by Max Brantley
The line is open. Final words (plus Colbert on The Huckster's chicken dinner above):
* JARED LOUGHNER PLEADS: The Arizona shooter pleaded guilty today to killing six and wounding others, including then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and will receive multiple life sentences.
* VIDEO RELEASED IN POLICE SLAYING: Authorities today showed (AP) the video of Trumann Police Officer Jonathan Schmidt's fatal shooting by Jerry Lard during a traffic stop. In the video, Schmidt can be heard pleading with Lard not to shoot him again. Authorities say the video will be important in training officers for nighttime traffic stops. Lard has been convicted and sentenced to die for the crime. KATV has posted some of the video.
* A MIGHTY WIND: Republicans have gone all snark all the time about alternative energy sources. Maybe this would alter their tune a tiny bit.
Walmart today unveiled at its distribution center in Red Bluff, California, its first onsite large-scale wind turbine pilot project. The wind turbine, expected to be operational by this fall, will provide roughly one megawatt of power or 15 to 20 percent of the distribution center’s yearly electrical use.
* CHARTER SCHOOL CREAM SKIMMING: Charter schools have long been criticized for using means, overt and covert, to shape their student bodies to the more educable, including by "counseling out" troublemakers. Critics say anybody with better motivated students and parents is likely to do better than schools left with the troublemakers. But here's a school in Louisiana that makes no bones about a particular disqualifier: Girls must take pregnancy tests and, if they refuse or if they're pregnant, out they go. This is another "public school," remember, financed by tax dollars. The ACLU is coming in.
* MORGAN NICK IMPERSONATOR ARRESTED: Strange tale. State Police today announced the arrest of a Louisiana probation violator who apparently was trying to impersonate Morgan Nick, the Alma child who's been missing since her suspected abduction 17 years ago. News release follows:
Tonya Renee Smith, 24, of Hollister, Missouri, a Louisiana State Prison probation violator, has been arrested by Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division. Smith waived extradition and was brought to Arkansas earlier today.
Smith is being held in the Pulaski County Jail on a charge of felony computer fraud. Bond has been set at $200,000.
Police in Branson, Missouri located Smith last Thursday (August 2nd) after Arkansas State Police alerted local authorities that Smith may be in the Branson area. Since last week CID Special Agents have interviewed Smith and made arrangements to file a criminal charge and return her to Arkansas.
“The arrest of Smith would have likely gone without much public notice had it not been for the cooperative investigative work between the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas State Police,” said Colonel JR Howard, Director of the Arkansas State Police.
On Saturday, June 23, 2012, a person identifying herself as Morgan Chauntel Nick placed an order through VitalCheck, an Internet based company which supplies certified copies of vital documents. Smith is alleged to have attempted to present herself as Morgan Nick seeking a certified birth certificate.
“Morgan Nick has not been forgotten,” said Colonel Howard. “Our CID agents went to work and for almost thirty-six hours Arkansas State Troopers searched across three states for the person presenting herself as Morgan Nick.”
Initially agents were uncertain what circumstances may have been associated with the VitalCheck request, specifically whether there was someone who believed she was Morgan Nick or whether someone was attempting to fraudulently capture Morgan Nick’s identity.
Morgan was six-years-old when she was abducted from an Alma baseball park on June 9, 1995. The case remains unsolved and Arkansas State Police along with Alma Police officers continue to assign personnel to investigate new leads that occasionally come to the attention of the respective departments.