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The week that was, Aug. 8-14

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It was a good week for …

THE FIRST AMENDMENT. A judicial discipline panel decided, after months of pointless wrangling, that Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen had a First Amendment right to speak on various political issues, none relating to matters in his court.

MIKE HUCKABEE. He finished second in the Iowa Republican Party's Straw Poll for Republican presidential candidates. Huckabee's finish behind the better-financed Mitt Romney was a major theme of national coverage.

AN ELECTION. Federal Judge Bill Wilson declined to halt a Little Rock election on increasing mayoral powers. A suit challenging the measures will proceed if voters approved the ideas Tuesday (polls closed after our press time).

RUNNING UP THE BILL. The Williams and Anderson law firm, attorneys for Little School Superintendent Roy Brooks, asked for $70,000 in fees and costs from the Little Rock School District though they lost their effort to have school board members removed from considering Brooks' termination. The bill included $90 for a paralegal to make lunch arrangements; $1,500 for a lawyer to read the Arkansas Times and listen to KARN, and thousands for senior partner Phil Anderson to attend hearings without speaking, along with five others lawyers.

It was a bad week for …

GOV. MIKE BEEBE. Despite an absence of a good reason not to wait for more study, he decided the state Education Department should push ahead with new guidelines for teaching Arkansas history even though historians statewide have criticized them.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSIONER SANDRA HOCHSTETTER. She announced that she would be taking a job working for an electric utility but neither immediately resigned from the PSC nor volunteered to step down from a power plant case involving her future employer. After howls from this quarter and others, she got off the power plant case. Then, a day later, under pressure from a suddenly concerned Gov. Mike Beebe, she finished the job and pushed through the revolving door to the private utility sector.

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