The line is open. Elections tonight on drink sales
in dry areas of North Little Rock and nominations for a vacant state Senate seat
in Jonesboro. I think I have that right this week.
There could be some news, too, out of Little Rock Education Association
voting on a contract proposal from the Little Rock School District
. If anybody can help on that, please let me or readers know. Also:
* MARRIAGE EQUALITY ADVANCES
: The Hawaii Senate today approved a same-sex marriage bill. With the expected signature of the governor, it will become the 15th state to have marriage equality.
* THE TIM GRIFFIN-TOM COTTON MEMORIAL KEYSTONE PIPELINE
: The news keeps coming on Republicans legislators' favorite environmental disaster — the Keystone XL pipeline
to transport messy tar sands across America so it can be refined into products to ship to China. You'll remember that Griffin has said the Exxon pipeline disaster i
n Arkansas shouldn't count against Keystone XL because it's an old line and Keystone will be state of the art.
Well check some of this CBS report
on the Keystone line, partly in place in Texas. A farmer tells of a project to dig up some of the relatively new line:
Whitley took video of the section they dug up. It had been laid on top of a massive rock and was labeled "Dented - Cut Out."
And what was his reaction when he saw it? "Well when I saw that, I thought they should have done a better job when they first laid the pipe about getting rid of that rock," said Whitley.
CBS News has obtained warning letters written over the past two months to TransCanada from the federal agency that regulates pipelines. A September 10 letter warned TransCanada it was "not following their Construction Specifications" because "dents on the pipe" were found at dig sites with "rocky terrain."
And in a second warning, regulators noted a "high weld rejection rate" on a section in which 205 welds — nearly 50 percent — required repairs. The letter said TransCanada "failed to use properly qualified welders."
A watchdog group says it has found 125 places where pipe has been dug up. The pipeline builder says this proves that inspection programs work. Comforted?
SENATE DISTRICT 21 PRIMARY (JONESBORO)
Here from the county clerks are the totals on early voting;
Dan Sullivan - 625 - 48.98%
John Cooper - 651 - 51.02%
Steve Rockwell - 573 - 50.44%
Radius Baker - 563 - 49.56%
To boil it down. Cooper is Tea Party, backed by Debbie "Black Helicopter" Pelley. Rockwell is the more liberal of the two Democrats, though both support the private option Medicaid expansion. The election is in January, just in time for a replacement at the fiscal session for private option voter Democrat Paul Bookout,
who resigned after an ethics scandal.
UPDATE: At 9:30 p.m., with several boxes still to count, Sullivan led by 2 votes, 981-979, and Baker led by 16, 844-828.
FINAL: It is Cooper by 67 and Rockwell by 24 votes to put them in the January election according to unofficial results.
UPDATE: LOCAL OPTION IN SIX AREAS OF NORTH LITTLE ROCK — WET!
Pulaski County Election Commission reports
that all six areas voted wet, by margins of better than 80 percent in light voting. This opens the way to by-the-drink permits in the Park HIll and nearby neighborhoods that have been dry for decades.