Outlook improves

June 1, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The financial outlook for Medicaid improved last month, according to state officials who administer the program.This year’s Medicaid budget is about $4.2 billion and is estimated to increase to $4.6 billion next fiscal year. Medicaid officials have been concerned about possible budget shortfalls because more people become eligible for Medicaid in a bad economy. Also, the cost of medical services and prescription drugs continues to increase.

Dressing for something better

May 28, 2010 Women’s work clothes have come a long way. A new book, “Work It!” by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo of Visual Therapy fame, is here to help generations of women figure out what to wear on the job, with a twist. Instead of starting from the idea of what your boss would like to see, which is such an old schoolgirl way of thinking, “Work It!” guides us through an inner search first.

Ten Commandments not in Constitution

May 28, 2010 There are no democratically elected leaders in the Christian Bible. I know — it’s shocking. But, if you catch the rhetoric pertaining to the U.S. Constitution, you’d think the Ten Commandments are its bullet points. They’re not. The whole idea of a representative democracy (a Greek word) comes from ancient (think then-solvent) Greece. The leaders in the Bible were all kings and/or tyrants and the Bill of Rights is nowhere in the New or Old Testament.Simply: Democracy isn’t biblical. But neither is the combustible engine, CAT scans or GPS — it doesn’t make them any less awesome.

America overdue for ‘real’ recession

May 27, 2010 “Oh my gosh!” my wife said as she looked at my daughter during dinner a couple of nights ago. “Did the sitter say anything about her eye?” At this point I looked at my daughter and noticed that her left eye was beginning to swell.Our daughter told us that she fell and banged her head on the slide at the sitter’s that afternoon. She said that the sitter didn’t notice. I felt terrible for my little girl. She tends to stumble a lot, not due to clumsiness, but to the hurried pace she keeps. She is always running full throttle.

Proper dos and don’ts of chili making

May 27, 2010 Since my re-emergence in this region some time ago, I have noticed that some folks around here seem to be misguided when  it comes to the making of that popular dish, chili.  Many of these otherwise very good persons claim to have their own special chili recipes, mostly errant, of course.  And while some versions of this sacred concoction are actually palatable, errant is still the key word description!

Verdict approved

May 26, 2010 Dear editor:Subject: Howard vs. Cedar Ridge School DistrictThank you to the 11 jurors who found in favor of Cedar Ridge School District. Dr. Ann Webb, thank you for taking immediate action regarding a very serious classroom problem. Cedar Ridge School Board, you are to be highly commended on dismissing the teacher in question after hearing all the facts and the recommendation of Dr. Ann Webb. We want to especially thank the 19 students who signed statements verifying what was taking place in this classroom. Their names were not disclosed and never will be.

America up front

May 26, 2010 Every Saturday morning, just for fun and without spending a dime on gas, I take a trip to roughly 100 American cities and towns.I do this through a terrific website operated by the Newseum, a facility in Washington, DC, dedicated to preserving and promoting the nation’s news media, particularly its newspapers. At www.newseum.org there is a section called Today’s Front Pages which, without comment or embellishment, lets visitors read newspaper “fronts” from around the nation.

District targets charter schools

May 26, 2010 LITTLE ROCK — The Little Rock School District filed a motion in federal court seeking to prohibit the state from approving any more charter schools in Pulaski County, or from expanding any of the county’s existing charter schools.The filing has financial implications for all schools in Arkansas for reasons that go beyond the issue of charter schools. For example, it includes a request for additional state aid for transportation, an issue of great interest to rural Arkansas school districts that must bus students long distances.