From 'Driving Miss Daisy' to 'Ragtime the Musical.'
Spring!March 3, 2016
Vol 42 • No 26
Bentonville Film Festival, Ozark Foothills, LR Picture Show screen this spring.
A $30 million theater, gallery and classroom facility puts it all together.
Our guide to the season's biggest music, art and theater events in Arkansas.
Concerts by Earl Sweatshirt, Janet Jackson, Mumford and Sons, Weezer, Steely Dan and more.
Books, music, theater and more.
Photography at Crystal Bridges, Arts Center all about USA.
The people left out of the state's past two tax cuts -- the poorest in Arkansas -- should not be taxed at the grocery story to pay for highways.
Also: Brian Nahlen at Southern Gourmasian, Mark Currey at Kent Walker Artisan Cheese, Greg Morton at the Loony Bin, "crunkcore" group Brokencyde at Revolution, and more.
We are 11 months from a President Trump, Clinton, Sanders, Cruz or Rubio and a final reckoning on what to do with Obamacare.
Also: Huckabee says Trump is not a racist, Small Business Administration sees no impact from hog farm on Buffalo River, and pre-primary political peregrinations.
A leaf is caught by rocks in the creek that runs through the ravine in the north part of Allsopp Park.
The Rep updates Homer with 'An Iliad.'
The expansions proposed by eStem and LISA starkly exemplify how the missions of charter schools have gone way off track.
It's March, and up in the Ozarks, there is madness. Let's not confuse this with a delusion that the Arkansas basketball programs will be participating in the NCAA tournaments on either the men's or women's side, but it's been an eventful few days in Razorback Country.
The Observer is not given to writing for an audience of one. We're mass communicatin' here! Shouting, week to week, out this bare little window, hoping to be heard by the greatest number of people: folks sitting at bus stops and in doctors' offices, in restaurants and bars, folks like you, who may be sitting there right now, flipping these dead-tree pages one-handed or scrolling through digipages with your thumb while trying to keep mustard off your blouse.
The medium is the message.
They serve students, staff.
Horrors real and imagined.
Mardi Gras serves up top notch Cajun food in Hot Springs.
Why do so many insist Bernie Sanders is offering freebies to Americans?
Keepin' em locked up.
City director says he doesn't want Texarkana to miss out on economic development.
Also: Hip-hop showcase at Maxine's, Schoolhouse Rock Live! at the Arkansas Arts Center, the 14th annual Little Rock Marathon, Tedx University of Central Arkansas, poets McDougall and Madden at the OA Annex.
Sometimes, you take your laughs where you find them. For me, the funniest moment in an otherwise dreary and intermittently scary election year came when candidate Donald Trump visited the State Fairgrounds in Little Rock. A character seemingly straight out of a Charles Portis novel provided the most incisive commentary.
Greetings. I'm back in Arkansas after an extended vacation. As I explained on Facebook, this trip across the Pacific has been in the works for more than two years, with deposits made before the legislature moved up the primary from May to March.
Interesting to me yesterday was the decision by the Jonesboro Advertising and Promotion Commission to provide some corporate welfare from tax proceeds to one hotel/convention center proposal but not to one proposed by Arkansas State University for the campus, you'd think an influential player in Jonesboro politics.
Another in a series of reports from a good-government says TV spending in the races for Supreme Court in Arkansas topped $1.6 million, not a record by the figuring of Justice at Stake but also not a complete tally of spending because it leaves out huge expenditures on direct mail and other costs.
Senate Democrats have asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson to put ethics legislation on his call for a special legislative session on other issues.
A correspondent poses a good question about Donald Trump's capture of first-place in the Arkansas Republican presidential primary. He was opposed by Republicans who've said for years that Democrats were out of touch with conservative values? Who's out of touch now?
Twenty states, including Arkansas, that have attempted to block a federal anti-pollution rule were set back again today at the U.S. Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts declined to delay the rule while the EPA deals with some legal questions before a circuit court of appeals.
"He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president," Romney said. Will anyone in Trumpland care?
The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma today criticized Oaklawn Park, the race track and casino in Hot Springs, for encouraging opposition to its application to gain federal trust status for land it acquired near the Little Rock Port.
Randel Branscum, 56, former chief deputy and Stone County Jail administrator in Mountain View, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a civil rights violation in instructing two inmates to beat a prisoner.
