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Who's afraid of Barry Seal?

Who's afraid of Barry Seal?

September 28, 2017

Vol 44 • No 4

Read the print version

Who's afraid of Barry Seal?

The 'true lie' behind Tom Cruise's new film on the notorious drug-trafficker-turned-federal-informant who operated out of Arkansas.

2017 Arkansas Times Whole Hog Roast preview

All the pig meat you can eat.

The ASO's season openers aim for the epic

It's flair and ice.

"Kingsman," part deux, doubles down on the zany.

It's the spy spoof we need.

'Too far to turn back now'

The Nine and Clinton condemn Trump, recall past.

LR Central at 70

The city of Little Rock has finished its "Reflections on Progress" observance of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School and the people most affected managed to put well-placed asterisks on the notion that this was a story all about racial progress.

Minimizing rape

I am writing in response to the opinion piece written by Gene Lyons titled "Sex on Campus," published Sept. 21, on behalf of all sexual assault crisis centers in Arkansas and other advocates who work with victims of rape and/or sexual assault. We are compelled to set the record straight with facts about sexual assault, the brain and body's response to traumatic events, and the usefulness of Title IX to address victimizations on campuses.

Stifling dissent

Whenever Donald Trump in his serial bouts with failure decides he must re-energize his base of white nationalists by doing things like demonizing black athletes who protest discrimination, the mainstream press falls for it and gives him maximum space and time. We're addicted.

What they mean by 'Make America Great Again'

It's September

Yearly, it seems, The Observer has to write a breakup letter to summer, our lovely June groom gone threadbare and fetid in the heat, welcome outstayed, his crisp green button-up and sunflower yellow tie long since doffed in favor of a sweat stained undershirt, our loitering houseguest having cleaned out the fridge and talked us all into going on another beer run, twice.

Agony vs. Aggies

You watched Austin Allen fire that third-down pass into a "window" that was more like a keyhole, and you knew, didn't you?

'We're not stupid'

Also, selective coverage of the Little Rock Nine in the D-G, a nominee for U.S. attorney and a plaza plan.

Sex-ed needed

Sex education in Arkansas is bonkers. Ginny Monk's recent article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "85 percent of schools in Arkansas tell kids to say no to sex" reports the results of a survey of all of the sex education being taught at all school districts in the state. With the exception of a few bright spots, including the existence of local groups lobbying for implementing comprehensive sex education statewide, too many schools are either ignoring the subject all together or pushing abstinence-based sex education.

Fun at Burger 21

Good burgers, great shakes.

Murphy Arts District grand opening

And much more.

Trump and sports

For normal people, sports often serve as a refuge from politics. The president of the United States is not among them. Donald Trump's idea of a spectator sport, it can't be emphasized too often, is WWE professional wrestling: a phony, prescripted spectacle most often on racial and ethnic themes, mainly featuring steroid abusers insufficiently athletic for real pro competition.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Two heads are better than one edition

Play at home!

Slaying reported at apartments on McCain Place

The Pulaski sheriff's office reports a homicide about 4:30 a.m. this morning at 5900 McCain Place, the Chapel Ridge apartments outside the city limits of North Little Rock.

Republican tax plan: About what you'd expect

Donald Trump's tax plan? The reviews are coming in and they are about what you'd expect. Good for rich people like him, otherwise a deficit buster with scant benefits for people at the lower end of the income ladder.

Arkansan moves to Missouri to challenge McCaskill from the far right

Courtland Sykes, described as an Arkansas native who worked briefly on the staff of U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, has moved to Missouri and announced a challenge to Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskiill

Condemned inmate seeks hearing on competency

Attorneys for Jack Greene asked in Jefferson Circuit Court yesterday for a hearing on their argument that he's severely mentally ill and his scheduled Nov. 9 execution should be stopped as a violation of the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.e

Convicted ex-Benton County sheriff hired in Carroll County

KNWA reports that former Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck who resigned following a misdemeanor guilty plea to end an evidence-tampering investigation, has been hired by the Carroll County sheriff's office.

CeDell Davis remembered

CeDell Davis, Helena-born slide guitarist and juke joint legend, died Wednesday at age 91.

Art in the Park: Wildwood exhibits work by UA Little Rock profs, students

Two- and three-dimensional works by students, former students and faculty of the Department of Art and Design at UA Little Rock are on exhibit at Wildwood Park for the Arts, which hosts a reception tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with music by university students.

Sen. David Sanders lands Innovate Arkansas job

Winrock International announced today that Sen. David Sanders of Little Rock had been named director of Innovate Arkansas, a state-funded effort administered by Winrock to encourage technology ventures.

Little Rock joins the Navy

The Navy on Monday took delivery of the future USS Little Rock during a ceremony at a Wisconsin shipyard, a major step in progress toward active use.

