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Cool Cotton, warm Clinton 

Best served warm

Local politicos and national observers alike continue to chatter about Tom Cotton and whether – despite his sterling resume – he lacks the chops as a back-slapping retail politician necessary to succeed in Arkansas. "A bit of a cold fish," a pollster told U.S. News & World Report last week. If Cotton needs advice on upping the requisite charm and warmth, he might think back to another Arkansas politician with big national ambitions. Here's Cotton himself, writing for the Harvard paper as an undergrad, about meeting then-Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton as a boy: "His eyes twinkled that twinkle that is now so familiar to all of us. He mouthed an inaudible thanks, and then moved on to the next face. Forty-five seconds, at most. And he absolutely meant it all, the way young couples mean it when they say. 'I love you.' ... Bill Clinton is the most successful campaigner of our time because he is the most sincere campaigner of our time."

Quote of the week

"What they did was a Band-Aid and it wasn't a well-placed one. ... This is not found money. This is money we have used to pay insurance premiums. We don't like that and if they'd asked we would have been glad to share that with them."

— Fort Smith School Superintendent Benny Gooden, on the legislative "fix" to the school employee health insurance crisis. The only money provided by the legislature to reduce the impact of yet another round of punishing premium increases for those who take school employee insurance was taken — $4.6 million — from school districts. The state stole savings school districts realize from contributions to insurance coverage. That money was used to lower premiums for employees. Now it's gone.

Paint it white

Two years ago, new shrubbery was stolen from St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church, a historic congregation at 1622 Marshall St. Thieves struck the church again last month, stealing seven small evergreens recently planted by Father Francis Damoah. They've been replaced. But all 20 have now received some white identifying paint. If stolen again — and if you should see them around town — you know who to thank for the white-flocked greenery. The church is hopeful that the marking will discourage further thefts.

Air Huckster

$253,000: The amount, according to a review of federal and state campaign finance records by Politico, that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has racked up in private air travel bills to political events over the last few years. It's good to be the Huck.

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