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Youth unbound

Youth unbound

January 11, 2018

Vol 44 • No 19

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'Lock up last'

In Benton and Washington counties, jailing youth is increasingly used as a last resort. Can the rest of the state follow suit?

Spare time for the Dust Bowl

For good food, drink and fun.

Sick health policy

The century-old drive to give everyone access to medical care has a new creed: Success is failure.

Banned in 2018

Here's some arcana reeking of 2017 that I'm banning from consideration, attention, even out-loud mention in 2018. I'm unfriending all this 2017-reminding shit. It's dead to me in 2018.

The Akeem Kemp Band plays Kings Live Music

Also, Doug Dicharry comes to Four Quarter.

On Oprah

I woke up Monday singing, "I'm Every Woman," the Chaka Kahn song that served as the theme to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the early 1990s. After Winfrey's Sunday night speech at the Golden Globes, I, like many women, was moved and motivated.

'Downsizing' dwindles

Alexander Payne's conceit goes big, falls flat.

Playing to a crowd

A brief confession: the only "reality TV" I ever watch is sports. Real, unscripted contests, I mean. Professional wrestling I gave up after eighth grade when the story lines became too predictable to be funny. I never saw "Jersey Shore" or "The Apprentice."


Arkansas basketball is the great deceiver. The minute you start sensing that a special team is coalescing, a quick road swing will jar you back toward Earth.

Big cuts at UAMS

Also, Gov wants colleges to keep tuition flat, big Medicaid cuts and more.

Katy Perry at Verizon Arena

And much more.

Abandoned Arkansas's Ginger Beck wades into the ruins

Socks must be worn.

Arkansas reacts

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that discouraged enforcement of federal marijuana restrictions on states where cannabis has been legalized.

Bright, new year for congressional delegation

Giving up the ghost

The Observer has waivered on religion throughout our life, from a good church-going lad in our younger years to where we are now, with our belief in hocus-pocus of all types shed at some point like the paper skin of an onion.

On last week's cover story, " 'Protect and serve' vs. 'patrol and control' in Little Rock"

Fact of the matter is murders have dramatically decreased after this past summer's spike and the increased patrols coincide with the drop. Fact of the matter is, if you see a patrol car is close by, the odds of you breaking in that car, house, etc. go down.

Some Democratic House members reportedly plan to bring victims of sexual assault to State of the Union

NBC News reports that some Democratic lawmakers are planning to invite victims of sexual assault to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address this month in order to highlight the issue

New poll shows evolving attitudes in Northwest Arkansas

A new poll out from Talk Business & Politics, Hendrix College and Impact Management Group checks in with residents in Benton and Washington County and shows evolving opinions and demographics as newcomers enter the region

Medicaid expansion helping keep hospitals open, especially in rural areas, study finds

PBS reports on a new study out this week that finds that states that failed to enact the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, which expanded coverage to low-income adults, suffered an increase in hospital closures while expansion states saw a decline.

UAMS closes weight-loss clinic; staff at Children's may be hired by research institute

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has terminated its weight loss program due to budget constraints. The move was part of UAMS' termination of 600 positions, including 258 employees, on Monday.

Jacksonville resident reports arson, theft, a poisoned dog and an ominous message: 'Move n****r'

KARK Channel 4 has an interview with an African-American man in Jacksonville who says he has been the victim of racially-fueled harassment and vandalism at his home, including having his dog poisoned, his truck stolen and his garage and its contents destroyed by arson, with the perpetrator spray painting "Move n****r' on the outside of the burned building.

Governor wants the Public Service Commission to lower utility rates

Governor Hutchinson sent a letter to the Arkansas Public Service Commission today requesting that the commission lower utility rates in the wake of the federal corporate tax cut.

Daily updates and an open line

Over to you.

