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College confidential

College confidential

July 5, 2018

Vol 44 • No 44

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College confidential

In exchange for anonymity, Arkansas college students talk about what it's really like at their schools. Read on for the straight dirt on partying, managing stress, Greek life and the ubiquity of Tinder, as told to Tom Coulter.

Minority rule

Assuming that the White House errs on the side of sanity, Democrats may be unable to prevent President Trump’s Supreme Court pick from being confirmed.

This one stings

We Arkansas Razorback fans have such a jaded and fatalistic view of the world that this column was both painfully rote and foretold.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Jesus Called Shotgun Edition

Play at home, while not stealing children and putting them in cages!

Supreme Republicans

Every day's developments produce plenty of cause for hysterics, but I'm afraid the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy will not prove to be much cause for either the woe or jubilation of the past week.

Dirty Red and the Soulshakers at Stickyz

Stephan James and Big Swoll host Indie Music Night at the Rev Room.


I am acutely outraged by what has happened at our southern border due to initiatives by the president and the attorney general.

Not exactly make-believe

Biopic shows us Fred Rogers was an open book.

Nate Powell's 'Come Again' startles

The name Nate Powell ought to be familiar to any Arkansan who appreciates the stroke of a brush across a page.

Lost Bayou Ramblers at White Water Tavern

And much more.

Sauced shows promise

It can be said with a fair amount of certainty that within the next few years, the pizza parlor-to-person ratio of Little Rock will eventually reach 1:1.

State yanks PFH funds

The Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Office of Medicaid Inspector General suspended Medicaid payments to one of the state's largest behavioral health providers Friday, June 29, hours after the arrest of a former executive vice president.

Love vs. womp, womp

I sense that former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's response to the separation of a girl with Down's syndrome from her parent at our southern border will pop up on documentaries about the Trump era for decades.

Corrupt Arkansas

Arkansas jail blotters last week added a couple more names of so-called public servants.

After midnight

For the past two years, The Observer has lain awake in bed at least one or two nights a week and wondered if I have failed to prepare my son, as my father prepared me, for what could reasonably be coming in this terrible new age.

Capitol offense

Safety commission makes recommendations

Also: State lawmaker arrested, attorney general announces Public Integrity Division

Arkansas puts hurt on working poor today

The deadline is 9 p.m. tonight for the first batch of people covered by the new Medicaid work rule to report their eligibility on-line and the outlook is great or terrible, depending on your point of view about assisting the poor in obtaining health coverage.

Scott Pruitt and the limits of a free press in the time of Trump

Democracy dies in darkness, proclaims the credo of the Washington Post but an extraordinary amount of sunlight has not killed off one of the most corrupt members of the Trump administration after Trump himself — EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

Getting Freshii, with corrections!

A franchise of Freshii, a Canadian chain restaurant with a mantra (“Let’s eat without regret. Let’s love kale. Let’s embrace quinoa.” etc.), is coming July 17 to 1335 S. Main St. in Bentonville.

SWOP call for entries

The Arkansas Arts Council is accepting entries to the 2019 "Small Works on Paper" traveling exhibition.

Taking progress to Saline County

A progressive movement in Saline County? Yes. And women are leading it.

Meeting set about the ills of Issue One

And speaking of do-gooders, here's notice of a grassroots effort to stir opposition to Issue One, the constitutional amendment proposed by the chamber of commerce, nursing homes and doctors to devalue human life through discouragement of damage lawsuits and to strip the Supreme Court of rule-making authority in favor of the  often corrupt and special interest-controlled legislature.

Staying eligible for Medicaid is as easy as watching YouTube. You have a computer don't you?

The Hutchinson administration insists it's an easy matter to prove to the state that you are eligible for the expanded Medicaid coverage available to the working poor under the so-called Arkansas Works program. Just surf over to the DHS YouTube page.

