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2014 election preview

2014 election preview

October 30, 2014

Vol 41 • No 8

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How the new world of campaign finance threatens Arkansas state elections

All about money, money, money.

Election 2014 primer

What you need to know on the candidates (no, Obama is not one, contrary to what you have heard) and the issues.

The best and worst political ads of the 2014 Arkansas election season

We watched them all so you don't have to.

They said what?

The off-the-cuff quotes, rote talking points, zingers, tweets, insults, arguments, scripted lines, whoppers, claims and counter-claims we'll remember (or try to forget) from a noisy election cycle.

Who will run the Arkansas House?

The races that will determine control of the Arkansas House.

What about the Arkansas ballot issues?

To give the legislature more power, the people less, a wetter state, longer term limits and a bump in the minimum wage.

The demagogues must be crazy

As Election Day in Arkansas gets closer, the demagoguery is going into high gear. A few lowlights from those seeking votes by playing to the worst in us.

Leslie Rutledge is not fit to be attorney general

Seven reasons why.

The future of the private option

It could turn on the results of two state Senate races.

Get your fiber at the Main Branch of Laman Library: Cade, Halsey, Kuster, Zarco, Trusty, Hernandez and others

Sixteen women who work in fiber arts — including long-time fiber artist Barbara Cade, tapestry artist and 2017 Living Treasure, weaver Louise Halsey, and Delta Exhibition veteran Dr. Deborah Kuster — have contributed work to the "All Women Fiber Arts Exhibition" opening Friday at the William F. Laman Public Library in North Little Rock. There will be a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The show is the second all-women fiber arts show organized by artist Rachel Trusty; the first was called "Form in Fiber," shown last year at the Laman Library Argenta Branch.

The Pantry stocks up Hillcrest

Comfort food, homey feel fits the neighborhood.

Romney's Obamacare

Since it's too late in the election cycle for much else, can we engage in a historical what-if? Specifically, what if Mitt Romney had peaked in the spring of 2008 rather than 2012?

From head to toe

The scene at the end of last Saturday's Mud Run at Two Rivers Park.

Mental health system in crisis in Arkansas

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has been sounding the alarm of a nationwide crisis in mental health services since 2011. On the other side of the Atlantic, the National Health Service in the United Kingdom is struggling to provide adequate mental health services. For us mental health professionals in Arkansas, these jeremiads ring a familiar bell.

Arkansas reading room

A survey of some of the season's best local books.

Joshua Asante, Big Piph help launch KABF show

Also, National Homebrew Day at Ron Robinson.

Pay attention

If you haven't been following the news lately, you might be interested in knowing the Arkansas Legislative Council is holding briefings or budget hearings by state agencies.

A third and fourth way

Green and Libertarian candidates in Arkansas fight to be heard.

Election decisions

The Democratic Party candidates for top offices in Arkansas are centrists, with records of bipartisanship in public life. In each race, Republican opponents are from the extreme right end of the spectrum.

Naive cynicism

Upon first venturing to write about politics 20 years ago, I held naive views about political journalism. Specifically, I imagined that factual accuracy mattered as it did in the kinds of books and magazine pieces I'd written on non-political topics — opinionated, yes, but grounded in careful reporting.

Keanu kills

'Wick' better than expected.

The ghost road

The Observer has been at this awhile now, so we can't quite remember if we've made this admission before in print. Whatever the case, given Halloween, we're prepared to issue a full confession: Several years back, Yours Truly spent four years looking for ghosts all over the state.

Now to No. 1

Three debilitating losses in a four-week span made Arkansas a little sour for homecoming Saturday. UAB paid the iron price for all that misery.

The Arkansas Times Election Night drinking game

Let's get blotto.

Nathan Englander comes to Hendrix

Also, Big Boo!seum Bash, Nathan Englander at Hendrix, Halloween Cover-Up at White Water Tavern, 'Topdog/Underdog' at the Weekend Theater, Slipknot at Verizon and Eternal Summers at Juanita's.

The Democrat-Gazette still fond of white supremacists, in spite of themselves

Also, "Dardanelle Boys Often Come Home From Washington When They Need Residency to Run for Congress," rich guys don't understand the minimum wage, the prodigal gun and Tom Cotton and dirty telephone tricks.

UA's Arkansas Poll shows broad Republican sweep at polls

The University of Arkansas's Arkansas Poll was released early today and it showed broad Republican preferences among likely voters in major election contests, including Tom Cotton over Mark Pryor for Senate, Asa Hutchinson over Mike Ross for governor and generic Republican preferences in congressional races.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay

Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that he is gay. We still live in a world where this will matter to some people.

