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August 15, 2013

Vol 39 • No 50

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Hog farm near the Buffalo River stirs controversy

Critics say farm was carelessly approved and threatens watershed and community. Farmers say they followed law and permit protects environment.

Kirsten Dunst signs up for new Jeff Nichols movie

Kirsten Dunst will play the female lead in "Midnight Special," the next project for Little Rock native Jeff Nichols, whose last film Mud was a sleeper hit.

Charlie Collins to run for lieutenant governor

Republican Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville apparently has firmly announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor.

State Police to put 24 'low profile' cars on the highway to nab violators

A word of warning to motorists: The State Police has purchased 24 "low profile" patrol cars for use in highway patrol around the state — two for each of the 12 troops.

Poll explains Tom Cotton's support for government shutdown

Republican Rep. Tom Cotton has made it clear that he'd rather see government shut down than vote for a budget that included the Affordable Care Act.

A savory city in August: Deals on meals in Little Rock

More than 100 restaurants are offering specials during August, Little Rock Restaurant Month

Robber strikes Metropolitan Bank in Levy

A man wearing dreadlocks (something of a trend in recent robberies) robbed the Metropolitan National Bank branch on Camp Robinson Road in Levy this morning.

Argenta celebrates the culinary arts

Dine at a discount in downtown NLR.

Nate Powell, 'March' garnering high praise

The Washington Post and NPR call it a classic.

Last day to sign up for flower workshop at Thea

With Tanarah Haynie of Tanarah Luxe Floral.

State board suspends commissions of school staff to carry guns

The Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Security Agencies decided today to follow the legal advice of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

Life after football: the sad story of former Hog Mark Pierce

As the faithful count days to football season, it might not be the perfect time to recall the tough times that some encounter after gridiron glory.

Eric Holder: Poor timing on praise of Arkansas for prison reform

Benji Hardy at the Arkansas Legislative Digest focuses on something you might have overlooked: Attorney General Eric Holder singled out Arkansas for praise in speech about changing federal drug sentencing guidelines to reduce prison population.

Guilty plea in Alamo-related sexual abuse case

U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge has announced a guilty plea by a member of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries for transporting his 13-year-old stepdaughter from Oklahoma to Fort Smith to have sex with her in a van in a mechanic's shop.

UPDATE: Arkansas Obamacare repeal effort falls short

Tomorrow is the deadline for submitting petitions to call a statewide referendum on the 2013 Arkansas legislature's approval of the Obamacare-provided Medicaid expansion under a hybrid "private option" scheme.

In Praise of Newt Gingrich open line

The line is open. Final words: * NEWT GINGRICH GETS IT RIGHT: How about this?

UALR's Joel Anderson suggests Tech Park Board visit Fayetteville: UPDATE

The board of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority is meeting today. One item is a deadline for site selection for the train wreck of a $22 million city taxpayer-funded venture that doesn't yet know what it will be, where it will be or where any of the rest of the necessary money will come from.

Griffin releases three more data-dense Pegasus pipeline reports

Rep. Tim Griffin continued his unlikely run as a champion of public pipeline scrutiny by releasing key documents about ExxonMobil’s faulty Pegasus pipeline. The Republican’s website today posted three reports.

Thursday-Saturday To-Do: Eureka Springs Bluegrass Festival

Bobby Osborne performs Saturday at The Auditorium in Eureka Springs.

Thursday: Whale Fire, 'South Pacific,' Whiskey Myers and more

Whale Fire plays at The Joint Thursday.

Johnny Cash Music Festival returns to ASU

Also, the Eureka Springs Blues Festival, Foul Play Cabaret and The Frontier Circus, Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition, Joseph Israel at Stickyz and Young Joc at Discovery.

Whale Fire plays The Joint

Plus, Mulehead does White Water Tavern.

There she is, Miss Gay Arkansas America

The annual female impersonation event returns to the Argenta Community Theater.

Did quick response on the day of the Mayflower spill keep oil from reaching the main body of Lake Conway?

ADEQ says yes. A lakeside resident is skeptical.


"News just broke that Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan snuck off to the Koch brothers' infamous secret gathering of right-wing millionaires."

Waltons attack Little Rock School District

The latest Walton fortune-funded attack on the Little Rock School District would create a neighborhood charter middle school in majority-white upscale West Little Rock.

