Category Archives: Famous Arkansans

Glen Campbell has Alzheimer’s disease (Links to Famous Arkansans Series)

Glen Campbell Reveals Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
June 22, 2011
Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell has revealed his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease to People magazine. Campbell, 75, and wife Kim have gone public prior to his farewell tour this fall. “Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer,” Kim told the publication. “But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused on stage, I wouldn’t want people to think, ‘What’s the matter with him? Is he drunk?'” Campbell was diagnosed six months ago, although he had been suffering from short-term memory loss for years, according to the People story. Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. His hits include “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman.”

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Below is a post that I did earlier on Glen Campbell in my “Famous Arkansans Series.”

Glen Campbell

Inducted in 1996

 (b. 1936) – A native of Delight in Pike County, the famous pop/country singer and songwriter hosted his own TV variety shows, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” (1969) and “The Glen Campbell Music Show” (1982). His hit recordings include: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Gentle on My Mind.” He appeared in the movies “True Grit” (1969), “Any Which Way You Can” (1980), “Uphill All The Way” (1985), and “Family Prayers” (1993). Campbell, who in 1960 was a session musician playing on recordings by Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley and counless others, now headlines concerts throughout North America and the British Isles. www.glencampbellshow.com

Glen in an interview with Jim Gaver talks about his PBS special and TV shows like Shindig

Previous posts on “Famous Arkansans Series”:

Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 3) (Johnny Cash, Famous Arkansan pt A)

  Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below: Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Here are a few […]

Candidate #3:Donald Trump Republican Presidential Hopefuls(Part 1)(Charlie Rich, Famous Arkansan)

Donald Trump at CPAC Conference 2011 David Gibson in his article “Donald Trump, Family Values Conservative–Believe it or not,” PoliticsDaily.com, wrote about a month ago: Donald Trump stole the show on the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference — stealing the spotlight is his specialty, after all — and he did it by […]

Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 2) (Harry Thomason Famous Arkansan)

Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below: Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (This latest email went at […]

Alternatives to Fayetteville Finger out there? (part 16)(Billy Bob Thornton)

I certainly hope there are some alternatives to the Fayetteville Finger out there. Jason Tolbert reported that there seems to be an impasse. As predicted, the House State Agencies rejected both the Senate compromise map (linked here) passed yesterday with 20 votes and the so called “Luker Amendment” (linked here) named after its author Sen. […]

Senator Pryor asks for Spending Cut Suggestions! Here are a few!(Part 1) (Al Green, Famous Arkansan)

  Senator Mark Pryor wants our ideas on how to cut federal spending. Take a look at this video clip below: Senator Pryor has asked us to send our ideas to him at cutspending@pryor.senate.gov and I have done so (at 4:04 pm CST on April 7th, 2011, and will continue to do so in the […]

Brummett: We need to tax the rich more (Real Cause of Deficit Pt 12)

John Brummett asserts that liberals are right about the cause of the deficit. He asserts in his article “Harry let us down,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 4, 2011:

He is right that the actual deficit is caused by direct government spending exceeding income, an imbalance mostly caused, he will tell you with some justification, by the fact that we don’t tax rich people as much as we did in happier and more prosperous times.

We have heard the liberals like John Brummett say for years that Bush put us into this horrible position of deficits because of his tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. However, if Bush was responsible for taking the 236 billion surplus he inherited in 2000 and turning everything downward because of the tax cuts, then why did we only have a budget deficit of 161 billion in 2007?

Brian Riedl is the author of the article “The Three Biggest Myths About Tax Cuts and the Budget Deficit,” (Heritage Foundation, June 21, 2010), and the next few days I will be sharing portions of his article.

Riedl’s budget research has been featured in front-page stories and editorials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times. He has discussed budget policy on NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and C-SPAN. He also participates in the bipartisan “Fiscal Wake-Up Tour,” which holds town hall meetings across America focusing on the looming crisis in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

What the Deficit Commission Should Do

President Obama’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, known popularly as the “Deficit Commission,” has begun assembling recommendations to reduce the budget deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2015 and to address long-term deficits.

The commission should target the historical levels of taxes (18.0 percent of GDP) and spending (20.3 percent of GDP). Thus, successful reforms would:

  • Reform Medicaid and bring long-term sustainability to Social Security and Medicare. It may be possible to squeeze enough savings from other sources to meet the 2015 deficit target, but the swelling cost of these three programs would quickly devour those savings and continue expanding the budget deficit. Thus, the commission should look beyond 2015 and seek entitlement reforms that bring long-term sustainability to the federal budget.[19]
  • Reopen the health care law. While most of the current and future entitlement growth comes from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, some of it comes from Obamacare. In fact, much of the law merely shifted spending from Medicare to new health subsidies. Even in the unlikely event that all of the scheduled Medicare cuts actually take place and new health subsidies are not expanded, the CBO estimates that Obamacare would expand federal spending by $382 billion through 2019 and substantially more thereafter.[20] The necessary bipartisan budget reform must include bipartisan health care reform.
  • Offer specific spending reforms, not just numerical targets. In 1982 and 1990, bipartisan budget deals coupled immediate tax increases with vague promises of distant spending cuts to meet preset targets. Predictably, the spending cuts were rarely implemented. Long-term spending targets and caps are an important part of budget reform, but they are hollow if not accompanied by specific, credible proposals to reform federal spending programs. Rather than punt the tough spending decisions, the commission should make specific proposals in its report to Congress and the President.
  • Avoid tax increases. Low tax revenues are not the problem. Even if the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are extended, revenues are still projected to rise above the historical average. Furthermore, America simply cannot tax its way out of this problem. Financing the projected 10 percent of GDP long-term cost increase for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would require permanently raising taxes by $12,000 per household (adjusted for both inflation and income growth).[21] Such steep tax rate increases would devastate families, businesses, and the economy.Even the “split the difference” policy of equal tax hikes and spending cuts would eventually push taxes up to near-European levels. Congress is already examining a European-style value-added tax (VAT)—a type of national sales tax— that would allow Congress to keep spending, rather than confront the unsustainable spending trends. Drowning the next generation of Americans in tax hikes is no better than drowning them in debt. Rather than simply raising taxes alongside rising spending, the deficit commission should recommend paring back the burgeoning spending programs.
  • Bring budget transparency. Social Security and Medicare face a staggering $46 trillion in unfunded obligations over the next 75 years. Yet these figures do not appear anywhere in the budget that Congress must approve annually. The commission should strongly recommend that Congress disclose all unfunded obligations in its annual budget and vote to acknowledge and approve the long-term consequences of their budget decisions. In addition, they should require that new proposals be scored over the long term, not just over the next 10 years, and create a long-term budget for entitlement programs.
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Jerry Van Dyke Arkansas resident (Part 1)

A 30 Foot Tall Fat Guy

Luther’s commentary on where the world is headed if people keep getting bigger.

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At the “Sunshine Boys” performance on June 1, 2011 in Hot Springs my son Wilson and I saw Jerry Van Dkye and Tommy Smoothers perform. It was great!!! Before the show started they showed this video clip below:

Jerry Van Dyke Tries to Make A Slasher Movie

Jerry Van Dyke tries to make his first slasher movie in Arkansas with a cast of real people and skittish financiers.

Jerry Van Dyke is a famous comedian and actor who lives in Arkansas; he was inducted into the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in 1998. He is perhaps most noted for his Emmy-nominated performance as Luther Van Dam on the television show Coach. Van Dyke and his second wife, Shirley Jones (not the famous actress of that name), own a ranch in Saline County, and, in the late 1990s, they purchased and renovated a city block in Benton (Saline County), including the Royal Theatre and a soda shop that bears his name.

