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Reforming our prisons
The legislature will convene next week with a giant contingent of freshmen lawmakers, most of them promising to be scourges of government spending. Something called the Arkansas Working Group on Sentencing and Corrections gave them a blueprint yesterday for tackling government waste. It made a modest set of proposals for halting the skyrocketing growth of the prison population. [FULL TEXT]

Affordable insurance
Except in a handful of states, only a few people who have been denied health insurance by insurance companies have enrolled in the new federally subsidized plans that are written for them. Opponents of the new health-insurance law say that it proves that there never was much need for the comprehensive law that tries to make health insurance available to everyone by 2014. [FULL TEXT]

Huckabee vs. Barbour
Hoping to fortify his credentials as the next Southern hope for the Republican Party, our neighboring governor, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, gave an extensive interview this month to the Weekly Standard, the conservative Washington journal that catapulted Sarah Palin into the national limelight and did so much for Texas Governor George W. Bush. [FULL TEXT]

Bureaucrats flying high
Is it the parlous economic times, a sudden zeal by the media to expose misconduct, or something else? We have had an epidemic of chutzpah in public agencies of central Arkansas this year. Self-serving bureaucrats and, in a couple of cases, their boards fed themselves riotously at the trough of the public treasury and got caught at it, either by a newspaper or state auditors. [FULL TEXT]

From this poor little girl, special request for Santa
(This is a reprint of a previous Christmas column.) When my friend Jack Sallee was with the Jaycees in Fayetteville, they’d put an ad in the paper at Christmastime, saying that for $2 you could have Santa come to your place.[FULL TEXT]

Base could depend on Snyder as real friend
Rep. Vic Snyder, a Democrat who is retiring from Congress at the end of the year, is getting some heat from Republicans for wasting time on the House floor to praise this community’s support of Little Rock Air Force Base. [FULL TEXT]

Panama president
ex-UofA roommate

John Mason, a Jacksonville real estate broker, was in Fayetteville with his wife Ien for homecoming weekend on Oct. 30, when the Razorbacks played Vanderbilt. [FULL TEXT]

Our error given wide circulation
We’ve received lots of calls, comments and complaints over an error in Wednesday’s paper about a Christmas program in Cabot. [FULL TEXT]

Comparing pardons
by governor

Did you see Gov. Beebe’s latest list of pardons? Last week, he announced his intent to pardon a handful of small-time criminals, emphasis on small-time. [FULL TEXT]

POWs recall their
World War ordeal

The former POWs who were shot down over Romania during the Second World War arrived at the Jacksonville Museum of Military History in their tour bus a little after 11 a.m. Thursday. [FULL TEXT]

Annexation plan: Many in area say they're against it
People who live north of Jacksonville near Hwy. 67/167 met at a church Monday evening to fight the city’s plan to annex the area.[FULL TEXT]

Lighthouse plans to build middle and high schools
The headline in Saturday’s Leader: “Cabot schools about to hit 10,000.”[FULL TEXT]

J’Accuse: Smearing
of general

Air Force Gen. John D. Lavelle, who died more than 30 years ago, after he was falsely accused of insubordination, is a four-star general again. [FULL TEXT]

Petraeus salutes
camp liberators

It was 65 years ago Monday that Beryl Wolfson helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp in southeastern Germany.

Marker recalls fire at Twist

There's finally a marker honoring B.B. King in Twist in Cross County, where the great blues singer escaped from a fire at nightclub with his guitar and named it Lucille.

Justice Jim fought tough final battle
Arkansas bloggers were the first with the news of Justice Jim Johnson’s suicide over the weekend. The local TV news on Sunday ignored his passing, probably because no one in the newsroom knew who he was. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot man in raid
on POW camp in 1970
Mst. Sgt. Paul Poole, who helped to liberate Americans from a Vietnamese prison camp, died last week. [FULL TEXT]

Trial could get Muhammad
his death wish

Last June, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad killed a soldier from Conway and injured another soldier from Jacksonville in front of a recruiting station in Little Rock.

What a little girl asked
from Santa

When my friend Jack Sallee was with the Jaycees in Fayetteville, they'd put an ad in the paper at Christmastime, saying that for $2 you could have Santa come to your place.

Tuskegee legend
at holiday reception

A tall elderly man stood in a far corner in a large banquet room at Little Rock Air Force Base on Sunday afternoon during the holiday reception hosted by the wing commanders.

Gas shut off
as hospital bills pile up

A couple in Beebe have been without heat for several months after the natural-gas company took out their meter because they were not paying their bills.

Huckabee our worst governor?
Who is Arkansas’ worst governor? Is it Orval Faubus, who defied federal authorities i in 1957, when he wouldn’t allow nine black students to attend Central High School in Little Rock? He brought shame and ridicule on the whole state, but at least no one was killed. Or is Mike Huckabee our worst governor ever?



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Jan. 5, 2011

Strange occurance under investigation
As many as 6,000 black birds fell dead in Beebe over the New Year’s weekend. Powerful fireworks are suspected as the cause.

Mystery of birds falling on Beebe by thousands
IN SHORT: Was it the beginning of the Apocalypse, a UFO, hail so high in the atmosphere that it didn’t hit the ground, lightning or poisoned water from gas-drilling operations in the area that caused 6,000 blackbirds to fall dead from the sky over Beebe late on New Year’s Eve and into the early hours of Jan. 1? [FULL TEXT]

Charter school seeking infusion of funds
IN SHORT: Lighthouse would not only expand to air base, but wants a $12 million construction loan for junior and high schools. [FULL TEXT]

For Cabot, new team at city hall
IN SHORT: Cypert names former Alderman Cook as personnel director to meet demands of a growing city. [FULL TEXT]

GOP gets to work in Lonoke County
IN SHORT: The courthouse reflects the ascending power of the Republican Party, including county judge, county clerk, prosecutor, quorum court and others. [FULL TEXT]

The Beebe Badgers and coach Ryan Marshall celebrate in the closing seconds of Beebe’s overtime victory over Harding Academy on Thursday night.

Beebe takes Classic in OT
IN SHORT: Wildcats’ offense cools in second half and Badgers take advantage to force overtime period, grab victory. [FULL TEXT]

Lady Wildcats hold off threat to finish fifth
IN SHORT: Harding Academy girls shut down most Lonoke scorers to win. [FULL TEXT]

Jackrabbits pounce on Lumberjacks late
IN SHORT: Warren falls apart in fourth against patient Lonoke boys team. [FULL TEXT]

SEC bids to bump Big Ten
IN SHORT: After the Big Ten’s woeful, 0-5 performance in the New Years Day bowl games, someone I know recommended the conference be stripped of its automatic Bowl Coalition Series berth. [FULL TEXT]

Jackson gives lift to Beebe girls
IN SHORT: Sophomore scores 21 points to lead Lady Badgers on home court.



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