Diary

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com .

We often publish information because it is important news of which readers need to be aware. But we may also think the idea or need for something is totally bogus. Such is the case with today’s story about REAL ID, the federal government’s initiative to require special identification for any American who wants to fly on a commercial airliner, beginning next October. Our driver’s license is up for renewal this month and as we might like to fly somewhere in the next eight years, we will make a special trip to El Dorado to get an “enhanced” Arkansas driver’s license that meets REAL ID requirements. The $40 license is good for eight years, but requires people to provide several forms of identification and to jump through other hoops in order to obtain it. The feds want REAL ID because, they say, it will improve airline security. The problem is that security is awful not because of the passengers being forced to go through this exercise, but because the Transportation Security Administration is so bad at its job. The TSA often fails its own tests to prevent onboarding of guns, explosives and other weapons. Yes, it confiscates a lot of weapons. But given the number of airline flights and passenger miles flown, the number of incidents is very low. Many people are stupid but they’re not crazy. They simply want to get somewhere with their firearms and knives. You hear about serious incidents because they are rare, which makes them news -- not because there’s an inordinate number of incidents. The TSA is an instance of the federal government giving the appearance of doing something when the practical impact is low. At any rate, we have discharged our obligation to let you know that if you want to fly to Vail at Christmas 2020, you better have REAL ID or it’s going to be a long walk.

Michele Paden, co-founder and president of Families Against Distracted Driving, will speak to the Rotary Club of Magnolia during its meeting at noon Thursday at the LifeSmart Center.

Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. of Camden announced Tuesday that it will ask the Arkansas Public Service Commission to lower the rates it charges to members. Ouachita Co-op’s extensive use of solar power set the stage for the stunning announcement of a 4 ½ percent rate cut. The co-op partnered with Aerojet Rocketdyne to build a 12-megawatt solar array. It has since added an array at SAU Tech in partnership with Today’s Power Inc., and has a third array at its Camden headquarters.

Sevier County voters, beset with problems at De Queen’s old hospital, approved measures on Tuesday to pay for a new 11-bed facility.

Enjoyed a sausage, egg and cheese McGriddle this morning from the rebuilt McDonalds restaurant in Magnolia. Tasted the same as before. There wasn't the line at 8:30 a.m. that we suppose existed at 7:30 a.m.

Southern Arkansas University students, faculty and staff will enjoy their “fall break” on Thursday and Friday. Classes resume on Monday.

Monday is Columbus Day. A suggestion. We start calling it “Columbia Day” and make a big push in our schools, clubs, churches and other organizations to teach local and Arkansas history during the day and the week.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. Email him at news@magnoliareporter.com or call him at 870-904-3865.

CLICK HERE to read previous installments of Mike McNeill’s Diary.

 

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