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Best Doctors 2014

Best Doctors 2014

April 3, 2014

Vol 22 • No 6

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Better health care, lower cost

Arkansas's Payment Improvement Initiative shows it can be done.

Taking the Payment Improvement Initiative to heart

Cardiologist David Rutlen and UAMS team make changes in the best way to care for their patients.

Caring for offspring and outliers

Neonatologist heads Center for Diversity Affairs at UAMS.

In Breyer's dissent, a quote from Bumpers

Justice Stephen Breyer takes issue with the plurality's opinion in McCutcheon that lifting aggregate caps on political donations won't cause quid pro quo corruption cites an earlier case and testimony from Arkansas's Sen. Bumpers.

Medicare will release data on payments to doctors

The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced today that they will release a huge database containing information on procedures provided by by doctors for Medicare patients and the payments they received. Sounds exciting, right?! This is in fact big news for transparency in medical reimbursements, in ways that could be very helpful for patients making choices about providers. A previous CMS data release, on Medicare payments made to hospitals, showed massive disparities in hospital charges, including in Arkansas.

Americans for Prosperity goes after Mike Ross pre-k plan

You'll never believe this, but Americans for Prosperity Arkansas doesn't like Mike Ross's proposal to expand access to pre-k for Arkansas kids, and they're trotting out misleading arguments to bash it! Behold the most cynical argument known to man. AFP Arkansas Director Jason Cline says that a plan to offer increased access to high-quality early childhood education attack on parents. Mike Ross wants to take the babies away!

For the kids open line

The line is open. Mike Ross meets the children, more on Blue Hog and judges, plus breaking news: another shooting breaks out at Fort Hood.

Catholic Health Initiatives acquires Qualchoice

Catholic Health Initiatives has executed a stock-purchase agreement to acquire QualChoice Holdings, the parent company of QCA Health Plan and QualChoice Life and Health Insurance Company. Catholic Health Initiatives is a national non-profit health system, headquartered in Colorado, comprising more than 80 hospitals, including St. Vincent in Little Rock.

Hard to deny Obamacare

So it turns out that millions of people dealt with the Affordable Care Act enrollment cutoff pretty much the way they habitually deal with the April 15 income tax filing deadline: procrastinating until the last minute to ensure maximum stress and standing in line. Like mobbing shopping malls on the day after Thanksgiving, it's the American way of life.

Cher in North Little Rock

March 28, Verizon Arena

Playing possum

When the Arkansas Travelers announced the first phase of rebranding last fall — which included unveiling a new logo and a "swamp camo" jersey — the team promised to later unveil a new mascot that team officials described as "a legendary creature, an omen known to bringing good luck." The big reveal came last week. Shelly, the goofy, buck-toothed horse that served as the team's mascot since 1996 was "upgraded" to Ace, a menacing, 7-foot horse. But Ace didn't fill the "legendary" good luck charm role. That's left to a second new mascot, Otey the swamp possum.

Dax Riggs comes to Stickyz

Also, Mike Epps at Robinson, Shinyribs at White Water Tavern, Zajal Live at the Reynolds Center in Fayetteville, 'The Godfather II' at Market Street, John Wiese at White Water, 'Breathless' at Vino's.

It was a good week for the University of Arkansas

It was a bad week for the Lake Maumelle Watershed, Andi Davis, petty politics, the Arkansas Travelers and Ouachita County Judge Mike Hesterly.

A Q&A with Kevin Brockmeier on his new book, 'A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade'

Little Rock writer on influences, reservations and why he choose to focus on seventh grade.

Worry about fate of Hall's Newcomer Center simmers

But LRSD's Suggs says fears unfounded.

An undeniable threat

This winter was a bad one. Ice storm after ice storm. Weeks' worth of disruption to schools, roads and business. Worst of all, there were those several long stretches of viciously frigid temperatures, the kind that reduce everyone to uselessly and indignantly declaring "IT'S COLD" when stepping out the door.

Coleman goes boldly

Arkansas has had many governors who were unfriendly to public education. Proudly ignorant themselves, they thought it presumptuous of others to ask for more. Besides, people who get more education are likely to want more money, and the Curtis Colemans of the state are committed to keeping workers' wages low, so that bosses' profits can be kept high. Low wages are among Arkansas's most enduring traditions.

