The line is open. Finishing up:
* UPDATE: FORMER BANKER SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS: Kelly Harbert, a former One Bank officer, was sentenced in federal court today to 30 months in prison, a year of supervised release and restitution to seven financial institutions of $441,912. She pleaded guilty to money laundering and a Social Security violation after being indicted on 22 counts. She was charged of using fraudulent loans and credit loans, capitalizing on her knowledge and business relationships, to produce money for personal use. She'll start serving her sentence Oct. 15.
* CHILD RAPE CONVICTION OVERTURNED: The Court of Appeals today reversed the conviction of Myriccki McClendon for raping a child under 14 because a judge didn't allow testimony that the victim was heard saying outside court she'd lied on the stand.
* KEEPING WATCH ON CITY BOARD: The Arkansas Community Organizations opposed the Little Rock property tax approved overwhelmingly yesterday, but it said it'll continue to keep watch on the spending. Donna Massey of ACO said:
Our concerns about the use of the funding that will be generated by the millage that passed yesterday have not been resolved by yesterday’s vote. They remain on the table. We will work to make sure that the funds are spent in a fair and just way that addresses the needs of all of our citizens. Recent comments made by city officials imply, or in
some cases explicitly state, that homeowners in neighborhoods with a higher average income ought to have a greater percentage of their street and drainage needs met by the tax than those living in neighborhoods with a higher percentage of renters and lower average income.
These statements from city officials are unfortunate and bad public policy.... We urge city leaders to develop an accurate list of infrastructure needs and to adopt a policy that will use the tax dollars paid by everyone in the city in a way that will address the same percentage of the total street and drainage need in each of our wards.
* MISSING CHILD FOUND: Hundreds searchedWednesday in rural Stone County for a three-year-old who wandered away from his home Tuesday morning. Happy ending. He was found in mid-afternoon, apparently OK.
* BANK ROBBERY SUSPECT ARRESTED: Not many hours after Little Rock police circulated a photo and news that he was wanted for arrest in yesterday's robbery of the Centennial Bank at 8th and Broadway, a suspect turned himself in. James Meeks was taken into custody about 2:25 p.m. at 65th and Lancaster after he called police.
* FOX LIES: I know, that's not news. But a grudging retraction is unusual.
* MAILBOXES FILLING UP: The unaccounted-for unlimited spending by Republican fatcats to seize control of the Arkansas legislature for corporate interests continues. The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity continues to hit mailboxes with misleading criticism of Democratic legislators. Now, too, comes mailings from the 60 Plus Association, another shadowy group of conservative Republicans, tearing down Democrats and touting Republicans who pledge not to raise taxes no matter what. The purchasing of the legislature is one thing. The hypocrisy of Republicans who claim to support transparency — Rep. Jane English comes to mind as one of the current beneficiaries of the shadow groups' smear tactics — is staggering. Example below of one of their mailers, targeting Rep. Barry Hyde. You tell me what the picture of the black doctor is doing on a mailer about Barry Hyde. (Oh, wait, I think I get it.)
There's sometimes blowback to Republican dirty tricks. One woman wrote Rep. Steve Harrelson, who is seeking a Senate seat from Texarkana, after the Republican Party sent out a mass mail attack with his personal cell phone number urging that he be called out for his alleged vote to "allow" protests at military funerals. Actually, it was a pointless piece of political posturing to restrict demonstrations in the vicinity of funerals and the U.S. Supreme Court has since taken a dim view of such free speech limitations. But for Republicans, speech is money and anything goes, unless it's speech they don't like. It's a very restrictive view of the 1st Amendment to let the GOP decide what's acceptable speech and what isn't. Harrelson had at least one piece of voter encouragement after his phone started jangling:
I just called your cell phone to tell you this, and I heard the message you left. Thanks for clearing that up.
Even before I heard your message, I called the number on that ridiculous flyer and told them I thought it was a low blow for them to put someone's cell phone number on there and ask people to call him to "call him out." I also told them it made me want to have nothing to do with the Republican party in Arkansas because it was just tacky.
I vote on the issues and for the candidate who best lines up with my stance on them, not by party affiliation.
The lady who answered the phone tried to see if it was your office number, and I gave her the number on the flyer and told her it most certainly wasn't. I got that number from you a while back when you told me if you could ever help while we're at Children's ... that you would do what you could if you were in Little Rock. That's why I have your number, and I told the lady in the Republican Party's office that too.
I'm sorry the campaigning has come to this. Keep your chin up. Some of us still use our brains and realize that not everything the other candidate says is true.
They need to figure out where they stand on the issues. That's what I vote on—-not mudslinging.
Republicans are counting on mud.