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The war against women

The war against women

February 6, 2013

Vol 39 • No 23

Read the print version

The war on women in Arkansas

Sen. Jason Rapert and his colleagues attack abortion.

Making it through

Made it through another January, thank the Lord.

Sqooshy, the Republican dinosaur!

'The Year of Women' at the Clinton School

Also, Handmade Moments at The Joint.

'A Celebration for Mason Mauldin' at Revolution

Also, 'Night at the Movies' with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, South Main Mardi Gras, Dirty Streets and Iron Tongue at White Water, WWE Smackdown at Verizon, That 1 Guy at Verizon and 'The Price Is Right' at Verizon.

Lyons: My neighbor, Jason Rapert

For as long as I've lived in Arkansas, most of my adult life, people like the now famous state Sen. Jason Rapert have made most of the noise and lost most of the elections.

Where in Arkansas?

Know where this slice of life in Arkansas is?

Guns in God's house

Of all the ideas floated by the gun forces after the Connecticut school murders, the most incongruous and the one with the silliest history but probably the least harmful is to encourage worshipers to pack heat when they go to church or the synagogue.


Local Lime gives tacos the gourmet treatment.

Chicks and spikes

Roosters and chickens and fowl, oh my.

Stephen Neeper Band takes Round 2

Blues-powered swagger propels the five-piece to the Showcase finals.

Arkansas judges want age limit removed

They say voters, not statutes, should decide if judge is too old.

Bibles, beers, works by Osage artists

At 2nd Friday Art night, other weekend events.

Women's rights, water at risk

Deadline rolls around and it's hard to know which provocation should demand the most attention.

It was a good week for Koch interests divided

It was also a good week for the Medicaid shortfall, Kelly Rodgers and a new bridge. It was a bad week for collection plate thieves and women.

Ways to save the GOP

Is Jason Rapert a Bigot? Yes. A liar? Yes. A racist? You decide.

Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway), seen on our cover this week for his role in leading the crusade to control women's reproductive rights, drew national attention last week for something else — a two-year-old speech he delivered to a Tea Party rally at the Arkansas State Capitol.

Impact of guns in church real

The Arkansas legislature is supposedly giving pastors means to protect their parishioners by allowing congregations to decide for themselves about whether guns are allowed in their churches. What could be wrong with that? To be honest, even though I believe our culture has a troubling trust in the power of firearms, I tend to resist giving churches special treatment legislatively. Taken in the abstract, I could almost be convinced that if it's legal to carry guns elsewhere it should be legal to carry them into church. Life, however, is not an abstraction.

We're gaining

Small, Southern, unwealthy, Arkansas has long been looked down on by the more prosperous states of the upper Midwest. Now the gap is closing. As we've reported previously, Michigan has copied Arkansas's anti-union "right to work" law, virtually assuring that per capita income in the peninsular state will drop to Arkansas levels. Welcome, Wolverines. Familiarize yourself with the food stamps.

A new era for Razorbacks

You do not have to be steeped in wizardry or any kind of advanced science to understand that Arkansas football is being purified from the roots up.

An oldie and (near) goodie

"Stand Up Guys" feels authentic.

The Golden Nose

The Observer is generally saddled with horrific sinus issues, due to what the best otolaryngologist in the state once called, and we're quoting here, "tiny nose holes."

Fetuses rule

On social issues too, Michigan is becoming more like Arkansas. A news item: "Tax Breaks for Fetuses But Not for Kids — Michigan lawmakers proposed an amendment to the state's income tax code that would allow pregnant women to claim their 12-week or older fetuses as dependents. These same Republican legislators pushed to eliminate a tax credit that applies to actual children."

Hillary's the one in 2016 — more polling coming today

A former campaigner for George H.W. Bush writes in the Daily Beast that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a particularly dangerous opponent for Republicans in 2016, as evidenced by her popularity among voters in Texas and Kentucky over Republican candidates.

Charter school accountability lacking

Sen. Jimmy Jeffress passed modest legislation for charter school accountability in 2012. Among others, it required after the first quarter of the year that charter schools file a report with: 1) The number of applications for enrollment received.

UPDATE: Saturday mail service on the chopping block

I'm hearing that the Postal Service is poised to announce the end of Saturday mail delivery.

LR superintendent candidate withdraws from Wisconsin job search

Walter Milton Jr., school superintendent in Springfield, Ill., and one of the finalists disclosed yesterday in the search for a new Little Rock School District superintendent, has withdrawn from a job search in Madison, Wisc. Report from the Wisconsin State Journal: Walter Milton Jr. pulled his name from consideration for the Madison School District's superintendent job Tuesday evening, according to a statement the Madison School Board provided to the State Journal.The decision comes amid questions about parts of Milton's background and how much the board knew about them before naming him Sunday as one of two finalists for the job.

