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Love Hurts

Love Hurts

February 11, 2016

Vol 42 • No 23

Read the print version

When Second Life got real

A relationship became complicated.

Napoleon Dynamite, fresh out of jail

Chain-smoking and talking about his ex-girlfriend on a first date.

Valentine's with Tony Hawk

Also, mariachis and food poisoning.

Sweet tarts

Short stories on missed connections.

Them dumplin'

An infatuation with a party bus driver.

Break-up sex

A plan goes awry.

Not a love story

Because Valentine's Day is a garbage holiday, here are tales of woe, heartbreak and missed connections.

Kemp calls for transparency in judicial race spending

Circuit Judge Dan Kemp, who is challenging Supreme Court Associate Justice Courtney Goodson, expanded on an earlier statement on dark money being spent to defeat Goodson in a welcome way.

Jeremy Haft talks "Unmade in China: The Hidden Truth about China's Economic Miracle"

Also, "Driving Miss Daisy" plays at Ron Robinson.

Bernie Bros

An athlete in his youth, Bernie Sanders appears to understand overwrought fans.

A Q&A with Tyrone Jaeger

Author of the new short story collection, "So Many True Believers."

Night at the circus

A dispatch from Donald Trump's rally at Barton Coliseum.

Fear the beards

Little Rock photographer Rett Peek took portraits of most of the contestants in the Arkansas Times/Root Cafe Beard Growing Contest, held last Saturday at Bernice Garden.

A generational Bern

Our first vote tells a good deal about how we'll be voting the rest of our lives.

F@%k em'

It's all about values with Tom Cotton.

Low plays Low Key Arts

Also, the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, 'Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World' at the Clinton School, Sinbad at UCA, "The Shining" at Ron Robinson, Billy Joe Shaver at White Water Tavern, 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' at Riverdale and Girlpool in Conway.

Lyons going downhill

It's a shame to see Gene Lyons' op-eds go downhill with each week.

Paz y amor

There are real angels in the world, kids.

All 'Hail'

The Coen Brothers return to frantic comedy in "Hail, Caesar!"

Signing Day takeaways

Say what you will about National Signing Day's absurdist pageantry — you'd be right, in fact — but in Arkansas, there are some inescapable certainties that usually denote it.

Romneycare comes to Arkansas

Also, The Donald goes big, irony in a Supreme Court race, throw the book at them and polling by the numbers.


At Zoe's Kitchen.

Arkansas Times Recommends: Valentine's Day Edition

Like being without a family on Christmas, being single on Valentine's Day is a cultural double-bind: Even if you don't give a damn about any of it, saying you don't only makes it sound more like you do. What's there for us to do but shut up and read about other people's heartbreak instead?

Highway robbery: Hutchinson's plan

Ever since the second great war, when the automobile became ubiquitous even in poor Arkansas, the one reliable rule of politics was that you couldn't go wrong by asking people to pay more taxes for highways, roads and streets.

Matt Campbell asks court to review Ethics Commission decision in Milligan complaint

Campbell, the Little Rock attorney behind Blue Hog Report, yesterday filed a petition for judicial review of the Arkansas Ethics Commission's recent decision on the matter of state Treasurer Dennis Milligan's questionable campaign finance reports.

Ross Douthat contemplates the chaos of the GOP race

Why John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush may be doomed to fight to the finish.

Dark money in state Supreme Court race funding mailers, website attacking Goodson

The Judicial Crisis Network isn't limiting itself to TV. A reader passes along this mailer from the dark money organization, which takes the same line of attack as the broadcast advertisement: Goodson is an "insider" beholden to rich special interest groups.

GLO Airlines adds nonstop service from Little Rock to Destin-Fort Walton Beach

GLO Airlines, the regional air carrier based in New Orleans, announced today that it would begin seasonal service between Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport. Service will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday from March 25 through Sept. 5.

Tech Park chair Mary Good to step down

Dr. Mary Good, who has been the chair of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board since its formation as a nonprofit in 2011, informed UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson in a letter Jan. 20 that she will step down March 15, it was announced at Wednesday's tech park board meeting. She said she would stay longer, if needed, until her replacement is named.

