I'm out early for a family commitment. Remember that they'll turn on the River Lights tonight, an Entergy-government project to festoon downtown bridges with LED lighting, and former President Clinton will be on hand. I'll try to post the result later tonight.
BRIDGE UPDATE: They're lit and what a show. I can believe the designers also had a hand in the Eiffel Tower and the Sydney harbor lights.
The flashing, multi-colored gaudy lighting of three bridges would have left Jennings Osborne speechless. My still photo below of the Clinton LIbrary pedestrian bridge doesn't do it justice. You have to see the lights change.
A big — make that HUGE — crowd downtown for the lighting, attended by former President Clinton
Shortly before the event, Clinton honored volunteers at the library. He said the lighting of the bridge completes the last piece of the commitment he made to the city about what would be in place if he put his library here. He said the remaking of the bridge was always important because of the metaphorical bridges he'd built throughout his campaigns. He said he wanted a brightly lit bridge to be the "first thing people would see" when they flew into LIttle Rock and see it as a symbol of efforts to bridge divides and cross barriers to greater things.
It's going to be a tourist hit, that's for sure, metaphor or no metaphor.
* ARKANSAS IN SETTLEMENT OF MORTGAGE SUIT: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel
said Arkansas people will qualify for more than $5.5 million in mortgage debt reductions
thanks to settlement of a national lawsuit against the Ocwen Financial Corp.
over misconduct in mortgage servicing practices that led to improper foreclosures. The suit alleged deceptive documents and "robo-signing" of papers, among others.
* OF ARKANSAS AND A WELFARE QUEEN
: Have a lot of time? Slate has produced a mammoth project
on the woman who was the source of the "welfare queen" meme that Ronald Reagan employed so successfully. She was an Arkansas native. She was white. And getting to know her could be hazardous to your health. Incredible tale.
* 20TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER AT DAVE'S PLACE:
I exercise blogger's prerogative here to give a plug to my friends at Dave's Place,
the downtown restaurant, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary Friday night. Chef and owner Dave Williams will cook a classic French menu as a throwback to his days as line chef at the fabled Restaurant Jacques and Suzanne
. Speaking of legends: Dave is a son of the legendary Mamie Ruth Williams, a liberal political stalwart and friend who left a big hole in this community when she died. Dave's, primarily a lunch spot, has been at Second and Center for more than 10 years, after starting on Seventh Street. Lunch is 11-2, but he opens for dinner Friday night from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. to serve continental cuisine and provide a venue for one of his musically talented clan, Dave Williams II, to play jazz.
* GOT A CHRISTMAS BONUS STORY?
: Jim Romenesko's media blog picks
up for repeat a feature he did in 2000 on readers' memories of memorable Christmas bonuses. An Arkansas angle:
From CRAIG LANCASTER: In 1992, I worked for the Texarkana Gazette. Our Christmas bonus was $15, minus taxes. Several months before Christmas, when the Lakers’ Magic Johnson announced the first of his many comebacks, I ran a centerpiece about his impending return. In my mailbox the day was a note from the newspaper’s vice president: “Magic Johnson is nothing but an immoral HIV carrier, and our readers don’t care about him.” As you can imagine, I took my $12.63 or whatever the hell it was and bought beer, which I drank to ease the pain.
* CLEAN WATER? PHOOEY?
Rememver when the legislature passed and then had to unpass bad law by Rep. Andy Davis to make it harder to control pollution of Arkansas streams? The legislature never learns. Today, a committee refused to sign off on a regulation to protect waterways. Details here on Benji Hardy's blog for the Legislative Digest
. Polluting industries fought the rules for hours. Surprise. They won the round.
UPDATE: WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT IN TODAY'S WORLD:
I put a link on the Arkansas Times Facebook page
to my item this morning about Duck Dynasty dumbness. So far — more than 22,000 views, about 260 "likes" and dozens of comments, most of them strongly defending the Duck boys. What say we grab some Chick-fil-A and talk abut it some more?