Mid-Day Miscellany

“Well, if it was a link-dump, I wouldn’t ask questions; I’d just quote a price. But then, a link-dump is a non-lethal object, isn’t it?”

Content partner Roby Brock reports that opinions are pretty varied on two specific tax cuts — Gov. Beebe’s favored grocery tax reduction and Rep. Ed Garner’s white whale, capital gains reduction. I have no quibble with the polling methods, though I do have to wonder if the results on the latter would have been worse had the pollsters included the part about HB 1002 being blatantly unconstitutional.

Max Brantley has the details on a redistricting proposal that was originally considered so outlandish that it was thought to be a hoax: putting Fayetteville in the Fourth District. Max asks, somewhat rhetorically, whether this plan is “any more strange than putting Little Rock in the Fourth? Or Jonesboro? Some population is going to have to be found somewhere.” I think the backlash to plans like this is that people are way more attached to their current district than is logical. After all, at one point, Arkansas had seven districts. At one point (as Max notes in the post) Hot Springs was part of the Third. Pulaski was in the Fifth District until the 1960 Census, when it moved to the Second and Arkansas fell to four total; even then, the four districts looked very little like what they do today. (Roby has a great video presentation of the change in the districts at the bottom of this post.)

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Blue Arkansas breaks down the defeat of the anti-fluoride nuts. Most notably, ARDem points out that John Catlett and John T. Vines, both of whom are ostensibly Democrats, have more or less hitched their wagons to the Republican horse. (On other note on the anti-fluoride votes: anyone who voted against it for anything other than partisan reasons — i.e. nutjobs like Loy Mauch who think it is unconstitutional or others who bemoaned overblown health risks — deserves you scorn. More than they already did, I mean.)

Atrios has a quick take on Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO (sigh)) talking out of both sides of her mouth.

Ezra Klein takes a look at how Americans do and do not want to balance the budget, and he points out a bit of cognitive dissonance in the whole thing. It’s head-scratching, but not because it’s unexpected; Americans (like most people, I guess) think they are “for” or “against” something long before they really consider what that position entails. For instance, I am sure Rep. Denny Altes thinks he is a small government conservative. He likely truly believes this. Yet he sees no conflict between that belief and proposing a bill to ban grocery stores from packing your groceries in single-use plastic bags. The only way that is possible is if you never stop to think whether the micro-level belief (plastic bags are evil) comports with the macro view.

Ed at Gin & Tacos has a somewhat fascinating post on how the current problems in Wisconsin are just another step in the Southernization of the Republican party. Says Ed,

I emphasize this not to pick on the South – it is entirely possible that I will be stuck living here for the rest of my life, in fact – but to underscore the simple fact that America does not want to be taking its political and economic lead from the states that rank 47th through 50th in every metric that reasonably reflects social development and quality of life. Maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to model one’s public schools, correctional system, tax structure, and macroeconomic policies on those of Mississippi.

ICYMI: Texas is all about being tough on illegal immigration. All illegal Mexicans, get out! Except you, Mexican lady who cleans my house. Oh, and not you, Mexican guy who tends my lawn. Um… oh, no, you can stay, Mexican lady who babysits my kids. Say what you will about some of the anti-immigrant bills proposed by the Arkansas House, but at least our bigots are consistent! (What’s that, you say? Some of them voted against Rep. Jim Nickels’ bill that will punish contractors for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants? Ah, crap.)

Off-topic (Nerdish): Ethan Siegel at Starts With A Bang breaks down … well … a lot of stuff. Why Mercury seems to not have an eliptical orbit (even though it does), general relativity, why certain scientific theories are worthless, and a bunch of other stuff that most people don’t care about. But I do. So there.

Off-topic (Sports): Oregon State DT Stephen Paea breaks the Combine bench press record. 49 reps of 225-lbs. That’s, like, strong and stuff.

Musical Ending: The Black Keys, “Ten cent Pistol”

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