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April 14, 2016

Vol 42 • No 32

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A Q&A with Kevin Young

He's the author of "The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness" and "Blue Laws."

A Q&A with Kiese Laymon

On writing as survival, reading the canon, fiction v. nonfiction and more.

A Q&A with Alex Mar

On magic, mysticism and memoir.

A Q&A with Adam Hochschild

On pacifism; historical leftists; and his new book, "Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939."

A Q&A with Chris Offut

On his father's secret erotic fiction writing career, genre fiction and more.

2016 Arkansas Literary Festival preview

Readers get ready.

A Q&A with Angela Flournoy

On her novel "Turner House," Arkansas connections, race and housing discrimination and more.

Finally, ramen!

Coby's at the Heart Hospital gets the Japanese mainstay right.

Nature takes a bridge

The Springfield-Des Arc Bridge by David Snoddy from our Flickr Eye on Arkansas page.

Lucero comes to Maxine's

Also, Isaac Alexander and The Nobility share a bill at White Water.

Bill and black lives

Watching Bill Clinton bickering with Black Lives Matter activists in Philadelphia recently, I had several conflicting, and not entirely praiseworthy responses. One was that the longer an American political campaign continues, the dumber and uglier it gets.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Oh, Christ, Edition

Play at home.

Vino's hosts Rites of Spring Festival

Also, Sing Into Spring with the Arkansas Chamber Singers at the Governor's Mansion, Bless the Mic: Alicia Garza at Philander Smith, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy at Verizon, Young Thug at the Clear Channel Metroplex, Arkansas Derby Day at Oaklawn and "War Letters" at the MacArthur Museum.

New blood in Little Rock politics?

Also, hard chicken, anti-LGBT laws on the march, Arkansas's budget without the private option and more.

Arkansas Works?

Not anymore.

A Q&A with Peter Guralnick

On writing biographies, Elvis, Charlie Rich and more.

Hard chicken and the Tea Party 10

A minority threatens a shutdown over Medicaid expansion.

The South and LGBT rights

Two remarkable movements are underway across the South right now. First is a tide of state legislation intended to counteract progress on LGBT rights. Second, and even more remarkable considering the political history of the region, is strong economic pressure fighting these legislative efforts.

Bootstraps for me, not thee

Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.

'Hardcore Henry' does something new with action genre

It's a A POV trip.

Equality and Greenberg

The state's other newspaper recently ran a piece by longtime laissez-faire champion Paul Greenberg entitled "Down with equality."

The art of the fold

The Observer is still learning, in our decrepitude, one of the hardest lessons there is to learn: when to stop putting chips on the table and fold. You tried to teach us, Kenny Rogers! Why didn't we listen?

God and bigotry

Bless her heart, Mississippi has bested us again and the rest of the South, too, in a predictable venue — enshrining religion-based bigotry in state law.

NBC to air report on Beverly Carter slaying this Sunday

NBC's Dateline will air its report on the slaying of real estate agent Beverly Carter at  9 p.m. Sunday. If offered this preview.

Benton County 'buys out' sheriff. Can they do that?

Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck resigned Tuesday after the county Quorum Court agreed to pay him almost $80,000 to "buy out" the remainder of this term, which runs through the end of 2016.

Louisiana governor orders LGBT non-discrimination, a path Hutchinson rejected

Saying "we respect our fellow citizens," Louisiana's new Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, yesterday issued an executive order mandating nondiscrimination by state government against people based on sexual orientation and gender. It's a marked contrast to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who's said he sees no need to offer any protections to LGBT people.

Jennifer Carman resigns from Historic District Commission

Jennifer Carman, who's been at the center of recent stories about an apartment project before the Little Rock Historic District Commission, sent notice to city officials yesterday that she was resigning from the commission, which controls development in the historic neighborhood around MacArthur Park. Plenty of questions remain about what happens next.

Could line-item veto be way out of Medicaid impasse?

With the legislature stuck at an impasse in the funding fight for the private option Medicaid expansion, some procedural maneuvering could provide a way forward.

The Root Cafe expands with shipping containers

Expansion is underway at The Root, which is also hosting dinner twice a month now. The South Main restaurant has also recently hired Sara Slimp, of the popular Fayetteville food truck Chunky Dunk, as its pastry chef. And it's hosting a pie bake-off on Saturday.

