Here's an opportunity.
The War Memorial Stadium announced today that makers of the movie "Greater," about the forrmer Razorback lineman Brandon Burlsworth, are looking for 800 extras for filming of scenes of the movie June 3 at the stadium.
News release follows.
The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday ended its longstanding policy of forbidding openly gay youths to participate in its activities, a step its chief executive called “compassionate, caring and kind.”
60 percent of 1,400 participating Scout leaders approved the change. It does not extend to scout leaders, which still amounts to a tacit statement of its own. For that matter, it doesn't allow gay adults at the outer edge of Scout membership. Would an Eagle Scout still participating at age 18 be forced to quit?
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called the change a "monumental step forward," but added, “Boy Scouts' leadership should stop clinging to a policy of exclusion and scrap the ban, once and for all. It’s long past time for a fully inclusive Boy Scouts of America.”
There will be fallout — in the short run, I'd guess, more negative than the positives will come from removal of an official exclusionary policy.
Hard as this step has been to achieve, I admit some softening in my feelings on the issue. But until all are treated equally, there's work to be done. And to the extent the fallen Eagles might have helped encourage this vote, there's nothing to regret.
The line is open. Final words:
* TIM 'TAR SANDS PIPELINE' GRIFFIN: It's no surprise that Republican Rep. Tiny Tim Griffin voted again last night to hurry up the Keystone XL pipeline, even if the president were to veto it. It's not surprising he also voted against Democratic efforts to close loopholes that allow some energy companies to avoid paying into a fund for cleanups. He hasn't been holding Exxon Mobil accountable for much up in Mayflower, either, Democrats say. Read their particulars on Griffin's oil-friendly record here. Democrats also are pounding Griffin and other Republicans for House approval of a student loan program revise that will be more costly to students than the Democratic alternative. President Obama has threatened to veto the Republican plan, which can't pass the Senate.
* AND SPEAKING OF TAR SANDS: Central Arkansas Water today distributed copies of a letter signed by various government leaders (including Tiny Tim, who probably had his fingers crossed when he signed it) setting what they believe are needed conditions before Exxon Mobil reopens the Pegasus pipeline. In the long run, the best course is moving the pipeline out of the Lake Maumelle watershed, the letter says. CAW also released a letter to federal regulators asking that reopening not be approved until various inspection, emergency planning and other measures are accomplished.
* ARKANSAS TECH RAISES TUITION; BANS GUNS: The Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees joined UA and ASU today in unanimously opting out of the Republican legislation to allow faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons on its campuses in Russellville and Ozark. The Board also voted tuition increases, which on a semester-hour basis at the undergraduate level, will rise 6.4 percent. But a news release noted that total cost to Tech next year will still be lowest of the five institutions with more than 10,000 students in the state.
* 'WHAT EXACTLY ARE THEY TEACHING AT HARVARD LAW?': The bad reviews of Tom Cotton's North Korean-style proposal to punish people who happen to be related to evil-doers from Iran continue to roll in. Here, a Houston Chronicle writer asks the lead-in question and gets to the core of the answer:
Simultaneously frustrated, infuriated, and perplexed by the election and reelection to the presidency of someone they loathe and can’t imagine anyone else liking, demonstrably smart people like Cotton and fellow HLS alum Ted Cruz have rationalized that anything they say, no matter how cuckoo can be justified by the horror of having to live under the Obama Administration.
It's time for the Historic Preservation Alliance's annual list of historic structures in danger of being lost.
This year's list:
* Hantz & Durst Houses, 1950 & 1951, 855 & 857 Fairview St., Fayetteville, Washington County
* Ferguson House, 1861, 416 North 3th Street, Augusta, Woodruff County
* Frith-Plunkett House, c. 1858, 801 Main Street, Des Arc, Prairie County
* Park Hill Elementary School, 1924,
2700 N. Poplar St., 3801 JFK Boulevard, North Little Rock, Pulaski County
* Roundtop Filling Station (Happy's Service Station), 1936, Old Highway 67, Sherwood, Pulaski Co.
* St. Joseph's Home, 1910, 6800 Camp Robinson Rd., North Little Rock, Pulaski County
* Wynne Opera House, c. 1900, 218 S. Front Street, Wynne, Cross County
Flash from David Goins at Fox 16:
The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees voted to opt out of Republican Rep. Charlie Collins' new law to allow college and university staff to carry concealed weapons on campus. The vote was unanimous and applies to all 11 UA campuses. Evie Blad of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette tweeted that campus leaders at the meeting applauded the vote.
Awaiting word on Arkansas State University Board today on same issue.
UPDATE: The ASU Board also voted unanimously against guns on its four campuses.
The state's petition to remove Cassell will go back to the lower court for granting of the order, if he doesn't resign before then. So far, he hasn't commented.
The Supreme Court has now made it clear several times that a misdemeanor CAN meet the 1874 Constitution's definition of an infamous crime that makes someone ineligible for Arkansas office.
