Home-grown media blitz
Brent Bumpers, son of former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers, convened a “Who’s Who” list of Democratic politicos at Doe’s Eat Place on Oct. 1 to raise money for an independent media campaign supporting John Kerry’s presidential bid.
According to an e-mail Bumpers sent to friends after the meeting, he was motivated to launch the effort because the Kerry campaign indicated it wouldn’t spend a meaningful amount of money on Arkansas media this year.
“We Arkansans, however, are not willing to ‘roll over’ and concede the state — nor is the Kerry campaign — and our mission and intent is to do everything within our power to carry Arkansas for John Kerry,” Bumpers wrote. “Consequently, we have organized a committee to raise as much money as we can, over a short period of time, for Arkansas media.”
Bumpers added that a “very impressive” amount of money was collected at the lunch meeting.
The radio spots will feature Sen. Bumpers, Gen. Wesley Clark and former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, Brent Bumpers says. In 60-second spots, they’ll urge Arkansans to vote for John Kerry, and explain “why it is so important to do so.”
Bumpers said the group will also try to run ads in weeklies throughout the state, if enough money is raised.
Others at the Doe’s gathering were Brent Baber, Bill Bowen, Bill Brady, Richard and Sheila Bronfman, Dale Bumpers, Rose Crane, Jason Files, Jimmie Lou Fisher, Ann Gilbert, Cal and Brownie Ledbetter, Sam Ledbetter, Walter May, Bruce McMath, state Democratic Party Chairman Ron Oliver, former U.S. Sen. David and Barbara Pryor, Lindsey Pryor, Rosi Smith and Bill Trice.
Other supporters include Graham Catlett, Beadle Moore, Gail Goodrum, Doug Buford, Johnny Goodson, Jim Penick, Ark Monroe, Ken McRae and Cathi Compton.
Speech loses round 1
Two Greenwood High School honor students have lost the first skirmish in their court battle over whether their school has the right to punish them for content they posted on websites created outside school.
A federal magistrate in Fort Smith recommended Sept. 28 that the presiding district judge deny a preliminary injunction to allow students Justin Neal and Ryan Kuhl to make up work they missed while on suspension and to resume posting to their websites.
The district judge will most likely follow the magistrate’s recommendation, but the boys’ lawyer, Chip Sexton, said he’ll file a motion soon for a summary judgment in their favor — meaning the judge would issue a permanent injunction against the district without holding a trial.
While some John Kerry supporters say they can’t get Kerry yard signs, others say they can’t keep the ones they had. Al Janssen of the Pleasant Heights subdivision called to say that late last Saturday night or early Sunday morning, someone stole every Democratic yard sign in the Pleasant Heights, Hillsborough and Belle Pointe subdivisions in west Little Rock — Kerry signs, Snyder signs, Lincoln signs, etc. Janssen has his suspicions about who’s responsible. “It looks like the young Republicans made a clean sweep,” he said. He said the thefts had been reported to the police.
Sheila Kennedy, a professor of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and founder of Kennedy & Violich Architecture Ltd., will give the June Freeman lecture tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center, part of the Architecture + Design Network series at the Arkansas Arts Center.
A former mental health agency director has won a default judgment worth $358,000 over a claim for unpaid retirement pay and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is apparently to blame for failure to respond to pleadings in the case.
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.
Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.
When we first asked Gov. Mike Beebe about the "circuit breaker" idea out of Arizona (automatically opting out of Medicaid expansion if the feds reduce the matching rates in the future), he said it was fine but noted that states can already opt out at any time, an assurance he got in writing from the feds.
An interesting controversy is brewing in Conway Public Schools, periodically a scene of discord as more liberal constituents object to the heavy dose of religion that powerful local churches have tried to inject into the schools, particularly in sex education short on science and long on abstinence.