JANET JACKSON: Working out at Verizon. Brian Chilson

When we returned from vacation Saturday night, the airport cab driver said he hoped we weren’t heading downtown because it was full of people heading to a concert.

That would be, I presume, the Janet Jackson appearance at Verizon Arena, photographed by Brian Chilson.


No Janet Jackson for us, just the usual quick sort of mail and dirty clothes and sleep.

What did I miss? My quick daily news scans by sometimes balky computer connections suggested I didn’t miss many major local news developments. Two things stand out in my mind from almost three weeks gone (apart from the Rolling Blunder tour in Washington, D.C.): The blatant corruption uncovered in a state audit of sweetheart dealing by and for a “retired” Community Corrections Department official (and defense of same by the prison industrial powers that be) and the continued state- and Walton-sponsored assault on the Little Rock School District. Unproven, unaccountable, privately operated, Walton-backed charter schools are presumed to be good by the state Board of Education and the Little Rock School District, despite solid contradictory evidence offered by Superintendent Michael Poore, are presumed to be bad. I was happy to see news of a group that intends to raise this uncomfortable issue while city image makers talk about “60 years of progress” since the 1957 school desegregation crisis.


I also liked Eric Besson’s account in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today about a dispute over a now-silent low-power radio station financed by the city. The story appears to be that City Director Doris Wright wants to control the programming for a station aimed at her ward and the ousted station manager had other ideas. One key dispute was the manager’s cancellation of a pre-recorded program called the “Wrighteous Hour.” Wright was not happy.

Benji Hardy did such a wonderful job of reporting and analysis in my absence that I told him I’d retire if he’d come back to the Times full-time. But so far I can’t persuade him.