Circuit Judge David Clinger had decided that the state had to show not only that there was a crime of dishonesty but that the conviction "impugned the integrity of the office or directly impacted Cassell’s ability to serve" to justify removal.
Justice Cliff Hoofman, writing for a unanimous court (with Justices Hart and Baker not participating, but replaced by special justices), said there was no two-part test. Past cases hold, he said, that "...a crime that involves dishonesty or deceit constitutes an “infamous crime” under the Arkansas Constitution, which bars the offender from holding public office. ... An “infamous crime” by its nature impugns the integrity of the office and directly impacts the person’s ability to serve as an elected official."
You can chalk this up as, effectively, a putdown of 2013 legislation by the Arkansas General Assembly. In Act 724, the legislature endeavored to interpret what the Constitution meant by infamous crimes in the law on qualifications to run for office. It retained misdemeanor theft as an enumerated infamous crime, among others. But an uncodified portion of the measure said a court should also "measure certain variables, such as the attendant mental state of the offense, the particular circumstances surrounding the charged offense, the age and education of the person committing the offense, and, if the offense occurred before the person has assumed public office, the age of the person at the time of the conviction itself."
Hoofman rejected such thinking. “Under the plain language of the Constitution it is the fact of conviction that disqualifies a person from holding public office.”
Here's some good background from The City Wire, a Northwest Arkansas digital news site. It recently reported:
Documents reviewed by The City Wire show Fort Smith city officials knew about Whirlpool's plan to request a groundwater well ban as early as June of last year and that Whirlpool may not have been forthcoming with the city or the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality about its request.
Whirlpool finally disclosed the situation because it wanted the ordinance, since pulled down, as an aid to selling the site.
Details on the lawsuit follow:
More from the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meeting, courtesy of Fox 16's David Goins on Twitter:
The trustees split sharply, but voted 5-4 for the slate of tuition increases for UA campuses as reduced earlier by a board committee. That panel recommended, for example, a 3.5 percent rise for UALR, rather than the 4.9 percent that had been requested.
The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees also approved similar tuition increases today: 3.3 percent at Jonesboro, 3.5 percent at Beebe, 1.2 percent at Mountain Home and 2.3 percent at Newport.
Would you like to spend 2:22 listening to Republican Rep. Doug House of North Little Rock? If so, click the YouTube above.
House happens to be the first video biography online at the House website. The House communications staff will add them one at a time until all are done. A news release explains:
As part of an ongoing effort to increase communication between members and constituents, the Arkansas House of Representatives will soon be releasing video biographies of its members.
“The public may know that a member serves on a particular committee or how he or she voted on a hot-button issue. But unfortunately, the public may know very little about the district that individual represents or why that member got involved in public service in the first place,” said House Speaker Davy Carter. “Partisanship is at its lowest when members know one another personally. We hope when members share their personal story with the public, it will have the same impact.”
The House Communications Office purchased the video and editing equipment in 2009 as part of its public transparency initiative to broadcast its proceedings. There is no additional cost for the production of the video biographies.
The House will release the videos one at a time throughout the remainder of the 89th General Assembly via our social media and website arkansashouse.org. Once released, the videos will be made available on the member’s individual bio section on the House website.
You can follow the House on Twitter at @ArkansasHouse or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArkansasHouse.
I dunno. I'm glad for Doug House that he has some cute grandkids and reads "voraciously". Doesn't make me like his partisan voting record very much.
The Little Rock metropolitan area (which includes Conway, Sen. Rapert) is a place with a rich and deep religious tradition.
It ranked 10th on a recent Gallup tracking poll of the "most religious" cities in the United States, with 54 percent describing themselves as very religious. Had we edged up one more point, we'd have been in a tie for 4th.
Well. Pornhub (you'll have to look it up yourself) took the Gallup list and ranked the religious cities by per capita visits to the site, which markets hardcore videos, between Dec. 1, 2012 and April 30.
Buzzfeed has compiled the results in a handsome spread complete with photos. LR/NLR/Conway came in at No. 3, with 18.8 Pornhub views per capita.
This doesn't mean there are any websurfing hypocrites here. It just might be that the not-so-religious are REALLY fond of Pornhub. I do note that Montgomery, Ala., where 64 percent say they are very religious, ranked No. 2 with 21.9 Pornhub views per capita. Their irreligious must REALLY REALLY like Pornhub.
Will extremism hunt in an Arkansas election? The DSCC is rolling it out in support of Sen. Mark Pryor, typically knocked for his mushy middlist approach.
Extreme Ideologue Tom Cotton Tries to Eliminate Due Process For Family Members Of Accused
Tom Cotton is clearly wasting no time trying to push his extreme right wing agenda through Congress. Yesterday, Cotton introduced an amendment to “automatically” institute severe penalties on extended families, including nieces, nephews, and great grandchildren, of people accused of violating U.S. sanctions against the Iranian government.
