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Warwick Sabin

Warwick Sabin

October 4, 2018

Vol 45 • No 5

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Warwick Sabin: The Visionary

He says he has the resume and ideas to move Little Rock forward.

Starr legacy

Pity the poor white man. He can't catch a break in this country. The nation's capital in particular is filled with persecuted Republican dudes crying woe. No less an authority on male victimization than Donald Trump Jr. complains that he fears for his young sons. In Washington, see, all it takes is a mouthy porn star, a talkative Playmate or an open microphone to ruin a man's reputation.

Idiocy all around

Rapert sued and more.

Anything but Fox

Last week I spent the better part of two hours in a waiting room at the VA hospital here in Little Rock.

Mental health cuts stir controversy

But the DHS says changes won't reduce access to care.

September Mourning comes to Rev

Also, J.D. Wilkes at White Water.

Stand up for abortion rights

Earlier this year, I faced one of the hardest moments in my medical career. It had nothing to do with a challenging treatment or an unfamiliar case. In fact, it had nothing to do with my profession — and everything to do with politics.

Hot Water Hills Music Fest returns to Hot Springs

And much more.

Rolling River Playwrights Collective puts up "Plays in Progress" at The Rep

With lightly staged readings of new works by local talent.


Remember when the world made something like sense, back in that long, dreaming summer of two years ago, before the coming of this walking, talking embodiment of the misshapen original sin America has held to her bosom since before Thomas Jefferson touched quill to parchment, manifested into a human being the way an idea might be hammered into a two-dimensional villain in the clumsiest of B-grade comic books?

Inconsequential News Quiz: Thurston's Navy Edition

Play at home, while wearing your taxpayer-funded camo pants and rubber boots.

The private prison swamp

State Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock) last week exposed a plan to begin privatizing Arkansas prisons without going through the legislature. Smells like a swamp to me.

Boys club

At Kavanaugh's hearing we watched old white men naysay a clearly credible accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, while at the same time accept ridiculous explanations for Kavanaugh's yearbook entries. I can't decide if half the country actually believes the Devil's Triangle is a drinking game and that Kavanaugh was ridiculed for vomiting because of his weak stomach or they know the truth and just don't care that he lied about it all.

A hymn to Q

Quincy Jones doc is a rapid-fire arrangement.

La Terraza delivers on drinks

Mojitos hit the mark.

Voter suppression

The history of voting in America and in our little corner of it has been the struggle to empower more and more people to have a say in how laws are made and are applied to them.

Kansas II

Rapert Rules: He's a public official when financially useful

Citizen Rapert claims he's Senator Rapert when it comes to getting taxpayers to cover his legal bills.

For these Trumpian times: A lying misogynist for U.S. Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to U.S. Supreme Court seems near, but he'll live forever with conclusive evidence of his dishonesty and mistreatment of women.

More on Asa's 'miracle': Lowest job growth in the region

Today's snark: A friend notes new Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers on job growth, touted by Gov. Asa Hutchinson as one of the achievements of this administration. Arkansas ranks 47th out of 50 in job growth year to year in August. The regional breakdown is even worse:

Casino backers: House wins, everyone wins

Shocking news: A study paid for by backers of the casino expansion amendment concludes it would be an economic boon to the state.

2,400 law profs, including 14 in Arkansas, oppose Kavanaugh confirmation, which moves to vote Saturday

The opposition to Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court has grown among law school professors in the U.S. and Arkansas.

John Thurston not only wasted $30,000 on boat, he's faulted on response on river wreckage UPDATE

Blue Hog Report, who broke the story on the $30,000-plus and counting wasted by Land Commissioner John Thurston on purchasing and storing a little-used boat rig suitable for bass fishing, illustrates further how wasteful the purchase has been and how Thurston has neglected the law he claims justified the purchase.

Friday: The open line and news roundup

Open line and the daily news video.

Susan Collins, Manchin support for Kavanaugh. Looks done

Sen. Susan Collins gave Brett Kavanaugh unstinting praise in a Senate floor speech before announcing she'd vote for his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. That likely locks up his confirmation with Sen. Joe Manchin's announcement he's voting for Kavanaugh, too.

