A student at North Arkansas College had announced that she and others had organized a rally at the college for Thursday morning, and had circulated fliers mentioning the college.
According to Northark Director of Public Relations Micki Somers, this student is not part of an official student organization and does not have permission to use the name or facilities of North Arkansas College. Somers says the student acted on her own accord and did not follow proper channels for holding an event on campus.
"Often white people are called racist for opposing the President's policies. On the other hand a non-white person was never called racist for opposing President Bush's policies. There is a double-standard in this country regarding differences of opinion. Those differences of opinion do not make a person racist. The first amendment right to freedom of speech is for everyone. That is the point of the message."
The owner of Harrison Sign, who leased out the billboard, is a minority and says he does not believe the man is racist.
Azerbaijan's big presidential election, held on Wednesday, was anticipated to be neither free nor fair. President Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father 10 years ago, has stepped up intimidation of activists and journalists. Rights groups are complaining about free speech restrictions and one-sided state media coverage. The BBC's headline for its story on the election reads "The Pre-Determined President." So expectations were pretty low.
Even still, one expects a certain ritual in these sorts of authoritarian elections, a fealty to at least the appearance of democracy, if not democracy itself. So it was a bit awkward when Azerbaijan's election authorities released vote results – a full day before voting had even started.
The vote counts – spoiler alert: Aliyev was shown as winning by a landslide – were pushed out on an official smartphone app run by the Central Election Commission. It showed Aliyev as "winning" with 72.76 percent of the vote. That's on track with his official vote counts in previous elections: he won ("won"?) 76.84 percent of the vote in 2003 and 87 percent in 2008.
...the men and women who protested Texas’ sweeping new abortion restrictions at the state Capitol are basically demons from hell. “I’ve never had a glimpse of Hell or heard a real demon,” he said, “but I believe that must be what they sound like. It’s spiritual warfare.”* VOTING: For constituents or who?
“There’s only one vote that matters and that’s when I stand before the Lord at the judgment seat."
Wendy Davis is not a superstar. It is not a glamorous thing to talk about killing children.If I know Bro. Rapert — like Elmer Gantry, Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker — he'll appreciate the pub.
Conspiracy theorists led by the paranoid Secure Arkansas group of Jeannie Burlsworth had stirred local opposition on the theory — unsupported by evidence — that the program brought regulation (it brought none) and land seizure (it didn't.)
It's always possible to produce a panic with imagined ills, of course, and that's what happened.
A couple of things worth noting in the story, I think:
* NEW CRITICISM: Now AP has Burlsworth saying her fear was that the "designation would lead to stricter enforcement of existing laws." Get that? The government might enforce a law. Damn. Can't have that. Laws are made to be ignored.
* DR. NO ORATES: Sen. John "Dr. No" Boozman, who'd naturally thrown in with the wackjobs, had a statement ready to praise the action. No transparency, no comment, no "broad support from Aransans," said the Booz. That's true if you don't include countless meetings, press conferences, support from six state agencies, support from two state conservation agencies and even, in the early going, support from none other than U.S. Rep. Tiny Tim Griffin.
So it's done. No blueway will darken the doors of Arkansas or Missouri. The best criticism of this program is in the fact that we probably haven't lost much as a result. The head of the Missouri-based Ozark Water Watch, one of the supporters that turned tail and ran in the face of the shrieks from Burlsworth and Co., likened the program to a "gold star" — something that might, MIGHT, get the area higher consideration on federal grants. Can't have any of that either.
Expect more hysteria to drive future Arkansas legislative decisions. Facts? Old-fashioned.
UPDATE: Be sure to see jump for Leslie Peacock's deeper reporting on the somewhat amazing testimony at this black helicopter freak show.
Republican congresssheeple are now running like scalded poodles from the issue.
Leslie Peacock will be back with a longer report, but she signals that one of the most perpetually disappointing career bureaucrats in state government, Randy Young of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (once laughingly known as a soil and water conservation agency) has said he's heard from landowners (all as ill-informed as he apparently) and also wants the Interior Department to withdraw the blueways designation. Pitiful. More pitiful still is news that the Game and Fish Commission, another agency not known for its backbone, has also turned yellow tail on the proposal, according to a legislator's Tweet.
If facts, not fantasy, are your preference, check the Fish and Wildlife Service explanation. (It was on hand today to try to quell the controversy, along with USDA, Army Engineeers and Interior Department.) The Arkansas Canoe Club, a dangerous group of one-world radicals, had endorsed this, too, among many, many others. If not Jeannie Burlsworth. But the canoeists have apparently jumped overboard, too. CORRECTION: The Canoe Club held firm, contrary to a report I'd heard that all in the original coalition had decided to stand down at least temporarily.
