Sept. 10-16, 2009
It was a GOOD week for …
HYSTERIA. Arkansas motorists reacted worse than most in the U.S. at news of rising gasoline prices due to refinery closures forced by Hurricane Ike. They swarmed gas stations to save a few pennies, prompting some temporary shortages. Gov. Mike Beebe declared a state of emergency. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel promised to investigate for price gouging.
HYPOCRISY. Sen. Gilbert Baker pontificated to the Democrat-Gazette that recent travails at UCA would mean greater legislative scrutiny of college budgets next year. No kidding. All legislators, however, first should disclose when they've received financial help and favors for family members and political campaigns from universities. Boodler Baker, who's been conspicuously silent on UCA misdeeds, would have disclosures to make on all counts.
TEXAS. Out-of-staters accounted for nearly a third of the entering class at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, with Texans the most numerous. Even with that big count of immigrants, the state's largest campus, with 19,191 students, is far off track for meeting a goal of 22,500 students by 2010.
LITTLE ROCK WATER RATES. Enjoy them now. Looks like they'll be going up Jan. 1.
It was a BAD week for …
ELECTRICAL SERVICE. Nearly a quarter-million Arkansans lost power because of rain and wind that blew through the state thanks to Hurricane Ike. Some were off the grid for days.
IMMIGRANT HATERS. That big hubbub over whether “illegal aliens” are getting out-of-state tuition at Arkansas colleges? Tempest in a teapot. Of 22,000 college students, only 80 haven't produced valid Social Security numbers and officials conceded that doesn't necessarily mean the 80 don't have legal status. Some just might have refused to produce a number, which isn't required by law for college admission. Sadly, the handful who ARE affected by rampant xenophobia tend to be long-time Arkansas residents with Arkansas diplomas who aren't legal residents. Punish them, but bring on more Texans.