Tuesday night on ice. As usual, it comes down to Obamacare | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday night on ice. As usual, it comes down to Obamacare

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 4:07 PM

ICED TREE DOWN: At Cedar and Kavanaugh. The sidewalk came up, too.
  • ICED TREE DOWN: At Cedar and Kavanaugh. The sidewalk came up, too.

The Tuesday night line is open a bit early. No City Board meeting tonight, though things improved enough that the legislature went ahead with its Public Health Committee this afternoon. The private option cataclysm waits for no man.

click to enlarge ICE CAN BE NICE: If on a sign,  not on a power line. - AARON NOLAN/VIA KARK TWITTER
  • Aaron Nolan/via KARK Twitter
  • ICE CAN BE NICE: If on a sign, not on a power line.

* COUNT YOURSELF LUCKY: If you're reading this, you have power (or a hand-cranked computer). Some 47,000 and maybe more by now, are without power as ice-weighted limbs and lines have snapped.

Entergy says it has 900 people at work and is assembling 1,400 more. It says the hardest hit localities are Garland County, with 8,500 out; Conway County with 3,400, and Pulaski with just over 3,000.

* AGRICULTURAL ESPIONAGE: The New York Times has taken a longer look at the matter of Chinese espionage in U.S. agricultural research. This is the case in which an Arkansas rice researcher has been implicated. Proprietary rice seeds were founds in the bags of visitors returning to China after stops that included research facilities in Kansas and Stuttgart.

* GREEN BUILDING: Skip Rutherford says the Clinton School program tonight is proceeding as scheduled. Shane Gring, who founded BOULD to fill an "experience gap" in the green building industry, will speak at 6 p.m. at the Clinton School's Sturgis Hall. His organization has worked with developing professionals and built 40 LEED-certified  affordable homes. He's leading a national campaign aimed at younger people, sustainability and social justice.

* NO COTTON IN THIS FARM BILL: The Senate completed work today on a farm bill, with continued farmer subsidies and continued, if reduced, food stamps. No thanks to Extremist Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, the only member of Congress from Arkansas to oppose it.

* KOCHHEADS GO AFTER PRYOR: Speaking of Tom Cotton, his enablers, the wealthy Koch brothers — haters of taxes, environmental regulations, a safety net for working people and other valuable things — are pouring on the coal so to speak. Their Americans for Prosperity — you know, that "educational" outfit that tried to buy the Arkansas Senate in 2012 but fell a few votes short — is going to spend big money beating him up for supporting Obamacare. I wish we could put 100,000 newly insured Arkansans on buses to visit the Koch mansions to talk about the evil Obamacare. And some of those few thousand hospital workers who'll be out of work if the Kochs and Cotton Tea Co. succeed in undoing this advancement in universal coverage.

The Kochs, by the way, are busily trumpeting a fib about job losses supposedly caused by Obamacare. If facts matter ….. I know they don't, but. Talking Points Memo explains.


* SEWER DOCUMENT DUMP: Late this afternoon, the Little Rock Wastewater Utility turned over to Leslie Newell Peacock the personnel file of Reggie Corbitt, recently fired as director of the sewer utility over unauthorized expenditures on housing an employee occasionally in a trailer on sewage treatment plant grounds and over reports of target shooting by employees on treatment plant property in the city, next to the airport.

My quick perusal doesn't find much new beyond the discharge letter, which sets out no reasons for the firing by the Sewer Committee. It does detail bits and pieces of Corbitt's nearly 30-year career, which had become rewarding. Moreover it had become supremely powerful, and he built a long record of pushing purchasing and perks beyond borders. He was frequently remonstrated, but the firing, when it came, was over expenditures smaller than some past controversies.

Corbitt made almost $189,000 a year. He had a $700 monthly car allowance. He had city health, dental and vision insurance. The city contributed 14 percent of his pay to the state public employee retirement system, it contributed a total of 8 percent of his pay to two other tax-advantaged self-directed retirement plans. He had a computer to take home and an expense account. Now he's been fired. You'll find terms of his resignation offer in the packets of information. It was ignored.

If you'd like to look through the record you can see it below.


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