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Closer to the end

Is it possible we're witnessing the beginning of the end of Donald J. Trump's presidency? The signs and portents are coming so fast that it's hard to keep score.

Newspaper transformation

Forty-six years ago this week I visited Little Rock in hopes of getting a job at the Arkansas Gazette. Then-Managing Editor Robert Douglas was friendly, but said (with good reason) that I was a little green.

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Slow the school waiver train

The State Board of Education's controversial plan to waive the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act in the Little Rock School District (and now others under state takeover) has received a lot of attention in recent weeks. But few people are aware of a broader threat to educational standards, accountability and transparency for every public school in the state: waivers under Act 1240 of 2015.

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Sex and Trump

No one, least of all Donald Trump, should be surprised when sex puts him in mortal jeopardy, which seemed to be the case last week when his personal lawyer pleaded guilty to violating the law by arranging $280,000 in hush payments to a porn actress and a Playboy model who were prepared to tell voters about having sex with him.

No leash

Living as I do in the remote provinces, I often find myself fascinated by the cultural advances of America's great metropolises. Last week, for example, The New York Times featured an entertaining column urging people to walk cats on leashes. If I tried that, I'd definitely have a fight on my hands.
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Hope and change LR

While I was away, Frank Scott Jr. won a historic victory in a runoff with Baker Kurrus to succeed Mark Stodola as Little Rock mayor.

Beware of 'unity'

Beware the sweet lull of that siren song calling for "unity" and for us to "come together." It's the latest incarnation of the call for "civility," and just as dangerous.

Cotton and crime

The debate over what would be the sole consequential, bipartisan legislation of the first two years of the Trump presidency is underway in the U.S. Senate, and Arkansas's high-profile junior Sen. Tom Cotton has placed himself at the center of it.

A decent man

The beatification of George H.W. Bush, which even the current president signaled was OK, would have surprised the 41st president, who seemed to have accepted the public's verdict that, although a waffler, he was a decent man who did his best and didn't do any harm to the people of the country or the world with whose well-being he was entrusted for a time.
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Race, history, taxes

Racial prejudice and discrimination have long driven Arkansas politics and public policy. Arkansas's tax policies have especially perpetuated the harm of past racism and done little to reduce the systemic barriers faced by people of color today.

Herd shifts

Some years ago, I watched a herd of nine mares stampede across a pasture on a friend's farm. It was an impressive spectacle, like that seen from the rail at a racetrack.

Of the people

In a recent video posted to Instagram, U.S. Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ran as a Democrat in New York's 14th Congressional District and is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, walks in front of the United States Capitol.

Prelude to war

President Trump's casual disinterest in the murder of Jamaal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia's leaders, a crime he once abhorred, may be only the final repudiation of America's ancient obedience to human rights, but what if it is much more? What if it is a prelude to war?
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Money matters

With Education Commissioner Johnny Key assigning blame for low-performing Little Rock School District schools on LRSD teachers by moving toward seeking a waiver to the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act, I would respectfully ask that he step back and consider the larger issue of disproportionate resources distributed among our public school students.

Dems on deck

Much of what I know about politics I learned from sports. If you want to know what's going on in a baseball game, for example, you've got to know not only the score, but the inning, number of outs, what runners are on which bases, who's batting, who's pitching, who's on deck, and who's warming in the bullpen. I could go on.

Moms Demand, get results

For too long, Arkansas lawmakers have been beholden to the gun lobby, and gun-violence prevention policies that are proven to save lives have been ignored. The Arkansas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is working to change that.

2018: Complicated

The last two election cycles redefined Arkansas politics. In 2014, the three distinguishing elements of Arkansas's politics — provincialism, personalism and populism — with roots back to the McMath era of the middle of the 20th century, died simultaneously as a Tom Cotton-style Republicanism roared into dominance in the state.

Clean air news

Amid the biblical fires, droughts, floods, hurricanes and rising seas that beset the heating Earth, the old blue orb occasionally absorbs some good news that suggests it may still harbor some hope for a sustainable future.

A real mayor

Baker Kurrus is trying to brand himself as an agent for change as mayor of Little Rock, but labors under a handicap.
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