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Implicit Bias

Implicit Bias

September 29, 2016

Vol 43 • No 4

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The discipline gap

Research shows Arkansas schools punish African-American students more frequently and more harshly than their white peers.

The real deal

Donald Trump would hate El Paisano.

"Donkeys and Drinks" at Sway

Also, Boom Kinetic plays at Revolution.

EpiPen lesson

Congressional Republicans and Democrats staged a rousing display of rage against the CEO whose company gouged a fortune from families whose kids and sometimes grownups need the lifesaving properties of the drug EpiPen.

Hogs blew it

Arkansas needed to beat Texas A&M. That's it. Sometimes perfunctory is poetry.

A Q and A with Ken Stringfellow of The Posies

Ahead of a "pop-up" show scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 29, at Capitol View Studio

Hot Water Hills Arts and Music Festival returns to Hot Springs

Also, TEDx Markham Street, 'Black Lives Matter in the Media' with Shaun King at Philander Smith, 'Hamilton's America' at Pulaski Tech, Elisso Bolkvadze at the Clinton Presidential Center.

Rising arches

The Broadway Bridge was closed to traffic on Wednesday to allow its demolition and replacement by a new bridge. The so-called "basket-handle arches" being assembled in the Arkansas River are part of the new span, which is projected to be complete by March 2017.

Growing equality

NWA center looks to the future with census, outreach and more.

Let's talk about stamina

Also, an arrest and an apology, squeezing mental health care, hate winning in Bentonville and more.

Democrats' last stand in NE Arkansas

Nate Looney vs. Rep. Brandt Smith for District 58.

State university secrets

Today's subject: lack of accountability at state universities.

Reefer madness


The Observer is a known and incorrigible haunter of thrift stores. Some weekends, with Spouse in tow, we'll make the rounds of every Goodwill store in three counties, driving them on a carefully pre-planned circuit so we can stop midway and get coffee at our favorite little place.

'Seven' keeps it simple

Antoine Fuqua's remake formulaic, but still a crowd-pleaser.

John Walker and the police

In my experience John Walker has always been the perfect gentleman that you do not want to mess with. He's a bulldog, and will not let a real or perceived wrong go unpunished.

Fight on mental health money isn't over yet

The Hutchinson administration push to cut Medicaid reimbursement for mental health treatment, thought to have been settled last week, is back on the Legislative Council agenda Friday.

Feds move to block arbitration in nursing home contracts; Arkansas heads explode

This is big news:  The Obama administration has moved to bar nursing homes that get Medicare and Medicaid money from requiring that residents resolve disputes in arbitration rather than court.

Sen. Burnett amends campaign report

KAIT-TV reports that Democratic Sen. David Burnett has amended campaign finance reports to refund some $2,700 in contributions that came from seven corporate contributors, now prohibited by a constitutional amendment.

Homicide on Elm Street

Little Rock police found a dead man in the street near 26th and Elm about 11:20 p.m. last night. He'd been shot in the right side of his face.

Broadway Bridge is coming down

The contractor wasted no time after yesterday's closure to start the demolition of the Broadway Bridge.

Location changed for U.S. Senate debate; Boozman still dodging

The location of a U.S. Senate debate at noon Friday in Little Rock has changed from Philander Smith College to Arkansas Baptist College in its Old Main auditorium.

Swedes dispute Tom Cotton's analysis of immigration situation

Tom Cotton, who knows everything, is now pronouncing on the superiority of Norwegian immigration policy over that in Sweden. Some Swedes aren't impressed by Arkansas's junior senator.

Judge upholds unopposed new nominee for state House seat

Circuit Judge Dennis Sutterfield today denied a challenge to the method being used to fill a vacancy in nomination for a state House seat.

Jegley won't prosecute charges against John Walker or his associate

Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley's office today filed notice in district court that it would not prosecute misdemeanor obstruction charges against state Rep. John Walker, 79, and a legal colleague, Omavi Kushukuru, 29, filed after Walker angered officers by filming a traffic stop.

Thursday: An open line and video report

The Thursday open line, plus a video news roundup.

The John Walker Arrest Edition

The arrest of state Rep. John Walker, some potentially bad news for nursing home operators in Arkansas, Leslie Rutledge’s very bad week and hard line Tom Cotton — all covered on this week's podcast.

