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5 Little Words

5 Little Words

March 26, 2015

Vol 41 • No 29

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Five reasons why an LGBT protection ordinance is a good thing for Little Rock

The Little Rock Board of Directors will soon consider an ordinance to extend protections to our LGBT neighbors. Why it matters.

Pleasing Piro

South Main pizza joint hits most of the right notes.

Stop presses: Clintons ambitious

Here are a couple of earthshaking developments: It turns out that Hillary Clinton is obsessed with privacy and that across the years former U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers detected ethical failings in other politicians, even friends like Bill and Hillary Clinton.


Yours Truly comes from a long line of dudes who cook, juggling the spatula and an unfiltered Camel, frowning something edible into existence from a stack of cans, jars and the occasional splash from a nearby Budweiser.

The blueprint

When the final seconds of an unusually dynamic and impassioned college basketball game ticked away, and a season of restorative value for Arkansas's long-beleaguered program ended, the moment for reflection that a turbulent schedule had delayed finally came.

Jake Hinkson's Arkansas noir

Crime fiction writer from the Ozarks finds an audience abroad.

A Harvard man

Like Tom Cotton, I have served in a war. I have four medals, none terribly important, to show for it. Perhaps he has more.

Sex and death

'It Follows' delivers scares.

Ben Creed at Loony Bin

Also, Colette Honorable at the Clinton School.

Nothing to show for making nice

I'm at anchor on a ship lying off Grand Turk Island, and I should have known better than to pick up the digital Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, particularly given the painfully slow download time on the ship's satellite Internet. But I did and began a slow burn.

The loss of skepticism

The manufacture and dissemination of didactic fables pleasing to the viewing audience is what many journalists do. And that's becoming almost as true at MSNBC as at Fox News. Particularly in stories involving race and sex, that is to say, a lot of them.

Election reform endangered

Lost in a U.S. Supreme Court term that will determine the future of Obamacare and marriage equality is a case that may well destroy the last best hope for combating partisan gerrymandering across the United States.

Hard to watch the ledge

Also, Justin Harris reemerges to tweet about the wicked and the Lord, a bad bill falls in the General Assembly and the court battle over the Little Rock School District is put on hold.

Capital area houses safe

Neighbor to renovate Third Street manse; cottages get demolition reprieve.

The 'Doors'

Carolyne Adkins of southeast Arkansas walks away after viewing V.L. Cox's art installation "Doors" on the steps of the state Capitol Tuesday, March 24.

Registered historic

Five properties have been added to the 2,551 Arkansas structures whose significance has earned them a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mitski comes to Juanita's

Also, Black Milk at Stickyz, Winter Jam at Verizon Arena, Young Buck at IV Corners, Discover the Dinosaurs at the Statehouse Convention Center and Darsombra at White Water Tavern.

Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson peddles fantasy of raping and torturing atheist family

Oh dear. Paradigm of conservative cultural authenticity, Phil Robertson, patriarch of A&E's "Duck Dynasty," conjured up a gruesome fantasy of the rape and torture of an atheist family in a speech to the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast, later broadcast on the “Trunews” radio program by host Rick Wiles.

Demographics for the private option, which now has 240,000 enrollees

Through the end of February, just under 240,000 Arkansans had gained coverage via the private option. As always, worth noting: that's 240,000 folks who would lose their insurance plans if the rump group of Tea Partiers in the legislature got their way and ended the coverage expansion in two years. Here's the demographic breakdown of those 240,000.

Light swill

I guess the harried pace of lawmaking is getting in the way of wining and dining.

Stonewall Democrats condemn gay discrimination bill

Tippi McCullough, president of the Arkansas Stonewall Democrats, sends along a statement excoriating Arkansas legislators for moving forward on Rep. Bob Ballinger's discriminatory HB 1228. She also notes that Ballinger, who previously said he would debate the merits of HB 1228 in a public forum, hasn't responded to a number of attempts to schedule the debate.

House committee OKs bill to create pilot program to drug-test TANF recipients

The House committee on Public Health this morning voted to pass a bill that would require the Department of Workforce Services to create a pilot program to drug test people who receive benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, or TANF.

