The line is open.
* REDISTRICTING: First hearing on legislative redistricting at Jonesboro tonight. As expected, GOP stocked the audience with shills to advance its pre-hearing talking point news release that the effort is partisan. Of course it is. Secretary of State Mark Martin’s effort is entirely partisan, but the Republican happens to be outvoted by two Democrats, Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. GOP called the turnout a “nice crowd.” Their own photo on Twitter looked like about 35 to 40 people, most of them from the Tea Party demographic — old white folks who generally prove angry. This is another over-hyped issue, of extreme interest to the parties and incumbent legislators and wannabe candidates, but of decidedly less interest to those in the 100 House districts. Most people couldn’t come within hundreds of acres of drawing their House district if asked to do so. The districts need to be within acceptable variations on populations; they should give consideration where possible to natural barriers and the like. After that, party politics will play a strong role. It’s a political system. If the Republicans hold two Board of Apportionment seats 10 years from now, the Democrats willl raise the same fuss the Republicans are raising now. If the Arkansas GOP were to follow the Texas pattern, all vestiges of fairness would go out the window.
* DEMOCRATIC PICKUP: Early reports are that the Democrat will pick up that heavily Republican seat in New York. Let’s talk Medicare in Arkansas next year. But who will oppose Tim Griffin and Rick Crawford, who voted to end Medicare and cut millionaires’ taxes, among other votes agaiinst the public interest? Somebody?