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Smart talk, March 26


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Criminals among us


Debate continues on whether to close the Arkansas list of concealed weapon permit holders to public inspection, legislation prompted by the Arkansas Times' web publication of the list.

One thing that's become clear, though. Despite some representations to the contrary — and a background check required for permit holders — the process doesn't keep permits out of the hands of an unsavory element.

We reported that the State Police first learned from us that the Arkansas list included the Russellville doctor accused of illegal possession of military explosives. Later, we learned that Texas routinely (and usefully) matches its permit holder list against those convicted of felonies. In the most recent listing available, Texas found 140 permit holders had been convicted of felonies ranging from child sexual assault to murder. The percentage was small, about the same as the percentage of the overall Texas population convicted in that year of a felony. Arkansas currently has no system for matching felony convictions with the permit list on a systematic basis, another reason that public access to the list can add to accountability for the occasional bad apple.


Good day!


The death of veteran radio commentator Paul Harvey has, as many predicted, created a huge business opportunity for former Gov. Mike Huckabee. The former governor, already syndicated by ABC Radio Networks, is being offered by the network to stations as a replacement for Harvey.

Beginning this week, the network is giving stations that had received Harvey a five-minute show by Huckabee in morning and afternoon slots. That's shorter than the 15-minute programs Harvey produced. Harvey made millions annually from his program. If Huckabee can retain a similar following and commercial support, he might decide he wouldn't be interested in taking a White House pay cut.




Playboy magazine has a photo shoot planned in Hot Springs. Simmer down, fellows. The subject isn't babes, but barbecue, specifically the legendary fare at historic McClard's. We recommend the tamale spread, with everything.



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