State Board of Education puts Dollarway in fiscal distress, approves Pulaski school review

The state Board of Education today voted to put the Dollarway School District in fiscal distress, which allows state to assert control and also voted to hire a consultant to study public school district/charter school collaboration in Pulaski County.

Getting ugly out there on Medicaid impasse

An unidentified group is sening critical messages into the districts of 10 senators vowing to block the state budget rather than allow continuation of the Medicaid expansion.

UAMS CEO plans to resign

Roxane Townsend, the chief executive officer of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, has submitted her resignation effective Sept. 30. She joined the campus in November 2012 from Louisiana.

Tea Party Ten blocks Medicaid budget in Senate, but procedural maneuver could break impasse

As expected, ten senators voted against the Medical Services appropriation this afternoon, the budget that includes the private option Medicaid expansion (as well as the entire Medicaid budget, including children on ARKids and the aged, blind, and disabled).

Little Rock School District announces increased security measures

Little Rock School Superintendent Baker Kurrus today announced expenditures on equipment and new patrols to enhance security in the district's schools next year.

Bart Hester and Blake Johnson plan to vote for Medicaid appropriation; line-item-veto tactic may shrink the Tea Party Ten

Some of the Tea Party Ten seem ready to take the governor's out and surrender on Medicaid expansion.

Chris Beard: Former UALR coach may not stay in Las Vegas

Channel 4 has this somewhat surprising news: Chris Beard, who took a $5 million, five-year offer to go to UNLV after a smashing opening season as coach of the Little Rock men's basketball team, may be in contention for jumping to an open job at Texas Tech.

A new entry in the fight to control hog farm pollution

A new environmental group has filed comments today with Arkansas environmental regulators to do away with an easy permit process for hog farms, one that led to permitting of a hog farm in an unsuitable place in the Buffalo River watershed.

Thursday's open line

An open line and the daily video roundup.

(UPDATES) Democrats not ready to back governor's procedural maneuver to continue Medicaid expansion; amendment blocked

The governor's procedural maneuver hits a roadblock. They'll try again on Tuesday.

Americans for Prosperity denounces governor's plan to pass Medicaid expansion via line-item veto

"We are opposed to this sort of procedural gamesmanship in order to extend the Medicaid expansion," said AFP-Arkansas State Director David Ray.

Jason Rapert threatens to withhold his vote on Medicaid expansion over morning after pill

Sen. Jason Rapert, who has been a stalwart backer of "Arkansas Works," the governor's plan to continue the Medicaid expansion private option, today raised concerns about beneficiaries having access to the Plan B morning after pill. Rapert said that he considers this form of contraception to be equivalent to abortion.

Celebrating eLwood: May 14 in Fayetteville

Sherry Faubus sends word that a Celebration of Life is planned at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 14 at the parish hall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville for Larry Woodall, known to regular blog readers as elwood, our most prolific community member.

Elliott slows Heritage budget over building

Sen. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock put a hold yesterday on the budget of the state Heritage Department because of questions about the fate of the historic building next door to the state's Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, a museum of the black experience Arkansas.

Sierra Club objects to general permits for hog farms

The Arkansas chapter of the Sierra Club objects to the state Department of Environmental Quality's plan to continue general permitting for hog feeding operations.

Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.

Johnny Key discovers poverty could affect school performance. Do only charter schools get a pass?

Eureka! A Walton school choice agenda acolyte, state Education Commissioner Johnny Key, has discovered that some things like poverty should be taken into account in judging whether a school is failing or not. At least he believes it for charter schools.

Is Hutchinson's line-item veto scheme legal?

Is the scheme to use procedural trickey to preserve the Obamacare Medicaid expansion legal? Some past attorney general opinions suggest maybe not.

Unemployment rate continues to drop in Arkansas

Still more good news on the job front. The unemployment rate in Arkansas in March fell to 4 percent, from 4.2 percent the month before and the workforce grew by more than 7,000.

State school report cards released; progress noted in Little Rock

The state school report cards — the legislatively mandated letter grade for each school — were released today.

