It's difficult to fathom an occasion where any other agent of Razorback culture was so frequently cussed or discussed.
Arkansan of the YearJanuary 16, 2013
Vol 39 • No 20
Charles and David Koch's money helps Arkansas Republicans gain legislative majority.
They also stood out.
Gov. Mike Beebe addressed the joint legislative session this morning, his 14th as legislator or governor.
The Little Rock Police Department has announced suspension of a police communications officer because of a failure in immediately sending emergency responders to a report of a car that slid off an icy road in western Little Rock yesterday and submerged in a pond.
Sen. Jeremy "Gator Bait" Hutchinson has revealed some of his apparent plans for rehabilitating his tarnished image.
Also, the ASO at Pulaski Heights Methodist Church.
Last week I promised in 2013 to give only serious consideration to serious topics in this space. OK, I've got the serious topic — contempt for Congress. Not contempt of Congress, which you can go to prison for. Contempt for, an American given, held steadily, resolutely, justifiably for more than 200 years.
Perhaps because I rarely visit Washington, I'm persuaded that the budgetary hostage crisis currently obsessing the nation's capital holds little fascination for the general public. Wasn't that what last month's "fiscal cliff" deal was all about? Government by televised melodrama appears to be losing its ability to hold the nation in thrall.
The Walton family heirs, Alice Walton in particular, have received several mentions during the past year for their philanthropy. Specifically, there was a lot of press about the Crystal Bridges art museum, which cost over $1 billion and is free to the public. Northwest Arkansas is certainly better for this donation.
The Observer, as you may have heard by now, will be making the trip to Washington, this week for the presidential inauguration, accompanied by our ol' pal, Arkansas Times resident shutterstud extraordinaire, Brian Chilson.
Secretary of State Mark Martin has revived a tradition of sending the government's best wishes for a Merry Christmas to the legislature, Congress, Capitol employees and others.
It was also a good week for bipartisanship, Walmart, Rep. Darrin Williams and citizen legislation. It was a bad week for Rep. Tom Cotton.
One argument we're hearing from Republicans against Medicaid expansion is that we can't afford to add to the federal debt. After all, even if it's a good deal for the fiscal bottom line in Arkansas to accept more than a billion dollars a year in federal spending, that money is coming from deficit spending on the national level.
Also, the Delta Exhibition at the Arts Center, the Trevor Ware Fundraiser Art Show, Monster Jam at Verizon Arena, Rally for Reproductive Justice at the Arkansas State Capitol, Elliot Lipp at Discovery and Shannon Wurst at Tales of the South.
The 'Arkansas Son-in-Law' celebrates new record, "White Buffalo," with White Water concert.
It's a first in state medical care.
Arts Center lends works on paper for show about 20th century abstraction.
Arts Center lends works on paper for show about 20th century abstraction.
Instead of immediately returning to campaign mode, the attorney general should have announced that he was putting his campaign on the backburner — while not withdrawing entirely — to focus on getting his personal and professional life in order.
Arkansas's public school system could be upended by events this week.
Eliella offers wide range of Mexican street food in SWLR
"Is Ashley Judd going from Hollywood to Capitol Hill? The media sure hope so. Otherwise Mitch McConnell's reelection race will be deadly dull. The well-known actress was mooted as a potential candidate for U.S. Senate from Kentucky last month in what merely seemed to be a light-hearted post-election story."
Can we spare a moment to commiserate with the Republican Party? Not so much the poor national party, so in thrall to its extremist wing that it may sacrifice the nation's wellbeing by welshing on its debt to drive home the point that the country has been going to hell for 77 years.
'Zero Dark Thirty' presents it as dehumanizing, but necessary.
In the familiar saying, only death and taxes are certain, but in Arkansas, it's equally sure that bills to reduce taxes will be introduced in the Arkansas legislature, no matter how inappropriate.
Arkansas hasn't always lived up to its motto, Regnat Populus (The People Rule), but there's a group of reformers who'd like to. The group calls itself, deservedly enough, Regnat Populus, and its goals are not only noble but well thought-out, which is not always a strong point with reformers.
The Arkansas Times has written a number of times about the ugly situation that would occur if Medicaid expansion doesn't happen: People who make between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be getting government subsidies to buy health insurance, but those who fall below 100 percent of FPL who don't qualify for Arkansas's stingy Medicaid program will be left out in the cold.
The crowd loves Kikko Haydar, and it is a justified appreciation.
