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Sold everywhere: except Walmart 

Sold everywhere: except Walmart

If you're a fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, then you've noticed the show is hawking its latest tome, "Earth: The Book," like crazy. Before going to commercial in a recent episode an announcer's voice boomed, "Find it everywhere books are sold. Except Sam's Club and Walmart."

It's probably no surprise, considering the fact that Stewart's first book, "America: The Book," was banned from Walmart as well. At the time, the book's publisher said Walmart canceled its order because of the nude depictions of Supreme Court justices contained therein.

Walmart did not return our requests for information on why the new book was banned. It's likely one of two things. In a section on anatomy, the mock-history book shows CNN talk show host Larry King in the buff. Walmart is also depicted somewhat unflatteringly. In the chapter on commerce, the authors say Walmart was "perfect if you wanted to buy a TV, a gun, a three pack of diaper rash cream and some cotton/poly sweatpants."

African-American achievers

The state's semi-finalists in the National Achievement scholarship competition were announced last week. The competition is for African-American students and based on high scores on the National Merit Scholarship qualifying test. Achievement was concentrated in Little Rock.

There were 17 semifinalists statewide, only one from a private school (Mount St. Mary Academy). Six of the 17, or more than a third, came from the Little Rock School District — three from Central High, two from Parkview and one from Hall. The only other school districts with multiple honorees were Forrest City and Marion, with two each. Camden Fairview, Conway, El Dorado, Fort Smith Southside, Siloam Springs and Springdale Har-Ber each had one.

Kicking the poor around

While Arkansas and five other states might be considered "low tax" states overall, their taxes aren't low for poor and middle-income families, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a Washington think tank.

ITEP looked at data released earlier this summer by the Census Bureau that identified Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Washington as low-tax states. ITEP found "a fundamental mismatch" between the states' low-tax status and the effect of their taxes on people living below or near the poverty line. "One of the major reasons for this is that these states have largely unbalanced tax structures," ITEP said. "Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Washington rely heavily on property and sales taxes because they don't have a broad-based personal income tax. Despite having income taxes, Arkansas and Arizona rely heavily on sales taxes, thus making their tax structures balanced on the backs of low- and middle-income taxpayers."

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