Grassroots group pushes for Medicaid expansion

The Arkansas Public Policy Panel, a progressive grassroots group, is urging all to sign a petition pressing the legislature to approve the Medicaid expansion plan pending before the legislature.

The week is done, the line is open

Here's the Friday open line and video news summary.

The Terrible Ten Edition

The Tea Party Ten, procedural tricks and the future of Medicaid expansion; Federal Judge P.K. Holmes throwing down on class action lawyers; and state school report cards and what they say about Little Rock schools (if anything) — all covered on this week's podcast.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson: "more optimistic than ever" on Medicaid budget

After a wild week at the Capitol, thoughts from Gov. Asa Hutchinson on his procedural trick, on changing minds in the Tea Party Ten, on Democrats' reluctance to go along with his scheme, on what comes next, and much more.

Rapert still backs private option after getting clarification that morning after pill is federally mandated coverage

Jason Rapert takes a chill pill.

State continues fight against equal rights at every opportunity

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, naturally, is appealing Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling that allowed the names of three married same-sex couple to appear on their child's birth certificate.

Questions for Gov. Asa Hutchinson on the Obamacare gimmick

If Gov. Asa Hutchinson's gimmick to win approval of the continuation of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in Arkansas is successful, it will raise the question of what side deals may have been made to win approval of hard-core Tea Party holdouts Bart Hester and Blake Johnson

Minority Leader Gray on Medicaid budget maneuver: Democrats will "continue this discussion" and "remember the ultimate goal"

Minority Leader Michael John Gray explains the Democratic Caucus's thinking on the Medicaid budget and the governor's line-item veto scheme to try to pass it.

Accountability for charter schools? Billionaires say no

charter schools, Louisiana, Waltons, Walton Family Foundation

Saturday's open line: Vote for the meanest of the Terrible Ten

The Saturday open line. Plus an impromptu polls: Who's the meanest of the Terrible 10? s

The line-item veto plan continues the Medicaid expansion and gives the Tea Party Ten nothing

On the terms of the deal.

The meanie report: Assessing the Terrible Ten

The open line last night invited votes on the meanest of the Terrible Ten Republican senators blocking continuation of the Obamacare-enabled Medicaid expansion that has put more than a quarter-of-a-million Arkansans on health insurance.

Sunday homicide— UPDATE

LRPD responding to a homicide at 714 Dennison Street.

Arkansas sports Top 20 — in spending, at least

The University of Arkansas Razorbacks haven't made the top echelons in many performance areas this year, but the "program" is among the mightiest in the country in dollars.

Sunday and an open line in the spirit of Asa's Medicaid Charade

Here's an open line. If you write in that it has been a terrible day, I'll veto it, because I know that would be a lie.

Bettye Caldwell, early childhood education advocate, dies at 91

Dr. Bettye Caldwell, a giant among educators for her work in early childhood education, died today in Little Rock.

Raduno brunch a highlight of rocking SOMA Sunday

What a fabulous late morning/early afternoon on South Main Street. In just a few blocks we walked by a full house at Community Bakery, saw folks streaming into Sou$6 mimo.

Meth lab explosion injures one in Fayetteville

40/29 reports an apparent meth lab explosion in a Fayetteville apartment has sent one person to a hospital.

No comment so far from GOP candidate on Arkansas Works

I sent several messages to Republican Senate candidate Trent Garner of El Dorado about his position on the Medicaid expansion and the appropriation bill for its continuation. No response so far.

Neighborhood group opposes 10-lane Interstate 30 proposal

The Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods has urged the Metroplan Board of Directors, and particularly local members Mayor Mark Stodola and County Judge Barry Hyde, to fight the Highway Department's proposal to expand the Interstate 30 freeway to 10 lanes through the heart of the city.

Lobbyists will roll out the freebies this week

Special interests will again use a loophole in the ethics law to wine and dine legislators this week, beginning with a big Chamber of Commerce reception Tuesday night.

Tom Cotton: Be afraid, be very afraid

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton reiterates in a distributed video — and CBS obliges by posting — his belief that President Obama is not nearly afraid enough of terrorism and he did America a disservice by not flying home to D.C. to fret when the Brussels attacks occurred while he was in Cuba.

Is it safe to eat in Mississippi if you're gay? What about Arkansas?