Jerry Van Dyke was born in Danville, Illinois, on July 27, 1931, to Loren and Hazel Van Dyke. Loren Van Dyke was a traveling salesman for the Sunshine Biscuit Company. Both their sons have had successful show business careers. Van Dyke’s older brother, Dick, is a movie actor (Mary Poppins), television sitcom pioneer, and comedian (The Dick Van Dyke Show). Jerry Van Dyke began his career as a comedian while still at Danville High School. The brothers performed around town in various strip joints and nightclubs until 1952, when Van Dyke joined the U.S. Air Force. While in the military, he performed at many shows for the men and won several air force talent competitions, including the chance to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. He returned home in 1962 to perform at a fundraising dinner for the down payment on Danville’s Kathryn Randolph Theater.

After serving in the military, Van Dyke became a regular on The Judy Garland Show in 1963, where he was the comic relief. Soon, CBS made plans for Van Dyke to have his own series. After turning down the role of Gilligan in Gilligan’s Island and choosing not to replace Don Knotts in The Andy Griffith Show—two choices he later regretted—he accepted the lead role in My Mother the Car. This series did not last long, and he returned to supporting roles in television and movies for a decade. Eventually, Van Dyke returned to stand-up comedy, touring for several years at Playboy Clubs around the country.

In 1989, Van Dyke began his most famous role—Luther Van Dam on the television series Coach, which ran for nine seasons. His character was the assistant coach to Craig T. Nelson’s character, Hayden Fox. Luther Van Dam was loveable, irritable, and yet hilarious. In 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1994, Van Dyke received Emmy nominations for outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series.

Van Dyke has been married twice. He has three children from his first marriage to Carol Johnson, whom he divorced in 1974.

Van Dyke married Shirley Jones of Glen Rose (Hot Spring County) in 1984. They own a 500-acre ranch in Saline County, where they raise horses, llamas, and other animals. They also own residences in Los Angeles and in Mexico. In 1996, the Van Dykes purchased a city block in Benton, which they renovated before selling the properties in 2000 and 2001. The block includes the Royal Theatre, an old movie theater converted for live acting, which the Van Dykes gave to the Central Arkansas Community Players in 2000. The group changed its name to the Royal Players and regularly performs in the theater, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Also on that block were a candy store and an ice cream and soda shop. Although it was sold in 2001, the ice cream and soda shop continues to operate as Jerry Van Dyke’s Soda Shop.

For additional information:
“Jerry Van Dyke.” Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0886733/ (accessed March 17, 2008).

“Jerry Van Dyke.” J. Cast Productions. http://www.castproductions.com/jerryvandyke.html (accessed March 10, 2008).

“Sip a Soda With Jerry.” Southern Living 34 (April 1999): 47.

 Allison Majors

Max Brantley thinks there are three reasons we have huge debt: 1. Bush Tax cuts for rich 2. Bush’s wars 3. Recession (Real Cause of Deficit Pt 11)

The Laffer Curve, Part I: Understanding the Theory

The Laffer Curve charts a relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. While the theory behind the Laffer Curve is widely accepted, the concept has become very controversial because politicians on both sides of the debate exaggerate. This video shows the middle ground between those who claim “all tax cuts pay for themselves” and those who claim tax policy has no impact on economic performance. This video, focusing on the theory of the Laffer Curve, is Part I of a three-part series. Part II reviews evidence of Laffer-Curve responses. Part III discusses how the revenue-estimating process in Washington can be improved. For more information please visit the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s web site: www.freedomandprosperity.org

Max Brantley made it clear in his post on May 9, 2011 on the Arkansas Times Blog, “Laying Blame for Financial Mess,”  that he thinks there are three main reasons that we have gone from a Federal surplus in 2001 to a huge deficit in 2011. 1. Bush Tax Cuts for the rich, 2. Bush’s wars, 3. the Recession.

Brian Riedl is the author of the article “The Three Biggest Myths About Tax Cuts and the Budget Deficit,” (Heritage Foundation, June 21, 2010), and the next few days I will be sharing portions of his article.

Before coming to Heritage in 2001, Riedl worked for then-Gov. Tommy Thompson, former Rep. Mark Green (R-WI)., and the Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. Riedl holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University..

Myth #2: Future deficits are “the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program.”

Fact: These policies play a relatively minor role in the growth of future deficits. 

During his 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama asserted:

At the beginning of the last decade, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program.[7]

In other words, according to President Obama, the massive budget deficits are President Bush’s fault, but the data do not support this assertion. President Bush implemented the three policies mentioned by President Obama in the early 2000s. Yet by 2007—the last year before the recession— the budget deficit had stabilized at $161 billion. Since the combined annual cost of these three Bush-era policies is now relatively stable, they cannot have suddenly caused a trillion-dollar leap in budget deficits beginning in 2009.[8]

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However, the larger problem is that the President’s entire methodology fails basic statistics. With Washington set to collect $33 trillion in taxes and spend $46 trillion over the next decade, how does one determine which spending programs “caused” the $13 trillion deficit? By the President’s methodology, one could blame any $13 trillion group of spending programs (or tax cuts) for the entire budget deficit. For example, the President could have blamed much of the 10-year budget deficit on Social Security (10-year cost of $9.2 trillion), antipoverty programs ($7 trillion), net interest on the debt ($6.1 trillion), or non-defense discretionary spending ($7.5 trillion).[12] (See Chart 3.) There is no legitimate, mathematical reason for President Obama to ignore all of these more expensive policies and single out the $4.7 trillion in tax cuts, the funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Medicare drug entitlement. A better methodology would focus on which program costs are actually growing and pushing the deficit up.

Finally, there is some hypocrisy at work. President Obama criticizes President Bush for “not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program.” Yet he would extend $4 trillion of these policies (while repealing $700 billion in tax cuts) without paying for them either. By his own faulty logic, he is almost as irresponsible as President Bush.

Can Washington Return to the 2001 Balanced Budget Levels?

Many lawmakers and commentators have stated that the budget was balanced as recently as 2001 and have asked why it cannot be brought back into balance at those levels. Of course, lawmakers are free to alter any policy to achieve such a budget, although significantly reducing net interest costs would require major deficit reduction.

Budget Collapse Following the 2001 Surplus

Virtually all deficit reduction in the 1990s originated from just three sources:

  • Higher revenues, mostly from a temporary stock and economic bubble.
  • Lower defense spending following the end of the Cold War, and
  • Net interest savings resulting from less borrowing, a result of the other two factors.

The rest of the federal budget merely remained level as a share of the GDP throughout the decade, which itself may be considered an accomplishment for lawmakers.

Returning to those budget levels would not be easy. The stock market bubble is unlikely to return, nor would that be desirable. The 9/11 attacks ended the era of massive defense spending cuts, higher debt has brought higher net interest costs, and 10,000 baby boomers per day are retiring into Social Security and Medicare. Overall, the difference between 2001 and 2020 can be explained as follows:

  • The 2001 tax revenues were bubble-inflated (down 1.6 percent of GDP),
  • 2001 defense spending was as at prewar levels (up 0.8 percent of GDP),
  • Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs are growing (up 3.3 percent of GDP),
  • Presidents Bush and Obama hiked domestic discretionary spending (up 0.5 percent of GDP),
  • Other entitlement spending is rising (up 0.8 percent of GDP), and
  • Rising debt means rising net interest costs (up 2.6 percent of GDP).1.

As a result, a budget surplus of 1.3 percent of GDP in 2001 is set to become a deficit of 8.3 percent by 2020. (See Table 1.)

