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No end in sight

No end in sight

July 23, 2015

Vol 41 • No 46

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Arkansas's prison population, and related expense, is exploding

Will tough-on-crime conservatives truly embrace reform?

$8 million for caseworkers pledged

But governor says he'll turn to faith-based groups to address other deficiencies found in DCFS study.

Art appreciation

It was The Observer's birthday and anniversary over the weekend. Why Spouse and her man decided to get hitched in the sweaty season of mid-July, we'll never be able to fathom. That's a decision 23-year-old Us made, so Old Us has to live with it.

SCOTUS and the Gospel

Most of us know by now. SCOTUS has struck again. This time the Supremes are letting gay folks get married in every state. Of course, religious folks in Arkansas are upset, but why get so bent out of shape when we can take comfort in the perspective of Jesus of Nazareth?

Steve McGrew at the Loony Bin

Kingsdown comes to Stickyz.

No comment, supply your own.

Sometimes direct quotes and a bit of context are all that's necessary for commentary on news events. See what I mean.

Paul Rudd goes subatomic

In Marvel's 'Ant Man.'

Root out hate

It's time for us to stand up and reject our current status as an incubator for domestic terrorism. Those of us in Little Rock, Fayetteville and other urban areas are called to support the efforts of rural white communities in our state who are standing up to the hate groups that have nestled into their towns.

Coming back to Cajun's

It's still good.

Obama takes long view

Right now, it's beginning to look as if President Obama will end up deserving the Nobel Peace Prize he was so prematurely awarded in 2009.

The U.S. and Iran

So we begin another furious debate over war and peace in the Middle East, this time over the nuclear nonproliferation agreement with Iran, and it is foreordained to look and sound just like the last big one, in 2002, when we went to war with Iraq and, before that, in 2001, with Afghanistan.


A reststop on Interstate 55 in Arkansas.

Rally round, designers for a new Little Rock flag

Current design is no good, say petitioners

Unqualified to judge

Also, Wesley Clark calls for internment camps, Shawn Womack says he lacks experience, Hillary looks forward, The Donald says dumb things and more.

Mystikal comes to Revolution

Also, 'Mrs. Miniver' at Argenta Community Theater, Pinkish Black at Vino's, 'Jamie Wyeth' at Crystal Bridges, The Eagles at Verizon Arena and Midwest Caravan at White Water Tavern.

Dressed to kill: A Q&A with Lita Ford

On women in rock, the recent accusations of sexual assault by her former Runaways bandmate Jackie Fuchs and more.

John Rogers, photo magnate, jailed for contempt of court

John Rogers, whose photo archiving business is now mired in a slew of legal actions, was arrested in North Little Rock last night for contempt of court in one of the civil actions in Pulaski Circuit Cpurt. He was picked up at a North Little Rock bar and jailed.

Justice Wood talks about confidential court matters in press interview

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist was granted an interview with Associate Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood, who's spinning her role in ongoing internal divisions on the court about administrative and other matters.

How do you feel about a Ruth's Chris on Robinson plaza?

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning on a continuing pitch by a developer to get the piece of city land in front of the Doubletree Hotel that's now occupied by a fountain and open bricked plaza to develop a chain restaurant, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. What do you think?

Tom Cotton: There he goes again, playing loose with the facts

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton flunks a couple of fact checks — on his opposition to filling vacant judgeships and a statement about President Obama's aims in negotiations with Iran.

Corporate America supports LGBT employment fairness law. Arkansas? Not so much.

The Human Rights Campaign reports on the announcement that Apple, Dow Chemical and Levi Strauss support a federal law guaranteeing non-discrimination in employment for LGBT Americans. So what do you think they make of a state like Arkansas that endorses discrimination against gay people? A good place to locate?

Walton money to back independent school in Bentonville

The Walton Family Foundation announced in a news release today that it would "support" with an undisclosed amount of money establishment of an "independent school" in Bentonville.

Conway police say 14-year-old grandson suspect in double slaying

Conway police said today that a 14-year-old grandson is a suspect in the slayings Wednesday of Robert and Patricia Cogdell, both 66. He is being held in jail pending the filing of capital murder charges.

Thea raises $2 million, Windgate adds another $500,000

Tireless advocate for arts in education Paul Leopoulous announced yesterday that the Thea Foundation has raised $2 million over the past two years to endow its scholarships for high school seniors, money that will allow Thea to focus its fund-raising efforts on its other educational programs.

