In the Firing Squad for Tonight’s AETN Governors Debate Among Mike Beebe, Jim Keet and Jim Lendall

AETN's video-heavy election page

AETN's video-heavy election page. Nicely done.

I’m among the panelists for today’s hour-long gubernatorial debate starring incumbent Mike Beebe (D), Jim Keet (R) and Jim Lendall (G). We tape the debate at 2 p.m. in Conway and it airs tonight at 8 p.m. on your local Arkansas Educational Television Network affiliate.

Also on tonight’s panel: Ron Breeding of NPR affiliate KUAR-FM and Bill Simmons of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I haven’t seen anyone’s questions except my own, but I expect hot topics to include jobs, the economy, health care and, more than likely, state vehicles.

Each panelist gets ask two questions, so expect six questions total, plus opening and closing statements from each of the candidates.

Today’s debate is part of a series of debates airing each weeknight this week on AETN stations as well as on KUAR. Also tonight: the Lt. Governors debate between Shane Broadway (D) and Mark Darr (R), airing at 7 p.m.. And on Wednesday, Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz is on the panel for the U.S. Senate debate, and Publisher Jeff Hankins will be part of Friday’s Attorney General debate.

You can see the full schedule of this week’s debates at AETN’s Web site here.

And speaking of that site, kudos to AETN for a solid multimedia Web effort. In its excellent debates section, you can see videos of each of the debates and conversations with voters.

Update: You can watch the full debate 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.

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Beebe’s Budget, Holt Seeks Senate Seat on Tonight’s ‘Arkansas Week’

Lance Turner, Arkansas Week

Pinstripes, in honor of David Sanders. Click to watch video.

We’re back! Tonight on AETN’s “Arkansas Week,” host Steve Barnes peppers panelists Rick Fahr of The Log Cabin Democrat, Hoyt Purvis of the University of Arkansas and me about Gov. Mike Beebe’s budget schemes, yet another Republican seeking the nomination to face Blanche Lincoln for her U.S. Senate seat, the pickle that members of the Blue Ribbon commission on funding for Arkansas highways is in, and grade inflation in Arkansas schools.

Check us out tonight at 8 p.m. on your local AETN affiliate — or, you can watch the whole thing right now on your Internet computer thing!

Friday Week in Review: Pouring One Out for Teddy K.

Recovering after a plane crash

Recovering after a plane crash

And there you have it. Another week in the can, another Kennedy cast off this mortal coil. Other stuff happened too, and there were blogs that wrote about it. Let us reminisce …

Walter Hussman spread the gospel of No Free Meal on the Internets.

Blake Rutherford remembered Ted Kennedy (how could anyone forget?) and shared some classic clips of the Lion in Arkansas, waaay back in the day.

Another week, another poll claiming Blanche Lincoln will be run out of town on a rail. Zack Stovall is unmoved. And the Tolbert Report makes like Matt Drudge with the unflattering photos.

Someone else is running for Congress! But not against Blanche!

Mike Beebe can do no wrong.

Robert Blake talks about Tumblr and how he plans to marry Tumblr one day, he loves it so much.

Freeman Hunt has more on protests against government-run health care.

Some blogger with ESPN said something about the Hogs or whatever.


Dark side of the Shaq

Arkansas Lottery Commission to Talk Advertising RFP at Meeting Today

(Update:’s and Capsearch’s developing story on the meeting is available here. And we’ve added a new post here with some limited details on the RFP.)

Attention Arkansas advertising agencies: The Arkansas Lottery (Scholarship?) Commission is set to discuss its advertising RFP at its meeting, taking place at 1:30 p.m. at Arkansas State University-Beebe:

In addition to staff introductions, the commission will consider the retailer contract, advertising request-for-proposal, and addendums to the comprehensive banking services, online games and instant-ticket games RFPs.

Further details on how the RFP might be structured aren’t available. The commission’s agenda, available here (PDF), doesn’t offer any clues.

Arkansas Business has reported on how advertising agencies are eagerly awaiting details on how the RFP will shake out. Like other business services, these agencies have felt the effects of the recession and are ready for any new business — particularly this new business:

The lottery account will place millions of dollars in media buys within the state and, in doing so, will provide a healthy chunk of revenue to at least one lucky agency. Estimates of the Arkansas Lottery’s eventual advertising budget vary between $3 million and $6 million annually.