Trump: Why are there so many immigrants from 'shithole countries'? UPDATE

Washington Post and other outlets are reporting that during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers today, President of the United States Donald John Trump grew tired with lawmakers discussing restoring protections for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and war-torn countries in Africa and said: "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

DF&A releases list of marijuana dispensary and cultivation applicants names and proposed locations

The Department of Finance and Administration today released a list of all the names and proposed locations of applicants for medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers.

Little Rock test city for Facebook local-news app

Recode reports that Facebook is testing a new local-news section from vetted sources called "Today In," testing it in six cities, including Little Rock.

Trump disputes "shithole" language, Cotton slams proposed deal but no word on Trump's comments; UPDATE: Cotton "does not recall"

Donald Trump issues an implausible denial. No comment from Tom Cotton, who was at the meeting, on the president's salty language — but he has plenty to say about the substance of the proposed DACA deal. UPDATE: Cotton "does not recall the President saying these comments specifically."

Cold weather leads to power outages, traffic backups and school closings

Since we live in the South and it's a little below freezing with some rain, we've got a slew of mishaps that occurred overnight or this morning including energy outages, icy roads and schools closed.

CBO: Extending CHIP for 10 years would decrease deficit by $6 billion

The Congressional Budget Office this week released a new budget score for a ten-year extension of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — which provides health coverage for 9 million lower-income children, including 400,000 kids who are covered by ARKids — and found that it would actually save the federal government $6 billion versus letting it lapse.

Grassroots progressive groups playing bigger roll in primaries

The Brookings Institution has a new report out about the influence of independent activist groups on political primaries as the old party gatekeepers weaken. The report focuses particularly on Indivisible, the group with several chapters in Arkansas that has been in the news for activism protesting the actions of Sen. Tom Cotton, Sen. John Boozman, and others. Indivisible aims to use the tactics of groups like the Tea Party for progressive ends

Trump administration approves Medicaid waiver for Kentucky, including work requirements

The Trump administration today approved Kentucky's request for a waiver of Medicaid rules to implement certain changes to its Medicaid expansion program, including work requirements. Next up, Arkansas?

Lawmakers weigh in: Haiti's not a shithole. It's just depraved.

In trying to explain the president's vulgar indictment of millions of people today, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack told 49/20 News he tries "to look beyond the exact words he [Trump] uses." The 3rd District congressman used a different word: depraved. Un-Norwegianlike.

Magnetometers at Robinson Center, First Security Amphitheater, Statehouse Convention Center

The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau announced a new set of security screening procedures at all LRCVB-managed properties, to begin January 21.

Friday's video updates and an open line

Got any plans for the weekend?

The Asa on the Move Edition

Trump, Cotton and immigration; Governor Hutchinson navigating a primary challenger and the fiscal session; the hog farm in Newton County; and UAMS layoffs — all covered on this week's podcast.

Governor announces appointments to university boards

Governor Hutchinson yesterday announced new appointments to the Board of Trustees at five universities across the state.

Clinton School to host event for poetry anthology on gun violence

The anthology, "Bullets into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence," pairs new poems by prominent American poets alongside responses by gun violence survivors, family members of victims, gun control activists, law enforcement officers, clergy members, politicians, and others.

Mahony slams Womack for calling Haiti and African nations "depraved": "Steve Womack is trafficking in racist comments"

Josh Mahony, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Womack for the Third Congressional District seat, issued a statement accusing Womack of playing "dog whistle politics" after Womack's comments yesterday that referred to "depraved countries."

UAMS layoffs: Details for faculty

Emails released under the state Freedom of Information Act reveal discussions at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences about how to terminate tenure-track and tenured faculty.

Slideshow: Katy Perry at Verizon Arena

Katy Perry put on an elaborate show last night at Verizon Arena.

Walmart to cut 1,000 corporate jobs

For whatever reason, Walmart isn't crediting the GOP tax bill for this decision, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the company is set to cut 1,000 jobs, primarily hitting the retailer's headquarters in Bentonville.

Ballistic missile threat for Hawaii is false alarm


More Trump scandals: alleged porn-star payoff

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times report on a $130,000 payoff to an adult film star who was preparing to allege an affair with Donald Trump shortly before the election.

