Benji Hardy | Arkansas news, politics, opinion, restaurants, music, movies and art

Benji Hardy 
Member since Nov 15, 2012

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  • No, there is a not a "bailout" for the Arkansas private option

    Apparently if you call something a “bailout,” people won’t like it! This is the approach taken in a piece on the private option posted earlier last week at Forbes, the third article Forbes has published in the last month or so criticizing the Arkansas plan. We take a look at some of their insinuations, and where things actually stand on the policy and politics of the private option.
    • May 19, 2014
  • Does Dustin McDaniel have duty to defend ban on same-sex marriage?

    Early this week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had a message for folks in Dustin McDaniel's position. Holder called on the nation's state attorneys general to consider taking up the cause of marriage equality by refusing to defend their states' laws that block same-sex couples from access to marriage.
    • Feb 27, 2014
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Recent Comments

Re: “TANF drug-testing program cost Arkansas $32,000 to test five people in 2017

To the critical commenter above: honestly, you raise a fair point.

I thoroughly report things firsthand whenever I can. But that isnt always possible when it comes to the quick-hit material I write for the Arkansas Blog. This isn't a post based on original reporting, and it wasnt meant to pass itself off as such. I linked to a story of interest to Arkansans that was produced by a different media outlet and (I hope) I added some additional value for our readers in terms of context and additional information.

I dont think I said anything incorrect, and I think your 77 percent figure is based on incorrect assumptions. For example, lying on the form would result in an applicant *not* being tested; only those drug users who answer honestly on the screening would even progress to the testing phase. And, Im not sure what happens to those 8 who refused to take the test. Do you know? Also, 77 percent of those screened (i.e., who are required to fill out the 2-question form) are certainly not denied, because it's my impression that thousands of applicants are screened. Even if we assume that 10 applicants were caught by the process, rather than 2, thats still a cost of about $3,200 per person. You also seem to be assuming all of these applicants that test positive are opioid users, rather than, say, marijuana users. Do you know if the drug screening process omits pot? I do not know.

Still, your criticism is valid, and, as evidenced by my crazily long reply, you strike a nerve. I want journalism to be better, and I can see what you mean about the unanswered questions (though I hope you would agree that you too are making assumptions about the data that reinforce your ideological biases). I also wondered how exactly the numbers moved from 19K initial applicants to 3.4K who completed the written screening to a small handful actually reaching the testing phase.

If I were writing a lengthy article delving deep into the topic of drug testing, I would do original interviews and try to iron out every such question before publication (and, again, I hope this blog post doesnt represent itself as such an article). I wish I had the time and ability to do that for every single blog post, and it is frustrating to me that I do not. I was unable to reach the Department of Workforce Services the morning I wrote this post (though I did try), but perhaps I should reach out again so as to answer some of your questions in detail.

I would be happy to do it if you want me to, but you have to write me and let me know. benji dot hardy (at sign) gmail dot com

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Benji Hardy on 05/08/2018 at 5:14 PM

Re: “Lake View mandate on school funding 'probably' still stands despite sovereign immunity ruling, lawmakers told

The constitutional language is "The State of Arkansas shall never be made defendant in any of her courts." So, it says nothing about plaintiffs.

Posted by Benji Hardy on 04/27/2018 at 10:38 AM

Re: “If DACA ends, this 2016 Parkview graduate will lose her dream job in May

@bigdambridge --
If the Dreamers you know (who have become citizens) have had experiences to the contrary, I'd like to know about it.

10 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Benji Hardy on 09/14/2017 at 5:40 PM

Re: “If DACA ends, this 2016 Parkview graduate will lose her dream job in May

@bigdambridge: Thank you for the question.

There is literally no way for most Dreamers to become citizens or legal permanent residents unless they marry someone who is a citizen or an LPR, or unless they happen to fall into one of a few esoteric categories (such as being a victim of domestic violence).

Some Dreamers may be lucky enough to have an immediate family member who is here legally. That can open a doorway to legal residency and eventual citizenship, because law allows for certain family members of citizens/LPRs to apply for green card status.

So, there are paths to citizenship for some undocumented people -- but for someone in Ms. Delgado's position, none of them are open. To get legal residency in the U.S., the law says she must return to Guatemala and file an application. The wait time would be years, if not a decade or more.

11 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Benji Hardy on 09/14/2017 at 5:39 PM

Re: “Trump nominates Christopher Caldwell to be Delta Regional Authority co-chair

@mountaingirl -- To be fair, I picked that photo, because it was the only one that showed up online that we had clear permission to use. If Chris Caldwell can send me a different photo, I'd be happy to swap it out.

13 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Benji Hardy on 09/13/2017 at 1:26 PM

Re: “Kids in isolation: locked away in Alexander

@Libby -- Thank you for reading! David Ramsey was the author of this story, though, not me.

Posted by Benji Hardy on 09/10/2017 at 2:25 PM
Posted by Benji Hardy on 09/08/2017 at 4:20 PM

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