Fired UA sports boss Jeff Long hired as Kansas athletic director at $1.5 million a year

Jeff Long, fired as University of Arkansas athletic director at the end of a disappointing football season along with coach Bret Bielema, has been hired as athletic director at Kansas.

State school scores a mixed bag, with many downward trends

Here's the state Education Department release on standardized testing of public schools students on the ACT Aspire tests in the last school year. You read, you decide the bottom line.

Hutchinson fills two more seats on state Board of Education

Gov. Asa Hutchinson filled two more seats on the state Board of Education today naming Dr. Sarah Burks Moore of Stuttgart to replace Joseph Black and Kathy McFetridge of Springdale to succeed Mireya Reith.

Scott Pruitt resigns as head of EPA. Maybe journalism does work.

The scandal-ridden Scott Pruitt has resigned as head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Caterpillar announces expansion at North Little Rock plant

Caterpillarannounced today a $40 million expansion of its equipment assembly plant in North Little Rock that could add 250 jobs over the next two years.

UPDATE: Judge orders LR to provide cops' photos with names; city position in flux

UPDATE: The resolution of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking photos of Little Rock police officers grew complicated after Judge Wendell Griffen ruled that blogger Russ Racop, a city board candidate, was entitled to them under the Freedom of Information Act. The city will provide photos, but not with names. But then Cameron more wrinkles.

The open line and headlines

The daily news roundup and the evening's open line.

At home with man who knocked down 10 Commandments

KARK's Tyler Thomason reported yesterday on an interview in Alma with Michael Reed, the man acquitted by reason of mental disease in destroying the new 10 Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds.

More religion by government: This time football camp revival meetings

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has complained about preaching by evangelists at football camps at public schools in Hackett and Waldron.

Trump tariffs hit farmers hard

Well, the trade war has begun and the early returns for farmers are not good — sharp reductions in the prices for soybeans and corn. You may have heard that Arkansas, which overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump, has some agricultural interests, particularly in soybeans.

London to greet Trump with blimp of whining Trump in diaper

In addition to mass protests, London will greet a July 13 visit by Donald Trump with a giant blimp of a diapered, whimpering Trump tethered to a mooring near Parliament.

In a world in need of good news, the Conway PD comes to the rescue

I confess that a French bulldog bias drew me to this story on the Conway Police Department Facebook page.

Little Rock Zoo adds pair of cheetahs

The Little Rock Zoo has added a pair of two-year-old male cheetahs to its Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost. They join a 7-year-old female at the zoo since 2012.

Segregation? What segregation? Arkansas doesn't want to hear about it

Orval Faubus didn't live long enough. See new rules on school district transfers that purposely make it difficult to invoke resegregation against open-ended student transfers.

Petition day arrives for ballot measures on casinos, minimum wage and term limits

Today's the deadline to submit petitions to qualify initiated acts and constitutional amendments for the ballot. On tap: casinos, minimum wage, term limits.

Little Rock complies with court order on release of police photos with names

The city of Little Rock decided after some confusion yesterday to comply with an order that it must provide all photos of Little Rock police officers, except for undercover officers, including their names in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

The Friday report and open line

News from casinos to Trump to French bulldogs in the daily video. Here's your open line.

Children's Hospital investigating misuse of patient information

Arkansas Children's Hospital says a former employee may have accessed personal and financial information of some 4,500 patients, perhaps for financial gain. The employee has been fired as a result of investigation begun by the Social Security Administration.

The Preferred Family Healthcare Implosion Edition

This week's podcast topics include the downfall of one of the state's largest behavioral health providers, a preview of ballot initiatives facing voters this November, and another twist in the state's absurdist medical marijuana drama.

State updates on termination of Preferred Family contracts

The state Human Services Department provided an update today on steps taken to end contracts with Preferred Family Healthcare and place those receiving services elsewhere. The first contracts to go affect only a handful of people.

