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January 3, 2008

Vol 5 • No 51

All in the family

Aaron Sadler of Stephens Media reports that all three Huckabee children -- in addition to his daughter-in-law and brother-in-law -- are now on the campaign payroll.

Outside the box

Here's some creative thinking from Austin, Texas. There, rather than looking for ways to enrich a powerful waste hauler by turning over the city landfill to them so they can operate it with the famous efficiency that marks existing out-sourced services, city government is looking for a way to recycle everything and end the need for a landfill by 2040.

Still dead ...

David O. Dodd. News release on jump.

Grassroots, weedroots, and mediaroots

Going to back-to-back events tonight, about which I’ll post momentarily, kept me from posting during the evening.    But, first, the story of our visits to the campaign headquarters of Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee—which sit side by side in downtown Des Moines—and what they say about the campaigns.   Again, we were looking for information on prime caucus locations in Polk County from the campaigns' perspective.

The Paul revolution

Tonight’s event for Ron Paul — who clearly has a chance for a third-place finish here based on his grassroots campaign — was simply the most bizarre political event I’ve ever attended.  If last night’s Chuck and Huck event felt like a 1968 Wallace rally, tonight’s felt more like a John Birch Society meeting in 1963.   

The rock star -- Obama

The largest event I’ve seen here was Barack Obama’s 10 p.m. rally at the Hoover High School gym on the western edge of Des Moines.  About 1,250 folks were on hand to see an increasingly hoarse Obama — joined by wife Michelle — give a speech that was short on policy but big on applause lines.  While many of those lines were carryovers from the Sunday evening speech I saw in a similar setting, this speech was about half as long, it’s main purpose being to fire up his activists and caucus goers.  In contrast, Hillary Clinton gave a presentation this morning that was 70 minutes long, incredible for the final day of a caucus campaign. 

Edwards populism v. Huckabee populism.

I skipped watching Huckabee spout his sweet stuff on Leno tonight -- it's not online yet, but the performance is being favorably reviewed by blog commenters -- in order to go see John Edwards in the flesh.

The caucus morning Huck

HERE'S MIKE: The Huckabee blog has the video and the favorable commentary. TALKS ONLY TO LENO: No comments to reporters afterward by the candidate, CBS reports. He didn't want to linger long whilst unfriendly pickets were about, no doubt.

Tale of woe

With the exception of Fayetteville -- and it's not exactly a shining exception -- the major cities in Washington and Benton counties are showing lagging sales tax revenues this year.

Meanwhile, in New Hampshire

Charlie Allison of Fayetteville is on the ground in New England, working for Obama. He's blogging about it right here.

Bad vibrations in Siloam Springs

The city fathers in Siloam Springs have taken emergency action to make it just about impossible to sell adult novelties in the fair city.

Bad vibrations in Siloam Springs

The city fathers in Siloam Springs have taken emergency action to make it just about impossible to sell adult novelties in the fair city.

Boondogs, YouTubed

  Here's the Boondogs doing "Things You'll Regret" on AETN's "Front Row."

Local access

Paul Dellostritto Localist has its "Local Access II" comp online. All 22 tracks are available for free download.

In the money

State revenues were up sharply in December, well ahead of forecast and last year's total, mostly due to a big jump in income tax collections.

Free lunch

David Cay Johnston, the New York Times' nonpareil tax policy reporter, was on Fresh Air today touting his new book, "Free Lunch," which details how the super wealthy enrich themselves at government expense and stick it to the rest of us.

The Phillips County impasse

Andrew Bagley reports from Phillips County that there's movement toward a special meeting of the Quorum Cour tomorrow to try again to approve a budget that will allow county government to operate again.

Pre-spinning in Iowa

A blog catches Bill Clinton at the Des Moines Starbucks and reaps what I suspect will be the evening line should, as appears likely, Hillary Clinton not lead the Democratic field.

Pre-spinning in Iowa

A blog catches Bill Clinton at the Des Moines Starbucks and reaps what I suspect will be the evening line should, as appears likely, Hillary Clinton not lead the Democratic field.

Friday To-Do: Kevin Kerby and Battery

Isaac Alexander rules. Eds.