Thursday: An open line and the day's video

Thursday's line is open. And have a listen at today's news and comment — taxes and more.

Opening the Vault: New restaurant for the Spa City

It’s a tall drink of water, the seven-story building housing the Vault restaurant, to open later this fall in the 1909 Citizens Building at the corner of Central Avenue and Bridge Street in Hot Springs. The restaurant gets its name from the building's original purpose: It was Citizens National Bank.

Thea's Blue Plate: It's special, and it's for the arts

It’s not too soon to buy tickets to the Thea Foundation’s annual art-supporting feast, the Blue Plate Special, to be held Monday, Oct. 16, at the Capital Hotel. Ten chefs and two mixologists have been lined up for the wining and dining; artists, musicians and comedians will provide the evening’s cultural sustenance.

Charlie Collins memorial firing line

Scientific American says the weight of the evidence shows that more guns do not stop more crimes. Nutters?

Big River Steel pays off $50 million state loan

Big River Steel, the mill in Mississippi County, has paid off a $50 million state loan 17 years early, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission proudly announced today.

Cody Hiland confirmed by Senate as U.S. attorney for Eastern District

The U.S. Senate today is moving through a batch of nominations by Donald Trump for U.S. attorney positions and they include that of Cody Hiland of Conway to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas

UPDATE: Inmate assaults at Tucker Max and Varner prisons

UPDATE: The Correction Department reported injuries to guards at two prison units today.

Air Trump: The swamp dwellers fly high

The rarified tastes of Trump cabinet members for private air travel continue to draw attention worth summarizing this morning as the president touts a tax plan that benefits the wealthy and which his own spokesman says he can't guarantee won't raise middle-class taxes.

Call out the women. Again.

A coming event paying tribute to the Women's Emergency Committee reminds that there's a school emergency in Little Rock 60 years later and, again, some strong women have not been sitting by idly.

ACLU's fight to hold Arkansas accountable on gay rights

Rita Sklar, executive director of the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, has written an update on the ACLU's defense of a Fayetteville civil rights ordinance that expands anti-discrimination protection to LGBTQ people in employment, housing and public accommodations. Noteworthy: State resistance to accountability in the lawsuit.

Arkansan defends role on Trump election commission

Donald Trump's so-called election integrity commission is a transparent attempt to advance the Republican Party's voter suppression agenda. Recently uncovered e-mail shows that one leading backer objected to any Democratic participation at all. But a handful of Democrats, including one from Arkansas, seem to be pushing back.

Jason Baldwin on jailhouse snitches

Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis Three writes about how prosecutors' threats and rewards can lead to jailhouse snitches with "believable stories." And how those believable stories can put innocent people behind bars.

Law-breaking sheriff won't get new law enforcement job in Carroll County

Protests about a job offer to Kelley Cradduck in the Carroll County sheriff's office has caused the sheriff there, Randy Mayfield, to withdraw the job for the former Benton County sheriff, who left office after a documents tampering investigation.

TGIF: Open line and news roundup

Friday's open line plus news and comment, starting with the (grim) reality show presidency.

Conway's Randi House is Arkansas Teacher of the Year

Randi House, a kindergarten teacher at Theodore Jones Elementary in the Conway School District, is this year's Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

New analysis: Trump tax cut mostly helps the rich. Duh

The New York Times reports on a nonpartisan review of the Trump/Republican tax plan, such as is known: A windfall for the wealthy.

Hutchinson calls for action on inmate violence

Injuries this week to three guards at two prison units have prompted Gov. Asa Hutchinson to ask prison officials for an "action plan" to improve security, AP reports.

Sheriff's office identifies victim in 23-year-old slaying

The Pulaski sheriff's office said today that advanced FBI fingerprint technology had provided the identification of a person found shot to death 23 years ago in a creek in the Palarm area west of Maumelle — Cynthia Robinson, then 35

BREAKING: Tom Price has resigned

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has resigned thanks to the scandal over his abuse of private and military planes for extensive travel.

Food truck Friday lineup: Cajun, Korean, and you get eggroll

The lineup for the Sept. 29 Food Truck Fridays event at Fifth and Main streets.

State trooper complains over being hit by another trooper

State Police Lt. John Overman says he suffered a "lifelong" injury in January when he was struck by a police car driven by Trooper Alan Aiken during chase of a suspect, 40/29 reports.

The We're Not Stupid Edition

The events celebrating the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High, the future of abortion in Arkansas a new ruling on a law to restrict panhandling and more — covered on this week's podcast.