Pearls About Swine: Mystified by Dykes selection

For the better part of three years, Pearls About Swine has largely championed Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long for how he's met various decision points. But...

On track

As the Times goes to press, it appears that enrollment in the new marketplaces created by Obamacare will have reached at least 7 million Americans as the March 31 open enrollment deadline passed (because of an extension, people have more time to sign up, and that number will grow).

Free, for $127

I was delighted to hear that as a senior citizen I could attend college here in Arkansas for free. I was not so happy to find out that my free class cost me $127 in fees.


Last weekend, The Observer woke up on a hardwood floor in New Orleans, having slept in the unfurnished bedroom of a brick building on Esplanade Avenue with shards of glass glued like makeshift barbed wire to the top of the surrounding wall. "Place looks like a crack-house," said one passing cyclist as we sat on the stoop drinking coffee a little while later. The cyclist wasn't wrong.

Commandeer the refs too

"This hashtag-heavy era of puffery places marketing weight on Anderson's claim to commandeer the fastest team in the country, but nobody would accuse any of his three squads to date of playing with much composure."

Spring looks

Local fashion designers showed off their work at the Designers Choice Fashion Preview last Saturday at the Clear Channel Metroplex in Little Rock.

7 million reasons not to repeal the ACA

On the last signup day for first-year insurance coverage, Ross Douthat, the quasi-official Republican intellectual, wrote an obituary for the forces that hoped to repeal Obamacare when Republicans control all three branches of government.

Cache takes cash

But there's much to love about swanky River Market restaurant.

Gala honoring Charles Portis set for April 3

Also, Ron Robinson screens 'Mandela.'

God stars as destroyer

In Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah.'

Spice things up at Jerky's Chicken

While our experience was rather hit or miss overall, heading back to Jerky’s to nab a quick chopped jerk chicken sandwich would not be such a far-fetched idea.

Officials: Tsunami watch for Springdale in error

Rest easy, people of Springdale: though the city's automated emergency system sent out at least one text alert advising that a "Tsunami Watch/Warning" had been issued for Springdale, the text was in error. Officials said the problem arose when a line of code that normally filters National Weather Service alerts was deleted.

Here come the lawsuits on judicial candidates: suits filed against Judge H.G. Foster and Angela Byrd

Separate lawsuits have been filed against Judge H.G. Foster and Angela Byrd, asking that they be disqualified from running in next month's judicial races because of issues with past suspensions of law licenses for non-payment of bar dues. These sorts of suits were inevitable in the wake of Circuit Judge John Cole's recent ruling disqualifying lawyer Valerie Thompson Bailey from challenging Circuit Judge Tim Fox.

Bench clearing brawl during UCA, UALR baseball game

Sporting Life Arkansas gathers clips from last night's bench-clearing brawl between UCA and UALR. Managers from each club were tossed after the 10th inning fight. UCA won 5-4 in 11 innings.

Teacher speaks out about her resignation over bullying response at Mayflower H.S.

A former science teacher at Mayflower High School has spoken to KATV Channel 7 about her resignation from the school three weeks ago due to the way administrators handled information she'd provided them about bullying at the school. Misty Nix said that a survey she conducted uncovered alarming information about bullying, including students who were "secret cutting" over being made fun of, and one student who talked about a desire to commit suicide. Nix said she was told by administrators to cancel the project and her data was taken by a vice principal at the school, and resigned after she learned she was being called into a disciplinary meeting with school officials.

Saturday in Argenta: Grand opening at Laman branch

Music, variety show, reading event, gallery talk on history exhibition and arts and crafts activities all day.

Hastings seeks dismissal of manslaughter charges

Former Little Rock Police Officer Josh Hastings has asked Judge Wendell Griffen to throw out charges against him to spare Hastings another trial on a charge of manslaughter. Hastings has already been tried twice in the death of Bobby Moore, Jr, 15. who Hastings shot during an early-morning burglary call at a West Little Rock apartment complex. Both of Hastings' earlier trials — the first in June 2013 and the second in September 2013 — ended in hung juries. A retrial in the case is scheduled for next month.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel: unlawful to require DNA from all juvenile delinquents who committed a felony

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel backed a judge's recent opinion, advising the Division of Youth Services that it was unlawful to require taking DNA from juvenile delinquents who committed a felony.

