Over to you. Final notes, plus the fine photo distributed by NASA today:
* BODY RECOVERED: The sheriff's office said a body was recovered this afternoon believed to be that of a 13-year-old who jumped off the Interstate 430 bridge earlier this week. He has not yet been identified.
* PINE BLUFF: DANGEROUS FOR WOMEN: Forbes magazine ranks Pine Bluff as the 7th most dangerous city for women in the U.S. thanks to a violent crimes rate of 793 per 100,000 and 56 rapes per 100,000.
* PHONE SEX: TV Twitter accounts have been overloaded all day about the Bryant bust of the operator of Wayne's World, a cell phone repair shop, for trading drugs for sex. Fox 16's story here. The case started breaking when police encountered a man walking down Reynolds Road in his underwear. He led them to a motel where they found a 17-year-old girl who said Wayne Price had traded her Xanax for sex. Other women said they traded sex for hydrocodone or, in one case, money to pay an electric bill.
* ALEC'S PAPER TRAIL: Common Cause, which has filed a formal complaint that nonprofit American Legislative Exchange Council has verged impermissibly into political activity has posted a ton of documents to support its case on-line. Arkansas has, of course, provided real live evidence, such as when Sen. Missy Irvin brought in an ALEC staff member to testify for her state legislation to cripple federal health care form, a pet peeve of ALEC.
* GET YOUR PRO-LABOR RALLY ON: Make plans for next week. Supporters of the Pulaski County School District teacher and staff unions will meet at the AEA Building Saturday morning, May 5, and march over to the Capitol for a demonstration against the state's decision to nullify contracts with the unions as part of a financial rescue of the district, now in state receivership. Write email@example.com for more info.
* A HERO OF THE SHALE: Remember when the shaleophiles would have drunk the bathwater of Aubrey McClendon, head of Chesapeake Energy, an early — and easily the haughtiest — exploiter of the Fayetteville Shale. Hell, the Conway Chamber, Jason Rapert and Co. of the Shale Caucus would probably still take deep drafts of his dirty dregs (not quite so dangerous as some of the waste from gas drilling). But the national press has begun taking a deeper look at the soap salesman and his self-enriching ways, here the New York Times.
* VOTE SET ON ARKANSAS JUDGESHIP: Glenn Sugameli, staff attorney for Judging the Environment, provides another update on the saga of a federal judicial vacancy in Arkansas's Eastern District. He reports today that Kris Baker of Little Rock will finally get a Senate confirmation vote May 7. She will be among the last nominees covered by an agreement to allow votes on long-delayed vacancies in districts where the U.S. courts have said "judicial emergencies" exist. He writes:
Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy’s explained yesterday how Republican senators are holding up judicial nominees and how “the Senate is still only considering judicial nominations that should have been confirmed last year.”
Senate Republicans continue to block Floor votes on 19 Committee-approved nominations. These include those that Judiciary Committee Republicans supported to fill vacancies the U.S. Courts have designated as “judicial emergencies.” Seven other nominees cannot even have hearings, because GOP senators have not returned the required home-state senator “blue slips.”
* BILLIONAIRES CLUB: CBS has rounded up the major givers to the Super PACs. No Arkansas tycoons are at the top of the list, but both Jim and Alice Walton are listed among the billionaires who've contributed to Super PACs supporting Mitt Romney.
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