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May 24, 2018

Vol 44 • No 38

Read the print version

RiverFest 2018 preview

Some of the highlights.

RiverFest gets a revival in its 41st year

Memphis group takes over annual festival.

Like wrestling

So what's it going to be, America: a democratic republic, or Trumpistan? A nation governed by the rule of law, or an oversized kleptocracy, whose maximum leader uses the decayed shell of government to punish his political enemies and reward friends and family?

Inconsequential News Quiz: Dasvidaniya, Tundra Bean Goose! Edition

Play at home, while genuflecting toward your shrine to Dale Earnhardt.

Trade places

I confess that over the years I've wished a fall from grace upon a number of people. I've come to call it the "Trading Places Award." The recipient is someone who has shown no compassion or empathy for someone else in a tough situation.


Soon after this issue hits the stands all over town, Junior will join that proud mass of Americans in possession of a high school diploma, having graduated from what in his eyes is the best high school on earth: Little Rock Central.

The Delta Exhibition opens at the Arts Center

Plus, much more.


Bike nonprofit in high gear

Recycle Bikes for Kids gives away hundreds of refurbished bikes every year.

Big Piph, Dazz & Brie and Table of Mahogany share a bill at Maxine's

Also, The World Series of Comedy kicks of at The Loony Bin.

Trio's: tried, true, tasty

Salads, fresh fish, reliable dishes keep people coming back.

Post-season time

Arkansas fans who have been focused on enjoying the high level of achievement of the baseball team are hopefully not neglecting the young women on the softball diamond who are making record progress after years in the doldrums of a cutthroat conference.

Now, the main event

I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.

Hogs to continue at War Memorial

Also, Rutledge and petitions and Kurrus throws in for mayor.

Re: bad law

Leave it to a lawyer to twist Scripture to benefit criminals.

'Deadpool 2' is rapid-fire smart/stupid

And super violent.

Catching up with Jamie Lou Connolly

A Q&A.

The Trump litmus test for Americanism and respect

Do what Donald Trump says or leave the country. Is that the embodiment of the 1st Amendment or what?

UA puts goats to work

The University of Arkansas is falling back on a time-tested idea for clearing underbrush. Bleat.

Dirty judicial campaigning: A winning target has more to say

Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Bart Virden of Morrilton, who narrowly survived attack ads by an outside partisan group supporting his opponent for re-election to a nonpartisan seat, doesn't intend to let the matter drop.

Recounts set in two Benton County legislative races UPDATE

KFSM reports that the Benton County Election Commission will recount votes today in two squeaky state House races where incumbents are currently on top by scant margins.

State Police investigate hit-and-run death of bicyclist in Hot Springs

The State Police say Brett McCullough, 52, of Hot Springs, was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding a bicycle about 8:47 p.m. Wednesday on Highway 70 West (Airport Road) in Hot Springs.

Supreme Court orders resentencing hearing for youthful capital murder case

The Arkansas Supreme Court continues to grapple, with divisions, on how to square new federal and state law on resentencing people who got life without parole sentences for capital crimes committed when they were minors.

Arkansas's 'phony' law to outlaw early pregnancy medicinal abortions

An Arkansas anti-abortion law is a phony. It's about ending abortion, not protecting women and a New York Times writer says it could present an important case for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Let the debate challenges begin

Democrat Josh Mahony challenges Third District Rep. Steve Womack to a series of debates before their November general election contest.

An open line and daily news summary

Here's the daily roundup of news and comment, plus your opportunity at an open discussion.

PS: Casino amendment includes sports betting

A casino gambling amendment now cleared for the gathering of petitions to qualify for the ballot could bring sports wagering to casinos if approved.

'The Beyond,' works by O'Keeffe and others, to open at Crystal Bridges

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art goes above and into "The Beyond" with an exhibition of 36 works by Georgia O'Keeffe spanning her career and works by contemporary artists whose sensibilities hearken to O'Keeffe's. The show opens Saturday, May 26.

