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October 17, 2013

Vol 40 • No 7

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How to fix the parole system in Arkansas

With frustration over crime increasingly fueling a lock 'em up and throw away the key mentality, some say the solution to recidivism may be to make parolees feel more welcome.

Welcome back, Bruno's

There’s good reason to be excited for the return of Bruno’s. There are glimpses of greatness here and it’s easy to see what made this place so popular to begin with. This is Italian comfort food at its finest—familiar, warming, and well prepared.

Evening mailbag: Huckabee, drunken escapades, Mayor Dabbs' boondoggle, record-setting Arkie heritage

Lots of odds and ends have floated in, so let me round them up here.

Congress comes to its senses; debt deal is done

The Senate voted 81-18 in favor of the deal to approve a continuing budget and raise the debt limit.

Thursday To-Do: Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan performs at Verizon Arena Thursday.

Co-sponsors of law altering water pollution standards now favor repeal at special session

A little follow-up on the item in tonight’s Open Line on Act 954, which is likely to be repealed at tomorrow’s special session.

Thursday: The Browning, Kevin Gordon and more

The Browning plays at Downtown Music Hall Thursday.

Yonder Mountain String Band's Dave Johnston talks Mulberry Mountain

Harvest time is here again.

Bon Jovi at Verizon Arena

Also, Luke Bryan at Verizon, Rural War Room at Vino's, Blue October at Juanita's, The Dirty Heads at Juanita's and Dawes and Jason Isbell at Revolution.

The Browning plays Downtown Music

Also, T. Chicken at White Water Tavern.

'Captain Phillips' drags

The tedium of sticking to the story.

One of the worst Razorback losses ever

Hard to fathom a worse homecoming than the one Arkansas experienced on Saturday.

Friends indeed

"The very rich are different from you and me," a famous author once wrote, and a famous colleague replied, "Yes, they have more friends on the Supreme Court."

Farm poison

Few legislative measures produce such extensive and diverse opposition as a proposed amendment to the federal farm bill now before Congress. In this case, the opposition is richly deserved.

Brantley: The Democrats' last hurrah

I've said before that 2014 is the deciding year for Arkansas Democrats.

Legislators find way to deliver the pork

The sad history of political reform is that the remedy is usually no better and often worse than the evil it tries to correct, especially when the courts are called upon to fix it.

Lyons: The gullible, paranoid Tea Party

"It's easier to fool people," Mark Twain apparently never said "than to convince them that they have been fooled." You can find those words all over the Internet attributed to Twain, but I can locate no credible source.

Commonsense budget fixes

Congressional leaders cannot seem to make up their minds about the reasons behind the government shutdown and a possible default on our word as a nation to pay our debts. Perhaps due to the unpopularity of shutting down the government in a last ditch effort to deny millions of uninsured Americans decent health care, many Republicans have pivoted to budget cuts and the deficit.

Mysterious Ohio

"Froholdt, 6-5, 275 pounds, is making his first trip back to the United States from Denmark after playing his sophomore season at Warren (Ohio) Harding High School as an exchange student."

Relativity: Arkansan and the Nobel prize

Physicist part of team that found the 'God' particle.

It was a good week for fundraising

It was also a good week for Fourth District Democrats and idiocy. It was a bad week for Arkansans' ability to decipher current events, the Little Rock Technology Park and the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Go Cardinals

On a recent trip to The Observer's hometown of St. Louis, we could not help but feel the building excitement of our beloved Cardinal nation.

Voters don't learn from Republican blunders

Hopefully by the time you read this, the Fox-Republican-Tea Party will have released its American hostages, reopened the people's government, and honored the full faith and credit of the United States by agreeing to pay our bills.

Ready to trot

A horse stands in the stables at the Arkansas State Fair.
view from a surveillance camera at the Capital Hotel

Guest goes wild

A lawsuit seeking $75,000 in damages was filed last week in Pulaski Circuit Court by Brooks Jansen, a former valet at the Capital Hotel, over the actions of a visiting Canadian investment tycoon, Michael Wekerle.

South on Main justifies the hype

OA-tied restaurant one of Little Rock's best

Arkansas's shutdown creators fold in final vote; exit with dishonesty

[embed-1] So. Government reopens this morning, including national parks.

Blanche Lincoln's lobbying business grows with Monsanto

Getting beaten for U.S. Senate was good for Blanche Lincoln's bank account. She's got her own lobbying business now and the client list grows.

