by Max Brantley
* DUSTIN THE DEMAGOGUE: More vast coverage in the paper this morning of Demagogue Dustin McDaniel's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Little Rock School District over its response to his requests for mountains of data (attorney bills ?) from the district. Understand several things: 1) Of course LRSD should turn over the materials. 2) It has NOT refused to turn over the materials. 3) It wants to produce them under lawsuit discovery rules, meaning more time than the three-day limit in the FOI statute. 4) The state will get its documents. 5) Dustin knows no politician ever suffered by beating up on the LRSD. 6) The LRSD has been whipping his butt in court over his spurious legal arguments 7) Finally, and most of all, this is the same attorney general who has fought tooth and nail to resist information requests made of the state Education Department by the LRSD. He's a hypocrite as well as a demagogue, in other words. In short: This legal battle between McDaniel and Chris Heller, representing LRSD, has gotten personal and McDaniel's overblown legal pronouncements on the matter are silly.
* SPEAKING OF DUSTIN THE DEMAGOGUE: Yesterday's political rumor du jour was that Sen. Mark Pryor would resign his post some time before 2014 so he could return to Arkansas to run for governor and that Gov. Mike Beebe would appoint McDaniel as interim senator to set HIM up for a run in 2014. Which is all I'll say about that.
* HILLCREST PROPERTY DISPUTE: The Hillcrest Residents Association heard competing proposals last night to redevelop the former Easter Seals training center building at the eastern end of Lee Avenue. My reporters say a warmer reception was given to Doug Martin's proposal to use a portion of the property, owned by the state, for a single-family home and preserve the rest of the almost 10 acres in green space. Businessman John Chandler wants to redevelop the building for offices for his clothing business and other office use. The Board of Trustees for the Arkansas Schools for the Deaf and Blind will meet on the proposals later this week. Easter Seals had originally proposed selling the building and its land lease to Chandler for $240,000, all for Easter Seals. Martin proposes to buy it for $480,000, split between the state and Easter Seals. Martin would also spend up to $500,000 to remove the old building.
* AS BENTON TURNS: Remember Tony Prothro, suspended as Benton school superintendent last April in fallout from football -related disputes? He was reinstated by the School Board last night, according to Saline 24/7. But it sounds like a distinction without much difference. He'll be co-leading the district until the end of the year, when he has another job lined up.
* A MODEST PROPOSAL FOR PENN STATE: Joe Nocera in Times proposes no bowl game, cancellation of 2012 season, punishment of student rioters, a sexual abuse victim's compensation fund and the university's refusal to claim sovereign immunity from lawsuits. Yes, that would about do it. As for Jerry "I shouldn't have showered with those kids" Sandusky? Wow. Just wow. And, with full transcript, still more wow.
* HEALTH CARE: A NY Times article explains why even a Supreme Court ruling overturning the health care mandate won't stop fundamental changes in the health care system.