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Better keep your eye on Hot Springs attorney Connie Meskimen. He’s a card — not to mention something of a minor Internet celebrity.

In recent days, several readers have noted Meskimen’s April 16 letter-to-the-editor in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Therein, Meskimen claims that “a plot by the liberal Congress” is to blame for last month being the hottest March on record.

“This should come as no surprise to any reasonable person,” he wrote. “As you know, Daylight Saving Time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate.”

Thanks to the Internet and websites like fark.com, Meskimen’s letter soon went global. The result has been a flood of interest from those trying to set him straight, including interviews with radio stations in El Paso and Baltimore, calls from as far away as Canada, and a college professor from the University of Pennsylvania who wants to use the letter in her class. And the calls are still coming.

The joke is on them and Meskimen, after playing dumb for a bit, lets callers in on the laugh. Calling himself an “agent provocateur,” Meskimen said he’s written letters to the editor on other subjects, but this was his first attempt at satire. He has been amazed at the response.

“It’s probably sort of fitting that all this happens about the time Kurt Vonnegut died,” he said. “It’s like a Kurt Vonnegut story… I find the thing just absolutely bizarre.”

The domain game

Stephens Media’s Washington Bureau reported recently that the Mike Huckabee presidential exploratory campaign had spent $1,700 to purchase Internet domain names from a Conway man. Russell Caldwell, a home inspector, registered the 17 Internet addresses several years ago.

All well and good. But we can tell you that the purchase didn’t include two far more valuable Internet addresses — mikehuckabee.com and mikehuckabee.org.

Those addresses were purchased in 2002 by an unidentified party and registered in a way that the owner is not publicly disclosed. A website developer, eDelta.net, maintains the site. Its operator, Kurt Sims of Little Rock, reports that Huckabee people have made a number of runs at acquiring the domains, including a legally threatening letter from Huckabee attorney Kevin Crass in 2002. The tone has been friendlier lately, with feelers about purchasing the site, including one e-mail offering $500. “Needless to say,” Sims said, “that is not even close to being enough.”

Sims said, speaking for the owner, “I’d prefer the site remain dedicated to giving voters information about Mike Huckabee that they might not otherwise receive. However, if offered enough, I would have to at least consider selling the site.” We gather his asking price might discourage that event coming to pass.

Currently, only mikehuckabee.com is operating. Sims, who set up web services for Huckabee’s 2002 opponent, Jimmie Lou Fisher, solicits content both pro and con for the site, but it currently hosts news articles that depict Huckabee in an unflattering light. The site got 36,000 hits in March, Sims reports.

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