Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year and a big Thank You to everyone who has helped make this an unbelievable year for me. It is truly an honor to serve in the Arkansas House of Representatives with so many bright and thoughtful people, who I believe have the best interests of all Arkansans in their heart. May we all look forward and continue working toward what is best for our great State and Country.

Make Em So You Can Break Em!

I'm talking about those New Years resolutions everybody makes. Does anybody really follow through on their promises for the coming year? In most cases I'd say no, but every now and then, a few stout-hearted souls will stay the course. I say congrats to those who do, but I've never been very good at keeping them myself. In fact, most of mine don't even make it through the week. Here are a just a few of the things I've resolved over the years that just didn't have a chance. In 1978 I swore that I would quit getting so absorbed in football games to the point that I make myself look like a complete idiot. That one didn't even make it a whole day, as Arkansas stomped Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl 31-6, and I loudly proclaimed Lou Holtz to be the second coming of Knute Rockne and that Roland Sales might be the greatest running back ever to don a set of shoulder pads. And I won't even mention how many grown men I hugged that night. In 1983 I decided I would expand my horizons and learn a second language. Spanish seemed like the logical choice, so I bought a book and a record that both promised to have me speaking fluently in just a matter of weeks. Well I lost the book and broke the record, so at the end of the year the only spanish phrase I knew was "su madre es verde". Nothing wrong with the words but "Your mother is green" just doesn't keep a lot of conversations going. In 1988 I decided to make a concerted effort to quit cussing. Now I'm not a big user of profanity, but sometimes it's really handy when you need to make a point; so how ******* long do you think that one lasted? I really felt good about the resolution in 1995 when I decided that I would save on gas and help my cardiovascular system by riding my bike to work everyday. It was a good idea, but after a few days the winter of 95 hit Southwest Arkansas, and I'm just glad I wasn't a brass monkey. I should tell you that 2004 did bring a resolution I've been able to keep going since I made it. That was the year I vowed to never watch another reality show on television; and I'm very proud of the fact that I'm one of the few people who doesn't know who the survivors are, who got fired, who really is America's idol and who gets the bachelor . And that's a good thing; because if I had to watch them, I'd probably just start cussing.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Public Health Meeting

I drove to Batesville today and attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on Public Health. The meeting was called to discuss the funding options for a statewide network of Trauma Centers. Arkansas is the only state that doesn't have a Level 1 Trauma Center and everyone I've talked with believes the Trauma Network is a must for our state. Statistics show that trauma is the number 1 cause of death for Arkansans ages 1-40, and it is estimated that 300 to 600 lives a year could be saved. Of course the stumbling block is how do we fund the $25 million needed to get it going. Back during the Legislative session, the House passed a bill tying the funding to a $50 increase in DWI tickets. I supported the bill, but it died in the Senate when the Arkansas Municipal League lobbied hard against it, by pointing out that most Municipal Courts can't collect the fines already on the books. Having first hand experience in the Court system, I can see their point, but still believe some of the funding could come from that source. In fact, I think the funding stream needs to come from several different areas. Other states fund their Trauma Networks with license plate fees, auto insurance premiums, tobacco taxes and even from general revenues. At this time, I don't know if anyone has the best mechanism to fund the system, but we sure need to keep working and come up with a solution.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas To All

It's been a long day of shopping and before I go home and start wrapping the presents, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I pray that the hope and spirit of this special time of year, remains with you and your family as we step forward into 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Potpourri for $100 Alex

I'm just going to throw out some miscellaneous stuff going on around me, and maybe a few thoughts bouncing around my brain. Should be harmless fun.

Congratulations to Representative Robbie Wills, (D)-Conway, who will be leading the House of Representatives as its Speaker in 2009. Representative David Dunn, (D)- Forrest City, made a gracious concession this week and formally bowed out of the race; leaving Rep. Wills as the lone candidate. Robbie will do a fine job as Speaker, and those I've talked with are pleased to have this race behind us, and anxious to get focused on the upcoming session, just a little more than a year away.

Of course there are the tiny matters of primary and general elections coming up before the 2009 session gets here. It truly seems like just yesterday that I was out campaigning to become one of our state's legislators. The time has flown by and I'm looking forward to the upcoming elections. It should be fun.

Vigi and I attended a holiday reception for legislators at the Governor's mansion last night. Governor and Mrs. Beebe were the perfect hosts as we all enjoyed the beautiful Christmas decorations and festive atmosphere in their home.

By the way, I haven't done a drop of Christmas shopping and more than likely won't get started until Sunday afternoon. That's just the way I've always done it and it really drives Vigi crazy. I contend that the longer I wait, the more focused I can be in selecting that perfect gift. In other words, I work better under pressure. My wife contends that I'm stupid. She probably has grounds there, but I really like the hustle and bustle of those last few hours.