Photos: Amasa Hines live at South on Main

South on Main was full last night—not just the tables, but the spaces between and around the tables, the nooks and corners and bar-stools. It was hot, that's how full it was. Amasa Hines played two sets with a brief intermission, performing songs from their debut record "All the World There Is" and a couple of new tracks on the side. For anyone who missed it, Times photographer Matt Amaro came through with these photos.

LR doctors indicted for health-care fraud

Husband and wife family practice doctors Robert and Angela Barrow were indicted yesterday on charges they billed for a massage therapist 

Pryor makes pitch for increasing minimum wage in Arkansas

This year, voters in Arkansas will have the opportunity to give hardworking families a raise by voting to increase the state’s minimum wage. Too many Arkansans today are working harder than ever, but with so many in low-wage jobs — some working two or even three — they’re falling further behind. Raising the minimum wage can begin to reverse this trend while protecting and strengthening Arkansas’s economic core: our working families.

Download 'Trap Conversations,' a new mixtape by Little Rock's Cool Chris

Today at noon, Cool Chris, of Little Rock's Young Gods of America (YGOA) collective, released his new tape "Trap Conversations," which opens on a vintage Christopher Walken sample from "King of New York" and is mostly produced by fellow Little Rock native Fresco Grey.

Lawsuit filed against Circuit Judge Tim Fox over suspended law license

Lawyer Valerie Thompson Bailey was disqualified from challenging Circuit Judge Tim Fox because of a past administrative suspension of her law license. But it turns out Fox had a suspension too, for non-payment of dues in 2013. Oops! Now a lawsuit has been filed asking that Fox be disqualified from the race. Meanwhile, Rhonda Wood, who had a brief suspension in 2008, and is running for Supreme Court, could be the next one sued. She released a statement today. Will her excuses fly?

Little Rock Film Festival expands, announces first screenings

The Little Rock Film Festival announced today that it will expand its programming to a full week of screenings for this year's event, which will be held from May 12 to May 18, and for which passes are now on sale. For the first time, most films will screened at the LRFF's new flagship venue, the CALS Ron Robinson Theater, and according to the festival's Creative Director, Brent Renaud, "all venues in 2014 are within biking or walking distance and are easily connected via the River Rail Electric Streetcar Trolley."

Eye Candy rocks

This blog is joining up with the Rock Candy blog in the not-too-distant future.

LR POLICE: argument leads to gunshots at S. Main grocery store

An argument today at the Edwards Food Giant store at 1701 South Main St. in Little Rock escalated to the point that shots were fired, police said. Lt. Sidney Allen with the Little Rock Police Department said that just before 1 p.m., several subjects were involved in an argument outside the store. As the argument escalated, someone drew a gun and fired several shots. No one was injured, Allen said, but a vehicle was hit.

Let's make a massive Spotify playlist of the best Arkansas music

The idea is simple. Add five (or fewer) songs with Arkansas connections. They could be your favorite songs. They could be songs you've been listening to lately. It doesn't matter. The goal is simply to gather as much good Arkansas-related music into one playlist.

Friday: Gallery Walk in Hot Springs

There's something arboreal going on in the Spa City, with "Roots to Leaves" and the "Tree Show."

Clinton talks space aliens, 'Independence Day' scenarios

"If we were visited some day, I wouldn't be surprised," Bill Clinton told Jimmy Kimmel on April 2. "I just hope it's not like 'Independence Day' ... It may be the only way to unite this aggressively divided world of ours ... Think of how all the differences among people on earth would seem small if we were threatened by a space invader. That's the whole theory of 'Independence Day.' "

Watch the first seven minutes of FX's 'Fargo,' starring Billy Bob Thornton

Adapting a classic film into a television series is a great idea from a marketing perspective (it's a pre-sold franchise with name recognition) and a boldly terrible idea from an artistic one. "M*A*S*H" admittedly worked out pretty well, and I still ride for "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," but for the most part it's a bleak subgenre.

QualChoice of Arkansas won't alter abortion policy

Catholic ownership of QualChoice of Arkansas will not end coverage of reproductive-related health care in QualChoice plans.