Anti-gay legislation prompts Human Rights Campaign to run ad in Silicon Valley newspaper

At a press conference today, Chad Griffin, Arkansas native and president of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest LGBT advocacy group, announced that his organization will run a full-page ad (see below) in the San Jose Mercury News, Silicon Valley's largest paper, suggesting that Arkansas is closed for business due to HB 1228, the discriminatory, anti-gay measure making its way through the legislature. It could be up for consideration by the Senate today.

$4 billion tech company calls it quits in Indiana over anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' bill.

Take heed, Arkansas: the same day Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana announced he would sign the state's "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" — an anti-LGBT bill with disturbing similarities to Rep. Bob Ballinger's HB 1228 — a $4 billion tech company announced they're pulling up stakes there rather than "require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination." Ouch.

House rejects Rep. Leding's bill to stop sentencing juveniles to life without parole

The House of Representatives voted down HB 1197, the bill by Rep. Greg Leding (D-Fayetteville) that would have ended the practice of sentencing minors convicted of capital murder to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The vote was 29-53 against the legislation.

House rejects bill to require transparency in campaign finance reports

An ethics bill to require electronic filing of campaign finance reports failed on the House floor on Thursday. Pretty much all of the opposition to the bill came in the form of jokes.

Arkansas job creation in a climate of discrimination

Gov. Asa Hutchinson formally introduced Mike Preston as director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission today. Creating jobs, i.e. doling out corporate welfare, may soon get harder, though, with the likely passage of HB 1228 allowing for "religious" discrimination of gays.

The closed for business open line and daily video roundup

Here's the daily video headlines and an open line.

Two anti-rehoming bills pass Senate

The Arkansas Senate unanimously passed two bills this afternoon intended to address the issue of "rehoming" adopted children. The legislation was authored in response to the news that Rep. Justin Harris (R-West Fork) and his wife had sent their two adopted daughters to live with another family in 2013, where one was then sexually abused.

Civil Rights pioneer: 'ghosts of past' will haunt Hutchinson's legacy

Decorated Civil Rights leader Julian Bond has issued a statement condemning Arkansas House Bill 1228, which he said would "cloak discrimination in the guise of religion."

Legislative odds and ends: Energy, catfish analogues, casual racism and the coming Arkansas-California trade war

It's been a long day.

House likes whine with eggs, could mean end of Cali wine in Arkansas

Today, the House advanced to the Senate a bill that could ban California wine from being imported to Arkansas. That represents about 90 percent of all wine sold in Arkansas, a alcohol lobbyist told the AP. The bill is meant to be explicit retribution for a California law, originally approved by voters, that requires all eggs sold in California to come from hens that are able to extend their wings and turn around freely.

$380 million tech firm promises not to add jobs in Arkansas because of discriminatory legislation

In an open letter to "States Considering Imposing Discrimination Laws," the CEO of the recommendations service Yelp pledged to avoid adding or maintaining jobs in states that impose measures like Rep. Bob Ballinger's bill to allow discrimination on "religious" grounds.

Should Arkansas students be required to take a citizenship test? Should legislators?

On Thursday, the House Education Committee narrowly failed to pass SB 878, a bill by Sen. Jason Rapert that would require high school students to pass a citizenship test from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services as a prerequisite to receiving a diploma.

UPDATE: House fails bill to require consultants involved in school takeover to open documents to FOIA

Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) could not convince the House to pass his bill to would apply the Freedom of Information Act to third-party entities who contract with the state for consulting, evaluation or operation of a school following takeover of a school district.

Eggs, wine and smacked with a Yelp

As Friday's open line dawns, we are contemplating the need for bootlegging California hooch, the ways and means of eggs, some Yelp talk — and of course we want your opinions.

Ten Commandments monument bill clears House committee

A bill which would allow for the installation of a monument to the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol cleared the House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs this morning. It now goes to a vote before the full House.

Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' bill passes Senate

HB1228, the "Religious Freedom" bill by Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) that would allow Arkansans to discriminate against LGBT people based on their personal interpretation of religion, has passed the state Senate by a vote of 24-7. The bill now heads to the House.

No more money for Planned Parenthood or agencies referring to them

The state of Arkansas dealt another blow to women's health yesterday by sending to the governor SB 569, which denies all state dollars to Planned Parenthood and any social service agency that might refer patients to abortion providers. The bill kills future grants for programs that have nothing to do with abortion.