Tab's Take: Cotton Bowl Post-Mortem

After his excellent work before and after the LSU game and his top-notch pre-Cotton Bowl analysis, we once again turn to one of our favorite commenters, Tab Prewett, to get his thoughts on the New Year's Day bloodletting in Dallas.

Huckabee at Grinnell

Mike Huckabee made his last scheduled campaign stop this afternoon at the college town of Grinnell, where he spoke before a crowd of a couple hundred at a veteran's hall.

Huckabee at Grinnell

Mike Huckabee made his last scheduled campaign stop this afternoon at the college town of Grinnell, where he spoke before a crowd of a couple hundred at a veteran's hall.

Waiting for Iowa to do its thing

While Mike Huckabee had an event midday in Grinnell that John Williams covered, it has been a relatively quiet day on the campaign front as candidates try to regroup and regain their voices.  There are a few events, but the Chris Dodd event at his campaign headquarters scheduled for today that I planned to attend was cancelled.   It did give a chance to visit with his press secretary about the calls from other campaigns to get Dodd to encourage his caucus goers to go to them as a second choice.   Dodd is the one lower-tier candidate who has publicly rejected the notion of his voters being encouraged to support one of the Big Three on the second round.   “If anyone is independent enough to support Chris Dodd, they’re not going to be easy to tell what to do,” as his press person put it.  Rumors are flying that other candidates are directing their voters to go to Obama as a second choice.  But, only Kucinich has publicly made a statement on the subject. 

Dog's life in Saline County

Humane Society of U.S. announces a bust of dog-fighting operation in Saline County: An 8-month investigation into a major dogfighting ring by the Saline County Sherriff’s Office and The Humane Society of the United States resulted in the raid of two properties.

Reflections on Iowa

I came to Iowa openminded, but wary, about the caucus process as a democratic institution.  Of course, I was deeply aware of disproportionately white and nonurban population and how that skewed the issues the candidates talk about.   And, the homogenous nature of the population has clearly been obvious as I’ve traveled to events.  But, there is an odd upside in that.  Because this is such an overwhelmingly white place without the same intensity of race as a dividing line in the state, it has allowed the consideration of an African-American candidate without race being front and center in that evaluation.   But, my shift towards a generally positive evaluation of this process comes from the energy about politics as a way to create change that I’ve seen here continuously in dramatically different ways, the bringing into the process people who have been left out that is possible here (from Huckabee’s voters to Ron Paul’s revolutionaries to Barack Obama’s young people) because of the permeability of that process, and the depth of knowledge about political issues that I’ve seen in questions asked by voters and in conversations I’ve overheard in coffee shops.   While the turnout will be low, Iowa voters who engage in the process know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.   This thing has flaws, but I must say I trust it more than the megaprimary that’s going to happen on February 5th that will leave many more folks feeling like they’ve been left behind.

The incredible Huck

The Christian soldier has marched through Iowa, declared a huge winner (9 points) over Romney.

The incredible Huck

The Christian soldier has marched through Iowa, declared a huge winner (9 points) over Romney.

Live from the Hotel Fort Des Moines

Just arriving at the Clinton Watch party in the same Hotel Fort Des Moines ballroom where Ron Paul gave his revolutionary talk 24 hours ago.  It’s amazing that the controlled chaos I just witnessed in western Des Moines (more on that in a few) can lead to results almost instantaneously.   By the time I got here, three-quarters of the precincts had reported.   And, as Max had already reported, the Obama victory has been declared.  So, not a happy mood here, but a sense that they knew this was coming.The turnout was up enormously in the two precinct caucuses I watched.  Up three times from 2004 in the smaller one.   And, not surprisingly, many of those young voters—almost all going for Obama.   I’ll provide reports soon on this event.

Party time on the Huck train.

From the Embassy Suites party that Max just referenced -- Huckabong Express and I rolled in here about twenty minutes ago, after a confusing tour of Des Moines's outskirts.

