by Max Brantley
The line is open. In closing:
* CHECKBOOK JOURNALISM: Did you know the Texas woman whose Facebook exchanges with Anthony Weiner gave ABC a lead over competition in the scandal reporting was paid a "licensing fee" for her story?
* DAVID BARTON IS A CHARLATAN: The religionist faux historian who's guiding teabagger and Religious Right politicos from Hot Springs to Washington has more views to amuse. The founding fathers rejected Darwin, who hadn't yet been born. And he has some slavery facts bollixed up, too.
* RAPERT'S RAP: Some cranky 'baggers have been blasting Republican Sen. Jason Rapert for allowing his name to appear along with every other senator on a campaign fund-raiser invitation from Democratic Sen. Larry Teague. Rapert responded to them on Facebook:
I have just become aware of a great deal of information all of you have posted about this situation. It is amazing to me how easily some of you start throwing mud at so many conservatives, including me by association. The first I heard of this event is when I received the invitation with my name printed on it - I was never asked about using my name from anyone. I called Sen. Teague and he apologized for the error. End of story. Some of you have turned on me and challenged me to start running all over the place "posting" on GOP and TEA Party websites - that is not a good use of my time. This is not my error, it is someone else who made the mistake. My time is best spent serving my constituents, fighting to return our nation back to Almighty God and taking the stands that most politicians shrink away from. Remember who your friends are in the battle for conservatism. Anyone that turns against a brother or sister in the fight to save our nation plays right into the hands of liberals who are leading us down a road to Hell.
And he wonders why I call him Deathstar. Universal health care, progressive taxation, birth control — ideas such as these apparently condemn me and my kind in Bro. Rapert's Bible to eternal damnation. What a sanctimonious twit. (PS — In that he's blasting us liberals but willing to readily forgive Teague, who single-handedly blocked the capital gains tax cut, I'm thinking he's protesting a mite too little about this supposed affront. In other words, he was good with helping Teague until caught.)
I asked Republican Sen. Johnny Key about the bipartisan list. His calm, non-defensive response (take note, Deathstar): "My personal view is that it reflects the collegial nature of the Senate...after a relatively close pro tem election, senators are showing support for Larry as the pro tem elect." Key added that Teague had asked him to use his name and he'd agreed. "Friendship trumps politics." Don't tell that to the Tea Party.
* HILLARY'S NEXT JOB?: Reuters news flash claims Hillary Clinton is seeking World Bank presidency. But a new flash has a spokesman for Clinton denying the report.
* YON MR. DARR IS AN AMBITIOUS MAN: I see Lt. Gov. Mark Darr has told the AP that a run for governor in 2014 is the likeliest of several future political possibilities. Why think so small? Why not president next year? He still might go after Mike Ross next year, though.
* JUDGE THOMAS EISELE RETIRES: Federal Judge G. Thomas Eisele made it official Thursday. The nearly 88-year-old jurist told members of the Arkansas Bar Association that he was completely retiring Aug. 13, the 41st anniversary of his rise to the bench. He’s been on senior status, a former of judicial retirement, but has overseen an active docket. He’ll still visit his courthouse office, but he’ll no longer have a staff and no longer take cases. He made the announcement at a Bar convention education session in Hot Springs that featured a movie on his life and some of his significant cases. They included his long fight, ultimately justified, against rigid sentencing guidelines; an important ruling for environmental protection that arose from a challenge of a dam on the Cossatot River, and a recent ruling on racial profiling by the Alexander Police Department.