Citizens First Congress calls on Arkansans to sign petition urging veto of HB 1228

The Arkansas Public Policy Panel and Citizens First Congress are circulating a petition asking Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto HB 1228, the bill that would allow acts of discrimination in the name of religious freedom. Hutchinson has already said he'll sign the bill.

LR attorney to Senate committee: ready to file suit over lethal injection agreement breach

Little Rock attorney Jeff Rosenzweig has sent a letter to members of the Senate State Agencies Committee, pointing out that the drug-provider secrecy provisions of HB1751, which seeks to tweak the drug cocktail used to execute prisoners in the state, would put the state in breach of an 2013 agreement between Rosenzweig and a former Chief Deputy Attorney General, in which the state — in exchange for Rosenzweig "dropping certain parts of the lethal injection lawsuit" — agreed to provide Rosenzweig with "the relevant information regarding the [execution] drugs," including packing slips that will show where the drugs originated.

Maggio immune from civil suit, judge rules

Former Judge Michael Maggio cannot be sued in civil court over his handling of the case involving the death of a nursing home patient, Special Judge David Laser ruled this morning in Faulkner County Circuit Court. The ruling did not address fellow defendants Michael Morton and Gilbert Baker.

Apple CEO comes out against anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' bill

Apple CEO Tim Cook came out against House Bill 1228 today on Twitter, calling on Gov. Hutchinson to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Hutchinson has already said he'll sign it into law.

Ride the Arkansas Times Blues Bus to the Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale

For the first time ever the Times is taking two buses to this year's Juke Joint Festival in Clarksdale, Miss., which calls itself "half blues festival, half small-town fair and all about the Delta." Over 100 blues musicians will perform over the weekend at classic juke joints, blues clubs and small stages — last year's event brought attendees from 46 states and 28 countries. We'll be heading down on April 11 at 9 a.m., and the trip will come complete with live music en route: Blues Boy Jag will play on one bus and Jason Hale on the other. We'll also stop for lunch at the legendary Hollywood Cafe in Tunica.

Staff Picks: An anthem for the legislative session, a history of the Gazette, Edgar G. Ulmer and more

To soothe shattered nerves after the past several weeks of watching the horror show at the Capitol, and in honor of the fact that the 2015 legislative session will be remembered as the moment in the political history of Arkansas when the state finally emerged from the ruined chrysalis of late 20th-century Democratic populism to reveal itself as a carbon copy of our western neighbor, I'll recommend the Yo La Tengo cover of the Kinks' gentle, beautiful "Oklahoma U.S.A." If life's for living, what's living for?

Rapert bill would offer immunity from prosecution to people seeking medical care for drug overdose

How about we highlight a good, thoughtful bill among all the legislative shenanigans? And from Sen. Jason Rapert no less.

Bill to squelch nursing home info sails through House

Republican caveman Sen. Bart Hester's bill to prevent advertisements of results of nursing home inspections zipped through the House today 79-2 (Greg Leding and David Whitaker the nays, 19 representatives didn't vote). Blue Hog Report has been on Hester's case about this attempt to keep what are public records from being widely known.

The last days of Rome open line

We're tired. Have at it.

Uber gets alles the votes but one

Republican Sen. Jason Rapert's bill to regulate transportation network companies that use ride-sharing apps — like Uber and Lyft — passed the House 72 to 1 today (Republican Rep. Sue Scott of Rogers cast the lone no vote).

The California Wine War Edition

The week in review podcast by two guests who have no idea how to work a microphone. David Koon and Benji Hardy talk HB 1228 and assorted other legislative news.

Weather weirdness morning line

It's not news of economic disaster via hate bills or bills to brainwash schoolchildren with bogus history or more restrictions on the rights of women to control their bodies. It's just the weather.

Burnett, Hutchinson switch votes after advancing discrimination bill out of committee

Sen. David Burnett (D-Osceola) said he made a mistake in voting for a bill that would allow legal discrimination against gay people in a Senate committee. He voted against the bill in the full Senate yesterday. Meanwhile, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson (D-Little Rock), the governor's nephew and the lone Republican voting against HB 1228, cited Jesus's teaching as the reason he changed his vote.