Pryor senatorial on Obamacare

Sen. Mark Pryor did something last week that no prominent Democrat in this state today dares to do. He defended the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the hated "Obamacare," and said he was quite proud to have voted for it.

Rhetoric versus reality for Republicans

So what's it going to be for GOP hotheads in Congress this fall? A soul-satisfying episode of adolescent nihilism culminating in a government shutdown and yet another debt/default scare? Or an abject capitulation to political (and fiscal) reality and an acceptance of the Republican Party's role as the loyal opposition?

How the war will end

It's appropriate that the Supreme Court's decisions in the marriage equality cases — the cases evaluating the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 — came just days before the nation commemorated the 150th anniversaries of the irreversible Battles of Vicksburg and Gettysburg. In the war to obtain full marriage equality in the United States, it is the summer of 1863.


The Observer called UCA on a tip the other day and learned that Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three will be coming there on Nov. 11-12 to speak and to teach a mini-class with their crop of eager young creative writing students, quick as a whip with a metaphor.

Bald Knob goes back to school

Dull dystopia

'Elysium' lays it on thick.

Preview of Razorbacks in SEC play

Last week, we suggested in this space that Arkansas would be buoyed by raw exuberance of a new regime and the fortuitous structure of the schedule to bolt out to a 4-0 start in 2013. The second third of the campaign promises to be substantially more daunting, but there are caveats.

Ask the Times: Why is Kali Hardig still alive?

Q. If the "brain-eating parasite" that has made the Benton child so sick is common, why don't more people have it? Should I be careful swimming in Arkansas's lakes and streams? Why did she survive when so few do?

It was a good week for a race to the bottom

It was also a good week for owning Obamacare, Kali Hardig and special chickens. It was a bad week for Secretary of State Mark Martin and school choice.

Cleanliness important

"Mariah White says it takes about an hour of milking between the two cows to produce their combined 10 to 11 gallons a day. That doesn't include the time they spend cleaning the cows' utters and sterilizing milk jugs."

All wet

Clay Wells submitted this photo of the Triple Falls in Buffalo National River Wilderness Area near Jasper to our Eye On Arkansas Flickr group.

Not an inviting House

Service, new menu disappoint.

Wally Hall gets it right about Razorback Inc.

Wally Hall, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports editor and lead sports columnist, criticized the Razorbacks today and the criticism was well-placed.

UPDATE: Does Highway Department provide Mark Martin cover? No.

Republicans are attempting to cover Secretary of State Mark Martin's blatant disregard of the law on use of the attorney general's office for legal representation by pointing to similar disregard by others, namely the Highway and Transportation Department.

Friday: 'The River Niger," The P-47s, Trampled Under Foot

Trampled Under Foot performs at Stickyz Friday.

Victim in North Little Rock shooting identified

Channel 4 reports that the motorist killed by a gunshot from a passing vehicle near McCain and JFK in North Little Rock last night has been identified as Samantha Cass, 31, of North Little Rock.

Marriage equality lawsuit seeks injuction

Cheryl Maples, the lawyer for a group of plaintiffs challenging the state law and constitutional prohibitions on same-sex marriage, had filed a motion seeking an injuction to stop enforcement of the law.

November on our minds: Willie Nelson coming to Walton

The Walton Arts Center has added Willie Nelson & Family to its winter performance lineup.

School choice law continues to make work for state Board of Education

The state Board of Education had a busy day Monday hearing a long list of appeals of denials of school district transfers under the 2013 "school choice" law.

Gay rights comes to Kentucky coal country

Things are slow and this is one of the best things I've watched on the web in a while.

New law requires motorists to yield to more vehicles

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department sent a reminder that a new law takes effect tomorrow that requires drivers to move over for more than police, fire and medical vehicles.

Beebe: state-funded independent monitoring of hog farm doesn't need landowner permission

As noted on John Brummett's blog yesterday, Gov. Mike Beebe plans to proceed with a request for legislative approval to spend $250,000 in rainy day funds on testing and monitoring at the C&H hog farm in Mt. Judea.

Watch awesomely weird videos of Jim Dickinson and Tav Falco

YouTube is the best.

UPDATE Oxford American's Warwick Sabin to lead Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

Leading the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, "synthesizes all of my interests and passions," Warwick Sabin said today by phone. After five and a half years as publisher of the Oxford American, he said the timing was right for him to leave and that he was confident he was leaving the magazine on good footing.