1.Historical data from Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2011 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2010), pp. 24–25, Table 1.2, and p. 146, Table 8.4, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/hist.pdf (June 14, 2010). Current and future projections based on Heritage Foundation calculations of the current-policy budget baseline, using Congressional Budget Office data. See the Appendix for the calculations.

The Laffer Curve, Part II: Reviewing the Evidence

This video reviews real-world evidence showing that changes in marginal tax rates can have a significant impact on taxable income, thus leading to substantial amounts of revenue feedback. In a few cases, tax-rate reductions even “pay for themselves,” though the key lesson is the more modest point that pro-growth changes in tax policy will have a positive impact on economic performance and that good tax cuts therefore do not “cost” the government much in terms of foregone tax revenue.

This video is second installment of a three-part series. Part I reviews theoretical relationship between tax rates, taxable income, and tax revenue. Part III discusses how the revenue-estimating process in Washington can be improved. For more information please visit the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s web site: www.freedomandprosperity.org.

The Laffer Curve, Part III: Dynamic Scoring

A video by CF&P Foundation that builds on the discussion of theory in Part I and evidence in Part II, this concluding video in the series on the Laffer Curve explains how the Joint Committee on Taxation’s revenue-estimating process is based on the absurd theory that changes in tax policy – even dramatic reforms such as a flat tax – do not effect economic growth. In other words, the current system assumes the Laffer Curve does not exist. Because of congressional budget rules, this leads to a bias for tax increases and against tax cuts. The video explains that “static scoring” should be replaced with “dynamic scoring” so that lawmakers will have more accurate information when making decisions about tax policy. For more information please visit the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s web site: http://www.freedomandprosperity.org

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I am doing a series on famous Arkansans and today we come to Ronnie Hawkins.

Ronnie Hawkins

Inducted in 2008

(b. 1935) – Born in Huntsville and raised in Fayetteville, his mother was a teacher and his father a barber. After graduating from high school, he studied physical education at the University of Arkansas, where he formed his first band, The Hawks. Hawkins owned and operated the Rockwood Club in Fayetteville where some of rock music’s earliest pioneers came to play, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty. Upon the recommendation of Conway Twitty in 1958, who thought Canada to be the promised land for a rock n’ roll singer, Hawkins went to Hamilton, Ontario to play a club called The Grange and never left Canada. Over a period of time, the members of the The Hawks, except for Levon Helm, were replaced with Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson. This was the line-up that was to later become known as The Band. In 1989, Hawkins was reunited with The Band at the concert marking the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and in 1992 he performed at the inaugural party for President Bill Clinton. He has been known over the years as “Mr. Dynamo,” “Sir Ronnie,” “Rompin’ Ronnie” Hawkins or “The Hawk.” He was a key player in the 1960s rock scene and for over 40 years has performed all over North America, recording more than 25 albums. His best-known hits are “Forty Days” and “Mary Lou.”

40 Days, performed live on Lake Minnetonka with legendary Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks

Pat Lynch: We need to bring tax rates back up for Rich (Real Cause of Deficit Pt 10)(If you love Milton Friedman then you will love this post)

The liberal Pat Lynch in his article “Worry Inc.” Arkansas Democrat- Gazette, April 4, 2011 commented:

While the budget cutters are busy going after programs that help mere citizens, any notion of bringing taxrates for the wealthy back to the levels of the Clinton era, when there was a federal surplus, is off the table.

Liberals always think they can raise the taxes on the rich and everything else will take care of itself. The problem with our deficit is not that the politicians need more money but they need to spend less. I heard Congressman Tim Griffin say that at a townhall meeting a couple of weeks ago.  

Brian Riedl is the author of the article “The Three Biggest Myths About Tax Cuts and the Budget Deficit,” (Heritage Foundation, June 21, 2010), and the next few days I will be sharing portions of his article.

Before coming to Heritage in 2001, Riedl worked for then-Gov. Tommy Thompson, former Rep. Mark Green (R-WI)., and the Speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly. Riedl holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Wisconsin, and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University.

Growing long-term budget deficits are exclusively the result of rising spending, not declining revenues. Thus, common sense suggests that most reforms should occur on the spending side. Given the magnitude of the long-term spending increase, even splitting the difference between spending cuts and tax increases would leave the highest sustained spending—and tax burden—in American history. Permanently transforming the federal government in this manner would slow economic growth and harm families and businesses. 

Rapid growth in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs and interest payments on the national debt will cause virtually all of this new spending. The annual cost of these four expenditures will surge from $1.6 trillion this year to $3.5 trillion in 2020. This will cause massive budget deficits in the next decade and must be the focus of any serious effort to reduce the budget deficit.

Obviously the real problem is spending and not that taxes are not high enough!!!! Take a look at this clip from Milton Friedman:

 

An ever-combative champion of freedom, Milton Friedman’s career and contributions in defense of individual liberty are unique in our time

https://i0.wp.com/www.freetochoosemedia.org/production/POC/presskit2/milton-nobel-speech.jpg

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John Brummett:Cause of deficit is we don’t tax rich enough (Real Cause of Deficit Pt 9)(Famous Arkansan Wayne Jackson)

John Brummett asserts that liberals are right about the cause of the deficit. He asserts in his article “Harry let us down,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 4, 2011:

He is right that the actual deficit is caused by direct government spending exceeding income, an imbalance mostly caused, he will tell you with some justification, by the fact that we don’t tax rich people as much as we did in happier and more prosperous times.

We have heard the liberals like John Brummett say for years that Bush put us into this horrible position of deficits because of his tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. However, if Bush was responsible for taking the 236 billion surplus he inherited in 2000 and turning everything downward because of the tax cuts, then why did we only have a budget deficit of 161 billion in 2007?

Brian Riedl is the author of the article “The Three Biggest Myths About Tax Cuts and the Budget Deficit,” (Heritage Foundation, June 21, 2010), and the next few days I will be sharing portions of his article

Brian Riedl is The Heritage Foundation’s lead budget analyst and has built a solid reputation for interpreting, explaining and reforming the often arcane realm of federal budget policy.

Splitting the Difference or Addressing the Source

Having established that spending is causing the expanding long-term budget deficits, the next question is how to fix that problem. Lawmakers seeking deficit reduction will not find any easy targets. Defenders of each spending program will surely claim some special status that should exempt their program from reforms. Defenders of current tax policies will point out the negative economic consequences of large tax hikes. As the debate proceeds, two competing reform frameworks will likely emerge:

  • A “split the difference” approach that closes half the gap with tax increases and half with spending cuts; and
  • An “address the source” approach that targets the policies that are actually driving the deficit up.

Most people argue that the “split the difference” approach seems moderate and reasonable. By reforming all tax and spending policies equally, Congress would not single out any one policy. Conservatives and liberals could compromise in a bipartisan show of strength. However, politicians should not take the path of least resistance with a problem of this significance. A solution sustainable over the long term must address the budget deficit at the source. After all, when a family purchases a larger home than it can afford, the proper response is not to obtain second jobs, put the kids to work, and drastically cut back on groceries, electricity, and medical care. The proper response is to address the source of financial distress by moving back to a smaller home.

Similarly, the nation’s rising long-term budget deficits are almost exclusively the result of Washington making entitlement commitments that the nation cannot afford. Therefore, the presumption must be to pare back these commitments to an affordable level. Yet “split the difference” essentially lets most of the entitlement spending growth off the hook and passes a significant burden onto taxpayers and onto federal programs that have succeeded without raising costs. With Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs projected to rise by 10 percent of GDP by 2050,[18] splitting the difference would still require by far the largest tax increase in American history, leaving spending and taxes at levels never seen before during peacetime. It would allow expanding entitlement programs to transform the entire federal budget.

