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Huckabee, Tea Leoni, etc.

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Retirement living

As we reported last week, Gov. Mike Huckabee is making plans for life after state politics. He bought a $525,000 house at 1134 Silverwood Trail, North Little Rock, explaining that book royalties had helped him make the down payment, along with the expected sale of a small house on Lake Greeson listed at $380,000. He’ll be working part-time as director of a new Center for Education and Public Policy at Ouachita Baptist University to help meet the mortgage payments while he explores a race for president.

Huckabee also can count on some state retirement income to make ends meet, depending on how he elects to draw it. Huckabee, who turns 51 Aug. 24, can’t draw the full retirement benefit for which he qualifies until age 55. But he can reduce that amount by 6 percent a year for each year he’s short of 55, or by 24 percent if he started taking retirement immediately.

The state system won’t compute retirement for specific employees, but we can roughly apply the formula (1.75 percent of the average of the governor’s three highest years of state pay times credited years of service) to figure he’d qualify for full benefits in the range of $54,000 a year or reduced benefits of nearly $41,000 in 2007. He gets 2.5 years of credit for each year he served as lieutenant governor and three years for each of his 10.5 years as governor.

Limit younger drivers

USA Today reports that Arkansas, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is among 12 states doing a poor to marginal job of placing restrictions on younger drivers. Furthermore, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the states that do better — by making youths wait until 17 for full driving privileges — report a sharp decline, from 18 percent to 21 percent, in fatal crashes involving 16-year-olds.

The USA Today report said these restrictions have proven effective: raising the driving age to 17; restricting driving at night; limiting the number of passengers (it’s particularly dangerous when two or more males are on board); requiring 30 hours of supervised driving to get an unrestricted license.

Arkansas is joined in the bottom 12 by Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina and South Dakota . There’s particular resistance in places with large rural areas that lack mass transit to the inconveniences that could be caused by restricting driving of teens, many of whom work.

Passion party

The Hollywood Reporter said last week that David Duchovny had bought the life rights of Linda Brewer, the Sheridan woman who has made a good living — and won tons of national publicity — by holding Tupperware-style “Passion Parties” at which women get together and buy sex toys, oils, etc.

Duchovny, who’ll produce the movie for Touchstone Pictures and Beacon Pictures, plans to have his wife Tea Leoni star as Brewer, who drives a Cadillac Escalade with the license plate “Fun Lady.”

Leoni as an upper-middle-aged Sheridan housewife? Why not, even if she was born Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni in New York, attended ritzy prep schools and studied anthropology and psychology at Sara Lawrence, while Brewer is a high school dropout.

Maybe Leoni could spend some time with Bob Lancaster down at the House of Dominoes studying up on local speech patterns and folkways.

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