Just in time for the charter school rally to be led this morning by Walmart billionaire Jim Walton and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette publisher Walter Hussman, among others, comes a timely news article from, where else, the Democrat-Gazette, on Arkansas's fall in ranking by a charter school advocacy group.
Some morning moments:
* WHY DIDN'T SKIP RUTHERFORD THINK OF THIS? An item in D magazine reports that the director the George W. Bush Presidential Library being built in Dallas is using free chicken pot pie ($4.99 typically) from the Highland Park Cafeteria to lure people to a program on the coming facility.
Wow, when the Walton family — which has put more than $1 billion into "education reform" through its foundation and spent untold millions more in separate political activties — indicates it's going to increase its political effort it's time for political opponents to build a bomb shelter.
May tomorrow bring universal electrical service, safe streets, garbage trucks to haul the mountains of accumulated wrapping paper, a federal budget that doesn't favor a handful of billionaires and peace in our time.
OK, things ARE different in Arkansas in the party politics realm. Stephens Media profiles the new Republican leaders of the Arkansas legislature - Sen. Michael Lamoureux and Rep. Davy Carter - and features their professed willingness to work "across the aisle" with Democrats.
A few odds and ends:
* A BRIDGE TO FITNESS: Skip Rutherford sent a Twitter this morning noting that the pedestrian bridge by the Clinton Library, fashioned from an abandoned railroad bridge, opened a year ago.
I asked Gary Newton, then a Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce employee, last week about a report from a well-informed source that he was taking off to start another think tank/lobby/special interest group on education to be called Arkansas Learns.
The Benton County clerk says backers of the Walton-funded drive to put a retail alcohol sales proposal on the county election ballot in November submitted enough signatures to qualify (City Wire, via Talk Business).
Propaganda party touted here by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, which has served for some time as an enabler of messaging about the alleged waste of money that is the Little Rock School District.
The Walton Family Foundation announced today that it had given an additional $403 million this year to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville for acquisitions, construction costs and other expenses.
A report from Wisconsin on the state of affairs in that Tea Party Republican-controlled state:
The Republican governor and legislator are cutting spending on public schools by $800 million, but increasing the amount sent to private schools by $17 million.
Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
The U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock announced today that two former supervisors at the White River Juvenile Detention Center in Batesville had pleaded guilty to conspiring to assault juvenile inmates.
At a press conference today at the Doubletree Hotel just across from the Pulaski County Courthouse, Pulaski County Fifth Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen and his attorneys announced that he has asked the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission to investigate the conduct of the entire Arkansas Supreme Court, and asked the director of the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct to investigate the conduct of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and several others in the AG's office, related to what Griffen and his attorneys claim were forbidden ex parte conversations between the Supreme Court and the AG's office.
Later today: A news conference related to Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, removed from a lawsuit over execution drugs and referred to a judicial disciplinary committee for taking part in a death penalty protest on the day he entered an order in the drug case.
Photos taken Thursday night by Brian Chilson and David Koon, at Cummins Prison in Grady, the State Police barricade away from the prison and in front of the Governor's Mansion, before and after the execution of Ledell Lee.