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The Batesville Chamber of Commerce's Twitter website, which until recently included tweets, or short messages, directing followers to an “I Want Obama to Fail” sign-up and defended Bush administration enforcer Karl Rove, has cost the chamber some of its members. Chamber Board chair Stacy Gunderman said the board was unaware of what had been posted on the Twitter site, managed by chamber president Jonah Shumate, until the Times wrote about it in its March 12 issue and tweeted-off members began to call in. The site no longer includes the political postings, and Shumate's own Twitter site, PassionateRepub, which included most of the same postings, has been locked down.

Gunderman said the board was to meet Tuesday evening on whether to take further action. She also said she wasn't sure the chamber needed a Twitter site. Shumate was unavailable Tuesday for comment.

The Times learned after we went to press that Shumate resigned as chamber CEO Wednesday morning and that Ed Mabry, a member of the chamber board, will serve as acting director until a new CEO can be hired. The chamber no longer has a Twitter site.

 

Grumbling

U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln sent President Obama nine names last week as candidate for three open district judgeships in Arkansas — two in Little Rock and one currently based in El Dorado.

Noted by prominent members of the black bar, who've been buzzing: The list of nine included not a single black lawyer or judge, though several blacks had expressed an interest in an appointment.

Other candidates grumbled about a federal court law clerk on the list. Not so much because Amy Russell of Little Rock doesn't have recent practice experience, but because of the appearance of conflict in the participation of her husband in the process. Pryor's Chief of Staff Bob Russell interviewed candidates and made calls to people who didn't make the cut. Amy Russell previously had told the Democrat-Gazette, however, that she was sure her husband would have no influence on the senators' decision.

Russell is a target for diehard Democrats, too, because she made a $1,000 political campaign contribution to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush in 2000. Records show she also voted in the Republican primary election in 2002, though she's voted Democratic in primaries since. After eight years in the Bush wilderness, some Democrats prefer flying-colors passage of a party litmus test for Obama judicial appointees.

 

Speaking of judges

Buzz at Sen. Blanche Lincoln's fund-raiser last Saturday in Little Rock was that Cynthia Nance, dean of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Law School, is being mentioned as a candidate for appointment by the president to the important D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. She didn't respond to our inquiry about the rumor.

 

 

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