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Art issue

Art issue

June 7, 2018

Vol 44 • No 40

Read the print version

See yourself in the 'Delta'

Where art is about what we share.

Delta prize winners

Jurors Les Christiansen, Shea Hembrey and Brian Young selected three works to receive cash awards at the "Delta Exhibition" and three honorable mentions, and the Contemporaries art group of young members selected one work for a cash award.

The return of 'Freedom of Choice'

A federal court in El Dorado soon will decide if unalloyed "Freedom of Choice" may be legal state policy, even when it encourages school segregation.

Super regional time

Even with a rather jarring home/road split, Arkansas's accomplished baseballers posted their best national seeding for the tournament ever, and had itself situated to crest the 40-win mark for the 10th time in Dave Van Horn's 16-season tenure.

Bill and Monica

I don't think Clinton's actions rose to the level of an impeachable offense. I do think he is a prime beneficiary of white male privilege and his sense of entitlement is disturbing.

Feeding more kids

Arkansas public schools taking advantage of federal free-meal program.

Plan to attend the second annual Pig & Swig on June 15

Get high on the hog.

Title bout

'Book Club' aims for wit, wilts instead

It's fifty shades of saccharine.

Old Crow Medicine Show plays the Clinton Presidential Center

And much more.

Searching for Archie

The Observer doesn't watch a lot of TV unless it's the killer robots on "Westworld" or the killer sexyfolk on "Game of Thrones." We did, however, want to weigh in on the "Roseanne" horse puckey. You're already turning the page, aren't you? Stay thy hand and stay awhile, traveler. This might be, dare we say it, important.

'The V Show' unfolds at Emergent Arts

On the venerable monosyllable.

Scary Granny Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi has replaced Barack Obama as the all-purpose bete noir of Republican politicians, including Arkansas's, but will she be as potent as the black president?

20 years of progress

An unlikely experiment in grassroots democracy begun 20 years ago in Arkansas today boasts a rich track record of profound improvements to the state's agriculture, civil rights, education, economic, education, election, environmental and health laws.

Kennedy's half-baked ruling

In his majority opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with Jack Phillips, the Colorado cake shop owner who refused to bake a cake for a reception for the wedding of two men.

Above the law

So this is what Republican "conservatives" prating about limited government have brought us: an authoritarian cult of personality, the braggart crybaby in the White House insisting he's above the law.

Red Octopus Theater does summer sketch comedy

Also, the Travs have a homestand.

Inconsequential News Quiz: 'Because I'm Dumb' Edition

Play at home while slathering yourself in lube!

Monument destroyer acquitted

Minimum wage petition gathering begins and a pivotal school case.

Teacher retirement chief says system wants to stay in class action lawsuit

George Hopkins, director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, has told a federal court in Massachusetts that the system intends to remain as class representative in a lawsuit against a securities firm where lawyer fees have become controversial.

Pulaski judges send disputed court assignment plan to Supreme Court; prosecutor objects

Pulaski circuit judges have sent to the Arkansas Supreme Court a case assignment plan that had drawn sharp criticism from Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.

Hutchinson puts former legislator DeLay in judicial vacancy

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed a former Republican legislator Gunner DeLay to serve out a vacancy in a district judgeship in Sebastian County.

I-30 widening document ready for review next week

The Arkansas Department of Transportation will place an ad in the Sunday Democrat-Gazette announcing the start of the 45-day review period for its Environmental Assessment document prepared to support 30 Crossing, the 7-mile, $630+ million project to build a new I-30 bridge and widen the interstate through North Little Rock and downtown Little Rock.

Skeptical court hears appeal on marijuana permit case

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard oral arguments this morning of the state’s appeal of Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen’s ruling that the state Medical Marijuana Commission’s approval of five applications to grow medical marijuana was constitutionally flawed.No decision was made but questioning indicated hostility to Griffen's ruling. Chief Justice Dan Kemp cut off a lawyer who tried to bring up an issue that developed this week — a secret document that was submitted to the court by the attorney general's office.

