Life under the gun with one of the greatest, and least known, lawmen of all time.
The lone (black) rangerAugust 22, 2013
Vol 39 • No 51
This just in by e-mail: STATEMENT BY SENATOR PAUL BOOKOUT “I am announcing today my resignation from the Arkansas Senate effective immediately.
Here's an interesting report from Reuters on the willingness of young people to enroll in health insurance exchanges under the federal health legislation.
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, no liberal, couldn't have spoken more clearly on whether opponents of Obamacare should shut government rather than vote for a budget that continues the federal health care law.
Yesterday's meeting of the state public school insurance board came to the foregone conclusion — a huge rate increase for public school employee health insurance.
Lilly Ledbetter will speak at CALS Main Library Thursday.
John Willis will perform at The Joint Thursday night.
The Little Rock police this morning arrested Harlon Finney at a Valero at 12th and Rodney Parham as a suspect in the Aug. 17 slaying of Billy Howard on the parking lot of a drive-through liquor store at 8524 Baseline Road.
East Arkansas Broadcasters, a radio station group based in Wynne, has announced its plans to purchase the MAX Media stations in the Arkansas River valley at Russellville, Morrilton, Atkins and Dardanelle.
Red Octopus Theater's "#OctopiLittleRock" runs from Thursday thorugh Saturday at The Public Theatre.
South on Main, the Oxford American-tied restaurant, began dinner service last night. It’ll continue 5 p.m. until 10 p.m.
The Paul Bookout case, as I've written this week, doesn't end with Paul Bookout. It points out the need for still stronger ethics laws and a more effective enforcement agency.
The State Police reports it has a suspect in the case of a man who escaped state park rangers at Pinnacle Mountain State Park yesterday after they tried to stop three people breaking into cars.
A word from our state religion. The SEC football schedules for 2014 are out.
SoLost, the Oxford American's award-winning video series, profiles a true Arkansas character in its latest episode -- Jimmy Rhodes, Jr., the former mayor of Augusta.
Jack McQuary, an employee of the state prosecutor coordinator's office who's been appointed as special proseuctor to review former Sen. Paul Bookout's campaign finance filings, has issued a pro forma statement on his plans in response to numerous media inquiries.
You can understand why this particular story might interest me. From Buzzfeed:
I wrote this morning at some length about one of many interesting campaign finance reports on file at the secre tary of state's office.
Arkansas Times Publisher Alan Leveritt announced this afternoon that Mature Arkansas, a monthly publication which began in November 2011, will cease publication after the September issue.
Blue Hog Report continues his examination of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's campaign financial expenditures. When last we visited, Blue Hog had totted up a lot of unusual Darr expenditures — gas, dining, clothing — as Darr continued to try to pay down debt from his 2010 political campaign.
The Wednesday night line is now open. Final words:
Also, Lilly Ledbetter at CALS, John Willis EP release show at The Joint, Red Octopus Theater at the Public Theatre, Kevin Seconds at Low Key Arts in Hot Springs and the Parallel Universes conference in Eureka Springs
Also, Iris DeMent at South on Main.
The state Ethics Commission handed down historic fines last week for campaign finance violations by Democratic Sen. Paul Bookout of Jonesboro.
PHMSA has released ExxonMobil's spill response plan for the ruptured Pegasus pipeline — but most of the crucial elements have been completely redacted.
Event grows in its fourth year.
Twenty fourteen looks like it could be a particularly tiresome election year in Arkansas. "Republican" today translates to "mean and irresponsible" and yet Republicans will be trying, and with a pretty good chance of succeeding, to increase their majority in the state legislature.
Not for the first time, level-headed professors at Arkansas's colleges and universities have saved their students from a mad plot by legislative extremists. "They're so ideological and irrational," a philosophy professor at Fayetteville says of the legislators. "We have to be constantly on guard, even the football coaches."
John Wesley Hall noticed the slogan displayed on The Hatcher Agency building in downtown Little Rock: "The Home of Outrageous Service." Hall writes: "Crimes are outrageous. Things the government does are outrageous. What the hell is outrageous service? Is it really that bad? If so, why brag?"