This approach is also unsustainable over the long run. Even if lawmakers broadly raise taxes and reduce spending to balance the budget in the short run, their failure to address the problem at its source means that entitlement costs will likely continue to grow quickly. This would in turn require continuous additional spending cuts and tax hikes elsewhere to keep the budget under control.

Finally, splitting the difference sends the wrong message to future lawmakers by rewarding policies that aggressively increase the short-term budget deficit. Liberal lawmakers could enact large new spending bills without paying for them, believing that much of the future deficit reduction will be split across tax hikes and other spending programs, effectively locking in much of the targeted spending increase—the “feed the beast” strategy. Conservative lawmakers could deeply cut taxes without paying for them on the assumption that half of the resulting deficits will eventually be closed by spending cuts—the “starve the beast” strategy. In either case, the “split the difference” approach to deficit reduction would sacrifice other budget priorities to make room for the new, unaffordable policy.

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I am doing a series on famous Arkansans and today is the last part on Wayne Jackson who grew up in West Memphis. He worked with many famous groups such as U2. Below you will see a song he worked on with them “Where the streets have no name.”

Wayne Jackson

Inducted in 2008

(b. 1941) – Wayne Jackson grew up in West Memphis playing the guitar. He found his true passion at age 11 when his mother brought home a trumpet. When he was in the 12th grade his love for music took him across the Mississippi River to Memphis, where he became a legendary backup trumpeter in such groups as the Mar-Keys, and would go on to perform with a who’s who of artists. He has played on recordings by Aretha Franklin, Sting, Elvis Presley, U2, Peter Gabriel, Willie Nelson, Billy Joel, Otis Redding, The Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Buffet and Rod Stewart. Jackson was the co-founder, with Andrew Love of the legendary Memphis backing band, of The Memphis Horns. He has performed on 52 number one hits, 83 Gold & Platinum albums, 115 top-ten records and 15 Grammy award winners. Recently, he recorded the new James Bond theme song for “A Quantum of Solace” with Alicia Keys and Jack White.

Is Mallett goofy and clueless or sharp?

.Jason Cole reported for Yahoo Sports:

NEW YORK – The New England Patriots’ selection of Ryan Mallett in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft on Friday may have made sense in a lot of ways, but it did beg one big question: Is coach Bill Belichick focused on what he has left of the Tom Brady(notes) era or is he setting up for the 2014 season?

The Patriots rescued Mallett from his draft freefall, nabbing him with the No. 74 overall pick. It was a stunning drop for a quarterback at one time considered a strong first-round candidate. Mallett has what many scouts consider the strongest arm of all the quarterbacks in this draft, is very accurate and has excellent size at 6-foot-7, 248 pounds.

However, for a team that many people believe needed an injection of youth and talent in their defensive front seven, New England didn’t do anything to fix what appears to ail them the most. Rather, it added depth at a position that could be considered a luxury with the presence of Brady.

The downside is that Mallett is seen as an immature guy who has a history of making bad decisions at critical times. Beyond that, rumors about drug use in college have haunted him for months. Mallett said Friday that much of the information out there on him was “false,” but then declined to elaborate. His decision not to address the rumors publicly has been seen as a sign of immaturity by several NFL team executives.

“He’s not my type of guy, I’ll just put it to you that way,” an NFL general manager said earlier this month. “I can’t see him standing up in front of a team and being taken seriously when he spoke.”

While the attitude of executives and coaches from around the league was negative, there is no denying the physical skills.

“He can flat-out throw,” an NFC assistant coach said. “Any throw you can draw, he can do it. Deep outs, post, intermediate stuff between the linebackers and the safeties, tight spots, whatever. Pretty throwing motion, quick release and even pretty good footwork for a slow guy.”

But …

Mallett’s arm wasn’t enough to make teams overlook the red flags.
(Getty Images)

“Just an odd kid. You talk to him and you get this feeling like he just doesn’t understand what this is all about. Nice enough kid, but just kind of clueless and goofy. It’s like he’s in his own world,” the assistant coach said.

In that respect, New England might be the best place for him, where he will be in a vice grip of expectation between Belichick and three-time Super Bowl winner Brady.

“I’m so happy for him, that’s a great situation,” Super Bowl-winning coach and ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said after the third round concluded. “I like the kid and there’s going to be pressure on him to get better. Anytime you have Belichick around you, you have pressure.

“But yeah, he won’t have to play right away. He can sit and learn and see what happens.”

Belichick had success last year dealing with tight end Aaron Hernandez(notes), who reportedly failed multiple drug tests at Florida, grabbing him in the fourth round when many considered him a first- or second-round talent.

After taking Mallett, Belichick said it was simply a matter of getting good value in the draft.

“We just felt like he was a good player,” Belichick said. “He’s had a lot of production. He’s won everywhere he’s been: high school, college. He did a good job at Michigan. They came in and changed offenses and that was definitely beyond his control. … He’s an impressive guy to talk to.”

At the same time, this pick is slightly curious. At 33, Brady would appear to have at least three good years ahead of him after leading the Patriots to a 14-2 record last season. If Brady, who the Patriots obviously tried to help by selecting offensive tackle Nate Solder(notes) in the first round and running backs Shane Vereen(notes) and Stefan Ridley in the second and third rounds, respectively, can stay healthy, there’s a good chance Mallett may never play for the Patriots.

Brady was sacked 25 times in 2010.
(US Presswire)

Brady has had an assortment of injuries and surgeries over the past three years. There was the missed 2008 season with the knee injury. He had foot surgery after last season and dealt with broken ribs, a broken finger and a sports hernia over the past three seasons. He’s generally one of the most-hit quarterbacks in the league each season because of his willingness to stand in the pocket against pressure.

In other words, Mallett isn’t a bad way to hedge a bet. For example, the Patriots turned former seventh-round pick Matt Cassel(notes) into a second-round pick after he played most of the 2008 season. In short, there are far worse ways than taking quarterbacks if you’re looking for a future return on a draft pick. In all, Belichick saw this as a solid gamble.

“I think you have to take some of those things into consideration and certainly I think you have to look at the situation of how high you can take on at that position,” Belichick said. “You get into the situation like San Diego did a few years ago where they took [Philip] Rivers and had to get rid of [Drew] Brees – or had to get rid of somebody. I think when you do that in the first round, it’s a little bit of a different scenario. Once you get past that first round, I think it changes a little bit. We felt – I mean, look, I don’t think you can have too much depth at that position. We’ve all seen what can happen there. We got by last year – or really the last two years – with basically just two guys. And you put your whole team at risk if you don’t have a quarterback that can run it, so it’s good to have depth at that position.”

While all of that makes sense, what also would have made sense was to get a pass rusher or two for a defense that pales in comparison to what New England had during its run of three titles. Instead of selecting one of the dozen defensive linemen in the first round, the Patriots took Solder and then traded out of the first round with their other pick.

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It is my view that Mallet must be very sharp because he played for Bobby Petrino. Enough said. When the story of Arkansas football is finally written, I think that Bobby Petrino will go down as the most famous Arkansas Football Coach of all time. 

The #1 Alabama Crimson Tide traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas looking to extend their winning streak in SEC openers to 19 games. Standing in their way was Ryan Mallett and the #10 Arkansas Razorbacks. The game was a shootout with both teams gaining over 400 yards of total offense. In the end, it was the Crimson Tide – overcoming a 20-7 third quarter deficit – who came out on top by the score of 24-20.


Balanced Budget Amendment the Answer? Pryor says no, Boozman says yes (part 9)(Famous Arkansan, Art Porter Sr.)(Conspirator Part 4)

I survived last night even though there were several tornadoes all through Arkansas last night.

