← Back to issues
Alternative Amour

Alternative Amour

February 9, 2017

Vol 43 • No 23

Read the print version

Another kind of love

Ahead of Valentine's Day, Arkansans who are asexual, polyamorous and into BDSM talk about their lives.

Polyamory in Arkansas

The following interview is with an Arkansas woman living in a committed polyamorous relationship involving two men and two women, all of whom live and raise their children together.

BDSM in Arkansas

"John" and "Sarah" are an average married couple in their mid-30s. Both educated professionals, they live in the 'burbs of Central Arkansas, raising a family on a quiet, tree-lined street. The difference between them and most people, however, is that behind closed doors, they're in a long-term BDSM relationship, an acronym that stands for bondage, domination, sadism and masochism.

Asexuality in Arkansas

The following is taken from an interview with an Arkansas college student, who — after a series of frustrating relationships — began to identify as asexual in his early 20s.

'Preaching to the perverted'

Peddling smut with the Little Rocked Zine.

Dr. Love

Dr. Chelsea Wakefield at the UAMS Couples Center helps couples bring back that lovin' feelin', or never lose it in the first place.

A Q&A with Adia Victoria

On the cultural dominance of patrician noses, Nina Simone and more.

Proposed constitutional amendments seek to reshape Arkansas education oversight

Both appear to take aim at the standards set by the Lake View school funding case.

Two-headed Rapert

Resist Gorsuch

Barring the bizarre, Judge Neil Gorsuch will become one of the nine members of the U.S. Supreme Court by the time the court reconvenes for its new term in October.


First off, great job out there, everybody, with the marching and the sign-making and just getting out of bed and showing up when you could be binge-watching "Dexter."

In defense of the arts

he National Endowment for the Arts may soon be comparing notes with the Affordable Care Act, forgotten on the midden of history.

Lost, found, looking

'Lion' is as fragmented as its hero's past.

Another disaster

I swear, y'all, I am trying like hell to come up with a new angle on this tragicomic mess called Arkansas basketball. But every week presents the same dichotomy, and the past few days just qualifies as flat-out bewildering.

Awaiting remorse

William Faulkner, who wrote a fine novel or two about coming to terms with an inglorious past and the healing power of remorse, would have liked January — a few days of it, anyway.

All about politics

Have Americans really become a nation of gullible cowards? Sometimes it looks that way.

Like a party at Prego

But a few dishes need tweaks.

"All Politics is National" at the Clinton School

Plus, lots, lots more.

Tort reform returns

Also, cuts on the horizon and a bad bill killed.


The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.

Graham Gordy speaks at Argenta Reading Series

Also, Randy Rogers Band, Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, Lanterns! Winter Festival, Second Friday Art Night, Spa City Sweethearts, Lucero, Kevin & Gus Kerby, I Was Afraid and 'The Ernest Green Story'

Bill to allow sale of wine in grocery stores in House committee

The Senate narrowly passed Sen. Bart Hester's (R-Cave Springs) bill to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores yesterday, 18-11. SB 284 is now on the agenda of the House Rules Committee, which meets at 1 p.m. today. More on the backroom dealings behind the bill.

Vandal writes 'Make America Great Again' on works in exhibition

A vandal armed with a magic marker defaced five artworks in an exhibition of drawings by Ben Edwards at the  Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale last week, writing "Bad Art" and "Make America Great Again" and "Fag" on the works on paper.

Bill to create ethics loopholes stalls in Senate

Most of the opposition came from Democrats, but they were joined by three Republicans — including Sen. Jim Hendren (R-Gravette), the majority leader.

Satanic Temple demands public hearing after legislature moves to block monument effort

The Satanic Temple today delivered a demand letter to state officials threatening litigation if they are denied a public hearing for their proposed eight-and-half-foot-tall bronze statue of the goat-headed pagan god Baphomet on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.

Proposed constitutional amendment to appoint justices fails to gain support

The committee took no action on any measure today, but Hutchinson said after the meeting that he was resigned to the lack of interest in his amendment. He said he'd be supporting a bill by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) to shine a light on spending by outside groups in Arkansas elections, judicial and otherwise.

French Hill sends out desperate push poll on Affordable Care Act

French Hill wants to enact massive tax cuts for the rich and take health insurance away from millions of Americans. He's hoping a cheesy survey will help rally support for his ideas.

Citizens opposed to DeVos nomination raise $9,107 to "buy Senator Cotton's vote"

A group of citizens held a demonstration of sorts today at Sen. Tom Cotton's office in Little Rock to protest his support of Betsy DeVos, recently confirmed by the senate as the federal Secretary of Education. The group presented a check to "buy Senator Cotton's vote," a reference to the financial backing that DeVos and her family have provided to Cotton's campaigns.