Rusty Cranford enters guilty plea to massive legislative bribery scheme. Includes $500,000 to one current senator.

Rusty Cranford, the former lobbyist and health company executive involved in bribery and kickback schemes with various Arkansas legislators and others, entered a negotiated guilty plea this morning to a restated set of charges in federal court in Springfield, Mo.It's a massive 43-page criminal information that details hundreds of thousands in bribes and kickbacks to former and at least one current Arkansas legislator to aid a private nonprofit that made tens of millions in Medicaid reimbursements from Arkansas. It is still receiving that money, though under new leadership.

The Rep to sell Peachtree Apartments, re-open doors for annual "Gridiron"

A standing room only crowd at the Clinton School of Public Service's Sturgis Hall was guided through the latest chapter in the Arkansas Repertory Theater's "Next Act," the plan to revitalize Little Rock's professional theatre after its suspension of operations in April.

Supreme Court releases sealed document that says marijuana commissioner was offered a bribe

The Arkansas Supreme Court today released a letter submitted under seal by the attorney general this week in the medical marijuana case: It says an investigation is underway of a reported effort by one applicant for a marijuana cultivation permit to bribe a member of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission.

Your corruption open line

The open line comes on a day when the video roundup is full of foul deeds by Arkansas politicians.

Anthony Bourdain dead of suicide at age 61

Chef, author and TV show host Anthony Bourdain has died at 61 of an apparent suicide. He was found in a Strasbourg hotel room while in France to film episodes of his CNN show "Parts Unknown."

Walton money influences Georgia governor's race and school voucher vote

It's an old story, the outsized-influence of the Waltons' outsized fortune in influencing politics, particularly when it comes to education.

Trump administration seeks to end coverage for pre-existing conditions

This looks big to me, a move by the Trump administration to stop defending key parts of the Affordable Care Act, including bans on denial of coverage or higher rates for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The bribery scandal and the silence of the Hutchinson administration

Worth thinking about: The silence of the Hutchinson administration on a massive bribery probe that includes huge financial favors to Republican legislators including the governor's nephew in the Senate. And the organization that benefitted from the corruption still enjoys millions in state contracts.

Wikipedia: History according to Jon Woods

Somebody has been editing former Sen,. Jon Woods' Wikipedia entry An awful lot there about what a great guy he is. His felony conviction? MIA.

No Small Talk, Ep.19: Jennifer Gerber and Sonny Kay

This week, Omaya and Stephanie talk with Jennifer Gerber, Executive Director of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and Sonny Kay, Executive Director for Low Key Arts, about filmmaking and Low Key's summer workshop intensive, "Inception to Projection."

No ruling today on motion to allow medical abortions in Arkansas

Federal District Judge Kristine Baker did not rule today on Planned Parenthood's motion for a temporary restraining order that would have allowed medical abortions to resume in Arkansas. She wants more information.

Democratic chair criticizes bribery; too little too late

State Rep. Michael John Gray issued a statement today about reports of a lobbyist's guilty plea to bribing state legislators. Whooptedo.

Juvenile judge loses bid to be removed from child maltreatment registry

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Jeannie Roberts first reported news of an Arkansas Court of Appeals ruling  that had the result of leaving a juvenile court judge on the state Child Maltreatment Registry.

Lobbyist's plea deal says GIF funds were steered to Teach for America by senator accused of taking bribes

The plea agreement contains no allegation of wrongdoing on the part of TFA. However, the mention of the TFA grant is noteworthy in part because the funding in question involved both Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson (who is the uncle of Sen. Hutchinson) and his challenger, Democrat Jared Henderson, who in 2015 was the state director of TFA in Arkansas.

Panel finds cause for ethics charge against Judge Wendell Griffen

A panel of the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has found probable cause for an ethics charge against Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen arising from his participation in a death penalty demonstration the same day he decided a case related to a drug used in executions.

TGIF open line

Searching for an honest politician. You know any? Share it with the open line.

