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The Week That Was, Oct. 6-12, 2010

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It was a good week for ...

JOYCE ELLIOTT. The Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress finally took the gloves off in a televised debate with Republican Tim Griffin. She painted him as untrustworthy, both for his past as a political hatchet man and for contradictory statements on important questions such as Social Security and a national sales tax.

CHEESE DIP. The first world cheese dip championship, invented by Little Rock lawyer Nick Rogers to honor the favorite Arkansas foodstuff and benefit charity, was a smash in its first year. So many people turned out that chips and dip were wiped out by mid-afternoon, hours before the event's scheduled close. Wait 'til next year.

It was a bad week for ...

The ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION. It doesn't give up perks easily. It has yet to identify a single employee who simply cannot have a free state car under Gov. Mike Beebe's tougher car policy. (One employee might lose one, but he's applying for a waiver.) See, prison officials alibied, these employees might have to respond to an emergency some day. Is a once-a-year emergency call sufficient to justify a free state car? The Highway and Transportation Department similarly is convinced all its freebies are fully justified. At least many of those employees cruise highways regularly.

The ARKANSAS MINORITY HEALTH COMMISSION. Shoddy administration of a $50,000 grant to prevent HIV/AIDS among gay black men provided an opportunity for Republican demagogues to trash the whole notion of condom distribution and other sound public health practices.

HIGHER EDUCATION OFFICIALS. They underestimated the preference lottery scholarship recipients would have for four-year over two-year colleges, a miscalculation that could require some allocation changes in coming years. In retrospect it's no surprise. Officials based their projections on past experience, when scholarships were need-based. With no income eligibility limits, huge amounts of lottery scholarship money are going to students from better economic backgrounds who were planning to go to more expensive four-year schools all along.

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