by Max Brantley
The line is open. Final notes:
* IF IT'S GOOD ENOUGH FOR VICCO, KY. WHY NOT LITTLE ROCK? I'd like to tout an article in the New York Times today about the passage of an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in Vicco, Ky., a tiny hardscrabble community in the state's coal territory. Great back story. It includes a tough town, a gay hairdresser mayor and his sister, who's active in a group that advocates for fair treatment of gay people. I'm especially tickled by the story because my daughter has worked to raise money (including from some Arkansas contributors) for the Appalachian Community Fund, which supports a broad spectrum of advocacy groups in the region, including this one. Small victories are better than no victories at all. Might Little Rock want to match Vicco, Ky.?
The investigation as to the cause of death remains open, and there are no suspects in the case (including McCready), Cleburne County Sheriff's Department said. Tests that will determine whether it was suicide or murder are due back in a few weeks.
But there remain lingering questions. McCready denied that Wilson, the father of her other son Zane, was having an affair, and explained that the bullet wasn't found until the next day because "it was in the dog's mouth."
And when asked directly whether she shot Wilson, she was adamant: "Oh, my God, no. He was my life. We were each others' life."
* OBAMA MOVES ON IMMIGRATION: President Obama announced today he's ready to move on immigration reform and said it must include a path to citizenship for the 11 million already in the country without sufficient documentation. Muuy bueno. Can he trust Marco Rubio to be for a meaningful path to citizenship, or just window dressing aimed at looking sympathetic without accomplishing anything?
* CASTLE DOCTRINE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN: More claptrap from the anti-abortion crowd. Now it's a bill by Republicans Jason Rapert and Bryan King and others to allow a pregnant woman to kill someone she believes might be threatening the well-being of her fetus. The bill embodies the castle doctrine. Retreat is not required. I'd say self-defense statutes are already sufficient legal protection. I envision other problems. Might a pregnant woman blow away a boyfriend/husband/acquaintance in the privacy of her own home and then claim to law enforcement officers that she had no reason to retreat from what she perceived as a threat to her fetus? I generally think women superior to men, but a few of them I might not trust with a gun, raging body chemistry and a shoot-before-retreat law.
* WAR ON WOMEN II: A bill to prevent health exchange insurance coverage from providing abortion coverage failed in a House committee today, getting 10 votes when it needed 11. It can be voted again and one of the absent legislators could put it over. Remember, this is a bill to prevent people from spending their own money to purchase private insurance. It's not about spending of public money. Video of the debate is interesting, particularly about the 35-minute mark when anti-abortion legislators worked over a witness testifying against the legislation. Rep. Andy Mayberry evinces little interest at all in protecting a woman from damaging health conditions by having an abortion. Life or death only. Fetus, however early in the pregnancy, over a living woman.
* TODAY'S WILDLIFE REPORT: Forbidden Hillcrest is all over the bobcat that's been spotted on the prowl in the Heights and Cammack Village area, the picture above having been taken, supposedly, near Palisades.
* TV SHAKEOUT: Word is out that that the impact of ownership change is hitting today at Fox 16 and Channel 4. Seeking some details, but there will be shakeups, I'm hearing. UPDATE: Arkansas Business says somewhere near 30 jobs, including some on-air people, will be eliminated in the melding of Fox 16 and Channel 4 operations under one umbrella at the Victory Building, though each channel will continue separate news programs with existing anchors. Sad news. As I've said before, more is more. Two news operations were more than one. Both were vigorous. I expect the survivor to continue in that vein.
* MEGAPASTORS COMING TO LITTLE ROCK: Joel and Victoria Osteen, descirbed as pastors of the largest church in America, going to be at Verizon Arena at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15.