Davy Carter, speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and Sen. Michael Lamoureux meet with the media last week to discuss the legislative session.
Most schools and governments will have a late start today so that roads may clear.
Loganberry is another of the many frozen yogurt shops that's sprung up over the years. It also offers a handful of handmade hot chocolates during the winter months.
Bad as things look, they could be worse. You could living in Louisiana, where a creation-science encouraging measure is the law of the land.
West Markham Chinese place doesn't distinguish itself.
Another day, another dismal ranking for the home team. This one purports to list the five happiest and unhappiest cities in which to work.
The Joint Budget Committee today acted to separate pay of judges and prosecutors from the legislation covering pay of elected state officials — also including legislators and the statewide officers.
The Arkansas Arts Center hosts a preview of the 55th Annual Delta Exhibition Thursday.
Argenta Community Theater screens "Marwencol" Thursday.
Nice piece of news on two members of last year's Arkansas Times Academic All-star Team.
The faith-based crowd won't be deterred by the facts, but yet another national poll underscores a finding that has been repeated down through the years (clip and save to pass around legislative committee meetings when Jason Rapert steps forward to force women to undergo vaginal probes against their will as part of his anti-abortion, even anti-contraception crusade): A solid majority in the U.S. do NOT favor repeal of Roe v. Wade, which preserved a woman's right to choose an abortion.
President Obama went on national TV this morning to talk about his plans to tighten regulation of guns.
Honor Award goes to "Rock Street Pocket Housing" design.
"Abstractions on Paper: From Abstract Expressionism to Postminimalism" and "Images from the South."
Twitter bursts quote Gov. Mike Beebe at Political Animals Club appearance today: @johnlyon09Gov. Beebe on death penalty: If the Legislature sent me a bill to repeal it, I would sign it.
The Eastern Sea plays at Stickyz tonight.
Stephens Media reported yesterday that U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a military veteran himself, was appointed to the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees defense spending.
As promised. Sen. Bruce Maloch has filed a simple one-paragraph amendment to existing law to bring a screeching halt to a growing abuse of campaign finance rules.
Attention all high school seniors and juniors.
Justin Bischof performs at Pulaski Heights Methodist Church Thursday.
The Arkansas-set film looks really, really good.
Download Bonnie Montgomery's 'Cruel' single for free and check out a new Gossip track while you're at it
Bonnie Montgomery's 'Cruel' single is available free now.
Over the hump. Finishing up: * LET THEM GO, MR. PRESIDENT: President Obama politely turned back secessionist petitions from Texas with a brief and thoughtful analysis.
Gov. Mike Beebe told reporters today that the new rules on co-pays released by the feds on Monday “indicated some willingness to grant some flexibility.”
One door closes for a term-limited legislator, another door opens. And it comes with a taxpayer paycheck and state retirement benefits in this case.
The Little Rock Sanitary Sewer Committee tonight ca,e out of an executive session with three requests of Wastewater Utility CEO Reggie Corbitt: Do a better job communicating utility business to the committee, provide the committee with a job description and give the committee a firm timeline for when he plans to retire.
The reaction to President Obama's call for a range of reactions to gun violence has been about as thoughtful from the gun nut side as I figured.
A Little Rock news release says the city has moved to close an apartment complex on Baseline Road as a threat to health and safety.
White Water Tavern hosts a benefit for Trevor Ware Friday.
Grave Digger will be at Monster Jam at Verizon Arena this weekend.
Unsurprisingly, the Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a rehearing in the split decision, hotly debated, that allows some lucky school districts from the legislature's clear intention to put a 25-mill property tax assessment on all school districts to go toward the state fund for public education support.
Gov. Mike Beebe announced an appointment to the powerful, money-rich Arkansas Highway Commission this morning.
Katchen's talk: "What to do When Your Pastel Painting is a Disaster."
Which fast food restaurant does fries right? Here we break them all down and crown a king in the great fast food French fry showdown.
Mike Huckabee pays tribute to his faithful Lab, Jet, in a web post. The dog, a 1998 anniversary gift from his wife, Janet, died Tuesday at 14.
Wakarusa announced the third installment of its 2013 lineup this morning.
North Little Rock High School students are getting lots of thumbs up on You Tube (nearly 6,000 at this writing) for their video, "I Like Big Books," which they released Jan. 7 as part of a literacy project.
