Quote of the Week:
"The dogs are out of control."
— Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde, warning that Little Rock's Big Dam Bridge might soon be closed to leashed pets. "We're sending a two-man crew three times a week. I'm not sure I can justify that kind of money to shovel people's dog manure," Hyde explained. Late night vandalism — i.e. drunk people chucking heavy objects over the side of the bridge — may also force authorities to curtail hours of public access.
From Hope to higher speaking fees
Well, we never saw this one coming: Mike Huckabee is officially in the running for president. In his May 5 announcement in Hope, Huckabee vowed to "never, ever apologize for America," "conquer jihadism," abolish the IRS and the U.S. Department of Education, and confront "the false god of judicial supremacy." The Supreme Court might rule in favor of marriage equality, but Huck assured us that "they cannot overturn the laws of nature or of nature's God."
Maybe the most irksome part of his message, though? The populist shtick, in which he talked about very real problems — student debt, stagnant wages, unaffordable housing — yet blamed economic inequality on government. "I grew up blue collar, not blue blood," said the guy who now lives in a 10,900-square-foot beachfront house in Florida, travels by private jet and has a net worth of $5 million. The hilarious thing is that although there's virtually no chance Huckabee will become president, he'll probably make millions of dollars from the publicity he'll get from running.
And speaking of wealth
Maybe the reason Huckabee feels he's still working class is that he's measuring himself against people like the Waltons. A new list by Forbes that attempts to compile the richest people in each state shows members of the Bentonville aristocracy top not one but three slots: Jim Walton's estimated $37.6 billion makes him the richest person in Arkansas, Alice tops Texas with $36.4 billion and Wyoming's Christy Walton has $39.1 billion.
That means one Christy Walton equals about 7,800 Mike Huckabees. Sort of puts it all in perspective, in a nauseating kind of way.
Not content with sending a letter to undermine the nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran, Sen. Tom Cotton decided to make his fight against the Islamic Republic more personal last week by directly insulting the top Iranian diplomat on Twitter.
Cotton tweeted at Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif that his time spent in the U.S. as a younger man while Iran fought a war "shows cowardly character still on display today." The junior senator from Arkansas also challenged Zarif to "meet in D.C. ... [at a] time of your choosing" for a debate. Zarif tweeted back: "Serious diplomacy, not macho personal smear, is what we need. Congrats on Ur new born. May U and Ur family enjoy him in peace."
Standing up for discrimination
Josh Duggar, the Arkansas reality TV star and head of an arm of the Family Research Council, appeared at a rally against same-sex marriage to explain why treating LGBTQ people differently is really about freedom. "Right now in America there is an agenda to silence people of faith ... America was founded on respect, tolerance and really not discriminating against people based on their religious convictions."
That's right: When evangelical Christians aren't allowed to discriminate against gay people, it means they're actually the ones being discriminated against. And as everyone knows, Jesus said to discriminate whenever you encounter a sinner.
On Tuesday, the State Board of Education approved a waiver to state law requested by Education Commissioner Johnny Key that paves the way for a new superintendent of the Little Rock School District: Baker Kurrus, a Little Rock business leader and former president of the LRSD board. Normally, a candidate for superintendent would have to hold certain credentials — such as a higher degree in education — but because the LRSD is now controlled by the Education Department, the state board can waive such requirements. Leadership of the LRSD has been in question since interim superintendent Dexter Suggs departed two weeks ago amid allegations of plagiarism.