Tuesday topic NEWS UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday topic NEWS UPDATE

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Gee, an entire rainy day. I can turn on the oven tonight.

The line is open. Stuff:

* FRAUD SCHEME: Jeff Rand pleads guilty. Remember Tony Rand, once an NLR theater magnate who's had his own problems? His son.

* BEEBE TELLS GAYS TO GO TO SOMEWHERE SHORT OF HELL: Interesting blogging from Kelly MacNeil and Roby Brock of Gov. Mike Beebe's meet with Stonewall Democrats, who got pissed with him in 2010 for being a wuss on gay issues. In his defense, he's often — belatedly — said the right thing about some limited issues such as the ability of gay people to be parents. TONIGHT, HOWEVER: He defends Batesville Guard policy on not printing unmarried partner names, gay or straight, in obits. I think he's right on their right to make that call, even if — it was my newspaper — I'd print unmarried partners gay or straight in obits. This question arises from a fairly cruel omission of a gay partner from a Batesville Guard obit. He puts DOMA on the back of Bill Clinton. He condemns Donna Hutchinson's stupid comments about gay people (they are preventing the government from spending money on foster children, she said) as "hateful." But .. He says he doesn't think the legislature would pass an anti-discrimination housing bill. (Our view: To hell with those who wouldn't AND those who wouldn't try.) Finally, Beebe is no Andrew Cuomo. He says ban on gay marriage is "appropriate." Appropriate to whom? He also shows he's either a) a liar or b) an idiot, when he says employment discrimination on account of sexual orientation is already illegal in Arkansas. He's wrong. It is legal. Period. (It is highly disheartening to see asshole Republican Twitter users retweet Beebe's opposition to equal treatment of gay people with the digital equivalent of high fives, from pizza man Mark Darr on down.) BOTTOM LINE: In Arkansas, the safe wisdom apparently is that you still get nowhere politically unless you're willing to kick the queers around. It's OK if you do it gently, though. Sorry, Mike. FAIL.

UPDATE: Beebe's spokesman Matt DeCample says the governor indeed knows it's FULLY LEGAL to DISCRIMINATE against gay people in the work place."He made it clear that his own opinion was that job eligibility should only be based on ability and performance. When asked, he said he thought that passing a law preventing such employment-related discrimination in Arkansas would be tough." Well whoop tee do, Guv Mike. Give me Andrew Cuomo, who sees discrimination and tries to fight it, instead of dancing around it and then saying, gee, that's a hard one to win, don't expect me to try. Beebe is particularly well-suited to lead on this issue, especially with no future electoral contest ahead. His default is beyond discouraging.

* NEWS UPDATE: Leslie Newell Peacock reports that the Little Rock City Board has approved Mayor Stodola's choice of the Union Rescue Mission facility on Confederate Boulevard, south of the National Cemetery, for a day center for the homeless. Earlier today, some criticisms of the choice were raised. Director Joan Adcock complained that the neighborhood hadn't gotten proper advance notice. City Director Erma Hendrix, in whose ward the center would be located, said she was OK with the site. But she also scolded the mayor for acting before notifying on many projects. The mayor said that neighborhood notice was less vital in this case in that the property already was being used in a similar vein for the Union Rescue Mission.

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