It was also a good week for yet another candidate for Congress and guns in school. It was a bad week for Sen. Paul Bookout and guns in the school.
I've contacted both the governor's office and the attorney general's office to get more info on the current lethal injection debacle. I haven't heard back from the former, and was told by the latter that it only communicated with "state officials."
Unlike in Michigan spill, the EPA is relying on Exxon's tally in Arkansas.
Woody Allen fills 'Blue Jasmine' with types, not fleshed-out characters.
The Observer was sitting at his desk on Monday after a long, long weekend of traveling the roads and back roads of Arkansas in pursuit of a story for you, Beloved Reader, when the fire alarm went off: a shrill, electronic, unmusical blare.
Where other states see government conspiracy, Arkansas embraces Common Core as a way forward for education.
In 2012, Sen. Paul Bookout was living high on the hog, spending big on Japanese restaurants, home entertainment, clothing, liquor and home improvement. The only trouble is that he was spending a big chunk of $80,000 in campaign money to do so (during an election in which he ran unopposed — that election was in November and he kept right on spending in December).
If Rep. Tom Cotton and the rest of the tea-party coalition got their way and actually repealed Obamacare before its new insurance market goes into business Jan. 1, would they be the dog that caught the car?
A boy comes up for air after swinging off a rope swing into the Ouachita River near Lake Hamilton.
The final one-third of this year's Razorback schedule isn't quite the thorny gauntlet that Part II represented. In fact, after what we suspect will be a customary dispatching at Alabama on Oct. 19, the Hogs take a needed respite for the bye week before trying to scratch for bowl eligibility in November.
At the outset of a new school year, the news media offer helpful tips for college students: "Choosing the right major," "6 tips for surviving dorm life," "5 things you should never say to your professor," stuff like that. Rarely do they offer practical advice for students who find themselves enrolled in a course taught by a faculty member who's a total crackpot.
Tasty tacos of all variety at River Market restaurant/club.
President Obama is rolling out a big plan today intended to make colleges more accountable and affordable.
Kevin Seconds performs at Low Key Arts Friday.
Calle Soul performs at Juanita's Friday.
American Aquarium performs at Revolution Friday night.
Sample some of this sensational Southern chocolate. It's some of the best you can get in Arkansas.
Lilly Ledbetter, namesake of the Fair Pay Act of 2009 for her pivotal role in exposing bias against women, will be in Little Rock today to speak in the Rabbi Ira Sanders Lecture series at 6:30 p.m. today at the downtown library.
Channel 4 reports on the Arkansas Christian Academy in Bryant, which has announced that anywhere from 1 to 7 of its staff members are armed every day at the school, affiliated with the Family Church.
Stephens Media, the newspaper chain controlled by the Little Rock-based Stephens financial empire, is now in a court fight over a deal it has put together to end a newspapwer joint operating agreement between its dominant Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun.
U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's campaign has circulated an e-mail to gather support for restoration of the Voting Rights Act, gutted recently by the U.S. Supreme Court.
RJ Tao’s, the upscale Asian fusion restaurant in the Heights will be making the switch to Cafe 5501 in the coming weeks.
Republicans have released a letter signed by 80 members of Congress that edges close to supporting a shutdown of government if Obamacare isn't defunded.
Shotz!, a Fayetteville nightclub on Dickson Street, is hoping to open a second location in the River Market, raising objections from some city officials and downtown businesses.
Blue Hog Report continues plowing Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's campaign and official expense records and he's turned up more gems than a fresh plowing of the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
A coalition of conservation groups yesterday offered measured support but some skepticism regarding Gov. Mike Beebe's proposal of independent, state-funded testing and monitoring at the C&H Hog Farm in Mt. Judea.
Another day done. Another open line.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen late this afternoon issued a 19-page order responding to a batch of state and defense motions in the retrial of Josh Hastings, the former Little Rock police office accused of manslaughter in the shooting of Bobby Moore on an apartment parking lot.
Shannin Watkins recently signed a two-year deal to produce music videos for Base79.
