Restored Joe Jones painting centerpiece of new UA Little Rock Downtown.
Natives GuideDecember 27, 2018
Vol 45 • No 17
Nine for the nighttime.
A guide to where to look.
Here’s a look at the year 2018 in Little Rock through the lens of Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson.
Here's a great roundup of fake Facebook pages for Arkansas cities, courtesy of NEA Reports. They popped up throughout the year and were not been always met with humor by officials of lampooned cities, ranging from Little Rock to Paragould.
A forecast of school legislation in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning included the almost-certain return of expanded school voucher legislation in Arkansas, though it was pla
Promising a "new day" in Little Rock government, Frank Scott Jr. was inaugurated today as the city's first popularly elected black mayor. He was cheered on by a largely black crowd of over 1,000 that nearly filled Robinson Center Performance Hall, a significant departure from the small inauguration ceremonies held in years past at Little Rock City Hall.
Reader comment welcome.
The New Year brings news of an appearance in Little Rock by the electrifying Rev. Dr. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign, who'll bring his message to Arkansas for the opening of the legislature, where attitudes toward poor people could use some adjustment. Though perhaps not as much as in the mind of Jerry Falwell Jr.
The Washington Post focuses on Arkansas voters' increase in the minimum wage and leadership by lawyer David Couch as part of an article predicting more investment in progressive ballot initiatives.
More reading for the 2019 legislature from Mother Jones: A big payoff for Alabama's investment in quality (note emphasis) pre-K education.
Though the Times has gone to a new monthly format, that doesn't mean you'll no longer be hearing from our columnists. Today, Gene Lyons writes about the idiocy of Trump's wall, the new political reality the president faces and what the Congress should do to create real reforms in border security and how to handle asylum seekers.
Oklahoma is willing to help Arkansans receive medical marijuana, but an Arkansas catch prohibits it.
Here we go again: an open line and the day's video roundup of news and comment.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has named Keith Gibson of Fort Smith, a telecommunications executive, to the state Highway Commission for a 10-year term in a seat that had been held by Dick Trammel.
The Core pub in North Little Rock has called it quits.
Brian Chilson was on hand for the Jan. 1 inauguration of Frank Scott Jr. as Little Rock mayor and the "Unite Little Rock: The People's Party" in the William Grant Still Ballroom of Robinson Center Performance Hall.
A new wrinkle in Pope County, where controversy brews over a casino project. Ben Cross, the new county judge, took office Jan. 1 to find the previous judge, Jim Ed Gibson, stripped it of records before departing.UPDATE: The departed judge says they are in storage.
"True Detective" season 3, debuting on HBO Jan. 13 and filmed and set in Northwest Arkansas, is a return form for the anthology series, critics seem to agree. That's good news. Because Arkansas has so few moments in popular culture, you were obligated to watch it to support the scenery and local extras and so you could knowingly tell your spouse, "They fished that dead body out of the Monte Ne ruins." So I'm glad to hear people think it's worthwhile.
Audubon Arkansas is circulating a petition to Governor Hutchinson asking that he reject the state Plant Board's vote to extend the use of the controversial herbicide dicamba.
Jim Bailey, the Arkansas sportswriter known by other newspaper people as the gold standard for reporting and writing, has died at 86.
The scientific world is buzzing about NASA's photographic flyby of Ultima Thule, a space object known as a "contact binary." This has, in turn, set off a buzz about an Ultima Thule much closer to home, in Sevier County to be precise.
KFSM reports here on a jury's award of $5.8 million in damages against Mercedes-Benz of Northwest Arkansas in a lawsuit by the purchaser of a used Ferrari who claimed deceptive trade practice by the dealer.
Care to handicap who'll be chosen to be the next director of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System, where a board newly controlled by Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently forced the retirement of Gale Stone? Our morning line favors Duncan Baird.
Will Trice, a Little Rock native and Tony-winning New York producer, has been named to lead the revival of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. He's the new executive artistic director.
It's official: Will Trice, Little Rock native, Central High graduate and three-time Tony Award-winning producer, will take the helm at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre as artistic executive director. Trice has been acting as a consultant with The Rep since December 2018, and assumes his role in August 2019.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette will cease its monthly Arkansas Life magazine without sufficient paid subscriptions UPDATE
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has mailed a notice that it will cease publication of its monthly Arkansas Life magazine, which has been circulated for free by mail, unless sufficient people sign up as paid subscribers.
Arkansas tax revenue in December, the sixth month of the fiscal year, was $605.9 million, 2.8 percent above last year and 1.5 percent above the forecast on which the state budget is based.
Alan Leveritt, publisher of the Arkansas Times, writes for the ACLU website on why the newspaper has sued to contest an Arkansas law meant to discourage or prevent state business with people who won't sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.
One glaring omission in my coverage (and that of others) of the Jan. 1 inauguration of Frank Scott as Little Rock mayor was the stirring "New Year's blessing" Preston Clegg, senior pastor of Second Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock, delivered to close the ceremony.
It's that time: The daily video roundup of news and comment and the open line.
Byron Freeland, attorney for the Arkansas Racing Commission, has distributed a proposed change in draft rules for the regulation of casino gambling that would clarify a potential controversy over what constitutes approval by a local official of a casino application.
Josh Mahony, the Democrat who ran for 3rd District Congress this year, has posted a video on Twitter that illustrates one of the many flaws in the system by which Arkansas first mandated computer-only reporting to qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage. If you have a computer, have access, have e-mail can figure out the process, you still might be stymied by not having an up to date browser.
A huge crowd and uplifting blessings Tuesday cheered many about the rise of Frank Scott Jr. as the first popularly elected black mayor of Little Rock. But I got an e-mail last night that reminded me how quickly reality bites in the form of troublemakers. Bless them, too.
Mitch McCoy of KARK/Fox 16 reports two are dead in a shooting near M.L. King Drive and Roosevelt Road in Little Rock this morning.
The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum was awarded $12 million from the Windgate Charitable Foundation to endow its general operations and programming, the Southwest Times Record reports.
Federal Judge Brian Miller heard arguments today from the Arkansas Times and the ACLU for an injunction against the Arkansas law that requires state contractors to sign a pledge not to engage in a boycott against Israel. He said he wanted to do more research before ruling.
Here's a brief update on the machinations about the possibility of a casino in Pope County under the new Amendment 100, which expanded casino gambling in Arkansas.
The open line and today's video roundup of news and comment.
The Arkansas State Plant Board has issued licenses for industrial hemp cultivation and processing.
Bale's Cheney is a quiet, calculating emperor on the rise.
Leila Dockery, 62, recently completed a three-year walking journey during which she walked every street in every neighborhood in Little Rock. And she's got a map to prove it.
Max and Lindsey talk about drama in Pope County, new Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, medical marijuana and more.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a warning to Arkansans this evening that though they might soon be able to obtain legal medical marijuana in Oklahoma, it won't be legal to bring it to Arkansas or possess it here.
Miss the New Year's Day deadline to enter the 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase? You're in luck.
The State Plant Board announced today it will take written public comments on the use of the weed-killer dicamba on dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton varieties from Monday, Jan. 7, through Tuesday, Feb. 5, and hold a public hearing on the subject at 9 a.m. Feb. 20 at the Embassy Suites, 11301 Financial Centre Parkway.