America has too many bureaucrats and they are dramatically overpaid. This mini-documentary uses government data to show how federal, state, and local governments are in fiscal trouble in part because of excessive pay for a bloated civil service.

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Steve Brawner in his article “Safer roads and balanced budgets,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 13, 2011, noted:

The disagreement is over the solutions — on what spending to cut; what taxes to raise (basically none ever, according to Boozman); whether or not to enact a balanced budget amendment (Boozman says yes; Pryor no); and on what policies would promote the kind of economic growth that would make this a little easier.

Over the next few days I want to take a closer look a Cato Policy Report from July/August 1996 called “Seven Reforms to Balance the Budget” by Stephen Moore. Stephen Moore was the Cato Institute’s director of fiscal policy studies, and afterwards, a Cato senior fellow. This article is based on testimony he delivered before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight on March 27, 1996. Moore commented:

7.) Debt Buy-Down Provision

This is Rep. Bob Walker’s idea that would allow taxpayers to dedicate up to 10 percent of their income tax payments to retirement of the national debt. Politicians earmark spending all the time. Taxpayers should have the same right.

Rules Matter

Those budget process reforms are vitally important to the balanced-budget exercise because the rules of the game matter. The rules dictate outcomes. For more than 20 years, forces that favor spending have consistently prevailed over forces that favor fiscal restraint. That pro-spending bias in Washington threatens to cripple our nation’s economic future.

Let me conclude by retelling a story about the late great Washington Redskins football coach George Allen. Allen lived by the motto “the future is now.” He traded all the Redskins draft picks for over-the-hill veterans. He spent millions of dollars of owner Jack Kent Cooke’s money to purchase expensive free agents. After several years of that, Cooke finally fired Allen. When asked why, Cooke responded, “When George Allen came to Washington I gave him an unlimited budget. But George managed to exceed it.” That’s the way taxpayers now feel about our politicians in Washington.

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Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame
1994 Candidates

Arthur (Art) L. Porter, Sr. (1934 – 1993)

Pianist Art Porter was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on February 8, 1934. Porter, the Arkansas Jazz Statesman, never officially worked as a touring musician, choosing instead to perform, teach, contribute to his church as well as to other charitable causes in his hometown and state. There were two exceptions: In 1977 at FESTAC 77 (the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture) and at jazz festivals in Belgium, Germany, and The Netherlands during a 1991 European Tour with his son, saxophonist Art Porter, Jr.

Porter graduated from Dunbar High School in 1950, and attended AM&N College in Pine Bluff, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education in 1954. He went on to earn a Master of Science in Music Education from Henderson State University in 1975. He taught at Mississippi Valley College, Horace Mann High School, Parkview High School and Philander Smith College. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Shorter College and was pianist/organist/choral director at Bethel AME Church in Little Rock.

Porter formed the now legendary Art Porter Trio in 1962. This group continued to work in Little Rock and around the state through May of 1993. The group performed jazz in local Little Rock night clubs such as The AfterThought, Cajuns Wharf (for 8 years), The Brown Bottle, The Camelot Hotel, Profiles, in a club bearing the name ‘Art’s Place’ and other locations too numerous to mention. Many musicians became part of the famed Art Porter University. His formation of the Art Porter Singers in 1976 and the musical mentoring of and friendship with President Bill Clinton is still felt even today.

Porter produced two ground breaking programs on the Arkansas Educational Television Network: “The Minor Key”: a weekly series portraying black culture in Arkansas, and “Porterhouse Cuts”, a series of 10 shows which were aired throughout the southeastern region covering 14 states. He produced several albums including “Little Rock A.M.” and “Something Else.” His latest recording, “Portrait of Art,” was released after his death, on February 8, 1994 (his birthday), with proceeds going to help promising young musicians realize their musical dreams.

Porter has appeared on stage with Pharoah Sanders, Steve Allen, O. C. Smith, James Leary, Al Hibbler, the Northwest Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Little Rock Jazz Machine, and many others. His groups have performed at the Eureka Springs Jazz Festival, Jazzlites, Wildwood Jazz Festival, Music Festival of Arkansas, Hot Springs Arts Festival, and at the Arkansas Jazz Heritage Foundation’ss Monday Jazz Series. Porter was the first recipient of the Arkansas Jazz and Heritage Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.

Photo #8

Toby Kebbell
I went to see the movie “The Conspirator” the other night and I really enjoyed it. Since then I have been digging up facts about the trial and the people involved in the trial.

(Boston Globe) Ty Burr and Wesley Morris review Robert Redford’s historical drama about President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in ‘The Conspirator.’

I found this article on the internet:

The Hanging of Mary Surratt
Judicial murder and government dirty linen–Part One

by Al Benson Jr.

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, eight people were put on trial and found guilty–four sentenced to long prison terms and the other four sentenced to hang. One of those sentenced to hang was Mary Eugenia Jenkins Surratt, the first woman ever to be hung in the United States. John Wilkes Booth had supposedly been shot and John Surratt had escaped to Canada, eventually to make it all the way to Europe. These eight were seemingly all that were left and the government wanted to make sure they talked as little as possible to anyone.

Historical opinions have been divided as to whether Mary Surratt was really guilty as one of the Lincoln assassins. Author Nathaniel Weyl has called Mary Surratt “…an innocent woman hanged for conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln.” My own opinion is that this is pretty close to the truth. That doesn’t mean that Mrs. Surratt was totally without knowledge of all that went on. She may well have been aware of the proposed attempts to abduct Mr. Lincoln, but, as far as assassination went, I don’t think she had a clue.

When it came to the conspirators’ “trial” (if such it can really be called) Mrs. Surratt had a good lawyer to start out with, Reverdy Johnson, former U.S. senator and, in 1849, U.S. Attorney General, and at the time of her trial, a Maryland senator. According to the book The Lincoln Conspiracy: “He was such a formidable opponent, it was immediately apparent to the prosecution that he must be removed. Johnson was to be assisted by Frederick Aiken and John W. Clampitt, each in practice only one year and each trying his first big case. Clampitt was 24 and Aiken even younger.” After some judicial maneuverings, the prosecution succeeded in getting Johnson to remove himself and so Mrs. Surratt was stuck with the two younger, more inexperienced lawyers. While they did the best they could they were no match for the legal scalawags the federal prosecution brought forth to handle them.

The way the federal government dealt with Mrs. Surratt was strongly reminiscent of the way it would later deal with the Plains Indians in the far West–it flat out broke its word, but then, what else have we come to expect from government? Otto Eisenschiml wrote in In the Shadow of Lincoln’s Death“When the Washington authorities put hoods over the heads of the men accused of conspiracy against Lincoln’s life, they committed a strange act. When they added stiff shackles–manacles which made writing impossible–and forbade all intercourse with the outside world, there arose a misgiving that the purpose was not punishment, but the enforcement of silence.” Eisenschiml also noted that the government changed the prison locations of those not hung from Albany, New York to the far-out Dry Tortugas, where the convicted men were confined, literally for years in solitary cells and were prevented from conversing with any outsiders. You have to wonder what the government was afraid these men would have to say, and whatever that might have been, they were going to make darn sure no one ever heard it.

One man on Edwin Stanton’s staff was Colonel William P. Wood, the man who ran Old Capitol Prison. Though he worked for the government, it appears that Colonel Wood still had some modicum of conscience left. In 1883 he wrote a series of articles for the Washington Sunday Gazette, in which he sought to tell all he knew about the conspiracy trial, most of which he said had never been revealed to the public. Again, what else is new? Even today we get sanitized versions of everything from who killed Kennedy to the war in Iraq.

