The Week That Was 

OCT. 6-12, 2004 IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … DISCRIMINATION. The state Supreme Court pretty well admitted that the amendment to ban same-sex marriage is vague and misleading, but it didn’t have the guts to quash the proposal, which bans civil unions and other equal treatment of gays, as well as marriage. Polls indicate the amendment will pass unless voters come to understand that the punitive amendment could harm straight people, too. COMPETITION. Parisian, a subsidiary of Saks, announced plans for a fancy department store on Highway 10. It will challenge Dillard’s long stranglehold on the upscale end of the department store market. BACK SCRATCHING. A state legislative committee approved payment of $225,000 to the family of a three-month-old whose death in state foster care was attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. There was no showing of state negligence. But the family hired a politically connected lawyer, the lawyer hired some lobbyists and the rest was legislating as usual — a payday all around and a slap in the face to Human Services workers. UCA PRESIDENT LU HARDIN. He disclosed that he’d turned down a bid from NBC to use the Conway college as stage for a reality show – former Motley Crue drummer and high school dropout Tommy Lee returning to college. Lee took his circus to Nebraska instead. IT WAS A BAD WEEK FOR … HIGHWAY SAFETY. A charter bus en route from Chicago to a Mississippi casino overturned near West Memphis killing 14 and injuring 16. The driver had been driving all night without relief before the early morning crash. GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE. Add the Health Department and the state Youth Services Division to the long list of state agencies where money apparently has been misspent on his watch. In the latest two cases, improper expenditure of federal grant money is at issue. Also, the new director of the Employment Security Department tacitly admitted rampant impropriety in Huckabee administration payroll practices that he intends to change.

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