Cotton’s legislation would completely disregard American citizens’ due process rights guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment. In the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Cotton said, “there would be no investigation,” before inflicting harsh punishments of up to 20 year prison sentences upon "parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids" of those accused of violating sanctions against Iran.
“To call Tom Cotton an extreme ideologue is not overstating anything,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “He is proposing legislation that would eliminate the constitutional right to due process for grandchildren, nieces and nephews of Americans accused of a crime.”
Polls show that a majority of Americans view the Republican party as extreme, but the legislation was even too far right for Cotton’s House Republican colleagues, who ultimately forced him to withdraw the amendmen
It ain't just politics if it's true.
Republicans just aren't so hot on constitutional protections except those they find, without limit, in Amendment Two.
Also today, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus was quoted as saying innocent people don't plead the Fifth Amendment. This the very amendment Cotton proposed to stomp on with his guilty-by-relationship idea.
Cotton's craziness is going viral. This one notes when he didn't include 9/11 in terrorist attacks on George W. Bush's watch, but didn't get around to his opposition to aid for storm victims.
UPDATE: I gather Cotton is feeling the sting. I had a rare communication from his office. Points made:
1) Offering an amendment to legislation is not legislation. I differ; at a minimum it's a distinction with no practical difference.
2) It was withdrawn. All have noted this. It's the thought that counts.
3) The penalties he proposed would be financial and travel, not jail. I thought Republicans held property to be sanctified above just about everything. Taking money by force of law sounds pretty severe to me. Sounds a lot like a "fine."
4) Constitutional points aren't relevant because he would punish only non-citizens. Yes, but our courts have held the Fifth Amendment protections can apply to non-citizens.
If you can't trust the American Legislative Exchange Council, who can you trust, particularly when the subject is what's good for business?
ALEC is the Koch- and big business-funded lobby that cranks out cookie cutter state legislation to advance the interests of big business. It functions as an ideological bureau of legislative research for Arkansas Republican lawmakers.
ALEC produces rankings of the states on economic performance and outlook.
Here's the latest report on Arkansas. We're fair-to-middling. Ranked at 22 on performance, an improvement from 25 a year ago. The Republican majority legislature didn't do all it could do, unfortunately, to prepare Arkanas for the future. After having a top quartile ranking (11 to 13) in economic outlook for the last five years under Democratic control, Arkansas plummeted to 24 this year based on 15 variables. Drawbacks include too many public employees and too big a sales tax burden by ALEC's standards, not to mention an income tax system that lacks progressivity and has too high a top marginal rate (the chart doesn't reflect a small coming cut in the top rate.)
Texas is No. 1 in performance and No. 12 in outlook.
So what's the point? Check out one of the key variables in the comparisons — State Liability System Survey. This is "tort litigation treatment, judicial impartiality, etc." If you follow this issue, you know that Texas is viewed as a wasteland for trial lawyers. Republicans have taken over the bench there and the legislature has done all it can to make it hard to sue corporations for damages in Texas. To hear the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce tell it, runaway judges and juries in Arkansas are a threat to economic survival. Thus it may try to amend the Constitution to be more like Texas and also to campaign to stock the appellate bench in Arkansas with business-friendlier judges.
So how do Arkansas and Texas compare on this vital tort ranking? It's a dead heat. Both states score 35 with ALEC.
As good (or bad) as Texas? What's not to like? Who needs an amendment?
The federal sequestration spending cuts that took effect March 1 will cost Arkansas $18.5 million in 2013, says a release from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.
A bit more than half the money will be cut from Title I programs for disadvantaged students. Early childhood education such as Head Start also has taken a hit.
More details follow.
As a result of what Dr. Joycelyn Elders once memorably called a "love affair with the fetus," Mississippi has embarked on a path to prosecute some women in cases of stillbirth or miscarriage. The perverse effect — if the state is successful — would be to encourage more women to seek legal abortions.
The point — though not supported by medical authorities — is to punish women for using drugs while pregnant. What's next, a judge and critics have asked. Cigarettes? Unpasteurized milk? Obesity?
Mother Jones reports. Mississippi's effort is seen as a backdoor way to achieve "personhood" for even a fertilized egg. The article notes that laws nominally passed to allow prosecution of others for harming a woman's fetus have often been used against the pregnant woman.
Complaints include the belated discovery of the death of an elderly resident, an estimated two weeks after his death and long after decomposition made it clear to residents something was amiss.
Little Rock police confirm an elderly man died from natural causes in his room on the 5th floor, but it took two weeks to notice and by then, residents say the smell greeted them getting off the elevator.
Other resident complaints include street people sleeping in stairwells, unrepaired fire damage and multiple police calls.
Unfortunately, DBI, though I agree with you, most of the people in Arkansas do not…
Harold Hantz was a professor of philosophy at the U of A; his wife was…
I went all thru school with a skinny boy we nicknamed Goober who I think…
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