It gets worse. The influential Nature Conservancy has taken down its page in support of the project and has dumped the project, too, because of the outcry. Also Ozark Water Watch. All fear alienating supporters.
As Leslie put it in a note to me from what she's been hearing:
They all say designation would be good and no 'taking' and could make it harder to get fed money if no blueway... but they dont want to piss off landowners they work with on conservation
Bullying works. Facts don't count. Paranoia trumps. Chapter Umpteen of the Republican majority legislature. Also to those who thought otherwise and gave up: Appeasement begets only more appeasement.
Fox News' wannabe-Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee, put Burlsworth on the air today on her latest crusade.
Who's next? Debbie Pelly?
In fact: Has anybody yet suggested that this blueway is really about turning the river into one of those communistic bicycle paths that Debbie is so worried about?
It wasn't so long ago — January — that U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, among others, was joining that dangerous Nature Conservancy in touting the benefits of this program.
Huckabee parroted Burlsworth's nonsense that local officials weren't involved. You'll see from the news release in January that heads of the state Game and Fish and Parks agencies were among those on hand for the rollout. Also, many local officials were on hand for this event.
Huckabee calls the blueways program "absurd" without naming one specific ill.
The Huckster and Burlsworth recall fondly the uprising against the biosphere project, another conspiracy theory wet dream built on anxiety and supposition and government hatred, not facts. Cue the black helicopters.
Top that, Duncan Baird.
Dennis Milligan, famous for once saying what the U.S. needed was another 9/11 to get right about terrorism, is a Republican candidate for state treasurer, not mayor of Branson, Mo. He's circuit clerk in Saline County. Endorsements here.
His fighting spirit continues, as evidenced in an op-ed this week in the Jonesboro Sun.
Why does he rage? That evil Barack Obama is why.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned as a result of the 2012 election was that you cannot expect to win, or even survive, a political campaign when you are totally committed to playing by the rules when your opponent refuses to do so. The same is true when it comes to saving our nation from the clutches of an obsessed, liberal-socialist-globalist agenda.
A little more than four years ago, the people of this country sat quietly by as we were informed that America was no longer a Christian nation.
...A few weeks ago Barack Obama publicly called upon his god to “bless” the abortion providers he so proudly refers to as Planned Parenthood.
...When Obama was promoting the virtues of same-sex marriage, I couldn’t help but wonder where in the Holy Bible he found evidence to show that Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Moses and Daniel, sanctified this abominable lifestyle?
...We are also now learning of the targeted attacks by Obama’s IRS Gestapo against not only tea party groups, but also against Jewish organizations.
...Obama has systematically gone about his primary objective to destroy America...
...There is no doubt that the Arkansas branch of the liberal-Democrat-socialist propaganda machine will come out in full force to try to discredit both this message and the messenger, but let’s not forget that Adolf Hitler also had his own well-oiled propaganda machine working around the clock to deceive and masquerade his true intentions of evil and world subjugation.
...Does America still have any chance of surviving Obama and his anti-American agenda? Of course we do, but only if those who really love this country are willing to come to her defense in this, her greatest hour of need!
If only the propaganda machine was as well-oiled as Hubbard imagines.
It's Monday. If we're lucky, we have only 36 more hours of extremist Republican lawmaking (Obamacare approval excepted) at the Arkansas Capitol. And speaking of extremists:
Excerpt from Nogy comment, said to be posted by Leigh Nogy:
When you read the entire letter, you will see that I am a very frustrated Benton County member of the Committee, voter, and politically active husband and father of three who has seen what I believe to be a critical breakdown in the proper process of representative government in our county, and felt the need to speak out not only with a complaint but with a solution. The section of my editorial explaining the 2nd amendment and how it works was added as punctuation, defining the tool as functional only if the threat of it's use is credible, and then going on to say that the tool we must develop, applying political, social and civil pressures, must also be credible or it will be worthless.
Uh, OK. Whatever that means.
His wife commented:
I made a bad decision in publishing this letter. I was stressed beyond my norm and was on a deadline. My heart told me this letter sounded scarey... I admit that, but because I had read the whole content of the letter, I got what he was saying. Unfortunately, in my rush I didn't even begin to think about the possibility of the media taking it out of context.
Out of context?
The most telling thing about the episode is the mealymouthed response from many Republican elected and party leaders. ... We're looking into it ... I defend his right to unpopular speech ... Not my view .... It's a local matter. .... Yadda yadda
PS — State Police are investigating. Not only Nogy, but also the case following.