Arrest warrant issued for Judge Wade Naramore in connection with son's death: UPDATE

Hot Springs Judge Wade Naramore has been charged with negligent homicide in the July 2015 death of his 18-month-old son, special prosecutor Scott Ellington announced today.

Bomb squad investigating suspicious package in Bentonville

The Benton County Sheriff's Department's Bomb Squad is investigating a package that a witness saw a man place under a truck across from the Benton County County Administration Building in Bentonville, according to 40/29.

Why did the NRA endorse Goodson?

The NRA says it does not usually endorse judicial candidates.

Thursday open line

Another day, another open line.

Regulators indicate planning for cleaner power will continue despite SCOTUS ruling

Even as the state has been fighting EPA carbon regulations in court, it's been quietly laying the groundwork for eventual compliance, just in case. This is nothing but a good thing — but it shows how spurious Arkansas's claims about the damaging effects of the Clean Power Plan really are.

The trouble with Bernie Sanders' campaign promise: Federal prisons are a small slice of the nation's mass incarceration problem

On mass incarceration and Bernie Sanders' campaign promise.

Chamber of Commerce is spending campaign cash to protect private option

The Chamber of Commerce is sending out mailers to back candidates who support the private option, the first time the Chamber has made independent expenditures in state legislative races.

The Uh Huhs win Round 3 of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

Congrats to The Uh Huhs, winners of last night's semi-final round of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase. Round 4 will be next Thursday, Feb. 18, with The Whole Famn Damily, Vintage Pistol, Jay Jackson and Sattakota.

Donald Trump's dominant national polling lead is growing

Donald Trump is trouncing the competition.

Attorneys for Naramore issue statement on charges over hot car death

Attorneys for Wade Naramore, the Hot Springs Judge charged yesterday with negligent homicide in the July 2015 death of his 18-month old son, Thomas Naramore, have issued a statement on the charges. In the statement, Little Rock attorneys Patrick Benca and Erin Cassinelli say that Wade Naramore and his wife Ashely have suffered "indescribable pain and immeasurable loss," and are committed to educating other parents about the dangers of situations like the one that took the life of their son.

Justice Baker talks money and politics on Facebook

Baker decries dark money and implicitly suggests voters should be wary of Dan Kemp, opponent of Baker's court ally, Justice Courtney Goodson. But what about Baker's own past contributors, including Michael Morton and John Goodson.

Children's Hospital to add two new boards

Arkansas Children's Hospital, which is building a new full-service children's hospital in Springdale, will reorganize the nonprofit's governance structure to create a separate board for the Northwest hospital and a system board that will oversee ACH activities statewide outside of Little Rock and Northwest.

LRSD superintendent, advisory committee urge caution on charter school expansion plans

The superintendent, the advisory committee and the teachers' union president had a clear message for the board: Beware of ambitious charter school expansion plans at a time when the LRSD is at a crossroads.

Downtown Partnership endorses 0.25 tax for bus agency

The Downtown Little Rock Partnership's board of directors has voted unanimously in support of a proposed sales tax increase to benefit Rock Region Metro, Central Arkansas's public transit agency.

Hutchinson administration makes pitch to county judges on private option

Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe, one of the governor's top surrogates on health care and the private option, gave a presentation yesterday to the County Judges Association on the governor's plan to continue the private option with some conservative tweaks. Let's read between the lines...

Former Circuit Judge Mike Maggio asks to withdraw guilty plea on federal bribery charges

Mike Maggio of Conway, a former Circuit Court judge who pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges in U.S. District Court last year, is now asking a federal judge to allow him to withdraw the guilty plea, the AP reports.

Bernie Sanders is closing in on Hillary Clinton in national polls

The first major national poll released after Tuesday's New Hampshire primary finds Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders narrowing Hillary Clinton's lead. A look at Sanders strengths and limitations going forward and what his success among young voters means for the Democratic party.

Another endorsement for bus tax: NLR chamber

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce has been mum on the public transit tax to be voted on March 1, but not the North Little Rock chamber: It announced today its support for the 0.25-cent increase for Rock Region Metro operations, saying it would "provide the agency the autonomy needed to make the current transit route system more efficient and responsive to our community's changing mobility demands and support more, better and modern bus service to central Arkansans."