State Board of Education to consider high school course list

The state Board of Education agenda July 12 includes the course list from which 38 credits will be required for high school graduation. Journalism and physics — to name two courses no longer required to be taught at Arkansas high schools— are among the courses listed for elective credit counting toward graduation, if available

CARTI will pay city for tree clearing with replanting, cash

An item scheduled for Little Rock City Board consideration indicates CARTI Cancer Center cleared 39 trees without permission along CARTI Way and west of the Woodland Heights Retirement Center and as a result will enter an agreement with the city to replant 45 trees and contribute $63,000 to the city tree fund. Also on City Board agenda: New shopping center on Sears site on University.

Melba Pattilo Beals bluntly fields questions about 1957 at Central High

Blunt talk from Melba Pattillo Beals, a memvber of the Little Rock Nine, in a Q&A session on Quora. No white classmates have ever apologized for mistreatment of the Nine, she says.

Womp, Womp: Arkansas Republicans bringing Lewandowski, black Trump apologist to town

The Arkansas GOP has morphed into the POT, Party of Trump, as evidenced by the low-lifes it is bringing to the Republican convention in Benton later this month. Even a sitting member of the legislature thinks Corey Lewandowski is a stoop too low.

'Michael 2, Moses 1.' Photo inspires idea for Rapert's 10 Commandments monument

I thought I'd share a photo message sent Friday to the Arkansas Times Facebook page by MIchael T. Reed, who knocked down the original installation of the 10 Commandments monument. The photo got me thinking about another way (undamaging) to utilize the momument in a way its sponsor just might not approve.

Saturday’s open line

Did you know it was National Dive Bar Day? Talk about it on the open line.

Study finds gaps in nursing home staffing UPDATE

A new analysis of payroll data by the Kaiser Health News found significant fluctuations in nursing home staffing, particularly on weekends.

The Thai cave rescue is underway

The effort has begun to rescue 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach, trapped underground for two weeks.

Fatal shooting on Jefferson Street

Little Rock police say Maurice Culberson, 64, was fatally wounded by gunfire about 10:25 p.m. Saturday while sitting in a Lincoln Town Car outside 1321 Jefferson Street (the former Highland Court neighborhood off Twelfth Street.)

Name that gorilla: And the open line

The open line, plus: The Little Rock Zoo is now showing off its newborn male gorilla.

Wrestling with the Trump era

Headlines worth revisiting on a slow morning: Breastfeeding and wrestling.

Gun worship set at Capitol today with discredited 'expert' UPDATE

The Legislative Joint Performance Review Committee meets at 1 p.m. today and the work of the governor's school safety commission — more guns in schools means safer schools — will be up for review. The rush to praise guns is to include testimony from a discredited "expert," John Lott. Moms Demand will be on hand to counter Lott with facts, if allowed.

About that Arkansas economic miracle: Statistics and tariffs

The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Arkansas added 6,500 jobs, or a .5 percent growth in workforce. That puts us in the bottom five states in percentage job growth.

Republican Party backs accused tax cheat's run for office

The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record reported over the weekend that Arkansas Republican Party Chair Doyle Webb is standing behind accused tax cheat Rep. Mickey Gates' run for re-election. Of course he is. If Gates did the right thing and resigned, it would be an automatic flip of the seat to a Democrat.

Little Rock, Fort Smith land on list of 50 worst cities

USA Today has compiled a list of the 50 worst cities and Little Rock and Fort Smith made the list at 19 and 50, respectively.

Sentencing set for four in Ecclesia College kickback case

Federal Judge Timothy Brooks has set sentencing on four days in September for four men convicted in the scheme to pay kickbacks out of state General Improvement Fund money guided to, particularly, Ecclesia College in Springdale.

Monday: The children's open line

The news today is all about children. Talk about it on the open line.

Trump picks former Whitewater prosecutor for Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh, who has a Little Rock history, is Donald Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Asa sticking with Trump on trade. What's the option?