Is that pizza I smell? Tracking reports of Bruno's rebirth on Main Street

Vince Bruno, who managed the West Little Rock Italian restaurant started by his father in 1948 for more than 20 years, is reportedly working with is brother Gio to open a new Bruno's on Main Street, in the Mann on Main project, a mixed-used redevelopment underway at Fourth and Main.

Memphis strips Confederate names from parks; can a David O. Dodd Protection Act be far behind?

A story from Tennessee seems absolutely ripe for copycat work from Arkansas Republicans. A bill filed in the Tennessee legislature prohibits the renaming or removal of any monuments or memorials or plaques related to any war.

Boy Scouts delay decision on end to gay discrimination

I'd bet that a storm of negative reaction prompted the Boy Scouts of America's governing board to delay today a decision on whether to end the organization's discrimination against participation by gay people as scouts or scout leaders.

Jason Moore to direct Tina Fey's upcoming comedy 'The Nest'

Jason Moore is set to direct the upcoming Tina Fey comedy "The Nest."

The impact of guns in church

Recommended: A letter in this week's Times by Scott Walters, rector of Christ Episcopal Church downtown, on the question of guns in church.

Wednesday: 'The Year of the Women' panel discussion, 'Cirque Ziva' and more

"Cirque Ziva" comes to Woodlands Auditorium Wednesday night.

Wilkins: Mayberry anti-abortion bill needs rape exception to clear Senate

I hope to have a report shortly on Senate committee consideration of Rep. Andy Mayberry's bill to ban abortions beginning with the 20th week of pregnancy, a significant shortening of the pre-viability period in which the U.S. Supreme Court has barred states from banning abortion.

Big Momma takes the floor on transvaginal probes, abortion

This deserves a post of its own. Following is the post of the day — maybe ever — by reader "Big Momma."

Federal security objects to Occupy LR demonstration

Jennifer Pierce reports that federal security officers objected to a small Occupy Little Rock demonstration on the sidewalk outside the federal courthouse at Capitol and Broadway last night.

Thursday: Handmade Moments, Signing Day in the Rock and more

Handmade Moments plays at The Joint Thursday night.

Feds consider exchange option as part of Medicaid expansion deal

Nice scoop this morning from Charlie Frago, who reports in this morning’s D-G (paywall) that Gov. Mike Beebe has asked the feds about giving folks between 100 and 138 of the federal poverty level (around $11,000 to $15,000 for an individual) the option to buy subsidized health insurance on the exchange if the state opts for full Medicaid expansion.

"Bridging the Burden: In Their Shoes"

A memorial to Arkansas soldiers.

Senate votes to close gun permit records

The vote was 24-9 in the Senate for the bill to make concealed carry permits secret.

Poll update: Hillary in a walk over GOP oppnents

I mentioned earlier that a UA poll on presidential politics would be discussed at the Clinton School at lunch today.

The open line — calling all jocks

The line is open. It's a sports page kind of night.

Thursday To-Do: 'A Celebration for Mason Mauldin'

Revolution hosts "A Celebration for Mason Mauldin" Thursday night.

Medicaid cost growth down dramatically — is reform effort the cause?

Medicaid, Andy Allison, John Burris, Debra Hobbs

Morning notes: Saving lives, halfway houses

A check of the mail turns up items of interest: * SAVING LIVES: A friend sends a link to a story from Iowa, where the presence of an automated external defibrillator was credited with saving the life of a shopper who'd collapsed in the store.

First-hand: 20-week abortion limit is unfair

With Rep. Andy Mayberry's bill to ban abortions in Arkansas from the 20th week of pregnancy onward currently delayed in a Senate committee, there's still time to hear from those who think this legislation has negative consequences for women, in addition to potentially running afoul of federal court precedent.

Police chase ends in river rescue

From Fox 16: Little Rock firefighters sent water rescuers the Arkansas River to get a police officer and a driver involved in a chase.Little Rock Fire spokesman Captain Randy Hickmon says police chased a driver on Rebsamen Park Road.

There goes the neighborhood: Push emerges to sell Forest Hills for Tech Park

A letter has been distributed to the board of the Little Rock Technology Park asking that it consider the Forest Hills neighborhood, a lower-income residential area between UAMS and UALR, for the site of the tech park.

Poor vetting of school candidate: Has LRSD noticed?

I linked yesterday to a Wisconsin news article about the withdrawal of an Illinois school superintendent, Walter Milton Jr., from a search for a new leader in Madison.