Lawsuit challenges state legislative slush fund

Mike Wilson, a Jacksonville lawyer and former member of the state legislature, has filed an illegal exaction lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court over pork barrel spending by the legislature.

Our errant public servants, part 2: AG, treasurer ineligible for leave

Matt Campbell's Blue Hog is still sniffing up problems with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and State Treasurer Dennis Milligan's decision to campaign for Mike Huckabee on office time: Namely, their claim that they were "on personal leave."

Jim Gilmore drops out


AG rejects ballot initiative to reduce petition threshold for holding local alcohol elections

David Couch, the lawyer who championed a 2014 effort to allow statewide sales of alcohol in Arkansas, is back with another try to loosen the state's restrictive laws on booze.

Ethics complaint filed against lawmakers and PAC who backed private option

Jeff Oland of Farmington filed a complaint with the Ethics Commission today against the PAC Conservative Arkansas and its four officers (which includes Rep. Jana Della Rosa), Sen. Jon Woods, and former Rep. John Burris.

The Friday night line and video and what should I get my wife for Valentine's Day?

Over to you.

Art night tonight: Arkansas contemporaries Massey, Criswell, Strause, Rutter and more

The Historic Arkansas Museum has put together a group show of work from its permanent collection by some of Arkansas's finest contemporary artists; see it tonight HAM's 2nd Friday Art Night reception, 5-8 p.m.

The Dennis Milligan in a Sling Edition

A new lawsuit challenging pork barrel spending, a change of heart from Mike Maggio, the future of the Clean Power Plan, political polls, pushing and shoving and Dennis Milligan, the latest in the Arkansas Supreme Court soap opera, Baker Kurrus speaking truth about charters and more.

Medicaid expansion and Republican politics

Medicaid expansion, the GOP presidential campaign, and Asa Hutchinson.

The clown car rolls on: Final six square off for GOP presidential nomination

Notes from the state of the race.

Northwest Arkansas Republicans spar over private option in state legislative races

A trio of Rogers-area challengers take on Republican state reps who backed the private option.

GOP presidential candidate John Kasich faces attacks for his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio

Republican rivals ramp up attacks on John Kasich over Medicaid expansion.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies at 79

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died today at the age of 79 at a ranch in West Texas.

Open line

Your turn.

GOP presidential contenders react to the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Statements from the presidential candidates of the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

Republicans face off in South Carolina debate

Open thread and liveblog of tonight's debate.

Obama will nominate a successor to Scalia, says Senate should "fulfill its responsibility"

In remarks tonight on Justice Scalia's death, President Barack Obama said, "I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the Senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote."

Arkansans are big spenders on Valentine's Day

Natural State lovers came in sixth highest in the nation, with Arkansans spending an average of $93 for Valentine's gifts.

ASU on lockdown again

Arkansas State University and KASU are reporting on Twitter accounts that the campus is on lockdown after three armed men were seen near the Student Union. The university said the campus is on lockdown "until further notice."

Big cases looming for Supreme Court, with vacant seat after Justice Antonin Scalia's death

Texas officials have said that Antonin Scalia died of a heart attack. His death will have an immediate impact on American jurisprudence and public policy.

Sen. Eddie Joe Williams faces challenge from private option foe R.D. Hopper, who is confused about health care policy

Sen. Eddie Joe Williams is defending his seat against challenger R.D. Hopper, a Lonoke County Justice of the Peace,  one of three state Senate races where the private option looms large. Hopper has made health care a major issue in the race but he seems to know nothing about the subject.

Sunday open line

It's yours.

The tight margins in the Senate make steep hurdle for continuation of the private option

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has done a masterful job of navigating the treacherous politics of the private option since he was elected in the anti-Obamacare wave of 2014, but he'll face his biggest challenge yet this April, when the General Assembly convenes for a special session to decide the fate of the policy. In particular, vote counters in the Senate worry that the numbers put the future of the PO in real jeopardy.