Compromise on federal minimum wage unlikely, Pryor maintains opposition

Sen. Mark Pryor made the case for a raise in the state minimum wage today in a guest editorial, but he maintains opposition to the federal minimum wage increase. Pryor hopes to energize voters around a minimum wage fight while also keeping his distance from President Obama and other Senate Democrats. With a compromise effort likely a non-starter, the federal minimum wage bill appears dead.

The weather watch open line

Watch the skies. Plus, OKCupid, the online dating site cofounded by Little Rock native Christian Rudder, may've forced the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla for his past contribution to an anti-gay California ballot measure.

Medicaid expansion, the private option, and the remaining holdout states

With 24 states still holding out, some predict a coming wave of states expanding Medicaid. While the private option was a game-changer in Arkansas, nationally only two other states so far have gone that route. If political pressure mounts for expansion, will other red states take the Arkansas option? Stay tuned...

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will ask Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider Risperdal ruling

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said today he will file a petition asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to reconsider its recent ruling reversing a judgment of more than $1 billion against Johnson & Johnson regarding the marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.

Lawrence Hamilton dies

Famed musician, actor and former head of choral activities at Philander Smith Lawrence Hamilton has died.

Statement from Rhonda Wood appears to violate judicial rules

The knocks against Court of Appeals Judge Rhonda Wood keep piling up. She's been at the vanguard of the Republican, business-lobby takeover of the non-partisan judiciary. She's played loose with the facts on contributions to her unopposed campaign for Supreme Court by the nursing home lobby. Now, after responding to questions raised by Blue Hog Report about her eligibility to run for Supreme Court, Blue Hog's Matt Campbell argues that Wood has violated judicial rules.

Poor Charles Koch! The press is being mean to him

Talking Points Memo and other news outlets are reporting that Koch Industries is asking employees to share Charles Koch's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about his vision for America.

A Q&A with Stephen Koch, author of 'Louis Jordan: Son of Arkansas, Father of R&B'

How did you first get interested in Louis Jordan? Where did you first encounter his music, and how / why did you go from that initial impression to a more comprehensive, scholarly interest?

A report from the Charles Portis Gala at the Governor's Mansion

Last night, the Porter Fund hosted a $200-per-ticket gala to celebrate the Arkansas-born novelist Charles Portis, who was not in attendance. The Fund, started by authors Phillip McMath and Jack Butler in 1984, presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to an Arkansas author every five years, and this year they chose the author of "Norwood," "True Grit," "The Dog of the South," "Masters of Atlantis" and "Gringos," all of which were on sale at a table display in the foyer of the Governor's Mansion when I arrived at 6 p.m.

More than two thirds of cuts in Ryan budget would slash programs for the poor

Paul Ryan's recently released budget was supposed to be a "comprehensive anti-poverty agenda" that would "speak directly to people who have fallen through the cracks." Lately, of course, Ryan has been aggressively trying to re-brand himself as an advocate for the poor. The Ayn Rand fan with no time for the 47 percent of takers? That was the old Ryan, and it doesn't sell politically with a public increasingly concerned about inequality. But what would his budget actually do? The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is releasing a report today and finds that a whopping 69 percent of the cuts target programs for low-income people — Medicaid, food stamps, grants for college, SSI, school lunch and child nutrition programs, and more.

Chris Tucker is coming to the Loony Bin later this month

Chris Tucker has just announced three April dates at the Little Rock Loony Bin. He'll perform Thursday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m., and twice that Friday and Saturday (at 7:30 and 10 p.m.).

Will French Hill's Volvo work as well as Scott Brown's truck?

Is "Old Blue" going to be a symbol of how Hill, a bank executive married to an attorney, knows how to pinch pennies like the rest of us, a la Scott Brown's truck back in 2012?

The real story about the judicial system in Arkansas

The big story isn't campaign finance funny business except to the extent that it reflects a much larger story about justice in Arkansas. Gilbert Baker and co. have worked for year in the employ of forces who want to make it harder to sue for damages in Arkansas courts: the so-called "tort reform" campaign of big business.

Timex offers to buy 40 properties in plant-polluted area

Timex is offering to purchase some 40 properties near its old Timex plant on the Little Rock airport land and will remediate soil and groundwater tainted by solvents related to the manufacturing at the plant.

A. Walton said to buy $70 million pad on Fifth Avenue

I can see Alice Walton wanting to live seven blocks north of the Frick Collection (with its wonderful Vermeer) and two blocks south of the Metropolitan Museum, can't you?

