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The Week That Was -- Aug. 18-24, 2004 

It was a good week for … BOOKS. Voters gave overwhelming approval to a bond refinancing plan for the Central Arkansas Library System, which will mean a huge book purchase and other library improvements. HOGS WEARING MEDALS. Former UA runner Deena Drossin Kastor came from far behind to grab a third-place medal in the women’s Olympic marathon. Former Hog high jumper Marc Hemingway got a silver medal for a second-place leap. ROLLING THE DICE. Former UA basketball coach Nolan Richardson filed notice of appeal of the dismissal of the lawsuit over his firing. Why not? He might get lucky and draw a panel of 8th Circuit liberal judges with a history of skepticism about Arkansas officials’ claim of nondiscrimination against blacks The FOURTH AMENDMENT. A federal appeals court said the Little Rock School District’s random search policy was unconstitutional. School students are entitled to privacy, too. It was a bad week for … The ARKANSAS JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE COMMISSION. For reason unfathomable, the state commission withdrew its lifetime banishment of former Little Rock Municipal Judge Bill Watt. He’s now eligible again to be a judge, having admitted only a heavily sanitized version of the lengthy list of charges that cost him his judgeship in an agreed deal during the heat of the Whitewater investigation in 1996. Testifying in Whitewater cases under an immunity grant, Watt admitted assorted skullduggery with boss liar David Hale. But his conduct on the bench wasn’t so hot either (an extrajudicial truancy program was one of several questionable ventures). Like a bad Saturday Night Live skit, the Commission said, “Oh, never mind.” The decision was unannounced. We’d be embarrassed, too. LT. GOV. WIN ROCKEFELLER. He not only condoned a Republican dirty trick to help put Ralph Nader on the ballot in Arkansas, he was evasive and peevish when asked about it by a Democrat-Gazette reporter. The wannabe governor isn’t ready for prime time. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE. Illegal salary for his political operative in Washington? Burgeoning questions about his dubious expenditures in the Employment Security Department? Questionable payroll practices in his Health Department? Who cares? The REAL problem, the governor says, is that legislative Democrats want to audit him. It’s a problem alright — for the Huckster. HOMELAND SECURITY. Thanks to pressure from the governor’s office, just about every dollar Arkansas gets from the feds for homeland security will be poured into a deluxe statewide radio system of questionable need and benefit to homeland security. Tip: Watch carefully for sweetheart deals when this kind of money is in play.
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