A sidelight on Wednesday raids that led to the arrests of 24 people as authorities in Jefferson County cracked down on a string of machine gambling parlors:
I wrote yesterday at some length about the appearance of the names of Republican Reps. Rick Crawford and Tim Griffin on a letter signed by 80 House members that news organizations left, right and center (AP) have construed as a threat to vote against continuing federal spending if it includes money for Obamacare.
The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs hosts the Parallel Universes Conference this weekend.
Randall Shreve & The Sideshow perform at Stickyz Saturday.
Little Rock’s latest addition to the flourishing Mediterranean market recently opened its doors in the Colonnade Shopping Center on Bowman Rd. Given the deep-seated love in Little Rock for cuisine of this type, my guess is they’ll have their chance to impress (or disappoint) a number of guests in the near future. The competition won’t make it easy, but Anatolia may just have enough to keep this Mediterranean ship afloat.
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever was responsible for intentionally downing an Entergy high-voltage transmission line in Holland Bottoms on Highway 321 east of Cabot in Lonoke County.
No election has been called — and it's known yet if there will be partisan primaries — but Republican John Cooper of Jonesboro, a Tea Party-backed candidate who lost a race against Rep. Butch Wilkins in 2012 and was planning to run for that House seat again, now says he'll switch and seek the Senate seat vacated by Paul Bookout's resignation.
[embed-1] Derrick Estell, who broke out of the Garland County Jail in a plot that allegedly included help from his mother and stepfather is in custody in Florida, according to Fox 16.
The lawsuit filed by Searcy lawyer Cheryl Maples on behalf of a number of gay and lesbian couples seeking to strike down Arkansas bans on same-sex marriage has been amended to drop the governor and attorney general as defendants.
Dr. Robert C. Brown, who finished his 20th year as president of Arkansas Tech University on July 1, has announced that this academic year will be his last as president of the school, which grew to an enrollment of more than 10,000 under his leadership.
There’s certainly a lot of culinary plans in motion in Little Rock at the moment. Keep it dialed in on FFF.
Forbidden Hillcrest posts a letter from Josh Blevins, owner of The House. The restaurant will close at the end of this month.
Interesting case reported today in the Forrest City Times Herald Anthony Antwan Millbrooks, who pleaded guilty Aug. 12 to manslaughter in the shooting death of Roosevelt Willis, did not return to court Thursday morning for a sentencing hearing.
University of Arkansas sacks John Diamond, top university relations official. He cites differences on 'transparency'
Chris Wyrick, vice chancellor for university advancement at the University of Arkansas, announced today that John Diamond, associate vice chancellor for university relations in his division, would leave UA at the end of September.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen made it clear yesterday in responding to defense motions that he was not going to abandon his plan to take over questioning of jurors in the retrial of former Little Rock cop Josh Hastings on a manslaughter charge in the death of Bobby Moore, 15.
Sen. Jason Rapert and Rep. Tommy Wren announced today they want to do something about big health insurance rate increases facing participants in the state's plan for public school employees.
Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's ethics take the spotlight. He self-reports himself for screwing up campaign finance report. A critic who found the misspending files his own complaint. We find that Darr didn't have to pay the normal seat charge others pay for good seats at Razorback football games, an expenditure Darr claimed as "fund-raising."
The resignation of Paul Bookout, the parade of analysis of ethics reports that’s sure to follow, drama at the University of Arkansas, Arkansas’s congressional delegation and government shutdown, Mark Pryor and the voting rights act and the latest on the legal fight between Judge Wendell Griffin and the lawyers involved in the retrial of former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings –– all covered on this week's edition.
Man. Wild day. Final comments:
It took a few hours, but the University of Arkansas has finally responded to my questions concerning its terse announcement firing John Diamond as the lead university spokesman.
Photographer available? Crowd-sourcing welcome.
Woodruff County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Bell tells me that the State Police are nearing completion of an investigation of the death July 2 of a cross-country bicyclist that occurred when a motorist drove into the rear of a group of cyclists on a highway near McCrory.
A reliable source says Valley View School Superintendent Radius Baker will be running for the state Senate seat created by Paul Bookout's resignation.