Wood wrote of Mrs. Surratt that: “…there were guarantees made to her brother by the writer, upon authority of Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, that she should not be executed.”  Wood hinted that such guarantees were given “…in exchange for information by Mrs. Surratt’s brother regarding (John Wilkes) Booth’s probable course of flight. The fact that the War Minister made such a promise gives food for thought. Very likely, he had at no time intended to live up to his promise.” And Wood, calling attention to this rank betrayal, said “…these conditions were violated, and…this deplorable execution of an innocent woman (followed).”

The court announced the guilty verdict on the morning of July 6th. Mrs. Surratt was not informed of it until the middle of the day, at which time she found out she was to be hung at noon the following day. Eisenschiml observed that “Such a short space of time between a sentence and its execution is practically unheard of.” Apparently whatever Mrs. Surratt and the others knew, the government was going to make sure they had no chance to pass it on to others.

John T. Ford, owner of Ford’s Theater, followed all these events as long as he lived. You could say he had somewhat of a consuming interest, so he gathered what facts he could. In 1889, he revealed something most people had never heard. He said that: “The very man of God who shrived her soul for eternity was said to be constrained to promise that she should not communicate with the world. Mr. Clampitt, one of her lawyers, confirmed what Ford stated. Mrs. Surratt pleaded with the priest to be allowed to tell people before she died that she was innocent of the crime of which she had been convicted. The priest refused her. It seems he had been made to tell her, after absolution and the sacrament, that she should be prevented from making any declaration as to her innocence. The priest later denied this. If the government had nothing to cover up, allowing her to make a last statement would have hurt nothing.

However, Eisenschiml has noted that: “What was vital was this: the condemned woman must not be permitted to harangue the crowd from the scaffold. There she might go beyond the mere question of her guilt, and every one of her words would be broadcast by news-hungry journalists.” And the powers that be couldn’t have that now, could they? Interestingly, our so-called “history” books never reveal any of this. The winners of the War of Northern Aggression have deemed that all this is information we are better off without. That way we don’t know enough to ask embarrassing questions.

To be continued.


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About the Author

Al Benson Jr.’s, [send him email] columns are to found on many online journals such as Fireeater.Org, The Sierra Times, and The Patriotist. Additionally, Mr. Benson is editor of the Copperhead Chronicle [more information] and author of the Homeschool History Series, [more information] a study of the War of Southern Independence. The Copperhead Chronicle is a quarterly newsletter written with a Christian, pro-Southern perspective.

Balanced Budget Amendment the Answer? Pryor says no, Boozman says yes (part 8)(Famous Arkansan, Patsy Montana)(The Conspirator, part 2)

 It is 9:35 pm and we have been hiding from Tornadoes all night and I hope they are finished bothering us for the evening. 

Ronald Reagan on Balanced Budget Amendment

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Steve Brawner in his article “Safer roads and balanced budgets,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 13, 2011, noted:

The disagreement is over the solutions — on what spending to cut; what taxes to raise (basically none ever, according to Boozman); whether or not to enact a balanced budget amendment (Boozman says yes; Pryor no); and on what policies would promote the kind of economic growth that would make this a little easier.

It’s rare in a democracy for anybody to get everything he or she wants, so only two paths remain: status quo, which is a slow march to the abyss; or compromise, which would save the country.

Last week, Republicans and Democrats chose compromise after making the country endure a lot of drama that was unnecessary and frankly not very interesting. Hours before shutting down the government, the two sides agreed to a budget deal involving relatively minor spending cuts and then went their separate ways, each blaming the other for the brouhaha. I don’t want to say the whole thing was orchestrated, but they have had a lot of practice at this.

Had the government actually shut down, the country would have felt the results. The last time that happened, 1995-96, was a prosperous and peaceful time that could absorb Washington shenanigans. Today the country is still in the midst of a weak economic recovery and involved in three major combat operations. Investors, no matter what language they speak, do not like uncertainty, and for the United States, these are uncertain times.

Temperatures are about to run even hotter. President Obama is scheduled to at last unveil some of his deficit reduction ideas this week, while some Republicans are threatening to oppose raising the country’s debt ceiling above its current $14.3 trillion limit absent meaningful spending cuts. Democrats say failing to raise the ceiling would undermine the government’s full faith and credit and would choke the economy’s recovery, and they probably are right. Some Republicans counter that, absent that threat, the government is never going to change, and they probably are right as well.

If Pryor and Boozman can jointly propose the Safe Roads Act, can Republicans and Democrats work together long enough to meaningfully address the deficit?

I am hoping that the answer to Brawner’s question is yes!!!! The deficit problem has to be addressed, and it is time for both Democrats and Republicans to stop playing politics and get us to a balanced budget.

Over the next few days I want to take a closer look a Cato Policy Report from July/August 1996 called “Seven Reforms to Balance the Budget” by Stephen Moore. Stephen Moore was the Cato Institute’s director of fiscal policy studies, and afterwards, a Cato senior fellow. This article is based on testimony he delivered before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight on March 27, 1996. Moore commented:

6.) A Statute of Limitation on All Spending Programs

It has been said that the closest thing to immortality on this earth is a government program. Congress doesn’t know how to end programs–even years and years after their missions have been accomplished. A five-year sunset provision should apply to every spending program in the budget–both entitlements and discretionary programs. That would require the true “reinvention” of programs by forcing the reexamination of every program, including entitlements, every five years.

Patsy Montana is another famous Arkansan.

Cowboy’s Sweetheart was recorded on August 16, 1935.

Patsy Montana (Rubye Blevins)

Inducted in 1996

 (1914-1996) – This Hot Springs native who grew up in Hope was known as the “Queen of Country Western Music.” She was one of the first country singers to successfully cultivate a cowgirl image. Her 1935 recording “I Want To Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” which included a virtuoso yodeling piece, was the first big hit by a female country singer, making her the first female country singer to have a single sell more than one million copies. She wrote over 200 songs during her career. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, shortly following her death. www.patsymontana.net

I went to see the movie “The Conspirator” the other night and I really enjoyed it. Since then I have been digging up facts about the trial and the people involved in the trial.

Ray Suarez reports on a new film profiling Mary Surratt, the sole woman implicated in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the questions raised about the use of military commission trials, both then and now. He is joined by screenwriter James Solomon and retired U.S. Army Col. Fred Borch

image 1

Mary Jenkins was born in in Waterloo, Maryland, in May, 1823. Educated at a Catholic femaleseminary in Alexandria, Virginia, she married John Harrison Surratt when she was seventeen. The couple went to live on land that he had inherited just outside of Washington at Oxon Hill. In 1851 a fire destroyed their home the couple decided to rebuild a combined home and tavern.

In 1853 Surratt purchased 287 acres of farmland in Prince George’s County. He built a tavern and post office and the community eventually became known as Surrattsville. Surratt worked as the local postmaster until his death on 25th August, 1862.

In October, 1864, Mrs. Surratt decided to rent the Surrattsville property for $500 a year to an ex-policeman, John M. Lloyd, and moved to a house she owned at 541 High Street,Washington. To make some extra money she rented out some of her rooms.

During the American Civil War, her eldest son, John Harrison Surratt, joined theConfederate Army. Her other son, John Surratt, worked as an agent for the Confederacy. He met others working as secret agents including John Wilkes Booth who stayed at the Surratt’s boardinghouse when he was in the area. It is not known if Mrs. Surratt knew if these men were working for the Confederacy.

