by Max Brantley
The line is open. Final words:
* TIM 'TAR SANDS PIPELINE' GRIFFIN: It's no surprise that Republican Rep. Tiny Tim Griffin voted again last night to hurry up the Keystone XL pipeline, even if the president were to veto it. It's not surprising he also voted against Democratic efforts to close loopholes that allow some energy companies to avoid paying into a fund for cleanups. He hasn't been holding Exxon Mobil accountable for much up in Mayflower, either, Democrats say. Read their particulars on Griffin's oil-friendly record here. Democrats also are pounding Griffin and other Republicans for House approval of a student loan program revise that will be more costly to students than the Democratic alternative. President Obama has threatened to veto the Republican plan, which can't pass the Senate.
* AND SPEAKING OF TAR SANDS: Central Arkansas Water today distributed copies of a letter signed by various government leaders (including Tiny Tim, who probably had his fingers crossed when he signed it) setting what they believe are needed conditions before Exxon Mobil reopens the Pegasus pipeline. In the long run, the best course is moving the pipeline out of the Lake Maumelle watershed, the letter says. CAW also released a letter to federal regulators asking that reopening not be approved until various inspection, emergency planning and other measures are accomplished.
* ARKANSAS TECH RAISES TUITION; BANS GUNS: The Arkansas Tech University Board of Trustees joined UA and ASU today in unanimously opting out of the Republican legislation to allow faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons on its campuses in Russellville and Ozark. The Board also voted tuition increases, which on a semester-hour basis at the undergraduate level, will rise 6.4 percent. But a news release noted that total cost to Tech next year will still be lowest of the five institutions with more than 10,000 students in the state.
* 'WHAT EXACTLY ARE THEY TEACHING AT HARVARD LAW?': The bad reviews of Tom Cotton's North Korean-style proposal to punish people who happen to be related to evil-doers from Iran continue to roll in. Here, a Houston Chronicle writer asks the lead-in question and gets to the core of the answer:
Simultaneously frustrated, infuriated, and perplexed by the election and reelection to the presidency of someone they loathe and can’t imagine anyone else liking, demonstrably smart people like Cotton and fellow HLS alum Ted Cruz have rationalized that anything they say, no matter how cuckoo can be justified by the horror of having to live under the Obama Administration.