Bisa Butler at Hearne Fine Art TODAY

Fabric artist Bisa Butler will talk at Hearne Fine Art today, March 28, at 2 p.m. See a slideshow of her wonderful work on the gallery website.

UPDATE: Education committee passes bill to tamper with American history curriculum

The Senate Education committee passed a bill today by Sen. Linda Collins-Smith (R-Pocahontas) that would require non-AP high school and junior high U.S. social studies classes to teach at least four weeks of history concerning "the period of colonization through 1890," regardless of what the rest of the class is about. Proponents of the bill said that its passage would help ensure "freedom."

The Saturday nite line

It's an open line.

'The Rock Obama' rips Tom Cotton a new one

Last night on "Saturday Night Live," Tom Cotton, John Boehner and Ted Cruz inspired President Obama to turn into his Incredible Hulk-like alter ego, The Rock Obama.

Spring into Sunday line

It's an open line.

Apple CEO calls HB 1228 'dangerous' in op-ed

In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Apple CEO Tim Cook condemned discriminatory legislation emerging from Arkansas, Indiana and elsewhere and pledged to oppose it.

What Arkansas Republicans talk about when they're not talking about discrimination

In the face of protest in recent days, Arkansas Republicans have tried a number of feints to mask the true intent of the so-called "religious protection" bill making its way through the Arkansas legislature. When they say it's not about discrimination, it's about discrimination.

Is Asa Hutchinson ready for this?

The Human Rights Campaign has highlighted the moments when Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ducked and dodged (not clarifying) questions from George Stephanopoulos.

Presbyterian ministers speak out against anti-gay HB 1228

Two Arkansas Presbyterian ministers said the so-called "religious freedom" bill currently under consideration by the Arkansas legislature was discriminatory and anti-religious. They were among a number of speakers at an "emergency meeting" held Sunday night to discuss HB 1228 hosted by the Arkansas branch of the Human Rights Campaign.

Protests of HB 1228 planned for March 30

There are all sorts of opportunities to protest HB 1228 on Monday.

Some questions for Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Some questions for Asa Hutchinson as the legislature nears passage of a bill that demonstrates again that we are a state that believes and practices discrimination.

Good morning, governor

Pictures from the protests at the governor's mansion at 6:00 this morning, a group led by Rev. Marie Mainard O'Connell.

Jermain Taylor trial date scheduled for Sept. 15

Professional boxer Jermain Taylor pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated assault and single counts of terroristic threatening and possession of a controlled substance today in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Hannibal Buress is coming to the Rev Room April 12

Great news from the folks at the Rev Room: Hannibal Buress has announced a show there at 8 p.m. April 12. Buress is a stand-up comedian known for roles on "Broad City" and "The Eric Andre Show," jokes about Young Jeezy and apple sauce, specials like "Animal Furnace" and "Live from Chicago" and, oddly and most recently, bringing wider attention to the rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Also he's just widely considered one of the best comedians of his generation. Tickets are on sale now for $25.

Line up at the trough: budget includes $40 million in GIF pork

Remember when Gov. Asa Hutchinson promised an end to legislative pork barrel spending, the time-honored tradition of splitting up surplus money for legislators' pet projects in their districts via the General Improvement Fund act? Never mind!

So I went to Buffalo Wild Wings

A trip to Buffalo Wild Wings is perfectly fine, just don't ask too many questions about the beer.

HB 1228 advances to full House; Ballinger declines to add non-discrimination amendment

After a House committee advanced an amended version of a so-called "religious freedom" bill, protesters gathered in the halls of the state Capitol chanted, "Shame on you!" to passing legislators. Rep. Bob Ballinger, the sponsor of HB 1228, said discrimination was not the intent of his bill, but he declined to add a non-discrimination amendment to it.

Spotlight on Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Governing magazine is sweet on Asa Hutchinson.

Protests against HB1228 continue at the Capitol

Images from photographer Brian Chilson from the 12:30 protest led by the Human Rights Campaign Arkansas at the Capitol. Rep. Bob Ballinger's HB1228 advanced out of committee today as amended and will head to the full House.

They may take our lives, but they will never take our Cabernet

The dumbest bill of 2015 dies on the vine.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on GIF giveaways

Gov. Asa Hutchinson comments on the inclusions of pork GIF spending in the budget after his promises to end the practice.