The Thursday line and video

Over to you.

Criminal reform bill faces uphill battle in Senate committee

An omnibus bill that sponsors say would curb the rapid growth of Arkansas prisons without sacrificing public safety received a cool reception from the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Senate Bill 136 has been in committee for weeks as Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (R-Little Rock), chairman of the committee and lead sponsor of the bill, has been working with state prosecutors and other groups to address concerns.

Federal court declines to reinstate Trump's travel ban in unanimous ruling

A three-judge panel in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today  unanimously refused to reinstate President Trump's ban on refugees and certain visa holders from entering the country.

Education commissioner accepts recommendations to close Little Rock School District campuses

Under the plan previously outline by the superintendent, the district will close Franklin Elementary and Wilson Elementary, along with Woodruff Early Childhood Center. Hamilton Learning Academy, an alternative school, will move to the Wilson building.

Senate balks on another ethics loophole

The state Senate Thursday voted 9-12, with 13 not voting, on House Speaker Jeremy Gillam's bill to open up more loopholes in the state ethics law already made more porous by the legislature since it was approved by voters.

And speaking of foreign travel by lawmakers: Good for whom?

The roadblock to Speaker Jeremy Gillam's bill to reopen the door for to free foreign travel for legislators happened to arise as I read of one solid investment of foreign money in state legislative travel.

Is the president (or Arkansas legislature) above the law?

Vox writes a good explainer of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against President Trump's attempt to ban immigration from seven countries. Can the president ignore the courts? The attack on balance of power brings to mind a similar movement by the Arkansas legislature.

Sen. Rapert appeals for money

Sen. Jason Rapert has distributed a money-raising appeal for an expansion of his Holy Ghost Ministries, including a plea for monthly cash contributions to his work.

Ken Starr reported under consideration for Trump administration post

Ken Starr for a job in the Trump administration? It's possible. They can compare notes on sexual assault scandals.

Walton Family Foundation looking for a general counsel

The Walton Family Foundation is looking for its first general counsel. It is perhaps only coincidental that the federal Education Department is now headed by a woman who has much the same outlook on schools as the foundation does.

The grocery store wine bill: Whiskey sellers protest UPDATE

The distilled spirits lobby has come out against the bill to allow sale of all wines in grocery stores. And a new question has arisen about the governor's role in the proposal.

State scraps bidding on state tourism ad contract

Kyle Massey of Arkansas Business reports that the state procurement office has canceled bid solicitations for the $14 million state tourism marketing contract.

Save Our Schools rips school closure decision

The Save Our Schools coalition has issued a statement criticizing Education Commissioner Johnny Key's expected approval of school closure decisions recommended by his Little Rock school superintendent, Michael Poore.

AP: UA behind bill to close records on school security

The Associated Press has dug up the back story of Sen. Gary Stubblefield's broad bill to exempt information about school security, from kindergarten though college, from the Freedom of Information Act. Another bill also limits information about Capitol police.

Amazon set to begin collecting sales tax on Arkansas purchases in March

AP reports that Amazon has announced it will begin collecting the Arkansas sales tax on purchases in Arkansas March 1.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Harmonicas and Firesnakes

A recap of the 25th annual Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, Round 3.

Arkies in Congress: Perfect for Trump

The Arkansas delegation is sheer perfection when it comes to voting in lockstep with the wishes of President Donald Trump.

Arkansas Traveler: Bryan King goes to Kansas to bash Arkansas Works

Sen. Bryan King, one of the hardline opponents to the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, was brought out to testify in Kansas against that state expanding Medicaid coverage with Obamacare money as Arkansas has done — and continues to do under Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

2nd Friday Art Night artists: Grace Ramsey, Luke Knox, Bruce Jackson, Susan Chambers, Sofia Gonzalez

  In synch with Art Night, symbolist works — paintings by Grace Mikell Ramsey and mixed media sculpture by Luke Amram Knox — go on exhibit at the Historic Arkansas Museum in a show called "Modern Mythology"; Vino's Brewpub is supplying the beer.

Friday's open line

Here's the open line and a video news roundup.

The Max Is Back Edition

State legislative doings, the latest on the LR school district and more — all covered on this week's podcast.

Texas finds a fraudulent voter. But wait for it ....

A report in the New York Times details the case of a woman who moved with her family from Mexico as an infant and voted illegally in two elections in Texas, seemingly in part from confusion about her status.

The immigrant crackdown continues, to the surprise of some Trump backers

Immigration raids raise anxiety among undocumented immigrants and surprise some Trump backers who depend on such workers for their livelihoods.

State veterans director resigns

The director of the state Veterans Affairs Department has resigned. Reports have emerged about morale problems there.