Federal judge rules for Planned Parenthood against state halt of health care funding

A federal judge has broadened her order prohibiting the state from stopping federal Medicaid funding for health services provided by Planned Parenthood. The governor ordered a halt to the funding, despite contrary federal law, because he doesn't like that Planned Parenthood provides abortions.

A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.

How nursing homes used staff and patients for amendment campaign

Marci Manley did some fine reporting for KARK last night on how the nursing home industry in Arkansas employed staff to round up signatures  from patient/residents for the amendment to limits lawsuits against nursing homes.

'Forum' on medical marijuana set at UCA. Missing: Both sides.

Tom Courtway, president of the University of Central Arkansas, has invited all on campus to a so-called forum on medical marijuana. Missing from the discussion: Advocates of ballot propositions on the issue.

Rutledge busy everywhere but Arkansas

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge doesn't have time to look into some important consumer issues in Arkansas, but she is busy intervening in lawsuits around the country on pet Republican issues such as discrimination against gay people.

Rutledge defends the slut- and fat-shaming Donald Trump. Blames Hillary.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is at it again this morning, attempting on CNN and MSNBC to defend Donald Trump against the indefensible.

Gov. Hutchinson announces a Buffalo River committee UPDATE

Gov. Asa Hutchinson called in press this morning to announce an interagency committee to share information about the Buffalo River.

Appeal seems likely in Little Rock school case

Civil rights lawyer John Walker indicated Thursday that he's not ready to let go of a lawsuit over the state takeover of the Little Rock School District, despite an adverse ruling this week.

Jerky's Chicken wins round in dispute with landlord over condition of restaurant

John Walker Jr. and his Jerky's Chicken restaurant has defeated an effort by his landlord to evict the restaurant from 521 Center Street.

Justice in Alabama: Roy Moore ousted from the bench

For the second time, a judicial regulatory body has ousted Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore from the bench, this time for urging defiance of federal court rulings on same-sex marriage.

Of course Boozman dodged Little Rock debate

Picture of Democrat Conner Eldridge and Libertarian Frank Gilbert at Arkansas Baptist College worth at least seven words: Republican Sen. John Boozman dodged another debate.

Re-vote on mental health cut defeated at Legislative Council

I'm shy of details save the essential one: An effort to expunge the vote on a rule that will cut Medicaid funding for  mental health centers failed at the Legislative Council today. An extraordinary vote was needed and it wasn't there.

The week-ender: An open line and the daily video roundup

Another week done. Here's an open line and the daily video.

Water main break floods three houses at Markham and Schiller

A water main near Markham and Schiller, just north up a hill from West Third Street just west of the railroad viaduct near the Capitol, burst about 7:30 a.m. this morning.

The mean streets of Little Rock: Four shot in two shootings

UPDATE: One person, not two, died in separate shootings Friday night at 22nd and Oak and 13th and Rice. The police had originally listed one dead at each location.

New California law would restrict their government travel to Arkansas

Arkansas seems likely to be called out officially soon for its efforts to legalize discrimination against LGBT people.

Broadway Bridge is falling down

Brian Chilson sent me yesterday another round of photos of the Broadway Bridge demolition and I realized I have a streak of Maynard G. Krebs in me.

Donald Trump declares war on Hillary Clinton's marriage

Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to the New York Times yesterday in which he declared open season on the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's past infidelity. Seems like a loser, but I've been wrong before.

An open line. Plus: a hiking death and LR ranks 8th most dangerous in U.S.

The open line includes news of a hiking death at Mount Nebo and a new ranking that says Little Rock is the 8th most dangerous city in the country.

Negotiations end standoff with prison guard

The Correction Department hasn't said much about it, but the State Police have issued a summary about a day-long standoff with a guard at a prison unit in Dermott on Saturday.

Football, prayer and Jason Rapert

Under pressure, the Dover School District has finally ended the unconstitutional practice of a sanctioned prayer at football games. Bro. Jason Rapert is NOT happy.

The political crystal ball conjures up a nightmare race for governor in 2022

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist John Brummett, in the course of panning Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's disastrous appearances last week as a TV apologist for Donald Trump's misogyny, trumped his story line with a nightmare s

Trump: Tax-free and fact-free

Donald Trump's tax return, a new Trump charge against Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin's splendid portrayal of Trump top the presidential campaign talking points today.

