It's all fun and games until the world's richest corporation spills 200,000 gallons of goop in your backyard.
Mayflower oil spillApril 11, 2013
Vol 39 • No 32
Not tar oil, Exxon says.
Completed in 1948 to deliver light, conventional crude oil from Nederland, Texas, to the Patoka Oil Terminal Hub in Patoka, Ill., ExxonMobil's Pegasus Pipeline is an 858-mile, 20-inch steel pipeline with a capacity of up to 95,000 barrels per day.
Closing out. Final notes: * HEALTH DEPARTMENT SEEKS DENTIST'S PATIENTS: The Health Department is recommending blood tests for about 100 patients of a dentist for fear they received contaminated medicine intravenously.
The New York Times examines why some states — Colorado and Connecticut — have been successful in enacting gun safety laws while Congress has been stymied.
John Brummett persists in putting his most liberal columns behind a Wednesday pay wall at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
In response to question: Trails on Pinnacle Mountain were closed yesterday evening while State Police investigated following discovery of the body of a 45-year-old man near the crest of the east summit trail.
I erred last night in saying Exxon Mobil wanted a Mayflower school PTO meeting about a $15,000 Exxon grant to be closed to the press.
Republican Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville has put together an analysis of the legislature's great pending issue — whether to take advantage of the Medicaid expansion provided by Obamacare through a "private option" expansion of government-financed private insurance coverage.
The Postal Service has backed off plans to stop Saturday mail delivery because of congressional objections.
Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill to allow colleges to charge in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant students who've graduated from Arkansas high schools and had sufficient residency here failed in a Senate committee today.
The New York Times reports that a deal has been struck in the Senate to produce enough votes to avoid a filibuster and approve expansion of gun background checks to gun shows and on-line sales, with some record retention that law agencies want.
Didn't he say this already?
Artwork sought to raise awareness of what PRI calls "the healing power of art."
U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor reiterated to reporters today that he's opposed to marriage equality. That's more or less consistent with what he's said repeatedly.
Luella and The Sun play White Water Tavern Thursday.
Stephanie Smittle will sing at The Joint Thursday.
Ciao Baci is the sort of place that reminds you what dining out should be all about: attentive service, well-executed dishes, and an atmosphere that invites smiles to the faces of everyone around the table. And for that, almost any price is fair.
"Ain't in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm" premieres April 19 in New York City.
A word from my sponsor: The Arkansas Times has a position open in our Advertising Sales department.
I called Dr. Good about Duvall's complaint. She said her extended absence from town, in part because of the death of her sister, had made it difficult for her to be ready for a meeting this month, but she said it was also important that more information be gathered about the new sites recommended by Dilks.
Our webcast day ends with Arkansas Republican legislative leaders — and I do mean leaders — are holding a late afternoon public session to bring around votes for their "private option" version of implementing Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Arkansas.
The old building at the corner of Ninth and Rock streets is more construction site than brewery right now, and the men behind Stone's Throw Brewing are more concerned with paint and drywall than they are with the fermenting tanks and kegs that sit ignored, still in their shipping crates.
Despite its natural and architectural beauty and relatively high property tax values, Eureka Springs is ground zero for the health care coverage crisis in Arkansas.
Frights aplenty in remake of cult classic.
Devil's in the details, bishop says.
During a time of great hardship for our nation, the Depression, a wise president, born to wealth and privilege, but reviled by the elite as traitor to his class, once said, "Government can err, presidents do make mistakes. But the immortal Dante tells us that the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted are weighted on different scales by divine justice. Better the occasional fault of a government living in the spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference."
Also, The Scimitar Shrine Circus.
Excellent fare, but separate lunch menu needed.
Put yourself in the shoes of Rev. Pat Robertson or one of the other clerics who insist that disasters, whether natural or manmade, are God's way of showing His wrath over the stupid things people are doing.
Jon Nichols submitted this photo of swallowtail butterflies to our Eye On Arkansas Flickr page.
Also, George Strait at Verizon; 'Bloody Mama' at the River Market Tower; Frightened Rabbit at Revolution, 'The Odds Are Against Us' at Argenta Community Theater; Jim Dandy, Rwake and Pallbearer at White Water Tavern, and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at Robinson Auditorium.
Look at it this way: if Rutgers coach Mike Rice hadn't gotten fired last week after ESPN broadcast video of him shoving players, hurling basketballs at them, and screaming that they were "faggots" and worse, he was a good bet to get dumped next year after another losing season.
Asa Hutchinson is not as dizzy as Wayne LaPierre — who is? — but if you accept donations from the unstable, and champion their creepy causes, you're apt to be tarred with the same brush.
"Obama's budget was due in February, but administration officials said it was delayed by the year-end fiscal negotiations and resulting tax changes. It is to arrive on Capitol Hill hours before the president dines Wednesday evening with a dozen Senate Republicans — his second such parlay in recent weeks."
