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Feb. 13-19, 2008 

It was a good week for …

MIKE HUCKABEE. He had a payday for making a speech at a young leaders conference in the Cayman Islands. It was unclear who paid how much. But given his declining popularity among Republican leaders on account of his quixotic quest of the presidential nomination, it was just as well he was out of the country for a while.

OFFICIAL SECRETS. Gov. Mike Beebe continued to talk privately with gas companies and a few (very few) legislators on a possible compromise on a new gas severance tax. Is progress being made? Only insiders know for sure, though whispers have begun that a legislative solution might be possible after all.

It was a bad week for …

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON. The former Arkansas first lady's poll numbers declined in remaining battleground states as well as nationally and she was forced into an aggressive strategy that tended to play up the negatives that make up the media depiction of her as a, to put it mildly, scold.

ROY BROOKS. The former Little Rock school superintendent was hailed by the business community for a district reorganization that eliminated more than 100 jobs. A group of academic experts has now evaluated the reorganization and found it had zilch positive impact on education in the district.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK. The city has suffered a rash of police resignations and the mayor said the city is unable to compete in pay with its larger neighbor on the south side of the river.

JERMAIN TAYLOR. The Arkansas boxer lost a unanimous decision in his bid to regain his middleweight title from Kelly Pavlik. His performance was much improved over his previous title bout, however.

ETHICS. A number of legislators who received free junkets in 2007 failed to report them until the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette inquired. Those who reported the trips failed to offer persuasive reasons for taking free stuff from the likes of Microsoft and the government of Taiwan in the first place.

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