Pulaski County Detention Center officer arrested, allegedly brought in prohibited items

An officer with the Pulaski County Regional Detention Center was arrested on Saturday for, investigators say, bringing prohibited items into the jail.

What makes Arkansas's 'religious freedom' bill different from other states?

The federal government and many states afford heightened protection of religious freedoms (12 through court rulings and 20 through state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts). So what's the big deal with Indiana and Arkansas following suit?

The protest doesn't stop open line and video

Here's an early open line.

House passes bill to protect right to record public events

The House today passed a bill to prohibit law enforcement officers from violating the rights of citizens to photograph or record public events.

UPDATE: Ed committee rejects bills on charter facilities and civics testing; bill to end PARCC heads to final House vote

The House Education committee failed a bill by Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale) that would have created a "right of access" for charter schools to lease unused or underutilized facilities from a public school district. The committee also rejected a second try by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) to require high school students to pass the United States citizenship test as a prerequisite to graduation, which I wrote about last week.

The Mayflower effect: Tougher rules in the pipeline?

Exxon-Mobil's Pegasus pipeline ruptured in Mayflower exactly two years ago yesterday, March 29. Homes were lost, ground was tainted and there are still issues to be resolved in court. Could there be a silver lining? An article in Inside Climate News reports that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is "floating what could become a new regulation to address problematic vintage pipe and other obvious risks that were factors in the rupture" of the 70-year-old section of the Pegasus pipeline.

Arkansas minimum wage worker fired for talking to the press

Well, this is just awful. Shanna Tippen, a minimum wage worker at a Pine Bluff hotel, was fired because she spoke to the Washington Post and told the paper that the state's coming minimum wage hike would help her.

Acxiom asks Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto HB 1228

Little Rock-based Acxiom, the $1.15 billion data marketing company, has asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto a so-called "religious freedom" bill.

Sen. Jon Woods: Again with last-minute ethics dirty work

Sen Jon Woods is back with more ideas on ethics laws. Again, as in 2013, best take a close look.

Former Speaker Davy Carter encourages Arkansas House to vote against HB 1228

This afternoon on Twitter, the Cabot Republican wrote, "Respectfully, I would like to publicly encourage the members of the @ArkansasHouse to vote against #HB1228."

Another good bill dies: Maternity leave for state workers blocked by Senate committee

A bill by Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) to provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to state employees has foundered in the Senate Public Health committee.

Hell with books, the rich need a tax cut

In its wisdom, the 90th General Assembly has decided that tax breaks for the rich are more important than the literacy. The legislature has cut state library funding by 18 percent, or around $1 million, to help pay for a state tax break on capital gains from 30 percent to 50 percent (and to zero on gains more than $10 million).

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola urges Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto HB1228: "too divisive"

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola's letter to Gov. Asa Hutchinson asking him to veto HB1228: "Any piece of legislation that is so divisive cannot possibly be good for the state of Arkansas and its people."

New bill would make pointless, cruel letter sent to mislead poor Arkansans slightly less misleading

Rep. Donnie Copeland's bill to mislead poor people in the service of a meaningless gesture will get a slight tweak, a little lipstick on his grandstanding pig.

Ron Swanson is too busy woodworking to hate on gay people

The tipping point.

Gap, Levi Strauss join companies, business leaders calling for HB1228 veto

Yesterday, iconic blue jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. and known purveyor of jeans Gap Inc. issued a joint statement condemning Arkansas's anti-gay House Bill 1228 and similar legislation recently signed into law in Indiana, saying of the laws "they must be stopped."

Little Rock Chamber of Commerce: HB1228 "is bad for business and bad for Arkansas."

Business likes customers. It needs employees. Legislation that looks an awful lot like it's designed to protect discrimination against folks that might be customers or employees...well, that's not so good for business. Belatedly, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce has come out with a statement expressing opposition to HB1228, the so-called "religious conscience" bill from Rep. Bob Ballinger that has been condemned by various companies in and out of the state.

Chef Angela Nix has made her menu truly superior

An interview with chef Angela Nix of the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery. While the focus is often on the beer being brewed, chef Nix has made it her mission to elevate the food at the historic brewpub—and she is succeeding admirably.

