Friday, February 21, 2014

The open line: Whistling Dixie; Windstream job cuts; UCA bans e-cigarettes; a call for Democratic surrender

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Mercy rule. The Friday night open line arrives early. Finishing up:

click to enlarge OLE MISS BURNING: .... with embarrassment over statue stunt.
  • OLE MISS BURNING: .... with embarrassment over statue stunt.
* IS BOORISH SPEECH A CRIME? The latest word from the 19th Century, otherwise known as Oxford, Miss., is that a prosecutor thinks a state criminal charge is unlikely against three Ole Miss freshmen suspected of putting a noose and Confederate flag on the statute of James Meredith, whose integration of the campus set off a deadly riot a half-century ago. The statue wasn't harmed. No trespassing was committed.

CONTRARIAN ALERT: Don't get me wrong. I've pre-judged these yokels from the comfort of my office chair and found them boorish, juvenile, offensive and deplorable. But if we prosecuted every Stupid Frat Boy Trick we'd have to build a lot more jails. And I think of myself, with some embarrassment, when I say this. If anything, kneejerk liberals owe these nimrods a thank-you for confirming treasured stereotypes. They only thing they forgot to do was play 'Dixie" for me.

* WINDSTREAM JOB CUTS: Windstream, the phone company based in Little Rock, has announced plans to cut 400 of its 13,500 jobs nationwide by March 3. About 67 in Arkansas.

* UCA BANS E-CIGARETTES: The UCA Board of Trustees today voted to ban e-cigarettes on campus and in university vehicles.  They were added to an existing anti-tobacco policy.

* HOT SPRINGS LAWYER'S LICENSE SUSPENDED: Arkansas Business notes a license suspension for Hot Springs lawyer Andrea Davis, who's made headlines for everything from courtroom apparel. to a slaying at her home to, according to an allegation by her ex-husband, sexual involvement with several public figures. A past involvement with Attorney General Dustin McDaniel drove him out of this year's governor's race.

click to enlarge MARIN WATER COLOR: Collection of his work coming to Arkansas Arts Center.
  • MARIN WATER COLOR: Collection of his work coming to Arkansas Arts Center.

* ARTS CENTER ACQUISTION: With Leslie Peacock off this week, it's left to me to pass along that there's national news today of a major Arkansas Arts Center acquisition — 290 water colors and drawings by modernist artist John Marin. It will be subject of a major exhibit in 2016 and came here because the collection already included some of his work and this body of work was particularly well-suited to the Arts Center's acclaimed drawings collection. I should note, too, that Leslie Peacock had the jump on this, back in January.

* RETURNS TO SCENE OF THE CRIME: David Brockwho did some Clinton hit pieces for the American Spectator during the Whitewater days then switched sides to become a leading Democratic activist and media critic, is coming to Arkansas for the first time since the bad old days. Clinton School speaker March 25.

* TOM COTTON ON THE RADIO: Extremist Republican Rep. Tom Cotton has been tapped to deliver the weekly Republican radio address Saturday responding to the president's weekly message. What do you bet he'll say Obama and Obamacare are turrible.

* A PROFOUND THOUGHT: The Democratic minority in the legislature should stand down and let the Republicans give the state what they and many voters think they want. No Obamacare. Drastically reduced Medicaid. Slashed support for public school districts so that money can be transferred to charters and private schools. Tax cuts for the rich. Higher taxes for the poor on sales and charges for "entitlement" programs. Abortions made illegal. Discrimination against gay people codified. Guns permitted everywhere. Sam Brownback delivered this and more in Kansas with the willing compliance of the Republican legislature. He's now one of the most unpopular governors in America, trailing a Democrat! in recent polling. It'll take some years for Kansas to work out of the hole Brownback dug, but there's nothing like a taste of the medicine being touted to decide it might not be a cure-all after all.

Here's the thing. Arkansas Democrats will get no credit if the private option does pass next week (Les Carnine and Mary Lou Slinkard, where will you be hiding out until then?) and hundreds of thousands of Arkansans benefit from the security of having health insurance. Republicans will take credit, even as they beat up on every Democratic candidate for supporting "Obamacare." Democrats should fight for the best policies, not the best of bad alternatives. If the private option isn't worth advertising, it isn't worth having.

click to enlarge COPY NEEDED IN ARKANSAS: Great idea in Arizona, where the legislature has approved a law to allow businesses to discriminate against gay people.
  • COPY NEEDED IN ARKANSAS: Great idea in Arizona, where the legislature has approved a law to allow businesses to discriminate against gay people.

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