The University of Arkansas Razorbacks fell to Georgia in Little Rock last Saturday, perhaps the last Hog game of significance at War Memorial Stadium (the one game next year will be against ... Toledo). With the end likely near for UA games in Little Rock, we need new ideas for what to do at War Memorial Park on the crisp fall weekends of the future. How about this: The New York Times last weekend had a story about the rise of college fishing teams — outside the NCAA regulatory umbrella and competing in tourneys backed by the big fishing industry. The Razorback bass fishing team is pretty good, for one. So how about the city have a catfish tourney in the pond at War Memorial Park? Use the stadium for a weigh-station, with a stage for appropriate live music. Catfish frying stations, too. A hush puppy contest. Mountain Dew and other beverages at football-game prices.
This could be big.
Health care cuttin' Cotton, by the numbers
211,611: Number of Arkansans who have gained health insurance coverage via the private option, coverage they would lose if Tom Cotton wins his Senate race and enacts his policy platform.
38,210: Number of Arkansans who have purchased plans on the Arkansas Marketplace. Cotton would kick them off, too.
90: Percentage of those 38,210 who are getting subsidies to help them with the cost of insurance, subsidies Cotton would eliminate.
154: Number of times Cotton said "Obama" during the two debates.
0: Number of times Cotton offered a plan to cover 250,000 Arkansans who would lose their health insurance if he got his way.
20-30 percent: The cuts, over the next 10 years, that Cotton voted to impose on Medicaid and ARKids funding used for the elderly in nursing homes, poor children and the disabled. That's on top of kicking 250,000 Arkansans off their plans.
On the eighth day, He was a thin-skinned bully
At a debate last week in Greenbrier, incumbent state Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) called his opponent, 28-year-old Tyler Pearson, a "boy." When Pearson had the microphone, Rapert audibly said, "Act like a man." Pearson held his ground and took the high road.
Bro. Rapert, in fiery form, also asked Pearson if he was wearing a hearing aid and paraphrased Proverbs 9:8, telling Pearson, "When you rebuke a scoffer, he'll hate you. When you rebuke a wise man, he'll love you. You're making a choice right in front of these people here tonight." We will leave it to the Biblical scholars and Rapertologists among you to divine who the wise man is, and who the scoffer is, in Rapert's parable.
And speaking of Rapert the bully...
Over the weekend, Conway city employee Wes Craiglow, a supporter of Rapert's opponent Tyler Pearson, took to Facebook to state that Rapert had tried to pressure him by threatening not to support Craiglow-backed city projects. Rapert responded haughtily on Facebook but made no denial of the quid pro quo, telling Craiglow that he likely wouldn't support Craiglow's "ideas if you are working against me politically."
Quote of the week
"These smartphones that children have these days are the devil."
—Attorney general candidate Leslie Rutledge, during a debate, on battling crimes in cyberspace
Tweet of the week
"On the road today. In my experience, the worse the bathroom signs are spelled, the better the chicken strips are."
— John Burris, political director for Tom Cotton campaign
Mark Martin, dunce
Secretary of State Mark Martin couldn't be bothered to show up to the debate with his Democratic challenger: Susan Inman, a former election commissioner who happens to be competent and qualified, for whatever that's worth. Martin blamed a busy schedule, but can't be bothered to show up to work, either (some snooping by the Blue Hog Report blog revealed that Martin posted to Facebook either at home in Prairie Grove or in other places not on state business for a whopping 42 out of 95 regular business days between March 31 and Aug. 12).
One thing he might have spent time on: some lessons on the law. When the Supreme Court struck down the legislature's voter ID law as unconstitutional, Martin followed up his dereliction of duty in failure to educate the public about the law by initially announcing that he would still enforce the law to the fullest extent possible. Huh? It was overturned as unconstitutional! After rumors of a frivolous 11th-hour federal court filing, Martin finally bowed to the inevitable, but not before screwing up again, initially telling clerks and commissioners that all first-time voters had to show ID (not so). And, of course, he still hasn't removed the voter ID page with now outdated information from his website.
There's only so much space to list his grossly incompetent buffoonery, but also this week: Martin's office revealed that it botched the ballot initiative process, too; and Martin sicced a Capitol cop on Inman with a frivolous cease-and-desist letter regarding voter information on her campaign website, proving that even his dirty tricks are ham-fisted.