The Judicial Chaos Edition

Chaos among the state judiciary, Gilbert Baker’s resignation from UCA, Sen. Mark Pryor and the minimum wage, Mike Ross’ pre-K plan and Exxon's not-so-new revelations about the Mayflower oil spill—all covered on this week's edition.

The Friday line

Have at it.

Shopping at Sotheby's for Ms. Walton

Sotheby's American art auction is coming up, and I'm choosing a few things for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

LRPD: Man killed father, assaulted mother

The LRPD says a man killed his father and assaulted his mother last night just before midnight, then yelled for responding officers to shoot him before being tased and taken into custody. Sean Patrick Johnson, 30, was arrested at the home he reportedly shared with his parents, Ronald and Hope Johnson, at 11817 Doe Run Drive in Little Rock. According to a police report, Hope Johnson told officers that her son had assaulted her and Ronald Johnson with a knife. Hope Johnson told officers that her husband and son had struggled over the knife, and that during the fight, Sean Johnson had pushed his father down, kicking and hitting him in the head. Ronald Johnson was later pronounced dead at a local hospital

Mike Ross favors state minimum wage hike

Mike Ross came out in support yesterday of a potential ballot initiative to raise the minimum wage in Arkansas from $6.25 to $8.50. The hike, which would be phased in over three years, has also been endorsed by Sen. Mark Pryor. The grassroots group Give Arkansas a Raise Now is gathering signatures to put the proposal on the ballot in November. What about Asa Hutchinson?

Written bomb threat leads to evacuation of middle school in Altus

Some tense hours in Altus yesterday after a student reportedly found a  bomb threat in a bathroom 

A QualChoice clarification

A statement from Mike Stock, CEO and president of Qual Choice, on providers and policy benefits.

French Hill and his "socialist sled"

Talk Business Arkansas suspected, as did we at the Arkansas Times, that 2nd Congress candidate and banker French Hill has more rides than an ancient Blue Volvo.

Kurt Cobain, 20 years gone today

It will probably take readers of a particular vintage to understand what a blow it was when singer Kurt Cobain committed suicide at his Seattle home 20 years ago today, but for those who came of age listening to Nirvana, what a terrible moment it was when we all found out. A tragic moment. A bewildering moment.

Saturday night open line

It's an open line.

Taking on the Kochs

A new Democratic tactic: pointing up the Koch brother's business pullbacks that have cost jobs to Americans. Will it work?

Isn't that just like a girl to cry about torture

Michael Hayden, old, white and the former head of the CIA and the National Security Agency tells Fox News (who else?) that Dianne Feinstein just got too darned emotional about all those secret detention places and "enhanced interrogation techniques" our CIA uses.

An open line for you

As I sit, in a house nasty dusty with kitchen demolition, sick with a cold and sad about putting my old dog down, I think I've decided it's time for you guys to take over. 

The dining continues in Conway

We continue to dine throughout Conway, this time eating pasta and cupcakes. Come join us on this journey.

Ross, Hutchinson still neck and neck, according to new poll

Much like previous polls, the latest Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll has presumptive gubernatorial nominees Democrat Mike Ross and Republican Asa Hutchinson just about even. Ross got 44 percent, Hutchinson got 43 percent, with 8 percent undecided.

Prosecutors elect not to try former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings for a third time

Pulaski County Prosecutors appeared before 5th Division Circuit Judge Wendell Griffin this morning to inform the court that they will not seek to re-try former Little Rock Police officer Josh Hastings for a third time on charges of manslaughter in the August 2012 death of Bobby Moore, Jr., a 15-year-old Hastings shot during a call at a West Little Rock apartment complex.

Arkansas Times announces new Food and Farm Magazine

The Arkansas Times is publishing a new magazine in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture to celebrate local growers, farmers markets, and tons more.

City's legislative proposal would allow quicker action on code violations

The city of Little Rock's proposed legislative agenda for 2015 includes a measure to allow city staff to act more quickly on code enforcement violations.

Get your Arkansas Literary Festival tickets now

The Arkansas Literary Festival, held this year from April 24-27, has released this year's schedule, which includes appearances by Mary Roach, Mona Simpson, Kevin Brockmeier, John Lewis, David Finkel, Victor LaValle and presentations on lucid dreaming, paleontology and Arkansas legends from Johnny Cash to Donald Harington and Brooks Robinson.

