Quote of the Week:
“Are they really escaping tyranny, are they escaping poverty, or are they really just coming because we’ve got cable TV?” — Mike Huckabee on the prospect of the U.S. taking in greater numbers of Syrian refugees fleeing civil war, which has killed some 250,000 people and displaced almost half the country’s population.
Draft Cotton in the works
As GOP presidential candidates sputter out — Rick Perry quit the race earlier in September, joined this week by Scott Walker — some are urging U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton to elbow his way onto the field. State Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) launched a website this week encouraging Cotton to run for president, and on Twitter, Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol has been pushing a true neocon dream team: Dick Cheney-Tom Cotton 2016. Fortunately for those of us not aroused by the thought of a world of endless war, Cotton has thus far expressed no indication he's considering getting in the race.
The Constitution demands I set your truck on fire
On Monday, Bald Knob Police Chief Erek Balentine resigned his position out of concern for the safety of his family, following last week's burning of his personal pickup truck. Balentine attracted anger from rabid gun enthusiasts in August when he arrested a local man, Richard Chambless, for carrying a holstered handgun into a McDonald's. (Whether "open carry" of firearms is or is not legal in Arkansas is a matter of dispute.) How do we know the vehicular arson was directed at Balentine because of the arrest? Well, spray-painted on the charred sides of the chief's Dodge Ram was "2 Amendment." Point taken.
Clinton at Philander
Hillary Clinton spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of supporters Tuesday at Philander Smith College. Her remarks tracked some familiar themes — equal pay for equal work, help for students to pay the rising cost of higher education, restoration of the voting rights act and automatic voter registration for 18-year-olds. "I think we have to admit, we've got some work to do when it comes to racial justice," she told the crowd at the historically black college. "We should all say loudly and clearly: 'Black Lives Matter'... This is the work of this generation — to unleash your energy and your commitment — and I want to be one of the people who convince you, calls you to do just that."
Judge halts state's attack on Planned Parenthood
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the state of Arkansas from stopping Medicaid reimbursements for people who receive services from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland clinics in Little Rock and Fayetteville. The order will be in place for two weeks while the judge considers arguments to make it permanent. In fighting the suit, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's top litigator, Lee Rudofsky, made the unsupported claim that sting videos shot by an anti-abortion group showed a live child being dismembered at a Planned Parenthood facility. He also said the Arkansas affiliate of Planned Parenthood, though operated independently of other affiliates nationwide, should be held responsible for its association with the clinic network. Judge Baker's questions at Thursday's hearing indicated that the videos had no connection to state. "[T]here is no evidence that PPH performs surgical abortions in Arkansas from which fetal tissue could be obtained," she wrote in her order.
Hogtied in Hogville
After opening the season ranked No. 18, the Arkansas Razorbacks are 1-2, having lost back-to-back games against also-rans Toledo and Texas Tech — at home, no less. Each game has been followed by the Internet pillorying head coach Bret Bielema.
The loss to Toldeo, a team from outside the power conferences, came a few days after Bielema talked derisively about No. 1-ranked Ohio State's strength of schedule. Then, over the weekend, Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury told the press that Bielema had bragged at an offseason Texas coaching clinic that he would kick any team's ass that passed 70 times in a game and didn't use a fullback, a style of play that Kingsbury said most Texas high schools (and his team) employ. Kingsbury said on Saturday night that it felt good to kick Bielema's ass and that Texas A&M, who the Razorbacks play this week in Arlington, would probably do the same. He's probably right. If Bielema doesn't find a way to motivate his team, it's going to be a long season.