The open line: Plus a purge of Jefferson-Jackson; Huck's homestate edge

The open line, video roundup and a bad day for Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson; presidential fund-raising; motorcycle officer in hit and run wreck.

The racial divide worsens during Obama presidency

New polling shows that the racial divide in the U.S. has worsened since Barack Obama became president. Correlation is not causation, though the Arkansas experience might suggest otherwise.

Mass shootings — a common thread of race and gender

Another mass shooting, another white male pulling the trigger. That much is fact. But here's a bit of analysis on the motivating factor that might prompt some disagreement: It's about white male privilege.

Searching for justice: Arkansas is short on lawyers

Says here that Arkansas has the lowest ratio of lawyers of any U.S. state — 20.1 per 10,000 people.

Hillary to roll out capital gains tax increase

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is expected to propose a capital gains tax increase today, likely to focus on short-term capital gains on investments.

Paul Greenberg stepping down as editor of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial page

News surfaces on Twitter that Paul Greenberg is stepping down as editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after 23 years.

Clinton Rules: Say anything, admit no mistakes

Another New York Times bombshell on the Clintons (remember the impenetrable nothing-ball of a foundation expose?) has fallen apart hours after release.

Arkansas's monuments to white people

Recommended: A report by KUAR's Jacob Kauffman on monuments to the Confederacy in Arkansas, particularly at the state Capitol, and how they're viewed by defenders and critics.

Proposal to require reporting of independent campaign expenditures gets cleared

The attorney general has approved the form of a proposed initiated act that would require reporting of contributions to independent political ads.

Guest Mix: Midwest Caravan

If I am completely honest with myself, the reasons I listen to rock music are Alicia Silverstone's bellybutton and the Ugly Kid Joe album cover inside the Pizza Hut jukebox. I only know how to write basically one type of song, and the songs on this playlist were either crucial in that development, or they have recently inspired me to keep writing. I listen to an unhealthy amount of black metal these days, but I figured no one would want to hear that garbage (hit me up if you want that mix!).

Today in Arkansas, an early roundup. Also: Duggary; details on La. shooter

A Friday afternoon open line and the daily video news roundup.

Ethics Commission again declines to OK special Razorback seats for legislators

The Arkansas Ethics Commission has rebuffed an effort by the University of Arkansas to get legal clearance for putting premium Razorback tickets in the hands of legislators without the required extra contributions required of other fans.

Staff Picks: Microbes, jaguar attacks, Adam Sandler and more

We've been reading a kergillion books lately at our house. Scrambling to make it to 1,000 books before kindergarten. Don't tell them I said this, but I did the math and I don't think we'll make it. Regardless, we've read some wonderful books, but one that has moved me the most in the last few weeks is "Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes." It is amazing at putting the little things into the context of enormous planet earth. It is beautifully illustrated and handily written.

The Rhonda Wood's Media Blitz Edition

Supreme Court Justice Rhonda Wood’s press tour, legislative ethics, prison growth and talk of reform and the retirement of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Paul Greenberg — all covered on this week's podcast.

100 turn out to preserve Confederate symbols in Fort Smith

The Times Record reports that about 100 people turned out for Fort Smith lawyer Joey McCutcheon's rally to save the Rebel mascot and the "Dixie" fight song along with other trappings of the Confederacy at Fort Smith Southside High School.

Portrait of a mass shooter: Disturbed and a history of domestic violence

The New York Times profile of the Lafayette, La., mass shooter, John R. Houser, describes a disturbed man. Angry at liberals and women and an admirer of Hitler and Timothy McVeigh, he reportedly linked the problems he saw in the U.S. to a lack of prayer in public schools.

ACLU thanks Jason Rapert for state contribution of almost $100,000 to lawsuit fund

The ACLU of Arkansas, which participated in the successful challenge of Sen. Jason Rapert's bill to ban most abortions at 12 weeks, posted on tis Facebook page a picture of the payment of attorney fees by the state medical board and vowed to use it for future lawsuits.

Mike Huckabee embraces Donald Trump

Mike Huckabee, languishing at the rear of the crowded field for the Republican presidential nomination, has decided if he can't beat Donald Trump in the polls, he'll join him.

Here's a Saturday open line; good night for KKK rally in Monticello

The Saturday open line. Also: tonight is a Klan rally in Monticello. It's prompted a small counter-demonstration.

