Bluff mouth that roared during Watergate, when she was married to Attorney General John Mitchell? The play, which debuted last year at the New York Public Theatre and was written by Wabbaseka native John Jeter, is going to be made into a movie. Variety says “Nip/Tuck” creator Ryan Murphy, who optioned the play, will write and direct for Paramount Pictures. Stars include Meryl Streep (Martha Mitchell), Gwyneth Paltrow (Maureen Dean, wife of John Dean), Annette Bening (journalist Helen Thomas) and Jill Clayburgh (Pat Nixon). Retail watch News — well, rumors — of the death of University Mall’s venerable M. M. Cohn store, and its resurrection in West Little Rock, is apparently premature. Jay Walker, vice president of Fort Worth-based Dunlap Company and regional manager of its Arkansas stores, said “there’s no confirmation on that.” Dunlap, which owns 40 stores in eight states, has been looking for an alternate M.M. Cohn site out west for a year or so, Walker said, but the company hasn’t chosen one, and even if it had, the University Mall store could stay open anyway. Payday The state Finance and Administration Department says money should go out this week for most of the 2,116 General Improvement Fund (pork barrel) projects approved by the 2005 legislature in the amount of more than $53 million. There will be at least 11 exceptions, all named specifically in former Rep. Mike Wilson’s lawsuit challenging GIF spending as unconstitutional local legislation. What if a court ultimately holds ALL the pork spending unconstitutional? “That will be another lawsuit unless this one is amended,” Deputy Finance Director Tim Leathers said. “We get lawsuits with a lot of ifs all the time. We proceed until the court tells us we’re doing something illegally. We presume laws are constitutional.”

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