The Big Bass Boat Bonanza Edition

Max and Lindsey talk about the Jason Rapert getting sued, John Thurston’s Big Bass Boat bonanza and Governor Hutchinson’s government restructuring plan.

Of course existing casinos back casino amendment — it's an instant jackpot for them

Least surprising news of the day: The Southland casino owners in West Memphis have put $50,000 into the campaign to pass the casino expansion amendment on the November ballot. To date, Indian casino corporations have provided most of the financial support.

Republican JP from Jonesboro twice breaks ethics law, gets touch on wrist

News today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette illustrates one of the reasons there's so much government corruption in Arkansas — there's little consequence for law violations.

Open line: Kegger at Bart O'Kavanaugh's

Open line: Taps are open. Members of the Georgetown Prep club will be playing Devil's Triangle to celebrate U.S. Senate 50-48 confirmation of Mark Judge's drinking buddy and fellow Renate Alumnus to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Beware of occasional boofing. And, hey, in other news: the Hogs scored 31 points on Alabama. The Tide scored 65. But still.

An art treasure and an escape from the Nazis, with a local angle

The New York Times Saturday carried a fascinating feature on the story of an Egon Schiele painting to be auctioned at Sotheby's this fall for $12 to $18 million. It was owned by a woman whose Austrian home was seized by Nazis but she lived secretly there in an apartment for another year, while an SS officer lived below. There's also a local angle.

Issue One; The facts say no

A good roundup by John Lovett of the Times-Record in Fort Smith on competing arguments on Issue One, which would cap damage awards and legal fees and strip the Supreme Court of court rule-making authority.

King Biscuit Blues Festival 2018: A Slideshow

Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson and entertainment editor Stephanie Smittle captured scenes from the 2018 King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Sunday open line

The line is open. Good news welcome.

Vote. If you're not registered, do it. Time is running out

Tuesday is the last day to register to vote in the November election in Arkansas. It's important.

Climate change: New study says it's even worse than thought

More bad news on global climate: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, convened by the United Nations, "describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population."

R&B Cook-off winners

Check out Times photographer Brian Chilson's shots and video from Sunday's R&B Cook-Off, our event in downtown North Little Rock to support the Argenta Downtown Council.

AETN debates underway, but ....

AETN began taping political debates this morning for airing later, but, as yet, the live streaming isn't working.  Too bad.

Bill and Hillary Clinton plan speaking tour

Bill and HIllary Clinton plan a speaking tour, "An Evening with the Clintons," at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.

Zero Mountain to expand North Little Rock facility

Zero Mountain, a Fort Smith-based cold storage facility operator, announced today a $12.5 million expansion of the North Little Rock facility that opened in 2017.

Colonel Glenn 18 screens SXSW Audience Winner "The Dawn Wall" tonight

Colonel Glenn 18 shows "The Dawn Wall" tonight, the SXSW Audience Award-winning doc about two rock climbers' 2015 attempt to scale a daunting section of El Capitan.

Randell Shelton heads to prison

Randell Shelton, middleman in the bribery/kickback scheme involving former legislators Micah Neal and Jon Woods and Oren Paris III, president of Ecclesia College, is reporting to federal prison today to begin a six-year sentence. He's reporting to a prison in Seagoville, Texas.

Disability Rights group faults poll accessibility in Arkansas

Disability Rights Arkansas released a report today that says half of Arkansas polling places present obstacles to accessibility to the disabled.

La Hacienda Cantrell location closed temporarily for kitchen renovations

Salsa Verde seekers may have run into a snag in Riverdale this week, as the beloved La Hacienda location on Cantrell Road closes its doors for a few days to complete some kitchen renovations.

Bright spots for Hogs after a thrashing

Yielding 65 points to the nation’s unquestioned elite would not normally allow a coach to effuse much pride or confidence, but Arkansas Coach Chad Morris, in the wake of another thrashing by Alabama, still was able to check some boxes in the blowout loss.