Philip Mann to leave symphony after 2018-19 season

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra announced in a press release today that the next season of the symphony will be Maestro Philip Mann's last. The ASO will give Mann the title of "Music Director Laureate" and hopes that "Mann will be able to continue his highly successful relationship with the ASO as he grows his international conducting presence and broadens his role within classical music."

Some working poor may still lose Medicaid under Arkansas’s new work requirements, study finds

Many Medicaid beneficiaries work full time — or more — but only a portion of the year, the lead author of the study noted. Among the group of recipients who aren't exempt but are currently working, he said, "we found they’re averaging about 35 hours per week. So it’s not that they’re opting to not work ... . It’s more a matter of whether they have consistent work or not.”

UPDATE: Two new deaths at Brickeys unit

The Correction Department has reported two unnatural deaths at the Brickeys Unit, the seventh and eighth not attributed to natural causes this year at the Lee County prison.

Two wounded in Indiana school shooting

An adult and a child were wounded and a suspect is in custody in the latest school shooting, this one in a middle school near Indianapolis.

An early open line and headline roundup

The open line and daily video roundup.

"Delta Exhibition" winners announced

The Arkansas Arts Center announced the winners of its 60th annual "Delta Exhibition" last night: A slideshow.

No Small Talk, Ep. 17: Mortalus and more

This week, Omaya Jones and Stephanie Smittle hear from Michelle Gann of Mortalus about heavy music, classic influences, Friday night's show with Houston's Doomstress and what it's like to be a trans woman making metal in Arkansas.

Look for casino petitions this weekend

RiverFest will include a familiar feature from years past — canvassers circulating petitions to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

The Midterm Recap Edition

Midterm election results, ballot initiatives and the emergence of Baker Kurrus in the Little Rock mayoral race — all covered on this week's podcast.

Ireland poised to repeal abortion ban

Exit polls indicate a sweeping repeal— in nearly every voter segment — of Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion.

'Spirit-filled' Senator Rapert talks about his war with Satan

Charisma News chats with Sen. Jason Rapert about his fight to put a 10 Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.

The new RiverFest, a review from our photographer

Times photographer Brian Chilson was on hand as ever for the opening of the new RiverFest and he's offered a review along with a comprehensive batch of photographs on Facebook.

The Tom Cotton Big Lie open line

Here’s the Saturday open line with some info on Tom Cotton's attack on Clarke Tucker, apparently viewed as a threat to French Hill's re-election from the 2nd District.

Crowds increase at RiverFest day 2

Crowds grew on day two of RiverFest, the privately re-imagined version of the old Memorial Day weekend Little Rock music festival.

Razorbacks plan a return to real grass in 2019

I don't know why the news of a return to real grass at Razorback stadium seemed like such good news to me. Old fogey, I guess.

Arming teachers: An insurance complication

Gun lovers in the Arkansas legislature are spoiling to put more guns in classrooms at the earliest opportunity. Today, the Washington Post reports a complication — from insurance companies.

The suffering children's open line

Until it's fixed, nobody is doing enough to resist the Trump administration's cruel and thoughtless handling of asylum-seeking children.

Commencement 2018: First Lady gets notices

It's graduation season and I see on Facebook that Susan Hutchinson, wife of Gov. Asa Hutchinson, is receiving some notices for her commencement remarks this weekend at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs.

Calling out Trump on the tragedy of children

The Washington Post highlights today  how Donald Trump is trying to shift blame for a tragedy of his making — the separation of children from families seeking to enter the United States.

Study: Intolerance and its threat to democracy

Study finding: when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people, they abandon their commitment to democracy.

Governor's son arrested for DWI

40/29 reports that Asa Hutchinson III of Rogers, the governor's son, was arrested early this morning in Washington County for DWI, violation of the implied consent law (which generally means refusing to take a Breathalyzer) and speeding.

The battle is for the people, not within the Democratic Party

That notion about a divided Democratic Party seems more popular with pundits than the candidates themselves.

Open line time

The readers take over.

