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He founded a movement

He founded a movement

February 1, 2018

Vol 44 • No 22

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The legacy of William Harold Flowers

The Pine Bluff attorney made the NAACP powerful in Arkansas.

ADC can't retain guards

More than a third of new hires in 2017 left before the year was up. The culture is the problem, former guards say.

Becoming aware of John Marin

The Arts Center unveils its collection.

Eliminate waste

Jimmy who?

It is anyone's guess whether Donald Trump will be at the top of the Republican ticket in 2020.

Lock him up

To no one's surprise, Republican state Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith entered a negotiated guilty plea Monday in federal court to bank and wire fraud and money laundering charges.


The SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) recently took place in Las Vegas, despite the fact that 58 people were murdered and 851 were injured in a mass shooting there mere months ago. It seems in poor taste.


Arkansas Times Senior Editor Max Brantley, who hired The Observer as a pup a few eons back, recently took to the Arkansas Blog to mark his two score and five years so far in the newspaper business. It tickled many of our own heartstrings about Little Rock, this profession, and what it all means in 2018 A.D.

Inspired by LBJ

Ordinarily, you turned to Lyndon B. Johnson to dislocate a congressman's elbow and to get things done, not for oratory and inspiration. For that, you had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy.

Macon saves day

Daryl Macon went through another midseason cold spell and it set the Arkansas basketball team squarely on the ropes. But as seniors should do, the skinny, fearless product of Little Rock Parkview just kept firing, and Mike Anderson had better be thankful that he did.

The Cadillac Three come to Rev Room

Also, Mulehead plays White Water Tavern.

A Q&A with jazz heiress Catherine Russell

She's a scion of swing.

Hemp panel meets

The Industrial Hemp Committee held its first meeting Tuesday, passing draft regulations to the full Plant Board for approval and moving the state nearer to creating a bureaucracy for the new industry in Arkansas.

Rooftop speakeasy

Little Rock is not Los Angeles. Nor should it try to be.

Country songs

Driving along recently, I had a heretical thought: A person could get more sensible advice about men and women from the country oldies station than The New York Times. Or from The Washington Post, The New Republic, National Review or any publication devoted to nonstop analysis of metropolitan sexual angst written by twentysomething Women's Studies majors from expensive liberal arts colleges.

John Cain's 81st birthday bash

And much more.

Modeling the blue wave in a red state

I envisioned this column as a means for doing for Arkansas politics what the Indivisible Guide did for the resistance: to demystify how it works and to arm Arkansas Times readers with the information and tools they'd need to remake the system as they saw fit.

Files pleads guilty to federal charges

Also, a former Arkansan political candidate on women's rights and race and the LRPD.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Cease and Desist Edition

Play at home, with your Panzerschreck close at hand!

UA trustees consider a gag order. It's about sports and it's a bad idea.

Eric Besson and Azia Musa of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette explored in detail this morning a proposal by Ben Hyneman, chair of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees to essentially place a gag order on the 10-member board. It's about football and it's a terrible idea.

Yes, it IS who you are

Nomination for words to be struck from public use: "This is not who I (we) am (are.)"

Another Trump appointee of interest, this one from Arkansas

The publication Science reports on some questions about a Trump administration appointee who's a former Arkansan — this one to head the National Center for Education Statistics.

Can public officials block people on social media? Courts are deciding

Can public officials block critics from Twitter and Facebook pages? Courts are entering the fray, which has many implications in Arkansas. Think Jason Rapert for starters.

Desperation and doubt on display as Ark. State Medical Board considers rules to help curb over-prescription of opioids.

At a meeting of the Arkansas State Medical Board this morning, board members heard from doctors, patients and state leaders on proposed rules changes for physicians, designed to help curb the state's opioid epidemic.

Wendell Griffen v. Arkansas Supreme Court: The probe heats up

Michael Laux, attorney for Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen in his judiciary disciplinary committee complaint against the Arkansas Supreme Court, is unhappy with the work of the person appointed to investigate the case.

Thursday: Open line, plus headlines and comment

Here's the open line. Plus today's headlines. I tried to say something nice about Donald Trump, but ....

Cities win judgment in case on hotel tax collections

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Robert Wyatt Jr. Thursday issued a summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit arguing that on-line hotel booking agencies such as, Hotwire and Travelocity had failed to collect local hotel taxes when they collected payments for hotel bookings.

Mark Martin intervenes in Pennsylvania lawmaking

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin doesn't have enough to keep him busy in Arkansas.

Jan Morgan joins the hog farm fight on the hogs' side UPDATE

Jan Morgan, the Republican challenging Gov. Asa Hutchinson, has gone to war against the "environmental elitists" fighting the C and H Hog Farm in the Buffalo River watershed.