Please read a biting column in the Carroll County News by managing editor Scott Loftis responding to Sen. Bob Ballinger's explanation for news of his state income tax delinquency — the sacrifice he has to make economically for public service.
The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record reports on a hearing in the felony tax case against Republican Rep. Mickey Gates of Hot Springs in which his attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, laid out a "good faith" defense for Gates failure to file income tax returns.
An open line with a river view.
Little Rock police have identified the two men fatally shot around 10 a.m. Friday near M.K. King Drive and Roosevelt Road, but said little about what caused the killings.
Tonight's open line includes information about a story that's getting heavy attention on social media today: A Faulkner County deputy has been fired for shooting a small barking dog.
Here's the bigger picture on a good story in the Democrat-Gazette today on manipulation of a Republican legislator by some sketchy characters with sketchy legislation.
Here's a worthy example of how Arkansas public policy set by the legislature has real life consequences: The difficulty of receiving training in and performing a legal and sometimes life-saving medical procedure — abortion.
A traffic death, a double homicide, a dishonest press secretary and a progress report on dog shot by deputy are among an unusual burst of Sunday news headlines.
The readers have the floor.
Is anybody in the solid Trump majority in Arkansas troubled at all by the lack of dependability in White House leadership?
40/29 brightens my morning with a report that the state's first axe-throwing facility, the Urban Forest Axe House, has opened in Bentonville.
Southwestern Electric Power Company, which serves many customers in Arkansas, issued a release today saying it was asking for proposals to provide 1,200 megawatts of additional wind-generated energy by the end of 2021.
Fourteen Little Rock artisans are working to open Bread and Roses Cooperative, Little Rock’s first worker-owned store, cafe and community arts center, this month at 2909 W. Markham St., in Stifft Station.
Meet Will Trice, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre's new executive artistic director.
The Central Arkansas Astronomical Society gives us five good reasons to turn our gazes upward in 2019.
The federal government shutdown affects more than Democratic-leaning voters in the Washington area. You'd think we'd have heard at least some sympathetic noises from the Arkansas congressional delegation by now.
Monday: The video news roundup and your open line.
Renowned lyrico-spinto soprano Kristin Lewis, a Little Rock native who began her voice studies under the tutelage of Dr. Martha Antolik at the University of Central Arkansas, makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera tonight.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, for Legends Lounge in Verizon Arena, a space where people can go to avoid the hoi polloi and drink and eat.
Lime pay-as-you-go electric scooters are available starting today in the River Market as part of a six-month pilot project between Lime and the city of Little Rock. Up to 500 scooters could eventually be deployed downtown during the pilot. The scooters cost $1 to unlock with an app and 15 cents per minute of riding thereafter.
A vacancy on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission was filled yesterday by the appointment of an Arkansas Children's Hospital nurse who advocates use of medical marijuana, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Hunter Field reported this morning.
ICYMI: Great stores from the Arkansas Times about walking the streets of Little Rock and a new leader of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.
Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has been charged with obstruction of justice in a money laundering investigation separate from Robert Mueller's probe. Republican Rep. French Hill of Little Rock got information from her during a 2016 trip to Russia with the Russians' favorite congressman, since defeated, Dana Rohrbacher.
The Mississippi casino group that wants to get a license in Pope County is dangling the promise of $1 million a year in local charitable contributions if it's successful.
Donald Blackburn, 59, was shot to death about 8 p.m. Monday after he allegedly attacked a property manager with a club.
The Arkansas Times Brooke Wallace provides a demo.
Food writer and former Arkansas Times Eat Arkansas blogger Kat Robinson has released her third book, this time "Arkansas Food: The A to Z of Eating in the Natural State," she's announced.
Magic Springs announced eight of 14 concerts in its 2019 Summer Concert Series.
Tuesday: Headlines by video and the open line.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities called press today to say that research shows Arkansas's work reporting rule to qualify for Medicaid health coverage is unworkable (we knew that) and unfixable.
The New York Times wrote this week about an aggressive effort by Walmart and other big box retailers to slash property taxes by claiming lower values on their properties because of the impact of online retailing. Yes, it's underway in Arkansas.
The attorney general's office announced today a new charge related to alleged fraud by a former employee of Preferred Family Healthcare, the former provider of services tied up in multiple criminal charges and investigations. This one was small change, relatively speaking.
Gene Lyons writes in his weekly column that the Democrats could assure four more years of Trump with a premature move to impeach the president.
Shocker! Asa insider Duncan Baird tapped to head agency Asa controls, Public Employees Retirement System
Told you so. Former Republican legislator Duncan Baird has been picked as the new director of the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System.
"We all understand that we have brothers and sisters that are reentering society," Mayor Frank Scott said. "We have to make sure that we focus on workforce development for them, for economic development for them, to make sure we have welcoming arms for them ..."
B.J. Wyrick, city director for ward 7, is the new vice mayor of Little Rock.
Watch Trump? What did you think? Arkansas Republicans have their crafted "crisis" talking points, facts notwithstanding.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will consider a consultant's scoring of dispensary applications at a meeting at 4:30 p.m. today at the 1515 Building. The meeting is to be live-streamed on Facebook.
The whereabouts of Mike Maggio, the former judge serving a 10-year bribery sentence, have fueled talk that new developments might be imminent in his public corruption case. The known facts:
GLSEN, a group that works to promote safety in schools for gay, lesbian, bisexual,, transgender and queer students, says its annual survey shows Arkansas schools are unsafe for such students.
Last month State Police Director William Bryant gave Lt. Brant Tosh of Jonesboro, commander of the Troop F criminal investigation division, a seven-day unpaid suspension for rule violations. The agreed action says Tosh also may not seek promotion for a year.
The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, a major force in the state takeover of the Little Rock School District four years ago, says it will announce an initiative Friday to help high school education in the four public school districts in Pulaski County.
Wednesday: A news roundup by video and the open line.
The state Racing Commission, which will regulate casino gambling under the new Amendment 100, meets at 11 a.m. Thursday and is expected to begin a 30-day comment period on rules regulating licensing and casino operations.
Jim Ed Gibson, the former Pope County judge who gave lame-duck approval to Mississippi casino operators should they apply for a license in Arkansas, has asked that a lawsuit against him over his letter of approval be dismissed.
KARK reports that a school resource officer in Dardanelle, a swarrant office for the local sheriff, left a gun in a bathroom recently. Hey **** happens, but not if we add gun-toting to the duties of teachers, legislators promise.
Columbia Journalism Review has an eextensive article about allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment at Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, a story that has distant connections to Arkansas
In a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, the state Medical Marijuana Commission accepted the application results and scores submitted to it by the Public Consulting Group.
KTHV reports that Reese's, the nine-pound chihuahua shot last week by a Faulkner County deputy, is recovering well following two surgeries for a gunshot to the jaw.
Sealed indictments may — or may not — hold news in the ongoing federal public corruption probe.
Whoops: Dramatic cost increase and change in scope for the I-30 concrete gulch in Little Rock UPDATE
The Arkansas Highway Department issued a news release yesterday announcing the Highway Commission had selected the Kiewit-Massman Constructors combine to build the 30 Crossing project through downtown Little Rock. The news release obscured major developments — a dramatic shortage of money likely means a dramatic change in scope of the project.