The Arkansas legislature earns its low regard daily, last Friday with committee approval of a constitutional amendment labeled "ethics reform."
It was also a good week for the first of many lawsuits and expansion. It was a bad week for tax justice and workers between jobs.
The Observer spent a good part of last week in Mayflower, that sleepy little burg to our north that we knew mostly as the place where we turn to get to our favorite Halloweentime pumpkin patch until an ExxonMobil pipeline burst there and made a hell of a mess on the Friday before Easter.
Nobody is likely to accuse Bret Bielema of being a renaissance man, and maybe that sounds like derision, but it's far from it. Pearls can and does appreciate the modern bravado that he employs, though Jeff Long may ultimately have to yank the reins on his ebullient coach.
Another day and the Arkansas Blog is back in business after an extended crash last night.
Tank will be at Chris B's Celebrity Birthday Friday at Montego Cafe.
Exxon Mobil, which has a high-dollar, high-pressure PR operation in progress to minimize impact of the pipeline rupture and tar sands deluge in Mayflower, has been steadfast in one message — no oil has reached Lake Conway.
The Little Rock Film Festival will screen "Bloody Mama" Friday at River Market Tower.
George Strait plays at Verizon Arena Thursday.
Fayetteville District Judge Rudy Moore Jr. died this morning of complications from cancer. He was 69.
U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's own messaging isn't always so hot. But he carries a big stick.
News conference this morning. Fox 16's first summary says that some of the people forced out of their homes by the deluge of heavy Canadian tar sands from the ruptured Exxon Mobil Pegasus pipeline could return home today.
Frightened Rabbit plays at Revolution Friday night.
"The Odds are Against U.S." premieres Friday at Argenta Community Theater.
The Senate voted 68-31 to send gun legislation to the floor for debate. The majority included many Republicans who oppose the bill, but believe the issue should be debated.
Jim Dandy performs at White Water Tavern Friday.
Third Day plays at Verizon Arena Thursday night.
The Little Rock Police Department says Abe Hall, 58, of 3608 Asher, has died as a result of gunshot wounds suffered at his home early this morning.
Brian Chilson took some photos at last weekend's 2013 Designers Choice Fashion Preview.
In my opinion, the video above is obviously a satirical way of attacking Exxon Mobil's record.
The House is in session and, shortly before 2 p.m., discussions began of the bill to allow Arkansas to expand its Medicaid budget under President Obama's health care initiative through a "private option" approach.
The Thursday night line is open. Final words: * THE MEAN STREETS OF LR AND THE MEAN LR COPS: The Guardian has taken another look at use of force by the Little Rock police force, with detailed reporting on pending legal actions over excessive force.
The board of the Central Arkansas Water utility met today and, as expected, adopted a resolution asking for information from Exxon Mobil about causes of the pipeline rupture at Mayflower and for assurances about future safe operation before the Pegasus pipeline is restarted.
The deciding influence on holdout Republicans on Medicaid expansion lies more in the hands of Republican colleagues than in the governor's office, unlike some mighty legislative cliffhangers of years past.
A light input overnight. A few things stand out.
Bam Margera will be at Revolution Saturday night.
The Oaklawn and Southland casinos, gas lobby and other business interests are in a House committee this morning with an 11th-hour amendment to SB 821 to strangle the ballot referendum process.
Midori performs with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra this weekend.
More interesting video above from the Tar Sands Blockade, an activist group that is looking at the impact of the ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline break.
I'm awaiting a report from David Ramsey at the Capitol, but it appears the vote on the Medicaid expansion appropriation will be put off until Monday.
It's a measure of how cynical people had become about former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln that an opinion piece she's posted on Huffington Post has people wondering what her ulterior motive might be.
Dr. G. Richard Smith, chair of the department of psychiatry at UAMS, will be the new dean of the College of Medicine, succeeding Dr. Debra Fiser.
Architects will honor the downtown designer.
Artist Melissa Gill to give presentation, Frank Frazier's birthday celebrated.
Work by more than 90 artists goes on the block starting at 6:30 p.m.
Oh, Lord, call them home. The line is open.
The coming monumental vote on health care expansion, tort reform, Planned Parenthood and other legislative odds and ends. Plus, the latest from the Mayflower spill, Mark Pryor and guns and C.J. Duvall's unhappiness with the Tech Park Authority — all covered on this week's edition.
You know the drill. Tell us where you ate. We love hearing from you.
I'm happy to say I finished tax returns last night. You?
I meant to mention earlier that I'd heard one announced and two unannounced candidates for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination were pressing flesh at a fund-raising dinner last week in Little Rock.
The final note today is a sad one: My friend, colleague and mentor Robert McCord, 84, died this morning after a long period of declining health.
Let's make this the open line. * GUNS IN BARS: Something tells me we haven't heard the last of this episode of guns drawn, including by off-duty cops if the notes are correct, in a bar in Fayetteville.