Mark Stodola in line for $173,000 payment for unused vacation pay

We discovered this week another quirk about Little Rock's "strong mayor" system — it's a rarity among elected offices in having with the ability to accumulate and collect unused vacation time on leaving office. The tab for Mark Stodola, who leaves office at the end of this year, currently will be $173,623, or roughly 13 months pay at his salary of $160,000 a year.

LR Central's Stacy McAdoo is Arkansas teacher of the year

Stacey McAdoo, a teacher at Little Rock Central High School, is the Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

The open line and today's news

The open line and the daily news roundup.

Michael Storey, Democrat-Gazette columnist, dies at 69

Michael Storey, TV columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and also author of the weekly humor column, Otus the Head Cat, died unexpectedly at his home Sunday.

Senate ethics rule: Reason for skepticism

Count on the Arkansas Senate to enforce new ethics rule? If recent history means anything, there's cause for skepticism. And should be heightened disclosure be limited only to lawyers?

Fire Ted Cruz: some straight talk for the political ad season

When most of the news is bad, a laugh is a welcome respite. Such as this campaign ad by the independent Fire Ted Cruz PAC.

Democrats unload on French HIll

As expected the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad buy in the 2nd District race for Congress unloads on Republican incumbent Rep. French Hill. It's on point with pointed attacks on his votes that would cripple insurance coverage for pre-existing illness and for a deficit-exploding tax cut that provides most benefits to the wealthy.

Mount Holly Cemetery's Tales of the Crypt postponed

The annual Tales of the Crypt, scheduled for tonight at Mount Holly Cemetery, has been postponed for a week's time.

Rapert backs out of debate, offended by link to KKK

Sen Jason Rapert has backed out of a debate with his Democratic opponent Maureen Skinner because she said in a Twitter comment that he was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

Tom Cotton: Conspiracy theorist in chief

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, one of Brett Kavanaugh's most vicious defenders, continues his scorched-earth policy against any who'd complain the serial liar, political partisan and accused sexual assaulter wasn't fit for the U.S. Supreme Court. And Cotton has been called down for it.

Another criminal charge in Medicaid fraud case

A former billing clerk for an affiliate of Preferred Family Healthcare has been charged with a felony count of Medicaid fraud for making false statements that caused overpayments to Health Resources of Arkansas, a behavioral health agency in Batesville.

Tuesday: The open line and the headlines

Here's the open line. Also the headlines and comment at mid-afternoon.

Frank Scott offers 'inclusion' agenda on LGBT, race and police

Little Rock mayoral candidate Frank Scott has released an "inclusion" agenda that, among others, promotes equality for LGBTQ people and strives to mend racial divides between citizens and the police force

Erma Hendrix a no-show at crowded Ward 1 candidate forum

Six of the eight candidates running for incumbent Erma Hendrix’s Ward 1 seat on the Little Rock City Board of Directors took questions in a forum Monday night sponsored by SoMa Little Rock and the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.

Rutledge's latest meddling: New York gun laws

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, with not enough to do in Arkansas (has her ethics effort produced anything yet?), has joined other Republican legal officers in yet another lawsuit intervention out of state — this time to challenge a New York state gun law.

Mayoral debate set Thursday on race

The hot Little Rock mayor's race offers another chance to hear the candidates in action Thursday night, this time on racial topics.

Cop cars targeted for break-ins

KARK/Fox 16 reports a rash of break-insof police cars at officers' homes over the last week and a half.

French Hill and the other 'balanced budget' hypocrites

Think Progress names Republicans in Congress, including 2nd District Rep. French Hill, who are talking about the need for a balanced budget as they vote for tax cuts that run up the national deficit.

The Senate's 'culture of corruption': Bledsoe clan edition

Jon Comstock, a former Benton County circuit judge making an uphill challenge of entrenched Republican incumbent Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, has released a tough assessment of the conflicts of interest in Bledsoe and her family's state employment. It's a good illustration of why recent talk of Senate ethics reform rings hollow.