Since I'm talking about Christmas eve, I'll give you my routine, because it hasn't changed in about 20 years. I usually get home around 5:00 or 6:00 and go upstairs to wrap the presents I've just bought. That usually takes a couple of hours, and then I put on my flannel pajamas. Hopefully it's not 75 degrees outside, so the flannels feel pretty good. Ok, if you're still with me, then I go downstairs and Vigi makes some egg nog. I grab a cup and retire to the den, get in the recliner and watch "A Christmas Story"
at least twice. I used to watch the Jimmy Stewart classic "It's a Wonderful Life", but Vigi made me switch movies several years back when I kept referring to her as Clarence. Anyway that's how I spend Christmas Eve, and I hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sporting News

It was plain to see that this year's Heisman vote was a two man race between Tim Tebow and Darren Mcfadden. In my opinion, Mcfadden should have won the trophy, simply because of the unbelievable games he had on National TV against Alabama, South Carolina and LSU. You couldn't have watched any one of those games without saying this guy is the best player in the country. The Heisman voters may not have thought so, but the NFL knows. #5 will be a multi-millionaire in a matter of months. Good for him.

Hats off to the Nashville Scrappers on their 3rd consecutive state football championship. What's most impressive to me is the fact that the AAAA teams were, top to bottom, the strongest classification in the entire state. Billy Dawson has taken a very good program to unbelievable heights, and his 3 year reign as head coach can't get any better; unless of course he wins number 4 next year. We'll have to wait and see, but at this point I wouldn't bet against it.

On to the NFL, and remember, you heard it here first. Even though the Patriots will finish the regular season 16-0, they will be beaten in either the AFC championship game or the Super Bowl. More than likely the Super Bowl, since they will have home field through-out the play-offs. It certainly could be the Cowboys or Packers who knock them off, but there's an outside chance that the Seahawks will make it out of the NFC. The 72 Dolphins hallowed record will remain safe. You can mark my words, but no wagering, please.

Finally, whoever takes the Arkansas football job will not inherit a program that has to completely rebuild as some are projecting. Sure he will have to replace McFadden and Jones, but Michael Smith and Brandon Barnett are capable of being good SEC running backs. D-Mac and Felix only come around once in a lifetime. No matter what others say, Casey Dick had a solid year and will be better in 2008. The receivers should be improved, if only from experience; plus Ben Cleveland and Crosby Tuck will be back. The offensive line should be OK, especially if Luigs comes back for his senior year. Defensively, the front seven should be better with the experience and a year to grow. The real problem for this team will come in the secondary, where you lose Grant, Richardson, Hewitt and Woods. Good freshman class at the skill positions,(if they can keep it together), and an excellent kicker in Tejada, should help keep this team around 7-5 or 8-4; even with a more difficult schedule. The new coach probably gets a couple of years to get his system going, but I'm not buying that the cupboard is bare.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Support the 39th

As everyone knows, the 39th Brigade of the Arkansas National Guard, has been re-deployed to Iraq and will be leaving the states soon. Locally, the Family Readiness Group for Bravo Company, which includes Hope and Texarkana, is seeking donations to help with the Christmas going away party, to be held on December 21st. The FRG is made up of wives, mothers, grandmothers and children of the deployed soldiers. During the time their loved ones are gone, they send the soldiers care packages and coordinate activities for the families and provide whatever support is necessary. This is one group that truly deserves our thoughts,prayers and monetary help. They will be very appreciative for your kindness. To make a donation to the Family Readiness Group, send your check to: FRG, C/O Vicky Little, 500 West 23rd, Hope, Ar. 71801.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Lions Club Review

I mentioned in an earlier post how much I enjoyed attending the annual Lions Club auction. This year was no exception and I was there all 3 nights. I even got to do a little auctioneering myself. Great turn-out and a lot of money was raised for the club's charitable work. I bought a couple of items I probably didn't need when I outbid everyone on some hair care products and a chocolate snickers cake. Although I must say that Joyce Russell's Snickers cake was delicious, the truth is, I don't really have a reference for hair care stuff. At any rate, it was money well spent and I'll be over in Prescott on Friday night to help the Lions there.

Who's The Coach?

I don't have any idea who will end up calling the shots on the hill, but I can tell you I am impressed by the way that Reggie Herring has handled this very difficult situation. We tend to forget about what the players themselves have gone through with this coaching upheaval, and you just can't turn their emotions on and off like the proverbial faucet. But from what I've seen thus far, I think Reggie's going to have the Razorbacks ready to go on New Years day. Furthermore, if his team does show up big in the Cotton Bowl, I say give him every consideration for the head job. He may have earned that interview if he holds this team together. We could wait and see because of the dead period in recruiting, and I believe they're going to be relegated to an up and comer anyway. But you never know, Tommy Bowden is the name being thrown around today and Tuberville could get there yet.