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Arkansas CommitmentMay 31, 2018
Vol 44 • No 39
(Shin) dig it.
We swore last week would be the final graduation story, but permit us one last one, for old-time's sake.
Play at home, while tending your ravenous goatherd.
This is the third Arkansas election cycle in a row where corporate interests have used the cover of dark money and semisecret political action committees to try to install cozy appellate judges.
'Solo' doesn't quite thread the needle.
We defeated the Redcoats. Outsmarted the Wehrmacht. Stared down the Red Army and humiliated the Imperial Japanese Army.
DHS action on home-care program was 'calculated disobedience' of court order, judge says.
While results from Arkansas's primary elections last week are still not final, they are cemented enough for some analysis of the numbers.
Also, Daikaiju, Spirit Cuntz and Revenge Bodies play EJ's.
Items of interest that emerged from primary and "nonpartisan" judicial elections last week.
There was a fireworks display during Tracy Lawrence's concert at RiverFest.
Another brewpub on the block
The Arkansas School Safety Commission has been discussing important steps that can be taken to keep students safe. It is considering factors like mental health, prevention programs and school infrastructure as part of a comprehensive plan. And while school security can help mitigate the crises we currently face, volunteers at Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America believe the key to preventing gun violence in our schools is to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories.
The recent death of Philip Roth, America's greatest living novelist, came as shock. Although he was 85, and had written movingly of his failing health, the strength of his voice never faltered. "Old age isn't a battle," Roth wrote in his 2007 novel "Everyman." "Old age is a massacre."
Also, Supremes motivate Rutledge and more.
With primary season coming to a merciful end last week, the sprint to Nov. 6 is officially underway.
Some of the best news from last week's primary election was from Arkansas House Minority Leader David Whitaker of Fayetteville, who pointed out that the House Democratic Caucus immediately gained three women after Tippi McCullough, Jamie Scott and Nicole Clowney all defeated their primary opponents and face no GOP opposition in November.
Former President Bill Clinton and author James Patterson will talk about their novel, "The President is Missing," at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at the Jack Stephens Center at UA Little Rock, a change from the originally scheduled venue.
Another study finds a lack of improvement in test scores of students who moved to private schools under a federal voucher program in Washington, D.C.
The governor's commission on school safety got an earful yesterday from members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America about the wisdom of putting more guns on school campuses.
The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System has landed in a legal mess over attorney fees in a huge class action lawsuit in which it was a lead plaintiff.
Dinesh D'Souza, the hate-mongering felon who made illegal campaign contributions, got a pardon today from Donald Trump.
Circuit Judge Chris Piazza today found Michael Tate Reed innocent of a first-degree criminal mischief charge for knocking down the new Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds with his car. The judge cited mental disease or defect for the acquittal.
PBS Newshour gave some good exposure to Arkansas last night with an extended piece on the Arkansas Innovation Hub and interview with its new leader, Chris Jones.
Jarvis Webb, 26, a parole officer on the Community Correction Department's special response team, was taken into custody by Pine Bluff police last Friday after shooting a man he said who drew a gun on him during an argument.
Here's the open line. An earlier reference to barbecue and drinks was mispalced from another item, but heck, go ahead.
The Little Rock City Board election season gets underway Friday and action is expected.
The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission has distributed a worthy tribute to its retiring chief ecologist, Tom Foti, who actually retired in 2006 but returned to work "part-time" and has become known as state ecologist emeritus. His legacy is a wealth of protected natural areas.
Strong employment numbers were announced today, with the addition of 223,000 jobs and an 18-year-low unemployment rate of 3.8 percent. Trump put his imprint on the news.
Bloomberg has a bombshell about a potentially unprecedented government intervention in energy markets by Donald Trump.
The European Union says peanut butter is on the list of products that could be subject to retaliatory tariffs if a trade war breaks out over Trump's metal duties. No final decision has been made.
Breaking news today in the case of Rusty Cranford, the former lobbyist accused of bribing Arkansas legislators.
A federal judge in Iowa will block a new Iowa law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, similar to legislation struck down by a federal court in Arkansas.
This week, Omaya Jones and Stephanie Smittle catch you up on a bit of entertainment news and talk with Director of Trust Tree Programs Correne Spero about the organization's summer songwriting camps for girls.
An AP report says that one person died in Arkansas a result of e coli linked to romaine lettuce from Arizona.
On a day when news broke of Donald Trump attempting to prop up coal miners with forced buys of coal-produced power comes news of another Arkansas solar energy project.
The open line and daily video.
On this week's episode, Max Brantley and Lindsey Millar discuss the court decision that led Arkansas to be the first state in the country where women can’t get medication abortions, Max’s annual trip to Boys State and a federal court hearing that could determine whether Arkansas can legally resegregate public schools.
It might be interesting to watch the race for mayor of Fort Smith, with a primary election in August. It has Trumpian overtones.
A special prosecutor will be appointed to investigate an $80,000 wire transfer made by a nursing home executive to then-Sen. Jake Files of Fort Smith.
The mayor of Little Rock and the downtown Arkansas River bridges were among the signs of support for Gun Violence Awareness Day. The NRA was called down for trying to co-opt the event.
Hot enough for you? Here's an open line. Also a smattering of political news, including one announcement for mayor and ballot initiative activity.
Bloomfield, New Mexico, fought a legal battle for six years to put a 10 Commandments tablet outside a municipal building. Now the bill is coming due, and it's a whopper. Rapert's Folly anyone?