UPDATE: Benton County Republican Chair Tim Summers finally clears his throat and issues a statement. 27 lines into it, he gets around to saying he "personally rejects" the suggestion of violence as a response to legislative vote. Well .... with this kind of pussyfooting, it's no surprise the right-wingers trounced Summers in 2012. And that could explain his timidity now.
* AGAIN WITH THE 2ND AMENDMENT REMEDY: More fun with guns was reported by House Speaker Davy Carter on his Twitter account overnight. He posted this:
seanonymous @seanonymous 11h
@davycarter is a very persuasive gun advocate. I'd like to buy a gun and shoot him with it.
After another reader said the State Police should be called, Carter commented:
I'd rather him come here for an ass kicking
* AGAIN WITH THE PARTISAN POLITICS: I'm no fan of Democratic Rep. Nate Steel's bill that made prosecuting attorney elections non-partisan. It was a solution for a non-existent problem and, at its core, was a smear of prosecutors. He did it again last night, by trying to score political points over the potentially terroristic threats in the talk of people using guns to settle scores with elected public officials. Steel commented on Twitter:
Awfully close to terroristic threatening. Puts a same-party prosecutor is in an awkward position.
It would be awkward to prosecute someone who threatens to kill a public official because you might share a political party? Really? It's silly to think partisan labels in elections mean much anyway except as a handy guide to voters. A prosecutor who runs without party label still retains his party proclivities. You could argue it's easier to judge a prosecutorial decision in the extremely rare cases where party is a factor when such connections are on the table for all to see.
* LIGHTS ON THE ARKANSAS RIVER: Unrelated to guns, nuts and Republicans, I have a small update on the Entergy news conference this morning. It will be to announce plans to have three bridge crossings over the Arkansas River lit by the end of this year and, we expect, a plan to continue the lighting whenever the Broadway Bridge replacement is built (sometime after I expire from two years of traffic aggravation).
UPDATE: The announcement is a $2 million Entergy gift to celebrate its 100th anniversary and will put LED lights on the Main Street bridge and the Junction and Clinton Library pedestrian bridges. No info about the future for the Broadway Bridge, however. Long time off, that one. Entergy Arkansas, the Clinton Foundation, the Pulaski County Bridge Authority, Philips Lighting Company, Koontz Electric, and the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock are all investing in the $2.4 million project. These agencies will split $400,000 of the cost, Mayor Mark Stodola said: LR, NLR, LRCVB, NLRCVB, Pulaski County Bridge Authority and Clinton Foundation. Exact amounts have yet to be decided. Phillips Lighting, which has decorated famous structures worldwide, will lead the installation.
When the world blew back on Bell, he did NOT apologize for his remark, only for its "timing."
Now comes Chris Nogy, an extremist Republican from Benton County (redundant, I know), whom I wrote about last night. He's the one who put a letter in the Benton County Republican newsletter in which he said, among other threatening remarks about Republican legislators who'd voted to implement Obamacare in Arkansas:
The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives.
He added, at one point, a Nixonian, "but hey we can't." Hard to shake the feeling he said that very regretfully.
Anyway, Larry Henry at 5 News in NWA adds more to the Nogy saga today:
Like Bell, a writer to the 5 news website, identifying himself as Nogy has issued further remarks that are well short of repentant for the initial comments.
In the “clarification” published in the comments section, the person identifying himself as Nogy says he “didn’t advocate violence” and “most likely won’t try to kill them or harm their families.”
“I mentioned violence to get people’s attention, and it worked,” he writes.
"most likely" ? Using threat of violence to get attention is a valid political tactic?
Official Republican response has been timid and wholly unsatisfactory. Rep. Charlie Collins even responded initially by saying that, while he disagreed with what Nogy said, he defended his right to say it.
This isn't on-the-one-hand/on-the-other-hand kind of rhetoric. It's just wrong. Nothing but definitive repudiation is in order.
Collins should have said: "I abhor what this person said and want no one like him as part of my Republican Party."
Don't hold your breath. The Republican Party of Arkansas was similarly wishy-washy about several extremist legislative candidates. Remember the Three Stooges — Hubbard, Fuqua and Mauch?
Tim Summers, the former legislator who chairs the Benton County committee, said it did not "approve" the letter and that it would be discussed at a future meeting. Does he really have to have a meeting before disavowing this diatribe?
The party's avoidance of strong criticism tells you everything you need to know about how important top Republicans think extremists are to their base of support.