Greg Spradlin and The Libras return to the White Water Tavern tonight.
Donald Trump talked to reporters for a bit before heading to a border photo op. Vox puts it this way:
Some points of interest about casino gambling emerged as the state regulatory commission began reviewing proposed operating rules.
The state Board of Corrections at a special called meeting this morning voted without dissent to hire interim chief Kevin Murphy as permanent head of the Community Correction Department.
On the heels of reports by the The New York Times and Politico on claims of pay disparity, sexism and toxic masculinity by staffers working on U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign comes a new article from Politico outlining sexual harassment and sexual assault allegedly committed by Robert Becker, described as a former top aide to Sanders and a deputy national field director for the campaign.
State Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) is back again with more proposed changes to the Arkansas child welfare system. Late last year, he filed SB 12 which, like his similar bill from 2017 that passed in the Senate with bipartisan support but later died in House committee, excludes certain acts of parents, custodians, foster parents and guardians from being defined as "criminal" or "neglect."
Thursday: A video news roundup and the open line.
Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Kemp announced today that he'd chosen retired Supreme Court Justice Annabelle Imber Tuck to the Independent Citizens Commission that meets annually to set pay for elected state officials, including judges.
Arkansas a 'cautionary tale' for states considering Medicaid work requirements, health advocates say
The low reporting rate suggests that beneficiaries who have found new employment did so because they were already seeking a job, not because Arkansas's work requirement newly motivated them to do so, according to policy analysts.
Young basketball teams — we’ll routinely exclude those at Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and the like, which feature top-tier talent at every position — really struggle to find cohesiveness. Arkansas’s 2018-19 men’s squad is often described as the “youngest team in America” because there are no seniors and only a single scholarship upperclassman (junior forward Adrio Bailey) on the roster.
Fox 16 reports that Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control and Little Rock police are reviewing the case of Brianne Carter, 21, killed when her car driving the wrong way on Interstate 40 collided with a MEMS ambulance.
House Democrats Thursday passed legislation to provide money for the Agriculture Department and Food and Drug Administration, with all four Arkansas Republicans opposing the measure. Stay on for a dose of GOP hypocrisy from Rep. French Hill.
Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones, who has humble roots in Rose City, has joined the pinnacle of the super wealthy, with purchase of a $250 million yacht. I don't think it's designed for Arkansas River cruising, but it'd be a sight tied up on the North Little Rock riverbank near his old stomping grounds.
Dozens of schools, including those run by state school chief, have ignored law by punishing truants with out-of-school suspension
KATV highlights an item of education interest — dozens of Arkansas schools are punishing truants with out-of-school suspension, contrary to a 2013 state law that was supposed to prohibit this. It gets worse:
Asa's tax plan was even better for the rich than originally thought, while increasing taxes for 200,000
Back to the drawing board on Gov. Asa Hutchinson's tax cut for the rich. Turns out it's even worse than it appeared.
The Big Fish of North Central Arkansas dispensary, which received the second highest score in zone 2 with 342.17 points earned, will be located at 1400 Heber Springs Road in Heber Springs and hopes to open within the next few months. Josh Landers is an owner, and other owners include Dr. Regina Thurman, Marshal Wright and Eddie Garcia.
At Central Arkansas Library System's Bookstore at Library Square for Second Friday Art Night tonight is "Art Not Bombs," a collection of artwork by Victor Wiley and a celebration of the late musician and artist's life.
Daniel Nichanian, editor of The Appeal, a national website focused on local criminal justice systems, writes about the coalition of Northwest Arkansas activists working to end the voluntary participation of Washington and Benton Counties in the controversial 287(g) program that allows the federal government to delegate immigration enforcement duties to local law enforcement.
Cannabis Rx cultivator Bold Team LLC of Cotton Plant has passed its inspection and is ready to begin growing.
There's some real news in today's video roundup. This is also your open line.
Rumors circulating earlier this week were true: Former state Sen. Gilbert Baker has been indicted by a federal grand jury
The Arkansas Poor People's Campaign plans to gather at the State Capitol Monday afternoon for the first day of the 2019 legislative session.
Governor voices concern about shutdown, praises Trump's 'amazing job' in 'educating Americans' on border issues
"I do believe the president has done an amazing job and an important job in educating Americans about the need, and the humanitarian crisis, and the need for enhanced border security," the governor said.
Max and Lindsey talk about the indictment of Gilbert Baker, signs of a delay in the return to local control in the LRSD and more.
The state Board of Education was told today that resumption of local control of the Little Rock School District can't occur until a year later than previously thought.
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin is throwing a party next Tuesday. Y'all come.
An obsessive, troublemaking blogger won't let go of her effort to demand accountability from state education officials. Again, Education Commissioner Johnny Key is unresponsive.
Here's the open line. I also have a party invite from Leslie Rutledge to pass along to the public.
On Twitter last night Ethan Williams, a Young Democrat, said he drove to Gillett and paid $25 to attend the annual Coon Supper so he could ask Sen. Tom Cotton to reopen the government. Sorry, Cotton seems to have said. Trump calls the shots.
The American Atheists organization and individual plaintiffs will be in federal court in Little Rock Tuesday to seek a temporary restraining order against Sen. Jason Rapert for blocking criticism in comments on his Facebook and Twitter pages.
Breathtaking reporting by Pro Publica tells the story of a butcher of a neurosurgeon in Texas who damaged and killed so many people it led to a groundbreaking criminal prosecution. Thanks to Texas' "tort reform" law to limit damages in malpractice cases, civil court restitution was limited if available at all to the damaged patients and families. Save this article for the next time Chamber of Commerce boss Randy Zook, the medical and nursing home lobbies and others try again to make Arkansas safe for butcher doctors and negligent nursing homes.
OPEN LINE PLUS To add to a pending question about whether former Mayor Mark Stodola is entitled to $173,000 or more for unused leave time during 12 years as mayor, City Attorney Tom Carpenter last week asked circuit court whether two current and one former city district court judges are entitled to pay for unused leave time from the period before their offices became full state judgeships, which carry no pay accrual. The judges are seeking less than when the Arkansas Blog first reported the dispute.
Grammy-winning Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh's 2017 piece "The Fence, The Rooftop and the Distant Sea" gets a performance tonight alongside Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A major, K. 581 in a chamber concert from violinists Drew Irvin and Meredith Hicks, clarinetist Kelly Johnson, violist Tze-Ying Wu and cellist Stephen Feldman.
Republican Rep. French HIll continues to dance with the disinformation he used in his racist re-election campaign against Democrat Clarke Tucker
Ruling to protect birth control coverage no help to Arkansas women. UPDATE: Order broadened for all U.S.
A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration effort to end the Obamacare requirement of coverage for birth control under group health insurance plans, but the ruling applies in only 13 states where Democratic attorneys general have gone to court on behalf of women's reproductive health.
The Arkansas General Assembly convenes at noon today. First order of business: A Joint Budget meeting to send out the general appropriation bill that pays their expenses.
I reached out to Representatives-elect Megan Godfrey, Nicole Clowney, Jamie Scott, Denise Garner, and Tippi McCullough to get their thoughts on the biggest problem facing Arkansas, how they plan to deal with the pressure of having so many women looking to them with high expectations, and what they are listening to for inspiration or motivation as they prepare for their first week in the legislature. Up first is Godfrey, a bilingual educator and mother of two who defeated the GOP incumbent, Jeff Williams, by twenty-nine votes in District 89.