Counties begin push to raise wireless phone fees to pay for 911

The Association of Arkansas Counties has distributed a news release that sets the stage for a push for increasing allowable fees on wireless phones to pay for county-operated 911 emergency phone centers.

War on Women contd.

The Senate today passed legislation to prohibit private insurance offered through health insurance exchanges from covering abortion.

The greatest corn ever born

There are few things in this world that are not made better by the addition of a little butter and cheese. Corn is no exception. Here's where you'll find some very comforting kernels.

Weekend: Bob Marley birthday celebrations, 'Ain't Nothing But a Thang' and more

Montego Cafe celebrates Bob Marley's birthday Friday, while Revolution will host a celebration Saturday.

Republicans propose new state bureaucracy

At the top of today's hypocrisy watch is a proposed piece of legislation from Sen. David Sanders and Rep. Bruce Westerman.

Rapert abortion bill passes by voice vote

On a voice vote, the House Public Health Committee has taken Sen. Jason Rapert's bill to ban most abortions in Arkansas off the table.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3: Freedom Bureau

Freedom Bureau plays Round 3 of the Showcase, Thursday at Stickyz.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3: Gwendlyn Kay

Gwendlyn Kay plays Round 3 of the Showcase, Thursday at Stickyz.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3: The Revolutioners

The Revolutioners play Round 3 of the Showcase, Thursday at Stickyz.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3: Mothwind

Mothwind plays Round 3 of the Showcase, Thursday at Stickyz.

Cushman's love story going to New York

Just in time for Valentine's Day, the "Let's Talk About Love" exhibition goes up at Printed Matter Inc. in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.

2013 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase: Round 3 is tonight

Round 3 of the 2013 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase is tonight at Stickyz.

Fight begins on 'tort reform'

I reported earlier that Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, with significant input from plaintiffs' lawyers, had gotten the jump on the business lobby by filing a proposed constitutional amendment with several Republican co-sponsors to curb the impact of Arkansas Supreme Court rulings in big damage cases.

The line is open — let us pray

The line is open. To finish up: * ATTENTION JASON RAPERT: Barack Obama, that Kenyan-born, queer-loving, swarthy Muslim who's usurped the traditional white Christian man's place in the White House for a second term attended today, wait for it, the National Prayer Breakfast.

Report dismisses complaint about religion in Conway schools, suggests policy on visits

I've reported periodically on a topic of current controversy in Conway Public Schools. Superintendent Greg Murry temporarily halted campus visits by local church groups after a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation that visitors were using the visits for open evangelizing.

The Republican delaying game on Medicaid

Charlie Frago reports in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today (pay wall) on growing buzz that Republicans intend to refuse Medicaid expansion during this regular session under the excuse that complicated information makes more time and a decision in the 2014 fiscal session a better idea.

Morning matters: Death and discrimination

The morning news and notes: * IS KILLING SOMEONE ILLEGAL IN LONOKE COUNTY: KARK continues to report on the exceedingly curious case from Lonoke County where formal charges have yet to be filed against Christopher Reynolds of Ward, who police have said shot and killed an employee in November.

One woman's abortion story

A friend came to me with her own testimony about a decision to have an abortion 14 years ago.

Saturday To-Do: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra: 'Night at the Movies'

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents "A Night at the Movies" Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.

Entergy explains Super Bowl power failure

Entergy, the power company that includes Arkansas in its service area, announced today that it had traced the Super Bowl power failure to a relay device that it has now been removed from service.

Saturday To-Do: South Main Mardi Gras

The inaugural Root Cafe/Arkansas Times Beard-Growing Contest is Saturday at the South Main Mardi Gras celebration.

Tiny Tim joins 'No Labels' group: BFD

A news release touts the membership of Rep. Tiny Tim Griffin of Vilonia in a nominally bipartisan "No Labels" group of congressmen.

UPDATE: Stop wasting state tax money on legislators' health insurance

Enough. Enough with Republican legislators, many of them unemployed except for what they suck off the state teat, talking about how easy it is for single women making poverty level wages to pay for their own insurance.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3 roundup: Freedom Bureau

Freedom Bureau played Round 3 of the Showcase, Thursday at Stickyz.

A doctor speaks out on abortion bills

Dr. Curtis Lowery, chairman of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, expanded on his testimony yesterday before the House public health committee on what Sen. Jason Rapert's bill to prevent abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected would mean for women.