I've done some emoting on the blog and in my column about the proposed constitutional amendment, SJR 9, crafted by Rep. Warwick Sabin and others to incorporate some of the Regnat Populus ethics initiative into a multi-pronged proposal with some benefits for legislators.
The Blytheville Courier News reports that Nucor-Yamato Steel is planning a $115 million expansion to produce a new type of steel product.
One of many unanswered questions about the Exxon Mobil pipeline rupture at Mayflower is when, exactly, were troubles first noted on the pipeline.
State Champion plays at White Water Tavern Monday night.
Here you go.
What happens if the legislature rejects the “private option,” the new policy framework developed by Arkansas Republicans as a possible third way in the expansion question?
The Monday miscellaneous report: * ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE ETHICS: An oxymoron that headline, I know. I wrote at some length yesterday about the evolving proposec constitutional amendment to tighten state ethics rules a bit, while also providing legislators with a path to increased pay and easing of term limits.
The Arkansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch billionaires' anti-tax, anti-regulation political arm that spent a million bucks to produce a Republican legislative majority in Arkansas, has a new state executive director.
Since I've written quite a bit on the Capitol Zoning District and the effort by Rep. Nate Bell of Mena to abolish it following a dispute over fence height requirements in historic neighborhoods, I want to close the book on it.
George Strait played at Verizon Arena Friday.
The Architecture and Design Network continues its Art of Architecture lecture series tonight with Kevin McClurkan, a founding partner and management principal of Ennead Architects.
Update on the Billy's Bar brouhaha in Fayetteville (video above) that I mentioned again this morning.
LRPD reports this morning: * FATAL SHOOTING: Darrell Eugene Henson was found shot to death in the 15000 block of West Baseline Road about 4 a.m. today.
The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee fell short on a roll call vote today of reducing unemployment benefits.
The Downtown Little Rock Partnership and the city of Little Rock continued its pedestrian safety campaign today with a media event at La Harpe Boulevard and President Clinton Avenue, site of the most pedestrian accidents in the city.
Nice picture from Josh Berry of Channel 4 on Twitter of work to remove the split section of ExxonMobil's pipeline from the Mayflower neighborhood were a major rupture loosed thousands of barrels of Canadian tar sand crude.
I'm led to expect a test vote — maybe THE vote — will be held early in today's House session at 1:30 p.m. today on the appropriation bill to pay for expanding Medicaid-financed health coverage in Arkansas.
Unfolding now is news of an explosion, perhaps two, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon with multiple injuries.
Joining American genre paintings for traveling exhibit.
The legislature has killed a proposed constitutional amendment to strengthen ethics laws.
Not much to report this morning. The two dominant stories — the Arkansas Medicaid expansion debate and the Boston Marathon bombings — are fodder primarily for speculation at this point.
Sunday, 1:45 p.m.: At the Capitol last week, “what’s your count?” was the greeting instead of hello.
The Arkansas House voted 77-23 in favor of the appropriation bill, HB 1219, to pay for a federally financed expansion of Medicaid health insurance coverage under President Obama's health care legislation.
Rep. Tim Griffin wants ExxonMobil to move its Pegasus pipeline out of the Central Arkansas Water's watershed for its water supply. No word yet on what he thinks about Keystone XL's crossing of sensitive aquifer in Nebraska.
Getting to Sherwood may require a few extra minutes in the car for most Little Rock residents, but the city is far from saturated with good Thai joints, making it all the more appropriate to invest the extra time in attainment of excellent food. Chang's was a pleasure, from beginning to end. It’s a small sacrifice for such beautifully done Southeast Asian fare.
With House approval of the Medicaid expansion, other pieces are beginning to fall in place.
The Arkansas affiliate of the ACLU, as promised, is suing to challenge Arkansas' ban on most abortions beginning at the 12th week of pregnancy.
The Little Rock police announced today that Thomas Randall McDonald, 55, an assistant principal at Central High School, had been named in five misdemeanor harassment charges involving students at the school.
The Log Cabin Democrat has the rundown on a letter ExxonMobil has sent residents of the Mayflower subdivision where a pipeline ruptured and spilled thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude from Alberta tar sands.
Yesterday, the Little Rock Film Festival announced the slate of 19 "Made in Arkansas" films that will screen at the 2013 LRFF.
American Airlines glitch means lecturer won't get to town.
The line is open. Closing out: * MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected yet another effort to formulate a medical marijuana ballot intitiative on account of what he says are some ambiguous references in the text.
Big news that first appeared in the New York Times this morning, but lost in the Boston bombings: A bipartisan panel said President George W. Bush’s administration engaged in torture after the Sept. 11 attacks and blamed “the nation’s highest officials” for “allowing and contributing to the spread of torture.” The 560-page report by a task force of the Washington-based Constitution Project also takes aim at the Obama administration for maintaining secrecy on past abuses and failing to prosecute acts of torture.
My favorite thing at the Jewish Festival (apart from that chopped liver) is the mammoth table of baked goods which takes up most of one side of the River Market Pavilion.