Environmental regulation in Arkansas

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Emily Walkenhorst has a fine piece of reporting on environmental regulation — or lack of — in the Natural State.

Study: Race matters in federal criminal sentencing

A new study shows stiffer sentencing by all judges of black defendants and even stiffer sentences by federal judges appointed by Republican presidents. Women, however, are cut breaks by the GOP judges.

Supreme Court refuses to hear Arkansas abortion law appeal: UPDATE

The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to hear Planned Parenthood's appeal of an 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that seems likely to force the end of medical abortions in Arkansas and reduce the state to one operating surgical abortion clinic.

Former Arkansas TV reporter killed in North Carolina storm coverage

Mike McCormick, who worked three years at KHBS-KHOG in Fayetteville before moving to an anchor job in South Carolina in 2007, was killed along with a photojournalist when a tree fell on their SUV during their coverage of a storm in North Carolina.

'Roseanne' cancelled after racist tweet from Roseanne Barr

Hours after actress/comedian Roseanne Barr posted a tweet describing Valerie Jarret, former adviser to President Obama, as if "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby," ABC cancelled her popular TV show, "Roseanne."

Tuesday's headlines and your open line

Supreme Court refuses to hear Arkansas abortion law appeal; Study: Race matters in federal criminal sentencing; Environmental regulation in Arkansas; The battle is for the people, not within the Democratic Party & the Governor’s son was arrested for DWI.

The Distillery: A new project for the East Village

Another commercial project has been announced for East Village, the redevelopment of warehouse and industrial property along Sixth Street east of Interstate 30.

Boys State: Making America Great Again

An annual appearance at Boys State produces good news for Donald Trump.

Arkansas GOP lands a Trump-in-law

The Arkansas GOP is tickled to announce that Lara Trump, a daughter-in-law of Donald Trump, will be the speaker at its big fund-raiser in June.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens resigns amid scandal

Greitens landed in the national spotlight over sexual allegations regarding his former hair stylist, which became public earlier this year.

New state school standards draw fire from Press Association, others

The state Board of Education meets today on broad changes in school accreditation standards and the Arkansas Press Association is objecting to high school curriculum changes that would eliminate a number of required specific courses, particularly journalism.

The changing face of America's cities and counties

Pew Research breaks down the changing demographics of counties in the U.S.

The ominous U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Arkansas anti-abortion law

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Tuesday not to take up an interim appeal of a ruling that allows an Arkansas anti-abortion law to take effect is not the final word on the case. But that doesn't mean it's not ominous.

RiverFest slideshow and a debrief from Director Jack Daniels

RiverFest Event Director Jack Daniels did not yet have a tally of the reinvented Memorial Day weekend festival’s attendance or profit, but did say, “Bottom line: We were looking for more people."

New Rock the Culture podcast: "Election Edition: The Black Wave"

In this week’s episode, we provide perspective and conversation on Riverfest’s low attendance numbers, primary election results in Pulaski County, and Baker Kurrus’ entry into Little Rock’s mayoral race.

Can Arkansas defend legal support for segregating schools?

Legal proceedings are underway in federal court in El Dorado that could decide whether Arkansas may legally assist resegregation of Arkansas public schools.

RiverFest crowds disappointed, but planning continues for a return

RiverFest crowds fell short of promoters' expectations, but they say they currently are planning a return in 2019.

Spelling bee champ just got her M.D. at UAMS

Arkansans didn't reach the finals in the National Spelling Bee this week, but one past winner has an Arkansas connection.

Planned Parenthood puts numbers on impact of end of medication abortions

Planned Parenthood yesterday renewed its request for a temporary restraining order on enforcement of the state law that effectively ended the availability of medication abortions in Arkansas, alone among the 50 states.

The Wednesday open line

Here's the open line. Also, today's roundup of news and comment.

Honk if you think women are sentient beings

A rally quickly put together today in front of the offices of Little Rock Planned Parenthood clinic drew some 50 men and women (and at least one teenager) to protest the state law that, for now, makes medical abortion illegal.