Mississippi is feeling blowback, along with North Carolina, for explicit anti-gay legislation. One example here is from the Southern Foodways Alliance, which reports getting an inquiry about places safe for LGBT people to eat in Mississippi. Don't laugh, Arkies. We are Mississippi.

Arkansas immigration activists travel to DC as Supreme Court hears landmark case

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in what may be the most significant case related to immigration in a generation or more. Some Arkansans will be listening.

Governor touts state job cuts

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office says executive branch jobs have dropped 3 percent on his watch, worth a savings of $7 million a year.

Dickering continues on Medicaid Charade

Gov. Asa Hutchinson's vote-against-Obamacare-to-save-it ploy continues to be discussed in private meetings with legislators today.

Democrats meet with governor's office on legal concerns with Medicaid line-item-veto strategy

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and his staff are communicating with Democrats today, trying to get buy-in for his line-item-veto plan to continue the Medicaid expansion. Democratic lawmakers have proposed some minor alterations within the same conceptual framework to ensure that the line-item scheme is on sound legal footing.

Another week begins with another open line

Here's the Monday open line and daily video roundup.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson: three of the Tea Party Ten will back Medicaid budget via line-item veto plan

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said today that he has the support of three of the ten senators currently threatening to shut down the Medicaid program to back off via the governor's weird trick approach to passing the Medicaid budget (if you're not a regular blog reader, see the details here).

Governor gets positive reception addressing Black Caucus on Medicaid line-item-veto strategy

On Medicaid line-item veto plan, governor tries to address Democrats' legal concerns and meets with black caucus

Compromise on Medicaid expansion? Or not?

Add this to mix on the progress of the Medicaid expansion legislation, as announced by the Senate information office:A 'compromise' from six of the Terrible Ten that have blocked the appropriation legislation.

What's the big damn deal with shrimp and grits?!?

Yeah, we like shrimp — fried, sauteed, boiled, stuffed, just about any way you can serve them.

Last-ditch presser: anti-"Arkansas Works" dead enders to present their (likely DOA) Medicaid alternative tomorrow

On the last-ditch proposal from the Medicaid expansion aginners. It will probably be baloney.

Joint Budget Committee likely won't take up Medicaid line-item-veto scheme tomorrow

Joint Budget Committee Chair Larry Teague (D-Nashville) said that he did not expect the committee to take up the governor's line-item-veto scheme tomorrow. But Teague predicted that the line-item veto "will still be part of the formula." He said that one way or the other, the continuation of Medicaid expansion "is going to happen."

Inconvenient facts about Little Rock middle schools

News that Republican Education Commissioner Johnny Key is ousting Baker Kurrus as Little Rock school superintendent prompts me to post early my column for this week — some counterintuitive information about the supposedly dreadful Little Rock schools.

Sen. Joyce Elliott: "stunned" by Kurrus firing, harms trust for backing governor's Medicaid budget scheme

Joyce Elliott on the firing of Little Rock School Superintendent Baker Kurrus.

UPDATED: Johnny Key dumps Baker Kurrus as Little Rock school superintendent; to replace with Bentonville's Poore

Baker Kurrus superintendent of the Little Rock School District, has been told by state Education Commissioner Johnny Key that he will be replaced. He is to work through June 30.

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin "opposes Obamacare" (duh), dodges questions on "Arkansas Works"

Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin bobs and weaves.

Bentonville School Board bids farewell to Mike Poore

The Bentonville Public Schools United Facebook page provides the video of members of the school board paying tribute to Superintendent Michael Poore after accepting his resignation too take the job of superintendent of the Little Rock School District.

Greg Adams laments loss of Baker Kurrus to LR schools

Greg Adams, former Little Rock School Board president and co-chair of the current district citizens advisory committee, says the removal of Baker Kurrus as district superintendent is a "sad day."

Key still not taking questions on sacking of Kurrus, issues news release

Johnny Key hides behind a news release to announce his firing of Baker Kurrus as Little Rock School superintendent to replace him with his successor from Bentonville, not coincidentally home of the Walton fortune now driving public education in Arkansas.

And the Chamber says ...

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, a linchpin of the movement for state takeover of the Little Rock School District, is now holding a bloody bag of excrement with the firing of Baker Kurrus.

