Leslie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week
Where to begin? Last week, Leslie Rutledge's voter registration was canceled after it was discovered that she was also registered in Virginia and Washington, D.C. The forgiving among us were willing to chalk it up to an honest mistake, but Rutledge went nuclear with a petulant letter blaming Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane and demanding she be reinstated (Rutledge, a Voter ID advocate, showed newfound interest in voter suppressions when the "disenfranchised" voter was Leslie Rutledge). This was impossible, Crane said, so after a week of whining, Rutledge bowed to the inevitable Friday and registered (though she did so "in protest," she said). Questions remain about her candidacy since she was supposed to be a lawfully registered voter when she filed for office. Meanwhile, an advertisement featuring Rutledge and paid for by the Republican Attorney Generals Association, a 527 Super PAC, featured new footage of Rutledge, odd since candidates aren't supposed to coordinate with 527s. Rutledge admitted that she coordinated but said she'd done nothing wrong. An ethics complaint was filed Monday.
Department of bad analogies
Republicans were so upset by the Rutledge kerfuffle that some plain lost their heads. On Twitter, K. Ryan James — campaign manager for Bruce Westerman, the GOP Fourth District congressional candidate — compared the cancellation of Rutledge's registration to violence against women. Some responded that his comparison of Rutledge's situation to victims of domestic abuse and rape might be ill-considered, but James stood by his point.
In case of zombies
The Defense Department donated an assault rifle, handgun and a Humvee to Doug Wortham of Sharp County even though, as the Associated Press reported, "the people in his custody are in no condition to put up a fight. They're dead." Yes, Wortham is the Sharp County coroner, and the goodies are some of the military surplus the DOD has been spreading around to folks with the power of arrest. "I just wanted to protect myself," Wortham explained. Plus he needs the Humvee to get around Sharp County.
Up all night
Little Rock's 5 a.m. clubs live on, as an ordinance requiring private clubs that remain open after midnight to beef up security by hiring two certified law enforcement officers passed the City Board unanimously. The measure was a compromise supported by the clubs after an effort by nanny staters on the Board attempted to push an earlier closing time.
County jails, by the numbers
2,300: number of state inmates being held in county jails across the state
25 percent: portion of county jail beds beings used to hold state inmates
$28: per day reimbursement for county jails holding state inmates
$45: actual per-day cost for county jails holding state inmates
$18 million: cost to counties of holding state prisoners during the past year
(Figures according to the Association of Arkansas Counties)
Adventures in headline writing
You'd almost think that we could just have one single Clinton beat reporter for every newspaper everywhere, since everyone is going to write almost exactly the same headline. With the Big Dog in town, what's the national media's take?
"Bill Clinton tries to save Arkansas from GOP" (Politico)
"Bill Clinton tries to rescue Arkansas for Democrats (USA Today)
"Bill Clinton plays savior for Arkansas Democrats" (CNN)
"Bill Clinton Tries to Save Democrats in Arkansas" (Time)
Asa Hutchinson is a strapless wedding dress
An almost unspeakably bizarre new digital ad from the College Republican National Committee features a young woman, saying, "Budget is a big deal for me now that I graduated college." Then it cuts to her modeling a wedding dress in a mirror, saying, "The Asa Hutchinson is perfect!" The ad, part of a cookie-cutter series aimed to appeal "to young voters using pop culture oriented language," was roundly denounced by the national media as offensive, sexist, tone-deaf, clueless, hokey, baffling and moronic.
An anonymous and egregious direct mail piece attacking Clarke Tucker, Democratic candidate for House District 35, claims he represented "a violent criminal for free." This piece used a bogus return address and employed a font that must be called something like "Serial Killer Serif." The violent criminal? A man who was accused of shoplifting a $9.99 piece of merchandise at Kmart — the only criminal case Tucker has ever handled in his legal career. "I came in kind of late in the process on a pro bono basis and represented him at his plea hearing only, where he pled guilty," Tucker said. The defendant was fined and sentenced to community service.
No comment from Tucker's Republican opponent Stacy Hurst or her campaign consultant, Clint Reed; the latter had suggested previously on social media that this attack was coming.
From the department of good news
The jobs report released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor brought good tidings, with nonfarm payrolls growing by 248,000 jobs in September. Meanwhile, the numbers for July and August were revised upwardsignificantly (more than 31,000 for July; more than 38,000 for August). The work week is up slightly to 34.6 hours. The unemployment rate is now 5.9 percent, the lowest it's been in more than six years. It's the first time the nation has ever recorded a four-year straight period of positive employment growth.
Meanwhile, here in Arkansas, the Insurance Department released more detailed information about rates on the 2015 Obamacare Marketplace. You know how insurance premiums go up every year? The Arkansas Marketplace is seeing rates go down 2.2 percent next year.
Those awaiting the Obamapocalypse will have to keep waiting.