On the 17th April, police officers arrived at Mrs. Surratt’s boardinghouse. Lewis Powell was also at the house and the two of them were arrested and charged with conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. When the police searched the house they found a hidden photograph of John Wilkes Booth, the man who had assassinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on 14th April.

Louis Weichmann, one of Mrs. Surratt’s borders, and John M. Lloyd, the man who rented the tavern at Surrattsville, were also arrested and threatened with being charged with the murder of Abraham Lincoln. Kept in solitary confinement both men eventually agreed to give evidence against Mrs. Surratt in return for their freedom.

On 1st May, 1865, President Andrew Johnson ordered the formation of a nine-man military commission to try the conspirators. It was argued by Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War, that the men should be tried by a military court as Lincoln had been Commander in Chief of the army. Several members of the cabinet, including Gideon Welles(Secretary of the Navy), Edward Bates (Attorney General), Orville H. Browning (Secretary of the Interior), and Henry McCulloch (Secretary of the Treasury), disapproved, preferring a civil trial. However, James Speed, the Attorney General, agreed with Stanton and therefore the defendants did not enjoy the advantages of a jury trial.

The trial began on 10th May, 1865. The military commission included leading generals such as David HunterLewis WallaceThomas Harris and Alvin Howe and Joseph Holt was the government’s chief prosecutor. Mary SurrattLewis PowellGeorge AtzerodtDavid HeroldSamuel MuddMichael O’LaughlinEdman Spangler and Samuel Arnold were all charged with conspiring to murder Lincoln. During the trial Holt attempted to persuade the military commission thatJefferson Davis and the Confederate government had been involved in conspiracy.

Lincoln’s Assassins

Assassin’s Accomplice

Joseph Holt attempted to obscure the fact that there were two plots: the first to kidnap and the second to assassinate. It was important for the prosecution not to reveal the existence of a diary taken from the body of John Wilkes Booth. The diary made it clear that the assassination plan dated from 14th April. The defence surprisingly did not call for Booth’s diary to be produced in court.

At the trial John M. Lloyd told the court that on the Tuesday before the assassination Mrs. Surratt and Louis Weichmann visited him. Lloyd claimed that Mrs. Surratt “told me to have those shooting-irons ready that night, there would be some parties who would call for them. She gave me something wrapped in a piece of paper, which I took up stairs, and found to be a field-glass. She told me to get two bottles of whisky ready, and that these things were to be called for that night.”

When Louis Weichmann testified he told the court that he had seen John Wilkes BoothLewis PowellGeorge Atzerodtand David Herold in Mrs. Surratt’s house together. This supported the prosecution’s claim that the boarding house was where the assassination plot had been planned.

Weichmann also testified that as far as he knew Mrs. Surratt was not disloyal to the Union cause. A large number of friends and neighbours also appeared in court and stressed that they had never head her express support for the Confederacy.



Execution of Mary SurrattLewis PowellDavid Herold and 
George Atzerodt
 at Washington Penitentiary on 7th July, 1865.

On 29th June, 1865, Mrs. Mary Surratt, Lewis PowellGeorge AtzerodtDavid HeroldSamuel MuddMichael O’Laughlin,Edman Spangler and Samuel Arnold were found guilty of being involved in the conspiracy to murder Lincoln. Surratt, Powell, Atzerodt and Herold were all sentenced to be hanged at Washington Penitentiary on 7th July, 1865.

Five out of the nine members of the Military Commission, recommended that Mrs. Surratt be shown mercy “due to her sex and age”. President Andrew Johnson was later to say he was never told this and he gave the order to hang the woman who he pointed out “kept the nest that hatched the egg”.

On 7th July, 1865, Mary Surratt, still pleading her innocence, became the first woman in American history to be executed by the federal government.

Balanced Budget Amendment the Answer? Pryor says no, Boozman says yes (part 7)(Famous Arkansan, Tracy Lawrence) (Orsini murder trial part 2C)

 Senator Hatch talks with Fox News host Bret Baier about looming government shutdown. (At first Hatch talks about Planned Parenthood and the fact that they are the leading abortion provider and then he turns his attention to getting federal spending down.)

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Steve Brawner in his article “Safer roads and balanced budgets,” Arkansas News Bureau, April 13, 2011, noted:

You might not have noticed it last week amongst all the yelling in Washington, but a Republican and a Democrat, both from Arkansas, actually agreed on something.

Sen. John Boozman, the Republican, and Sen. Mark Pryor, the Democrat, introduced the Safe Roads Act, which would create a national database to keep track of commercial drivers who fail drug or alcohol tests while requiring employers to check that database prior to hiring.

At first glance, the bill would seem to have a good chance of passage. The problem it seeks to address is obvious and the solution relatively painless. Still, nothing in Washington is guaranteed. Pryor also introduced the bill in 2009, and also with Republican co-sponsors, and it didn’t pass then. If the measure fails again, it will be because the issue will be deemed better addressed through regulations or because Pryor and Boozman become distracted by other matters, not because anybody rallies against it on the Capitol steps. Democracy will survive.

So what about issues where the stakes are higher? If Arkansas’ senators can address irresponsible truck drivers, can they work together on the nation’s fiscal irresponsibility?

In that case, as with the Safe Roads Act, Boozman and Pryor, along with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle, agree on the problem: The government is going broke, creating an unhealthy dependence on unsavory entities such as the Chinese government and burdening future generations with this unconscionable debt. They also more or less agree on what kind of tone the debate should have. Boozman is a little more doctrinaire, but neither is a bomb-thrower

The disagreement is over the solutions — on what spending to cut; what taxes to raise (basically none ever, according to Boozman); whether or not to enact a balanced budget amendment (Boozman says yes; Pryor no); and on what policies would promote the kind of economic growth that would make this a little easier.

 

Brawner makes an excellent point. Since we can work together on other issues, why can’t we work together on the big issues like getting a balanced budget?

Over the next few days I want to take a closer look a Cato Policy Report from July/August 1996 called “Seven Reforms to Balance the Budget” by Stephen Moore. Stephen Moore was the Cato Institute’s director of fiscal policy studies, and afterwards, a Cato senior fellow. This article is based on testimony he delivered before the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight on March 27, 1996. Moore asserted:

5.) An End to Baseline Budgeting

A 4.5 percent increase in spending on the School Lunch Program is a budget increase, not a budget “cut.” Baseline budgeting is a fraud. Lee Iacocca once stated that if business used baseline budgeting the way Congress does, “they’d throw us in jail.”

 

It’s time to end the false and misleading advertising in the budget. Congress should be required to use this year’s actual spending total as the baseline for the next year’s budget. If Congress spends more next year than it did in the current year, it is increasing the budget; if it spends less, it is cutting it.

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Country singer Tracy Lawrence performs “Time Marches On” Live

Tracy Lawrence

Inducted in 1996

 (b. 1968) – Born in Atlanta, Texas, this country music artist spent his early years in Foreman. His hits include “Alibis,” “Sticks and Stones,” “If the Good Die Young,” and “Outlaws, Rebels and Rogues” from the movie “Maverick.” In 2007 he released his first studio collection in three years featuring the hit singles “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” and “Til I Was A Daddy Too.” He was named Billboard’s Top New Male Vocalist in 1992, the Academy of County Music’s Top New Male Vocalist in 1993, and has received many other awards over the last several years. www.tracylawrence.com

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Whatever happened to some of the main characters in the Orsini McArthur murder case? Carl Wilson’s story is below (part 2)

Trouble did seem to follow Carl, no matter where he went or whom he befriended. Many of his problems with the law were of his own making.

A few were just plain bad luck. In October 1974, while he was working as a construction foreman at a job in Saline County, Carl shot a co-worker in the thigh.

