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Smart Talk June 23 

Guv for a day Sen. Jim Argue was governor for a day or so last week because both Gov. Mike Huckabee and Lt. Gov Win Rockefeller were out of town and that put the Senate president pro tempore in charge. Our Constitution, which dates to 1874, provides for such successions because telephones and Blackberries weren’t around then. Argue kept his cool. He didn’t fire a gubernatorial staffer, as Sen. Nick Wilson once did during the Clinton years, or pardon anyone, as Sen. Jerry Jewell did when Jim Guy Tucker was out of town. Argue had a little reception and issued three proclamations. Two praised friends and political allies Sheila Bronfman and Stacy Pittman and the third lauded his wife, Elise. The last, he tells us, won him plenty of slack the next time he forgets to put a dirty coffee mug in the dishwasher. There are many whereases praising his wife of 25 years as a mother, school and church volunteer. It closes: “NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that on this day, Wednesday, June 15, 2005, I honor my wife, Elise Carey Argue, who has also been there for me in her gracious and loving style, who has supported this great state through her own service as a mother and volunteer extraordinaire. Elise, I love you forever and a day.” A marriage made in heaven For a presidential wannabe, it’s a hookup made in heaven. Gov. Mike Huckabee is lending his covenant-marriage message to a celebrity group that wants to encourage marital fidelity. Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau reported last week that the Huckster will speak Aug. 9 at Robinson Center at the first public event of Stand F.I.R.M. (Fidelity Initiative — Restore Marriage), an Arizona-based nonprofit. The group was organized by R&B singer Troy Johnson. Former Washington Redskin Darrell Green will speak. Other pro basketball and football players will give advice in videos. The group will hold quarterly events and national marriage seminars. Johnson, whose single “It’s You” is said to have sparked the group, says infidelity is the leading cause of divorce. A spokesman said Huckabee’s support of covenant marriage makes him a perfect spokesman for the cause. What’s wrong with Kansas? There’s a dangerous lesson for Arkansas in Kansas. There, after the legislature got an expert analysis of its unconstitutional school system, it met and appropriated an amount short of what the expert said was necessary for suitable schools. The Kansas Supreme Court ordered the legislature to provide an additional $143 million by July 1. Some legislators want to defy the court. The governor has called a special session and says a rise in revenue will allow the state to meet the court order without a tax increase. But the most damaging response is an effort led by a conservative Republican senator to push a constitutional amendment that would strip the Kansas charter of education provisions and thus deprive the court of the ability to review the constitutionality of education laws. This “remedy” has been mentioned in Arkansas before. Only one sentence need be removed from Article 14 of the state Constitution: “Intelligence and virtue being the safeguards of liberty and the bulwark of a free and good government, the State shall ever maintain a general, suitable and efficient system of free public schools and shall adopt all suitable means to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.” Don’t tell anybody.
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