The line is open. Closing notes:
* MUGAMATIC IN HILLCREST: Forbidden Hillcrest reports continuation of armed muggings along Kavanaugh, in which one or two gunmen take purses and phones from people on sidewalks in the shopping area and, last night, by the Baptist Church at Cedar. Systematic, it sounds like. Five in the last few weeks. The linked report includes details on the robbery last night, apparently by a suspect similar to one reported in a robbery earlier outside Shorty Small’s in West Little Rock.
* REDEFINING RAPE: The House voted Wednesday to make it difficult for women to pay for abortion with their own private insurance. It got scant attention on a busy news day. But the vote by all Arkansas members of Congress, including Rep. Mike Ross for this punishing anti-woman vote should not be passed over so readily. Mother Jones details how the anti-choice crowd has a strategy to further limit coverage for rape (remember the original language was to allow only coverage for “forcible” rape). This means no statutory rape coverage and no coverage when a woman couldn’t prove she fought hard enough to suit an anti-choice, anti-woman legislator like Tim Griffin, Steve Womack, Rick Crawford or Mike Ross. They really don’t want any exceptions, whether rape, incest or grievous health problems for the mother on either use of federal money or using an insurance company that participates in health exchanges. They’d, thus, virtually eliminate private insurance coverage, including for rape victims. They’d force some women who were sexually assaulted into proving to IRS agents that they were victims of “forcible” rape. And they call themselves “pro-life” for this hellish burden they want to put on victims of sexual assault. The Senate will stop it but the votes shouldn’t be forgotten.
* BAD TRAFFIC: The slowdown of westbound I-40 traffic thanks to the flood-caused detour at the White River reminds me: The Highway Department is apparently intent on replacing the Broadway Bridge, rather than repairing it. That will require an extended period of closure of the route. The department swears the Main Street and I-30 bridges are sufficient to handle traffic that normally uses Broadway. Once again: Hah! I’ve been struck daily this week by the cluster**** on Scott Street of traffic headed north to the bridge to North Little Rock. Doubling that volume of traffic, plus moving it there over an inefficient downtown grid with little protection for the left turns necessary to move traffic in the right direction? Write it down: Nightmare.
* AWARD WINNER: Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects has won an American Institute of Architecture award for excellence in library design for the Arkansas Studies Institute, which used buildings from three centuries in a unified design that resembles a book. Very prestigious. Architect Reese Rowland notes the project filled a gaping hole in the River Market and was completed at a price below the national average for a new library.