Smart Talk May 12 

Sibling rivalry Feelings at UALR were bruised when a memo from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville found its way to Little Rock recently. The memo, by Vice Chancellor Richard Hudson, one of Fayetteville’s chief lobbyists, assessed the outcome of the legislative session for the Fayetteville campus. It was mostly good. He detailed under “Positives,” a number of items, including more money, more vehicles, more positions to fill, etc. The memo listed three “negatives” – 1) the language of a bill on advising and degree plans; 2) the amount of construction money received, and this: “Nanotechnology funding going to UALR.” (Nanotechnology focuses on miniaturization of stuff, we’re told. At UALR, it includes some groundbreaking medical research.) Did the UA really consider it a negative for UALR to get $5.9 million? Hudson said he perhaps should have chosen his words better. He said UA had not opposed the UALR grant. It had merely written a letter to the governor and legislators noting UALR’s success and the fact that Fayetteville hoped to receive $5 million for its own nanotechnology work, which he said has been underway for 10 years. “We simply asked that consideration be given to us, too,” Hudson said. Loan discrimination Little Rock blacks who got home loans from Wells Fargo in 2004 were three times more likely than white Wells Fargo borrowers to receive high-cost, sub-prime loans, according to a study by ACORN of lenders’ data that is now available under a new federal law. Lynn Greenwood, senior vice president of communications for Wells Fargo, called ACORN’s allegations “totally false.” “We price for risk based on an assessment of the customer’s financial situation and credit history, the property involved and the type of loan product the customer has selected,” Greenwood said. “This [ACORN’s study] … ignores so many important factors, such as the credit-risk-based differences among our many valued mortgage customers, that its conclusions should be dismissed.” Sub-prime loans are loans that have higher interest rates and poorer terms than prime loans. ACORN charged also that Wells Fargo “engages in predatory practices such as financing large and often hidden fees into loans, promising low fixed rates but then giving high adjustable rates, trapping borrowers with excessive prepayment penalties, and charging borrowers different rates depending on which subsidiary they get their loan from.” Master of Huck’s domain What with Gov. Mike Huckabee about to start the inevitable publicity blitz for his new weight loss/lifestyle book “Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork” — and the inevitable boost of name recognition that will go along with it — now might be a good time to start speculating. No, not on just how long he’ll be able to keep the spare tire off, but on things that might actually put a little coin in your pocket: domain names. According to a May 3 search at www.networksolutions.com, several choice choices relating to Huckabee’s possible bid for the White House have already been snapped up, including huckabeeforpresident.com and mikehuckabeeforpresident.com (both of which were registered in March to a Plantation, Fla., resident named Brian Wolk, who owns rights to domain names related to several up-and-comers from both parties) and Huckabee2008.com, which went to the unfortunately-named New Jersey firm, Master of My Domains, LLC. That doesn’t mean you’re out of luck, however. Names still floating around in the electronic ether, ripe for the taking, include: huckabeeforpresident2008.com, mikehuckabeeforpresident2008.com, mikehuckabee2008, and — our personal favorite — huckabeeforamerica.com Also available — in case you’re willing to give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his imperial hubris — are: huckabeeforsenate.com, and huckabeeforUSsenate.com.

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