Bill that may have hindered public photography vetoed by Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has vetoed SB 79, a bill that was intended to "protect the names, voices, signatures, photographs, and likenesses of the citizens of the state from exploitation and unauthorized commercial use without the citizen’s consent." After the bill was sent to the governor's desk, photographers in Arkansas and elsewhere reacted with alarm and requested a veto.

Governor exploring possibility of compromise on HB 1228

Could a compromise be brewing on HB1228, the so-called "religious conscience" bill that opponents argue would offer additional legal protection for discrimination against gay people? Here's the latest scuttlebutt.

Civil Rights icon on HB1228: 'I refuse to allow discrimination to cloak itself in a shroud of faith.'

A very moving op-ed out today at the from former NAACP chair, Southern Poverty Law Center founder and civil rights leader Dr. Julian Bond, who has been speaking out against so-called "Religious Freedom" bills in Arkansas and Indiana for a few days now. This is a man who knows what it's like to be discriminated against based on proclaimed religious belief. He didn't stand for it in the 1960s, and he's fighting hard against HB1228 now.

Funny or Die creates commercial for Indiana tourism

The website has helpfully created a commercial to promote Indiana tourism in the "Religious Freedom" era. Take heed, Arkansas.

LIVEBLOG: House concurs on Senate amendments to HB1228, bill passes

Liveblogging the debate over HB 1228.

Travis McConnell moves to Arkansas Fresh Bakery

A surprise announcement from Arkansas Fresh Bakery: They've teamed up with Butcher and Public chef Travis McConnell in order to expand the brand into butchery, charcuterie and a new level of dining.

New music from Yuni Wa, Marvin Berry, CUZ, Careful Creature and more

Yuni Wa is 17-year-old Little Rock native Princeton Coleman, a talented, omnivorous producer who makes beats, frenetic dance music and Paradise Garage-ready disco edits. Watch this space, etc.

HB1228 heads to the governor's desk; what's next?

There were a few fireworks, but Rep. Bob Ballinger's so-called "religious conscience" bill, HB 1228 — which critics argue would establish additional protections for discrimination against gay people — will head to the governor's desk after the House concurred in Senate amendments.

Former AEDC Director Grant Tennille: "We are watching a re-run."

As we enter the final days of the legislative session, Arkansas finds itself, once again on the wrong side of history, using the power of government to enforce discrimination and division based on religion.

Arkansas State Chamber urges governor and legislature to maintain "business-friendly" reputation — but does not call for HB 1228 veto

The State Chamber is out with a tepid statement on HB 1228. They ask the governor and legislators to ensure that "Arkansas maintains its rightful and hard-earned reputation as a business-friendly place where success is an opportunity available to all." But they don't mention HB 1228 explicitly or take a clear position.

Hundreds at the Capitol protest HB 1228

Hundreds of protestors were on hand at the Capitol today to protest HB 1228, which passed out of the House and will head to the governor's desk.

The long shot veto watch open line

Here's an open line. Tuesday's video is on its way, but between events at the Capitol and getting this week's issue to press, we're a little behind — so, over to you.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon calls for Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto HB 1228

On its "Walmart Newsroom" Twitter feed, the world's largest private employer has released an official statement calling on Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto HB 1228, the "religious protection" bill just granted final passage by the House that would potentially encourage discrimination against LGBT people in Arkansas.

Citizens First Congress to deliver petition urging HB 1228 veto to Gov. Hutchinson tomorrow

The Arkansas Citizens First Congress and Public Policy Panel will be delivering their petition against HB 1228 to Gov. Asa Hutchinson tomorrow at noon. They'll be joined by Human Rights Campaign and are inviting anyone and everyone to join them at the Capitol for the delivery of the petition and a continuation of the past few days of rallies

Foundation says Arkansas must do more to help talented low-income students

A report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation gives Arkansas low-to-middling marks in its support of students with unusual academic potential, particularly those from lower-income households.

Camden woman, 116, now reportedly world's oldest living person

With the death of 117-year-old Misao Okawa of Osaka, Japan. Gertrude Weaver of Camden, born July 4, 1898, has been officially recognized as the world's oldest living person, at 116 years, 8 months and 28 days old as of today.