A 'used' pot worth thousands and more Roadshow news

I stopped by the Antiques Roadshow at the Statehouse Convention Center for a couple of hours today to see what gems people had hauled in from their attics and garages and mantelpieces, and right off the bat I learned about the pot shown above from tribal arts appraiser Linda Dyer. Dyer said she believed it was made Hopi potter Nampeyo

At Antiques Roadshow in Little Rock

Leslie Peacock has reported extensively on our Rock Candy blog about the Little Rock visit of PBS' popular "Antiques Roadshow" for future broadcasts.

Reports: Judge's son in Hot Springs death

All Little Rock TV stations reported Saturday night, quoting unnamed sources, that the two-year-old boy found dead in a car in Hot Springs Friday afternoon was the son of Circuit Judge Wade Naramore, who handles juvenile cases.

Huckabee sees Holocaust in Iran deal

Mike Huckabee has compared President Obama's agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons with the Holocaust. Really.

Senate GOP leader complains of intraparty criticism

Doug Thompson writes for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about a talk by Senate Republican leader Jim Hendren, unhappy about intraparty criticism from a group that has made support of the private option version of expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare a chief rallying point for primary opposition to other Republicans.

Open line: Plus, Arkansas Supreme Court spending note

An open line and a reminder of some information I dug up on how the Arkansas Supreme Court paid for its fat pay raises for certain favored employees.

Go to for all your LGBT news

A gay rights activist has bought a web domain using the name of Gov. Asa Hutchinson and sending people who hit the link to an LGBT chatroom. It's a statement against the governor's anti-gay policies.

Girl struck by gunfire on Interstate 55

An 11-year-old girl was struck by a bullet while riding with her vacationing family Saturday evening on Interstate 55, two miles north of the Arkansas She was treated at a Blytheville hospital for a gunshot wound in the neck and transferred to Memphis for surgery, KAIT reported.

Obama: Huckabee Holocaust remarks 'sad' and 'ridiculous'

At a news conference in Africa, President Obama responded to some of the more outrageous recent remarks of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee, the latter of whom pumped attention to his flagging campaign by likening the Iranian nuclear deal with the Holocaust. DONT MISS THE UPDATES. Huck once advocated negotiating with Iran.

UPDATE: Body found during mowing in northern Pulaski County

The Pulaski County sheriff reports that a man's body was found Sunday morning by a man mowing on Peters Road near Cabot in northern Pulaski County.

Sheriffs arrests two for child endangerment

The Pulaski sheriff's office has charged a Dixon Road couple with child endangerment after finding their 1- and 3-year-old children wandering in the road.

Little Rock Zoo welcomes new chimpanzee

The Little Rock Zoo announces the birth of a chimpanzee July 18 and a poll to name the new arrival.

Children's Hospital gets $1.5 million for pediatric research

Mary and Ross Whipple of Arkadelphia have given $1.5 million to Arkansas Children's Hospital to endow a chair devoted to pediatric research. The gift will be matched by the hospital's research institute.

Smalley pleads guilty to one count, charges related to TC Edwards dropped

A Pulaski County prosecutor today asked that five counts pending against Andre Demetrius Smalley be dropped, including three counts involving the aggravated robbery of Little Rock musician Terry Charles "TC" Edwards. Smalley plead guilty today to a single count of battery, a class B felony, in the shooting of a Little Rock man last April. Smalley's sentencing on that count has been set for September.

Confederate flag display results in wreck injuries to participants

KFSM reports that a Confederate flag rally resulted in injuries to participants riding in the bed of a flag-bedecked pickup.

Small crowd, no problems at KKK rally in Monticello

Monticello Live rounded up what news there was to report from an uneventful Ku Klux Klan rally held near Monticello Saturday night, including the ritual cross burning.

UPDATE: Special prosecutor to handle Hot Springs child's death

A special prosecutor, Scott Ellington of Jonesboro, was appointed today to investigate the death last week of the child of Circuit Judge Wade Naramore, who handles juvenile cases in Garland County.

Another week begins

Here's the Monday open line, daily video and the monthly report on Obamacare for Arkansas.

Architecture lovers: Vote on your favorite AIA design

AIA Arkansas is holding its first online People's Choice competition among designs by Arkansas architects. The buildings featured include museums, churches, homes, schools and businesses.

The Eagles at Verizon Arena

The Eagles played Verizon Arena last night and Brian Chilson was on hand with his camera.

Might the Civil War be ending in Fort Smith and Little Rock?

Fort Smith ends Civil War symbolism at Southside High School; a petition drive to change the name of Confederate Boulevard in Little Rock advances. May we be nearing an end of the Civil War?

