Quote of the Week:
"I think that a lot of the Latinos will eventually come on board and support Donald Trump, because at the end of the day, I think there are a lot of things they care about. And that's the economy and that's national security. And those are things that Americans trust Donald Trump on infinitely more than they trust Hillary Clinton."
—Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of Mike Huckabee, responding to questions on CNN about the presumptive GOP nominee's recent railings against a federal judge's "Mexican heritage." Sanders is a senior adviser on the Trump campaign. Trump has said U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a lawsuit brought against Trump University by former attendees of the for-profit school, is biased against him because of Trump's plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
Meanness for meanness' sake
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton keeps topping himself when it comes to vindictiveness. New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wrote this week of Cassandra Butts, who was nominated by President Obama in 2014 to become the U.S. ambassador to the Bahamas; Butts died recently of acute leukemia while still waiting to be confirmed, more than two years after the Senate held a hearing on her nomination. Sen. Cotton evidently held up the nomination specifically because — in addition to possessing impeccable credentials that included decades of public service and a degree from Harvard Law School — Butts was a longtime personal friend of the president's. It's not unusual for a lawmaker to place a hold on an executive branch nomination to exert specific political leverage. But to maintain that blockade indefinitely — the diplomatic post to the Bahamas had gone unfilled for 1,647 days when Butts died on May 25 — is another matter. As with so many things, Cotton seems eager to take congressional politics to new extremes of partisan dysfunction.
ISIS takes on Arkansas librarians
With ambitions of waging cyber-jihad against the West, hackers associated with the Islamic State have been attempting to target military and governmental personnel in the U.S. Last week, the group turned its sights on none other than the Arkansas Library Association, publishing the personal information of around 800 library workers from around the state. Why? Simply because of lax server security, it seems; ISIS has a pattern of hacking low-profile databases seemingly at random. As far as scare tactics go, it's fairly pathetic: Both the FBI and the Arkansas State Police have indicated there's no real threat posed by the breach.
Legislator heads to DHS
State Rep. Kelly Linck (R-Flippin) resigned from the legislature Friday to become chief of legislative and governmental affairs for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. He'll be paid $108,243 in the newly created position (a substantial raise from a legislator's $40,000 salary), which will entail working with the legislature on DHS issues. In other words, Linck will act as a lobbyist, although that's not how the agency characterizes the position: "We do not lobby the legislature... . We provide them information about programs, services and legislation, and answer questions," DHS spokesperson Amy Webb said. Normally, a legislator is barred from becoming a lobbyist for two years after leaving the legislature, but that does not apply to state jobs. Linck's hire is part of a broader reorganization of DHS, details of which have yet to be released.
Trashing curbside recycling
The local authority responsible for residential recycling programs in Little Rock and other parts of Pulaski County announced last week it would begin "auditing" recycling carts for contamination, meaning material that cannot be recycled and must be sent to the landfill. The presence of non-recyclable materials "has reached an unsustainable level," according to the director of the Regional Recycling and Waste Reduction District, "which negates the positive efforts of the citizens who recycle properly." The district is implementing a three-strikes policy. Beginning June 6, carts will be tagged if they're found to contain non-recyclables. If a customer is tagged thrice, "further steps, such as citations or removal of the cart from the address, may be taken to reduce contamination in the recycling stream."