Meet-the-Times-bloggers open line

The line is open. I'm checking out early so I can get to the beauty parlor before the first event of the new Arkansas Times' membership, chowder and marching society.

Opening Friday at UALR: 'Works in Small Metals' (Update)

From the Society of Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, Penn.

Opening Friday at UALR, part 2: 'Figurative Forms'

Work from UALR's permanent collection.

When Mike Ross was in a boy band

Our January 1991 cover featured the New Kids on the Block, examining who might have the Right Stuff among the freshmen in the Arkansas ledge.

Friday To-Do: The Foul Play Cabaret, The Frontier Circus

The Foul Play Cabaret performs Friday at Maxine's.

Friday To-Do: Jimbo Mathus and The Tri-State Coalition

Jimbo Mathus performs at White Water Tavern Friday.

As Saline County turns

Another link in a proliferating list of websites devoted to life in Saline County. You know, the place where Little Rock workers flee to avoid the criminal element.

UPDATE: Bookout fined $8,000; complainant calls for his resignation

The state Ethics Commission meets this morning and business includes likely action on the investigation of campaign reporting violations by Sen. Paul Bookout, a Jonesboro Democrat.

Saturday: Coco Jones at Magic Springs

Coco Jones performs at Magic Springs Saturday.

Saturday To-Do: Johnny Cash Music Festival

Vince Gill headlines the Johnny Cash Music Festival.

Saturday To-Do: Joseph Israel

Joseph Israel performs Saturday at Stickyz.

Saturday: Deadstring Brothers, Mulehead and more

Deadstring Brothers perform at Maxine's Saturday.

Saturday To-Do: Yung Joc

Yung Joc performs at Discovery Saturday night.

Rapert: Muslim group should not be allowed to march

If a "Million Muslim March" is allowed in our nation's capital on 9/11 - we are truly beyond help.

Food Feedback Friday: chocolate bread, fig cream, and salsa verde

Time for your favorite feature of the week. So tell us what you are eating this week, we’d love to hear about it.

State Board of Education denies more school transfer appeals

The state Board of Education again today denied all appeals of school districts' decisions not to grant interdistrict transfers.

Hog farm by the Buffalo raises questions about CAFO permit

Gov. Mike Beebe’s decision to pursue the use of rainy day funds to establish additional testing and monitoring at C&H hog farm raises an obvious question.

Faulkner Sheriff Shock promotes guns in school

Somewhat overlooked in the recent setback of a plan by the Clarksville School District to put 20 staff members with concealed weapons in its schools, including a kindergarten teacher, has been the lack of widespread school interest in arming school staff, beyond existing resource offices from law agencies.

Little Rock gets visit from American Idol audition bus

For all seeking to channel their inner Kelly Clarkson, this Saturday brings a chance to audition for the 13th (!)

North Little Rock police seek help in search for slayer of Samantha Olson

North Little Rock police today released a photo taken from a surveillance camera that they believe is the vehicle from which a gunshot was fired that killed Samantha Olson, 31, as she was driving at JFK and McCain Boulevards.

UPDATE: Bethel Heights cop says chief encouraged more tickets

KNWA TV reports on a Bethel Heights police officer's allegation that he has the police chief on tape coaching him on ways to increase the number of traffic tickets he writes.

Bill Clinton responds to reporting on the Clinton Foundation

I mentioned recently the New York Times' extensive report on finance and leadership of the Clinton Foundation, whose worldwide activities include Little Rock operations.

Forstmann, McDaniel tonight, Hill tomorrow at Thea

The exhibit of paintings by Eric Forstmann and origami by Akeen McDaniel, 18, is the offering tonight at the Thea Foundation, 401 Main St., for Argenta ArtWalk, 5-8 p.m.

Paul Bookout files his amended campaign finance reports

Sen. Paul Bookout filed late today a batch of amended campaign finance reports today at the secretary of state's office to more accurately and legally report how he spent the $80,000 he raised for an unopposed campaign.

The Corruption to the Bone Edition

Arming school teachers, Mark Martin’s legal troubles, Paul Bookout’s ethical troubles, the failure of an effort to repeal the implementation of Obamacare in Arkansas, a legal development in one of the lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on same sex marriage, new Tech park proposals and Warwick Sabin's new position encouraging entrepreneurship -- all covered on this week's edition.

Friday night finale

The line is open. Final notes: * GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Don't believe many Republicans aren't serious about shutting down federal government rather than allowing Obamacare to go forward.

