A slow one today. Maybe you have better. But first:
* HYPERLOCAL: I don't run photos of stringers of crappie, dead deer and rutabagas shaped like Richard Nixon — mostly because nobody sends any in. When I was sports editor of the Buena Vista, Va., News, I regularly hauled my Nikkormat out to the parking lot to snap the haul in the back of a pickup, everything from bears to monster green beans. To make up for the shortage of this staple of local newspapering:
Ta da, the big cabbage photo above. It shows third-grader Lauren Motley of Daisy Bates Elementary in Little Rock, who is going to get an award tomorrow — a $1,000 scholarship from Bonnie Plants — for her state champion cabbage, a 15.94 pounder. Celebrity gardener P. Allen Smith will be among those on hand, along with Arkansas Agriculture Department officials, for the ceremony. Somebody bring some mayo. That's a lot of cole slaw.
* THE WAR ON WOMEN — AND MORE: It could be worse. We could be Tennessee, which is the Arkansas Republican Party's desire. The legislature there has decreed that a miscarriage of a fertilized egg can be construed as murder. Creationism (religious indoctrination) may be taught in public schools. And soon, it appears, the legislature will gag teachers from talking about the existence of gay people. Can you feel the love and brotherhood emanating from these "values" politicians?
* PARTISAN SCALIA: Justice Antonin Scalia bared his partisan rear-end today in attacking those who've challenged the Arizona anti-immigration statutes. Those dirty immigrants are no different than a bunch of bank robbers, he suggested.
* CONNECTICUT ENDS DEATH PENALTY: Connecticut today became the 17th state to end the death penalty. Dare I guess that Winthrop Rockefeller would approve, though modern-day Arkansas Republicans would not? I'd be with Rockefeller if so, on grounds of cost, irreversibility of error and unequal application.
* THE BISHOP OBJECTS: Arkansas Catholic reports here on the bishop's objection to a Catholic hospital group's decision to sell the St. Joseph Mercy hospital in Hot Springs to a for-profit hospital chain. He fears loss of help for the poor.
* AS MANY AS 30 BURGLARIES SOLVED: Please note update on early-morning item about a rash of burglaries along Cantrell and Kavanaugh in the Heights and Hillcrest. Police say four arrests could solve as many as 30. Eight in initial charges.
* MISSING IN THE ARKANSAS RIVER: Fox 16 reports a teen jumped into the Arkansas River from the I-430 bridge today and tried to swim to a bridge support, but went under. Search and rescue operations were suspended at 4:30 p.m.attorney general today gave approval to the form of a constitutional amendment that would allow casino gambling — specifically four Nancy Todd's Poker Palace and Entertainment venues in Pulaski, Miller, Crittenden and Franklin counties. Don't know anything about Nancy just yet, but she's repped by Peter Kumpe of Williams and Anderson and her website provides some background. It would prohibit other casinos elsewhere and taxes would go — bypassing the legislature — to a variety of beneficiaries including schools, veterans affairs, apprentice programs and county governments. I'm thinking the casino operators at Oaklawn and Southland — excuse me, electronic game of skill operators — wouldn't be too happy about pure casino competition. Todd describes herself as a poker player as well as a consultant based in Las Vegas and pitches her enterprise as a poker room. She'll need more than 70,000 signatures to get on the ballot. But, according to her site, she has background in getting casino gambling in Mississippi and writes a column on gambling politics for a trade journal. None of the information suggests who else, if anyone, might be bankrolling the effort. She has her own website. It includes this personal story.