Smart talk, May 1 

The Rockefeller legacy

It wasn't Camelot, but the Winthrop Rockefeller era transformed Arkansas politics. The former New Yorker's election as a Republican governor in 1966 brought changes to the Democratic Party as well as a taste of two-party politics in what had been a one-party state.

Now, 35 years after his death, the state is mounting a major effort to preserve the WR brand. The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute of the University of Arkansas, now located at  the former Winrock Farms cattle ranch on Petit Jean, will hold a session on “WR: The Rockefeller Brand on Arkansas Politics” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 10. It's free, but seating is limited.

It'll be the first opportunity to see a couple of new displays — a gallery of photographs drawn from the Rockefeller Archives at UALR and a new theater featuring short documentaries remastered from a variety of films made about the former governor.

Arkansas Times columnist Ernest Dumas, who covered Rockefeller as a reporter for the Arkansas Gazette, also will moderate a panel including top Rockefeller aides — PR man and campaign manager John Ward, legal advisor and now federal Judge G. Thomas Eisele and pilot and policy advisor Marion Burton.

There will be a barbecue at the farm's boathouse on Lake Abby. Check uawri.org for details.


Wolves have a taste for Hogs

John Brady, hired to coach the Arkansas State University men's basketball team after being discharged at LSU, has drawn fan attention by wading into an old Arkansas controversy (on the side the Arkansas Times has long favored editorially). Here's the quote from an article by an ESPN writer:

“There is one thing from Brady's past, though, that he wouldn't mind preserving — the chance to get booed annually by 17,000 University of Arkansas fans. Brady noted that his LSU program annually played teams from around Arkansas, and he wouldn't mind the same courtesy being extended to his new program, even if it gets a bit rough on his ear drums.

 “ ‘I would certainly play them in Fayetteville and play them in Little Rock and then see if they'd come to Jonesboro and play,' Brady said. ‘I think it would be great for basketball in the state and would create a lot of interest.' ”


Headline of the week 

Bacon wins Arkansas Beef Ambassador Competition in Little Rock

Explanation: No, pork is not the new red meat. Justin Bacon of Prairie Grove was the contest winner.


Storm or shrug? 

The Washington Post reported recently on www.LegiStorm.com, a website that publishes salary information and financial disclosure reports for congressional aides. According to the story, some House staffers are upset. The aides argued that LegiStorm has not taken enough care to redact information like home addresses and Social Security numbers.

Arkansas's contingent in Washington has greeted this would-be scandal with a yawn, however. The offices of Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Sen. Mark Pryor, Rep. Mike Ross and Rep. John Boozman all said LegiStorm wasn't anything to get excited about.  Katie Laning, press secretary for Lincoln, summed up the general feeling: “These records have always been available to the public for review.  Now that we live in the age of the Internet, it is no surprise that this information is available to viewers online.” (Laning, according to LegiStorm, made about $57,000 in the year ending Sept. 30, 2007.)



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