Hog farming in the Buffalo River watershed — it's all good

Take a look at a slick video highlighting the good intentions of the operators of a factory hog farming operation in the Buffalo River watershed.

Mike Huckbee leaves Jon Stewart speechless

Jon Stewart is left speechless by Mike Huckabee's latest rhetorical excess — comparing the Iranian nuclear agreement to the Holocaust.

20-year sentence in traffic deaths case

KARK's Drew Petrimoulx reports that Kareame Cotton has been sentenced in Pulaski Circuit Court to 20 years in prison (parole eligible after five years) for the 2013 crash that killed a Baptist pastor and his granddaughter on Interstate 30 near Scott Hamilton.

Woman shot in NLR; suspect arrested

KTHV reports that Latosha Lewis, 25, was found fatally shot on the grounds of the Shorter Gardens Apartments in North Little Rock early today and that Shaquanna Staten, 27, of North Little Rock, was arrested later in the death.

Arkansas Democratic Party considering name change for Jefferson-Jackson dinner

TV 40/29 reports that the Arkansas Democratic Party is considering following other state Democratic Party organizations and finding a new name for the annual Jefferson-Jackson Day fund-raising dinner at which Hillary Clinton recently spoke.

New episode of 'My Favorite Guitar' with American Aquarium's BJ Barham

Here's the new episode of Gerard Matthews' web series "My Favorite Guitar," starring BJ Barham of American Aquarium and filmed at White Water. Also check out the previous clip, which starred John Willis.

Wicked Mix, Boulevard, Arsaga's and Three Fold: the current obsessions

Current food obsessions include prosciutto, snack mix, coffee and spicy dumplings.

The open line and daily video. Plus: a comment on 'justice reform'; and Common Core

Today's open line includes criticism from Judge Wendell Griffen of Gov. Asa Hutchinson's call for still more money to open still more prison beds.

Do more guns make you safer? One experiment suggests otherwise

Do more guns in public places make everyone safer. An experiment putting armed people in police simulators to gauge their reaction isn't encouraging.

Interstate 30 widening project moves forward

The Arkansas Highway Department says it has cleared the first study phase of a project to widen Interstate 30 in downtown Little Rock and replace the Arkansas River bridge.

Reduced for quick sale: Huckabee home in North Little Rock

Zillow reports a price reduction on Mike Huckabee's North Little Rock house, on the market for a couple of years.

Man killed in shooting involving Manila police

KAIT in Jonesboro reports the shooting death in Manila last night of what's described as an "officer involved" shooting.

Huckabee and the Holocaust: It's all about the elites vs. the good Americans

Mike Huckabee loves Holocaust analogies and, no, the Iranian crack wasn't the first for which he's been criticized. It's all about the imagined war to oppress good heartland Christians like the Huckster and his people.

UA poet lands 'Dumpster Honey' in the New Yorker

UA poet Davis McComb lands "Dumpster Honey" poem in the New Yorker.

Hot Springs police issue statement on death of judge's son

The Hot Springs police, under fire for not yet having taken action in the death of a judge's child last week, issued a statement last night defending how it has proceeded.

The other side of hog farming near Buffalo River

Here's a competing video to answer a pro-hog-farm video produced to sway opinion in the debate over a factory hog farm in the Buffalo River watershed.

The Republican campaign to gut the Voting Rights Act

The New York Times examines in detail how the Republican Party has moved to destroy the Voting Rights Act to suppress votes of people more likely to vote Democratic.

Sen. Tom Cotton draws high marks on his dog

Sen. Tom Cotton's bichon frise, Cowboy, has made a listing of the cutest dogs on Capitol Hill.

Report: State income tax cuts a bad idea

This report will go straight to the trash should any of the ruling Republicans see it, but for the record from the Brookings Institute — state income tax cuts are of little value in spurring economic growth. Where they've been tried and failed, the unavoidable need to raise revenue has produced — not a return to a progressive income tax — but regressive taxes that hit poor people hardest.

Daily Show episode filmed in Eureka scheduled to air tonight

Eureka Springs residents are hearing that a segment filmed in that city for Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" is scheduled to air tonight, barring anything in the news that might bump the segment from the show.

An open line and today's video

The open line and daily news summary. Also: New jobs in Marmaduke and an update on Dexter Suggs, the former Little Rock school superintendent.

Skinny J's grand opening today in Argenta

Skinny J's restaurant at 214 Main St. in North Little Rock, in the spot where the Cornerstone Pub used to be, is having its grand-opening ribbon-cutting at 3:30 p.m. today (Thursday) with the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.