Saturday open line

It's yours.

Paul Spencer condemns Trump's "racist and vile comments" about Haiti and African nations

Paul Spencer, Democratic candidate for the Second Congressional District, issued a press release Friday condemning "President Donald Trump's racist and vile comments about Haiti and African nations."

As Medicaid expansion work requirements loom, no additional funding for work support services

The Trump administration guidance that gave the go-ahead to states seeking Medicaid work requirements suggests that states should offer supports for beneficiaries subject to the requirements. The catch: There will be no additional Medicaid funding to pay for such services. Arkansas, which has a pending request for work requirements, has no plans to invest additional state funding into work support services such as job training, relying on existing resources even as it plans to implement the work requirement program for tens of thousands of Medicaid beneficiaries.

State Rep. Mary Bentley's husband arrested

KUAR reports that Ted Bentley, husband of state Rep. Mary Bentley of Perryville, was arrested last Sunday for allegedly violating an order or protection. The Petit Jean Country Headline reports that Bentley got the order protection against him in early December and has filed for divorce.

Memory refreshed, Tom Cotton now disputes that Trump made "shithole" comments

Lickspittles for a liar.

Sunday open line

Tell us something good. 

Marijuana and guns don't mix, or so the federal law says

The advent of medical marijuana in Arkansas presents a problem for users who also own guns. Or so the federal law says.

Government waste: Drug-testing welfare recipients

Another report illustrates the waste of government money in drug-testing recipients of public assistance.

Snow in the forecast for Little Rock tonight

The weather forecast for today includes a Weather Service prediction of two inches of snow in the Little Rock area tonight.

Words and deeds: Politicians on equal rights on King Day

Talk is cheap from Republican politicians on M.L. King Day when measured against their words and deeds.

Report: Racial taunts greet visiting basketball team in Harrison

Kansas basketball team reports being target of racial taunts on a visit to Harrison, Ark., the former sundown town.

Traveling on freedom's trail; civil rights struggles marketed as a tourism lure

State and local tourism officials this morning talked about a new multi-state effort to market memorials to the civil rights movement across the U.S., particularly in the South, where resistance was fierce.

A Bob Lancaster list: Subjects to avoid in the New Year

A gift for the New Year: A revival of Bob Lancaster's annual list of things that should never be mentioned again.

Monday's open line, plus news and comment

The King Holiday open line, plus some comment on news of the day.

Mother denied visa for Navy vet's funeral in Arkansas

WREG  TV of Memphis reports that the State Department denied a visa for the Vietnamese mother to attend the Arkansas funeral of a Navy veteran who died of cancer.

Snow day Arkansas

Well, news today will be light apart from weather, with schools closed in a big part of the state, lots of government offices on skeleton staff or closed and a huge mess on Interstate 40 near Lonoke on account of multiple tractor-trailer wrecks.

Tom Cotton blistered for lying for Trump; silence of GOP politicians also made statements yesterday

Tom Cotton is blasted for defending Donald Trump's racism. It probably won't hurt him in Arkansas, as evidenced by defeaning silence on the topic from other Republican politicians.

Pine Bluff: A bargain for home buyers

A new listing touts Pine Bluff as a place with bargain home prices.

Evolving story: The politics of medical marijuana in Arkansas

Inevitability, politics will play a role in medical marijuana in Arkansas. Example: a past alliance between a regulator and an application to be among the regulated.

Hutchinson has $2 million banked for re-election campaign

Quarterly campaign finance reports are coming in today and incumbents are bragging, naturally, about the swelling treasuries incumbents typically enjoy. One example: Gov. Asa Hutchinson has $2 million on hand, the AP reports.

Secrecy at the University of Arkansas

The UA has come up with a string of excuses for withholding information about pay arrangements with new assistant football coaches. We call horse hockey.

Governor optimistic on Medicaid work waiver

Arkansas remains confident that approval of a work requirement for Medicaid eligibility is coming soon. The person who'll make the decision once made money providing advice to Arkansas on Medicaid, a sore point with a Democratic senator.