The state Human Services Department said it will distribute February benefits under the SNAP (food stamp) program beginning Jan. 17, an early date on account of concerns money won't be available on account of the continuing federal government shutdown.
State Rep. Bruce Cozart of Hot Springs introduced today the expected legislation to raise minimum teacher pay.
Lots of parties this week by and for Republican state officials. Here's some details on the financing and the questions raised about one of them for Leslie Rutledge.
Here come new legislative proposals, including one to expand the conditions that qualify someone to use medical marijuana and another to replace existing Arkansas statues in the Hall of Statuary in Washington with a famous former doper better known for his music, Johnny Cash, and civil rights leader Daisy Bates.
The daily video begins with a legislative roundup. This is the open line.
How bad is Donald Trump? Let The Atlantic summarize:
UA Little Rock's "On Their Own Terms," an exhibition of works from the 19th century to now by African Americans, explores the kinship between artists. Read our review of the show, which opens Jan. 17, here.
Natural Relief Dispensary owner Michael Faught and his brother Brian Faught said the new dispensary will open at 3107 East Kiehl Avenue in Sherwood, hopefully within five to six months after breaking ground on the dispensary's new facility. Natural Relief Dispensary received the fourth highest score in zone 5 with 375.11 points earned.
Creep out your friends and loved ones 'True Detective'-style with a cornhusk doll kit from the Historic Arkansas Museum gift shop
The third season of HBO's "True Detective," filmed and set in Northwest Arkansas, premiered last night with the first two episodes available to stream. Along with the thrill of recognizing landmarks, such as the Christ of the Ozarks statue, in the new season's opening credits, Arkansas viewers also have the opportunity to recreate the show's morbid malaise with the help of a cornhusk doll kit available for a cool $7.25 at the Historic Arkansas Museum gift shop.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell came very close today to calling for Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican, to resign from Congress on account of his racist remarks. Don't hold your breath for similar from Arkansas Republicans.
Five questions with Ashlie Atkinson, Little Rock native, Hendrix College graduate and award-winning television, film and theatre actor.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced today that he intended to take control of hiring of the next police chief, along with other executive powers that had been ceded previously to the city manager.
Dr. Blake Perkins' "Hillbilly Hellraisers: Federal Power and Populist Defiance in the Ozarks" is the subject of discussion tonight at the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Sen. Jim Hendren, the new leader of the Arkansas Senate, commanded a swath of newsprint in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette this morning for his opening speech exhorting an end to the era of "greed and corruption" in the Arkansas legislature. A few thoughts about that, with more to come as events warrant.
A setback for Donald Trump's anti-immigrant agenda: A federal judge has blocked the administration's plan to ask a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
I wish I'd written this, a Jonesboro Sun editorial on the one-week suspension given Brant Tosh, the State Police criminal investigation division commander in Jonesboro, for misbehavior that should have gotten him fired. It was a case in which his father's role as a Republican member of the state legislature undoubtedly had influence. Are we in a new era of clean government or not?
Rep. Jamie Scott (North Little Rock) became the youngest African-American woman in the Arkansas Legislature. Scott, the executive director for Pulaski County Youth Services, defeated opponent Isaac Henry in the District 37 Democratic primary and went on to run unopposed in the general election. Recently, she took time to answer my questions about what problem she believes needs fixing in Arkansas, the pressures of being a woman elected in 2018 and the music she is listening to as she prepares for her first week of the 2019 legislative session.
Behold Arkansas, said its governor: Things look good.
The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission announced today that it has a tenant for a portion of the hangar formerly used by Hawker Beechcraft.
So far, “True Detective” gets a lot right about its Northwest Arkansas setting.
Though some found the use of modern pop music odd in a period western, the use of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's tune "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" emphasizes that, no matter what happens, Butch is able to maintain his trademark optimism. At its core, it's a feel-good movie, and arguably the first buddy comedy.
As Kathy Webb enters her fifth year as Ward 3 city director her priorities include improving public safety; working to reduce poverty, hunger and homelessness; and making Little Rock a more sustainable city. One of Webb’s greatest concerns is the way in which the public image of the Little Rock School District impacts its students and teachers.
Inauguration day rhetoric leads today's video headline roundup. This is the open line.
Robert Pruitt will talk about his work at the Crystal Bridges' "Art, Space Travel and Beyond with Robert Pruitt" roundtable starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18.
Gene Lyons gets literary in his most recent column's leadup to a critique of a new psychological theory on the toxicity of manliness.
"The consistent message [Arkansas Works beneficiaries] have heard loud and clear is that the state doesn’t want them to have health insurance coverage," he said.
No decision today on injunction requested against Jason Rapert for blocking comments on social media
Federal Judge Kristine Baker heard arguments but issued no decision on a request for a temporary restraining order against Sen. Jason Rapert to prevent him from blocking critical comments on Twitter and Facebook. He did not appear for the hearing, plaintiffs said.
Rick Crawford of Arkansas distinguishes himself by personally repudiating Steve King and his racist remarks. French Hill, where are ou?
There may be more to this than meets the eye, but Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman lined up on the right side of a vote Tuesday and let's give credit where due for essentially opposing Donald Trump on extending help to a Russian oligarch.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke inauguration day of hope for economic development and recent evidence suggests some deals may be in the works, including a $200 million "super project."
A judge in Alabama has invalidated that state's law aimed at preventing local governments from removing monuments to the Confederacy. This has relevance in Arkansas because of pending legislation.
The board of the Little Rock Port Authority is expected today to approve plans to purchase more than 150 acres near the port currently owned by the Quapaw tribe of Oklahoma, an end to five years of controversy related to potential use of the property for a casino.
Good article in Jacobin magazine about the Los Angeles teachers strike, at its core of universal interest because it is a fight against billionaires' hostile takeover of public schools.
A news release says Walton/Walmart money will power an effort by nonprofits devoted to diversity in Northwest Arkansas.
The loophole for free eats and drinks for legislators, despite a nominal constitutional prohibition, swings wide today:
In November, 68.5 percent of Arkansas voters approved an increase in the state minimum wage. Today, barely two months later, Sen. Bob Ballinger has introduced legislation to roll it back for many workers.
The city of Little Rock has announced a "unity" program of prayer and music at 3 p.m. Sunday at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 2501 Main, as part of M.L. King holiday observances.
A legislative outrage leads the daily video roundup. Here's the open line.
Freshman Rep. Nicole Clowney (D-Fayetteville) took time out of her schedule recently to answer a few questions about the expectations of others, the biggest problem facing Arkansas today and what she's listening to as she prepares to represent District 86.
The latest in the parade of horrors in legislative bill filing is a proposal by Sen. Kim Hammer that purports to protect free speech on campus. Its point is to usurp control of campuses as a reaction to the widespread, but not particularly well-supported belief that liberal political correctness is running rampant on campus.
Also in the bill hopper today, legislation by Rep. Stephen Meeks to prohibit employers from implanting microchips in employees without their written consent and prohibiting making implantation of a chip a condition of employment.
Details remain hazy, but State Police spokesmen say two people are dead after police gunfire in West Memphis.
