by Max Brantley
Tomorrow will be kind of crazy as Riverfest takes hold of my office's corner of downtown. But there's still tonight's open line. And these final words:
* CORRECTION: Please note that the Little Rock police said they reported erroneously the death of a second person yesterday in a four-car wreck on Cantrell Road. Charles Crockett remains alive, in critical condition, contrary to earlier police reports.
* NATURALLY BLUE: Naturally Blue, the grassroots Arkansas PAC that isn't ready to be inundated by the red tide, at least without building some dikes, got a very nice mention in this op-ed in Alabama. Next positive development: monthly Naturally Blue happy hours. Put it on your calendar for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday June 13, the day after the runoff, at Browning's in the Heights.
* PARTY DOWN WITH MAYOR REPUBLICAN DABBS: Invite says Rep. Tim Scott (Wacko, S.C.) will join Rep. Tim Griffin (Teabagger, Little Rock) at the Saline County Lincoln Day shindig. Events begin with a private reception at 6 p.m. May 29 at the home of Bryant Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs. Music, art by Matt Coburn and "great conversation" with the congressmen are on tap. Then, you may head to an "elegant dinner and program" at Bishop Park. Dinner and reception will cost you $125. If you go, let me know if they crack any beers open in the city's Bishop Park. You may recall that's been a bit of an issue down in Dabbstown.
* WHY STOP AT THE 4TH DISTRICT?: Bill Kristol has had the hots for Tom Cotton for a good while, at least since he wanted to arrest New York Times reporters for doing their jobs. Today, in the Weekly Standard, he touts him for president, comparing him with Bill Clinton. I've met both of them. You can love every single one of Tom Cotton's political utterances; you may think he's the Einstein of politicians; you may love him as a brave and admirable man. Fine, though I'd take some exceptions. But I'll tell you this: He is charisma challenged. It matters. Eye contact matters. Empathy matters. Warmth toward others matter. Cotton makes Mitt Romney look empathetic. Bill Kristol also loved another political upstart, helped create her in fact. Remember Caribou Barbie?
* RIGHT CONTINUES TO STIR UAFS RESTROOM DISPUTE: Cheree Franco reported for us recently on the case of Jennifer Braly, now legally a woman, whose previous identity as man created problems for her at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. Student complaints led to an end to lectures she'd been giving. She also had to sue for the right to use women's restrooms on campus. Right-wing websites have continued to dig into the story, with breitbart.com today leading with the non-news that the Justice Department had helped her in her fair housing complaint that resulted in her access to restrooms. They pitched the story as the Obama administration forcing a "biological male" into women's bathroom. It's an age-old scare tactic from the anti-era day. Braly is raising money to complete her transformation surgically, but she's a woman legally. Another right-wing website, campusreform.org, took a similar pitch in a story meant to emphasize Justice Department intervention had led to the university's reversal on accommodating Braly.
* THE DEATH OF NEWSPAPERS: I must promote a link found by elwood in The City Wire — Cyd King's big story on hiring of a New York consultant to figure out ways for the Stephens-Hussman newspapers in NWA to achieve more "efficiency" or raise more revenue. This one doesn't take a high-priced consultant. Time to close the vestigial local newspapers, end the duplicate printing and staffing and go to a single NWA newspaper (Hussman-owned most likely, or perhaps with a profit rake for the Stephens boys), with some higher ad rates. This had to happen. Who was it who claimed Stephens won the NWA newspaper war? Sooner rather than later Hussman will own most daily newspaper circulation in Arkansas. That's worth a fraction of what it was worth 20 years ago. Who knew taking the money and running was a good call? The dual papers are not reaping the expected profit. If they knew how to generate more revenue, that would have been tried long ago. It's cost-cutting time.