by Max Brantley
Over to you. Weird day for me. But there are these final bits:
* HACKED: Got an e-mail last night indicating the LISA Academy-North was closing. Put it off to check until today. Dirty trick by a computer hacker, it turns out. Leslie Peacock reports:
Someone hacked into Lisa Academy-North Principal Fatih Bogrek's e-mail on Thursday to send a message to parents that the school was closing.
The e-mail read in part "Our schools charter is not going to be renewed next year and we will have to close down the school, I failed to file the necessary paperwork required to apply for a new charter ... Thanks you for your understanding." The punctuation probably a tipped off to close readers to the fact that it was a prank.
A spokesman at the school said the principal was contacting parents to let them know he didn't send the e-mail and that an investigation into who did was under way. If the culprit is discovered, I'd say he or she should be sentenced to extra studies in grammar and punctuation.
* VOTER FRAUD: Hmmm. Is Mitt Romney being slow to release tax returns because they'd show his residency for tax purposes to be a different place than the state (Mass.) he claimed to be a resident to vote?
* OBAMACARE: The Democratic-majority Arkansas Legislative Council, on a party line vote today, approved a $7 million federally funded deal to implement health care exchanges under the federal health care law. They approved, in other words, expanded health coverage for working Arkansans. Republicans and their handmaidens — Koch-paid lobbyists, campaign staff toadies, etc. — were on hand to preach and repreach the evils of Obamacare and the "liberal agenda" from Washington, otherwise known as federal law. The health care exchanges could be used even if the individual insurance mandate itself is struck down in court, by the way. Simple bottom line: GOP doesn't want to spend another dime on health care for Americans who don't have it and they'd like to spend less than we spend now. That view has lots of support. It may prevail at the ballot box in November. Just don't be confused by the thicket of obfuscation and delay thrown up as reasons to vote this down.
* SCHOOL UNIONS SPAR WITH STATE: The teacher and non-certified employee unions in the Pulaski County Special School District amended earlier proposals for balancing the district's books to say the district, now in state receivership, is wrong in expecting a drastic reduction in state desegregation aid and could well get a windfall from federally ordered increases in transportation aid. The unions say the state, as it has been found to have done before, has retaliated improperly against Pulaski school districts by reducing busing aid required under terms of the federal court order in the desegregation case. They may be right and such happenstances would improve the district's financial situation. But I still think they are fighting a losing battle. I think Arkansas Education Director Tom Kimbrell and his appointed interim superintendent, Jerry Guess, are willing to work with a union district just as long as the unions accept their financial plan — including givebacks from existing contracts — but are otherwise prepared to declare those contracts were voided when the state took over the district. I'm not sure I like the unions' chances in court on the question.
* HYPOCRITE OF THE DAY: Sen. Jason Rapert told a public meeting in Conway Thursday that Act 570 of 2011, the so-called Public Safety Improvement Act, a measure aimed at reducing prison population by diverting non-violent offenders to rehabilitation programs, was "not the direction we need to go." You got it. Rapert voted for the bill. The campaign of Rep. Linda Tyler, who is opposing Rapert, calls attention to the blithering hypocrite. (Rapert weaseled then and now as legislators often do in such circumstances by saying the roll call doesn't reflect his true feelings. Easy way to avoid such problems. Don't allow yourself to be voted for something you oppose. It can be done. Meanwhile, this was a good bill with broad support that Rapert now thinks he can find a way to demagogue, the real story.)