IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR …
GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE. He won’t rise to chairman of the National Governors Association until mid-July, but already his rising role is getting the presidential wannabe quoted on various governance issues in newspapers nationwide. Lucky for him, few reporters bother to ask him, while he’s declaiming, where Arkansas stands on such recently raised issues as limits on school vending machines and the writing skills of state employees.
The NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES. This famously reactionary and greedy lobby has been given advance review power on all new state rules and regulations, courtesy of presidential wannabe Mike Huckabee. No other lobby, citizens’ group or taxpayer gets the same courtesy.
TV STATIONS. A campaign aide to Mike Beebe said Beebe expected to spend $6 million to $8 million in the 2006 race for governor. The Republican nominee will spend as much — lots more if his name is Rockefeller.
UA-FAYETTEVILLE CHANCELLORS. A charitable gift is going to provide a $1.75 million residence for current chancellor John White. Former chancellor Dan Ferritor was hired out of retirement by the UA System. He’ll get $82,000 a year for a part-time job that doesn’t even require him to live in Little Rock, home of the system offices.
NORTH LITTLE ROCK MAYOR PAT HAYS. He makes things happens, the latest a deal to put a new home for the Arkansas Travelers in his city if only NLR voters will approve another penny of sales tax Aug. 9. To blow a raspberry at their bigger sister city across the river, they’ll likely do it, no matter how regressive the tax is.
IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR …
SEN. MARK PRYOR. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s surprise retirement puts the Gang of 14 and its “compromise” on judicial filibusters back on the hot seat. Is there any candidate too extreme for Pryor to oppose? Did the Democrats get rolled? Stay tuned.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
IndieWire breaks news long whispered downtown — a more ambitious successor to the Little Rock Film Festival is in the works, with backing from writer/director Jeff Nichols, a Little Rock native. His "Loving" has won wide acclaim recently.