A song for you.
Baker KurrusAugust 30, 2018
Vol 44 • No 52
New Indian eatery vying for best in town
I'm not claiming Jesus would be a Democrat if he lived in present-day America, but would he support the GOP?
Contemplating the heroic life of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), it was easy to think of him as the last true Republican — a politician who thought it his duty to elevate country over party.
Play at home while wiping your eyes from laughing so hard over that title.
The man in the middle of a massive public corruption probe gave money to dozens of Arkansas lawmakers.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge looks like she will survive revelations from her personnel file that she was a very poor public employee a decade ago when she was supposed to be representing children caught up in family troubles.
Governor Hutchinson signaled his preferred approach to state taxation and services last week — keep pinching services to provide a tax cut for the rich.
And much more.
With a broken foot.
Also, Chris Jericho and Fozzy come to Rev Room.
For his last (presumably) preseason trick on the eve of his first game as Arkansas Razorback football CEO, Chad Morris took one minor storyline out of the mix this week by announcing that 6-foot-7 Louisiana sophomore Cole Kelley would be the Hogs' starting quarterback against Eastern Illinois.
It was done so quietly that it would likely have gone unnoticed even without the news cacophony of the Trump White House, but over the weekend the Democratic National Committee took steps that will impact who will win the 2020 nomination.
On "Water Memory" and more.
Others having already said anything we could, and much more profoundly, The Observer is reluctant to chime in at this late hour on the passing of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), but we find we can't help our damn self.
Former champion middleweight boxer Jermain Taylor was arrested again Wednesday for domestic battery. A woman with whom he lives on Azalea Drive in Southwest Little Rock said he knocked her out in an argument.
More guns or counselors? Which is the better course to safer, better schools?
Arkansans for a Fair Wage, the group backing an initiated act to raise the state minimum wage from $8.50/hour to $11 by 2021, says a poll it commissioned shows strong support among Arkansas voters.
Led by evangelical legislators, Arkansas joined a couple dozen other states in adopting a law that prohibits the state from doing business with those who "boycott Israel." It's ripe for a lawsuit.
A metals industry publication says Big River Steel, the startup in Mississippi County aided by millions in taxpayer subsidies and an equity investment from the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, may be sold and potential buyers include Nucor, the competitor with operations in Mississippi County.
A lawsuit has been filed in circuit court in Benton County seeking to foreclose on property owned by Ecclesia College in Springdale that was pledged as collateral on loans by Centennial Bank. The land includes some $700,000 worth for which the college got state money through the likely unconstitutional and, at times, criminally corrupt General Improvement Fund scam.
On two occasions in his out-of-court testimony in lawsuits over the firing of police recruits, Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner acknowledged he'd used racial epithets since he was 16.
The news roundup today has lots of court news. Here's the open line.
Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce heard arguments for and against keeping Issue One, the lawsuit-limiting amendment, this morning and said he'd rule quickly.
All the food blogs are buzzing today about The Food Network's Guy Fieri coming to Little Rock and North Little Rock to film episodes for his "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" show.
Northwest Arkansas craft beer news: On Sept. 15, Casey Letellier and Dorothy Hall will open their new venture, Ivory Bill Brewing, at 516 E. Main St. in Siloam Springs.
Donald Trump has canceled pay raises for 2 million federal employees.
The AFL-CIO, with some 19,000 Arkansas members, has endorsed Democrat Mike Lee for attorney general
Clarke Tucker, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, says he won't shy away from public appearances with constituents as Republican incumbent Rep. French Hill has done.
The Log Cabin Democrat in Conway reports that a rape charge filed in 2017 against a UCA student overl sex with an incoherent, drunk woman was plea bargained to a reduced charge and probation under a first-offender statute.
The Wall Street Journal concludes most major colleges, including those in Arkansas, are inflating football game attendance figures.
A group of Arkansas Works beneficiaries are likely to be the first in the history of the Medicaid program, in any state, to be dropped from coverage because of a work requirement.
Aretha Franklin's funeral is underway in Detroit. The service began with a musical tribute from the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir. Former President Bill Clinton is among those expected to speak.