The Magnolia Reporter has details on the decision of WEHCO Media, owner of the Arkansas Democrt-Gazette among other newspapers and media properties, to end daily publication of newspapers in Camden and Magnolia.
The plan to make retirement benefits more expensive and less rewarding for public employees has begun.
When Arkansas started SEC play by sneaking out of College Station, Texas, with a really shaky victory over those pernicious Aggie types, it all seemed so simple, right? The formula for some degree of success in what is shaping up to be a rough-and-tumble league in 2018-19 was set: The Hogs could ill afford to be so reliant on the three-pointer, they had to be aggressive defensively, and they had to figure out some way to get their short, inexperienced bench to contribute.
The Hope, Lafayette County, Junction City and Camden Fairview School Districts all have won a federal judge's ruling in favor of their challenge of the state Board of Education's decision to force them to allow interdistrict transfers under the state school transfer law.
The annual Rally for Reproductive Justice will be held on the Capitol steps at 1 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 19. Keynote speaker will be Pamela Merritt, the co-founder of Reproaction, and others on why these bills are hurting, not helping, women and their families.
Today's news by video: Legislature eases into the weekend. This is also the open line.
The Jan. 8 launch of a six-month pilot project between the city of Little Rock and Lime has brought dozens of pay-as-you-go e-scooters downtown, and Little Rock joins over a hundred other U.S. cities with Lime partnerships. But Little Rock riders are unique: City Ordinance 32-463 prohibits the scooters, referred to as “devices,” from being ridden on roads except when crossing the street on a crosswalk. The devices must be ridden on sidewalks at all times.
Freshman Democratic Rep. Denise Garner (Fayetteville) gained national attention in her successful race against former Republican Rep. Charlie Collins, the sponsor of the bill that put guns on college campuses. The retired oncology nurse practitioner, mom, grandmother, and non-profit founder sat down with me recently to talk about the biggest problem facing Arkansas: income inequality.
A state trooper shot a Jackson County man Thursday after the man reportedly pointed a gun at him, the State Police said. The man was hospitalized in serious condition. The trooper wasn't hurt.
Donald Trump's government shutdown is having an increasing damaging impact on more than the federal employees and contractors going unpaid, including threatening shelter for perhaps millions of people.
The unemployment rate in Arkansas in December was 3.6 percent, the same as the preceding month and there was a small increase in the number working.
Nursing home spending on judicial racers is back front and center with news that the U.S. prosecutors' evidence against accused briber Gilbert Baker includes the record of text messages between him and a member of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Reports are that Donald Trump ordered Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. Impeachment anyone?
On tour in support of his "Man of the Woods" album, pop prince Justin Timberlake took the stage at Verizon Arena last night.
Stories are popping up all over of acts of kindness extended to people without income thanks to Donald Trump.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that additional paid subscriptions — 1,003 at $20 each — will mean the survival of its Arkansas Life magazine, but it will convert from monthly to quarterly print publication, with monthly editions online only.
Today's video news roundup starts at the bottom with Donald Trump. Here's the open line.
Federal Magistrate Patricia Harris today said former Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker was entitled to a court-appointed lawyer in the bribery case against him because of financial circumstances. She named Blake Hendrix to represent Baker, who'll make an initial appearance in court next week.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson today named two members of the independent commission that sets his pay and that of other constitutional officers, legislators and judges.
The Arkansas State Employees Association is gearing up to oppose legislation that would reduce their retirement benefits and likely require increased employee contributions as well.
The State Police say Megan Brooke Rivera, 32, and De'Angelo Jamar Brown, 30, both of Lancaster, S.C., were the two people killed by West Memphis police after a car chase Thursday.
Tom Cotton and John Boozman are dishonestly touting legislation that is a bonanza for the super wealthy as help for small businesses and farmers.
Rain drove the speakers inside to the old Senate chamber at the state Capitol, but the rally for reproductive justice went on today as does the fight in a state where the majority who assemble at the Capitol most often act to restrict women's medical rights. The line is open on this and other topics.
Donald Trump unveiled his great plan today — temporary protection for "dreamers" in return for $5.7 billion worth of wall — but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already explained why it falls short and some on is side are already crying "no amnesty."
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Jeannie Roberts reported today on some of the plans for attacks on the U.S. Constitution and women's medical rights this legislative session. As ever, it's cookie-cutter stuff of dubious constitutionality as demonstrated by court rulings elsewhere
Is this sad, or what? Clinton National Airport has announced a two-day food drive for the benefit of unpaid workers at the airport.
Inaugural ball party pictures produce some dialogue on judicial propriety featuring Supreme Court Justicea Rhonda Wood and Courtney Goodson.
The open line.
M.L. King Day events will make most of the news today, but note another event about social justice — a rally in North Little Rock calling for an end to Donald Trump's government shutdown.
The Little Rock City Board got a partial report last week on how the Little Rock police department is doing in adding officers who live in the city of Little Rock.
The annual abortion protest marches were held around the country Sunday and, as usual, press accounts duly quoted the misinformation repeated there. From the coverage of the Arkansas march, this stood out:
The Los Angeles Times reports on the sagging casino economy in Tunica, Miss., a sag due in part to increasing national competition.
Sen. Jason Rapert has announced on Facebook his plans to file this week a so-called trigger law — like those passed in four other states — that would make abortion illegal in Arkansas immediately if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Polling suggests the majority would oppose it.
Frida Kahlo was every much an artist as her on-again, off-again husband, Diego Rivera, but her personal glamor has gotten as much, if not more, attention as her paintings. The Arkansas Arts Center is exhibiting images of the artist in "Photographing Frida," opening Feb. 1.
From access to exclusive deals to a streamlined shopping experience, this app eases the everyday stresses of shopping for customers.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has made several public appearances today as part of the observance of King Day and his remarks have included lauding the state's 2017 action (and his own) in ending the dual observance of King's birthday with that of a man who fought to preserve slavery, Robert E. Lee. I have one brief observation on his remarks:
We’re now moving with a bit more confidence around the three time periods: 1980, 1990, 2015. You've got to follow the haircuts if you want to follow the plot, a mirror of the increasingly fragile mental state of 70-year-old Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) in 2015. The episode is short on bombshells, but gets deeper into what do we know, and why.
M.L. King Day: The open lines and a roundup of headlines and comment.
Darren McFadden, the former Razorback football star, was arrested for DWI Monday after being reportedly found asleep at a Whataburger drive-through in the Dallas area.
Thank goodness King Day is over. The hypocrisy quotient on Twitter will fall off sharply.
It's early yet, but stay tuned for developments on the Donald Trump proposal to trade some temporary relief for immigrants for billions for his wall. The analysis has begun and the fine print looks problematic.
The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a stay of injunctions against the Trump administration's ban on military service by transgender people.
It's a good day for legislative pocketbooks, with free eats and drinks on tap all day long courtesy of entrenched lobbies. The schedule:
Rep. Tippi McCullough (Little Rock), a teacher for over 30 years, knows how to stand up for herself and her beliefs. Now she takes her experience and resolve to the legislature to stand up for Arkansas and the people she represents in District 33. McCullough answered my questions on how to fix what she believes is the biggest problem facing Arkansas, her thoughts on the expectations of women, and what music she finds motivational as she prepares for her first term in the legislature.