UALR law profs dispute argument for change in tenure rule

In addition to football, the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has another important matter to concern — a system administration proposal to change the rule governing faculty tenure. Two UALR law professors have responded point by point to the system administration's argument for the rule change.

State tax income rises in January

The state says its tax collections in January were up 5.5 percent over the same month last year and 2.2 percent higher than a revised forecast. For the year, gross revenues are up 1 percent over forecast.

The Nunes partisan memo charade unfolds

The White House has declassified the memo by Rep. Devin Nunes, a compilation of cherry-picked facts and conspiracy theories meant to derail the investigation of Donald Trump's many involvements with Russians, political and business. This from people who say a private email server MIGHT have compromised national security.

LR Police Chief Buckner in running for Charleston, S.C. job

KATV reports that Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner is one of five finalists for the job of police chief in Charleston, S.C., and will be visit Charleston next week as part of the process.

Conway police charge Rapert critic with filing false police report; critic sees retaliation

Stephan Ferry, a Conway resident who has been raising money for a potential lawsuit against Sen. Jason Rapert to challenge his blocking people from social media accounts, has been accused of filing a false police report alleging he'd been threatened by Rapert.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase: Round 1

Congratulations to The Rios, the winners of the first round of the 2018 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.

Friday's open line

It's Friday. Open line. Daily roundup.

The Blocked By Rapert Edition

State Sen. Jake Files' guilty plea in federal court; state Sen. Jason Rapert, social media and the Conway Police Department; and a proposed gag order for the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees — all covered on this week's podcast.

No Small Talk Ep. 4: Musicians Showcase and Oscar Talk

Week Four of "No Small Talk" takes on: the Musician's Showcase and the Oscars. As always, we've got recommendations for great stuff to do in Central Arkansas this weekend.

Tom Cotton: it's the immigrants, not the economy, stupid

Eric Lavitz in New York lays bare the illogic behind the various excuses Sen. Tom Cotton uses for supporting his extreme anti-immigration legislation.

The Little Rock Police Department: The chief isn't the only problem

Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner, the Fraternal Order of Police, race relations. Little Rock, we have a problem.

Saturday night open line. No massacre yet

Here's the open line. News is light. Donald Trump is tweeting that the fact-shy op-ed produced by Devin Nunes proves he's been a victim of the Republicans who lead the FBI and Justice Department. But, so far, no Saturday night massacre a la Nixon.

Can Democrats make gains in statehouses?

The New York Times reports today on the Democratic Party's hope to continue to build in 2018 on encouraging victories in state legislative races in, among others, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and, particularly, Virginia. Arkansas is not among the states mentioned where hopes run high for gains.

Trump delivers another victory for water pollution

Delayed by law from scrapping the Obama administration Clean Water Rule, the Trump administration has come up with a workaround a delay of the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Super Sunday open line

The Super Sunday open line. I'm rooting for the puppies.

Cities and states move to ban bump stocks, used in Las Vegas massacre

Calling Rep. Charlie Collins: Will you sponsor legislation to ban bump stocks, the devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons of mass slaughter, such as use in the Las Vegas Massacre?

Remembering poor people at the Capitol today

Arkansas will join the Poor People's Campaign with an event at the Capitol today. It promises civil disobedience in the spring if Congress fails to enact a "moral and just" agenda. In other words, get ready for disobedience.

Here come the payday lenders

The Trump administration's aim to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seen here as good news for the bloodsuckers of the payday lending industry, which plans a big April gathering at, where else, Donald Trump's Florida golfing resort.

Rep. Clarke Tucker announces race for French Hill's 2nd District congressional seat

State Rep. Clarke Tucker, a Little Rock Democrat, distributed a news release this morning announcing that he's entering the race for 2nd District Congress, a seat held by first-term Republican Rep. French HIll.

Alex Ray quits land commissioner race

Alex Ray, a Republican from Bryant, has dropped out of the race for land commissioner. He said the call to be a husband and father to a new child superseded plans for public office.

Las Vegas newspaper reports spiking a harassment story on Steve Wynn in 1998

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports today that it killed a 1998 story about sexual harassment complaints against casino mogul Steve Wynn, now the subject of renewed complaints. The story was deleted from the newspaper computer system. Some Arkansas angles in this story.

PAC cloning turns up in special Republican Senate election

A three-way Republican primary for the state Senate seat held by the late Greg Standridge holds a bit more interest than normal because the winner, if successful against a Democratic nominee, could be a critical vote in amassing 

There are riots. And then there are celebrations

When does vandalism, including damage to public property, become rioting? Question raised by Philadelphis tumult after the Super Bowl.

Who will build Arkansas if her own senators will not? Take Bart Hester. Please.

Sen. Bart Hester apparently thinks universities shouldn't waste money on teaching dance.

