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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday afternoon line

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 4:32 PM


The line is open. Cleaning up for the time being:


* DEBUNKING THE FAMILY COUNCIL: The group pushing for legalization of medicinal marijuana has created a new Facebook page that targets Jerry Cox, head of the hateful and dishonest Family Council, a rightwing fundamentalist political lobby that opened its campaign against pain relief with a racist, dishonest TV ad about the proposal.

UPDATE: Some support for medical marijuana emerged in the 2nd District congressional debate to air on AETN tonight (see item below). But Channel 4 reports the Little Rock City Board has voted to oppose the medical marijuana initiative — after a meaningless amendment to attempt to distance themselves from the racist advertising aired by the Family Council (above). Big whoop. If you're against helping suffering people, you're against helping suffering people, with or without TV ads making elderly cancer patients out equivalent to heavily armed gangbangers.

* A FINAL PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE NOTE: Charles Pierce's instant analysis of last night's debate — particularly the emergence of yet another rebooted Mitt Romney — is worth reading.

* TONIGHT!!!!! CONGRESSIONAL DEBATES: Tonight's the night to watch AETN debates in the 1st Congressional District (7 p.m.) and 2nd Congressional District (8 p.m.) Both events were taped for airing later so Twitter and other accounts will have already pre-spun things. You can spin the 1st District now. Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford ducked this debate. Too busy for district-wide TV exposure. The wuss has agreed to an ASU-sponsored debate that will air on a handful of local cable systems.

2ND DISTRICT UPDATE: The reptilian Republican Tim Griffin, who boo-hooed about politics after leaving the U.S. attorney's office in shame, now blames his departure on his wife's pregnancy. What a man (reminiscent of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove and the other chicken hawks he bunkered with in the Bush administration)! Griffin also tried to score on Herb Rule's defense of his innocence in the Fayetteville traffic stop by saying Rule shouldn't have talked back to the cops (by remarking they must have something better to do than stopping him for failing to signal a lane change). First Amendment doesn't mean squat to Tim Griffin. It is lawful to question police actions, Congressman. For now at least.

UPDATE II: AP leads with Griffin attacking Herb Rule for disrespecting police, based on that single offhand comment in an even tone of voice. Unbelievable stretch by Griffin given what the video shows of Rule's questionable arrest. But Griffin suckled on the bile of Karl Rove's dirty war room, so this is par for his course. Compassionate conservative? Not. Griffin doesn't want sick people to have medical marijuana. He doesn't want poor people to have medical coverage, period. He's still vowing to upend the Affordable Care Act and the health security it provides hundreds of thousands of Arkansans.

* FOR WHAT SHALL IT PROFIT A MAN IF HE SHALL GAIN THE WORLD WORLD AND LOSE HIS OWN SOUL?: John Brummett reports a poll that shows slavery defending, immigrant-bashing, mean-spirited Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard leading in his race for re-election. Apart from perfunctory disavowal of Hubbard's most incendiary remarks by a party functionary, Republicans have been silent on Hubbard. Has a single elected Republican urged a vote AGAINST Jon Hubbard? Any of the constitutional officers? Would-be House Speaker Terry Rice? No. Crickets. They hope he wins. They want his vote to gain a House majority. They'll take him, the Lincoln-hating Loy Mauch, the child-executing Charles Fuqua and the assortment of police blotter and tax lien all-stars they're counting on in other districts. The introductory Biblical quotation would apply if the modern-day Republican Party had a soul to begin with. BTW: Harold Copenhaver, a sound, sensible, church-going businessman is the Democratic candidate in Jonesboro against Hubbard.

* REGNAT POPULUS: Lawyer David Couch says he's revised the new Regnat Populus government ethics proposal to address questions raised by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. If McDaniel reviews it speedily, the group could have petitions printed for gathering signatures at the Nov. 6 election. If he takes all the time allotted, that will be very difficult, if not impossible. Mr. Attorney General, your move.

* WEST MEMPHIS THREE ADVOCATES PRESS WEST MEMPHIS POLICE: The group seeking new information in the West Memphis Three slaying case say they have tried without success to get information from the West Memphis police about putative calls to a tip line concerning the possible involvement of others in the death than the three men recently released from prison in the case, all professing their innocence. A news release follows:

Defense attorneys for Damien Echols have requested any potential new evidence in the form of confidential phone calls placed to the West Memphis Police Department’s tip line recorded since August 19, 2011, regarding the involvement of Terry Hobbs or anyone else in the murder of the three children. The West Memphis Police Department currently operates a Crime Stoppers Confidential Tip Line at (870) 732-4444.

According to a sworn statement from Laird Williams, who was visiting the West Memphis Police Department on August 14, 2012, he was told that the WMPD had received numerous confidential calls over the past year, many concerning the possible involvement of Terry Hobbs, stepfather of victim, Stevie Branch. See

“On August 14, 2012, I met an associate from the University of Memphis School of Law at the offices of the West Memphis Police Department located at 626 East Broadway, West Memphis, AR, to review materials germane to the 1993 murders of Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch and Michael Moore. While in the WPMD offices, I was informed that the West Memphis Police Department is constantly receiving calls via their tip line regarding Terry Hobbs's potential involvement in the murders of these three young boys, one of which was his stepson, Steve Branch. I was told one caller, a man who worked with Terry Hobbs when the murders occurred, had called repeatedly. I requested the procedures for dealing with these tips and was informed that the calls are recorded and delivered to the Criminal Investigation Division, headed by Captain Ken Mitchell. What CID does with this information is unknown.”

Based upon this information, which was corroborated by others who were present with Williams on August 14, Little Rock attorney Patrick Benca, who represents Damien Echols, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for “All documents, recordings, logs regarding phone calls or ‘tips’ made to the West Memphis Police Department tip line from August 19, 2011 until the present date regarding what has been described as the ‘West Memphis 3 case.”

The City Attorney for West Memphis, Arkansas, David C. Peeples, rejected Benca’s request for information in two separate letters. In one letter dated September 19, 2012, Peeples denies that the WPMD has any information, “Please be advised that the West Memphis Police Department does not have any existing records that specifically set out the information sought in your request.”

Patrick Benca said, “We have reason to believe that the West Memphis Police Department has received information in the form of confidential calls to their tip line which has the potential to be very important to Damien Echols’s case, and that information should be made available to the defense team or those legal authorities responsible for reviewing such evidence. If the WMPD continues to refuse to turn over any and all information received that bears on the conviction of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley, we would respectfully ask them to turn that information over to District Prosecutor Scott Ellington for proper review.”

Prosecutor Ellington, who agreed to the Alford plea that allowed the three men to go free, has publicly stated numerous times that he would review any credible information regarding the case of the West Memphis 3.

Benca also suggests that anyone who has called the West Memphis Police Department with information about the WM3 case, please contact the WM3 Confidential Tip Line at (501) 256-1775. “There still remains a $200,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murders of Stevie Branch, Michael Moore and Christopher Byers.”


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