Police chase leads to deadly crash in Rector, crash and arrest in Paragould

The State Police reported two vehicle crashes, one deadly, a result of a police chase that began in Kennett, Mo., and ended in Paragould, a distance of more than 30 miles.

An open line, plus a bit of Arkansas newspaper history

Here's the Sunday night open line. I've included some video, done by shaky hand-held iPhone, during a reunion Saturday night at the Darragh Center of former employees of the Arkansas Gazette, which closed 25 years ago this month. David Pryor gave an eloquent talk on Arkansas newspapers

The Broadway Bridge countdown clock

The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department has a countdown clock running on the 180-day period in which a contractor, it is hoped, will replace and reopen the Broadway Bridge.

The revolving door at state insurance commissions; Arkansas case makes the point

The Center for Public Integrity and the Washington Post have combined for a report on how the insurance industry lavishes junkets and entertainment on insurance commissioners and how often insurance commissioners transition from state jobs to fatter jobs working for insurance companies. An Arkansas example leads the reporting.

Little Rock expansion promises 43 more jobs

Two related Little Rock companies announced today a $6.4 million expansion that will create 43 more jobs.

Police officer hit by car during traffic stop

Stuttgart Police Sgt. Seneca Thornton, 36, was hit by a vehicle while making a traffic stop on the southern edge of Humphrey on U.S. Highway 79. Thornton was working part-time for the city of Humphrey.

Landlords oppose medical marijuana

The Arkansas Landlords Association, in a news release distributed by Jon Gilmore,  a former staff member for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, has announced opposition to the medical marijuana initiatives because they could force landlords to rent to people who use marijuana.

Landmark IHOP comes down

Today's the day for demolition at the IHOP at Markham and University, a late-night stop for me as early as 1973. They'll be replacing it with an updated version of the chain eatery

Donald Trump inserts foot in mouth on PTSD. Sen. Cotton?

Donald Trump has done it again — made a gravely tone-deaf remark about veterans.

Monday, Monday. Open line and video

Here's the open line and the video roundup.

The 28th gear: Spokes remodels shop to add coffee bar, will open cafe on Rebsamen Park Road

F3 Velo LLC, a newly incorporated Little Rock business, has partnered with Spokes Little Rock bicycle shop in two ventures that will offer a jolt for cyclists and others: A coffee bar in Spokes at 1001 Kavanaugh Blvd. (at Stifft Station) that will take up a third of the shop after a remodel, and a cafe and coffee bar at 1509 Rebsamen Park Road, in the building formerly owned by Marshall Clements.

Special master finds signatures insufficient for casino amendment

Special Master John Jennings, appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court to review sufficiency of signatures on petitions to put a casino amendment on the ballot has found shortcomings in the signatures .

Police, community relations arise at Little Rock City Board meeting

KARK was on hand Monday night when City Director Kenneth Richardson made sharp remarks in the aftermath of police arrests of civil rights lawyers John Walker and Omavy Shukur following their efforts to film a police arrest.

A hot Republican primary for Arkansas Senate

State Rep. Kim Hammer, a Benton Republican, announced last night that he'd be a candidate for state Senate in 2018 against incumbent Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, who lives in western Little Rock.

State revenue staying flat

The monthly report on state tax take continues to reflect a lack of growth.

Sex and the White House

Ernest Dumas' column this week muses on Donald Trump's vow to make the race about Bill Clinton's history despite the fact that Trump is "the most debauched political candidate in the history of public licentiousness."

Casino opponents lose the Razorback

Odds of the casino amendment making the ballot look longer after yesterday's finding by a special master that petition signatures fell short, but here's something you can bet on: If the campaign by casino opponents must continue, it will never again include Razorback logos.

Obama slams Republican senators for failing to fill Supreme Court opening

The U.S. Supreme Court is back at work one justice short because of the unprecedented roadblock Republican senators have thrown up to considering President Obama's nomination of the thoroughly uncontroversial Merrick Garland to fill the late Antonin Scalia chair.

Victim fleeing sexual assault gets burned at power station and that leads to six-hour power outage in western Little Rock

UPDATE: A six-hour power outage in western Little Rock this morning is being linked by police to a woman's attempt to escape a rapist in a power substation, where she was shocked and burned.

