The readers take over | Arkansas Blog

The readers take over

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The Tuesday line commences. Finishing up:

* BILL HALTER!: The two Teamster union locals have added their names to the list of unions endorsing Bill Halter's Democratic candidacy for governor. They cite his work on the lottery college scholarship program. BTW: John Brummett wrote this morning about some outreach potential Democratic candidate Mike Ross did in my liberal neighborhood while I was out of town. Lawyer Nate Coulter, himself a former statewide Democratic candidate, had some like-minded Democrats over to his house to hear what Ross had to say. Not much he could say about how he aided and abetted Republican opposition to Obamacare apart from an early committee vote. Otherwise, he tried to wrap himself in the Beebe mantle. We'll see if Ross really says in public what he reportedly said in private — that he'd have vetoed the two anti-abortion bills passed this session and that he'd oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. I got no indication, however, that Ross has softened on his support of employment discrimination against gay people, never mind marriage and adoption, two important issues on which he went on the dark side long ago (in sharp contrast to a brave Bill Halter, who, among others, spoke out against the homophobic initiative to prevent gay couples from being foster or adoptive parents.) Ross once was admired by unions, too, but he went wobbly on them long ago.

* GUN NUTTERY: An assault weapons limit is dead in Congress. A universal background check may not be far behind. Leaving, what? Let's move to universal mandatory gun ownership and be done with it.

* MORE GUN NUTTERY: UALR Twitter feed:

Shots were fired on University Ave.Officials say bullets hit Ross Hall;no injuries, campus not in imminent danger. Suspects fled in vehicles.

* THE UAMS/ST. VINCENT MERGER: The UA Board of Trustees has been in retreat to mull the merger of UAMS with St. Vincent Infirmary. Joann Coleman, a public activist who's been doggedly following the issue, sent an e-mail on her observations last night. Most relevant seems to be these (though I was also amused by her account of how the UA put a "minder" on her to follow her around and wouldn't let her sit at the big boy table or have access similar to that given a Democrat-Gazette reporter):

Trustees John Goodson and Mark Waldrip both expressed concern over the governance issues. Then Trustee Goodson expressed concern that the attorneys for the University would have completed their evaluation of the legal issues surrounded governance by the next Board of Trustees' Meeting on April 4-5 (UA Monticello). Chancellor Rahn agreed that wouldn't happen. But, Trustee Goodson pointed out there was supposed to be a "go no-go" decision by mid-April on this issue. Again, Chancellor Rahn indicated that governance would still be up in the air and that a decision to simple move forward could be indicated. When asked what St. Vincent's position was. Chancellor demurred that he didn't know but that they were getting frustrated and wanted to speed up the process and move forward...Chancellor Rahn indicated that if they didn't have an answer soon that they would just move on and drop out. Trustee Goodson indicated that maybe they could have a special meeting on April 14th or that they could decide at the May meeting (22nd-23rd at Phillips Community College in Stuttgart) once they had answers about the goverance issues and that the legislature should be included in the conversation.


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