Medicaid audit released

The Arkansas Legislative Audit Division this afternoon released its special audit on the Medicaid program.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3 roundup: Gwendlyn Kay

Gwendlyn Kay played Round 3 of the Showcase, Thursday at Stickyz.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3 roundup: Mothwind

Mothwind played round 3 of the Showcase, Thursday at Stickyz.

Legal or not, gun goes off on UA campus

Don't read It's worth following: FAYETTEVILLE— On the same day of a university gun forum, Fayetteville police have confirmed that someone accidentally shot themselves at the campus radio station, KUAF.

Guns in church — the cleanup

Reps. Darrin Williams and Reginald Murdock have introduced the promised legislation to clean up obvious holes in the bills to allow concealed weapons in church that approve.

Printmakers at Butler Center gallery

Tonight, the Arkansas Society of Printmakers opens what it's calling its “1st Annual Membership Exhibition” in the main gallery at the Butler Center in the Arkansas Studies Institute.

2013 AT Showcase Round 3 roundup: The Revolutioners

The Revolutioners won Round 3 of the Showcase Semifinals

Thornhill, Graupner at SAAC

Dan Thornhill goes "Beyond Reality" in a show that opened Feb. 1 at the South Arkansas Arts Center, exhibiting mixed media on paper and canvas.

Washington's Bibles at HAM

For two days only, the Bible that George Washington swore upon for his inauguration April 30, 1789, and a Washington family Bible will be on display at the Historic Arkansas Museum.

Cowan, Stafford, Villegas, EMILE, Dwight

Here's more on tonight's 2nd Friday Art Night exhibitions.

Friday night flights

No country for old liberals. Happy to see this week close.

The Still Hot Edition

The war on women being waged in the General Assembly, the latest maneuverings on the Medicaid expansion debate and the latest on the Little Rock Technology Park—all covered on this week's edition.

Ghosts of George Wallace, contd

Do not be confused. The expected Republican hubbub over yesterday's release of their specially requested and clandestinely influenced Medicaid audit was pre-planned theater.

Food Feedback Friday Saturday

It might be Saturday but there's never a bad time to check out Food Feedback Friday. Let us know what you're chowing on lately.

Tech Park decision nears — downtown, the best site, will have opposition

I received notice this week of a meeting Wednesday of the board of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority.

Open line

Nothing to report here. You?

Let's you and him fight: Huckabee v. Karl Rove

Karl Rove has created a little noise in the Fox News world by talking of recruiting Republican candidates who'll counteract the Tea Party types that upset outcomes in several key Senate races.

Rapert's abortion ban is unconstitutional

Duh. Sen. Jason Rapert's bill to ban abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward is unconstitutional under every controlling legal precedent.

En pointe! Chelsea Clinton to promote Ballet Arkansas

Ballet Arkansas sent word today that Chelsea Clinton will return to Arkansas this spring to be honored for her work in the performing arts as part of the dance group's spring gala April 26.

The early line — Tom Cotton for veep

The improving day calls me to other activities. I'm opening the Sunday line early.

Pope to resign

CNN says Pope Benedict to resign at the end of the month.

'The Ignorance Caucus'

Paul Krugman today dubs congressional Republicans the Ignorance Caucus, particularly when it comes to health care and Eric Cantor's recent pronouncements on same.

Investors beware: If it's too good to be true ...

The New York Times has a good cautionary story today. It's about how people looking at low interest rates of conventional investments have been drawn to risky propositions to improve their retirement outlook.

Tuesday To-Do: WWE Smackdown

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be at WWE Smackdown, Tuesday at Verizon Arena.

Vice President Cotton sounds the welfare Cadillac trumpet

I heard this last night and groaned. U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, the Club for Growth's ambassador to Arkansas, said it on Fox News: Well, I obviously disagree with Nancy Pelosi's call for more tax increases, as well as Barack Obama's.

Courthouse shootout in Delaware

Three dead and two wounded in a courthouse shooting in Wilmington, Del., not long before a scheduled visit by Vice President Joe Biden to talk about gun safety.

Forget your sweet tooth with a savory pie

Pie goes savory at Hillcrest Artisan Meats.

UPDATE: Engineering firm reports on Tech Park site finalists

The Crafton Tull engineering firm has submitted its review of the three sites being considered for the Little Rock Technology Park — east of Interstate 30 near the Clinton Library; on the west side of John Barrow Road and at Asher and University.

Court grants hearing on open court effort

In the interest of full disclosure: The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today issued a ruling in an Arkansas case brought by the Arkansas Public Law Center, a nonprofit group on whose board I serve.

Here's the poster for Jeff Nichols' 'Mud'

Jeff Nichols' "Mud" is due out in April.