"Arkansas Works" backers propose new version of amendment to shore up legal concerns about line-item-veto strategy

Sen. Jim Hendren today released a new version of the amendment to implement the governor's plan to pass the Medicaid expansion via a scheme using the line-item veto. The revision is an attempt to alleviate legal concerns about the governor's approach.

Draft contract calls for $225,000 salary, car and phone for Poore as LR superintendent

A draft contract proposes that the state pay $225,000 to Michael Poore to be superintendent of the Little Rock Schol District.

Sabin asks reconsideration of Kurrus ouster

This turkey is baked, but Little Rock voices conitinue to object to the Hutchinson administration's replacement of Baker Kurrus as Little Rock superintendent with a Bentonville school administrator. From Rep. Warwick Sabin, who represents a portion of the Little Rock School District:

Key, Kurrus to meet press

With scant notice, Education Commissioner Johnny Key will meet reporters at noon at the Education Department. A release said he and Baker Kurrus, who Key is removing as Little Rock superintendent, will answer questions.

LR Chamber praises Kurrus, but silent on the outrage

I don't guess I should have expected better from the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce than "concern" on the Hutchinson administration's undeserved ouster of Baker Kurrus as Little Rock school superintendent.

Anti-Medicaid expansion dead enders offer phony "compromise" proposal

Sen. Alan Clark and Rep. Bob Ballinger today presented their "compromise" on Medicaid expansion. It's baloney.

Key and Kurrus take questions on Little Rock school leadership change

From the Johnny Key-Baker Kurrus press appearance: Key praised Kurrus but said new skills were needed in the district for academic issues.

Appeals court strikes down Virginia ban on transgender bathroom use

A U.S. appeals court has struck down a Virginia law aimed at preventing a student born female who identifies as a male from use a male school restroom.

Republicans getting restless

The House Republican Caucus has written Speaker Jeremy Gillam urging him to proceed with votes on budget bills. Democrats had asked for a delay until the Medicaid expansion issue was settled. That settlement appears somewhere in the future, particularly thanks to recent Little Rock School developments.

War Memorial golf course to close for improvements

The War Memorial Park Golf Course will close on May 9 for three months for the greens to be reshaped and reseeded.

Nichols' 'Loving' to compete for Palme d'Or at Cannes

Little Rock-born film director Jeff Nichols, whose stature as a young auteur has been steadily growing with the success of films like 2012's "Mud" and his most recent sci-fi offering "Midnight Special," will get another chance to put a very big feather in his cap next month. His latest film, "Loving," has been selected to compete for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in France.

'Sorcerer' screens tonight at Riverdale

Reminder: The Arkansas Times Film Series  at Riverdale 10 Cinema continues tonight, April 19, at 7 p.m. We’re screening William Friedkin’s 1977 cult classic “Sorcerer,” starring Roy Scheider and soundtracked hypnotically and brilliantly by Tangerine Dream.

Democrats continue to block general appropriation until Medicaid issue is resolved

Democrats have said that they do not want to take up any appropriation until the Medicaid budget impasse is resolved. They once again made good on their promise, with Democrats voting en masse to block the general appropriation, which pays various state salaries.

Diamond Chef 'Recut!' coming soon

It’s chef vs. chef vs. chef vs. chef vs. chef vs. chef at the 2016 Diamond Chef “Recut!” competition set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at Pulaski Technical College’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Institute

Soul Fish Cafe coming to Main Street in June

Put mid-June on your calendar for the opening of Soul Fish in the former home of Dundee’s at 306 Main St., next door to the forthcoming Bruno’s Deli.

Joint Budget passes amended appropriation to implement governor's line-item-veto scheme to pass Medicaid expansion

The Joint Budget Committee today voted for the amendment that will put the governor's scheme to continue Medicaid expansion into action. 

Topsy turvy Tuesday open line

Having news fun yet? Here's an open line.

Arkansans chosen for Delta Exhibition announced

Nineteen Arkansas artists and three artists with ties to Arkansas are among the 30 whose work was selected to appear in the 58th annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center. The Arts Center announced the names today.