On to New Hampshire

I'm struck that this is the first election that a Clinton was supposed to win but they've lost since 1980.   And, Hillary Clinton's concession speech, given standing in front of Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Wesley Clark, Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and Governor and Mrs. Tom Vilsack, was solid and forward looking, but lacked that great line that would be repeated again and again on television in the days between now and New Hampshire.  The Clinton folks are trying to spin this as essentially a three way tie, but there's no overstating how impressive the win was for Obama, in particular how it was driven by turnout from thousands of folks who'd never participated before.

The victor speaks.

Huckabee has just given his victory speech to his supporters. You might have seen it on TV, so probably not too much that I need to report here.

Start grimacing

Huckabee out caucuses Romney. Hillary comes in third. The Arkansas Blog, below, is on the scene in Iowa, parsing out the significance of the results.

“Be nice. We’re going to see each other in the grocery store.”

I was able to attend two Democratic precinct caucuses adjoining one another in a lunchroom at Hoover High School.  The first was for Webster 1; this precinct covers a community just on the western edge of Des Moines.  By Iowa standards, this is a pretty ethnically mixed crowd, probably about 10 percent nonwhite.  The total count is 60 at the start of the evening, up from about 20 in 2004.   It’s clear that the Des Moines Register poll that’s gotten trashed so much by DC insiders because it included so many new voters wasn’t that far off.  Indeed, the entrance polls showed that 57% of Democratic caucusgoers tonight had never attended a caucus before.  Truly amazing.

A Tale of Two Campaigns

Just in from post-caucus happenings downtown Des Moines.   The Obama crowd ended up taking over Centro, where my gang was eating dinner.   Writer and University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein was there, having come to town for his former colleague, along with all the hip Obama folks.  Everyone had their tales from the evening of caucus watching.  Everywhere the story was the same: the complete disappearance of support for the second-tier candidates, overwhelming crowds that exceeded fire marshall maximums for the rooms where the caucuses took place, and passivity by the Clinton caucus goers despite their knowledge of the process.   After that, we wandered back to the lobby and bar at the Hotel Fort Des Moines where the Clinton staffers were hanging out.   The Clinton folks are all professionals and they're ready to move to the next stop, but they were clearly troubled by having seen the balloon of her inevitability burst here in Iowa.

Some thoughts on Huckaboom

I was focused on the Democratic side of things because of my assignment for the night and am just beginning to process the other huge story of the evening: the big Mike Huckabee victory driven by his dominance among white evangelicals and that group's complete dominance of the GOP electorate here in Iowa.  The utter failure of Mitt Romney to fully connect with voters undermined the tremendous organizational advantage that he had.   The key question: Where does Huckabee go from here?  He'll clearly make a short stop in New Hampshire, but realistically a third-place showing would be a victory for Huckabee there because of the ideological and demographic composition of that electorate.  This means Mike Huckabee's dreams for the presidency will likely all come down to the state of South Carolina, a state that is well-suited for him because of its huge population of white evangelicals.  The key question: Do the "powers that be" in the Republican party--whom Huckabee criticizes and who ridicule him--coalesce behind another candidate by that time (January 19th)?  Romney looks like a loser after tonight but might look better on Tuesday with a comeback.  But, Fred Thompson--whose corpse got a little blood running with a third place finish this evening in Iowa--might be the guy they turn to to stop Huckabee.  It's going to be a great month in politics.

Eureka Springs' takeover

Photo from Diversity Pride website. The zany Donald Wildmon and his American Family Association have found a new horror to combat -- the gayification of Eureka Springs, Ark.

Speaking of religionists

The American Family Association, mentioned in the previous post, is positively mainline compared with the philosophy of Bill Gothard and adherents such as Jim Bob Duggar, he with the wife who's been pregnant more than 11 years of her life.

The morning Huck

WHY THE ESTABLISHMENT IS WRONG: I'm going to keep it brief for the time being.

The morning Huck

WHY THE ESTABLISHMENT IS WRONG: I'm going to keep it brief for the time being.

Penny wise, pound foolish

Earlier this week, Arkansas officialdom was griping about federal rules to insure levee stability and to better regulate development in flood plains.

