Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hurry sundown and the open line

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

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I have to leave early for some errands. I'll try to check back. But I leave you above with the sun setting over Pinnacle Mountain and a pair of kayakers, thanks to Chuck Haralson of the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department. Other thoughts:

* ALEC MOVES INTO ZONING: The Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council is moving along with other extremist lobbies into the business of tearing down zoning and other land-use rules, this article in Atlantic speculates. No need to speculate. The Kochite Americans for Prosperity chapter in Arkansas, along with ALEC acolytes in the legislature and other fellow extremist travelers, have been thumping this drum in Arkansas for a good while. The most vigorous current manifestation is the fight to prevent rules that protect the Lake Maumelle water supply. Failed legislation aimed at that is certain to be reborn in some fashion as part of the ALEC/Koch/AFP agenda in the 2013 legislative session. Fair warning of what the Republican majority could bring.

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  • KAIT
* NEWS YOU CAN USE: The rise of crowd-sourced news, particularly in community websites sponsored by TV stations, has opened new vistas in news coverage.

Community reporters cover a broad range of topics, from the tough scrutiny I've seen of Republican Mayor Dabbs in Bryant to, ta da, the news today that a Poughkeepsie woman found a tarantula in a bowl in her kitchen cabinet when she went to make a pie. She took it outside, but the scare slowed down her pie-making. Courtesy of KAIT-8.

* BECAUSE SOMEONE ASKED: Republicans, stung by recent reporting on Republican use this year of the dubious tactic of donating excess campaign funds from one treasury-fat legislative candidate to a candidate more in need, have been madly looking for Democrats to play the "they-do-it-too" card. (Democrats have done it in years past and it's a shady practice, clearly violating the spirit and maybe the letter of ethics law that prohibits personal use of campaign money, whoever does it.) A lobbyist looking to curry favor with Repubs slipped them an invite to a fund-raiser at Doe's today for Sen. Robert Thompson. Repubs madly set to Twittering, sure they'd caught somebody in the act of doing what they've already done. Thompson says no:

I had a fundraiser today, but I discouraged legislators from donating from their campaign accounts. A few legislators attended and made contributions, but they told me it was from personal funds and not from their campaign accounts. I don't believe I've received any funds from campaign accounts.

* HEAT DEATH: 40/29 reports the death from heat exposure of a man working Sunday for a contractor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

* YES, CONSERVATIVES HAVE TAKEN OVER THE SUPREME COURT: Great chart from Mother Jones.

* POKER LADY STANDS PAT: I mentioned over the weekend that Nancy Todd, who's attempting to put a casino gambling amendment on the ballot, had not filed reports on spending on that campaign. She sent a brief note promising to get back to me Monday, but seemed to indicate she saw her effort to date as not yet qualifying for disclosure. State rules clearly say expenses in qualifying a measure must be reported. She didn't call me Monday and hasn't responded to my e-mail today. I checked with the state Ethics Commission. Director Graham Sloan, though not venturing an opinion on whether Todd's committee had spent the $500 at which reporting is required, said a member of Todd's committee had been told of the rule last week and the Todd representative had indicated that the committee had not yet received or spent $500. Paid canvassers are at work. Website work has been done. A camper is being used to go to spots where people congregate to obtain signatures. Count me skeptical.

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