City spending on I-30 ditch no longer a 'consent' item on board agenda

The Little Rock City Board will meet at 6 p.m. Monday (not Tuesday as is customary) and items up for discussion include authorizing an additional $175,000 to Nelson/Nygaard Consulting "to assist the city with its responsibilities to the Arkansas Department ofTransportation during the I-30 Crossing Project. "

Arkansas lags on decline in teen birth rate. Also, coincidentally, in sex education

Vox reports on the stunning drop in the teen birth rate nationwide — 

While Puerto Ricans suffered, Trump golfed

A Washington Post timeline illustrates the Trump administration's lack of urgency in dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

Woo pig! An open line

Here's your open line.

Study says campaigning doesn't work

Here's some depressing news from Vox for people who've poured their souls into political campaigns, particularly losing ones:

Arkansas again a leader — in prison contraband cell phones

Arkansas is a leader in contraband cell phones in prison. Why? It could partly be linked to low prison guard pay.

Ozone therapy revisited: You read it from Russ Racop and here first

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette caught up this morning on a state surplus spending scandal that blogger Russ Racop reported nine months ago and which was detailed on the Arkansas Blog, along with other General Improvement Fund funny business.

Today's the day: Whole hog roast and more on fine fall afternoon in Argenta

It's not too late to get a $15 ticket to our Whole Hog Roast from 1 to 5 p.m. today at Argenta Plaza. Smoked pork, side dishes and music included, with beer for sale, too.

The Sunday open line

The open line. Good day? Apart from our national leadership, of course.

NFL fans boo players kneeling to pray before Anthem: It isn't about the flag

Football fans in Baltimore booed players for kneeling in prayer BEFORE the National Anthem. It ain't about the flag.

Blogger Russ Racop announces for Little Rock City Board

An obsessive blogger with a record of digging up dirt on public officials has announced a race for Little Rock City Board. His own record should come under scrutiny, too, but that doesn't mean he isn't often onto something.

At least 58 reported killed in Las Vegas shooting

A mass shooting in Las Vegas has left at least 58 dead and hundreds injured.

Social media sleuths strike again with false ID in mass shooting

Social media sleuths did it again today, circulating false reports implicating a man who once lived in Fayetteville in the mass Las Vegas shootings.

Slideshow: Sister Rosetta Tharpe sign unveiled Friday

Eight miles southeast of Cotton Plant, Arkansas, where Highway 17 meets Interstate Highway 49, a new sign was unveiled Friday afternoon honoring Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Arkansas native guitarist and singer who some credit with having invented rock and roll.

Clemency sought for Jack Greene, scheduled for execution next month

Advocates for Jack Greene, scheduled to be killed by the state of Arkansas Nov. 9 for a capital murder conviction in Johnson County, say he will appear before the state Parole Board Wednesday to seek clemency on the ground that he is mentally incompetent. He also has a separate court appeal pending.

Arkansas officials react to mass shooting

Arkansas politicians have responded in customary fashion to the mass shooting in Las Vegas — thoughts and prayers for victims, but little by way of action. One exception of a sort: Gov. Asa Hutchinson (emphasis supplied):

Monday: An open line and today's news and comment

The open line. And the daily video news roundup, heavy on the massacre in Las Vegas and the lack of concrete response to another episode of mass gun violence.

New Musicophilia mix chronicles the post-punk of 1979

Musicophilia, a blog created by an anonymous Little Rock native “mostly to share the box set of post-punk music from 1981” that its creator made in 2004 to great acclaim, has followed the much-shared (and technically, legally tenuous) 1981 mix with “1979: Post-Punk.”

Arkansan wrongly tied to Las Vegas shooting threatened on social media

A Bella Vista man was once married to a woman identified yesterday as a companion of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock and social media posts wrongly linking him to the shootings produced death threats against him.

City Board moves to protect incumbents from early fund-raising. But what about Stodola's nest egg?

The Little Rock City Board moved Monday to help Mark Stodola, and potentially themselves, against election challengers who use a state law on exploratory campaigns to get around a city limit on when fund-raising may begin.

Take a trip to Northwest Arkansas

It’s no secret that Bentonville is booming: the city has world-class dining, boasts the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Walmart headquarters and the Amazeum. If business or pleasure hasn’t led you to this remarkable town yet this year, you should plan your trip now.

Fayetteville mulls corporate welfare for TV show. Worth it?

The Fayetteville Council is set to vote on $500,000 in taxpayer welfare to lure a TV production company to film a series in the city over nine months. Worth it?

State tax money falls short of forecast in September

State tax revenues in September fell short of forecast.

GOP would transfer pain to fund children's health insurance

House Republicans have a plan to save the Children's Health Insurance Program. They'll punish older Americans and deplete money for important preventive care.

Inmate charged with manslaughter in fellow prisoner's death

James Buyard, 24, was charged with manslaughter after punching John Demoret, 25, who died two weeks after the fight.

Plea-change hearing set for former Judge Boeckmann

Joseph Boeckmann of Wynne, the former district judge facing federal charges for trading favors with defendants in his court, is scheduled to appear Thursday before federal Judge Kristine Baker for a "change of plea hearing."

Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

The Tuesday open line, plus video.

City Director Doris Wright in wreck after someone jumps in her car

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that City Director Doris Wright was injured after a man jumped in her VW convertible as she was driving today near 15th and Battery. The car crashed. Wright and the main, not yet identified, were injured and being treated at a hospital.

Black Cobra Tattoos narrowly misses a win on Spike TV's "Ink Master"

Katie McGowan and Matt O’Baugh of Black Cobra Tattoos in Sherwood were barely edged out of the $200,000 prize awarded on Spike TV’s “Ink Master: Shop Wars” finale, by Old Town Ink of Scottsdale, Ariz.

New animated video from Rah HoWard

Rah HoWard, a finalist in this year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, has a new video, "I'm Black."

Planned Parenthood appeals for stay in court case

Planned Parenthood has asked a federal appeals court for a stay of a previous order so that it may continue to provide abortions at clinics in Little Rock and Fayetteville while it appeals.

Erin Enderlin's latest features Chris Stapleton, Ricky Skaggs

Conway native Erin Enderlin's latest, "Whiskeytown Crier" is produced by songwriter and producer Jamey Johnson.

Wildlife series "Breaking Bass" ventures into Lake Conway

The cypresses of Lake Conway make an appearance on a new "wildlife docu-series."

Marijuana commission working through applications

We got an update yesterday on progress by the medical marijuana commission in working through applications to cultivate or sell medical marijuana under new state law.

Fayetteville Council endorses $500,000 handout for TV series

The Fayetteville Flyer reports that the Fayetteville City Council voted 5-0 Tuesday night in favor of giving up to $500,000 over two years to subsidize filming of a season of a TV show in Fayetteville.

Another candidate for Little Rock District Court judge, JaNan Davis

Another candidate has announced for an open Little Rock District Court judgeship, the criminal division that Alice Lightle vacated when she moved to Colorado.

Little Rock Zoo announces penguin births

The Little Rock Zoo says two African penguin hatchlings soon will be on public view. They are the eighth and ninth penguins born since opening of the Laura P. Nichols Penguin Pointe exhibit in 2011.

Democrats want probe of legislative spending of GIF money

The Arkansas Democratic Party today demanded that Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the State Police investigate lawmakers' "fraudulent use of state money in a kickback scheme through the General Improvement Fund."

Condemned inmate says he's competent to be executed

A clemency hearing is underway today at the Varner prison unit for Jack Greene, scheduled to be killed by the state Nov. 9 for a Johnson County murder. He says he's competent to be executed.

Oh, please, let it be so. A GOP gubernatorial primary over who's the gun nuttiest

Happiest political news of the week is the hint from Arkansas's premier gun nut, Jan Morgan, that she might challenge Gov. Asa Hutchinson in the Republican primary next year

Walter Nunn, political figure and publisher, dies at 75

Dr. Walter Nunn, a figure in the state's political life for almost five decades, died Monday night at 75..

Report: Drug court 'rehab' provides unpaid labor for poultry industry. Arkansas offenders and businesses involved.

Bombshell article from Reveal, the website of the Center for Investigative Reporting:It reveals a very dark side to the rise in drug courts to attempt to steer drug abusers to rehabilitation and new lives rather than prison.

Wednesday: Open line and the day's headlines

Here's the open line, plus the roundup of news and comment.

Governor sends $500,000 to UCA for computer security training

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today that the Higher Education Department would send $500,000 to the University of Central Arkansas, which will partner with AETN on a program to train students to detect and defeat cyber attacks.

Griffen plans to sue Arkansas Supreme Court over speech, religion issues

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen intends to sue the seven members of the Arkansas Supreme Court for alleged violations of his First Amendment speech and religious expression rights for its discipline of him for participating in a prayer vigil on Good Friday.

Forty Two at the Clinton Center getting a redo and a numeral

Forty Two, the restaurant at the Clinton Presidential Center, is getting a redo, expanding its space, extending its meal service and changing its name to 42 bar & table, the Clinton Center announced today.

Big reveal: 'Hidden No More' at Mosaic Templars

Works by 11 African-American artists whose works are in the Creativity Arkansas collection of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, 501 W. Ninth St., will be revealed at a reception Thursday, Oct. 5, when the museum opens "Hidden No More."

Lawyers argue Jack Greene is mentally unfit to be executed, but victim's daughters want closure

Jack Gordon Greene's lawyers told the Arkansas Parole Board to grant clemency for a man they say is too mentally incompetent to be executed. Greene — with paper sticking out his nose and ears, contorting himself in response to ailments which doctors say do not exist — told the board the Department of Correction and his lawyers were part of a vast conspiracy against his health. The family of the man he killed later said he should not be granted mercy.