A news conference is set Tuesday to announce the Tiger Foundation, a public charity created to support "academics, arts, citizenship and athletics" at Little Rock Central High School.
Reports began coming in last night about problems with a change to the program that operates our blogging system.
Before we all get too misty-eyed about the demise of the legacy media, remember that sometimes the glory days weren't so glorious.
From a group of Facebook photos it would appear a dozen or so people packing sidearms participated in a march in Fort Smith this morning to demonstrate the belief that a quirk of legislative drafting — either accidental or by concealed design — allows "constitutional carry" in Arkansas.
The line is open Noted: * BRIDGE TRAFFIC NORMAL: News reports say officials believe only minor damage was done to pier protectors when a couple of barges broke loose from a tow boat Friday night and struck a couple of protection structures around the I-30 and Clinton Library bridge in downtown Little Rock.
Our tech team spent a great deal of time yesterday tussling with the lack of live links on comments by long-time posters.
From the Bryant Hornet Facebook page: Invitation from Coach Paul Calley: The Bryant Hornet Football Team Worship is this Sunday, Aug 25th at Otter Creek Assembly of God, 10:30 am kickoff.
Let us simplify: Sen. Paul Bookout spent campaign money for personal purposes — meals, clothing, travel expenses.
Another steamy Sunday as another summer draws to a close. Finishing up:
USA Today takes note that it's not only new Razorback football coach Brett Bielema making waves on social media, with pithy Twitter remarks.
Tommy Moll of Hot Springs, something of a mystery Republican candidate for 4th District Congress, sent an e-mail this morning saying he'd raised $100,000 for his race, the majority from Arkansans.
Stephens Media reports on a planned legislative committee meeting to air Clarksville School Superintendent David Hopkins' unhappiness that an attorney general's opinion and resulting private security board vote has stymied his plan to put two dozen staff members, including a kindergarten teacher, carrying concealed weapons in schools this year.
Alien Ant Farm plays at Juanita's Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin is making a visit to Mayflower today in furtherance of his "concern" campaign for those damaged and not yet been made whole by the flood of tar sands crude that a ruptured pipeline poured in a residential neigbhorhod and the wetlands of Lake Conway.
Earlier this month, the Department of Human Services sent their request to the feds for a waiver of federal rules in order to proceed with the so-called “private option” for Medicaid expansion.
Former pro basketball star Scottie Pippen has lost his appeal of a lawsuit that sought damages for publication of inaccurate reports about his finances.
Here's at least the second announced Republican candidate for the state Senate seat opened in the Jonesboro area by Paul Bookout's resignation.
Sculpture, puppet video.
The following announcement doesn't count for much without meaningful follow-through, but it's a start. A group of House Democrats say they've formed a special committee to push for more ethics reform.
Arkansas State University rolled out today what's known in the marketing business as a new "brand identify plan."
Straight-shooting Tom Cotton continues to play dodge ball on the question of how he'll vote on a federal budget that includes Obamacare.
Josh Berry of Channel 4/Fox 16 reports via Twitter that Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington entered a plea bargain today to public intoxication and resisting arrest in a scrape with Benton police June 29 at Denton's Trotline.
"Blackwell's Island" to be exhibited soon.
Science helped police make an arrest in University of Arkansas rape case from 2012. From the UA:
Good financial news, an award at the annual meeting.
The University of Arkansas today released in response to my FOI the letter by which John Diamond was fired as the university's top spokesman.
Nine Individual Artist fellows announced.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin Monday called Gov. Mike Beebe's office to suggest the state pursue further health assessments for residents of Mayflower affected by the March 29 oil spill.
Philander Smith College has announced the speakers in its annual Bless the Mic lecture series, always thought-provoking.
'm sorry I failed to get around to this yesterday. It's an announcement of an effort by AR Kids Read to recruit 600 people to help tutor elementary kids in Pulaski County schools.
[embed-1] Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington entered a plea bargain yesterday to public intoxication and resisting arrest in an altercation with Benton police who stopped him from driving home from Denton's Trotline in late July.
