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Smart Talk, Oct. 1



No. 4 in violence against women


Add these to the unhappy statistics that Arkansas earns: According to a study published last week by Violence Policy Center, a national non-profit organization that supports gun control, Arkansas ranks at 4th in the nation in the number of women killed by men.

The study, of FBI data on homicides in 2007, ranked Louisiana at the top with 2.53 women per 100,000 population. Arkansas deaths were 2.29 per 100,000.

More stats from the report: 33 Arkansas women were murdered by men in 2007. Two victims were under 18 years old and two were 65 or older. The average age of female victims was 40.

Sixteen of the victims were black, 17 white. Thirteen were shot and killed with handguns; six were killed with knives.

Of the 24 cases in which the relationship between the killer and victim were known, only 3 involved strangers. More than half (54 percent) the victims were wives, ex-wives or girlfriends, higher than the national average of 32.9 percent; 81 percent of the homicides were the result of argument and not connected to another felony.

According to the FBI, there were 191 murders in Arkansas in 2007, or 6.7 people per 100,000. Men make up 91 percent of offenders nationally.


Caesarean coverage


Recent testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives committee uncovered an incident in which a Colorado woman was denied health insurance because she'd had a Caesarean-section pregnancy and the insurance company cited that as a “pre-existing condition.” The Progress Report, a liberal blog, said: “With Caesarean-section births on the rise — nearly 30 per cent of American women now have the procedure — the practice of health insurers using it as a pre-existing condition and reason to deny care is likely to be more destructive to women's health than ever.”

Are Arkansas women in danger? Yes, but. Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford says that if a woman who's had a Caesarean tries to buy health insurance, the company can refuse to provide it by declaring the C-section a pre-existing condition. But if a woman is already insured, the company cannot refuse to pay for a C-section nor can it cancel her policy because of it.


Dixie Chicks in LR


The Dixie Chicks won't be performing if they do show up in Little Rock Feb. 8. That's the day set for trial of a slander suit against the Chicks — Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martha Seidel —  by Terry Hobbs. He's the stepfather of Steve Branch, one of three children killed in 1993 in West Memphis. The trial will be before federal District Judge Brian Miller, who also will hear future appeals in the case of Death Row inmate Damien Echols, convicted in the killing of the three children. Hobbs' suit, which names all three Chicks, focuses on Maines and says she  had falsely implicated him in the killing of the children.


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