New numbers from Public Policy Polling won't comfort Donald Trump:
The Little Rock City Board received a report this week on 10 months worth of sales tax collections and the income, the biggest single source of city spending, remains sluggish.
UPDATED FROM EARLIER: The University of Central Arkansas made "the biggest announcement in its 111-year history" this afternoon — a $20 million gift from the Windgate Foundation for a fine arts center.
Great Whiskey Rendezvous, Amy McBryde, Sounds So Good and The Mad Deadly first up in 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase
The 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase kicks off this Thursday, with the first of four semifinal rounds at Stickyz Rock n' Roll Chicken Shack.
Here you go: The video news roundup and the open line.
Details are just emerging of a potential bipartisan agreement in Senate that could lead to reopening of government, at least temporarily.
Federal Judge Leon Holmes has dismissed a malicious prosecution lawsuit by Dr. Jose Turcios, a dentist, against the city Little Rock and various police officers for his arrest on a charge that he had molested a 15-year-old patient. He had sued after being acquitted of the charge.
Jose Andres, the chef who opened an emergency kitchen in Washington to feed furloughed federal workers, has taken the program nationwide with the help of food truck operators across the country, including Little Rock.
KARK reports on a Fayetteville student sent home for refusing to take off a Confederate battle flag hoodie, worn as part of a social media campaign styled "history not hate."
As we'd mentioned earlier, Sen. Jason Rapert has a "trigger" bill to make abortion illegal in virtually all circumstances in Arkansas should the U.S. Supreme Court reverse Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman's right to abortion pre-viability. The bill, filed Tuesday, is worse than you have already imagined.
Little Rock police say Eric Leisman, 54 found dead in his home at 5718 Woodlawn Drive about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, was the victim of a homicide and they have charged Jordan Garvey, 25, with second-degree murder and theft.
Youth Home, which provides mental health services, announced today it is laying off 31 of 227 employees and reducing services to cope with financial losses tied to a continuing freeze in Medicaid reimbursements for mental health services.
Wednesday's are traditionally slower days on the legislative front, so only a free lunch and cocktail hour are on the freebie card today.
Republican women in the legislature announced a package of legislation today. My attention was caught by a potential expansion of broadband competition.
Kovacs was the "Mad" magazine of the boob tube.
Federal Judge Brian Miller has dismissed the ACLU-backed case by the Arkansas Times challenging the state law that penalizes those that want to do business with the state unless they sign a pledge not to participate in a boycott against Israel.
Wednesday: The video roundup of news and comment and this is the open line.
Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore has compiled for City Director Kenneth Richardson a report on a year's worth of filling police department vacancies and the number of recruits who are Little Rock residents. The majority live elsewhere.
The Washington Post expects both Democratic and Republican proposals up for a vote today in the Senate on resolving Donald Trumps shutdown will fail. The question seems to be whether it's an avenue for a deal. Meanwhile, I can't get enough of master dealmaker Trump taking credit for shutdown and Chuck Schumer stifling a laugh.
As predicted months ago, the owners of the Southland casino and dog track in West Memphis announced today a major expansion thanks to Amendment 100, which solidified the legality of their existing casino, expanded its gambling options and gave it a huge state tax break in the bargain.
Here's a screenshot of the Facebook page of Wayne Boals of Helena-West Helena, with a bigger picture of his identifying image below. Boals is chairman of the Phillips County Election Commission. His Facebook page also says, "I'm a conservative Republican from the Confederate south."
Jill Dabbs, edged out in a re-election race for mayor of Bryant, won't be making a return to politics in Saline County any time soon. I understand she's heading to Springdale to lead the Downtown Springdale Alliance.
Gene Lyons proposes the Democrats hire Putin to confront him over his demand for $5.7 billion to pay for an empty campaign promise.
Former Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker, accused of conspiring to bribe then-Judge Mike Maggio to lower a jury verdict in a nursing home negligence case, pleaded not guilty in federal court today and was allowed to remain free pending trial.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that Maine's new government won't go forward with a work requirement for Medicaid recipients.
CJRW, the ad and PR firm, responded in detail today with a counterclaim to Gary Heathcott's lawsuit seeking damages because his consulting contract was severed.
As we await shutdown news, here's the daily video roundup and the open line.
The U.S. Senate, as expected, defeated competing proposals to reopen government. The Democratic proposal drew more votes. Talk continues of a possible House compromise from Democrats.
FBI rousted Trump advisor Roger Stone at his Florida home at 6 a.m. today to arrest him on charges he lied and tried to tamper with witnesses about Trump campaign collusion on use of hacked emails against Hillary Clinton.
A word of encouragement arrives from PEN America after the Arkansas Times suffered a setback in federal court this week on the ACLU-backed lawsuit objecting to a state law requiring us to cede editorial control to the state of Arkansas on a political issue to be able to receive state agency advertising.
A group has formed to present the other side of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's determination to enact a massive income tax cut that will give the majority of the benefits to the wealthy. The other side is simple: Tax cuts have costs.
The Washington Post reports the story of a Jonesboro woman who went to Tijuana for lower-cost weight-loss surgery and came back with a potentially deadly bacterial infection.
Charity continues for the federal workers and others harmed by Donald Trump's tantrum. Some of the outpouring of empathy and sympathy lacking at the White House:
An interesting sidelight of the Trump shutdown drama was a private meeting yesterday between Mike Pence and Republican senators, who supposedly told Pence in strong terms that Trump needed to end the shutdown soon. Even quiet Sen. John Boozman got in on the action, according to an account in the Hill.
The first round of the 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase — in its 27th year — was an exercise in the motley. A southern country-rock outfit made way for a gutsy woman-fronted pop-punk assembly, followed by a venerable soprano sax-led jazz quintet and a brainy instrumental rock band with a huge collective crush on wild time signatures.
With his disapproval rating rising and the majority of Americans blaming him and the Republicans in Congress for the government shutdown, Donald Trump went on TV this afternoon to announce a deal to temporarily reopen the government.
Here are your open line and your daily news video, beginning with a tribute to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who routed Donald Trump in the government shutdown showdown. Hatred of her may have gotten Trump's poodle, Republican Rep. French Hill, re-elected in Arkansas, but that doesn't count for much in the chamber she now leads.
The sentencing of former Democratic Sen. Hank Wilkins of Pine Bluff in a public funds bribery case has again been delayed.
Is the federal public corruption probe delving into the judicial branch? I think so. But my efforts to unearth records to demonstrate this ultimately produced a decision by the clerk of the Arkansas Supreme Court not to share any records that might exist related to this.
A federal court defeat for the Arkansas Times, Jason Rapert’s trigger bill to make abortion illegal if Roe v. Wade were overturned, big expansion plans at the dog track and more — all covered on the podcast this week.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. has announced members of committees to provide input on various areas of city government.
Some help on solving sign-in problems on the Arkansas Blog.
The Washington Post in my book is leading the world on coverage of Trump, Congress and politics generally. This summary of Donald Trump's cave-in is a case in point. Tough, factual and informed.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican, joins Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, in a Washington Post op-ed urging adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment. As luck would have it their timing was perfect: It coincided with the Slovak Oyster Supper.
Here's your open line. Today's events include a police shooting in Judsonia and an outpouring of enjoyable Internet memes about Nancy Pelosi's owning of Donald Trump.