Nothing like a backyard oil spill to make a hard-bitten anti-regulation Republican congressman a little more receptive to increased federal regulation.
The University of Arkansas Athletic Department responded yesterday to my Freedom of Information Act request for names of other statewide officers who, like Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, got priority seats for Razorback football games without paying the customary contribution to the Razorback Foundation.
John Hiatt will perform at Juanita's Wednesday night.
Josh Hastings, the former Little Rock police officer facing a retrial on a manslaughter charge in the death of Bobby Moore, 15, today withdrew his motion for a change of venue.
The sleepless nights are over, and the films are in the can for the Little Rock leg of the 48 Hour Film Project.
We wrote earlier about the unhappiness of historic preservationists when the Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services demolished the former Massery laundry on Seventh Street to make way for a future expansion.
First-person history in Ernie Dumas column this week. A young newspaper reporter from South Arkansas drove up to Washington to join the throng that gathered on the Capitol mall Aug. 28, 1963 for speakers who included John Lewis, Daisy Bates and, if not so famously then, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Philander Smith's free and open to the public "Bless the Mic" lecture series has brought some great speakers to town in the past, and it looks like that trend will continue in the coming year.
Jodie Mahony, a Little Rock public relations consultant, announced today that he'd run as a Democrat to succeed term-limited state Rep. John Edwards for the district covering parts of Little Rock and out to Roland.
[embed-1]The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will host a kickoff event at the Clinton Presidential Center Great Hall in Little Rock a week from Thursday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m.
I happen to think the Mark Pryor campaign for Senate has put together a good news release.
A writer at Slate finds new writing by Tom Cotton from his Harvard days, this time a review of a book in a conservative Harvard journal that says Democrats just won't accept how much better off black people are today.
Thanks to Norma for this link, richest since the Republican candidate who said you needed a passport to go to parts of southern Arkansas.
This is big. Will the Republican delegation from Northwest Arkansas mount the picket lines at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, such as the Bentonville representative who led the legislature to adopt a resolution affirming the General Assembly's belief in the rightness of discrimination against homosexuals?
Thief got $100 from scrap yard for steel.
It's back. Not new and improved.
Table 28 has now made its home in Vesuvio’s old space. Their menu represents a rather significant departure from what Vesuvio was offering, but I imagine that once Little Rock residents get a taste of what the new occupants are serving up, there will be very little mourning and lamentation for the relocation of the old Italian establishment.
The paper's are full of material about the march on Washington 50 years ago and Martin Luther King's famous speech.
A legislative committee today will discuss the law on guns in school, an outgrowth of the determination that the law doesn't currently allow school districts to license their own employees as security guards for the purpose of carrying weapons.
Former President Bill Clinton will speak from the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Center at 10 a.m. next Wednesday on health care.
Judging by his post on Facebook, former state Sen. Gene Roebuck, a Jonesboro insurance man, is going to seek the Senate seat opened by Paul Bookout's resignation.
Sharon Jones wrote to ask if I'd provide some publicity on a big free event Sunday, Sept. 8 at Bethel AME Church at 815 W. 16th Street.
The back story is a little convoluted but this is too good not to highlight.
Phyllis Schlafly has explained that of course the new North Carolina voter restriction laws are about keeping Democratic voters from voting.
A charcoal by Adaline French.
Politico looks at the 2014 governor's race in Arkansas. It's pitched as a question of whether Democrats can still win in the South.
Channel 4 reports that the body of 11-year-old Jessica Williams, reported missing Tuesday night in Mississippi county, was found about 6:30 a.m. this morning at the end of a county road that dead-ends at Big Lake.
Bill Clinton spoke today at the Lincoln Memorial as part of observances to commemmorate the march on Washington 50 years ago.
Excerpts from "KING: A Filmed Record, Montgomery to Memphis."
Starting in October, low-income Arkansans will begin signing up for health insurance plans under the so-called “private option,” the state’s unique version of Medicaid expansion.
Another day done gone. Above is a photo from the secretary of state's Facebook page of the crowd that gathered at the Arkansas Capitol today to commemorate the march in Washington 50 years ago.