The death of five inmates this week at the Varner Unit has prompted state Sen. Joyce Elliott to call a meeting of the legislative subcommittee on correctional institutions that she chairs, the Democrat-Gazette reports. Illicit drugs are suspected as the cause of death. The meeting of the Subcommittee on Charitable, Penal and Correctional Institutions will take place next Tuesday.
Gayatri Agnew of Bentonville, a Democratic candidate for the District 93 seat in northwest Arkansas currently held by Rep. Jim Dotson, revealed on Twitter that she was once a bassist in an all-female grunge band. Dotson, a right-wing graduate of Ecclesia College, has never been in a grunge band, so far as I know.
The indictment alleges that Hutchinson converted more than $200,000 in campaign contributions to his personal use over the period 2010 to 2017.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Henderson released a statement this afternoon in the wake of Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson's indictment, with a sharp rebuke of his opponent, the senator's uncle, Governor Asa Hutchinson. Plus statements from other prominent Arkansas Democrats.
Asked by Bloomberg reporters yesterday whether the late Sen. John McCain would have made a better president than Barack Obama had he won in 2008, President Trump had zero to say.
Democratic congressional candidate Hayden Shamel expresses opposition to measures limiting damages to malpractice victims
Hayden Shamel, a 36-year-old Hot Springs teacher and chair of the Garland County Democratic Party who is running for the 4th District Congressional seat against incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman, issued a statement today expressing opposition to so-called "tort reform" measures in Congress and on the state ballot this November.
Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) is vociferously protesting on his Facebook page a committee's choice of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville for the 2019 Arkansas Governor's School instead of Hendrix College in Conway, which has sponsored the program for rising seniors since its inception 38 years ago.
Over to you.
The letter arrived to the governor's office late this afternoon.
The ACLU of Arkansas is looking for plaintiffs to sue over a law that requires state employees and contractors to pledge not to boycott Israel.
Fire it up.
Rob Tibbetts, father of Mollie Tibbetts, the Iowa college student whose slaying has been employed by Donald Trump's anti-immigration campaign, wrote a powerful op-ed this weekend for the Des Moines Register asking that her death not be used to advance racist views.
The Razorbacks dined on cupcake Eastern Illinois to open the football season with a 55-20 win on a blistering hot day Saturday in Fayetteville and they announced the crowd at more than 63,000. in the newly expanded Razorback Stadium, which can seat 76,000. Was that the actual attendance?
Arkansas Repertory Theatre founder Cliff Fannin Baker collapsed Monday, Aug. 27, while at a workshop in New York and has been hospitalized with an intercranial brain hemorrhage, a news release issued today by The Rep's board chair, Ruth Shepherd, says.
Guns and more guns. The open line
Federal Judge Timothy Brooks last week unsealed more than 500 pages of information filed in the trial that convicted former Sen. Jon Woods of taking kickbacks from government money sent to Ecclesia College. Despite many redactions, it is a mother lode for insight to the seamy underbelly of the Arkansas legislature. Vote trading, lobbyist gift-making, medical marijuana plotting and more.
Still more new stuff from Jon Woods trial documents — more dirty legislators and a lawyer's attempt to get Jon Woods to tell the truth apparently led to a change of lawyers.
CNN's Dan Merica has taken a long lookat the race for 2nd District Congress, with a focus on distance being put between Democrat Clarke Tucker and Republican incumbent French Hill and two presidents, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, respectively.
Here's more reading in corrupt Arkansas politics. It includes a succinct statement of crimes the feds were investigating against Jon Woods, not all of them ultimately presented in court. The document brings others uncharged into the picture, such as former Sen. Michael Lamoureux, who served for a time as Gov. Asa Hutchinson's chief of staff and is now a lobbyist. It outlines another new bribe allegation against Woods that didn't result in a charge.
In the federal court document dump last week in the Jon Woods case there was also an order issued by federal Judge Timothy Brooks about documents filed under seal, described in the docket entry above and including a cooperation agreement. What does it mean?
A concealed carry permit holder was arrested Sunday in Greenwood for pointing her Glock at some middle school kids. KFSM reports.
