Chuck Haralson and Ken Smith were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during the 43rd annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism
Some morning miscellany:
* MITT ROMNEY'S EXCELLENT ROAD TRIP: There was England, where he insulted the hosts of a, so far, excellent Olympics. There was Israel, where Romney — please don't miss this — endorsed Israel's marvelously successful system of SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. Then there was Poland, where the working stiffs of Solidarity who brought down the Iron Curtain shunned any connection with him for his antipathy toward working people and where a clever Romney aide told questioning reporters to "shove it."
Quote of the day courtesy of Romney aide: "Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."
* CONTROVERSY NOT GOOD FOR FRIED CHICKEN: Mike Huckabee and other militant homophobes may flock in numbers to Chick-fil-A Wednesday (Arkansas homohobes have been eating there daily and braying loudly about it for more than a week now as a show of support for the chain CEO's support of anti-gay causes, including a group linked to a movement that supported legal execution of homosexuals in Uganda). But new research indicates controversy is not, on balance, good for fast food chains. For every hater that turns out for chicken in solidarity with bigotry, somebody else has been turned off by the publicity. The chain's favorability rating has dropped sharply. PS FOR HUCK'S HATE TROOPS — There's been little call for an organized boycott against Chick-fil-A, not even by a local group that plans a silent, peaceful vigil Wednesday near a Little Rock outlet. By all means eat more chicken. And be sure to brag about it. You are sure to have gay friends, relatives, acquaintances and sympathizers who'll remember you for it. Just as they now remember Chick-fil-A. It's called branding.
* MAD DOGS AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES: Joe Smith will go out in the broiling sun today to file for mayor of North Little Rock. Big stakes in this race. Smith would be a continuation of the Mayor Pat Hays power structure. Rep. Tracy Steele would bring insider politics of a wholly different dimension. (See his friend Bill Walker at state Career Education for an idea of Steele's network. He was also in the group that showed up to try to keep Linda Watson in control of Little Rock School District jobs.) A teabagger is also in the race. And perhaps more are in the offing.
OCCUPY LR — BUT NO DOGS ALLOWED: Occupy Little Rock sends the alarm that, while several of its group were attempting to meet at the downtown library last night, police arrested a member who entered the building with a service dog. They contend police were wrong to handcuff the man — Terry "Grizz" Hayhurst of Conway — because the Americans with Disability Act requires no showing of papers or certification for a service animal. A court challenge is promised of his criminal trespass citation. UPDATE: Library statement:
On Monday, July 30, 2012, a patron entered the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Main Library with a dog that was not a service animal as recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Library security asked the patron questions allowed by the ADA, and the patron refused to answer. The patron was asked to leave, but refused. The police were called, had interaction with the patron, and then arrested him.
CALS consistently upholds the spirit and regulations of the ADA, and appreciates the adherence of our patrons to that same spirit and regulations.
In response, supporters of Grizz Hayhurst, who was arrested last night, provide a link to the government's own website about the ADA. It says paperwork is not required.
Library Director Bobby Roberts said when the man entered with the dog, he was asked if it was a service animal, but refused to answer, both to a library employee and a police officer. Roberts said without a showing, or even a claim that it was a service animal, the library acted properly in removing the man. He said the law is ambiguous about determining what is a service animal, which creates a problem for public facilties. "Do we let someone in or not? If we say we don't think it is a service animal, they sue us. It's a crazy way to run a railroad." Roberts volunteered that he'd like to take his own dog to work and that he'd likely be in a better mood if it was around, but he can't do it. He said he'll be taking a photo of the dog with him on a coming trip to Scotland. But at the library, he said, "We can't open the door and let everyone bring in whatever they want to bring in."
The Justice Department guidelines say inquiries are allowed when it's not already clear what tasks a service animal is providing — 1) Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and 2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? The library contends Hayhurst wouldn't answer these questions.
* THIS IS LITTLE ROCK, NO WILDLIFE HABITAT ALLOWED: I'll be following this up today, but an interesting dialogue is underway on Facebook about a report on the city of Little Rock's refusal to let a local resident develop his residential property into a wildlife habitat, with tall grass and other vegetation. It's just another weed lot to the city, which mowed it down, as you can see in photo below.
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