This Week in Arkansas Business: Education Department to Seek More Scholarship Money

This week in Arkansas Business:

At the rate Arkansas is awarding college scholarships, money in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s reserve fund will run out by 2013. So director Jim Purcell says he’ll ask the Legislature this January to provide more money for scholarships or allow the department to cut the number awarded.

Meanwhile, the DHE is investigating how schools waive out-of-state tuition for certain students.

The latest list of the state’s top colleges and universities shows tuition up at most Arkansas schools.

The Log Cabin Democrat in Conway lays off two staffers, leaving a newsroom of six, in the aftermath of parent company Morris Publishing Group’s emergence from bankruptcy.

Go Red Wolves! This Arkansas State University graduate is now a VP at Verizon.

#ARElections Runoffs & More on This Week’s ‘Arkansas Week’

Tonight

Tonight’s episode of “Arkansas Week” is available right here right now. You can watch on your desktop or wait for the broadcast at 8 p.m. tonight on your local AETN station.

This week, myself, KUAR’s Kelly MacNeil, UCA’s David Keith and host Steve Barnes talk about the latest in the race for the U.S. Senate, including Bill Clinton’s appearance today in Little Rock for Blanche Lincoln, and other news from the Week That Was. Also: I flub the whole Entergy rate case story! Watch me go from zero to stupid here.

Dow Plunges Nearly 1,000 Points, Recovers, on Fears About Greek Debt

Dow Jones Industrial Average

So, it was that kind of a day.

Developing here:

NEW YORK – Stocks plunged Thursday as investors succumbed to fears that Greece’s debt problems would halt the global economic recovery. The Dow Jones industrials slid almost 1,000 points before recovering to a loss of 465.

More

Plus

Like everyone else, Arkansas stocks were taken on a wild ride. Was anyone able to snap up any bargains?

A sample below:

Windstream Corp.

Windstream Corp.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Murphy Oil Corp.

Murphy Oil Corp.

Tyson Foods Inc.

Tyson Foods Inc.

Dillard's Inc.

Dillard's Inc.

(Via Yahoo! Finance)

Oil Settles Near $77 As Market Plunges

Europe Faces Debt Contagion Fear

Video: Jim Cramer, CNBC react

Rupert Murdoch Loves His iPad. But Is It A Revolution?

Apple iPad

The iPad

New Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch is all a-twitter about the first round of numbers on Wall Street Journal subscriptions on Apple’s new iPad.

In a conference call about the company’s latest results, Murdoch notes that WSJ subs on the iPad are much more profitable on the iPad than the Kindle, with the WSJ keeping all the $18 sub fee, while Amazon’s Kindle splits the proceeds. Murdoch says:

Unlike the Kindle, we keep 100 percent of the revenue from the iPad.

In the first month, the WSJ had 64,000 iPad subscribers.

Meanwhile, numbers from Apple show 1 million iPads sold in 28 days — more than twice as fast as the original iPhone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs says demand for the device continues to outpace supply.

So is the iPad truly a revolution? Perhaps no tech device  in recent memory has been this controversial. Some deride it as a giant iPhone that discourages creativity and corrals users in Apple’s restricted, Flash-less walled garden, while others say it introduces a revolutionary new form factor that puts an end to the PC era.

In the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal this week, guest columnist Steve Hankins, CEO and co-founder of tech firm Accio.US, notes people’s grumbles with the iPad but says like it or lump it, this thing’s a revolution:

While all of the criticisms of the iPad are technically correct, the point they make is that the technology status quo is again being threatened. This latest threat has finally caused the core technology people to rise up from their trees and get a view of the forest. And they don’t like what they see.

What most technology critics fail to understand is this simple concept: Most people want to use technology, not work on technology.

The convergence of the major trends in computing is changing the world that most technology people love into one that they are not so familiar with. Devices like the iPad do not seem to require the intervention of a technology person to enable the owner of the device to actually use it.

You read Hankins’ complete column here.

Blanche Lincoln, Steelworkers & the Texarkana Cooper Tire Plant

Blanche Lincoln speaks to the International Trade Commission, June 2009

In this photo from her U.S. Senate Web site, U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., speaks to the International Trade Commission.

One of the latest TV ads vs. incumbent U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln is this one by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) disputing Lincoln’s claims (in her own TV ad) that she saved 1,700 jobs at the Texarkana Cooper Tire plant, which was under threat of closing in 2008.

The view expressed in the SEIU ad is that Lincoln did nothing to save those jobs, that it was the workers themselves who did so, making big concessions to Cooper.

The union has been saying this for a while now. You can see a precursor to the SEIU ad right here on YouTube. It’s been there since March.

So who’s right? Did the workers themselves keep the plant open? Or did Lincoln save the day, as she claims in her ad?

As with most political ads, there’s varying shades of truth in both spots. It appears the workers represented in the SEIU ad did do the heavy lifting and probably did the most to save their own jobs.

Lincoln, meanwhile, had varying roles in the future of the Cooper plant, one of which she won’t talk much about. In the end, she might be fairly criticized of overstating the results of her efforts.

And of course, it didn’t have to be this convoluted!

After the jump, an unwieldy, overlong assessment of both ads’ claims and who saved the Cooper jobs.

Continue reading

Politico On Lincoln, Halter and What It Means to be an Arkansas Democrat

In my quick analysis on Today’s THV about Friday night’s Democratic U.S. Senate debate, I noted one of the dominant themes of the evening was what it meant to be a Democrat. It’s a banner all three candidates — Blanche Lincoln, Bill Halter and D.C. Morrison — hold high, but each is of varying shades of blue.

Politico’s David Cantanese, one of Friday night’s four debate inquisitors, says today that the entire race hinges on this definition, with Arkansas Democratic primary voters faced with a choice between Lincoln’s “traditional Arkansas Democratic establishment — socially conservative, business-friendly, pragmatic and loyal” and Halter’s “progressive movement — pro-labor, anxious for change and eager for bolder strokes.”

Morrison’s brand of Democrat — conservative to a shade of purple and ready to dismantle the Fed and install the “fair tax” — is left unmentioned in Cantanese’s assessment, but I’d wager that for those few Democrats inclined to the Tea Party, it’s viable option. He’s certainly the race’s bona fide outsider in this year of anti-incumbent sentiment.

Of course, Cantanese also identifies another factor in the race beside lofty ideology — ambition. There’s some choice comments from Arkansas Chamber of Commerce President Randy Zook — a Lincoln supporter — on that subject. They will surprise no one from Arkansas.

Cantanese’s full article here.

More

John Brummett notes the same Politico piece here with thoughts on Lincoln’s self-proclaimed liberalism.

Wal-Mart Worries in Northwest Arkansas and Has the State Jobless Rate Peaked? in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Arkansas Business is on the racks and the InterWebs now! Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

Gulp! Wal-Mart’s home office job cuts and a slow exodus of vendors — along with whispers about decentralized operations — has northwest Arkansans seeking new economic development engines for the region.

Is this as bad as it gets? Arkansas’ top economists think the state’s unemployment rate might have finally peaked. Still, it’s tough out there. Includes a look at how many jobs we’ve lost since 2007.

Banking on social media: Arkansas banks wade carefully into the waters of social media — and a sea of federal and industry regulations.

Let’s toot our own horn! Gwen Moritz on just how prescient Arkansas Business has been on a host of issues: banks pruning their branches and — of course — Asian carp!