The Arkansas House Democratic Caucus may be down in numbers, but it is not out entirely. Caucus Leader Rep. Michael John Gray announced the first Miller Mahony dinner April 27 in Little Rock, with a keynote speech by former legislator, White House aide and business executive Mack McLarty.
Here's Thursday's open line, plus a video roundup of news and analysis.
Oaklawn Park has added an assistant general manager position and filled it with a casino industry veteran.
Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson distributed a letter today thanking those who supported her in her losing race for chief justice against Dan Kemp, who benefited from huge spending on TV by a group whose financial supporters weren't known.
Republican presidential debate? Mud wrestling.
State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey got air time on the Daily Show last night for his conversion to the cause of research of gun violence.
StoryCorps, the website devoted to using human stories to inspire a more compassionate world, has posted a story today about a couple in Eureka Springs — Dick Titus and Zeek Taylor.
Public Policy Polling samples voter sentiment in four states where Republican senators face re-election contests and find that voters are angry over Republicans' vow not to consider a U.S. Supreme Court nomination by President Obama no matter who it is.
WIRED magazine has a great new profile of Little Rock filmmaker Jeff Nichols out this month, written by the always-perceptive Amy Wallace. Aside from being probably the best and most comprehensive piece written on Nichols to date, it takes us behind the scenes of his forthcoming "Midnight Special" and even offers new insights on previous works, from "Shotgun Stories" ("He wrote the script in his father’s furniture store, “surrounded by mattresses,” and edited it in his laundry room") to "Mud."
News today from the Museum of Discovery and the Clinton Presidential Center of new exhibits.
Here's the week-ending open line and the daily video.
This is a recipe, guys, that’s much more appropriate for cold weather. Now that the frantic wheezing of spring is almost upon us, I’m sure you all want to be picnicking outside in the clover and sunlight, laughing and kissing each other and gobbling down asparagus and quail eggs, not hunched over a smoky hearth ladling out gloppy, brownish Lebanese comfort foods. But because I have no sense of anything appropriate or right, here it is: Mujadara, one of my favorite dishes in all the world.
Despite Donald Trump's disavowal of the Ku Klux Klan at last night's Republican debate, the current national director of the Knights of the KKK, Thomas Robb, said that Trump is the best choice for president. "As far as I’m concerned, Donald Trump is the pick of the litter," Robb told me by telephone today.
On this week's edition, Max and I talk about the results and ramifications of Tuesday’s primary and judicial elections, the latest on the Mike Maggio federal bribery case and look ahead to next week’s pivotal state Board of Education meeting.
Dr. Tom Bruce, a cardiologist and former dean of the University of Arkansas College of Medicine, pro tem dean at the start of UA's School of Public Health and an associate dean at the Clinton School of Public Service, died today. His career included notable contributions to rural health care and philanthropy.
Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
KAIT in Jonesboro reported the other day that some election ballots in Greene County contained a judicial election for which voters weren't eligible to cast ballots. A reader asks how the secretary of state's office managed to make this mistake.
An open line on a Saturday with presidential caucuses underway. So far, the results favor Ted Cruz.
Demetria Edwards, a Lake Village lawyer, sends photos of the formal renaming Saturday of what had been Confederate Street in Lake Village for Sgt. Thomas Armour Jr., a Lake Village man and Vietnam veteran.
Vox assesses winners and losers in presidential voting yesterday. One winner: Ted Cruz. One loser: Bernie Sanders.
Reporting today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette illustrates again why Gov. Asa Hutchinson wants so desperately to preserve the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion in Arkansas. It's a key component of a gubernatorial budget that would otherwise require drastic spending cuts.
Thousands of runners cheered by many spectators enjoyed a cool Sunday morning for this year's Little Rock Marathon.
Here is an open line.
Vox reports in depth on an encouraging trend — a sharp drop in unintended pregnancies, a shift attributed to better contraceptives. If only the Arkansas legislature would get with the program.
The New York Times brings further anecdotal news about the warming planet: A lack of snow and cold for the annual Iditarod dogsled race.
From the Tweets of Rep. Nate Bell a point worth considering.
Education blogger Diane Ravitch writes today about a California group's call for an investigation of a group of affiliated charter schools — more than 150 — with ties to a Turkish political leader. They include schools in Arkansas.
The new Little Rock Planning Commission agenda notes that a public hearing is set for a request to build a Lowe's home center at Bowman and Kanis Roads in West Little Rock. The chain currently has a store in North Little Rock.
Latest private option numbers: the state projects to save even more than previously predicted.