Sen. Johnny Key, who's sponsor of legislation to effectively remove any barriers to student transfers among school districts, posted this Twitter this morning.
Brown Soul Shoes plays at Stickyz Friday.
Nate Powell is putting his Harlan Records discography online.
The Rep holds auditions for "Death of a Salesman" Feb. 10.
Lee Fields & The Expressions will play at Juanita's March 24.
Judge keeps state in desegregation case; rules against Little Rock School District's fight against charter schools
A federal judge rejected claims Thursday by the Little Rock School District that the growth of open enrollment charter schools violates the 1989 state settlement agreement in the long running Pulaski County school desegregation case.
The long-expected bill originating from the Billionaire Boys Club to strip the state Board of Education of its oversight of charter school applications and performance was filed today.
Open to your comments. Closing out: * DRINK UP, BENTON COUNTY: Legal beer sales began in Benton County today.
Ouachita County Judge James Michael Hesterly has been charged in a federal indictment with awarding a federally financed disaster relief contract to a Bearden man in return for a campaign finance contribution in 2010.
Defense lawyer John Wesley Hall writes a blog on 4th Amendment (protection against unreasonable search and seizure) issues and here he threatens a lawsuit if the Arkansas legislature passes the Republican-loved proposal by Sen. Jeremy "Gator Bait" Hutchinson to drug test applicants for unemployment benefits and random test recipients.
Interesting. A reader told me last night about a new discussion on the Little Rock School District Facebook page about Superintendent Morris Holmes' proposal to put an armed security guard (not police officer) in every district school not already served by one of 18 armed police officers and to add 10 guards to the district's overall security force.
It's not too surprising, but disheartening just the same that the state's top legal officer, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, has thrown in with the demagogues and dishonest Republicans who suggest, without giving any specifics, that any reaction to making guns safer is an assault on the Second Amendment.
The Rally for Reproductive Justice is Saturday at the Arkansas State Capitol.
You know about the frog in the pot of slowly heating water? I'm reminded of the metaphor by House Republican Leader Bruce Westerman's bill, filed yesterday and with a herd of Republican co-sponsors, to arbitrarily cap state spending increases by 3 percent a year, or, if the three-year average has been less than 3 percent, that lower figure.
Sarah Hughes plays at Cajun's Wharf Saturday.
The mention of charter schools in the last item reminded me: I mentioned before that the Billionaire Boys Club bill to strip the state Board of Education of its power to approve and regulate charter schools had been introduced by Republican Rep. Mark "Bourbon and Bacon" Biviano.
Will the legislature approve Medicaid expansion? Introducing the Expand-o-meter, our guesstimate of the state of the debate, which we’ll update frequently as new developments come along. Today’s chances of passing expansion: 51%
Eliot Lipp performs Saturday at Discovery.
Loans to the to the Louvre and the Complesso del Vittoriano.
Hot tweet of the morning is Republican interest in doing away with, or at least easing, term limits.
You eat, you share. That's the name of the game on Food Feedback Friday.
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has announced a route for a new north-south highway corridor linking Fayetteville and Rogers along the eastern edges of the cities.
No, the headline is not a joke. I mentioned Wednesday the talk I'd heard about a potential race for U.S. Senate in 2014 by Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, still trying to dig out of debt from his last race for state office and with a few personal issues to work around.
Arkansas artists bring home a Delta Award and an Honorary Mention.
Roger Ebert gives a strong review to 'West of Memphis,' on the West Memphis Three murder case.
The feds asked today that indicted Ouachita County Judge Mike Hesterly remain in jail pending a bond hearing because he threatened witnesses and an FBI agent, the blog of the El Dorado News-Times reports.
The pool of jobless in Arkansas grew slightly in December, with the unemployment rate rising to 7.1 percent in December from 7 percent the month before.
Republican lawmakers continue to hold out hope that “partial expansion” might be an avenue to get the generous federal match rates authorized by the Affordable Care Act without having to offer the full coverage stipulated by the law.
Gov. Mike Beebe made a batch of gubernatorial appointees today. He didn't footnote one of them, but I will.
All sorts of big legal and legislative developments that could dramatically alter public education in the state, gun craziness, terrible bills in the General Assembly and the latest on the U.S. Senate race—all covered on this week's podcast.
In downtown North Little Rock tonight.
It's Friday, thank goodness, and the line is open. That video up there?
The blog reported yesterday about a complaint by the Freedom from Religion Foundation about the broad access religious groups have enjoyed in Conway public schools at lunch and other free time.
