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Smart Talk Feb. 9

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A toe in the water

 If you’re worrying about putting on a swimsuit this summer, worry no more: features two-piece swimwear that won’t show any of those areas you’re not proud of. In fact, because “the need for modesty in swimwear is greatest and the supply is almost non-existent,” all the suits show is forearm and a little leg. The suits — for girls and women only — feature a short-sleeved spandex undergarment that comes to mid-thigh paired with a loose outer garment whose fabric “limits cling” and adds “modesty and style.” The ensemble involves more yardage than most kids currently wear to school. Wholesomewear is a favorite link on Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s website, The suits are currently on sale, ranging from $44.50 to $87.20, a blessing for the Duggars, who, when they want to take their girls for a modest dip, require six swimsuits. What do their 10 boys wear? Three-piece suits, maybe.

Low carrying charges

 It’s well if not widely known that land on the ever-growing western side of Little Rock includes thousands of acres taxed under the state Constitution at its very low “use” value, such as currently nonproductive agricultural land, even though it’s being held for sale for more lucrative uses, residential and commercial. Some other states, but not Arkansas, have passed “clawback” laws that assess a tax on sales of such land to recover taxes on what the land is actually worth.

Here’s a recent illustration of where such a law would be helpful to schools and other tax beneficiaries. The Little Rock Wastewater Utility purchased 21 acres near Pinnacle Mountain for a new sewage treatment plant for $370,000, or $17,619 an acre. The seller was Eugene Pfeifer, and the purchase included land on which to build a 50-foot-wide, half-mile-long road to the plant site from Chenal Parkway.

Property taxes Pfeifer owed on the 21 acres in 2005? $200.31, or less than $10 an acre. You could expect to pay more than $4,700 per year in property taxes on a $370,000 Little Rock home in that neighborhood.

Blessed are the mute

 Last month, local station KARK was one of several NBC affiliates nationwide that caved to pressure from a Christian conservative letter-writing campaign and pulled the new show “The Book of Daniel” for its supposedly blasphemous content.

It was recently spared another trip down the slippery slope of free speech.

The American Family Association, the Tupelo, Miss.-based Christian group that orchestrated the movement against “Daniel,” had announced another target: an upcoming episode of the hit NBC show “Will and Grace.” On April 13, an NBC release said the show was scheduled to air an episode co-starring pop princess Britney Spears in which she would host a fictional cooking show called “Cruci-fixins.”

In a letter to his flock, AFA chairman and founder Donald Wildmon claims that NBC has decided to “hit back at the Christian community” by mocking the crucifixion of Christ. He goes on to point out that the offending episode is scheduled to air the day before Good Friday. His letter called for AFA members to blast NBC, as they had before.

Before we could even get a return call from KARK, on whether it would again fold to the AFA, the station was spared. NBC sent a message to affiliates that it was all a big mistake. To quote the memo: “Some erroneous information was mistakenly included in a press release describing an upcoming episode of ‘Will & Grace’ which, in fact, has yet to be written.
“The reference to ‘Cruci-fixins’ will not be in the show and the storyline will not contain a Christian characterization at all.
“We value our viewers and sincerely regret if this misinformation has offended them.”

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