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Still mysterious 

Still mysterious

Just who is Arkansans for Common Sense? The independent political group popped up in the Democratic primary, spending a ton on ads blasting Bill Halter, Sen. Blanche Lincoln's opponent. It also spent money later on ads supportive of Lincoln, who lost the general election to Rep. John Boozman.

The group doesn't report its source of money, though it spent $637,000 on ads related to the Lincoln election. Rep. Marion Berry's son, Mitchell, a lawyer, filed the group's incorporation papers, but has said he was not allowed to identify where the money comes from.

An interesting wrinkle is the group's continued spending on newspaper ads saying recent congressional tax cuts were a good thing, but not enough. Said a recent ad in the Democrat-Gazette: "A two-year extension is a step in the right direction, but we need more," the ad says. It closes: "Tell your congressman that going back to the old tax rates will not move Arkansas forward."

A little leftover money? Or are the same people who funded the original drive continuing a campaign unrelated to Lincoln? She was an advocate for an end to the estate tax. While the rate was cut substantially by the recent tax cut legislation, it, too, was cut from the old rate of 45 percent to 35 percent for only two years. Could that have been what the "reformers" were about to begin with? Berry said he'd ask those behind the effort whether they'd say more about continuing expenditures. So far, no callback.

Home on the range

Charles Portis' novel "True Grit" is told through the voice of an Arkansas girl and turns on the killing of her father in Yell County, plus her hiring of a marshal in Fort Smith to track down his killer.

So, the question, arises, why was the Coen brothers' remake of the film produced in Texas and New Mexico, not Arkansas? The Coen brothers gave an explanation to blogger Cole Haddon about their use of "iconic Western landscapes" in the movie:

Said Ethan Coen: "You know what? That's one thing that's not faithful to the novel. The landscape is a total cheat, but we kind of thought people will think it's a Western, and some things you just can't mess with. People want that.

Brother Joel Coen added: "The whole pictorial idea of the movie would have been much different in a place like Arkansas. The honest answer is it kind of becomes this mishmash of different considerations that go into where you're shooting and how you want to treat the landscape. They're a little hard to sort out after the fact, but it's everywhere from the practical to just what does the movie actually want to be about."

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