The painfully obvious commanded attention as this week began.
• POLITICS: Bill Halter was outraised almost 20-1 in the quarter by Democratic gubernatorial primary opponent Mike Ross, but said the $800,000 he has on hand is sufficient to get the job done. That $800,000 is inflated by a $640,000 loan from Halter himself. His campaign of "ideas" hasn't taken hold among Arkansas campaign contributors (voters). He can't win the primary. Duh.
• DEADLY FORCE: Deon Williams, 26, was killed by Little Rock police when he allegedly picked up a gun and looked at an officer chasing him. It was the second police shooting in a week and the third fatal police shooting this year. Williams would be alive today if he hadn't run after a traffic stop. Though a parolee, he might not have even been arrested, despite reported possession of a pistol and drugs, because police were wrong to stop him because they thought he was driving a stolen car. It wasn't stolen, but belonged to the mother of his child. Running from a cop isn't probable cause for arrest, but isn't well-advised. Little Rock police have demonstrably limber trigger fingers. Duh.
• ARKANSAS'S IMAGE: Republicans, counting on deeply ingrained Arkansas prejudice, couldn't wait to scorn and ridicule Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Grant Tennille for saying it would be a boon to Arkansas to show a progressive spirit and repeal law that discriminates against gay people. 1957 proved that advocating discrimination isn't a recipe for economic development. Duh. The duhs extend in this case to more than sexual equality. If you ran Google or similar, would you want a state where a rising political majority not only proudly discriminates against gay people, it wants to remove all access to abortion (rape, incest, medical condition, early stage of pregnancy notwithstanding), opposes strict environmental regulation, wants more guns and Christian prayer in public life, opposes teaching of evolution, favors elimination of capital gains taxes on billionaires and favors reduction of government health and nutrition support?
• THAT LITTLE ROCK TECHNOLOGY PARK: The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce orchestrated a field trip to Winston-Salem, N.C., and St. Louis to show examples of successful research parks. We should be thankful. Years after taxpayers gave the city more than $20 million to dump into the control of the chamber for this project, the godfathers have finally decided — duh! — that perhaps a decision on exactly what the research park will be should precede a headlong rush to tear down a neighborhood and build a spec office building.
Many more duh moments are needed. The godfathers seemed uninterested in key differences between what they saw in other states and what's happening here. The new push seems to be that the tech park should provide additional lab space for UAMS and UALR. Really? City taxpayers are to become the chief funding source for STATE institutions? Did either of the other cities do that? (Hint: No.) How much money and rent will the universities bring to the project? Both are strapped.
Then there's private money. Not a single dollar of private money has emerged in support of the Little Rock tech park. It has been critical in successful developments elsewhere.
Then there's state and federal money. Critical elsewhere, but absent here. I'm sure Republican legislators are just wishing someone would ask.
Little Rock's field trippers also heard encouragement to put a park in an urban neighborhood with mixed uses, exciting to workers. But Dickson Flake, the old-school businessman who created this chamber pipe dream, remains fixed on the notion that straight-line proximity to a university campus is the path to success. Some things never change. Duh.