Republicans take political risk with obstructionist tactics on filling Justice Antonin Scalia's seat

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the seat will likely remain vacant for at least a year. President Barack Obama will nominate a replacement but Republicans in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have pledged to block anyone Obama appoints, regardless of qualifications.  As the New York Times noted, "Mr. McConnell’s threat to block a confirmation could complicate the re-election chances of Republican senators in swing states."

Is Americans for Prosperity targeting Jana Della Rosa to help the political future of Bart Hester?

An northwest Arkansas Republican in the know offers a theory on why AFP is targeting Rep. Jana Della Rosa in particular over her support for the private option.

Donald Trump backs out of pledge, open to third party run

In the least surprising news of the election cycle, Donald Trump signaled today that he would happily back out of his signed pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee and not run as an independent if he doesn't win the nomination.

Conway woman, a Christian, attracts attention with hijab

Interesting little story in the D-G's River Valley & Ozark edition on Nancy Allen, a librarian from Conway who wears a hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by Muslim women, even though Allen herself is a Christian. Allen tells the paper that she is “supporting the Muslim-American community and freedom of religion."

Donald Trump says that if Ted Cruz doesn't stop lying, he'll sue him for being a Canadian

The clown car cometh.

Hillary Clinton still has big polling lead over Bernie Sanders in South Carolina, but race in Nevada could be close

Hillary Clinton is the heavy favorite in South Carolina but Nevada is a tossup.

City Board to take up contract with 30 Crossing consultants

The City Board will vote Tuesday on a resolution to enter into a $75,770 contract with consultants Nelson/Nygaard to review the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's 30 Crossing project to replace the Interstate 30 bridge and widen the interstate to 10 lanes.

Monday open line and daily video

How did you spend Daisy Bates day?

Marco Rubio campaign set to announce endorsements from Arkansas officeholders tomorrow

The Rubio campaign's Arkansas team will hold a press conference tomorrow at the Old Supreme Court Chamber at the Capitol.

What's next on Arts Center, museum and park vote

Mayor Mark Stodola told the Arkansas Arts Center's board of trustees today that the city will wait to see what private fund-raising efforts will bring in and what form the Arts Center's renovation and expansion plans will take before putting a bond issue out to bid to provide the city's contribution.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton maintain leads in South Carolina polling

Some pundits said Donald Trump's debate performance would hurt him in South Carolina. Doesn't look like it from the latest polling. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton also maintains a healthy polling lead in South Carolina.

Judicial candidate Kent Tester withdraws from race after publication of racial slur in text message

Kent Tester drops out of the race for District Court Judge in Van Buren County after Blue Hog published a text message written by Tester that included a racial slur.

Bob Ballinger's "religious freedom" stops Health Department regulation of soup kitchen: UPDATE

A soup kitchen invokes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to skirt food preparation regulations.

The white supremacist vote in South Carolina backs Donald Trump

Some Republican primary voters in South Carolina, particularly Trump supporters, are still whistling Dixie.

Sandwiches are pretty rad at Raduno

Raduno is more than just pizza.

Could Republican obstructionism lead to a more liberal Supreme Court?

On Senate Republicans' risky political gambit.

Michigan Republicans seek to stop outreach funding for state's Medicaid expansion program

Here's a familiar tale.

Donald Trump fans flames of Scalia murder conspiracies

Donald Trump feeds the crazies.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson seeks to "debunk" argument that supporting his Arkansas Works plan is supporting Obamacare

Gov. Asa Hutchinson met the press at the Capitol today and made his pitch for keeping a revised version of the private option in place. He said that there is "no truth" to the notion that supporting his plan amounted to supporting Obamacare.

Americans for Prosperity slams Gov. Asa Hutchinson's remarks on private option

The intra-GOP fight continues: AFP attacks Gov. Asa Hutchinson's statements that supporting his health care plan doesn't mean supporting Obamacare.

Marco Rubio now has 28 endorsements from Arkansas legislators

Marco Rubio's campaign for president today announced a long slate of endorsements by current and former Arkansas lawmakers.

Trump and Clinton maintain national polling lead

National poll has familiar names at the top.

Early voting starts today

This year's presidential primaries hold a lot of suspense and are likely to engender a decent turnout at the polls. You can avoid the March 1 primary crowds by voting now, at the following places and times.