No sex, please, we're cartoon characters

A cartoon switch in the daily paper riles a reader. Too sexy for the breakfast table?

Yale relents, will rename Calhoun College for trailblazing woman

Yale University will removed the name of slavery advocated John C. Calhoun from a residential college, ending years of controversy over the tribute.

Here's your open line

A sultry February Saturday open line.

Free fly fishing classes in Heber Springs

New to fly fishing and don't know where to start?

Tom Cotton: Again with the fake news

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, so sure of himself, is wrong again when it comes to his assessment of the reversal rate of the appellate court that refused to reinstate President Donald Trump's travel ban.

Will states protect their citizens from federal data digs? Few stand up.

Will states prevent federal prying into state records to create registries of Muslims or immigrants. The results of a nationwide survey found little support for the idea.

The Sunday open line. And a plug for The Rep.

Here's an open line. And a plug for the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders supports Trump's unsupported voter claim with unsupported Arkansas story

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders drew on an Arkansas anecdote in a national television appearance Sunday to defend President Trump's unsupported claim that illegal voters accounted for his popular vote loss to Hillary Clinton.

University gun bill has church complication, UA faculty member writes

Rep. Charlie Collins' bill to mandate that universities allow staff with permits to carry concealed weapons on campus will be before a Senate committee Wednesday and one opponent, John Pijanoski, chair of the Campus Faculty Senate at the University of Arkansas, has written about another problem with the legislation (apart from near universal campus opposition.)

As session action picks up, so do the free meals for legislators (and staff)

The pace of free eats and drinks is picking up for Arkansas legislators this week.

Profile in courage at Ole Miss

A profile in courage: Ole Miss student activist Allen Coon. He's part of the resistance.

LRPD reports homicide

Little Rock police say a man was fatally shot last night at 3000 Wolfe Street. It was the city's fifth homicide of the year.

Nonprofit news: A report on initiatives of the Arkansas Times

Arkansas Business writes this week about the Arkansas Nonprofit News Network, a contributor-supported effort to produce public interest reporting for Arkansas organized by Arkansas Times editor Lindsey Millar.

Big Swill update: The committee dining schedule

Here are more free feedbags on tap for legislators this week, in special interest dinners thrown by lobbyists and special interest groups.

Trane to close Fort Smith HVAC plant

40/29 reports that Trane is closing a facility in Fort Smith that makes residential heating and air conditioning system and transferring the work to plants in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas. The number of jobs affected was not specified.

Rep. Bob Ballinger a big loser — 112 pounds — and big winner of cash for effort

Rep. Bob Ballinger is publicizing his loss of more than 100 pounds — a feat that earned him $10,000 in a weight-loss contest — to encourage others to get healthier.

Trump welcomes waiters, party guests and social media to national security discussion

National security? Private e-mail servers? How can you top international crisis handling via Facebook at Donald Trump's private club, with waiters and guests looking on.

House passes campaign finance transparency bill

The bill passed out of committee last week on a voice vote. It now heads to the Senate, where it may face a tougher fight.

Monday's open line and the daily news roundup

Here's the first open line of the week and a roundup of news and comment.

Eight more weeks of the legislature in store

A House resolution that zipped out of committee today envisions this legislative session being extended until a recess April 7, with a return for adjournment May 5.

Bill to direct online tax collection to income tax reduction filed

Last week, Amazon announced it planned to voluntarily collect sales tax in Arkansas starting in March. Now, a bill filed in the House seeks to dedicate that revenue to reducing income tax.

State representative in dispute with mortgage company

State Rep. Mark Lowery of Maumelle went to court last week to seek an injunction to stop the scheduled sale of his Maumelle home in a foreclosure sale at the county courthouse at 10 a.m. today.

Financial troubles mount for Sen. Jake Files

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning on information dug up thanks to Fort Smith city official diligence of the mounting questions about the state Sen. Jake Files actions in overseeing building of a $1.6 million sports complex for the city.

Flynn resigns, but the case isn't closed

Michael Flynn's gone, but his and Donald Trump's relationship with Russia in the election and since should not be forgotten.

Charter school assault continues on the Little Rock School District

Sen. Joyce Elliott and citizen activists are raising the alarm about legislation that gives charter schools and charter school operators first call on leasing vacant school buildings.

Even some conservatives are getting the freeway message

Now a conservative publication joins our favorite chorus: Tear down urban freeways, don't make them wider and more damaging.

Ghana names an honorary consul in Little Rock

Sherman  Banks, the Little Rock businessman, announces that he's been named honorary counsul of Ghana, the African nation.

Add another anti-abortion bill to the pile

The long list of anti-abortion legislation grew yesterday with introduction of SB 340 by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson and others to prohibit lawsuits over a "wrongful birth."