The Astonishing Compilation of Corruption Edition

On this week's podcast, Max and Lindsey discuss the guilty plea of Rusty Cranford, the latest in the medical marijuana application debacle and Judge Wendell Griffen and ethics.

Redo underway on long vacant Hillcrest building

Because we mark the sparrow's fall in the Free State of Hillcrest, our home base, here's good news for neighbors on Kavanagh Boulevard.

Follow the money: From taxpayers to churches

How about this? Your tax dollars at work televising Baptist church services.

Joe Quinn heads to the lobby

Joe Quinn, who's had a career in media, government and corporate life, announced yesterday that he'd joined the Capitol Advisors Group and Shiloh Strategic Advisors.

The open line and a homicide

Here's the open line, also news of a Little Rock homicide, the 19th of the year compared with 23 at this time last year.

More good news on Kavanaugh: Restaurant coming

A long-planned redevelopment on Kavanaugh Boulevard is on the list of agenda items for the June 19 meeting of the Little Rock Board of Directors. It will create a restaurant and park on the site of a former garage at Kavanaugh and Beechwood.

Trump in Wonderland

The reality show presidency continues with insults of our friends and comfort for our long-time enemy. That's not all. Something Trump and Leslie Rutledge are cooking up has deadly (literally) consequences.

Open line and a homicide

Here's the Sunday open line. Also news of another Little Rock homicide in a fatal stabbing.

North Little Rock sets an example for Little Rock on economic development

North Little Rock may be bringing its expenditures on economic development into city government, a welcome move for transparency and accountability. Little Rock should take note.

U.S. attorney says he's not after the undocumented simply on status

The new U.S. attorney in the western district of Arkansas tells the Times-Record in Fort Smith that he plans to "prioritize the deportation of undocumented immigrants who are convicted criminals over those with clean records." And that's not all.

Supreme Court approves Ohio voter purges

With the conservative bloc controlling a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Ohio's aggressive purge of voters who fail to vote in a federal election.

Democratic ads attack Republican move against health coverage

Is health care a swing issue in the 2018 elections? Did the Trump administration just give Democrats an opening? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee thinks so and is about to roll out ads in several districts including the 2nd in Arkansas.

Monday, Monday

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

Democratic candidate calls for tougher ethics laws UPDATE

Jared Henderson, the Democratic candidate for governor, issued a call today for ethics reform in light of recent disclosures about corruption n Arkansas government.

Poor People's rally unwelcome inside Arkansas Capitol; arrested again

The Poor People's Campaign, a national effort that has seen members arrested twice in Arkansas in recent weeks, had hoped to have another sit-in in the Capitol rotunda today, but an organizer reports that the group is being denied admittance to the Capitol by Capitol police, who work for Secretary of State Mark Martin. UPDATE: More arrests were made today.

Blue Hog on Bob Ballinger's 'side hustle'

Blue Hog Report has been taking a look into Rep. Bob Ballinger's side work as lawyer and, among others, closing agent for a piece of property purchased by the scandal-marred Ecclesia College, enriched at the time by money guided to it by friendly legislators such as, who else, Bob Ballinger.

Griffen seeks to dismiss judicial ethics complaint

As expected Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen's attorneys have asked that judicial ethics charges brought against the judge last week be dismissed.

Is Jeremy Hutchinson a criminal? Or simply terminally sleazy?

If what Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson did was legal, as his lawyer insists, it's time to write some new laws.

Tribes weigh in after Trump's trip to Singapore

Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un produced the expected reactions and tribal chants.

Arkansas, Kentucky limit access to people's houses

In Kentucky, as in Arkansas, security officers are restricting access to the state Capitol to demonstrators in the Poor People's Campaign.

The Russian candidate and the NRA

Shouldn't this be a big deal? Suggestions that wealthy Russians worked with the NRA to pump money into the campaign to elect Donald Trump?

Pressing to preserve high school journalism

The Arkansas Press Association continues its likely hopeless battle to preserve journalism as a required course in the state's high schools.

