The Thursday night line is now open. That picture? It's the new school colors-themed artificial turf at the University of Central Arkansas as of yesterday, with a few markings yet to be added. Call me a fogey. I like grass. Also:
* VOTE FOR JOHNNY CASH HOME: I'm urged to remind folks of on-line balloting to support preservation of the Johnny Cash childhod home in Dyess. A $25,000 prize will go to the most popular preservation project.
* SPEAKING OF BEEBE: Twittering from exile, Jason Tolbert alerts us to an announcement of an appearance by the governor before Stonewall Democrats, said to be the first speech by a sitting Arkansas governor to an LGBTQ group. Nice, but the Republican governor of Nevada just signed legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations based on gender identity or expression. We can dream.
* WACKJOBS AND WEINERGATE: Meet a key player in the great Twitter twaddle.
* CONVICTION IN AFFILIATED TRIAL: Arkansas Business is reporting a jury has convicted Lex Martinez, the former CFO of the now-defunct Affiliated Foods, of three charges for his role in a check-kiting scheme to prop up the grocery wholesalers.
* YET ANOTHER INTERNET CHILD PORN COP: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel held a standing-room-only press conference this afternoon to announce the creation of a new Cyber Crimes Unit that will target child pornography and predators. Why him? Where's the demonstrated need not already being met? See: Gubernatorial race 2014. You offend no one by going after perverts; corporate polluters are another matter.
McDaniel said that no additional staff was added, but the attorney general's law enforcement team has been trained to handle child pornography cases. Members of the press and the public also got a tour of the new crime lab, in the Tower Building downtown. McDaniel said he was not at liberty to speak about the exact methods and techniques that would be used to catch sexual predators, but did say efforts would involve online undercover activities. The crime lab will also be used as a resource for other local law enforcement operations. When asked why it was necessary for his office to undertake this effort, McDaniel said the amount of law enforcement in attendance (that's why the room was packed) was proof that help was needed and appreciated. He also said protecting children was one of his campaign promises from his last two campaigns.