Nov. 12-18, 2008
It was a GOOD week for …
AUSTERITY BUDGETING. Gov. Mike Beebe proposed a state budget that anticipates a tiny reduction in net revenue, with gaps plugged by a one-time surplus. Why, columnist Max Brantley wonders this week, would you want to cut taxes, too, at a time like this?
BETTER STATE AUDITING. The state confessed that a state employee took $268,000 in three years of embezzling money from the car tag office. It's anybody's guess how much she took over her 20-year career. Only three years worth of transactions could be reconstructed. New procedures are in place to guard against a repetition.
PROTEST. Some 200 people gathered at the state Capitol as part of a national day of protest of anti-gay votes nationwide, including Arkansas's approval of Act 1 to limit adoptions and foster parenting by unmarried people. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, finding no dead Confederates or abortions were involved (to name a couple of types of observances routinely covered on an annual basis by the newspaper), did not send a reporter to the event.
GLOBAL WARMING. The so-called Department of Environmental Quality approved an air permit for a coal-burning power plant in Hempstead County. The state also rushed to say that a federal slowdown on new coal-fired plants nationwide won't be allowed to slow the pumping of new greenhouse gases into the Arkansas atmosphere.
It was a BAD week for …
MIKE HUCKABEE. His new book, “Do the Right Thing,” reached critics and got an instant pounding. “Whiny” and “petty” were just a couple of the adjectives used for a typical Huckabee extended sulk about how he was right and everybody else was wrong in his failed presidential campaign. If only the press had treated him fairly, etc.
The UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS. First it was unpre-cedented presidential bonuses. Then it was unprecedented scholarships. Then it was unprecedented “discretionary” scholarships. Then it was an unprecedented line of credit. Now we learn that unprecedented failure to collect student debt also contributes to the school's shaky financial situation.