Closing SATURDAY: Cloar at Thompson

The last day for Greg Thompson Fine Art's exhibition of works by Carroll Cloar is Saturday, so if you haven't made it yet, you still have a few days.

Money and judicial elections, part two

When it comes to the judiciary, appearances become reality in the minds of the citizenry the judiciary serves. As a judge for more than 14 years, I know that to be true, just as sure as the sun shines. The Code of Judicial Conduct, the rules by which judges are required to abide by, makes appearances a critical element of the Code’s reason for being. If a judge appears to be biased or partial in his or her decision-making, then he or she is not impartial; and the public perception of the impartiality and independence of the judge is lost.

The Club for Growth is looking for more Tom Cottons

Today, Politico has a long profile of the Club for Growth, the rigidly ultra-conservative political action committee that's long bankrolled Tom Cotton and wants to fill Congress with more like him.

Nolan Richardson picked for Basketball Hall of Fame

Former Razorback basketball coach Nolan Richardson has been named to the 2014 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jason Baldwin to appear as 'celebrity guest' at a horror movie conference in May

Jason Baldwin is apparently slated to appear as a 'celebrity guest' at the Texas Frightmare Weekend, an annual horror movie conference held in Dallas in early May. Baldwin (billed as "Paradise Lost's Jason Baldwin") is listed alongside George A. Romero and the cast of "Dawn of the Dead," the cast of "The Walking Dead," Linda Blair, and various actors and from "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," "Aliens," "Terminator" and "Hellraiser."

'Cheer Perfection' mom pleads not guilty to rape

Andrea Clevenger, the former reality show figure who was charged with rape in January, accussed of having sex with a 13-year-old boy, appeared in court this morning in Pulaski County and plead not guilty. The office of Seventh Division Circuit Judge Barry Sims said that the Judge set an Aug. 7 pretrial hearing in the case, with trial dates set for Sept. 9-11. Sims also issued a no-contact order between Clevenger and the victim in the case.

Foster asks Supreme Court to rule on judicial qualification question

Circuit Judge H.G. Foster has asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction in a recently filed lawsuit that alleges that Foster doesn't meet the constitutional requirement to hold office.

Attorney General McDaniel asks Supreme Court to settle judicial eligibility question; argues administrative suspensions shouldn't matter

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel wants the Arkansas Supreme Court to sort out this judicial candidate eligibility business, too. In an answer to Circuit Judge H.G. Foster's petition to the Court, McDaniel agrees that, among other reasons, "matters of substantial public interest" are within the Court's jurisdiction. He also argues that administrative fees shouldn't affect a judge's eligibility to hold office.

Tree Streets defoliated

Tree Streets will from now on have to get a permit to plant trees on city sidewalks.

The you-pick-'em open line

Even though it would be nice for a team Arkansas beat twice to win the national championship, I'm mostly rooting for a good game.

POLICE: Elderly woman punched in SWLR restaurant after asking patron to stop cursing, melee caught on video

KATV has surveillance footage of a confrontation between two elderly patrons of a Chinese restaurant on Geyer Springs Rd. and a woman who police say attacked them after they asked her to stop cursing while on the cell phone. They couple was eating at Cuisine of China on Geyer Springs Rd. on Sunday night when Bettye Francis, 69, asked Jocelyn J. Thornton, 33, to stop cussing while speaking on a cell phone in a nearby booth. According to police, Thornton shouted and cursed at the couple before shoving and punching Bettye Francis when Francis tried to push her away.

You get a lawsuit! You get a lawsuit! Blue Hog digs up more judges with licenses

The beat goes on in the kerfuffle over suspended law licenses, as Blue Hog Report lists off a whopping 59 currently sitting district, circuit, and Court of Appeals judges who have had their licence suspended for failure to pay bar dues within the timeframe that would arguably have disqualified from running in the first place (or running for re-election).