Sunday: Three Days Grace, Hinder and Otherwise at the AMP

Up in Fayetteville, Three Days Grace, Hinder and Otherwise perform at the Arkansas Music Pavilion, 7:30 p.m., $32-$37.

Look who's jogging in Israel with Tom Cotton

Gotta love Tom Cotton Tweeting from Israel about Obamacare while he's shaking right-wing bushes in Israel for major cash to run against U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

Arkansas gets fatter, so does the fare at the State Fair

Breakfast? Well, if I can work some in after going to the gym, maybe blueberries and some low-fat yogurt.

2,800 young immigrants get legal work status in Arkansas

Here's a feel-good story from Stephens Media. (Unless you are Tom Cotton, Tim Griffin or any of the other Arkansas Republicans who think the only solution to immigration reform is to send 11 million people back where they came from — no "amnesty.") Nearly 2,800 young people from Arkansas have been granted deportation relief and given work permits under a program launched a year ago by President Barack Obama.

Straight talk from Mike Ross on taxes; and a Mike Beebe endorsement

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross told it straight to Political Animals yesterday about Republican Asa Hutchinson's grand talk of reducing, even eliminating, the income tax.

The police blotter and American Idol open line

The line is open on another crazily mild August day. Final notes: * SECURITY IN FAULKNER COUNTY: Before Sheriff Andy Shock spends too much time arming up rural school administrators in Faulkner County with guns for security purposes, he might need to do a security audit at the Faulkner County jail.

The decline in crime among black youths

Twitter brought me this link this morning and it's full of facts that might surprise you.

The Bookout matter: What next?

Context: Hutchinson has an infamous nephew, also an Arkansas senator, Jeremy Hutchinson, who rushed to claim a tempestuous girlfriend took advantage of him and took his campaign money for her personal use in violation of the law.

Ruth Asawa, artist interned at Rohwer, dies

The wire artist studied under Buckminster Fuller after her release from the Arkansas camp.

Natchez finds its groove

Downtown eatery serves up high-end Southern and some fantastic dessert.

Sleepy Sunday

Here's some fresh digital scratch paper. Nothing to report here.

Review: Johnny Cash Music Festival, Aug. 17, Arkansas State University

Vince Gill headlined the Johnny Cash Music Festival.

Open carry gun demonstration planned in Fort Smith

Gun zealots are ramping up their effort to force something definitive on their belief that the Arkansas legislature legalized open carry of weapons — anywhere, anytime — in Arkansas.

Tom Cotton's voting record: Extreme even for a Republican

Peter Urban of the Stephens Washington Bureau has examined U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton's voting record after less than a year in the House and finds it as striking as you might imagine.

Obamacare: It's simple and it will work

The headline expresses Paul Krugman's opinion in a column today. Hard to quarrel that the basics are simple.

A 3rd Republican, Tommy Moll, announces for 4th District Congress

News release just arrived from a third Republican candidate for 4th District Congress, where Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and state Rep. Bruce Westerman have already announced candidacies to succeed Rep. Tom Cotton, seeking to move up to Senate after only seven months on the job.

Tuesday: MC Chris at Juanita's

MC Chris performs at Juanita's Tuesday.

Arkansas judges join letter on sequestration impact on courts

I received this morning a copy of the letter sent by federal judges to congressional leadership about the impact of the federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

Arkansas unemployment rate rises in July

The Arkansas unemployment rate rose to 7.4 percent in July, up from 7.3 the month before.

Obamacare is working, Part II

President Obama's health care legislation seems likely to be with us as the defining political topic until November 2014 at least.

Pryor to Politico: Arkansas Democrats aren't dead yet

Politico has a profile up on U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, the lone Democrat standing in the Arkansas congressional delegation in a state with a demonstrated antipathy toward President Obama.

Dustin McDaniel talks about Mayflower oil spill on NPR

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel was among the panelists today on the Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio for a discussion of oil spills in Michigan and Mayflower, Ark.

Lunch break: Dolly Parton's Jolene slowed down is the jam of the summer

It took the Internet a year to turn this into a meme, but it was worth the wait.

"Natural State Nineties" compilation from Art Amiss available tonight

The Fayetteville-based art collective Art Amiss, in collaboration with KXUA 88.3 FM and the Plastic Magic radio show, is releasing a compilation of 11 tracks of early '90s Arkansas rock bands.

