OPINION

OPINION | JOHN BRUMMETT: Archers at the ready


Arkansas is in legislative hell and presidential politics is warming up, so the time seems right to pull out the arrows of ever-fickle conventional wisdom.

⬆  Gov. Sarah Sanders--I'm in trouble with the intolerant left, as usual, for saying on a video program the other day that I give her a B-plus. But the thing is that she made her first priority a law giving near-$7,000 subsidies to well-off people who already put their kids in the elite private and parochial schools. She has now accomplished that.

And The New York Times may be right in reporting that Donald Trump called her for an endorsement, not the other way around, and that she patted him on the head and messed up his hair--metaphorically--and said not now, maybe later.

One potential problem: Kari Lake, the defeated Republican gubernatorial nutcase in Arizona, got invited by the kook-right CPAC, which ought to be Sarah's national base, to deliver the main dinner address last week, then won the group's poll of Republican vice presidential preferences.

⬆  The school choice thing--It's likely to be enjoined either in federal or state court, or both, allowing Sanders to blame liberal judges for the delay. Then, after it survives in court, if it does, passions will have subsided and it won't amount to as much evident damage as will be needed to cause significant political harm to its Republican enablers.

In the end, a few kids will switch to private, church or home schools, but the main effect will be that those well-off people with kids already in private schools would land thousands of taxpayer dollars for each child while public schools struggle from the law's over-regulation and the inattention and general indifference of politicians obsessing on choice.

⬆  Little Rock Central students--Venturing out of class for a demonstration, then to the Capitol to try to testify to a Senate committee against the anti-public school bill, they won plaudits from public-education advocates and bullying from the Senate leadership that wouldn't let them testify to the extent they wished.

Republicans have public education beaten. So, why not try a little graciousness?

The question is whether bullying of public-school children is a good or bad thing in the minds of majority Arkansas voters currently.

⬇  Asa Hutchinson--It would risk getting dismissed as naïvely provincial to say that Asa's anti-Trump, retro- Reagan message could well catch a moment in the sun in Iowa.

⬆  Me--You'll not catch me behaving as a naïvely provincial homer by saying I could see Asa having a season. Even if I thought it. Or wished for it.

⬇  Donald Trump--He couldn't fill up the chairs at his base, meaning the CPAC meeting over the weekend. And running for president on a platform of vengeance and a vow of retribution ... I just don't think America has yet lost quite its entire mind.

⬆ Eric Musselman--His Hogs will beat Auburn tonight and then heat up in the NCAA tournament and barrel again to the Elite Eight. How's that for an impersonation of an irrational Hog fan, to be redundant?

⬇ The Oscars, to be presented Sunday night--Brendan Fraser is the favorite for most incredible weight gain for male performance of not being able to get up from the couch.

He shouldn't win for best acting, though, because he really couldn't get up.

"The Whale" opens with an incredibly fat man played by Fraser sitting in squalor and self-pleasuring to gay porn on his laptop, which runs his blood pressure to 238/134 and nearly kills him.

Then the hard-to-watch film descends for 100 minutes of pizza crammed in mouth as incredibly sad people wander in and out.

The movie's only redemption is the fat guy's writing advice to students in a college online Zoom course he teaches from the couch that he won't turn on his camera for.

In "Everything All at Once," or some such, weird interdimensional and multiverse stuff happens that I didn't understand or care about. But it likely will win, which is all right because the cast seems nice, except maybe for Jamie Lee Curtis.

In "The Banshees of Inisherin," on a fictional remote Irish island, an aging man gets depressed and decides never to speak again to his simpleton best friend Colin Farrell. Fingers are cut off and hurled and a donkey steals what is supposed to be the show.

In "The Fablemans," Stephen Spielberg tells of being a wonderful kid growing up with crazy adults around him. Judd Hirsch appears on screen for five minutes and does here what the donkey does in the other.

In "All Quiet on the Western Front," where it absolutely was not quiet, they tell a gripping war story well and vividly.

It doesn't stand a chance.

Maybe someone will slug somebody again.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at jbrummett@arkansasonline.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.



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