Bobby Moore's mother speaks out about Hastings case dismissal

The mother of Bobby Moore III, the 15-year-old shot by former Little Rock Police officer Josh Hastings in Aug. 2012, is speaking out about the dismissal of manslaughter charges against Hastings yesterday. Sylvia Perkins, Moore's mother, told THV This Morning today that the dismissal of the charges has been a nightmare for her family. Perkins said that she prays that Josh Hastings isn't able to regain his position with the police department. Hastings' attorney Bill James said yesterday that Hastings plans to seek a civil service hearing to try and get his job back. "Closure and justice," Perkins said. "That's all I want. That's all I ever wanted."

Pryor leads Cotton in Talk Business poll; Democratic Party chairman calls Cotton "most overrated Senate candidate in country"

This counts as big news given the gloom and doom I've heard privately from Democratic politicos lately regarding the Pryor-Cotton Senate race: Talk Business has released a poll showing Sen. Mark Pryor leading Rep. Tom Cotton 45.5 percent to 42.5 percent. The margin of error is 3 percent, so this amounts to a statistical dead heat.

Pulaski County Election Commission objects to state GOP taking role in Voter ID lawsuit

The Arkansas Republican Party is hoping to intervene in the lawsuit over how to deal with absentee ballots under the state's Voter ID law, but the Pulaski County Election Commission yesterday asked a Pulaski County judge to turn down the GOP's request, the AP reports. The commission filed suit last month against the state Board of Election Commissioners, arguing that the board overstepped its authority when it followed the guidance of Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin and adopted a rule that absentee votes without ID should be treated as provisional ballots, with the voter having until the Monday after the election to present ID.

Police: Maumelle High locked down after handgun found; student in custody

Maumelle High School was placed on lockdown this morning around 11 a.m. after police responded following a report of a student with a handgun. After a search, police said, an 18-year-old senior, James Zantrese Austin, 18, was arrested and a small-caliber handgun was recovered from a classroom The lockdown has been lifted as of this writing.

The Renaud Brothers team up with VICE for 'Last Chance High'

Little Rock filmmakers (and film festival proprietors) Craig and Brent Renaud have a new project out this month through Vice News. "Last Chance High" focuses on the Moses Montefiore Academy in Chicago's West Side (the only therapeutic school in the Chicago public school system) and follows its students, deemed 'at-risk' for extreme behavioral or emotional disorders. The first episode was released last week, to be followed by seven more every Friday this month and next.

Tamalittle offers up pastes (savory stuffed pastries, a central Mexican specialty)

If you've ever spent time in central Mexico, there's a good chance you fell in love with pastes, a savory stuffed pastry a bit like the British Cornish pasty — or like an empanada, with the difference being that the innards aren't precooked. A new Mexican joint in West Little Rock specializing in pastes just opened last Friday. Tamalittle will be serving up pastes stuffed with mole, chicken tinga, potatoes and chorizo, beans and chorizo, and cochinita (slow-roasted pulled pork). Plus a selection of tamales. Sounds delicious.

Wake, funeral for Lawrence Hamilton set

Broadway actor, musician and singer Lawrence Hamilton, who died April 3, will be buried Saturday in Ashdown.

Look into my eyes. Am I a conservative or a liberal?

Can this funny-looking machine determine whether you're liberal or conservative? Our political preferences may be more deeply ingrained than we think.

Tech park looking at Block 2 space

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board will also go into executive session at its regular meeting tomorrow to consider eight applicants for the Tech Park director's job.

Pipeline company that wants to build line across Arkansas has history of safety violations

Plains All American Pipeline, which is working with Valero Energy Corp. to bisect Arkansas with a pipeline carrying crude oil from Oklahoma to Tennessee, has a history of safety violations with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and is responsible for three major oil spills in Alberta, Canada, including a spill of 28,000 barrels of crude oil into wetlands near Little Buffalo, Alberta, records show.

The Inconsequential News Quiz: The Cataclysm Edition

Answer questions like, "Arkansas Times Senior Editor Max Brantley is out of the office this week. Where is he?" and win prizes.

Talk Business poll finds big support for raising the minimum wage in Arkansas

A new poll by Talk Business found that a whopping 79 percent of voters support raising the state minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50, according to Roby Brock just now on KATV. Not surprising that it's popular although it's hard to get up to 80 percent on anything

Open Line

Your turn...

Hastings files to be reinstated with the LRPD

Less than 24 hours after manslaughter charges against him were dismissed, former LRPD officer Josh Hastings has filed for a hearing with the Civil Service Commission which could help him regain his position with the department. Little Rock attorney Bill James tells KTHV that he will represent Hastings in his hearing before the commission, and will submit evidence that the jury wasn't allowed to hear.