Eric Besson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a fine article this morning from the murky depths of the Arkansas legislative swamp where lawmaking and corporate self-interest create a sludge impenetrably opaque to the casual observer. Let's filter the story about Rep. Jeff Wardlaw a bit:
The open line for a slow day save more Trump administration threats.
With its poll numbers and financial support taking hits, the National Rifle Association has lately sent a message it might be amenable to modest gun safety legislation — along the lines of the "red flag" law being contemplated for introduction in Arkansas. Two angles: NRA credibility and blowback from the even nuttier gun nuts. Also: Beware "stand your ground."
Only one freebie for legislators today, but it's one that inspires fond memories. A striptease for legislators.
The Going Jessies, White Mansion, Brad Byrd and Won Run next up in 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase
Round 2 of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase features sets from The Going Jessies, White Mansion, Brad Byrd and Won Run.
Another day another fact-check that challenges the spin Gov. Asa Hutchinson has been putting on the Medicaid work rule — that it is putting people back to work. From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, another chorus of a tune we've heard several times before:
Leon Suggs, a Little Rock grocery store worker, won a $1 million prize with a $20 scratch-off Ultimate Millions lottery ticket, the state lottery has announced.
Here's comes the first legislative effort to raise taxes for highways, a plan with negative implications for other state services.
The companies that will open medical marijuana dispensaries in Arkansas have been largely settled for the state's eight zones, each of which will have four dispensaries.
In the fourth episode, we’re edging away from a meditative gaze into the soulful navel of the gothic South and moving toward more of a beach-read, a page-turner. And we’re getting there because for the first time, multiple characters are jousting to control the narrative.
40/29 reports on a news conference today at which Veterans Affairs officials said as many as 12 deaths may have occurred in cases in which a now-fired pathologist made errors or misdiagnoses at the Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks.
The New York Times reports on a woman trapped in the elevator of a Manhattan townhouse for three days. Arkansas angle: It's the townhouse purchased for $8 million in 1999 by Little Rock financier Warren Stephens and his wife Harriet.
The open line and today's news video.
Sen. Breanne Davis of Russellville has proposed legislation to make it clear that local approval for a casino in Jefferson or Pope counties must come from the county judge or mayor in office at the time an application is made for a casino license.
A Republican-sponsored bill could create real juvenile justice reform in Arkansas, advocates say. But some worry the state won't provide enough money for programs that provide alternatives to incarcerating youths.
There's a busy day of freebies for legislators today and if you don't think business gets done at these affairs, you need eyeglasses. See the optometrists' event, for example.
A word of praise here for Conduit for Action, the ultraright lobby that has generally failed in its effort to reduce government by slashing spending on medical services for poor people. Opposed though I generally am to much of their core philosopy, they DO call out government corruption and hypocrisy. Case in point: Rep. Jeff Wardlaw.
Parkview student Laura Orsi has created a new movement called Pass the Skirt that aims to "fight against discriminatory and unequal dress code rules and enforcement." After Orsi's friend, Clara Mitchell, was told to change for wearing a too-short skirt, Orsi wore the same skirt the next day without any trouble from teachers or administrators.
In the earlier item on lobbyist entertainment, I omitted a key and unadvertised portion of lobbyist wining and dining — the committee sessions.
Sculptor Alan LeQuire of Nashville was inspired by the giant sculpted heads of the kings of France he saw in Paris to create "Cultural Heroes," sculptures of American royalty of a different kind: Musicians whose songs gave voice to the civil rights movement.
Climate change is already disrupting lives. Important reporting from the Washington Post even as the supposed leader of the free world hears on Fox News that it's cold in the upper Midwest and concludes it's all fake news.
Here I go again, agreeing with a fringe political group known for its wackiness — Secure Arkansas. They're right on this one, a proposal for a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. UPDATE: The proposal was approved in the state Senate today after an hour of debate.
Meet the judges of the 2019 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.
The video news roundup and the open line.
Arkansas must be rolling in money. Sen. Alan Clark of Hot Springs filed legislation today to allow for the building of a parking deck — minimum 200 spaces — on the Capitol grounds. No specifics on money. You'd think we were rolling in dough and the governor wasn't proposing a $200 million tax cut for the wealthy.
Recent events in Washington inspire nothing so much as sheer disbelief. Is this a government or a sitcom? Impeach Trump? Why not offer him a prime time gig on Fox News instead?For the right price, he might take it.
It's the time of year again when we solicit suggestions for our annual Big Ideas issue. As in year's past, we're searching for specific, potentially transformative suggestions for making Arkansas a better place to live. We're open to practical, wacky and everything in between
Gene Lyons wonders in his column if the Trump administration is government or a sitcom, starring Trump, Ann Coulter and Roger Stone.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., responding to complaints, wants the city to talk with the Lime scooters company about safer operation in the city. Good luck.
Little Rock police say a man killed his parents in their home on Dorset Drive Tuesday night and then fatally wounded himself.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports today that former legislator Nate Bell has been hired as interim director of the state health insurance marketplace agency, an agency with an uncertain future whose establishment he opposed.
Interesting: It turns out most of the black members of the national championship Clemson football team decided not to attend the fast-food feed Donald Trump threw for the team in the White House Jan. 14. They took a knee, you might say.
KTHV reports on open unhappiness at UA-Little Rock over the eStem charter high school on campus.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, spoke at length Tuesday on the Senate floor against efforts to punish those who might be critical of Israel — such as the Arkansas copycat law unsuccessfully challenged by the Arkansas Times that requires people and companies doing business with the state to pledge not to engage in boycotts against Israel.
The fat cats are pouring for the legislature today, with help from your tax dollars, and the governor is talking more about a big tax cut for millionaires. Business as usual at the Arkansas legislature.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation has announced it's at work installing signs intended to remind people not to block the lefthand lane on multi-lane roads.
Sarah Elizabeth Charles, a jazz composer who's performing Thursday night at South on Main as part of the Oxford American concert series, talks revolution, improvisation and Dolores O'Riordan.
Sen. Missy Irvin announced this morning, according to a spectator in the Senate Public Health Committee, that Sen . Bob Ballinger's bill to override voters increase of the Arkansas minimum wage had been moved to the "deferred" list.
The Arkansas lottery said a ticket worth $2 million in last night's national MegaMillions lottery drawing was sold at the Super Stop on East Harding in Pine Bluff.
Little Rock giving Lime scooters the boot when trial period ends. But mayor later says he'll ask for new proposals.
Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter has written Lime, which had an agreement to rent electric-powered scooters in the city, to terminate the deal because of dissatisfaction with the company's response to safety concerns.
City Director Capi Peck, who represents West Little Rock’s Ward 4, wants to consider a change in the way the board is elected, as does Mayor Frank Scott. But unlike Scott, who wants to eliminate the election of at-large directors to the board, Peck would like to seek a blended ward structure and term limits for directors.
The daily video roundup of news and comment, plus this open line.
The Senate voted 27-7 today to pass Republican Sen. Trent Garner's bill to increase the difficulty for a political party to qualify for the ballot in Arkansas.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson rebooted his income tax proposal today to make it a reduction in the top marginal rate from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent over two years, at a final cost of about $97 million in revenue.