The shooting was ruled self-defense. Eight years later, Carl emerged as a pivotal witness in the investigation into the July 1982 slaying of Alice McArthur. Alice, the wife of prominent Little Rock attorney Bill McArthur, was murdered by two gunmen.

A few months before her death, someone tried to kill her by putting a bomb under her car. The explosives used to make the device were later traced to Carl Wilson. The man who bought them was Eugene “Yankee” Hall, a friend of Carl’s. Yankee and Larry McClendon would later be convicted of first-degree murder in Alice McArthur’s death.

The hitmen were hired by Mary Lee Orsini, who was convicted of capital murder. Carl testified against Orsini in her 1982 trial. He told the jury that Yankee and Orsini drove out to his home in Mayflower to pick up the explosive that was later used to build the bomb planted in Alice McArthur’s car. At that time, Tammy was living there, but the couple weren’t yet married. While Orsini and Tammy rode three-wheelers, Carl and Yankee smoked marijuana and took a walk to a hunting cabin on the property, Carl gave his buddy a shampoo bottle filled with Tovex, a plastic explosive used in construction. Carl said Yankee told him he wanted the explosive to blow up some stumps. During the lengthy investigation and grand jury proceedings involved in the McArthur case, Carl testified that he had few visitors to his out-of-the-way home. “I just try to stay off up there by myself,” Carl testified. “Even got a sign down there where you come in across the cattle guard: ‘Leave Me Alone.’ ” When asked if he had any enemies, he replied: “No. I don’t do people wrong.” Two days after testifying against Orsini, Carl found himself the subject of another shooting investigation after he killed his best friend, William E. “Sonny” Evans. Carl told detectives that Evans was showing him a .22-caliber rifle in the bedroom of Evans’ home and had taken out the clip when the telephone rang. While Evans went to answer it in the living room, Carl and Tammy examined the gun. The rifle had a unique safety lock on the trigger, and Carl told detectives he was pulling the lock back and forth when the gun fired.

Although the clip had been removed, there was a bullet in the chamber. Authorities ruled the shooting accidental. Five years later, on March 18, 1988, Carl shot Tammy at their home. In the midst of a fight about visiting Tammy’s parents, a drunken Carl pointed a .22 rifle at his wife and fired.

He missed the first time. On his second try, he didn’t. The bullet entered Tammy’s left side, hitting her liver and then ricocheting through her body. As she lay bleeding on the floor of their home, Carl was running around “like a wild man,” she says. Finally, he leaned over his injured wife. “My God, what do I do?” he asked. “Get me some help,” Tammy begged. “As far as I was concerned, he could go to hell in a handbasket,” she says, recalling the three months she spent in the hospital. “I hated him.” From his jail cell, Carl begged for a second chance.

Against the advice of many, including her father, Tammy took him back, but with strict stipulations, she says. “You take another drink, you hit me, you don’t go to church — then this is over,” she told him. Police dropped the case against Carl after Tammy refused to press charges. That same year, Carl went to work for Johnny Burnett’s pool and spa contracting business. Four years later, on July 21, 1992, Burnett was found shot to death in his Little Rock home, and Carl was again involved in a high-profile murder case. While police charged Burnett’s wife, Scharmel Burnett, in her husband’s murder, her defense attorneys pointed to Carl as a potential suspect. One of the documents they used to back up their assertion was a nine-page handwritten report by a Little Rock detective detailing a conversation with a Faulkner County law enforcement source. “According to the source, Carl Wilson was a shady character, and if he wasn’t the triggerman, he probably knew who was,” detective Ronnie Smith wrote. “Wilson is a drug user and probably involved in drug trafficking, according to the source.” Adding to the suspicion was Carl’s soured relationship with his former boss when Burnett fired him. The two men also were in a dispute over a worker’s compensation claim Carl made against Burnett’s company. Burnett was killed before the claim was resolved. Prosecutors questioned Wilson about the Burnett murder but determined that he had an alibi.

Scharmel Burnett was tried twice but was never convicted. No one else has ever been charged. Carl’s name didn’t appear in newspapers again until he was killed. “I got the impression that he was an old outlaw who had reformed,” prosecutor Melody Piazza recalled on the day of the shootout. “He had a new wife and … seemed to have changed his life.”

Once an alcoholic who sometimes lost himself in violent rages, Carl became a new man after shooting his wife, longtime friends say. That was almost 13 years ago. “Carl was so proud that he never took another drink,” says Stan Joyner, Carl’s boss at a construction company for several years. After Tammy’s shooting, Carl appeared to make good on his promise to reform, say the dozen or so friends who have known the couple in both good times and bad. Carl was eventually forced to retire after several light strokes and heart surgery. He wandered around Mayflower and Conway during they day, coffee thermos always in hand. In the evenings, he played dominoes and watched television well into the early-morning hours.

His dresser is covered with stacks of videotapes. Still known for a sharp wit and a rough-edged demeanor, Carl seemed to be slipping gratefully — if not always gracefully — into his retirement. In their many years together, Tammy says, this period was definitely the couple’s most peaceful era. “If this had happened 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have questioned it,” she says of the raid. Standing in Carl’s bedroom, which is still pockmarked with bullet holes, Tammy wonders what her husband could have been up to that would have piqued the interest of the ATF. “I’m willing to accept whatever it is. I just need to know. I hope that with all my heart there are no surprises.

But good or bad, I’ll take what they hand me.” Tammy has a few theories of her own. A family vendetta may have prompted some of Tammy’s relatives to go to the police with stories about Carl, she says. Tales of drugs, weapons and the note tacked onto his closet door may have been enough to open an investigation, she muses. She also thinks that perhaps some longtime law enforcement authorities, frustrated by their inability to do no more than link Carl to various crimes, might have been waiting for an opportunity — no matter how small — to strike. “Carl always had a past that haunted him,” Tammy says. “Society never pardoned him, but I know God did.” She describes a long-ago encounter with Buford, saying that during the McArthur trial, the ATF agent approached Carl in a courthouse hallway, telling him, “I’ll get you.” Buford says he cannot comment, adding that he would very much like to. Tammy’s life with Carl, as well as the nature of his death, have made her suspicious of law enforcement. After the shooting, she and Carl’s friends scoured the house, collecting slugs, shell casings and taking photos. All of these items have been turned over to Tammy’s attorney, she says. She also went to the funeral home before anything was done to Carl’s body and took pictures of all his wounds. “When I saw his face wasn’t distorted, God gave me the strength to take those pictures.”

As she sat in the state trooper’s car, waiting for word of her husband’s fate, Tammy occupied herself by counting vehicles. Twenty-six unmarked cars. Four state police cars. Four hours passed. The officers milling about were nice to her, she says. “None of them were mean or rude or ugly. The SWAT team was what scared the hell out of me.” Tammy finally dredged up the nerve to ask a trooper about Carl. “Is he alive or dead?” “Well, ma’am, I don’t think it’s fair to keep you in the dark,” she says the trooper told her. “He’s dead.” As Tammy’s handcuffs were removed, another trooper asked her, “Ma’am, is there anyone I can call to come comfort you?” Tammy asked for her mother, but she wasn’t home. Her grandfather, Daddy John, came instead. When he arrived, they sat there for two more hours. Finally, a white pickup with a camper shell arrived. “And that’s what they took Carl Ray Wilson out in,” Tammy says. Still barefoot and clad in her white, flower-sprigged nightgown, Tammy clutched her grandfather’s hand and turned away from her house. He drove her away in a white Cadillac, telling her that everything was going to be OK. But everything isn’t, Tammy says. It won’t be, she says, until she knows what happened and why.