Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The midafternoon line

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 4:11 PM

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Another slow day. So some odds and ends:

JAY CHESSHIR: More tall tales today.
  • JAY CHESSHIR: More tall tales today.
* UPDATE: THERE GOES JAY CHESSHIR AGAIN: Jay Chesshir, the LR Chamber of Commerce and de facto LR government boss, wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He wants to lobby for a corporate agenda. He wants a taxpayer subsidy to do it. And he wants to be considered honorable. Strikeout on the third wish. When questioned at the LR Tech Park Authority today about the city taxpayer $200,000 annual subsidy, he said, according to Leslie Peacock, that the Chamber is subject to audit on the city money, reports on its activities and all is discoverable under the FOI. If he said it as I was told, he's a liar. At a minimum, he was wildly misleading. There is a pro forma audit that reports spending in general areas. There's a general quarterly report on activities of the chamber. They tell very little. If you ask for specifics — names of who's paid and how much; how travel money was spent; what outside agencies got taxpayer money; what precisely was the money used to promote; what representations were made on behalf of the city with this money; specific documents to support claims of business contacts and successful recruitment, Chesshir will tell you clearly as he has told me, "WE ARE NOT COVERED BY THE FOI." Mr. Accountability Jay Chesshir also has denied the chamber was running the city sales tax campaign, when it was. And he has repeatedly denied my efforts to see how THAT money was spent. And Mary Good wonders why the Tech Park looks like the "Gang of Three." Dishonesty — or at least disingenuousness — like this is one good reason. Its demonstration tonight of contempt for the City Board's effort last night to get it to slow down and seriously study alternatives to neighborhood demolition was another illustration of why it richly deserves distrust. You find alternatives, it told the public. We like our residential neighborhoods just fine. And be sure they meet our criteria that only allow bulldozing of the homes of poor black people. I had to laugh when Dickson Flake told me today that a Catholic Church on 12th Street was left out of a proposed Tech Park target area not because he's a real estate rep for the Catholic diocese but because it was "neighborhood stabilizing use." A liquor store was similarly evaluated as too useful to omit in the first plan. Homes that supply human beings who go to churches? These are not stabilizing uses apparently. Bulldoze 'em.

* JON STEWART NAILS FOX NEWS AND HANNITY AGAIN: Disagree with President Obama if you will on stopping deportation of young, law-abiding immigrants. But don't believe it when the spinners claim he's said previously that he couldn't do it. Or that it's never been done before. Lying liars at work. Roll tape above.

* REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR TOSSED OUT OF COURT: State Rep. Lori Benedict didn't like it, apparently, when the Baxter County Airport Commission decided to allow competition to her flight service business at the airport. A Republican who likes true free enterprise? Not many of those. She sued. A federal judge has tossed her suit, the Baxter Bulletin reports. He found no merit in her allegations, many of them dusty with age.

* POLL WATCH: You know what they say. The only poll that counts is in November. But recent polling on Obama's re-election chances is interesting if only because it runs so contrary to the faith-based beliefs of his opponents. Bottom line: A lot of people don't like Mitt Romney much.

* RISPERDAL VERDICT STANDS: Circuit Judge Tim Fox has denied a motion for a new trial in the case in which he awarded the state $1.2 billion against pharmaceutical defendants for improper use of the anti-psychotic drug with Medicaid recipients.

* MURPHY OIL ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP CHANGE: Murphy Oil, based in El Dorado, announced today that David Wood had retired as CEO and would leave the company board. Steve Cosse, with Murphy since 1991, will succeed Wood.

* REPUBLICAN TAX POLICY — COMFORT THE RICH: The Arkansas Democratic Party is, correctly, making much of a Washington Post article that shows the House Republican tax plan (thanks Messrs. Womack, Griffin and Crawford) would sharply cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and increase the tax burden on the middle class. I kid you not. The scam is that tax rates would fall, but loss of important deductions would screw working people. The Republican plan also would diminish the value of Social Security and Medicare.

* NOT SO FUNNY: A professional children's party clown has been arrested on child porn charges in Fort Smith.

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: Brush is burning near LaMarche Drive in western Little Rock. It has reportedly interrupted some electrical service and fire units are standing by near some houses as a precaution.
  • Greg Yarbrough/Channel 4
  • WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: Brush was burning this afternoon near LaMarche Drive in western Little Rock. The fire has reportedly interrupted some electrical service in the area and fire units are standing by near some houses as a precaution. Youths setting off fireworks that damaged mailboxes were believed responsible.

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