It’s open. Mara Leveritt passes along the shot above, snapped near England — a jewelry store that knows the mind of the local male. Also:
* CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: Republican Sen. Johnny Key has floated a congressional redistricting map. You can find a link to it with Roby Brock. Splits only one county. Adds Pope and Newton to the 2nd District, drops White.
* PRISON REFORM: The governor’s prison reform bill drew scattered critical comments, but passed the House overwhelmingly, 79-14. That completed action.
* POULTRY GROWERS: The exploitation of poultry growers by big processors is hardly a new story, but a thorough report in American Prospect , “The Serfs of Arkansas,” is still worth reading. It reports on the plight of immigrant farmers, such as Hmong people from Laos, drawn to stories of good livings who’ve found instead that they’ve “become 21st-century sharecroppers for companies like Tyson.”
* DINO MIKE ROSS: Only one Democrat votes more often with Republicans than U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, who votes Republican half the time. Give him Saline and give the 2nd District Jefferson. Simple as that. Party unity counts for something, as Republicans have demonstrated.
* COLD MEDICINE DISCRIMINATION: The House passed the Senate bill to require an Arkansas ID and pharmacy dispensation of over the counter medicines containing a substance used in cooking meth. A vacationer from New York with a cold — tough. It will not halt a drop of the high-quality Mexican meth streaming into the state.
* MOONBEAM MARK MARTIN: Our secretary of state, Mark Martin (R-Pluto) says, uh yeah, looks like he kind of screwed up hiring a redistricting coordinator since the two other members of the board recommended somebody else and, uh, they hold the majority of votes on the panel. And, uh, maybe that money he authorized paid to Republican Tim Hutchinson without a vote? Well, Martin is confident he can keep him employed. Uh, maybe he should use his own money rather than money that doesn’t seem to have been his to spend without consultation. He’s kind of the Jill Dabbs of the State Capitol, looks like. This sound like an illegal exaction to anyone else, Martin putting a couple of Republican political operatives on a payroll he doesn’t control?
* HATE CRIME: The U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock confirmed today a couple of arrests had been made in North Arkansastoday related to a “civil rights” case. I believe it could be related to this case in January, near Hardy, where someone threw a burning object into the home of a black family. A federal court arraignment in Little Rock tomorrow will produce more info.