New dark money ads attack Justice Goodson for Supreme Court's unanimous decision invalidating Arkansas voter ID law

A new mailer by the Judicial Crisis Network tells voters that Courtney Goodson is a stooge for Barack Obama and his liberal agenda.

Suspension recommended for Naramore

KARK-TV, Ch. 4, reports that the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission voted today to recommend an interim suspension for Hot Springs Circuit Judge Wade Naramore in the heat-related death of his toddler.

The Tuesday line and video

It's all you.

Check out Gravy

It's a podcast from the Southern Foodways Alliance that recently produced an episode about Springdale.

City board agrees to hire urban planning firm for I-30, agrees on amended moratorium

The City Board tonight agreed to enter into a $75,770 contract with the Nelson/Nygaard transportation planning firm and passed an amended resolution on a moratorium on development in particular areas along Bowman Road.

House Democrats respond to governor's statement on continuation of Medicaid expansion

Rep. Michael John Gray, the Democrats' House Minority Leader, released a statement shortly after Gov. Asa Hutchinson's presser making the case for the continuation of the private option:

Hillary Clinton says Republicans are barking mad, invokes old Arkansas ad

Woof, woof.

Health Task Force set to meet this morning; governor expected to present details on his plan to continue Medicaid expansion

Gov. Asa Hutchinson is expected to present the details of his plan to continue the private option — with conservative tweaks and a new name, "Arkansas Works" — to the Health Reform Legislative Task Force today.

Like beer? Let Professor Bowl learn you good

Professor Bowl is a good spot for great beer in Little Rock.

Letter from Sec. Sylvia Burwell encouraging of governor's proposed reforms; looks like no asset test

The governor yesterday received a letter from federal Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell regarding proposed changes to the private option, the state's unique version of Medicaid expansion. The letter was released publicly minutes ago.

Don't like Trump? Move to Cape Breton!

And now, for a little humor: A Canadian has launched an unusual website, "Cape Breton if Donald Trump wins," that encourages Americans pondering expatriasm to consider the island, and declares, "This is not a joke!"

Dark money, National Review and the Arkansas Supreme Court race

A series of posts on the National Review's website pursues the same arguments against Courtney Goodson as the Judicial Crisis Network's mailers. That's because they're written by the JCN.

Do high profile Republican endorsements matter when Republican voters are tepid on the GOP itself?

Maybe Marco Rubio will overtake Ted Cruz by this weekend to take second place in South Carolina, but Donald Trump's lead looks unassailable — endorsements or no endorsements.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces details on plan to continue private option, okayed by feds

Gov. Asa Hutchinson today presented his plan for the continuation of the private option, with conservative tweaks, to the Health Reform Legislative Task Force.

Wednesday open line

Hello out there.

Digging into the policy details: Gov. Asa Hutchinson's proposed changes to the private option

A deep dive into the revisions to the private option that Gov. Asa Hutchinson negotiated with the feds. We now have a clear picture of his plan, which he calls "Arkansas Works."

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge approves medical marijuana ballot initiave

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today certified a ballot initiative submitted by Little Rock attorney David Couch to legalize medical marijuana. Finally.

Arkansas's criminal justice system is a mess, nonprofit reminds task force

Arkansas has the fastest growing prison population in the country. The crime rate is falling faster in surrounding states. Arkansas currently spends half a billion dollars a year on corrections, and, if prison growth continues, the state will have to spend $1.3 billion a year in 2025 — and that's a conservative estimate. These were among the dismal facts Justice Center, a project of the nonprofit Council of State Governments, reminded the Legislative Criminal Justice Task Force of today.

Kemp condemns outside ads attacking his opponent on voter ID issue in Supreme Court race

In a Facebook post addressed to his supporters on Wednesday afternoon, Judge Dan Kemp responded with stronger language to the JCN's involvement in the Supreme Court race for chief justice, decrying its "political gamesmanship" in taking on his opponent.

No endorsement from AFL-CIO in Democratic primaries

Little bit of bad news for Hillary Clinton. The Huffington Post reports that the AFL-CIO, the nation's most powerful federation of labor unions, will not be making an endorsement in the race between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, at least any time soon: