The line is open. Closing out, in addition to the latest take on the 47 percenters above:
* EXPLOSIVE! Feds have charged a Mabelvale man with being a felon in possesion of firearms and possessing a stick of explosive grade dynamite and 14 pounds of explosive "slurries." What was he up to? They don't say. But suspect has a meth history.
* OPERATION ICE PICK NETS 23: State and federal law officers cooperated on Operation Ice Pick, which led to 23 drug arrests in Gurdon and nearby places, including Arkadephia and Malvern. Officials said they were chipping away at the ice — or meth trafficking, some of it happening on school yards.
* YOUR WACKY LEGISLATURE AT WORK: Reactionary Republican Rep. Nate Bell doesn't take kindly to criticism. He has jumped all over a local newspaper letter writer who criticizes his idea to make people who become ineligible for lottery scholarships be forced to pay back the scholarships they received. Oh, but wait. Bell says he ONLY would require payback if students don't continue to go to college on their own dime. Sort of college debtor prison. Not very family friendly to a college dropout trying to earn a living for his or her family. It's that old punitive Republican mindset at work. Whip a sick, hungry mule long enough and it will start toting those barges. It would be interesting to review Bell's own financial performance down through the years in business and otherwise.
* CRAZY IS AS CRAZY DOES: I can't think of a better way to define Republican 4th District candidate Tom Cotton than to say he proudly announced his endorsement today by nutty Florida Republican Allen West. A taste o' West.
* THEATER LIVES AT ARKANSAS TECH: Arkansas Tech's Board of Trustees has approved more than $800,000 in additional work to create a space for drama at the university, where the college president's past tussles with the former head of theater made many headlines. Release includes details of productions this year. I was tempted to make a gratuitous crack here about Tech's president, Robert Brown. But I think waiting for his next public eruption is good enough.
* MARATHON MAN DUCKS DEBATE: Paul "Lyin'" Ryan is refusing to debate his Democratic opponent in his congressional re-election bid, underway concurrent with his run for national office. Local newspaper criticizes him for ducking.
* GUIDE TO NEW VOTER ID LAWS: Must-see video.
* CHICK-FIL-A WATCH: Equality advocates urged caution at news earlier this week that Chick-fil-A, now the Republicans' favorite symbol for legal discrimination against homosexuals, had issued a statement distancing itself from sexual politics. It was a national statement, with the immediate impact of reducing opposition to the chicken chain's expansion into Chicago. Uh, maybe it was all a big lie to get in good graces with people who'd just as soon not wrap themselves in a chicken logo flag of intolerance. The Human Rights Organization reports that the chain's leader was tweeting from an anti-gay group's fund-raiser this week. Funny. The news that Chick-fil-A might be going all Golden Rule on gays had inspired a backlash from the good Christians who've demonstrated fealty to the chain's discriminatory beliefs. Not to worry, see? The chain itself might not cut any corporate checks to the hate groups, but owner Dan Cathy stands ready to handle it.
* CASINO ARGUMENTS: The Arkansas Supreme Court today passed up a chance to appoint a special master or hear oral arguments in the fight by the Oaklawn and Southland casinos to keep the Nancy Todd Poker Palace casino amendment off the ballot. The case will be decided on briefs on an expedited schedule. CORRECTION: I included the Family Council as a player in this suit. It opposes casino expansion, but has intervened legally only to oppose the marijuana amendment.
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