Asa Hutchinson plugs benefits of NAFTA

In remarks in Rogers today, Gov. Asa Hutchinson plugged the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which puts him somewhat at odds with the Republican Party's nominal leader, Donald Trump.

Tuesday: Open line and the daily news roundup

Here's your open line. Also news and comment in the daily roundup.

Arkansas gets OK for education plan

The state Education Department announced this evening that the feds had signed off on the state's education accountability plan.

Buffalo River protectors say it's time to stop the hog farm in Buffalo watershed

The Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, which is pressing the case against a hog factory feeding operation in the watershed of the national river, objects to the hog farm's request to be allowed to continue operating despite failing to meet regulatory requirements.

Here it is: The Rock Candy podcast "No Small Talk"

Everybody, come hear the good news. The Rock Candy blog — where we host all our arts and entertainment coverage here at the Arkansas Times — is starting a podcast.

National Park Service advisory board members resign over leadership

It is hard to keep up with the havoc Donald Trump is wreaking on valuable government agencies, but the damage being done to an enduring treasure, the National Park Service, stands out.

Tom Cotton deigns to take questions. Dodges. Continues to draw fire for lying.

Tom Cotton, under fire for lying to protect Donald Trump, deigns to take (and dodge) questions and continues to be ripped, including by conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin.

A home school horror in California

The horror of 13 children held captive by parents in a California home has an education dimension.

Another snow day. Of a sort

Little Rock schools are closed again today and state government is on a two-hour delayed schedule on account of continuing poor road conditions in some places.

State touts a service the governor restricted for women on Medicaid

This notice from the state Health Department on the value of cervical cancer screening struck me as a touch ironic, or something, given the governor's ban on use of Medicaid for such screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Investor makes a big bet on philosophy

Forgive me a little name-dropping, but a college fraternity brother of mine has made a news splash that fits with my unfashionable view of the value of liberal arts education.

Merger joins Moses Tucker and Newmark Grubb real estate firms

A news release announces the merger of Moses Tucker Real Estate and Newmark Grubb Arkansas into what is described as the second-largest commercial brokerage and management firm in the state, with offices from Little Rock to Bentonville. Chris Moses will be president and CEO.

The full list of Central Arkansas Music Award nominees

We've had several requests for this, so here is the complete list of nominees in the 22 categories judges considered for the inaugural Central Arkansas Music Awards just around the corner on Jan. 23 at CALS' Ron Robinson Theater.

Griffen argues to proceed with suit over Supreme Court bar from death cases

Michael Laux, the attorney for Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, filed a 57-page response in federal court today objecting to the state's motion to dismiss Griffen's suit challenging the Arkansas Supreme Court's order permanently barring Griffen from hearing death penalty cases.

Retired judge in Harrison disputes complaints of racial taunts at basketball game

A reliable source, after a review of the incident, concludes that charges of racial taunts at a junior college basketball game in Harrison were unwarranted, a misinterpretation of noise-making.

Catholic bishop to skip anti-abortion march because death penalty advocate Attorney General Rutledge is keynote speaker

The Arkansas Catholic reports that Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Diocese of Little Rock will not participate in the annual March for Life anti-abortion demonstration Sunday because the keynote speaker will be Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who supports the death penalty.

Wednesday: The open line and news roundup

Here's a chilly open line. Also: The roundup of news and comment.

Pollution Control grants stay for continuation of hog farm operation

Barry Haas reports from the meeting of the state Pollution Control and Ecology Commission that it has granted a stay that will allow continued operation of the C and H hog farm at Mount Judea while it appeals denial of a new permit for the factory hog feeding operation.

2018 Small Prints: Big show at ASU

The "2018 Delta National Small Prints Exhibition," a juried show of contemporary small printmaking by artists from across the country, opens today with 60 works in four galleries at Arkansas State University's Bradbury Art Museum with a 5 p.m. reception.