IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …
BOOKS. Filled venues (we’d say sold out venues but most events were free) were the order of the day at the Arkansas Literary Festival, which enjoyed a sunny, entertaining and enlightening sophomore season.
HORSES. A near-record crowd of more than 71,000 swore off books for a day to watch the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park, won by Afleet Alex.
The RIVER MARKET. Between the Literary Festival, Foam Fest, an FBLA convention and the usual Friday night wowswers, Manhattan didn’t have nothing on the strip between the Peabody Hotel and Sticky Fingerz. What a party.
ARKANSAS. The legislature went home.
SUING. The Rogers School District asked the state Supreme Court to hold the legislature in contempt for failing to provide enough money for schools. (Rogers, we remind everyone once again, didn’t help this cause by supporting Tax Increment Finance legislation to divert school taxes to private developers.)
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …
The FIRST AMEND-MENT. The state Ethics Commission said its rules prohibit state political parties from running advertising expressly advocating election or defeat of political candidates. Can those rules be constitutional?
PULASKI COUNTY. Census data confirms the obvious. Population is static in Pulaski. The growth is in suburban counties.
WETLANDS. The Corps of Engineers said it would approve filling Dark Hollow wetlands in North Little Rock to build a Bass Pro Shops-anchored shopping center that will enjoy subsidies from the local school property tax. This is free enterprise, circa 2005. Neither the environment nor school children will stand in the way of a publicly subsidized sporting goods store.
Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
Donald Trump, the president-elect of the United States, this morning made a public statement, via Twitter, that the flag burning should be disallowed by law: "there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!"
Reforms promised by the Division of Children and Family Services are "absolutely necessary," the president of DCFS's independent consultant told a legislative committee this morning. But they still may not be enough to control the state's alarming growth in foster care cases.
Fake news is a new phenomenon in the world of politics and policy, but hokey economic scholarship has been around as long as Form 1040 and is about as reliable as the news hoaxes that enlivened the presidential campaign.