Racial controversy continues over Harrison sign

I posted this photo last night of a sign at U.S. Highways 62-65 in Harrison, a highly visible spot.

Friday To-Do: Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi plays Verizon Arena Friday.

Friday: Invasive pythons, Black Oak Arkansas and more

Black Oak Arkansas plays at Revolution Friday.

Beebe appoints Frank Scott Jr. to Highway Commission

Gov. Mike Beebe has appointed Frank Scott Jr., a Little Rock banker and former member of the governor's staff, to fill out the state Highway Commission term of John Burkhalter, who resigned to run for lieutenant governor.

Jacksonville school bus hijacking ends without harm to students

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports on the hijacking of a Pulaski County school bus in Jacksonville by a man with a knife.

McDaniel counters Little Rock school settlement offer

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today countered a Little Rock School District offer to end desegregation litigation in return for a $42 million annual payment for seven years (or the amount in a lump sum) and limited state ability to punish the school district for financial and academic s

Gino's Full Belly Deli: Good eats in a gas station

Over at the Shell Station on the corner of I-30 and Geyer Springs road, you’ll find something to shout about. Herein you'll find Gino’s Full Belly Deli—an easy-to-miss, classic American grill serving familiar fare in big portions at entirely reasonable prices.

Clinton Foundation targets Central Arkansas health

The Clinton Foundation's Health Matters Initiative has released a blueprint for action toward improved health in Central Arkansas.

Special session begins

The special legislative session begins at 3 p.m. It is supposed to be short.

Museum of Contemporary Art in final days

Bathhouse museum's last day is Friday.

Thursday night line

The line is open. Final notes:

Mount St. Mary teacher fired for marrying her female partner

A news release from the Human Rights Campaign, the country's leading advocate for LGBT equality, said the principal of Mount St. Mary Academy had told a long-time teacher at the school that she must resign or be fired because she married her lesbian partner in New Mexico this week.

James Lee Witt starts stumping the 4th District

Former FEMA Director James Lee Witt, headed to announcement as a Democratic candidate for Congress from the 4th District, got this warm report on Facebook tonight from a Democratic meeting in Clark County:

Dustin McDaniel's low-ball settlement offer in Little Rock school case

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and other media adopted Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's formulation that he had offered $119 million to the three public school districts in Pulaski County to bring conclusive end to the desegregation litigation in Pulaski County.

Mount St. Mary principal responds on firing of gay teacher for marrying

I reported last night on the firing of a Mount St. Mary Academy English teacher, Tippi McCullough, because she married her long-time partner, Barbara Mariani, in New Mexico this week.

Saturday To-Do: Blue October

Blue October performs at Juanita's Saturday.

Saturday To-Do: Rural War Room, Dromez

Dromez performs at Vino's Saturday night.

Saturday: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Reckless Kelly and more

Reckless Kelly performs at Revolution Saturday.

Food Feedback Friday: catfish, onion rings, pork butt

It’s your favorite part of the week, Arkansas. That wonderful time where you get a chance to sound off and tell us what’s good to eat around the Natural State. We value your feedback and we love to hear from you.

Luke Bryan plays to sell-out crowd at Verizon

Back in May, Entertainment Weekly magazine picked Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” as one of the summer’s 10 biggest albums.

Griffen recuses from lawsuit over voter initiatives

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen has recused from hearing the lawsuit challenging the new state law that imposes additional  burdens on petition campaigns for initiatives and referendums.

Ben Cohen brings ice cream and activism to Little Rock

I'd mentioned earlier that Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, would speak at the Clinton School at noon next Tuesday.

Monday: Dr. Dog at UCA Canceled

Dr. Dog plays at UCA Monday.

Anti-abortion former Kansas a.g. suspended from law practice

It does little to correct the poisonous atmospher that former Kansas Attorney General Philip Kline created as a zealous anti-abortion prosecutor.

UPDATE: Tax correction bill, but rest of legislation speedily approved

A furious

Man charged for leaving out gun with which child shot himself

A Lonoke County man was arrested today and charged with endangering a minor in the accidental shooting death of a three-year-old child at his home last July.

Remember Mark Darr? He still has some explaining to do

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr took his customary seat in the chair as the president of the Senate during its speedy consideration of special session legislation.