School choice no panacea in New Orleans

This finding is truly from the stuck record of reports on education research. Nobody has yet demonstrated that charter schools, school vouchers or any other Billionaire Boys Club flavor of the day has yet demonstrated on any replicable basis that they best real public schools in educating children.

Why is Joint Audit shielding its working papers?

Some more public record baseball for you: I remain interested in how the special Medicaid audit came to pass; how much it was influenced by Republican legislators, and, particularly, what the audit said before the Beebe administration sounded an alarm about methodology.

A whole bunch of people performed 'The Weight' at the Grammys last night

The Grammys featured a performance of The Band's song "The Weight" as part of a tribute to Levon Helm and other musicians who died in 2012.

Told you so: Gilbert Baker is a high-dollar lobbyist

Slim Chickens winging into old Backyard Burgers space on Markham

Driving by the old Backyard Burgers restaurant across from UAMS today, we noticed that the sign out front says it will be the location of Little Rock's first Slim Chickens, the tenders, wings and fries joint that was started in by three friends in Fayetteville in 2003.

Just as I am — with a Glock

GUNS IN CHURCH: Gov. Mike Beebe signed legislation today to allow churches to permit concealed weapons on their premises.

Reed Kroloff, "Changing the World"

Director of the Cranbrook Academy to talk at the Arts Center.

The end of another beginning

Monday's done. The line is open to segregation academies, racial quotas and guns in church.

Paying for the lottery shortfall — smaller scholarships

27 House members and Sen. Johnny Key have filed a bill to trim lottery scholarships to cope with lagging revenues.

Morning mailbag: Schools, courts, accountability

I mentioned the other day that Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Courtney Henry Goodson had recently become the court's liaison to the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct, a court-appointed body that oversees the ethical standards of lawyers.

Legislative ethics: If lawmakers won't, the people must

Between abortion and guns and defeating health care for working poor, the legislature hasn't had much time to devote to government ethics.

Medical spending slowdown a national trend

Arkansas has gotten news lately of a drop in the expected Medicaid deficit thanks to slowing cost increases.

Wednesday To-Do: That 1 Guy

That 1 Guy plays at Stickyz Wednesday night.

Wednesday To-Do: 'The Price is Right Live!'

"The Price is Right Live" comes to Robinson Center Music Hall Wednesday.

Oxford American Editor Roger Hodge will be on The Colbert Report tonight

Roger Hodge will be on The Colbert Report tonight.

UPDATE: Committee endorses Charlie Collins' bill to allow guns on campus

Rep. Charlie Collins, the Fayetteville Republican, is attempting to push his guns-on-campus bill through a House committee this morning.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship...

Loblolly and White Water Tavern are pairing to make visits to the creamery even more special. Check out their hot, pressed paninis on housemade corn bread.

UPDATE: Governor 2014: Darr out, so who's in? Ross? Sheffield?

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr today removed his name from consideration in the 2014 race for governor.

Guests of the First Lady include (sigh) Arkansas connection

As is customary, the White House has released the names of people who'll be joining First Lady Michele Obama in the audience for the State of the Union address.

Opening today: paintings by John Harlan Norris

"Occupants" at UALR.

Promotions at Crystal Bridges

Bacigalupi is now president.

Art of the Osages at UALR's Sequoyah Center

In the J.W. Wiggins Gallery of the Sequoyah National Research Center.

Paintings donated to Russellville arts center

The River Valley Arts Center in Russellville has announced the gift of six watercolors from Dr. Barrie E. O'Bannon: Three by Polly Loibner of Lamar, two by Doyle Young of Dardanelle and one by Laphelia Middlebrooks.

Arts Center's 'daughters' go to Fort Smith's RAM

The new Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, which is exhibiting “The Secrets of the Mona Lisa,” a scientific exploration of Leonardo DaVinci's famed painting, opens a companion exhibit Feb. 15: "Mona Lisa's Daughters."

Rapert abortion bill: Still unconstitutional

AP is reporting that the Arkansas House is delaying action on Sen. Jason Rapert's unconstitutional bill to ban most abortions at 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Tuesday night line — BREAKING shootout in California

The line is open. Finishing up: eStem student Leonard Cooper wins Teen Jeopardy.

Late night notes— saber rattling, lawyer rattling

Mailbag notes: * TOM COTTON SHAKES HIS FIST AT NORTH KOREA: What's a North Korean nuclear test got to do with the 4th District of Arkansas.

Scholarship winners, bowl makers at Thea

The Thea Center features work by its Visual Arts Competition winners along with ceramic bowls made by students at Hall and Parkview High School for tonight's Argenta ArtWalk, 5-8 p.m.