Burn, baby, burn. Nike ignites the Kaepernick critics
The University of Arkansas has responded to my request for a count on scanned tickets Saturday at the Razorback's football opener against Eastern Illinois. I've been less successful so far in getting information from Arkansas State University.
Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, today will file a complaint with the state Ethics Commission against former Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson for using campaign money for personal expenses, as a federal indictment alleges.
The Washington Post gets an advance look at Bob Woodward's book on Donald Trump and it describes a "nervous breakdown" of the presidency. Trump should be in high Twitter gear soon.
The Windgate Foundation of Siloam Springs, which supports college education across Arkansas, has awarded a grant of $1 million to UA Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock to endow the Windgate Foundation General Scholarship.
Little Rock police say they are investigating the death Sunday of Margaret Clevenger, 56, in her home on Old Forge Court, as a homicide. No arrests have been made.
The open line and today's video, with news and comment ranging from "Crazytown" (the Trump White House) to the festering cesspool of the Arkansas Capitol.
As promised, major corporate interests have sued to knock a minimum wage increase from the November ballot.
State Farm will pay $250 million to settle a lawsuit that said the big insurance company tried to rig the Illinois justice system to overturn a $1 billion jury verdict on use of non-manufacturer parts in car crash claims.
In this week’s episode, Antwan and Charles have a special Labor Day Conversation with author and entrepreneur Mario Settles, the founder of TrukPlease. They discuss his new business, the entrepreneurial mindset, and becoming who you expected others to be.
A legislative committee heard from Correction Department officials today on a recent spate of deaths in the Varner Unit presumed to be related to illegal drugs, perhaps the synthetic drug known as K2.
Arkansas Baptist College has issued a news release, posted on KTHV, announcing new leadership for the college, which has had a series of financial struggles.
A Murfreesboro, Tenn., newspaper reports a purported Arkansas white supremacist connection led authorities to find a letter a Tennessee jail inmate had written saying he'd doused a black man with lighter fluid and burned him to death.
A report to the Little Rock City Board shows some geographic and racial diversity in the latest class of police recruits.
Here's an issue of discussion for the Little Rock mayor's race and those for city board seats: Low growth in tax revenue.
Two months into a new fiscal year, Arkansas tax revenue is running comfortably ahead of last year.
Federal court arguments begin today in Texas on a lawsuit aiming to kill the Affordable Care Act and with it required coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, parental coverage of older children and other health-positive requirements of the law, not to mention expanded Medicaid. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is among those attempting to kill the law. That would mean loss health insurance for hundreds of thousands of Arkansans.
The group pushing to expand casino gambling in Arkansas has announced the certification of its ballot petitions by the secretary of state's office.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court finding that the city of Little Rock didn't violate the rights of two abortion protesters by arrests in September 2012 for using loudspeakers in an abortion clinic protest that disturbed neighbors.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Henderson has scheduled a news conference this afternoon to talk about government corruption and legislative candidates in Northwest Arkansas are also calling out corruption heavily concentrated in the Republican stronghold of Northwest Arkansas. It is of course timed with the first sentencing today in the Ecclesia College scandal.
Sentencing of former Sen. Jon Woods is underway today in federal court in Fayetteville and a stiff sentence seems likely.
Court news from all over in the video report. Here's the open line.
KARK reports a bank robbery about 1:30 at the Bank OZK branch at 325 W. Capitol. That is all.
Dueling photo opps today in the race for governor. Gov. Asa Hutchinson had a photo opp today to tout results of a legislative housecleaning bill to strip agency rulebooks of outdated rules. His Democratic opponent, Jared Henderson, put on display points of his public ethics package.
From inside the Trump administration, more resistance to the leader.
More evidence of the nuttiness of the state’s Medicaid work rules.
Federal Judge Timothy Brooks has sentenced former Sen. Jon Woods to 220 months, or more than 18 years in prison and ordered him to make restitution of $1.6 million for masterminding kickback schemes from state money.
Cliff Baker, the founder of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, died today in New York where he'd been hospitalized since last week after a brain aneurysm.