The Business Roundtable bought an expensive full-page ad in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today praising Republican Rep. French Hill for his work on "tax reform."Two things: 1) consider the source and 2) the Republicans are nervous about Democratic challenger Clarke Tucker, the state representative from Little Rock.
The wonders of Donald Trump never end, the latest being release, in black-and-white, of his lawyers' argument that the president can't break the law because, effectively, the president IS the law.
Here's the Sunday open line. And for those of you who have't read enough about the extent of corruption in the Arkansas legislature here's some more detail from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette enabled by recent federal charges of crooked lawmakers.
The NRA and its fellow travelers frequently say the best gun control law is enforcement of existing laws. If only that applied to the gun industry.
Because Oklahoma has legalized discrimination against gay people in adoption, California has added it to the list of states to which state-paid travel, with some exceptions, is banned because of sexual orientation and gender discrimination. I still wonder why Arkansas hasn't made the California list.
Bill Clinton's book tour with James Patterson on their co-authored presidential thriller is turning into a rehash of the Monica Lewinsky affair. It started on CBS last night, but advanced further on NBC today. His defensiveness seems likely to make the story bigger.
The U.S. Supreme Court today sided with a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding.
State tax take in May was up from May of last year, but below forecast, leaving the state with a $44 million surplus after the first 11 months of the year and about $6 billion in gross tax collections.
The Arkansas Times second annual Pig and Swig event is just around the corner, from 6-9 p.m. Friday, June 15 at the Heifer Village. So plan accordingly: Clear your calendar. Get a date. Find a friend. And buy your tickets TODAY, June 4, to take advantage of the $20 early-bird ticket price. The ticket price increases beginning tomorrow.
Of course Republicans in Arkansas don't object to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's coziness with pals in the coal industry. That's how we do business, too.
The announcement on Facebook of a Little Rock Police Department purchase probably needs no elaboration. Bad things can happen.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Sen. Tom Cotton found a reason to cheer the U.S. Supreme Court ruling today on the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding reception cake for a gay couple.
Here's the open line. And the video roundup, heavy on court and legal decisions built on who has rights and who doesn't.
40/29 reports on the arrests of a Springdale couple in a murder-for-hire plot to kill a local judge. An undercover officer posed as a hitman to snare them.
A paid canvasser gathering signatures on petitions to expand casino gambling told me Saturday he expected soon to be also working on a petition drive to raise the minimum wage. That's now confirmed.
It's primary election day in a number of states today and the New York Times has a roundup of races to watch.
News today of a Little Rock business development:
Donald Trump plans to politicize the military today by employing the Marine band and Army chorus to perform the National Anthem "loudly and proudly" as an in-your-face rebuke of the members of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Alice Ollstein writes in Talking Points Memo about the many flaws in the politically popular but punitive new work requirement Arkansas has imposed on many of those covered by the Medicaid expansion created by Obamacare.
Looks no longer will determine Miss America. Nor swimsuit modeling.
Webb Hubbell, the former Little Rock politico, has been picked for a North Carolina panel talking about important policy issues in 2018 elections.
In this week's episode, host Matt Price interviews Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church Pastor, Britt Skarda. Rev. Skarda talks about the process behind creating a sermon and then they discuss the state of christianity in todays culture and politics.
The Tuesday open line. Also, the day's headlines and comment.
The Justice Department announced today that Allegiance Health Management and four hospitals it managed, including one in North Little Rock, would pay $1.7 million to settle a claim by the government over excessive charges to Medicare for mental health services.
In this week’s episode, we provide perspective and conversation on LRPD's response to the proposed ordinance to make marijuana arrests a low priority offense, creation of the Southwest Little Rock Business Alliance, and 2018 Women's to Watch list. We discussed activism and the purpose of the Poor's People Campaign with our guest Dr. Anika Whitfield.
Eighteen condemned men say in a federal court filing that four recent executions in Arkansas illustrate problems severe enough to be unconstitutional in the state's execution procedure.
A couple of more potential candidates for Little Rock mayor have surfaced.
The news that expenses will exceed revenue for Medicare sooner than expected comes with an overlooked message related to the failure of the Trump tax cut for the wealthy to produce promised trickle-down benefits. This has some relevance in Arkansas, too.
The Little Rock City Board voted 6-2 Tuesday night against a proposal by City Director Ken Richardson to put a low priority on arrests for marijuana possession. A big crowd turned out to support the idea.
For the second time, Arkansas Capitol police have arrested demonstrators in the Poor People's campaign.
A long-simmering dispute over the drug court in Pulaski circuit court burst into the open this morning in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report on an effort by other judges to work around the problem in Judge Mary McGowan's court.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton had the nerve yesterday to castigate Democrats for obstruction. His criticism was both flawed and hypocritical.
Jessie Turnure at KARK/Fox 16 reports that some gun toters are unhappy to still be greeted by No Guns signs at city and some state office buildings.
State Rep. Warwick Sabin today made official what he's been doing for months, running for Little Rock mayor.
The University of Central Arkansas, to nobody's surprise, has hired House Speaker Jeremy Gillam as its $130,000-a-year lobbyist, effective next week, and he'll quit the House to take the job.
Feds' effort to punish "sanctuary city" Philadelphia ruled unconstitutional.
Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, will face John Cox, a Republican, in a runoff for California governor despite a multi-million-dollar investment by charter-school back billionaires (naturally including a Walton) in the candidacy of Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa, a charter school backer.
Over the hump. The open line and the daily video, topped by marijuana news.
The Arkansas Supreme Court tomorrow will hear oral arguments on Judge Wendell Griffen's decision tossing the award of marijuana cultivation permits. But intrigue surrounds events this week.