The account will likely become the state government’s second-largest account, following the Department of Parks & Tourism, which spends more than $10 million a year to promote Arkansas.

Arkansas Business will update with more from today’s meeting this afternoon. And our partner in legislative bill tracking,, will be live-tweeting the meeting.


Beebe Says High Salaries Undermining Public Confidence in the Lottery – Arkansas News Bureau

10 Arkansans Who Should Be Blogging

Petrino, SBB: Should Be Blogging

Petrino, SBB: Should Be Blogging

With all these Arkansas bloggers running around lately, we asked ourselves, “Who isn’t blogging?” And then we asked, “Who isn’t blogging, who should be blogging?” And below is what we came up with, a (thankfully) brief list.

But who are we missing? Tell us who in Arkansas media, business, sports, entertainment, nonprofits — whatever — you think should be sharing and interacting more online in comments below.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll inspire someone to get out there and expand the Arkansas Blogosphere.

10 Arkansans Who Should Be Blogging

Mike Beebe: You’ve got a good start with all the multimedia. But Robbie Wills and Steve Harrelson and the rest of the now-myriad lawmaking bloggers have the right idea.

David Bazzel: The former Hog and the mastermind behind the Broyles Award and the Boot is on the radio every day and writes columns for We say resurrect the “Football, Biceps, Biscuits & Gravy” brand online!

Kyle Brazzel: In addition to writing about local music and culture for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Brazzel pens the Top of the Rock column for the paper’s Sunday High Profile section. No jokes here. Brazzel’s easily one of the best writers working in Arkansas, hands down.  He should be online. Daily.

Ron Breeding: Radio people — they’re so funny, having to run around with their microphones and describe everything in such excruciating detail! Weren’t these guys supposed to destroy newspapers, only to be destroyed by TV, which would then be destroyed by the Internet? We know this much — KUAR’s Breeding won’t go down without a fight. His blog would be a must-read for Arkansas news junkies.

Suzi Parker: The Arkansas-based freelance writer got uninvited from “Arkansas Week” after writing for Nerve. Later, she published a book on sex in the South. A self-proclaimed “pigtailed troublemaker,” she has blogs but hasn’t posted in awhile. What up, Suz? How ’bout kickin’ up some more dust on the Interwebs?

John Pelphrey and Bobby Petrino: Pelphrey’s might sorta be a drag right now. And given Petrino’s no-nonsense tunnel vision, an excerpt from his blog might go something like, “Football football football football football football. Football.” But no other sites in Arkansas would get more traffic. Not even …

David J. Sanders: The nattily dressed Arkansas News Bureau columnist and “Unconventional Wisdom” host writes about twice a week for the paper and also Twitters. But we need more between meals than 140 characters at a time, and predominately Democratic state demands a bigger daily dose of conservative conversation — Kinkade, Greenberg, Tolbert, Hatcher, et al, notwithstanding.

Warren Stephens: Only rarely does the Stephens Inc. CEO (who also owns his own media operation) hold forth on issues of the day. His post-9/11 pep talk, banking crisis news release and Obama un-dorsement are the few exceptions. In this current financial environment, anything the SEC would allow this investment banker to say would be of major interest.

Kane Webb: Another Democrat-Gazette columnist, savvy political writer. His lively voice and breadth of coverage demands a life beyond the printed page. Plus, Webb could set a good example to which the rest of us potty-mouths could aspire.

Gov. Mike Beebe Signs Arkansas Lottery Into Law

(Grainy video via! More video here featuring Halter via The Tolbert Report.)

So there you have it. Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s dream has come true. Arkansas’s lottery legislation, the highlight of the 87th General Assembly, is now the law of the land.

Coming soon, some Slim Jims, Funyuns, $20 of unleaded and a PowerBall ticket to go, please!

Already, Senate President Pro Tem Bob Johnson has named his pick three winners to serve on the lottery commission. Their names and term length: Former Arkansas Congressman Ray Thornton, six years; convenience store owner Patty L. Shipp, four years; Derrick W. Smith, a partner in the Mitchell Williams law firm of Little Rock, two years.