by Max Brantley
This and that from a morning review of mail and other sources:
* THE REAL JASON RAPERT: TAKING THE COUNTRY BACK FROM THE BLACKS FOR THE LORD: Sen. Jason Rapert is likely due for a tremendous amount of national attention now that he's pushed through one chamber of the legislature unconstitutional legislation that would be the country's most restrictive on abortion. It essentially outlaws the medical procedure later than about six weeks in a pregnancy. It will fall in court, if approved, naturally, after significant state expense and anguish for women. Adding insult to inury, the bill also will require a forced vaginal probe of women — medically unnecessary — who are in the earliest stages of pregnancy. It is the only way to detect a fetal heartbeat early in pregnancy.
Anyway, the first of the coming looks at Rapert is from The Nation, which unearths some of his past campaign rhetoric, including racially inflamatory comments. (Remember, please, don't believe what you see: Arkansas opposition to Obama is not based on his race.) Quote of Rapert from the video:
RAPERT: I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don't represent the country that I grew up with. And your values is not going to save us. We're going to take this country back for the Lord. We're going to try to take this country back for conservatism. And we're not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in!
The Nation focuses not only on Rapert's evangelical conservatism and the use of race in other ways in the Republican takeover of the Arkansas legislature, but also on the debt Rapert owes to corporate cash, including Koch money, and his support for some of their business interests, such as rapacious payday lending. Be interesting to see where he lines up on the steel mill subsidy.
ALSO: "Hard-line, fringe politics" — Rapert, in other words — gets good attention here from Rachel Maddow. Arkansas is on the list of states with only one facility providing clinical abortion and Maddow notes that Arkansas is leading the way on the Rapert effective abortion ban because many women don't know they're pregnant until the time a hearbeat can be detected. In New Mexico, legislation would make an abortion after a rape a felony. We're not there — yet.
UPDATE: Rapert defenders contend he was talking about minority political interests, not minorities, references to the Obama birth certificate, Muslims and a Ramadan event notwithstanding. Watch it all and decide if it helps your view of Rapert.
* RECEIPTS UP AT UA: The University of Arkansas reports that fund-raising is up 15 percent at mid-year against last year, to $61 million. No mention there of wildly out-of-control spending in the development division that led to a reshuffling of top jobs or a bottom line on where fund-raising is after expense allowances.
* MORE TO COME FROM UAMS: All-purpose activist Joann Coleman attended yesterday's UA Board of Trustees meeting and reports that she learned an audit had concluded members of the radiology department at UAMS had been moonlighting without permission. I'm seeking a copy of the audit, as she is. The subject is interesting because radiology business has been a key issue in UAMS' effort to become more profitable. Also questions about the level of UAMS participation in a proposed private radiology facility in the neighborhood at Markham and Cedar were a factor in a city land-use debate on allowing the facility to go forward. Coleman's inquiries at the time produced, among others, an explicit assertion from the UAMS radiology operation that "none of the radiologists in our department are involved in any activity beyond the scope of their employment with UAMS." UPDATE: UAMS says the audit found only a technical problem with a single doctor who believed he had permission for outside work though the applicable rules hadn't been followed. That has now been corrected, a spokesman said.
* ETHICS FOR TECH PARK: Warwick Sabin's amendment to require annual financial disclosure by members of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority Board was adopted in the House Thursday. One small step for ethicskind.
* HOW WE'RE DOING ELSEWHERE: A suicide bomber has killed one, reportedly a guard, in an explosion near the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch has died.