Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tonight's the night for an open line

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2012 at 4:28 PM

FAYETTEVILLE FUNSTERS: Bikers drew stares with props in Fayetteville today.
  • FAYETTEVILLE FUNSTERS: Bikers drew stares with props in Fayetteville today. Remind you of anyone? They should have put cell phones in the hands of the blonde passengers. (See item below.)

Over to you at midweek. Final notes:

* LITTLE ROCK POLICE RESIDENCY ISSUE: A reader asked — and you won't believe the runaround necessary before I finally got the answer — but here it is. The residency of the officers involved in the arrest of Surgeon General Joe Thompson. Chris Johannes, the more aggressive of the two, does NOT live in Little Rock. Nicholas Kinsey does.

* NO, NO, A THOUSAND TIMES NO: An academic calls for public subsidies of news outlets. Bad idea. Whatever flavor of politician in control would not dispense this money without fear or favor. Noted: Koch boys pop up as sponsors on e-mail from Poynter Institute, nominally independent press watchdog. It's fact-checking service has verged recently into choosing sides on the type of "truth" it prefers, I'd note.

* WHERE'S THE BEEF?: Wendy's is quitting ALEC, too. It joins McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Intuit and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Wait, Gates says he won't pull ALEC money after all, "for now." The American Legislative Exchange Council is a corporate funded Republican lobby masquerading as a research organization. It produces anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-health care, anti-public school, anti-abortion, pro-gun legislation for state legislators to introduce. It has many supporters among the Arkansas Republican caucus. Corporations have begun to be embarrased by ALEC work, such as the bloody Stand Your Ground laws.

* PARTY TIME: The chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties, Will Bond and Doyle Webb, spoke to Political Animals Club today. They mostly traded well-worn talking points. The Democrats boasted about popular Gov. Mike Beebe. Doyle Webb said Barack Obama is a Democrat, which he thinks is all need be said. Not much light. But Webb — again — wrapped himself in Winthrop Rockefeller and said, laughably, that Rockefeller could be elected governor today. Only if he could survive a Republican primary, which the kind, progressive man could not. The wingnuts would eat him alive. That Rockefeller descendants still claim Republican ties is meaningless. I don't think Grandpa Win would have forsaken ideals for political gain, as his son did in throwing over long support for Planned Parenthood to get right with party extremists. Webb also said something to the effect that it was as hard being a Republican in the 1960s as a black person in Arkansas. Insert your own derisive snort here.

* CELL PHONE RECORDS: The University of Arkansas today released hundreds of pages of former coach Bobby Petrino's cell phone records today, but said it had none for Jessica Dorrell, on account of her recent joining of the football team. They go back to last fall and include the flurry of calls around the time of the accident, roughly 6:30 April 1, plus a number made before then. I am more interested in pending requests for records pertaining to the hiring of Dorrell and to some other Petrino-related actions within the Athletic Department, plus the records accumulated in the investigation that led to his firing. The last will eventually be open, though probably not until after the time has expired on Petrino's window for appealing the action.

The phone records, as you might guess, show plenty of calls between Petrino and Dorrell — 16 minutes on the day of the wreck, and 22 minutes the day after. Their last discussions on record are eight minutes Thursday, April 5, about two hours after Petrino had told Jeff Long about his passenger, and four hours before his suspension was announced. Shades of Houston Dale Nutt, one particular month, ending in October, is indicative of the amount of text-messaging the two managed to accomplish right in the heart of the football season, 70-some to her number alone on one game day, among others. Reporters also sniff out wake-up calls between the pair four mornings in a row before the, gulp, ALABAMA, game. Channel 7 counts 1,000 texts in the October-November cycle, including some photo messages.

* BRYANT FINANCIAL DISARRAY: Bryant Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs has been cleaning house in Bryant and now she finds herself with a messy records problem. Not her fault, of course. It's the people she drove off who are to blame.

* TROUBLE ON THE WEB: Our website provider had a catastrophic power failure earlier today that caused disruption to our service and that of every other publication they serve apparently. We're back up, but you'll undoubtedly be encountering hiccups as all the pages get restored. Sorry.

* JOE THOMPSON, READY FOR TRIAL: The surgeon general told reporters today he was ready to challenge his arrest by Little Rock police. He said the obvious: dash cam and other audio and video released by police this week to the Arkansas Times and others, including a Jacksonville woman who matched up the tape with a transcript with the Arkansas Project, tell a different story than what the police had initially put out in the case.

“I think the dash cam is a pretty accurate recording of what I remember transpiring, and it’s fairly disparate from what the police report is claiming,” Thompson told reporters after a news conference announcing a child obesity research program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

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