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Smart Talk, March 5



Bonuses  lost


With a sad 5-and-7 record, the football Razorbacks didn't earn any performance bonuses, and it's virtually certain there'll be no bonuses in basketball either. The baseball team still has a chance to pick up some extra cash, though. That season has just started.

The UA Athletic Department signed a contract in August 2008 with a group called ISP Sports to handle all Razorback media rights. As part of the contract, ISP agreed to pay bonuses for superior performance. The football team could have earned $100,000 by winning the national championship, or $50,000 by winning the Southeastern Conference championship (but only if the team also played in a post-season bowl game), or $50,000 for playing in a BCS bowl game. Technically, the basketball Razorbacks still have a chance at a bonus, but it would take a miracle. The roundballers could collect a $25,000 bonus for winning the SEC championship tournament, or a $50,000 bonus for making the Final Four in the NCAA tournament. The women basketball players' chances look a little better — they've been winning lately — but not much. They could collect $12,500 by winning the SEC tournament, or $25,000 for making the Final Four of the women's NCAA. The baseball team can pick up $6,250 by winning the SEC championship, or $12,500 for making it into the College World Series. No bonuses are available for other sports. 


Same old Huck B.S.


Former Gov. Mike Huckabee was a marquee speaker at last week's Conservative Political Action Committee convention in Washington, a command performance for the hard right Republican base. By some accounts he didn't do so hot, though he came fully stuffed with metaphors and applause lines, such as referring to cable channel MSNBC as MSBS. Notable was a comment from the blog of the Weekly Standard, a leading conservative journal. It wrote, in the course of recounting an epic list of Huck alliteration and metaphors, “ … judging by his speech, the Huckabee revolution will be word-smithed and catch-phrased, aggressively.” The blogger said the Huck's opening joke “finished with — I kid you not — a teacher tasting puppy piddle.” Presidential?


Behind closed doors


Circuit Judge Willard Proctor of Little Rock, who faces a judicial disciplinary hearing in late April over allegations of misconduct in operation of the Cycle Breakers probation program he started,  worked behind the scenes, but unsuccessfully, to short-circuit that process.

In a motion filed under seal with the state Supreme Court Feb. 9, Proctor petitioned the court to quash the hearing on a number of grounds. The state  objected. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday, without public announcement, that it was denying Proctor's request. But the case remained under seal.  The Supreme Court had earlier, in the same case, declined to stay the disciplinary proceedings. But it also at that time declined a request from the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission that Proctor be suspended while the investigation continued. Because the case is under seal, little is known about the facts cited for Proctor's immediate suspension. Nor has the Supreme Court released any justification for the rare occurrence of continuing secret litigation.


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