Stuff from Around Arkansas, February 17

Rumor-Mongering: Is Lt. Gov. Bill Halter considering a primary run against Democratic U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln in 2010? Sure, why not, let’s make that our new thing. Earlier completely unfounded rumors have hereby been declared inoperative. Please update your notes accordingly. (The Tolbert Report)

Back Talk: Meanwhile, Sen. Lincoln can stare at the ceiling and ponder that rumor as she recovers from the back surgery she had Monday to treat a herniated disc. (Talk Business)

Lottery Ethics: House Speaker Robert “Robbie” Wills says that he’ll propose super-strict ethics rules for state lottery employees. Here’s the part I don’t understand: Is there something endemic to lottery employees that would require stricter ethics rules and accountability than those required of other public officials? (AP)

Stim Sells: Hey, smokers, while you’re seething about that hefty new tax you’ll have to pay on your cigarettes, please note that Arkansas will receive an estimated $2.1 billion from the federal stimulus package (Arkansas News Bureau). Unless you’re reading the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, in which case the total is $4.65 billion. So it’s somewhere in the range of two to four-and-a-half billion. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

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