Sammy Peters, Henri Linton, John Deering, Angela Davis Johnson

5-8 p.m. tonight in downtown North Little Rock.

The line is open: Robber killed, Sarah Palin riffs, Conway develops

The line is open. * ROBBER SHOT BY DRUGGIST: A Dumas pharmacist used a concealed weapon (he has a permit) to kill a masked armed robber as he was opening the store about 5:30 a.m.

The Good People Vs. The Catholic Church Edition

The resolution to the government shutdown, the legislative special session, campaign fundraising, Pat Hays looking more likely to run for the 2nd district, the firing of a gay Mount St. Mary teacher, the settlement talk in Little Rock school desegregation case and a new highway commissioner appointee — all covered on this week's podcast.

Pressure on the park board: Build it downtown

Pressure on the Little Rock Technology Park Authority board to use its city tax dollars to build or revamp buildings downtown for the park is growing, coming from the mayor, the governor, a technology business and one of the sponsors of the park.

The legislature has left the room, but insurance issues linger

It takes three days to pass a law in Arkansas, so the House and Senate convened at 12:01 a.m. today to finish action on a package of bills to mitigate a big increase in the cost of health insurance for public school employees.

ICYMI: Mount St. Mary teacher's resignation letter, forced on account of her marriage

I posted a link to this last night, but just to make the reecord clear.

'Big Shootout' film explores more than football

For those of us reared in Razorback Country from the 1970s onward, there's a pervading belief from prior generations that we newbies just don't "get" the magnitude of what happened on December 6, 1969.

Canseco, 'Organ Trade,' Burgess and the Pacers highlight final Hot Springs Doc Fest weekend

The world premiere of a new documentary about Jose Canseco and an appearance by the former Marjor 

The James Gandolfini Memorial open line

I've been visitng with family. And still.

Small-town Arkansas fire chief charged with child rape

Clark County authorities Friday arrested a 73-year-old man, volunteer fire chief in Whelen Springs, for rape of a minor. 

Now comes the Affordable Care Act. Some DO find it more affordable

The last-ditch effort to kill the Affordable Care Act by defunding has failed. Now the system must begin to deliver (though it's hampered by rear-guard actions in legislatures across the country and by the refusal of mostly Southern states — except Arkansas — to avail themselves of the Medicaid expansion it offers for poorest citi

Is a Little Rock Tech Park downtown choice in the works?

If you missed it, go back and check Leslie Peacock's development-laded report Friday on building momentum for selection of downtown as the place to invest the city's $22 million in the Little Rock Technology Park, whatever it is going to be.

Guns: If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em

The small but obnoxious group bent on forcing open carry of firearms on Arkansas (even Texas doesn't allow open carry of sidearms) continues its civil disobedience with open carry demonstrations.

The skunky Sunday night line

I don't know about the rest of you but a crisp sunnday day in fall with temperature in the 60s is a 10 in my book.

Police wound man who pulled gun at 15th and Oak

Report for Sgt. Cassandra Davis of the Little Rock police: At 9:21p.m. officers were called to 3705 W 16th to people loitering in the alley.

Poll: Republican House bad for United States. Which is good for Democrats

CNN reports this morning: Fifty-four percent say it's a bad thing that the GOP controls the House of Representatives, up 11 points from last December, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll conducted after the end of the 16-day partial government shutdown — the first time since the Republicans won back control of the House in the 2010 elections that a majority say their control of the chamber is bad for the country.

New Jersey joins the march to marriage equality

Court challenges are underway in Arkansas of statutory and constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, with lawyers employing many of the  same arguments used elsewhere.

Tuesday: Ben Cohen, John Willis at AETN

John Willis performs Tuesday at AETN.

Tuesday To-Do: The Dirty Heads

The Dirty Heads play at Juanita's Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin not running for re-election

Big news from Roby Brock at Talk Business: U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin

President Obama defends Affordable Care Act, vows improvements

With the government running again, attention turns to the troubled beginning of the on-line system for enrolling in the expanded health insurance options provided by the federal Affordable Care Act.

UAMS receives $1 million gift for hematology-oncology research

An anonymous donor has given $1 million to UAMS to endow a chair in cancer research named for Dr. Laura Hutchinsn, 

Pat Hays announcement set; checking in with Republicans

Former North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Henry Hays has a news conference at 12:30 p.m.