Medicare releases data on payments to doctors

The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) released a huge trove of data late last night containing information on procedures provided by doctors for Medicare patients and the payments they received (CMS first announced last week that this was release — it amounts to the most detailed database on doctor payments publicly released in the history of the Medicare program).

Arkansas voters evenly split on medical marijuana, poll finds

A poll from Talk Business found that voters are split on allowing people to legally purchase marijuana for doctor-recommended medical use. If a petition is successful to get the measure on the ballot in November, 45 percent said they would support it and 45.5 percent said they would oppose, a statistical tie.

Amy Poehler joins Tina Fey for new Jason Moore comedy 'The Nest'

Fayetteville native Jason Moore, the director of "Avenue Q" and "Pitch Perfect" who was profiled in this paper last year by David Koon, has had a new project starring Tina Fey in development for at least a year now, but it sounds like things are finally coming together. As Variety reported last night, Amy Poehler is in "final negotiations" to join the film, called "The Nest," about two sisters in their thirties who learn their childhood home is up for sale.

The human costs of refusing to expand Medicaid

Great story from the Orlando Weekly on Charlene Dill, a 32-year-old mother of three working three part-time jobs who died because of a documented heart condition. Dill fell into the "coverage gap" in Florida: She made a little too much to qualify for the state's existing Medicaid program but too little to qualify for subsidies on the newly formed health insurance exchange. When the state refused to expand Medicaid, that left a gap in coverage for low-income residents, and left Dill without options for health insurance.

Tom Cotton offers hot air to Hot Air

Tom Cotton gives an interview to the right-wing blog Hot Air, covering immigration, foreign policy, guns, and his own military service. Asked about how to kickstart a sluggish economy, Cotton responds with all Obamacare all the time.

Eyewitness report from drunk driver destruction yesterday

A man with a blood alcohol level three times the limit hit several cars and smashed into two houses downtown yesterday before he was taken into custody, where he punched an officer.

Hillary Clinton watch: "I'm thinking about it"

"I am thinking about it." The national media has been hyperventilating for months about when Mrs. Inevitable, Hillary Clinton, will announce a run for president, so yesterday's hedging was headline news. (Slate: "Hillary Clinton Says (Publicly) She’s Thinking About Another White House Run.") Here we go!

Office of Congressional Ethics dismisses complaint filed by Arkansas Democratic Party against Tom Cotton

The Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously to dismiss a complaint made by the Arkansas Democratic Party which alleged that U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton may have conducted a radio interview with right-wing talk show host Hugh Hewitt that included an appeal for campaign support while at the U.S. Capitol.

If Tom Cotton gets his wish and repeals Obamacare, Eleanor Evans would lose her coverage

If Tom Cotton and other congressional Republicans got their way on the Affordable Care Act, the 150,000 (and counting) Arkansans who have gained coverage via the private option Medicaid expansion would lose their health insurance plans. That includes Eleanor Evans of Rogers, who works two part-time jobs and serves as the primary caregiver for her mother Eleanor Evans — who was once Tom Cotton's childhood minister in Dardanelle.

Another ethics complaint filed against Tom Cotton

Here's a copy of the ethics complaint filed today by former Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Jack Holt, alleging that Cotton failed to disclose clients he had worked for as a McKinsey consultant. In a press release, Democratic Party of Arkansas attorney Benton Smith said, “Arkansans deserve to know whether Congressman Cotton sees himself as above the law. From the complaint: "By refusing to identify the private clients he worked for during the years immediately preceding his election, Mr. Cotton has effectively thwarted the purpose of the federal financial disclosure requirements. Mr. Cotton's actions demand further investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics to determine whether a formal reprimand or more serious action is warranted."

Rice dreams open line

The line is open. Rice, race, politics, and a Republican candidate for Senate convinced that Obama is only avoiding impeachment because he's black.

In Nate Bell's hometown of Mena, people are getting covered by Obamacare

An article in the Mena Star explains that — despite the efforts of state Rep. Nate Bell, the Mena Republican who has made it his mission to stop outreach informing people of their options for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act — citizens in Mena are getting covered under Obamacare.