Razorbacks roll out frequent fan giver program

This may be old news to Hogoholics, but searching for some information on a rumor about a splashy new acquisition for the University of Arkansas athletic department's use, I breezed through the Razorback Foundation website and found a news release recently on the new Priority Points Program.

Now in paperback: Martin's book on the 'green' nuclear fuel, Thorium

If you care at all about the environment, you know that we can't go on like this forever.

Jessica Dean off to Philadelphia CBS affiliate

Jessica Dean, the TV anchor who's spent her last three years at Channel 4, is heading up east.

Lifestyles of the rich and famous: Rob Walton edition

If labor unions can't have a little class warfare sport with the Walton family — billionaires dedicated in their loathing of labor unions — what's the point in organizing at all?

Sen. Paul Bookout resigns from hospital job; receives Ethics reprimand

The state Ethics Commission has issued its formal letter reprimanding Sen. Paul Bookout, a Jonesboro Democrat, for four violations of campaign finance law.

The Miss America open line

The line is open. What better way to end the day than with a video by one of two Arkansans who'll be competing for Miss America this year?

Prosecutor Ellington asks for special prosecutor in Paul Bookout case

More news on the Paul Bookout front: STATEMENT OF PROSECUTING ATTORNEY SCOTT ELLINGTON IN RE: ETHICS INVESTIGATION OF STATE SEN. PAUL BOOKOUT “After spending much of the day in court and also reviewing this matter, I am requesting that Bob McMahan, the Arkansas Prosecutor Coordinator, nominate a special prosecutor to be appointed by the court to further review the Ethics Commission’s findings and determine whether a criminal investigation should be conducted.

Razorbacks to get a $4.7 million Learjet

I mentioned earlier that I'd been tracking a report of a new purchase by the Razorback Foundation, which has lately begun "improving" its program to build assets through premium charges on seats at Hog athletic events.

Science? Arkansas don't need no stinkin' science

Two news articles pop out this morning. Bros. Rapert and Bell and Co. are available to dispute them.

That Texas miracle? Sounds a little like Arkansas circa 1950

Here's what happens when you beggar government and don't make industry pay for the damage it causes.

What if Tom Cotton and Co. really DID repeal Obamacare? The impact on Arkansas would be huge.

Ernest Dumas this week says that, despite the Tea Party noise, there's little chance Congress will repeal Obamacare, no matter how often Tom Cotton and his Republican House colleagues vote to do so.

Faulkner jail escapees implicated in Little Rock carjacking

The Little Rock police department reports that a Faulkner County jail escapee is believed responsible for a carjacking about 7 a.m.

GOP staffer sees light on Obamacare in his treatment for cancer

Here's a timely item from the Huffington Post that puts a human (and Republican) face on the benefits of Obamacare that Ernie Dumas outlined earlier today.

Blue Hog Report raises numerous questions about Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's spending

Blue Hog Report has a powerful piece of reporting out today on another case of questionable campaign account spending.

Newspaper consolidation with an Arkansas angle

The Magnolia Reporter sends along an interesting link to a story about how GateHouse Media, a New York company that operates more than 300 newspapers in 21 states, is opening a "Center for News and Design" in Austin, Texas, to consolidate much of the editing and production for its newspapers in one place.

Judge orders $1.2 million payment in adoption agency case

Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce today ordered the former owners of Adoption Advantage, a defunct adoptioni agency, to pay $1.2 million in restitution to defrauded potential parents and penalties and ordered them to conduct no business in Arkansas.

New anchors at KARK

KARK, Channel 4 has announced new anchors, including a replacement for Jessica Dean, who's off to Philadelphia.

State and defense object to Judge Griffen's orders in Josh Hastings retrial; defense calls for him to get off case

Judge Wendell Griffen's decision to inject himself forcefully into jury selection in the manslaughter retrial of former police officer Josh Hastings and to lecture parties on "cultural competence" has drawn objections from both the defense and the Pulaski prosecuting attorney's office.

The Tuesday night line

I'm leaving it all up to you, to quote a swamp pop standard of my youth.

Jack McQuary named special prosecutor in Bookout case

Circuit Judge Brent Davis of Jonesboro signed an order today naming Jack McQuary as special prosecutor in the case of Sen. Paul Bookout, cited by the Ethics Commission for violation of four campaign finance laws.