Al Bell recognized with professorship at U of A

Brinkley native Al Bell — former chairman/owner of Stax Records and former president of Motown Records Group — has been named the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s 2018-19 McIlroy Family Visiting Professor in the Visual and Performing Arts.

Settlement proposed for legal fee dispute in Teacher Retirement lawsuit

A special master reviewing legal fees in a securities case in which the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System was lead plaintiff has approved a settlement of the dispute.  The master found a $75 million fee was reasonable in the case, but found some fault in how the legal fees were handled and recommends the lead law firm pay $4.8 million to the class of plaintiffs and other law firms.

ASO and CALS call for submissions from spoken word artists for February concert

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and the Central Arkansas Library System are calling for written submissions from spoken word artists on “themes of joy, unity and hope” to be performed at the Robinson Performance Hall in February.

Seven properties in Arkansas named to National Register of Historic Places

Seven Arkansas properties have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Department of Arkansas Heritage’s Arkansas Historic Preservation Program has announced.

Local bus service goes digital on fares

Rock Region Metro, the local bus company, goes digital today with a cell phone app that may be used to purchase bus fare.

Rutledge says 'former' legislators under investigation in fraud case

Attorney General Leslie said during taping of a debate on AETN this morning that former lawmakers remain under investigation in the Medicaid fraud probe of Preferred Family Healthcare. She provided no further details.

Wednesday: The news roundup and open line

The news by video roundup and the open line.

State Fair opens Thursday: Get your food on

Kat Robinson at Tie Dye Travels has done her annual comprehensive rundown on food offerings at the Arkansas State Fair, which opens tomorrow with the traiditonal cooler weather. Cricket pizza? Fried Spam sandwich?

Dr. Bevan Keating succeeds Leslie Golden as executive director at Wildwood

Wildwood Park for the Arts announced this afternoon that current Wildwood Artistic Director Dr. Bevan Keating will succeed Leslie Golden as Executive Director, effective October 8, 2018.

Susan Inman trounces John Thurston in AETN debate

Please, voters, tune in to AETN to watch the debate for secretary of state between Republican John Thurston, Democrat Susan Inman and Libertarian Chris Olson.

Gov. Hutchinson sets town halls. Little Rock omitted.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has scheduled a series of town hall around the state beginning Monday. The stops don't include Little Rock

Conway debate called off; Republicans won't participate

A political debate for legislative candidates in Conway — a debate Sen. Jason Rapert originally encouraged — has now been scrapped because of a fuss started by Rapert's refusal to participate.

What would you do to optimize brain function? A Little Rock doctor has a solution.

What would you do to be able to retain your brain to help it function better? A Little Rock doctor, Becky Whetstone, has a solution for you. She has brought a user-friendly neurofeedback brain training system to Arkansas - the first of its kind.

20 in White County charged in unemployment fraud

The U.S. attorney's office announced today that 20 people from White County had been charged in a scheme to unlawfully collect unemployment benefits.

Womack judgeship plan passed over by circuit judges

Here's an update on the debate among Arkansas judges on addressing requests for new judgeships. Judges, meeting on the matter during the Arkansas Judicial Council meeting in Rogers, agreed five are needed but did not vote on Supreme Court Justice Shawn Womack's idea to create the new judgeships by taking them away from other districts in the state.

Clarke Tucker calls for new statue, replacing his ancestor, to represent Arkansas in U.S. Capitol

State Rep. Clarke Tucker of Little Rock, the Democratic nominee for 2nd District Congress, says it's time for Arkansas to be represented by new statues in the U.S. Capitol. That would mean removal of a statue of his great-great-grandfather, former governor and U.S. senator James Clarke.

Contrasts between LR mayoral candidates emerge at forum on homelessness

Kurrus and Sabin both spoke in generalities about the need for city government to better systematize the delivery of services for people experiencing homelessness. But they diverged on a few key issues, including public transportation and the question of providing services to people living in camps. (Frank Scott wasn't present.)