Quote of the Week:
"I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife." — Josh Duggar, in a public apology, after his name turned up in data obtained by hackers targeting ashleymadison.com, a website for people looking to have extramarital affairs. (He later attempted to revise his statement, removing the reference to pornography.) Duggar, a former anti-same-sex marriage activist for the Family Research Council, is one of some 32 million would-be-cheaters outed by the hack, including hundreds of other Arkansans.
Holcomb you didn't leave sooner then?
Mike Holcomb, a second-term state representative from Pine Bluff, announced last week that he was switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. He cited the Democratic Party's stance on abortion and same-sex marriage as reasons behind his decision to jump ship.
The Democratic Party of Arkansas said the news came as no surprise, since Holcomb generally caucused and voted with Republicans anyway. DPA Chair Vince Insalaco said in a statement: "We intend to give voters in House District 10 the opportunity to vote for a real Democrat in 2016."
Yahweh, 1 – Lord Hanuman, 0
The secretary of state's office last week denied a request from the Universal Society of Hinduism to erect a privately funded statue of the Hindu god Hanuman on the state Capitol grounds.
The group's leader, Rajan Zed, said the statue would "raise awareness of Arkansans about Hinduism" and would be an appropriate counterpart to the Ten Commandments monument that recent legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway), approved for placement at the Capitol. Zed said he next might take his request directly to Gov. Asa Hutchinson — who, after all, signed Rapert's bill into law.
The Arkansas legislature has claimed all along that the Ten Commandments monument isn't about religion, but about "history." Lord Hanuman, we're sure, has a rich history, too — and something tells us Zed will be pleased to educate the governor about its details.
Lost and found, LRPD edition
Last week, officers with the Little Rock Police Department recovered a missing Glock pistol belonging to LRPD Chief Kenton Buckner while searching a suspicious vehicle on South Shackleford Road.
On June 8, Buckner reported the handgun had disappeared and reimbursed the city for its cost. At the time, the chief said he'd noticed his backup sidearm had gone missing after he moved to a new house on Memorial Day weekend.
In an email to the Times last week, Buckner wrote, "I was glad to see the weapon recovered. ... Rarely are you lucky enough to recover your [stolen] property. I have no connection to the men arrested for possession of the weapon. They were not part of any of the workers that I witnessed in my home during my move. I highly doubt we will ever know how they gained possession of the weapon."
Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan has had a reputation for less-than-savory dealings since he was Saline County Circuit Clerk. Now, bulldog blogger Matt Campbell has assembled an ethics complaint against Milligan detailing 14 separate allegations of impropriety during and after his run for state office last year. There's rampant nepotism. Deceitful campaign finance reports. Using the Saline County fax machine "for his personal horse racing business." Read all 113 pages of assembled evidence online.
Man of steel
John Correnti, the businessman behind Osceola's Big River Steel plant, died last week while on a business trip to Chicago at age 68. Details on his death remain scant. Construction of the Big River Steel plant will continue on schedule, investors said; the "superproject" has been funded in part by over $100 million in public loans, grants and incentives, plus a $125 million direct investment from the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.