LRPD and Mayor Scott encourage public to "see something, say something" after five domestic violence-related homicides in January
In a press conference at the Little Rock Police Department Headquarters on Wednesday afternoon, Assistant Chief Wayne Bewley and Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said that five of the nine homicides in January have been domestic violence related.
Further reporting on Gov. Asa Huchinson's rewritten income tax cut plan illustrates the point made here yesterday — it's almost entirely of benefit to upper-income taxpayers, with the very richest doing best of all.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has issued a call for more effective school discipline — in other words, less corporal punishment and out-of-school suspension.
In a pair of cases today, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled definitively that state law overrides a Fayetteville ordinance meant primarily to extend civil rights protections to LGBT people. It leaves open a U.S. constitutional question, however.
The American Atheists, challenging Sen. Jason Rapert's blocking of critics from his social media pages, says Rapert is either incompetent or misleading in telling a federal court that his pages are his private business and can be managed as he likes.
Ten contenders for Little Rock police chief were announced this morning in a press release from the city, and the list includes Little Rock Police Department Assistant Chiefs Alice Fulk and Hayward Finks, plus two others from Arkansas.
Round three of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase features sets from The Akeem Kemp Band, Willowack, Kid City and Illusionaut.
Performance Peace: How a Little Rock artist is transforming mural into protest under the 7th Street bridge
Undeterred by artistic opposition, a Little Rock artist is creating — and recreating — political art under the 7th Street bridge.
Big Red Flag, The Chemtrailblazers, Adventureland and Irie Lions next up in Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase
The semifinal rounds of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase conclude with sets from Big Red Flag, The Chemtrailblazers, Adventureland and Irie Lions.
Hope is here: A psychiatric and behavioral health professional from Rivendell answers your questions
Since 1985, Rivendell Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas has been committed to providing the best psychiatric and behavioral healthcare, with the goal of supporting the whole family.
As the new year begins, it’s unclear how well President Trump grasps the altered political reality he faces. Indeed, using the words “reality” and “Trump” in the same sentence is a misnomer. One reason world’s biggest fabricator is also the world’s worst negotiator that he appears constitutionally incapable of recognizing the other side’s point of view.
And much more.
Trump's latest: a vow to cut off aid to three countries in Central America.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Walmart heirs are pouring big sums into organizations expected to play a heavy role in Chicago mayor and alderman elections next year. Charter schools are the theme.
The Madison County Record reports (subscription required) that the state has filed a tax lien against Rep. Bob Ballinger, the Berryville Republican.
A Mississippi casino operator announced plans today to build a casino in Russellville, a not-unexpected development given outgoing County Judge Jim Ed Gibson's surprise support of the project. Legal opposition can be expected.
A weird holiday week done. Here's the open line and the video roundup of news and comment.
UPDATE: Little Rock police have now identified Jamika Lewis, 23, and her son Ja'Shun Watson, 2, as the two people found dead on an apartment complex parking lot Thursday morning. An infant was also found in a vehicle nearby, they revealed today.
Byron Freeland, attorney for the state Racing Commission, has provided me with a copy of draft rules for regulating expanded casino gambling in Arkansas. Dig in.
It's official: Charlie Collins is staying on state payroll with Hutchinson administration job at DFA
It's official. Republican Rep. Charlie Collins, defeated for re-election by Democrat Denise Garner, won't stop receiving a state paycheck when he leaves office at the end of the year. As I'd mentioned was a possibility before, he's going to work for the Department of Finance and Administration.
Indivisible Little Rock & Central Arkansas announces plans to continue grassroots work in 2019, beginning with a demonstration at 11:30 a.m. Thursday outside Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill's office at 1501 North University. They're supporting reform legislation expected from House Democrats.
Arkansas will share in a half-billion-dollar settlement of allegations of consumer protection law violations by Wells Fargo.
News yesterday involving egislators with connections to the Ecclesia College scandal reminded me: Whatever happened to the request for a lawsuit against Ecclesia to recover state money it shouldn't have received and from which kickbacks were paid to a couple of former legislators. Answer almost four months later: Nothing public so far.
What's the open line, or any day, without an unhinged tweet from Donald Trump to talk about? Today it's him blaming Democrats for deaths of migrant children in custody of his border patrol. Speaking of deaths, North Little Rock police found a 19-year-old dead by gunshot on Old Pike about 4 a.m. this morning. And still more Trump:
The New York Times editorial board has publisheda series of essays on women's medical rights and the fallout on women from the anti-abortion movements efforts to establish "personhood" at conception. An Arkansas case leads the package of articles.
Reader Stu Soffer from White Hall (Jefferson County) reports that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's shrinkage of daily circulation of a print edition has arrived on his home turf, not far down the road from the newspaper's home office in Little Rock.
The item on the Ecclesia Colege scandal brought a comment from another lawyer Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is fighting in court for his effort to correct the wrongs done by the legislature in the unconstitutional General Improvement Fund boondoggle.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's lack of action on a requested lawsuit to recover ill-gotten state money from Ecclesia College (mentioned here yesterday) brings insight from a lawyer in a related suit that suggests there's a reason she hasn't moved forward.
Here's your open line. And for your reading pleasure, another article — this one in Politico — illustrating the folly of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's grind-the-poor Medicaid work rule with a bureaucratic, computer reporting scheme that few seem able to figure out.
A handful of the infectious beats we heard from Arkansas musicians in 2018.
Today is Mark Stodola's last day as Little Rock mayor after a 12-year run, but the succession of Frank Scott Jr. will include tying up a few loose ends from the Stodola era. All concern money.
A retired lawyer, Larry Behrendt, writes in the Washington Post today about the judicial misconduct complaint he filed against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and why he believes its dismissal by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals was the wrong decision.
Police abuse of a handcuffed suspect in Ash Flat has led to a criminal charge against one officer and suspension of two others, but the muckraking NEA Report says justice hasn't been done for the victim, Randell Lee Veazie.
Scott Carroll at KATV reports on a home robbery in which an armed man escaped with 50 pairs of Air Jordan sneakers, a $30,000 Rolex, a couple of cell phones and the homeowner's Dodge Charger.
If you believe public interest and investigative journalism is vitally important, consider making a donation to the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network today. All individual contributions up to $1,000 made before midnight on Dec. 31 will be doubled as part of the NewsMatch program.
Cue up Guy Lombardo: Here's the New Year's Eve open line and a roundup of news and comment on a quiet news day.
Seen this? It's a highlighted view from an interactive map by The Trace of 150,000 shootings — fatal and nonfatal — in the U.S. the last five years.
Lame duck Russellville Mayor Randy Horton said in a letter released today by a Mississippi casino operator that he believes the Mississippi group would be the best pick to operate a casino in Pope County under the new amendment that expands casino gambling in Arkansas. Does it have any legal impact? Good question.
What an outrage! A Democratic woman talking like a Republican man! President Trump should march right into the House of Representatives, grab this Muslim wench by her [expletive deleted] and deport her to whatever bleep-hole country she came from.
I’ve been suspicious of psychologists bearing theories ever since my graduate school "Eureka!" about Freud and Dostoyevsky.
So the world’s greatest negotiator has taken 800,000 hostages and threatens to shoot himself in the foot unless he gets his wall. Too bad the Democrats can’t subcontract the job of confronting his demands to Vladimir Putin. Faced with the Russian dictator, our bold leader rolls over on his back like a puppy dog.