Nice piece of sportts history in Sporting Life Arkansas by Evan Demirel pegged to today's Razorback basketball game with Ole Miss in Oxford, Miss. In 1960 and 1962, the Hogs played Ole Miss at Blytheville.
New York Times polling shows President Obama holds a 51 percent approval rating, about his election margin.
Gone to see Lincoln. May be back.
The morning roundup: * I LOVE A PARADE: President Obama takes the oath today for a second term, though formal inaugural activities are tomorrow.
Media Matters nails Mike Huckabee for a familiar happenstance — noting a speck in an opponent's eye while ignoring the log in his own.
Yesterday was Gun Appreciation Day across this exceptional land and it produced a fair amount of gun-related news: * GUNS: APPRECIATE WITH CARE:In case you missed it, five people were injured at three accidental shootings at Gun Appreciation Day events nationwide.
Report from David Koon, riding with the M.K. King Commission to the Obama inaugural: BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA — A bus at night is no place to be — black hallway where the minutes shuffle, punctuated by the pained little noises of sleepers and the turbo wine of the big diesel engine out back.
Lovely day, except maybe if you work in a C-store: LRPD Sgt. Cassandra Davis has been mass-blasting crime reports: * Robbery of Mapco on 65th about 5 a.m.
David Koon checked in late last night from Washington, where he's joined the M.K. King Commission chartered bus caravan of Arkansans attending President Obama's second inauguration.
Paul Krugman looks back at President Obama's first term and sees a glass more than half full: * A historic piece of health care legislation, far from ideal, but destined to be popular when implemented.
Shannon Wurst plays Tales from the South at Starving Artist Cafe Tuesday.
Dining at Ashley's? Get the duck.
Little mentioned in the first legislative week were opening shots in a battle with HUGE significance to the business community — and injured people.
"Collecting Prints (1997-2012): Works from UALR Permanent Collection" honors retiring chair Win Bruhl.
Following is the text, provided by the Washington Post:
When the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments last week on the important case over the Arkansas school transfer law, news accounts noted that parents seeking the ability to transfer from Malvern to the whiter Magnet Cove School District were represented primarily by Jess Askew of the Williams and Anderson law firm in Little Rock.
Slow day if you weren't in Washington, D.C. I'm leaving it up to you, as Dale and Grace once sang.
A truly breathtaking piece of political chicanery in Virginia yesterday. It was M.L. King Day.
The Arkansas legislature is again expected to debate this year a quasi-school voucher program established in several other states in which dollar-for-dollar tax credits are provided for contributions to nonprofit organizations.
Another mass killing in New Mexico this week sets a good tune for the Arkansas legislature.
Where to eat when you are stuck at UAMS? Here we offer some of the best options available around campus.
Atlantic Tele-Network, which bought some parts of the former Alltel wireless phone operation, has sold its Little Rock-based Allied Wireless Communications Network to AT&T. The company operated in rural areas of six states (not Arkansas).
The Washington Post has assembled an interesting roundup of statistics on abortion since Roe v. Wade made it a legal right 40 years ago.
Finding good brunch in an unlikely place.
Arkansas still waits for how much money Gov. Mike Beebe wants from taxpayers to land a super project with many new jobs, said to be almost a certainty.
From the Arkansas buses heading home after President Obama's second inaugural, David Koon writes: Outside Washington, DC — We're on the bus again, headed west.
Design of Arkansas Children's Hospital south wing subject of Architecture and Design Network presentation.
Atlantic Cities publication writes about the downtown neighborhood design.
Three shot, one possibly the instigator, at the Lone Star Community College campus in Houston, Texas.
We're nearing the deadline for filing employment related bills. Here's a bill by Rep. Allen Kerr related to deferred retirement option programs that have been popular throughout state government.
The line is open. Some final notes: * HOG BASEBALL PLAYERS IN TROUBLE: Fox 16 has report on two baseball players getting arrested for stealing beer and deli items from a Fayetteville Walmart.
The Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity isn't through trying to stand in the way of protection of Central Arkansas's water supply.
Joann Coleman, a neighbor to the abandoned Easter Seals center on Lee Avenue that sits on land controlled by the board of the state schools for the blind and deaf, reports from a board meeting on the latest development in that long-running saga.
Jennifer Pierce reports that the Conway City Council voted 7-0 tonight in favor of a resolution that says corporations are not people.