by Max Brantley
The line is open. Closing out:
* THE FRAUD OF VOTER FRAUD BILLS: Virginia is poised to adopt a voter ID bill on the heels of news that there's no evidence — none — of any cases of at-the-poll fraudulent voters. There IS evidence of some people registering who should not be allowed to vote — felons, particularly — but a voter ID bill does NOTHING about that.
* JUDICIAL EMERGENCY: The federal Eastern District of Arkansas, based in Little Rock, is now among the 39 districts considered in an emergency situation because of judicial vacancies and caseload. A nomination is pending to fill that vacancy in Arkansas, but the Senate keeps falling further behind on the confirmation process, including a deal that is supposed to produce the confirmation of Kris Baker of Little Rock to the Eastern District opening. Vacancies are twice the number that existed when President Obama took office. There's a lot of blame to spread around, but Republican obstructionism leads the list. Thanks to Glenn Sugameli of Judging the Environment for the news.
* HOG FOOTBALL: The new Razorback football coach met the media today. I think you can get a replay at the Razorbacks' sports website. I don't have a dog in this hunt. I think I'm willing to forgive him forsaking his alma mater for a $620,000 pay raise. I think when his wife directed him to take the job, that had something to do with it. But if the merits of the choice interest you, perhaps you might be interested in an e-mail UA Trustee Sam Hilburn, a North Little Rock lawyer, sent UA President Donald Bobbitt. I asked for it through the FOI Act. It took a while to unearth because of a misunderstanding about Bobbitt's current e-mail address:
For what it is worth, I object to the hiring of John L. Smith as coach for the 10-month period. We were initially informed that it would be someone from within the existing program that would lead us through next season.
John Smith was a total failure as a special teams coach. If he were that good, Coach Petrino would not of let him go. I think that the Board of Trustees should have been notified prior to a decision being made as well as the Athletic Committee of the Board.
The two Ohio State coaches have never coached with this gentleman. It is a mistake not to utilize or select someone within the coaching staff presently employed by the University.
* OCCUPY LITTLE ROCK: I heard back this afternoon from Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore on questions I'd asked last night about what prompted the city to set a May 16 eviction of the Occupy group from a city parking lot at Fourth and Ferry. He said a major reason was the advent of the summer tourist season and the need to use that lot for charter bus parking. He confirmed that negotiations have been ongoing with the group. What now as deadline approaches? That's not clear though both sides continue to mention the possibility of other sites for meetings. Occupy LR has an absolute right to use city parks to meet — on a daily basis if they choose. The overnight camping is the rub.