Loan sharks not gone yet
You remember the painfully long (10-year) battle to stop the payday lenders from squeezing the last drop of blood out of the poor and desperate? The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the Arkansas Check Cashers Act of 1999 only two years ago, although everyone had known that it was unconstitutional from the day the legislature passed it.

Protection from drillers
A large bunch of Arkansas legislators announced last week that they were forming a “shale caucus” of mostly Republicans, but a few Democrats. They will collaborate to see that the gas-production companies that exploit the gas in the large shale play across Arkansas are protected from the state government—that is, the people.

Lobbyists win again
Elections come and go, Republicans gain and Democrats falter, but one thing never changes about the Arkansas legislature: its ultimate constituency. It isn’t the average working family and it isn’t the small Arkansas businessman. One guess on who it is.

The harder they fall
Many rejoice at the disgrace of a politician, especially the sanctimonious kind, of which there have been many recently—good Christian leaders who foundered on greed or lust.

Funding highways
Let’s give House Speaker Robert S. Moore an A for courage but a D for content with his highway-funding program. It would rely mainly on an increase in the general sales tax to pay off highway-construction bonds, and that is precisely the wrong tax for that job.

Hate speech is protected,
court decides
(The U.S. Supreme Court last week upheld the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to demonstrate at military funerals. This column about the Kansas-based group, which demonstrated in Beebe nearly five years ago, appeared on Aug. 2, 2006.)
Members of Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., were again busy this week picketing funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq, but lawsuits filed by families who have lost their loved ones could stop the church group from taunting grieving relatives.[FULL TEXT]

Ex-Stax chief still has soul
Al Bell, the former Stax Records executive, is back in the spotlight with a new Web site, All Bell Presents American Soul Music, where you can hear classic Stax artists and new soul singers who are keeping the Memphis sound alive. [FULL TEXT]

Minihan: No break
for wing since 9/11
Col. Mike Minihan, commander of the 19th Airlift Wing, sent off 40 airmen and a couple of C-130s into combat before the storm hit last weekend. [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?



For complete news coverage, buy The Leader today!

March 16, 2011

Ginger Beebe reads to Dupree pupils
Arkansas First Lady Ginger Beebe reads the “The Sandwich Swap” by Queen Rania of Jordan to pupils at Warren Dupree Elementary School in Jacksonville on Tuesday. The book is about tolerance and respecting other people’s customs.

Earthquakes rattle nerves
IN SHORT: Those who live near gas-drilling areas are looking to Japan if things should go wrong. [FULL TEXT]

Jacksonville’s finest are honored
IN SHORT: Grant Roberts named best officer; Mark Humphries best detective. [FULL TEXT]

Late fees for water bills
IN SHORT: Water bills will be mailed on the 1st of the month and Lonoke water customers will incur a 10 percent penalty if the bill is not paid by the 10th of the month, according to an ordinance approved at Monday’s city council meeting. [FULL TEXT]

Williams pushes measure
IN SHORT: Senator wants to put balanced budget law in the state Constitution. [FULL TEXT]

Sewer grant may pay for a generator
IN SHORT: Jacksonville seeks funds for wastewater system in an emergency. [FULL TEXT]

Jacksonville’s Terrell Brown (32 red) outrebounded LR Parkview’s Aaron Ross (32 white) 9-6 on Saturday.

Patriots bounce Devils, win 6A
IN SHORT: Missed shots add up to hurt Jacksonville as LR Parkview takes third-quarter lead and holds on. [FULL TEXT]

Appleby hurt, but hits court
IN SHORT: Senior plays through pain to close out high school career. [FULL TEXT]

Cabot’s Walker savors home visit
IN SHORT: Former Lady Panther gets rare chance to perform in Arkansas. [FULL TEXT]

Beebe cuts grass, goes synthetic on gridiron
IN SHORT: Board votes to set football-field project in motion by summer. [FULL TEXT]

Pelphrey turns Final to farewell
IN SHORT: It was hard to miss the tall blond guy in the suit. [FULL TEXT]



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