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Smart Talk, April 1

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So much for the Longhorns

Condomania.com, an on-line condom store, reported recently on what it claims is the first formal assessment of penis size since 1948 Kinsey research. It used its database from the sale of custom-fitted prophylactics (sold in 76 sizes) to 27,000 men to rank the states and the 20 largest U.S. cities.

The states: No. 1, New Hampshire. No. 50, Wyoming. In between, Arkansas at 13th and Texas at 35th.

The cities: No. 1, New Orleans. No. 20, Dallas-Fort Worth. Washington, D.C., was No. 2.

Survey says blue state averages exceeded red state averages. More, lots more, at the website.


Sisterhood of the traveling lobbyists

Sen. Blanche Lincoln refused to join most Democrats in supporting the so-called health reconciliation bill because she generally opposed the voting process and also on some specifics, including the Obama administration's plan to move student lending to the government from more expensive private lenders. Lincoln argued that the existing program worked fine. Critics saw a darker motivation — Lincoln's many ties to the private lenders' lobby. It was explained in some detail by a blogger for the liberal group Campaign for America's Future. Kelly Bingel, a lobbyist for the student loan industry, is Lincoln's former chief of staff. They'd bonded as sorority sisters. Bingel once wrote for the Chi Omega sorority's magazine about applying for a job with Lincoln: “The first thing she said when she saw my resume was, ‘Oh, she's a Chi Omega!' In short, Chi Omega opened the door for me to work with the woman who would be an amazingly positive influence in my life and who would become — a decade later — my son's godmother.”

Lincoln's current chief of staff, Elizabeth Burks, once worked for a Texas congressman who's now a lending industry lobbyist. Another former Lincoln staffer, Elizabeth Barnett, works for a lobbying firm that works for a student lender.


Businessman Keet

?Jim Keet, the Republican candidate for governor, is often identified as an owner of a Little Rock restaurant, Taziki's. True enough, but his varied business dealings are much broader. The limits of Arkansas financial disclosure law make it impossible to make a good estimate of his worth (property value and income only must be identified as being worth more than $1,000 or $12,500). But it seems safe to guess that he's not heading to the poor house.

He received income of more than $12,500 in 2009 from the Keet Management Company, the Bentley Apartments in Little Rock, CBS Outdoor (a billboard rental company in New Jersey), Import Auto Maintenance in Nashville, Tenn., and KMC Silver Beach and KMC Ocean Club (rental property in Destin, Fla., and Biloxi, Miss.). He listed holdings worth more than $12,500 that included Otter Creek Land Company and JTJ Restaurants in Little Rock, Ceylon Drive Real Estate in Gulf Breeze, Fla., and a variety of investments in securities and a money market account. Another question unanswered so far: Will he spend much of it in his challenge of Gov. Mike Beebe?

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