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Smart Talk, Nov. 15

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Power ball

Arkansas may have a proposed state lottery on the ballot next year so it's not too early to consider some of the issues other states have encountered. Such as Ping-Pong balls.

In Tennessee, the state stopped using numbered Ping-Pong ball drawings for lottery numbers and switched to computerized selections. Big mistake, writes Liz Garrigan in the Nashville Scene. There's been one glitch after another, including drawings done in such a way that certain tickets couldn't win, misprinted jackpot information and sending the wrong winning numbers to TV stations. A key legislator predicted the Tennessee General Assembly would pass legislation mandating a return to Ping-Pong ball drawings. This, and more, could lie in Arkansas's future.

Confucius says …

The University of Central Arkansas has established a Confucius Institute for Chinese cultural and language education. A cooperative project with Chinese agencies and funded by a $100,000 gift from the Office of Chinese Language Council, the institute will be a regional resource center that can serve area schools and businesses. UCA already had several Chinese programs, including guest scholars, musical programs and classes in Mandarin. UCA President Lu Hardin's interest in China goes back many years. He was on a trip to Beijing during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 and provided eyewitness reports to Arkansas newspapers.

Help wanted: Proofreader

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, criticized sharply in national publications by Arkansas Republicans who opposed tax increases he supported, responded by enlisting Republicans to vouch for his candidacy. One problem: Somebody didn't check the “Huckabee Team” press release issued last week carefully enough.

The list included three people, former state Rep. Sarah Agee of Prairie Grove, Sen. Ruth Whitaker of Cedarville and former Rep. Marvin Childers, who said they hadn't given permission for their names to be used. The list also included a warm statement from a “Shane” Womack. Sen. Shawn Womack said he couldn't endorse Huckabee because he's running for a judgeship. The release misidentified former Rep. Doug Matayo, misspelled former Rep. Carolyn Pollan's name and listed one Republican, Hoyt Johnson, though he was never elected. What's worse, several legislators listed as Huckabee supporters indicated they were doing so just because he was the hometown candidate. Rep. Frank Glidewell, for example, told the Democrat-Gazette he preferred Newt Gingrich. Other than that ….

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