Custody dispute

Police report from the mean streets of LR. At 6:05 p.m. on 1-3-2008 officers responded to 10800 Colonel Glenn in reference to a shooting and made contact with Felbra Arrington, 35.  Arrington was suffering from several gunshot wounds and advised officers that Elijah Allen, 43, of Alexander, shot her, took their child, Kezia, and then fled the area.  Arrington was transported by MEMS to Baptist Hospital.  A broadcast of the suspect information was made and a short time later Allen was located.  Allen was charged with 1st Degree Battery and placed in PCRJ.

Fun with figures

This from CNN: In Iowa, entrance polls of caucus-goers showed that 3 out of every 5 Republicans were self-described born again or evangelical Christians.

Free speech

The Arkansas Supreme Court has posted for public comment a proposed revision in the code of conduct for judges.

Free speech

The Arkansas Supreme Court has posted for public comment a proposed revision in the code of conduct for judges.

A final post from Iowa

A couple of notes from my other precinct caucus visit last night—Des Moines 9—and what they say about what happened.

A final post from Iowa

A couple of notes from my other precinct caucus visit last night—Des Moines 9—and what they say about what happened.

WM3 report

For followers of the West Memphis Three case, here's a status report filed recently in federal court on the two-track effort to win freedom for the convicts.

What Now, Felix?

One of the more underrated recent subplots of the ongoing soap opera that is Razorback football is the "will he or won't he" status of Felix Jones and the NFL draft.

Knuckfest

The ninja is almost visible. Next weekend, from Friday to Sunday, the fourth annual Knuckfest at Vino's will bring dozens of black metal, screamo and especially hardcore acts to town.

Well, gaaaaah-leee

Remember our Andy Griffith item yesterday? Above is today's Boston Herald front page.

It's the economy, stupid

Repubs can claim the war is going swell -- and people may be anesthetized by the carnage by now -- but another disaster is underway, rising unemployment and punishing financial markets.

Union protest

The writers out in Hollywood aren’t the only ones headed to the picket lines. The Little Rock chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union is planning to protest in front of City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m., before the next city board meeting.

ASU mascot search

It sounds like Arkansas State is focusing on something related to a train, Red Wolves and Ridge Runners.

ASU mascot search

It sounds like Arkansas State is focusing on something related to a train, Red Wolves and Ridge Runners.

Your turn

Pop serenade

Tuneful rockers Grand Serenade headline a big night of local music at White Water Tavern. The four piece indie-rock plays in support of a new album, "Lean Times" out on Max Recordings. Big Boots, the latest project from Mason Maudlin and Michael Motley o

The morning Huck

BORED YET? Brummett thinks many people are, but don't count him in that number.

Live from New Hampshire

The Weekly Dig, an alternative newspaper in Boston, has sent folks up to New Hampshire for presidential primary coverage and is sharing the work with other weeklies.

Getting the spirit in Siloam

The town that put the kibosh on vibrators is the setting for a Morning News progress report on the latest effort to vote Benton County wet.

The collected wisdom of Chuck Norris

  Here's a nice feature in the LA Times about Mike Huckabee's main man, the chopsocky star Chuck Norris.

Am I crazy? UPDATE

Wait. Don't answer that question.

Am I crazy? UPDATE

Wait. Don't answer that question.

Looking for the Good Times

My holidays were going just swimmingly until last weekend, when I caught a nasty little cold that knocked me flat on my ass for a day or so.

Arkansas travelers UPDATE

Daniel Nasaw, formerly of the D-G and now covering the presidential race for the Guardian, blogs about the Arkies campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, including former Sen. Jay Bradford, NLR Mayor Pat Hays and state Rep. Greg Reep.

Arkansas travelers UPDATE

Daniel Nasaw, formerly of the D-G and now covering the presidential race for the Guardian, blogs about the Arkies campaigning for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, including former Sen. Jay Bradford, NLR Mayor Pat Hays and state Rep. Greg Reep.

Wired

Don't know about you, but I'm going to 1) eat a dependable Saltillo plate at Juanita's and 2) take advantage of Comcast's On Demand feature to get an early viewing of tomorrow night's opening episode of the new season of HBO's "The Wire," the best dramatic series ever to appear on television.

Heady Times in Big D

With tonight's game against Baylor in Dallas, I imagine that many Razorback basketball fans are remembering the abundant good times that the program has enjoyed in the city.

