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Regardless of my opinion on student loan reform, it frustrates me every time I see unrelated issues tied together in the same bill. That’s why I was surprised to see that both Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Sen. Mark Pryor were opposed to the student reform provision of the recent health care bill – which passed the senate with both of our senators voting nay.

Well I was surprised, until I read this:

Lincoln and [Nebraska Senator] Nelson have been two of the biggest beneficiaries of campaign contributions from the student loan industry[.]

Click the link above for more details.

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I came across this news story a few minutes ago:

Arkansas.gov Becomes the First State to Offer Mobile Payments for eGovernment Services

Before anything else, I just have to say, “Take that, California.” Seriously though, who expected our state to be the first to offer this? I’m sure in a year or two it will have expanded significantly, which is neat to think about – maybe soon we can fill out our federal tax returns on our iPhones! This is pretty good publicity for the state, as well as just being all around cool.

It’s too bad about the early loss, but still, congrats to the Razorbacks for their season.

Here’s an weird story  – this lady in Little Rock was fired for being selected for jury duty. From a preschool. Who does that? After being brought to court, her employer decided to reinstate her.

In bigger news, let’s head south – to Texas – where there has been recent controversy about their statewide curriculum standards. This will probably affect Arkansas sooner or later. The Texas Board of Education has approved a new set of curriculum standards recently. There has been a lot of outcry over some of the changes.

I think the outcry is somewhat justified – some of the changes are just downright pitiful. Changing the wording of our political system from “democratic republic” to “constitutional republic” had better have a good basis in history and political science; otherwise, it just looks like an attempt to make Republicans look better.

Google some of the changes and let me know what you think (there are also links in the stories I linked to above). I’m really interested in seeing whether the changes made by the Texas SBOE will affect the textbook we use here.

Michelle Obama will be doing a commencement speech in Univ. Arkansas at Pine Bluff. I never had any cool commencement speakers like that.

Anyway – sorry for the long break. But exciting news – the Senate race here in Arkansas is really getting off the ground:

Four of the eight Republicans running for the GOP nomination for Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s seat were among the last to file by the noon deadline. Lincoln already faces a tough primary challenge from Democratic Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who made his bid official last week.

Randy Alexander of Springdale, state Sen. Gilbert Baker of Conway, former state Sen. Jim Holt of Springdale and retired Army Col. Conrad Reynolds of Conway filed paperwork at the state Capitol on Monday. Arkansas’ primaries are May 18.

There are a lot of interesting aspects to this. Did you know Baker has promised to come home after 2 terms if he wins? If only some current senators had made that promise…

The bills setting the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery scholarship amounts are about to go through the House and Senate.

$5,000 is a pretty great scholarship amount (that’s for 4 year students). One great thing about the proposal is that current college students will be able to apply for some of the scholarship money – with rising tuition costs, this provides another avenue for college students to stay in school.

Can’t wait to see how this program works out.

Did anybody bet to see Sarah Palin on Tuesday? It is looking more and more like she is going to try to run for President. I like Sarah, but I hope she decides not to run.

Also, I caught a clip of State Senator Gilbert Baker on the Strategy Room today. Check it out. He explains why federal gov’t needs a balanced budget law – and I totally agree.

Five straight wins…

Also, Debra Medina’s now famous 9/11 truther moment on Glenn Beck (a la Hotair): “I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard…. I think the American people have not seen all the evidence there….”

My favorite part though, is when Glenn asked if she would disavow people associated with her campaign who were Truthers. Her answer? “That’s a federal issue, we’re very focused on issues in Texas….”

Debra Medina: exactly what everyone thought she was. An unelectable fringe of the tea-party candidate. Good luck, Texas.