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The week that was Feb. 15-21

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IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …

WINTER. Yes, the warmed globe still produces snow and ice in Arkansas, in this case after the daffodils had begun blooming. The wintry weather, which arrived on a Friday evening, made for a blissfully quiet weekend, full of warm fires and good things to eat.

PINE BLUFF. Voters approved a tax increase to pump nearly $30 million into the Pine Bluff School District.

The HOGS. The UA basketball team actually beat a real opponent, 10th-ranked Florida.

FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS.
They dominated Gov. Huckabee’s first round of Healthy Arkansas awards. One restaurant owner called it “good PR” and the streamlined governor touted the healthy food to be found among the shakes and super-sized fries at fast fooderies. Care to give him a presidential campaign contribution, Mr. McDonald?


IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …

ETHICS. A member of the state Ethics Commission, Herschel Cleveland, accepted a $500 fine and warning for breaking the state ethics law by making political campaign contributions to three Democratic candidates. Cleveland should depart the commission rather than give the next Republican before him an alibi.

The JUDICIARY. A former circuit judge lost an appeal of a tax evasion charge arising from a DWI case. A sitting circuit judge was slapped down by the state Supreme Court for trying to prevent the press from reporting embarrassing information about the judge that was presented in open court. The state’s municipal judges asked an ethics advisory panel if it would be acceptable for their lobby to make political contributions to state legislators, the people who set their pay and retirement benefits. (Answer: Duh, no.)

ASA HUTCHINSON. The Republican gubernatorial candidate tried to take credit for deficit reduction begun by President Clinton at the same time standing mute on the budget-wrecking action of Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, in whose administration Asa! served with something less than distinction. See Ernest Dumas’ column this week.

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