No, Bill Clinton did not call Obamacare 'the craziest thing in the world'

No, despite many reports to the contrary, Bill Clinton did not say in a speech that Obamacare is the craziest thing in the world. There are crazy problems that need fixing, but he is not calling for an end to Obamacare.

Tuesday's open line and a video report

The open line and video report.

New music from Minor Arcs, Mainland Divide, Yuni Wa and Fidel Castrato

New music from Mainland Divide, Minor Arcs, Yuni Wa and Fidel Castrato.

Another food fraud plea

The U.S. attorney's office says another person has pleaded to defrauding a federally financed program to provide meals to poor children.

Mike Pence wins a vice presidential debate by losing

CNN's polling gave Republican Mike Pence a 48-42 win over Democrat Tim Kaine in the presidential debate last night and the figures  indicated that he won that sample more on likability, not facts.

Is justice for sale in the nursing home protection amendment?

Channel 4's Marci Manley has delved into a familiar topic here — the amount of money spent by the nursing home industry to elect friendly justices to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Springdale police kill scooter driver who fired on officers

40/29 reports that a scooter driver was fatally shot Tuesday night by Springdale police after he pulled a pistol during a traffic stop and fired at officers.

UAMS researcher wins $10 million grant to study Alzheimer's

A team led by Sue Griffin of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has won a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Institutes of health to study cause and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

JPs question county judge on Sherwood hot check court

Two members of the Pulaski County Quorum Court have sent a letter to County Judge Barry Hyde raising questions about the consolidation of hot check cases in a district court in Sherwood, an operation that has been equated to a debtors' prison by a sprawling class action lawsuit filed in cooperation with the ACLU.

Ride the Blues Bus to King Biscuit with us

Join us on the Arkansas Times Blues Bus as we travel to Helena-West Helena to hear featured headliner Charlie Musselwhite ("Gone Too Long") as well as the Charles Wilson Band, Toronzo Cannon, and other awesome acts all day long on multiple stages.

Terrified turkeys to fall from sky again

They'll be dropping live turkeys out of an airplane over Yellville again this Friday and Saturday at Yellville's Turkey Trot Festival. Some people find this funny. The turkeys probably don't.

NWA Community College presents true forum on marijuana

Both sides will be heard in a Northwest Arkansas forum on medical marijuana, a sharp departure from the one-sided anti-marijuana event staged at UCA recently.

A visit with Rolf Kaestel, Arkansas's addition to Utah prisons

Colby Frazier of the Salt Lake City Weekly has written this week about one of his periodic visits with Rolf Kaestel, an Arkansas prison inmate sent to Utah for never-explained reasons, who's spent 35 years behind bars for robbing $264 from a Fort Smith taco stand in 1981. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has made sure Kaestel can't seek clemency again until he's in his 70s.

Opponents of nursing home amendment file brief on signatures

Opponents of the proposed constitutional amendment to insulate nursing homes against damage lawsuits filed today their brief with the Arkansas Supreme Court arguing that the sponsors had failed to gather enough valid signatures of registered voters to make the ballot.

Bentonville cops arrest teens for being scary clowns

The clown hysteria sweeping the country has led to arrests in Bentonville.

Wednesday's open line

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

Fall hiking in the Ouachitas offers colorful scenery

Hiking is an awe inspiring route to experience the beauty of Arkansas. The state’s climate allows the pastime year round, and the fall season shines a spotlight on the colorful scenery.

Take a ‘Billgrimage’ in Arkansas

Bill and Hillary Clinton have strong ties to Arkansas. The airport in Little Rock was even renamed in honor of the couple. Bill Clinton, the nation’s 42nd president, was born in Hope, grew up in Hot Springs, married Hillary in Fayetteville, served as governor of Arkansas in Little Rock, and made acceptance and celebration speeches in the state when he was elected and re-elected as the U.S. president.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge opens veterinary clinic

Smith is president and co-founder of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, an exotic wildlife sanctuary federally licensed and regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture. Located in Eureka Springs, this non-profit organization currently has 57 large natural habitat enclosures ranging in size from 5,000 sq. ft. to 20,000 sq. ft. in which more than 60 exotic and native cats, six black bears, one grizzly bear, and a variety of other animals reside.

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Arvest Bank collaborate to offer specialty debit cards

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Arvest Bank worked in collaboration to create a limited-edition series of specialty debit cards that showcase some of the state’s most scenic and popular attractions.