Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.
The Hill is reporting that the Democratic National Committee has booted Arkansas native Vincent Tolliver out of the race for DNC chair after he wrote an email criticizing the Muslim faith of Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota). Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, is a leading contender in the DNC chairman's race.
Eagle-eyed politicos in Northwest Arkansas have noticed that a banner that, until recently, had been front and center on the campaign website of Republican Tracy K. Hoskins, a business developer who hopes to win the Ward 3 seat on the Fayetteville (Arkansas) City Council today in a run-off election, featured two lovely views of the Old Market House in downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina.
A transgender veteran from Arkansas will be one of the current and former service members quizzing the candidates tonight at a forum in New York City with presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
The text for Donald Trump's speech tonight has just been released by Politico (though of course the Donald may go off script). It's dark. Trump's message is basically that America has turned into the bleakest bits of a "Mad Max" movie and only Trump can save us.
Paul Krugman in this morning's New York Times argues that "the choice in 2016 is starker than ever before." Okay, people say that every year, but Krugman argues that the chasm between the parties on climate change — and the potential for the next president to determine whether "the ongoing revolution in renewable energy" continues — means that the stakes for the planet in the 2016 election are "deadly serious."
With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the seat will likely remain vacant for at least a year. President Barack Obama will nominate a replacement but Republicans in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have pledged to block anyone Obama appoints, regardless of qualifications. As the New York Times noted, "Mr. McConnell’s threat to block a confirmation could complicate the re-election chances of Republican senators in swing states."
Prior to the appearance of Donald Trump last night in Little Rock after a nearly two-hour delay, Barton Coliseum general manager Ralph Shoptaw came before the crowd to say that attendance for the Trump event, at 11,500, had broken a record at Barton set all the way back in 1974 during a show by the blues-rock band ZZ Top. Trump would later brag on the turnout from the stage, bumping the number up to 12,000 while saying he'd been setting similar records all over the country. Photos and video from the event, however, would seem to tell a different story.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post today, President Barack Obama outlined a series of executive actions to reform the use of solitary confinement in federal prisons, including banning the use of the practice for juvenile offenders and as a punishment for prisoners who commit "low-level infractions."
Charles Pierce attacks the "the bobble-throated Arkansas warbler." Nobody will get to the ambitious Tom Cotton's right, which only makes the bipartisan criminal justice reform bill a heavier lift in the Senate.
After the South Carolina House voted 103-10 earlier today to debate removing the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds, the Senate followed this afternoon by approving the amendment to debate with a voice vote.
The measure enabling debate required two-thirds approval; now the General Assembly will take up the question later this summer of whether to take down the flag.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.