Governor agrees to do Jason Rapert's bidding, pursue waivers to stop Medicaid coverage of morning after pill

Sen. Jason Rapert is on a crusade against emergency contraception, which he says is "killing little babies," against medical evidence. Today, Gov. Asa Hutchinson stated in a letter that he would seek waivers from the federal government to end coverage of the morning after pill in Medicaid, both the private option and traditional Medicaid.

Democrats are lining up behind the line-item-veto plan to continue the Medicaid expansion

It's been a harried few days at the Capitol, but it looks like Democrats are on board with the governor's scheme to fund the private option Medicaid expansion via an elaborate procedural gambit (see here for details).  Unless something crazy happens (like the governor firing someone!) it appears that lawmakers have found a way out of the budget impasse: the Medicaid program will be funded and the private option will live on.

Little Rock Black Caucus members meet with governor on Kurrus; decide to proceed with Medicaid deal

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus who represent Little Rock today met with Gov. Asa Hutchinson to discuss the dismissal of Little Rock School Superintendent 

Feds warn states about cutting Planned Parenthood

The federal government has sent warnings to 10 states that it is illegal to cut off Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood for medical services without evidence of wrongdoing.

Comments from Bentonville on Little Rock's new school chief

Little Rock's new school leader has both admirers and detractors in his current job in Bentovnille. Significantly, he joined religious forces in opposing an employment policy specifically protecting LGBT workers.

Online charter schools failing in California, newspaper reports. Same company operates in Arkansas

The San Jose newspaper has taken a deep look at on-line charter schools in California. The conclusion: They're failing. The operator is the same one reaping millions from an Arkansas law change pushed through by now-Education Commissioner Johnny Key. And their results here aren't sparkling.

Medicaid expansion nears the finish line

This goose looks cooked.

'Gun Show' artists: Robyn Horn, David Rose, Dayton Castleman and more

Guy Bell, owner of Drawl Gallery, has announced the names of the artists whose work has been chosen for "The Gun Show."

Harriet Tubman to supplant Andrew Jackson on $20 bill

The U.S. Treasury says Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20  bill.

'Mockingbird Tree' sculpture to be placed on Chenal Parkway

An 18-foot-tall stainless steel and bronze sculpture, "Mockingbird Tree" by Little Rock sculptor Michael Warrick, will be installed Thursday morning at Chenal Parkway and Chenal Valley Drive.

A rally for Little Rock schools and call for reinstatement of Kurrus

The Arkansas Public Policy Panel sends word of a rally at the Capitol at noon Saturday in support of Little Rock public schools — a response to the surprise replacement of Baker Kurrus as the School District superintendent by the Hutchinon administration through his education commissioner, Johnny Key.

Linda Collins-Smith to TEFRA family worried about Medicaid impasse: "You don't know what you're talking about"

Sen. Linda Collins-Smith gets testy with concerned father of toddler with Down Syndrome.

UPDATE: Senate advances Medicaid budget

Liveblog of the Arkansas Senate, expected to pass the Medicaid budget this afternoon (well, maybe!)

The Viva Obamacare open line

The continuation of Obamcare's Medicaid expansion was approved by the bare minimum 27 votes in the Senate today. Surely that's worth a comment on the open line.

Vandals strike Mt. Holly Cemetery, severely damage several monuments and statues

Mount Holly Cemetery Sexton Steve Adams could hardly keep his composure today while talking about vandalism at the cemetery overnight that left several irreplaceable marble statutes severely damaged.Adams said he discovered the vandalism this morning when he arrived at the cemetery around 6:45 a.m.

BREAKING: School was held today. Walton apologists still spinning.

Curious news release from the state Education Department I thought. They had school in Little Rock today.

'Improvement' district contemplates cashing in on 'Knife Edge'

Members of the Metrocentre Improvement District are making noises about dissolving the district — created in 1972 to build the Metrocentre Mall and which later built the Main Street and Sixth and Scott streets parking decks — and selling its assets. The largest asset would be the Henry Moore sculpture "Large Standing Figure: Knife Edge."

Rutledge approves broader amendment on limiting medical lawsuits

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has approved a broader ballot proposal to limit damages and attorney fees in medical malpractice and negligence cases. Good for nursing homes, doctors and hospitals. Not so good for injured people.