March 23-29, 2011
It was a good week for...
CORPORATIONS. The legislature isn't quite done, but the winners are already clear. Corporate Arkansas won again. See Ernest Dumas this week.
MIKE ANDERSON. The Missouri basketball coach and former Hog assistant during the Nolan Richardson years struck a $2.2-million-a-year deal to come back to the University of Arkansas.
PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. In a secretive process, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees moved toward choosing a new system president. Our reporting indicated a strong internal split over one faction's push for former Farm Bureau President Stanley Reed to get the job. His stance on a number of issues should disqualify, but won't, necessarily.
WHINING. From the painful shrieks, you'd have thought residents of Fayetteville were the only people to be moved to a new congressional district under a plan approved in House committee. Actually, some 200,000 or more must be shuffled, but the addition of Fayetteville to the 4th triggered an angry local reaction, abetted by Republicans who favor plans offering more protection to their members of Congress.
REPUBLICAN HYPOCRISY. Five Republican senators could have killed a nickel diesel tax increase in committee, but didn't. Then they voted against the tax and criticized it after it passed. Sen. Missy Irvin made a fool of herself in a radio interview, saying she didn't know how to ask for a roll call.
It was a bad week for ...
UTILITY REGULATION. The legislature passed a bill intended to limit court review of power plant regulatory decisions and to encourage courts not to overturn the previously botched rulings on the SWEPCO power plant in Hempstead County.
SECRETARY OF STATE MARK MARTIN. He acknowledged that he spent $27,000 of Board of Apportionment money that wasn't his to spend, so he transferred the cost to his office budget. Next question: Why does your office need to buy a new car when it already has 23 and your party, the Republicans, has a pending lawsuit over state vehicle purchases?
AARON JONES. The lawyer convicted of torching his Chenal Valley mansion for insurance proceeds dropped his appeal and settled for a 10-year sentence and a workout of cross-claims with his insurance company. His family continues to insist he's innocent and will work to uncover new evidence