Jeremy Hutchinson's workload and the '99 percent honest' legislature

Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is getting his money's worth from ace criminal defense lawyer Tim Dudley, who's vigorously defending the senator against government allegations of bribery by saying all the money he received for Preferred Family Healthcare was for legitimate legal work. A few senators think Hutchinson ought to resign, though they say most legislators are honest sorts. Really?

Suddenly, Senate talking ethics

The state Senate leadership suddenly thinks we might have an ethics scandal worth addressing.

Arts Center OKs budget of $7.3 million

The Arkansas Arts Center's board of trustees yesterday adopted its FY 2019 budget of $7.3 million, a $600,000 increase over the current fiscal year and the largest budget since 2010.

On the agenda: More democracy for Little Rock city government

Little Rock City Director Erma Hendrix introduced at the City Board agenda session today her idea to end the election of at-large members of the city Board. The ordinance would refer the question to voters.

Tuesday's open line

The open line plus World News Tonight with an Arkansas spin.

Another call for a Hutchinson resignation; Democrat seeks more from governor on ethics

Add lame-duck Sen. Linda Collins-Smith to the list of legislators (now four) that have called for Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson's resignation. And the Democratic gubernatorial candidate calls for more from the senator's uncle, Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Hot Springs city manager quits after race-tinged confrontation

KARK/Fox 16 reports on the resignation Tuesday of Hot Springs City Manager David Frasher, as requested by the city council as a result of a confrontation with a black neighbor who is a local school official

Arkansas legislators discover due process in the case of Jeremy Hutchinson

A number of Arkansas legislators told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette yesterday that Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson is entitled to due process of law concerning allegations that he effectively was bribed to represent Preferred Family Healthcare in the legislature.It is a consideration many of them have not wanted to extend to Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen for issuing rulings they don't like.

Clarke Tucker responds to French Hill attack ads

State Rep. Clarke Tucker, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, has hit the air with ads striking back at Republican Rep. French Hill's barrage of ads linking Tucker to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whom Tucker has said he would not support for leadership.

Shania Twain at Verizon Arena: A Review and Slideshow

Twain brought her "Now" Tour to Verizon Arena in North Little Rock on Tuesday night and wowed a crowd of 11,118.

Glenwood United Methodist urges shunning of LGBT day at Magic Springs UPDATE

The annals of brotherly love: A story from Mitch McCoy at KARK/ Fox 16 about the Glenwood United Methodist Church urging on its Facebook page that people not attend LGBT Pride Day June 30 at Magic Springs, the Hot Springs amusement park.

Arkansas's Medicaid work compliance plan is working as predicted. Bad news for working poor.

Arkansas's new rule to require work of many Medicaid recipients and a requirement that recipients report by computer is working. If by working you mean reducing the number of people eligible.

Rutledge announces effort to protect employment discrimination against gay people

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has trotted off to yet another state to pursue her ideoogical agenda — this time in support of a Missouri company that rescinded an employment offer after finding out the applicant was gay.

New Rock the Culture podcast: "Love Little Rock (in my Barry White voice)"

In this week’s episode, we provide perspective and conversation on the Love Little Rock Campaign in comparison to the new fulfillment center in Alabama.  We take a deep dive in the details, purpose, and future of the Arkansas 529 Gift plan (that allows for tax free educational savings) with Emma Willis, the Executive Director of Arkansas 529 Gift Plan.

Susan Inman backs vote by mail

Susan Inman, a veteran elections supervisor who is the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, announced today her support for a vote by mail system in Arkansas.

Wednesday's open line

Here's the open line. Plus the daily video.

Preferred Family Healthcare and Person 5; nonprofit places another executive on leave in wake of corruption scandal

Another executive at Preferred Family Health has been put on leave in the wake of Rusty Cranford's guilty plea to federal corruption charges.

John Lewis: The struggle continues

John Lewis: Like a tree planted by the water. He sits for children taken from their parents.

Tech Park board talks Phase 2, wants more info

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority, which heard from four contractors today seeking the job of building Phase 2 of the park, acknowledged a certain lack of construction expertise and said it needed more information before selecting a firm.