Mark Martin and other Republicans lose bid to slow Pennsylvania redistricting

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied a request that it stay a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order that congressional districts in that state must be withdrawn because they were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans.

Inmate dies in a single-man cell

Phillip Hardy, an inmate at the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys (Lee County), died last night after he was found unconscious in his single-man cell.

Buckner's time in Little Rock draws Charleston press attention

The newspaper in Charleston, where Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner is one of five finalists for the chief's job, has turned attention to Buckner's record in Little Rock, particularly some conflicts with black officers.

Monday, Monday

Another Monday, another open line. Also today's news and comment.

Pedestrian killed at 6th and Broadway

KARK reports that a pedestrian was killed in an accident about noon today at Sixth and Broadway.

How low can the market go? And who can Trump blame?

You've no doubt heard the stock market cratered today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average off 1,500 points or so at one point and down as much as 1,000 last I looked.

Trump says it is treasonous not to clap for him

The dictator rises. Now Trump says you're treasonous if you don't applaud him.

Good morning

The morning open line.

Trump just joking about treason, spokesman says

So when Donald Trump said those who didn't applaud for his State of the Union speech were treasonous, he was just speaking tongue in cheek. That's the party line now.

Massive resistance in Pennsylvania to preserve Republican gerrymander

Republicans defy the rule of law in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Partisanship over state.

Another PAC-woman candidate

A look at another type of special interest money influence in a coming special election for state Senate in the Russellville area.

AEP, owner of SWEPCO, announces accelerated move away from coal to renewable energy

AEP, or American Electric Power, was once the biggest user of coal to generate electricity. It announced today a continuation of a change in direction away from coal to renewable energy.

Rutledge rejects first try on form of sovereign immunity amendment

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected the ballot title for a proposal to amend the state Constitution to allow the legislature to waive the constitutional provision that prohibits lawsuits against the state, a concept known as sovereign immunity.

Tuesday: Headlines and the open line

Some headlines and comment on a quiet Tuesday, plus the open line.

Buckner makes pitch for Charleston police chief job

Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner fields questions in Charleston, S.C., where he's a candidate for chief. He claimed credit for the police in the fact no one died in the mass club shooting last year.

Arkansas Supreme Court racking up big legal bills in Wendell Griffen dispute

The Arkansas Supreme Court has racked up $136,774.62 in legal bills so far paying private lawyers in Judge Wendell Griffen's lawsuit against them for removing him from all cases related to the death penalty.

Can the state EVER be sued? Burger King case may provide clues

The Arkansas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday in a case that could provide some elaboration on the scope of the court's rewriting of precedent to say that the state cannot be sued in state courts. The state is "reluctantly" asserting immunity in a tax case, an argument with huge implications.

State historian Lisa Speer resigns, indicates friction with department leadership

Dr. Lisa Speer, the state historian and director of the state archives since 2013, has resigned. Tension in dealing with Department of Heritage Director Stacy Hurst on personnel issues seemed to underly her decision.

Mena native Matthew Maddox named to lead Wynn Resorts

Matthew Maddox, a Mena native, is the new CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd., a $17 billion worldwide gambling operation where he's long been a top aide to Wynn.

Lawsuit challenges state's latest voter ID law

A lawsuit was filed today in Pulaski Circuit Court challenging the 2017 legislation that attempted to impose voter ID requirements in a constitutional manner.

Andrew Collins announces for House seat vacated by Clarke Tucker

Andrew Collins has announced as a Democratic candidate for the House seat to be left vacant by Democratic Rep. Clarke Tucker's decision to run for 2nd District Congress.

Group seeks city directors' email

A new group with a familiar spokesman complains that some Little Rock city officials have been violating the Freedom of Information Act. Specifically, it contends some city directors have been deleting emails so they wouldn't be uncovered by Freedom of Information Act complaints.

Police still investigating pedestrian fatality

Little Rock police said today that Maria Borja, 47, of Alexander, was the person killed when struck by a car while standing at Sixth and Broadway about 10:45 Monday morning waiting to cross the street.

Hutchinson's solid-gold campaign committee includes a state employee

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's re-election campaign announced his finance committee and you'd have to put the cumulative net worth in the tens of billions. They include Stacy Hurst, a Hutchinson appointee as director of a state agency.

Over the hump open line

Here's the open line. And a video roundup with some news for a change.

A peek at 'Soul of a Nation' and plans to travel there, too

The Arkansas Times is planning to take the Art Bus to Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville to see the new exhibition, "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power," from the Tate Museum, London. The American tour debuts in Arkansas. We'll go up for the day on March 10; tickets are $119 and include food, drink, fun and something really special: the expertise of tour guide Garbo Hearne, owner of Hearne Fine Art.