The week’s done and the line is open. If you hurry over to Main Street, Argenta, there might still be a few tickets left for our Craft Beer Festival. It’s from 6 to 9 p.m. on the Argenta Farmers Market grounds. Final thoughts:
* RED STATE DEMS MOVE TO ALTER OBAMACARE: Talking Points Memo rounds up a variety of measures proposed by red state Democrats to fiddle with Obamacare. Sen. Mark Pryor figures in the least objectionable idea — to delay the signup deadline for individual coverage. This is NOT a delay in the “mandate” itself.
* SCARY DAY AT LAX: Last report I saw said a TSA officer was killed and another was wounded by a gunman who opened fire with an assault rifle and was armed with multiple ammo magazines. He was said to be carrying a message indicating unhappiness with the TSA. Several others were wounded when shooting broke out at a security checkpoint in the Los Angeles International Airport. Authorities believe it was the work of a 23-year-old man, who also was wounded, and airport operations are returning to normal.
* DESEGREGATION DICKERING: I hear Attorney General Dustin McDaniel talked today with representatives of the three Pulaski County public school districts about a potential settlement of the desegregation case. I don’t think new offers came up, but I’m trying to find out. McDaniel started woefully low. He graciously said the districts could keep the $70 million they are getting this year (by order of a federal court and virtually unrevocable) and kindly offered to cut it to only $49 million next school year, even though the pace of 8th Circuit deliberations all but guarantee that the districts could count on another $70 million next year no matter what. Any settlement pretty much has to hold that number firm. The question then becomes how many more years of how much state support are the districts willing to settle for. They give up much in ending efforts to hold the state to its promise of equal education in the county and in dropping objections to the Billionaire Boys Club plan to charterize Pulaski County with still more free-standing independent charter school districts. It’s an ironic giveback. Many charter schools are targeted to bleed higher income white students away from conventional public schools and thus contribute to creation of an overwhelmingly poor, black school district.
UPDATE: A comment by e-mail from Greg Adams, the Little Rock School Board president:
There was such a meeting today to begin the negotiation process for a potential new settlement. Joshua and Knight Intervenor representatives were also present. Just the beginning of the process with the agreement by all that it was worth the effort to try to work out a new settlement before the scheduled court hearing in December—a deadline of Nov. 15 by the Attorney General, as already published. No additional meeting scheduled at this time but the process has begun. That all are talking is a positive thing. Choosing to be hopeful.
* LIBERTARIANS QUALIFY: The Libertarian Party of Arkansas announced today that its petition for election ballot certification had been cleared by the secretary of state’s office. That entitles the party to nominate a slate of candidates for the 2014 ballot. It also qualified in 2012. If its candidate for governor gets 3 percent of the vote, it will qualify for automatic ballot access the following election.
* CONTEMPT CITATION AGAINST U.S. ATTORNEY: Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has held the U.S. attorney’s office in contempt of court for failure to pay attorney fees Griffen had ordered in a case involving a USA Drug executive that bounced between state and federal court. The U.S. attorney’s office paid the money and now plans to appeal the ruling. Arkansas Business has the details.