Better late than never

TAX POLICY: About six months late, the NY Times gets around to an analysis of the "fair tax," the 30 percent (at a minimum) sales tax.

Cheap? Or ethical?

Brummett poses the question about Gov. Mike Beebe's decision not to take up AT&T's offer of a plane ride to the Cotton Bowl, along with skybox seating.

'Nixon was bad. These guys are worse.'

George McGovern calls for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Politically, it's a non-starter, but, in principle, he's right again.

Bingo!

Operators of newly legalized charity bingo games are whining about the state tax. They made a lot more before, when the games were illegal.

Those touch-screen voting machines?

You don't want them.

Evensong

Make your own kind of music on this Sunday night open line. I'm not sure I can endure more Republican debating.

Eat Arkansas

From a post on Middle Eastern fare to a mini-review of the new sushi restaurant in the Heights, our food blog is filled with dozens of choice morsels to hold you over until mealtime.

The morning Huck

LESSONS LEARNED: Brummett advances reasons for Mike Huckabee's success, chiefly that personality is more important than the political press.

The morning Huck

LESSONS LEARNED: Brummett advances reasons for Mike Huckabee's success, chiefly that personality is more important than the political press.

Walker reaches LR

George Martin, the retired NFL star who is walking across the U.S. to raise money to help people who became ill as a result of 9/11 rescue work, is scheduled to be in the Little Rock area today.

Arkansas traveler (R)

Prominent Democrats aren't the only high-profile politicos on the road in New Hampshire in behalf of presidential candidates.

An Arkansas firewall? UPDATE

Obamamania has taken New Hampshire, polls indicate, and growing excitement among black voters probably means he will carry South Carolina.

An Arkansas firewall? UPDATE

Obamamania has taken New Hampshire, polls indicate, and growing excitement among black voters probably means he will carry South Carolina.

Marvelous meat loaf

Kat Robinson's Tie Dye Travels has been over to Memphis and the Big Foot Lodge for some mighty fine looking meat loaf.

No pain no gain

A split U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments about the constitutionality of lethal injections. Where's the Constitution say anything about painless executions, Scalia wants to know.

'Dog-whistle' language

You know how Mike Huckabee is always talking about vertical politics? I've never gotten it.

Changes at LRSD

Mark Milhollen, the chief financial officer of the Little Rock School District, and school district spokesman Joe Mittiga, are leaving the district, according to memos to the school board from Interim Superintendent Linda Watson.

Monday, Monday Hodge Podge

Well, well, well: That was a nice win on Saturday. Hopefully, it's an indication of things to come.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

If you're not a fan of garlic, you might initially be put off by such a dish as Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic, but trust me, it's not your normal garlic dish.

The morning Huck

NEW HAMPSHIRE Q&A: Brummett offers one. It includes references to Hillary as Joan Baez when audiences want Beyonce; Obama (here predicted as the next president) as Gary Hart.

Oh, Arkansas

The New York Times ventures to Ouachita County to explore how one state could produce two smooth-talking presidential contenders from Hope.

Oh, Arkansas

The New York Times ventures to Ouachita County to explore how one state could produce two smooth-talking presidential contenders from Hope.

The early vote

The country's biggest electoral prize, California, is voting. Yes, you can vote by mail in California and nearly half the voters do.

'The sexist media lynching of Hillary Clinton'

A blogger's primal scream about the disparate treatment of Hillary Clinton is getting circulated within the Clinton camp for good reason.

'The sexist media lynching of Hillary Clinton'

A blogger's primal scream about the disparate treatment of Hillary Clinton is getting circulated within the Clinton camp for good reason.

The church vote

You'll want to go to Rep. Steve Harrelson's Under the Dome blog for a bigger view of this map, but it shows, by county, the church denomination with the highest population percentage in the U.S. That splash of red across 14 states in the lower quadrant -- Baptist, of course.

Screw their kids, too UPDATE

I'll remind everyone that I said Mike Huckabee hit a home run with an early debate rejoinder to Mitt Romney's criticism of him for supporting legislation to provide college aid to unauthorized immigrants who'd graduated from Arkansas high schools.

Screw their kids, too UPDATE

I'll remind everyone that I said Mike Huckabee hit a home run with an early debate rejoinder to Mitt Romney's criticism of him for supporting legislation to provide college aid to unauthorized immigrants who'd graduated from Arkansas high schools.

Death penalty suit dimissed

Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has granted the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit seeking to open the entire Arkansas execution process to the public.

Death penalty suit dimissed

Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has granted the state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit seeking to open the entire Arkansas execution process to the public.

Breakfat bounty

Kat Robinson of Tie Dye Travels is still chowing down in Memphis, lately at a new Blue Plate Cafe downtown that can stoke the furnace enough for a cotton picker.

When celebrations are outlawed ...

... only outlaws will have celebrations I'm guessing this idea is DOA, given the gun nuts' sway over the legislature, which some years back made it impossible for city and county governments to pass tougher gun laws than the gun-happy legislature was willing to pass.

Where to put them?

Suppose we can arrest more lawbreakers. The county jail is full.

Brotherly love

Charlie Allison of Fayetteville is up in New Hampshire, working for Barack Obama. But that didn't stop him from being friendly to a gang of Arkansas travelers he encountered working a precinct for Hillary Clinton.

The latest spectator sport

This is a new one on me. But St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center announces that it will have a "live" heart surgery with a "live" audience from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Guns on campus

A couple were found at Hall High today. Report to the School Board from the information officer:

Guns on campus

A couple were found at Hall High today. Report to the School Board from the information officer:

An Emily Litella moment

Oh, never mind. Check the Concord Monitor.

Cloned Food

This is somewhat of a mirror from my blog, but I think it's an interesting subject that could provoke a good discussion.

The latest spectator sport

St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center announces that it will have a "live" heart surgery with a "live" audience from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Jack Stephens Heart Center at the hospital.

The morning Huck UPDATED

VERTICAL MAN: Columnist David Sanders suggests The Huckster can sit on his Y axis for all the good "verticality" did for Republicans in Arkansas in the Mike Huckabee era -- bigger government, higher taxes and fewer Republican office holders.

Has it occurred to you ...

... how stupid "Iowa" is? Never again, I hope.

Corporate welfare again

The city council in Johnson has graciously given up property taxes that otherwise would go to, among others, Washington County and the Fayetteville School District, to subsidize a shopping center and residential development.

Why Hillary won

Here's an analysis of exit polls and, no, it wasn't The Moment that made the difference.

Why Hillary won

Here's an analysis of exit polls and, no, it wasn't The Moment that made the difference.

Change coming at UA UPDATED

Impeccable sources tell me UA Chancellor John White is preparing to announce his retirement today, effective at the end of this fiscal year June 30.

Serialized Brockmeier

Little Rock novelist Kevin Brockmeier has a science-fiction-ish story that's being serialized this week at the Five Chapters website.

The Arkansas model

California faces a money crisis and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing that the state begin modeling its budgeting process after Arkansas, which prohibits deficits and categorizes spending as a safeguard against shortfalls.

Too Bad We Don't Play in the Big 10

If we did, maybe it would have been the Hogs rolling over inferior competition en route to a gaudy regular season record and a spot in the mythical national title game (where, it still being a bowl game, we would have been destroyed...naturally).

Today's buzz

I'm about to be on "The Zone" with Justin Acri and Pat Bradley talking about what's doing this weekend.

Obligatory "Wire" post

  Like every self-respecting blog on the web worldwide, here's our plea for you to start watching "The Wire."

Japanese insider

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has hired a new person to staff its office in Japan.

Yeah, but what about football?

Arkansas ranks 8th in the nation in an annual report on quality of education in the U.S. Really.

Mike Huckabee: Faux populist

We throw around the populist label quite a bit about presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. In this week's Times, Ernest Dumas examines the record.

Arrest in Sherwood shooting

It took a couple of months, but Sherwood police have decided to press charges against the Sherwood man who killed a youth on his property when he fired what he described as warning shots at prowlers.

Q&A with UA's John White

You should measure a university chancellor's life in dog years, says retiring UIniversity of Arkansas Chancellor John A. White.
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