Strange day for me. Sorry about the interruptions. And now another, because I have a conflict that requires an early departure. Some odds and ends:
* 2013 RAZORBACK FOOTBALL: The Hogs apparently will field a team next year. The schedule is out. Samford and Mississippi State — Samford???? — in Little Rock.
* KUAR UPDATE: Thanks to the great outpouring to the blog challenge during my fund-raising stint on KUAR this morning. More than $16,000 was pledged during my time with Rosi Smith of Children’s Hospital. Don’t have a final tally on what I’ll owe in matches, but a bunch. Best response ever from Republicans to my double-match-for-the-GOP.
* SAME SONG, ANOTHER VERSE ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Another U.S. circuit court of appeals has ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage provision that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Of course it does. Just as race laws in discriminatory states violated the equal protection clause. The 2nd Circuit ruled today. The 1st Circuit had ruled earlier.
* FREE SPEECH IN LINCOLN: Big hubbub in Northwest Arkansas, where a Lincoln police officer caused a ruckus by speaking bluntly about political candidates on his Facebook page. Even obnoxious cops enjoy First Amendment rights. If the cops are punishing people who oppose candidates they disfavor, that’s another matter. And, if he truly “won’t work” for a city council that includes people he disapproves of, it is not a violation of the 1st Amendment to fire someone who fails to perform his job.
* JANET HUCKABEE ON THE STUMP; SHE’S ARMED: More reports from Janet Huckabee’s campaigning for Todd Akin, the extremist Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri.
At the end, she exhorted the audience to contribute to Akin’s campaign. “I challenge you, I beg you, I demand that you…I’m not going to hold a revolver to your head but I could, I’m packing most of the time.”
* PHILANDER SMITH WINS GRANT: Philander Smith College has won another grant, for $1.75 million, from the National Science Foundation to increase the number of minorities graduating with degrees in science, technology and math.
* ATTENTION TO COMPLAINTS OF BULLYING: Wendell Griffen, a Baptist pastor and circuit judge, has written the Little Rock School Board and superintendent urging attention to the report on bullying of Latino children that was the focus of a cover story in the Times by David Koon. Griffen urged action and said bullying should not be “tolerated, excused or trivialized.”
* MONTEL WILLIAMS URGES PULLING OF ANTI-MEDICAL MARIJUANA AD: Talk show host Montel Williams was in Little Rock today to advocate the ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana. He has used medical marijuana because of multiple sclerosis. Among other things, he urged the Family Council to pull its racist anti-marijuana ad that uses the image of a black gangster trafficking in pot as part of its imagery.
This morning we became aware of a TV ad the Arkansas Family Council has put on YouTube, and apparently made a very small ad buy for, in opposition to Issue 5 that features several actors. The one African-American actor was depicted as a criminal drug dealer behind a table with guns. This imagery has no place in the debate on medical cannabis and is clearly racist, and other claims made are as offensive. We call on them to pull it, rather than attempt to justify it—if they won’t, stations should refuse to air it. This debate is about the relief of suffering. We shouldn’t forget that.
The Family Council’s Christian witness has often been of the this-will-hurt-us-more-than-it-hurts-you style — depriving pain relief, marginalizing gay people, preventing important medical services for women.
* ANOTHER REPUBLICAN HYPOCRITE: Christian values Republican apparently caught stepping out on his wife at a, ta da, Christian values conference. Traditional marriage, Arkansas Republican politician style. One man. One woman. Another woman.
* HERB RULE RELEASES TAX RETURNS: 2nd District Democratic congressional candidate Herb Rule today released three years of tax returns that show he paid a higher effective federal tax rate than Mitt Romney, around 19 percent. He had adjusted gross income in in 2009, 2010 and 2011 of about $356,000, $244,000 and $251,000 and paid federal taxes, respectively, of $71,138, $47,870 and $43,806.
Rule called on Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin to release his tax returns. I haven’t gotten a response to an e-mailed question.
“Where does Griffin stand? How much money was he paid doing consultant work in Alaska and New York? What deductions and credits has he taken? Arkansans deserve to know. And, by the way, how is Arkansas served by a congressman working in Alaska and New York?” Rule said
* REPUBLICANS GET COCKY: An employee of the secretary of state’s office — part of the gang of political operatives there whose primary purpose is to advance the political agenda of the Republican Party and the goofus in charge — offers the following wager on Arkansas legislative races. (He doesn’t list specifically the Republican candidate accused of filing a false theft report on $10,000 worth of lawnmowers stolen from his business that turned up in his yard.) If he’s right, it’s time for poor people, sick people, women, gay people, minorities, immigrants and the uneducated to bend over. Legislative sessions should be short, because no debate on the Koch/Norquist/Family Council agenda will be needed (or tolerated). The Republicans who subsist on the public teat might hang around a bit to cadge free meals and drinks and run up their per diem. Read on for his election line (Democrats say they see things differently):