Bill further slashes unemployment benefits, AFL-CIO cries foul

The AFL-CIO is calling attention to legislation to further cuts in unemployment benefits, on top of recent legislation to raise the income tax on unemployment benefits to help pay for an income tax exemption for military retirees.

In Texas: A tort reform lesson

Texas shows what happens when a state passes a "tort reform" law. It isn't pretty if you care about quality nursing home care. When there's no recourse for abuse and neglect, you can guess what's more likely to happen.

LR airport to add restaurant options

The Little Rock Airport will be adding some familiar national brand names to its restaurant lineup in 2018.

The legislature's assault on the courts

The attack on the judicial branch by the Arkansas legislature has multiple prongs, with bad news for voter rights, education and injured people.

Democrats resist Internet sales tax measure in fight over use of windfall UPDATE

Minority Democrats are waging a fight to preserve new Internet sales tax collections for programs that help people, such as Medicaid, as opposed to income tax cuts.

Tom Cotton blows off international scandal

Tough-talking Sen. Tom Cotton doesn't seem too concerned with a Trump advisor lending aid and comfort to our enemies in Russia and not telling the truth about it.

Wildwood Park for the Arts names new artistic director

Dr. Bevan Keating is the new artistic director for Wildwood Park for the Arts, the organization announced last week.

Feds announced gun crime arrests and arrests in jewelry store robbery

Federal and state officials held a news conference today to announce arrests aimed at reducing violent crime as well as the arrest of suspects in a 2015 robbery of Roberson's Fine Jewelry.

Tuesday's open line and the daily rant

Here's the Tuesday open line and the daily news and comment.

Bathroom bill filed in shell form

A bathroom bill, in shell form, surfaced today at the Arkansas legislature.

Legislative update: 'Tort reform' comes out of Senate committee

Legislative sludge today: Anti-abortion and resistance to ethics legislation. Inaction on an ethics weakening bill passes for good news.

French Hill plans 'teletownhall': That doesn't mean meet the public

U.S. Rep. French Hill. Will he brave a public meeting with constituents. So far, he seems open only to phone conversations with select constituents.

"Nasty Woman" at HSU: 32 artists celebrate Women's History Month

A photograph of a woman doing a headstand so you can see her red underpants. A sculpture by Robyn Horn titled "Approaching Collapse." Those and other works that assistant professor of photography Margo Duvall says "celebrates the female voice in art" for Women's History Month go on exhibit March 1 in the gallery in the Russell Fine Arts Building.

Appointments include ethics commissioner

The governor has named a Bentonville lawyer to the state Ethics Commission.

The bathroom bill: How big a 'problem'?

Some quote and some questions on the bathroom bill filed yesterday at the Arkansas legislature.

Want to try to talk to U.S. Rep. French Hill? Here's a number.

U.S. Rep. French Hill, the Little Rock Republican, has just announced on Twitter some details on reaching him on a telephone "town hall" tonight. I'd mention the event was in the works, but no specifics were available yesterday.

Tom Cotton announces his public meeting

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, who endured national attention for closing his office to critical questioners, has now announced a public meeting with constituents.

LR Convention and Visitors Bureau denounces bathroom bill

The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau has announced its opposition to SB 346, now in shell form but intended to prohibit use of restrooms except by people born with the same gender identity.

Campus gun bill endorsed by Senate committee

The bill to allow university staff to bring concealed weapons on campus, already passed in the House, is before a Senate committee today and sure to receive the wide objections it has received since the issue arose.

Trump's labor pick withdraws

Republican opposition has squelched President Donald Trump's nomination of fast-food titan Andrew Puzder to be Labor secretary.

The bathroom bill brings a very personal response

Introduction of a discriminatory "bathroom bill" brings a letter from a transgender person hoping to provide support to some living in fear as he once did.

U.S. Supreme Court appeal planned on birth certificate ruling

AP reports that attorneys for same-sex couples will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling denying them the ability to get both spouses listed on a birth certificate without getting a court order.

House shafts unemployed workers; on to the Senate

The House voted 62-26 today to slash unemployment benefits — reducing both the amount and weeks of coverage, the latter by 20 percent to a region-leading 16 weeks, down from 20.

Judge announces intention to help tenants facing Little Rock evictions under fire code

The legislature has no interest in improving the country's worst landlord tenant law (it has recently voted to preserve the country's only criminal eviction process) but renters seem likely to get a bit of help from Circuit Judge Alice Gray of Little Rock.

Wednesday's open line, plus news roundup

Here's your open line, plus the daily video news roundup.

Crystal Bridges acquires Alice Neel portrait

American portrait painter Alice Neel's painting of civil rights activist Hugh Hurd is now a part of the collection at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.