Hutchinson to hold press conference on HB 1228

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will hold a press conference to discuss a so-called "religious freedom" bill at 10:30 a.m. today.

Hutchinson asks for HB 1228 to be changed

At a news conference today, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he wanted Arkansas's so-called "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" to more accurately reflect the federal RFRA. He said he had asked legislative leaders to either recall HB 1228 so it can be amended or advance additional legislation that would accomplish changes that would make the law more closely mirror the 1993 federal law.

The New Cheesecake Company is producing some of the best desserts in the state

Local artisan cheesecakes are not only worth trying, they're worth trying again and again. Here's how you can get your hands on these beautiful desserts.

DiPippa: HB 1228 unnecessary, harmful, 'a license to discriminate'

We spoke this morning about the potential impact of HB 1228 with attorney John DiPippa, Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock. DiPippa joined the faculty in 1983 and became dean of the law school in 2009. He currently teaches constitutional law, interviewing and counseling, legal profession and public service law classes at the law school.

Stonewall, ACLU, legislators, business leaders to Asa: Issue executive order on rights

Tippi McCullough of the Stonewall Democratic Caucus announced a petition today drive to ask Gov. Hutchinson to issue an "all-inclusive" executive order that would "dictate freedom and equality for all citizens, including people on account of sexual preference, sexual identity, disabilities and all other classes, and "remove the doubt" — the latest battle cry — and "revive the spirit of Southern Hospitality."

LRPD: undercover officer accidentally shot in the leg

Little Rock Police Department spokesman Lt. Sidney Allen says that an undercover officer with the LRPD sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the leg today at around 11:20 a.m. Allen said the officer, whose name and gender was not specified, was exiting a car when their weapon discharged, with the bullet nicking the officer's leg but not causing serious injury.

Hutchinson's announcement on HB 1228 is important, but it's no slam dunk for LGBT rights

Hutchinson asked the legislature to change HB 1228 — either by recalling the bill itself or by crafting additional legislation — so that it would more closely mirror the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, upon which the bill is based. But hold off on the celebration just yet.

Community Foundation announces online giving event April 2

How do you make parting with your hard-earned dollars fun? By creating a giving event, with speakers, food, performances and a toteboard watch party. The Arkansas Community Foundation's ArkansasGives event from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow, April 2, will drum up support for more than 350 Arkansas nonprofits.

Dozens of tech leaders issue joint statement calling for non-discrimination protections

The Human Rights Campaign has rounded up dozens of technology company CEOs, who've issued a joint statement condemning anti-gay, so-called "religious freedom" laws being considered in Arkansas and elsewhere.

Bill to place monument to Ten Commandments on the state capitol grounds passes House

A bill that will place a monument to the Biblical Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol has passed the House by a vote of 72-7, with one member voting present. Senate Bill 939, known as "The Ten Commandments Monument Display Act," would allow private citizens to fund the creation of a permanent monument to the Biblical Ten Commandments.

Seth Hutchinson is the star of his father's press conference

In his press conference this morning, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his son, Seth, was among those who signed a petition calling for him to veto HB 1228. That's inspired a number of reports on the younger Hutchinson, who has all kinds of great things to say.

Frosh legislator's retribution fizzles

A freshman senator from Jonesboro bragged to the Jonesboro Sun he was going to kill Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill as "retribution."

Former U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt dies at age 92

The Northwest Arkansas Republican, who served as congressman for the Third District for 26 years, died today in a Springdale hospital at the age of 92.

The Wednesday open line and a showdown over HB 1228

Here's your open line.

HB 1228 "fix" approved by full Senate

The Senate advanced two identical bills that were amended today to reflect the federal "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," as requested by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in the wake of controversy over HB 1228. Not everyone in the GOP is happy with the compromise, which has proceeded in an unusual way.

New album this month from Jimbo Mathus, 'Blue Healer'

Unkempt visionary, Squirrel Nut Zippers founder, former sideman for Jim Dickinson and Buddy Guy, self-proclaimed "Arkansas Son-in-Law"— Jimbo Mathus has lived many lifetimes, more than most of us could stomach. This month, by means of a work ethic that can only be described as a punishing, Mathus is back with a new album, "Blue Healer," recorded in Water Valley, Mississippi with Fat Possum & Big Legal Mess producer Bruce Watson.