More mail arrives on Nate Bell's use of the Boston bombing and police slayings to take a crack at liberals and gun control. I received this letter by e-mail:
I am a proud Arkansas native, and I am a proud Bostonian...three years now. I, like all Americans, was shaken to the core last Monday when two bombs ripped through the streets of my city, our city, killing three, injuring more, and devastating millions. A result of this tragedy has been something for which I am certain these terrorists did not bargain: that these brave people would run toward the blast of bombs so that they might help save others, the displays of kindness shown by complete strangers to those affected, and the knitting-together of a nation in support of its home city. Sadly, after a night and day of a manhunt for the people that did this, I read with utter embarrassment of the communication sent out by Arkansas Representative Nate Bell from his Twitter account in which he politicized a tragedy and insulted a people in pondering "how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a high capacity magazine." You, sir, should be ashamed. While I have sense enough to know that this opinion is only yours and in no way reflects on the people of my home state, it represents an almost sociopathic disregard for human suffering and rightly casts you as the embodiment of a political culture more concerned with scoring points at any cost than actually serving others. Know this, Mr. Bell: You would not be able to stand in the shadow of these amazing people—they are too large for the pettiness and coldness that you have displayed. Know that you are a shameful representative of the great people of Arkansas that suffer right along with us. Go home, Mr. Bell. Arkansas does not need your brand of leadership.
Some in the media continue to report erroneously that Bell apologized for his remark. He never did. Only for the 'timing.' The quality of that "apology" is noted in this letter from a retired judge in Paragould.
I am a 61 year old lifetime resident of the Great State of Arkansas. For almost 15 years, I had the privilege of serving as an elected Circuit Judge in the Second Judicial Circuit in Arkansas, and now sit as a Retired Circuit Judge as assigned by the AR Supreme Court.
I have never been as appalled by a statement made by an Arkansas elected official as the one you made today. You have caused untold scorn to be heaped upon this wonderful state.
I certainly understand your rights under the First Amendment. However, your shallow attempt to then try and make an apology falls far short of what I would expect from an elected State Representative under these circumstances.
At this point, the only course of conduct I feel you can take in order to rectify your callous and cavalier behavior is to immediately resign your position.
Prove to the citizens of Arkansas you have the ability to do the right thing!
Circuit Judge (Retired)
Bell, meanwhile, has something approaching 8,000 comments on his Facebook page to his original comment and his non-apology apology. Vituperation rate is high. His own Twitter account has been relatively silent. But one comment he re-tweeted after the furor erupted over his remark was this remark sympathetic to his advocacy of high-capacity magazines:
Dana Loesch @DLoesch ==
Majority of my family lives in a rural area where response time is 20+ minutes. Rounds count when help isn’t available.
Really? Are there places in the country — Polk County? — where shootouts with hundreds of rounds of ammo are common, akin to a cowboys-and-Indians shoot-em-up movie? Wonder how many @danaloesch or @natebell4ar have engaged in?
A comment on the top of Facebook comments to Bell this morning was typical:
One is tempted to suggest that the fiddlin' demagogue stick a vaginal probe in it.
Or maybe Matthew 7:1 would be a more appropriate response.
Climate change hasn't come up at the Guns and Fetuses Session of the Arkansas legislature. But if it did, it would most likely be in the form of unanimous Republican consent that climate change is a liberal fiction. Didn't it snow a lot here on Christmas?
Anyway, the prevalent Republican dogma against climate change comes up as I read a news release from the Walton Family Foundation, which is a product of the billions created by Walmart. Waltons and Walmart are generally held holy by the Guns and Fetuses Caucus and Republican Chowder and Marching Society. So get a load of this:
In December, the Bureau of Reclamation released a major federal study on the impact of climate change on the Colorado River Basin. The study concluded that the projected future demands for water in the basin exceed projected supplies and included a range of options for addressing this demand imbalance. Foundation grantees, including the Environmental Defense Fund, Trout Unlimited and Western Resource Advocates, made the most of the study’s release to spotlight common-sense, cost effective water conservation approaches that make the most economic and ecological sense for the Basin and for the River.
The Basin Study was a wake-up call that we need change in the way the Colorado River is managed. The foundation and its partners are working to promote solutions that will protect river flows while ensuring the region’s communities and agricultural traditions can thrive.
Nate Bell, your help is needed at the Walton Family Foundation — STAT. They continue to believe in climate change.
Should you care about the Colorado River, there's more here. If climate change denial is more your thing, you can tune into KNUT and Elswick any afternoon.
Prediction: If Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporters are required to file extensive reports every time Denny Altes or another wingnut Republican threatens to file an idiotic piece of legislation, they are going to find themselves short of sufficient hours in the day.
Take today: about 40 column inches on a patently unconstitutional idea that Altes may or may not pursue to require federal law enforcement officers to obtain prior approval from local sheriffs before making criminal arrests in their counties.
Pay wall. But you hardly need to bother. This is vintage Denny nonsense. DBI, the floor is open.
cbb - it's in my zipcode
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