Shades of Shawn Womack. Another Supreme Court justice in another state has a record of homophobic comments. She apologizes to anyone offended, but does not repudiate the remarks, much as Womack himself failed to do during his successful Supreme Court campaign.
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, deputized by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, issued a report today on a review of the huge Department of Human Services.He calls for a reorganization and streamlining of the agency — something of a deja vu moment for anyone around state government for a long period of time
Here's the Monday open line and the daily video news roundup.
The Health Reform Legislative Task force today recommended that the state implement "Arkansas Works," the governor's plan to continue the private option Medicaid expansion with conservative tweaks.
With the election still eight months away, little-known Conner Eldridge, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican John Boozman, perhaps should be proud that a Republican-financed Super PAC is already going on air with TV ads to trash him.
In his own words, Michael Bloomberg explains why he won't use his billions to mount an independent run for president.In short: The risk is to great it would mean election of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.
The Health Reform Legislative Task Force was split today on managed care. There is broad agreement across the task force that the traditional Medicaid program needs some form of care management for the high-cost populations (long-term care for the elderly and the severely disabled, developmental disability, and behavioral health). The billion-dollar question is whether to make use of a "full-risk" managed care company to implement those reforms. On that question, the task force punted, and it will be up to the full legislature to decide what to do.
We are still working our way through a technical problem that disrupted the Arkansas Times' digital presence, from e-mail to blogs to the regular website to our mobile platform.
Among other things we missed this morning was Gov. Asa Hutchinson's release today of a proposed budget for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1. Not much growth in spending, mostly for human services, but what growth there is comes thanks to Obamacare. State employees get no COLA.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that state Treasurer Dennis Milligan has asked for legislative authority to hire a staff attorney for up to $83,000 a year and to give investment manager Ed Garner a raise from $97,400 to $109,106. A word or two about that.
The Camden news reports that the Camden police have established a video-monitored spot by the police station for people who arrange sales of merchandise by Internet to make exchanges under the camera's eye.
Conway police have identified Susan "Heather" Stubbs, 41, of Conway, as the woman found dead by a clerk about 6 p.m. Sunday at the Days Inn on Oak Street in Conway. A suspect has been arrested in the case.
Huffington Post is reporting that U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton injected a note of acrimony into a chummy private meeting between billionaires and Republican lawmakers by sharply challenging Apple CEO Tim Cook over the company's refusal to help the FBI get into iPhones.
How low can the National Republican Senatorial Committee go? Pretty low.
Here's the Tuesday open line, plus a video of news and analysis.
Sen. Bart Hester, the ultraright legislator from Northwest Arkansas, has some ideas about cutting state spending, including War Memorial Stadium and AETN.
House Minority Leader Michael John Gray says Gov. Asa Hutchinson will have to come to the table with Democrats if he wants their votes on the private option.
Bernie Sanders defied polls in winning Michigan Tuesday. Is this a harbinger of more bad news for the Clinton campaign?
Some election night odds and ends, from the failure of opinion polling in Michigan, to race-based voting in the South to the lobby money Bernie Sanders is receiving. Also: Marco Rubio's disappearing act as an alternative to Donald Trump.
The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
Paul McCartney, famous for Wings, appearing on a song with Kanye West and Rhianna, etc., is coming to Verizon at 8 p.m. April 30.
Verizon Arena in North Little Rock announced this morning that Paul McCartney will be on stage April 30.
Our website was down yesterday. We are now up and running. But some are reporting an inability to access the website on various computers and mobile devices.
The six-month closure of the Broadway Bridge to complete replacement work has been delayed indefinitely by high water on the Arkansas River and construction problems, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department announced at a news conference this morning.
Latest Wall Street Journal/NBC polling illustrates sharp demographic divides in the presidential race. Angry white men heavily favor Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
The combatants in the tussle between Treasurer Dennis Milligan and lawyer Luther Sutter apparently have decided not to pursue competing misdemeanor charges of assault.
Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin distributed a news release to announce he'd lobbied the state Board of Education in a letter to expand charter schools in Little Rock. But what does he really know about the subject?
Here's the Wednesday open line and today's video news roundup.
Of course Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is joining other Republican, officials in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to make it harder, maybe impossible, for women in Texas to get an abortion. But did she have to be so disingenuous in describing her position.
Arkansas Advocates writes on the governor's budget. Things could be worse, fiscally speaking. There's one big reason they're not: Obamacare.