ARKANSAS. With open arms, volunteers welcomed a horde of people left homeless by Hurricane Katrina.
GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE. He supervised a fast and coordinated state response to the storm evacuees – a swift, can-do effort that the federal government would have done well to emulate.
JAMES LEE WITT. The Arkansas native who formerly headed FEMA was hired to head Louisiana’s disaster response. It was a sharp reminder of how well he ran FEMA and how poorly the job is being done by the fired Arabian horse show boss and Bush crony now in charge.
MONEY. State revenues continue to flow in excess of forecasts. Good thing, with demands for hurricane relief and schools probably in the offing.
GAMBLING. The race tracks in West Memphis and Hot Springs directed local governments to set November elections on expanding machine gambling. Local officials did as they were told.
JUSTICE. The serial rapist and killer Wayne Dumond died in a Missouri prison, a day after the Missouri Supreme Court upheld his conviction for the sexual assault and murder of a Missouri woman. The unrepetentant felon was a poster boy of “injustice” for right-wing Clinton haters and Gov. Mike Huckabee. Blood is on the hands of all who advocated his freedom.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS. Arkansas did extremely well in responding to the Gulf Coast disaster. But it, like most places, had no specific plan for coping with a mass hurricane evacuation. And that plans needs to include what could happen should a killer storm such as Katrina track through Arkansas, not Mississippi.
The STATE LEGISLATURE. A week of hearings before special masters on its response to the Lake View school finance ruling produced little evidence that the legislature had responded adequately, except of the “did, too” variety. A pittance for school construction and no pay raises for teachers, but pork barrel and pay raises for everyone else? That ain’t adequacy.