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Good week: Demagoguery

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March 2-8, 2011

It was a good week for ...

CORPORATE ARKANSAS. If you don't like court rulings, what do you do? You outlaw court intervention. So it was that popular legislation was introduced to stop the courts from reviewing power plant site and environment decisions and also to return workers comp legislation to the dark ages by reversing protection for workplace injuries suffered on restroom and other breaks.

DEMAGOGUERY. Legislators filed a torrent of unnecessary legislation at the filing deadline. It ranged from the silly – targeting saggy britches – to the pernicious, aimed at punishing immigrants, pregnant women and anyone who feels safer with fewer, rather than more, concealed weapons around.

RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY. A Garland County Republican Committee member sent an email touting the superiority of the GOP candidate for House of Representatives because the Republican was a Christian and the Democrat a Jew.

It was a bad week for ...

LU HARDIN. The former president of University of Central Arkansas pleaded to felony fraud and money laundering charges for his scheme to use forged documents to hurry up his receipt of a $300,000 bonus. He needed the money to cover gambling debts on high-dollar slot play in Mississippi casinos.

The HIGHWAY TAX PLAN. Polls show voters oppose a double-barreled $2 billion tax increase to build highways. And speaking of taxes: Polls also show the voters favor a grocery tax reduction over the Republican plan to give a tax break to a handful of wealthy people in the form of a capital gains tax break.

LITTLE ROCK NATIONAL AIRPORT. Despite a covey of expensive lobbyists, the airport couldn't beat legislation to outlaw the punitive excise fee the airport attempted to put on a private parking lot that competes with the airport's ruinously expensive parking places. Airport Director Ron Mathieu's recent expense account scandal, for which he essentially escaped punishment, didn't win many friends in the legislature.

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