by Max Brantley
Odds ad ends.
* BEWARE SCHOOL REFORMERS: The Walton billionaires, having announced they are prepared to spend MORE than the billion or so they've already devoted to cramming their school agenda down the throats of American legislatures, are busy in Arkansas with front groups aplenty to push a coming roster of education bills. They've been working to line up support, though I've been somewhat surprised to hear of a little pushback. Gov. Mike Beebe, for one, questioned the wisdom of the Waltons' desired effective deregulation of charter schools (quasi-private schools supported with public money). And I also understand some mainstream corporate lobbyists also think Billionaire Boys Club lobbyist Luke Gordy and Co. might be pushing a little too hard (understandable that they'd be overbearing since they rented-to-own the relevant legislative committees.) Maybe, if we're lucky, the Waltons will pay a handsome sum to bring the famous Michelle Rhee in to tout "reform." And then maybe, in fairness, somebody will invite Dianne Ravitch to explain all that's wrong about Rhee and her test-centric view of education. Such as she did on her blog.
* STANDING UP TO THE GUN LOBBY: I won't hold my breath for similar to this NY Times report from New York:
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, pushing New York to become the first state to enact major new gun laws in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., plans on Wednesday to propose one of the country’s most restrictive bans on assault weapons.
You'll not tell it from Arkansas politicians like Tom Cotton and Tiny Tim Griffin of Traskwood and NRA camp follower Asa Hutchinson, but there ARE signs of a growing sentiment nationally for some sensible gun safety legislation, built on the bodies of slain children, sorry to say. Gabby Giffords' enlistment in the cause will be powerful, too. Note these Twitters from Public Policy Polling on a release coming today:
We're going to have new numbers on the NRA tomorrow...their image has declined a good bit since last month's press conference
Believe it or not our numbers tomorrow show there's not a whole lot of support for putting more guns in schools
UPDATE: Here are some of the details on that polling.
* SEX STING: Channel 4 reports a prostitution sting in Fort Smith nabbed a former city official.