Woo pig sooie, Dustin!
Why is Attorney General Dustin McDaniel advertising his office during Razorback football radio broadcasts? “It is a priority for us to make younger consumers aware of the resources available to them,” according to the AG’s office. McDaniel has bought advertising during college athletic broadcasts in the following amounts to run through the end of this year, when his term ends:
University of Arkansas: $170,000 University of Central Arkansas: $20,000 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff: $22,500 Arkansas State University: $25,000
Facebook behind bars
Joseph Kennedy, serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of Karen Yarbrough, apparently posted a picture of himself in prison on Facebook. The picture was discovered by Yarbrough’s sister and appears to show Kennedy in the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Varner Unit, where he is held. Prison officials are investigating how Kennedy obtained a banned electronic device.
Cotton pants on fire
The Washington Post awarded Tom Cotton four “Pinocchios” for his dishonest advertising about Sen. Mark Pryor’s supposed support for Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants. The Post notes that the claim was “discredited eight years ago.” But ever fresh for the sleazy Cotton campaign! Apart from the stuff about how his mama loves him, you have to hunt hard to find honest Tom Cotton ads.
Say cheese, officer
A Fort Smith man won a $40,000 settlement from a Sebastian County deputy sheriff who seized his cell phone while the man was photographing a drug bust. The case has also inspired a new written policy that makes it clear citizens have a right to record police officers in action. The policy notes that citizens have First Amendment rights to take photographs or record video “in a lawful manner” and officers are prohibited from intimidating someone into ceasing filming or from obstructing filming.
Quote of the week
“Rather than moving the facility to a region without porous karst geology, a school next door or a national river six miles downstream, Cargill has dug its heels in and offered the people of Arkansas and National Park supporters across the country mitigation measures that leave the fate of our first national river to chance. This is not the place for an experiment and we shouldn’t be rolling the dice with Arkansas’s crown jewel. There is one solution: Remove the facility from the Buffalo River watershed.”
Buffalo River Watershed Alliance President Gordon Watkins. The mammoth food corporation Cargill, the sole buyer for the C&H Hog Farm located near a major tributary of the Buffalo River, has stated that it supports a moratorium on future large-scale hog-feeding operations in the watershed, but has every intention of continuing to support C&H.
George W. Bush: “[He is an] awesome communicator. …[There is] a lot to admire about Bill Clinton.”
Bill Clinton: “I actually learned a lot watching him over the years.”
Bush and Clinton were together in Washington, D.C., on Monday announcing the Presidential Leadership Scholars program.
Minimum wage shuffle
Republicans like Asa Hutchinson, running for governor, and Tom Cotton, running for Senate, have never been big proponents of raising the minimum wage. But the candidates have their finger to the wind and with a ballot initiative approved to raise the state minimum wage to $8.50 (and polls showing nearly three quarters of Arkansans approve), both rushed to revise their position. Hutchinson went all in for a convoluted flip-flop — he used to say he opposed a ballot initiative but might support raising the minimum wage in the legislature (where it was sure to die) and only up to $7.25. Now he supports a ballot initiative up to $8.50. Profiles in courage! Cotton had doggedly refused to take a position on the state wage hike (he was “studying” the issue, he said) but as soon as the initiative was approved, Cotton’s study hall was complete and voila, he would vote for the wage hike “as a citizen.” Maybe Citizen Cotton is a more decent guy than Congressman Cotton, though voters are stuck with the latter.
During a livestream video broadcast of a UALR women’s soccer game, UALR Athletic Director Chris Peterson was inadvertently recorded chatting in the press box. Peterson said that one player’s mother was “much curvier” than her daughter, adding, “She had her shit hanging out, too. Remember that? … I got to make sure I’m in town for the weekend on Parents Day.” He remarked later: “She had two of ’em and they were out there for display.” Peterson resigned.
Deadbeat Darr pays up!
Disgraced former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr repaid the state for almost $11,000 in illegal expense reimbursements he’d claimed in office, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced last week. Darr is still making $1,000 monthly payments on $11,000 in fines by the state Ethics Commission. McDaniel had previously said his office would file a lawsuit against Darr if he didn’t pay up. Darr is now on the sales staff at Crain Hyundai in Springdale.
Arkansas good news, by the numbers
$2.5 million: Amount that the state is running ahead of forecast in terms of tax revenues, after two months of the fiscal year.
26,301: Number of students enrolled at the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville (21,903 undergraduates) for the fall semester, a 3.8 percent increase from last year and another record.
37 percent: Amount UAF has grown since 2008.
205,097: Number of low-income Arkansans (and counting!) who have gained health insurance coverage via the state’s private option Medicaid expansion.