Dec. 12-18, 2007
It was a good week for …
The UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS. After our deadline last week, they landed a football coach, the collegiately successful — but personality-challenged — Bobby Petrino. Petrino fled a losing record with the Atlanta Falcons, who hurled insults at him in his wake.
GOV. MIKE BEEBE. They put up a road sign in tiny Amagon marking the rural Jackson County community as the governor's birthplace.
MIKE HUCKABEE. His front-runner status in Iowa helped propel him to the lead, or near it, in a number of other states. Cover stories in the New York Times and Newsweek didn't hurt. But his rise brought new scrutiny of financial contributions made coincidental to a commutation decision for a wealthy Van Buren man, of the extent of freebies he received from people appointed to state commissions and of his intervention in a State Police review of the involvement of the governor's son in a dog-killing at Boy Scout camp.
SCHOOL TEACHERS. Thank God for Mississippi no more. Arkansas ranks 32nd in teacher pay, according to a National Education Association survey.
It was a bad week for …
NORTH LITTLE ROCK. The police and the mayor want to put some drone miniature helicopters aloft to spy on the city below. The ACLU doesn't much like the snooper in the sky.
LITTLE ROCK CITY GOVERNMENT. The Advertising and Promotion Commission dug in its heels and agreed to provide only about $400,000 of the $1.1 million Mayor Mark Stodola had sought to help balance the city budget. Robbing Peter to pay Paul isn't sound management. Is it possible there's some fat still to be cut from city operations?
RELIGION. Everyone from Gov. Mike Beebe on down defended the use of the Capitol grounds annually for a Nativity scene against a complaint by a group that supports separation of church and state. When public officials say a Nativity scene doesn't amount to a government endorsement of religion, it cheapens the message by reducing a depiction of the birth of Christ to an empty seasonal tableau.