April 20-26, 2011
It was a good week for ...
DEMOCRATS. The party went on the attack against Republican votes to destroy Medicare and Medicaid while giving enormous tax breaks to the rich. Rep. Tim Griffin of Little Rock and Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro were targeted specifically. Third District Rep. Steve Womack can do whatever he wants in Yellow Dog Republican Land.
TIGHT BUDGETING. A new state revenue forecast says Arkansas might be able to squeeze a tiny sum — $2.5 million — for rainy needs, but otherwise caution is the watchword. The state employee pay plan for next year has no pay raises or COLAs.
MIKE HUCKABEE. Haley Barbour, the only other Southerner contemplating a Republican run for president, dropped out. Evidence builds that the Huckster may enter the race — if he can figure out a way to preserve his new media loot.
It was a bad week for ...
WEATHER. Powerful storm systems pounded Arkansas. Deaths came in flooding and tornadoes. Hardest hit appeared to be Vilonia, which at our press time was reporting four deaths and a miles-long path of destruction through the Faulkner County city.
REP. TIM GRIFFIN. He visited a Head Start center to get a photo op with cute kids and used the opportunity to say he'd cut federal spending for programs like Head Start before he'd drop tax cuts for the rich. He bragged that his mother was once a Head Start teacher, the kind of jobs he'd eliminate. He also horned in on a $25 million federally financed airport expansion project in Conway, exactly the kind of stimulus spending of which he normally disapproves. Sen. John Boozman, another stimulus opponent, also sent hypocritical word praising the great economic stimulation of the airport project.
ATTORNEY GENERAL DUSTIN MCDANIEL. He spent $250,000 of taxpayer money on a report that said Pulaski County school districts hadn't kept books the way he prefers on use of state desegregation settlement money. The districts were under no obligation to do as McDaniel wished. He was simply demagoguing the Pulaski court case, a popular pastime of opportunist politicians.
ELEPHANT LOVERS. Mary, the Little Rock Zoo's 60-year-old elephant, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.