The morning roundup:
* WHEN WILL REP. TOM COTTON PRAISE OBAMA’S JUSTICE DEPARTMENT? Republican mouthpieces are howling about the news that AP reporters’ phone records were gathered by the Justice Department in an apparent investigation of leaks about a Yemen-based terrorist plot to bomb an airliner.
Why the silence from U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, the Club for Growth’s emissary to Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District? Shouldn’t he be praising DOJ’s vigor? A reminder of his past from Mother Jones:
In 2006, Tom Cotton, a twentysomething US Army lieutenant serving in Iraq, wrote an open letter calling for the prosecution and imprisonment of two of the New York Times’ most prominent reporters, Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, who had just broken a major story about how the government was tracking terrorist financing. The letter, which also called for the prosecution of Bill Keller, the Times’ then-executive editor, was initially published on the conservative blog PowerLine but soon went viral.
He defended his call for prosecution of press leakers then.
“Tom speaks his mind on topics about which he’s passionate—including the Times’ disclosures of highly classified national security matters.”
Will he speak so passionately in support of investigation of reporters in this matter, when it is being used to impugn the Obama administration?
* ANOTHER GUN-FREE CAMPUS: The Northwest Arkansas Community College in Yellow Dog Republicanland has joined the list of colleges that have chosen to opt out of the new law allowing staff to carry concealed weapons on campus.
* MAKING BIG MONEY ON WELFARE: Report below by Jason Pederson of KATV on a $220,000 four-month contract wangled for Rhode Island consultant Gary Alexander by Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman to study Arkansas welfare programs. Alexander is about to get his final payment. No reports on his work just yet. He’s a former Pennsylvania welfare commissioner, whose activities — both in the realm of welfare and personal decision-making — drew attention before he left the job to spend more time with his family in Rhode Island. For example, he made it harder to qualify for welfare benefits, such as food stamps, but spent almost $20,000 on a flagpole for his office and took many trips to Rhode Island in his state car.
UPDATE: Critics of Alexander’s work in Pennsylvania have compiled some notes on the draconian steps he took to cut rolls in Pennsylvania. Sometimes ineffectively even then.
Here’s a roundup of news coverage, plus some attention to his ill-conceived food stamp asset test.
* THE GUN LAW SURPRISE: On the jump, I share a note from a veteran lawyer about the legislation by Rep. Denny Altes that, after the fact, is being interpreted as ending the regulation of weapon carrying in Arkansas. For good or ill, he argues, the gun zealots may be right, no matter what may have been in the hearts and small minds of the legislators who endorsed this bill thinking that it was a technical correction. The only measure of legislative intent is the language of the statute itself. He argues that carrying a weapon, concealed or unconcealed/permit or no, on a “journey” is now legal. A test case will be required to clear the matter up, which is some indication of the haze attending this poorly drafted bit of legislative junk.