Over the hump. Finishing up:
* LET THEM GO, MR. PRESIDENT: President Obama politely turned back secessionist petitions from Texas with a brief and thoughtful analysis. This time, President Obama is wrong. Let those suckers go.
* HEARTBREAKING: It's not posted online yet, but KATV had a powerful report this evening — with excerpts from 911 tapes — of the woman who died after sliding into a frigid west Little Rock pond in her SUV. A delay in emergency response because of a breakdown in 911 center communications may have contributed to her death. The victim's son remains hospitalized in critical condition.
* SEN. HUTCHINSON DROPS ANIMAL BILLS: Jeremy Hutchinson, who told me yesterday he knew little about the subject and had only offered the bills for a constituents, tabled his proposals to make undercover investigations of animal operations impossible and to limit investigations of animal cruelty. He said in taking them down that he'd let others more knowledgeable about agriculture carry that legislation. Good idea. Now, if he'd only come to a similar conclusion on something on which he's equally uninformed — subjecting unemployed people to drug testing. If that happens, there are several jobless Republican lawmakers living off the public teat who ought to pee in a cup, too.
* SUBSIDIZE AN ARKANSAS FARMER, STARVE A HAITIAN: Free registration is required, but I recommend an article in Foreign Policy on how rich subsidies for rice farmers, particularly in Arkansas ($2 billion in federal subsidies over the last 16 years), have distorted world markets with artifically cheap rice and wound up devastating rice growers in places like Haiti. President Clinton lamented this several years ago.
* JOHN L. SMITH LANDS A JOB: The former Razorback coach will coach football at Fort Lewis. Fort who?
* MUD: Cruise over to Rock Candy, where Lindsey Millar has posted a good long trailer for "Mud," the Arkansas-filmed Jeff Nichols movie featuring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.
* NEW HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER: Gov. Mike Beebe announces one of the plum appointments in state government tomorrow. Typically an old rich white guy who gave a lot of money to the governor's campaign.
* HOAX OF THE YEAR: Whoa. Been moved by the story of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and his girlfriend who died of leukemia? Deadspin says it's a hoax. Girlfriend didn't exist. Suggests a mythmaking publicity stunt.
* BREAKING: DUMB AND DUMBER: A bipartisan roster of Arkansas legislative opportunists (Mike Ross, you've met your match) responded to President Obama's announcement today on guns to with sponsorship of a resolution urging all branches of government to uphold the Second Amendment. Empty demagoguery is all it is. Each official exhorted takes an oath to uphold the Constitution already. As yet, nobody has made a strong argument that anything the president has proposed is unconstitutional or infringes on gun rights, not even under the recent permissive view adopted by the Republican majority on the Supreme Court. Much of what the president has proposed has broad support as good common sense. Some of it is politically unpalatable to gun nuts and, to repeat myself, the NRA. Some of it is unpalatable simply because Obama proposed it — that's the Republican position generally. How about a resolution tomorrow urging enforcement of some other items not often so vigorously upheld — freedom from religious establishment, freedom from unreasonable searches by the governments, equal treatment under the law, etc. Nate Bell, can I get a resolution on that? No, probably not. It's all about guns with these yahoos. The original sponsors — though they'll soon be joined by other whoopers — Womack, Bell, Shepherd, Vines, Hillman, Collins, Ballinger, Alexander, Dotson, Steel, Wren.
Chris Matthews nailed it tonight on the Republican Party's gun push. Guns Over People Party. Guns of all killing power, yes; hurricane aid, no.