House Speaker Carter appoints four to insurance task force

House Speaker Davy Carter has announced his four appointees to the task force that will study public employee insurance.

Baldwin, Hobbs to UALR Wednesday for 'West of Memphis' screening and Q&A

Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis 3 will appear with Pam Hobbs, mother of murder victim Stevie Branch, at UALR on Wednesday night for a free screening of "West of Memphis," the 2012 documentary outlining the WM3 case and the worldwide groundswell of support that eventually set Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley free in August 2011

Monday, Monday. An open line

The line is open. Finishing up:

Smithsonian to honor Alice Walton

To receive Archives of American medal.

Farm-to-Table dinner: one heck of a party

I'll say this for Arkansas Times publisher Alan Leveritt: when the boss decides to throw a party, he doesn't play around.

Some FuN at UALR

The State Fair is over, but the amusement park is just beginning at UALR.

Mount Vernon-Enola moves toward guns in school

Channel 4 reports that a survey in the Mount Vernon-Enola school district shows strong support for putting guns in the hands of school staff "certified" to carry them.

Tim Griffin's butterfly effect on the Arkansas House

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's decision not to seek re-election heartened Democrats yesterday for the possibility — acknowledged by sane Republicans — that the 2nd District now presents the potential for a Democratic pickup.

Wednesday To-Do: Dawes, Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell plays at Revolution Wednesday night.

Arkansas legislature fails to address tax fairness; poor soaked again

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families has issued a report underscoring the usual — tax policy in Arkansas favors the rich and does little for the poor.

Human Rights Campaign stands up for fired teacher

The Human Rights Campaign is holdings its news conference this morning to highlight the firing of a school teacher, Tippi McCullough, because she married her longtime partner, Barb Mariani, in New Mexico last week.

50 50 50: Morris Graves

The week's work in the atrium.

Add Ann Clemmer's name to GOP 2nd District speculation

A new name for the speculative list of potential Republican candidates for 2nd District, with incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's announcement he won't seek re-election.

Democrat Patrick Henry Hays announces for 2nd District Congress

The former NLR mayor says Congress needs to govern the way City Hall does.

Winners of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival wrapped up last weekend. And the winners?

Senate insurance task force members named

Sen. Michael Lamoureux, the Senate president pro tem, today named the Senate members of the legislative task force established in the recent special session to study public employee insurance.

Full-time secretary of state aide moonlights as Fairfield Bay city attorney

Blue Hog Report digs up some more dirt on Secretary of State Mark Martin's office.

The $24 billion man open line

The line is open. I'll leave you with Sen. Mark Pryor's newest ad highlighting opponent Tom, Cotton's reckless shutdown advocacy that cost the government an estimated $24 billion.

Pollsters in the field on Democratic 2nd District race

Public Policy Polling is in the field in Arkansas with a robopoll on Democratic candidates for 2nd District Congress.

The Donnie Ferneau reality show?

The famed Little Rock chef wants to take his name nationwide with a new reality show.

Mulberry Mountain is Bluegrass Mecca in October

Just getting the name of the event to roll off the tongue is the first challenge: Yonder Mountain String Band's Harvest Music Festival.

Wednesday-Sunday To-Do: Ozark Folk Festival

Michael Martin Murphey plays at The Auditorium in Eureka Springs Saturday.

'Strip' steaks for Bryant cops and more in morning roundup

I have some obligations this morning, so some hurried notes: * BRYANT COPS ENJOY 

University of Arkansas poll: Arkansas leans right

The University of Arkansas this morning released results of its annual polling. Details here.

UPDATE 2: Downtown favored for Little Rock Technology Park

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority meets at 4 p.m. today at UAMS amid growing signs that a decision will be made on a location to begin developing the endeavor, should anybody ever figure out exadtly what is going to be.

Friday and Saturday To-Dos: Various Halloween-Related Events

There's a lot of spooky fun to be had this weekend.

Friday and Saturday To-Do: 'Little Rock and a Hard Place'

"Little Rock and a Hard Place" runs at The Joint Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 16.

Saturday and Sunday To-Do: Reason in the Rock

Reason in the Rock is this weekend at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel.

Sunday To-Do: John Edward

John Edward will perform his act at Robinson Center Music Hall Sunday.

Saturday To-Do: Artistry of the Guitar

South on Main hosts Artistry of the Guitar Saturday night.