Gov. Asa Hutchinson went on national TV yesterday to say he was confident in Donald Trump's leaadership on trade, despite recent concerns that his policies were creating problems for Arkansas farmers.  But .....

Thai cave rescue is complete. All are out.

The Thai cave rescue has been completed with rescue of 12 boys and their coach.

ICYMI: Yesterday's Capitol gun show

I'd like to highlight some happenings at a joint legislative committee meeting yeserday. It was nominally on school safety, but it was in fact a staged glorification of  guns:

Petition circulating on City Board composition

City Director Erma Hendrix tells me that she and others are circulating petitions calling for an end to at-large representation on the City Board of Directors.

The dwindling access to abortion in Arkansas

Think Progress uses Arkansas as an example of the diminishing availability of abortion under laws aimed at de facto ending the practice, Roe or no Roe v. Wade.

Arkansas Lottery posts record sales year, though not record scholarship money

The Arkansas Lottery is touting a record year of revenue in the fiscal year ending June 30, but it net profit for scholarships still trails numbers posted in earlier years.

Tuesday's open line

Here's the open line. Also, the headline roundup.

Democratic candidate raps new Medicaid signup rules

Jared Henderson, the Democratic candidate for governor, has rapped Gov. Asa Hutchinson's administration for going to an Internet-only procedure for verifying eligibility for expanded Medicaid coverage under new work requirements.

Repertory Theatre reports progress in salvage plan

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, which suspended operations two months ago, said it has made "significant progress" in stabilizing the organization.

Dateline DeQueen: Cockfighting and immigrants

David Hill writes for The Ringer about Latino-majority DeQueen and a cockfighting raid that continues to reverberate there.

Commission awards cannabis cultivation permits

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission today officially awarded cultivation permits to the five companies that had finished at the top of initial grading of the applications. This is not likely the end of it.

The state's struggle to shroud execution process in secrecy

Arkansas endeavors to make execution drug sources secret as drug companies continue to object to dishonest means to use such drugs for killing.

Trump attacks allies in prelude to Putin meeting

Donald Trump launched an attack on NATO allies in advance of chumming up to Vladimir Putin. And that isn't all the bad news.

Louis Jordan Memorial Highway sign unveiled

A small crowd gathered Monday morning along the shoulder of a stretch of state Highway 49 in Monroe County outside Brinkley to officially dedicate the Louis Jordan Memorial Highway, which runs from Brinkley to Marvell.

Oxford American retires remainder of $700K debt to UCA

The Oxford American Literary Project’s board of directors announced this week that it retired all remaining debt owed to the University of Central Arkansas, which at one time totaled $700,000.

The Rep secure through August 14, Board reports

From the Arkansas Repertory Theatre comes news that it has received "almost 900 gifts totaling more than $422,000 and has secured two challenge grants – one from the John and Robyn Horn Foundation and another from the Windgate Charitable Foundation – valued collectively at $1,025,000."

National spotlight on Walnut Ridge law enforcement: It's not a pretty picture

The Washington Post's Radley Balko shines national attention on a pending lawsuit over Walnut Ridge police treatment of a man who apparently did nothing wrong.

Does an Arkansas-born anarchist spell the end of gun control with printable firearms?

Cody Wilson, the Arkansas-born techno-anarchist who distributed digital instructions to "print" handguns on 3-D printers, has apparently won a landmark legal challenge against the U.S. Justice Department, Wired reports.

Over the hump

Here's the open line. Also news and comment on a quiet day.

Rutledge names new solicitor general

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that Lee Rudofsky, her solicitor general — or lead counsel in litigation  — was leaving to take a job with Walmart's anti-corruption legal team and will be succeeded by Nicholas Bronni, already on staff.

Nevada judge halts execution on drug company complaint

A Nevada judge has halted an execution because a drug company objected to the use of its drug in the killing. The case is something of a replay of the case in Arkansas