Lawmakers eye more cuts

January 24, 2011 LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Gov. Mike Beebe began the legislative session with a challenge to legislators who were floating dozens of tax cut proposals: Show me what to cut in the budget to pay for it.Some Republican lawmakers are all too happy to take him up on that offer.From pay raises to state employees to boosts in funding for education, legislators from the GOP say just about everything is on the table as they continue a push to contain state spending — and possibly make room for other forms of tax relief.

Cloning again

January 24, 2011 According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news service, Japanese researchers are launching a 5-year project to bring the long-extinct woolly mammoth back to life through cloning technology. (Mammoths began dying out around 10,000 years ago, near the end of the Ice Age.)Believe it or not, Lindsay Lohan was one of the forces behind the project to “Bring Back The Woolly Mammoths.” She dropped out only after learning that the woolly mammoth is NOT a mixed drink.

In other news …

January 21, 2011 On Monday the nation honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was shot to death in 1968 with a single bullet from a Remington Gamemaster handgun. Also Monday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others shot with a 9-millimeter pistol Jan. 8 in Tucson continued to receive treatment, while six deceased were mourned.Here is other news from that day and the 24-hours that followed:

Welcome to Washington, Dr. Berwick

January 21, 2011 Another dreamer quietly joined the Obama administration last summer without Congressional approval. Despite resolute promises that Obamacare would not include rationing or result in a single-payer system, please give a hearty and belated welcome to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services director, Dr. Donald Berwick.

New governors stumble over First Amendment

January 21, 2011 What’s in the gubernatorial water supply out there, when it comes to matters of the First Amendment?Just 45 words setting out five essential freedoms as part of the Bill of Rights, the amendment has been around for — as of next Dec. 15 — 220 years. But several newly inaugurated state leaders have stumbled in word or fact over how to live up to that guarantee of our basic rights.

Obama, Cain approach the starting gate

January 20, 2011 It is unusual for a President to launch a re-election nearly two years before the vote, but this is exactly what Barack Obama is laying the ground work for. Without fanfare Robert Gibbs, David Axelrod, and Jim Messina are leaving the White House, returning to Chicago to form the nucleus of the campaign staff.According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama’s advisers believe, “the re-election campaign needs an early start to establish Mr. Obama as a formidable candidate and begin raising money for a bid expected to cost each party around $1 billion.”

An old man’s fancy turns to ….

January 20, 2011 In mid-winter, an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of gardening and fishing, not necessarily in that order.But with icy pellets falling outside or snow trying to melt off the countryside, those of us who were kids in the 1950s start remembering the pungent smell of newly broken garden dirt and the fast-biting action of panfish that were just warming up and ready to eat after a long winter just hanging out in the cold water.

Always be the judge

January 19, 2011 He’s still the judge.Even though retirement has afforded him time for his love of golf, quality time with family and the luxury of not having to spend countless nights lying awake worrying about making the right decision, those of us who know him will always refer to him as judge.Eight years ago this month Circuit Judge Tom Hilburn hung up his robe and decided to spend less time worrying about child custody cases, who gets what in divorce settlements, and the usual drama that would find its way into his courtroom.

School has sweet deal

January 19, 2011 Dear editor:Our new superintendent (Dr. Randy Willison) has started something brand new with school owned vehicles. The supervisors of each department now have unrestricted use of their school owned vehicles. All they have to do is pay taxes on it. For example, if the vehicle value is $7,500.00 they look it up in the Kelley’s Blue Book and just pay taxes on the $7,500.00 each month, which I think is around $55.00 to $60.00. They can take them on vacations with their families; take them to anywhere they desire, no limitations at all.

The new reality?

January 19, 2011 Imagine a handsome young family complete with kids living in a stylish two-story home in a quiet neighborhood. The parents work quiet middle-class jobs. Dad is a city bus driver. Mom is a secretary. Their house is brimming with consumer goods: a couple of mammoth-sized televisions, a drum set for the kids and high-end furniture. Mom’s closet is bursting with her ample wardrobe. Dad has a motorcycle. Combined they make just under $90,000 a year.