The Democratic push for black voter turnout unsettles white Republicans

Democratic groups are using racially charged images to turn out the black votes, nationally and in Arkansas, and Republicans aren't happy about it. Truth hurts.

Consequences for violating the Freedom of Information Act

I was happy to read in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today that Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley intends to file a charge of violation of the Freedom of Information Act against Rodney Forte, director of the Metroopolitan Housing Agency of Little Rock. Prosecution might be the only cure for arrogant and stupid public officials, who aren't limited to the housing agency.

Beebe denies pardon for robber imprisoned for 33 years

Mara Leveritt reports on her blog that Gov. Mike Beebe will not reconsider his decision not to pardon Rolf Kaestel, 33 years into a life sentence for robbing $264 from a Fort Smith taco hut with a water pistol in 1981.

Democrats work for a firewall in Arkansas House

Recommended: Reporting by David Ramsey in this week's Arkansas Times on the battle for control of the Arkansas House, currently in the hands of Republicans 51-49. Democrats make a plausible case for a political firewall there, even in a year where polls are unfavorable.

Violent Republicans; male strippers; credit card debt. It's the 11th hour of Election 2014

Which is more important: Republican candidates who've abused women? A Republican candidate with judgments on file for tax liens and unpaid credit cards. Or a Democratic candidate who worked briefly long ago as a dancer? Depends on your level of sanctimony, prurience and hypocrisy.

Bill Clinton to make another Arkansas campaign swing

As expected, Bill Clinton will make one more campaign swing through Arkansas in support of the Democratic ticket. Stops are planned Sunday in West Memphis, Texarkana, Blytheville and Fort Smith. Tickets are free, but required.

Republican ad calls 10-year-old's song idiotic; the return blast is awesome

Republicans have gone after a 10-year-old's song for her daddy, a Democratic House candidate, and the response is an awesome radio ad.

Moody Brews and Apple Blossom to partner

Little Rock based Moody Brews and Apple Blossom Brewing Company in Fayetteville have announced that they will collaborate on a beer called Earl Grey ESB.

Plane in Kansas crash bound for Mena

Alvin Polk reports for the Mena Star that a plane that crashed into an airport in Wichita today, killing five, was en route to the Mena Airport for refurbishing.

Democrat-Gazette Sunday circulation rises with 52,237 free papers

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has pushed up Sunday circulation with more than 52,000 free weekly editions, according to figures the newspaper provided today.

Thursday open line; plus an election complaint

Today's open line and video headlines.

Stacy Hurst gets a wrong number — retired judge — with fake poll

The fake polling operation by Republican Stacy Hurst's campaign for state House barked up the wrong tree today. Retired Justice Jack Holt said he was voting for Clarke Tucker no matter what information they were putting out.

Prosecutor issues citation for housing agency chief on FOI complaint

As promised, Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley today filed an affidavit for the citation of Rodney Forte, director of the Metropolitan Housing Alliance, for violating the Freedom of Information Act in responses to requests for information from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

A second arrest in Beverly Carter slaying

The Pulaski sheriff's office said it had arrested murder suspect Arron Lewis' wife as a second suspect in the slaying of real estate agent Beverly Carter.

Former state cop gets more than 11 years in drug theft

Sedrick Reed, 44, a former State Police lieutenant, was sentenced to 135 months in prison in federal court today for conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine. Reed took drugs from the State Police property room and from drugs seized in a traffic stop.

"Dear Voter, You're being studied for scientific research during the upcoming general election!" Sincerely, AFP.

This is the first line in the latest mailer popping up locally from Americans for Prosperity, the conservative political nonprofit founded by the Koch brothers. Not at all weird.

Delta Caucus criticizes Tom Cotton for skipping meeting

Tom Cotton, the Senate candidate, snubbed repeated efforts by the Delta Caucus to get him to attend a conference in Helena this week. He was the only one of nine political leaders who declined to participate.

Voter ID laws work …. to suppress votes

The Texas voter ID law is costing citizens their right to vote, just as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg predicted. Shameful stories emerge from early voting in Texas.

Arkansas Poll director talks about big gap in Senate results

The new Arkansas Poll released yesterday showed wide gaps up and down the ballot for Republican candidates, wider than anything polled anywhere else. That raised questions, particularly among those on the losing end, about methodology. The poll director explains and defends.

The race for Senate in Conway fills the letters page and mailboxes

The letters page of the Conway newspaper is filled with strong writing about the hot Senate race between Tyler Pearson and Jason Rapert, particularly testimonials to Pearson and Obamacare.

New restaurant Walker's Wings and Things makes a splash

It's easy to overlook small neighborhood eateries — but it's certainly a shame when they're as good as Walker's Wings and Things.

Dangling election issue: The Saline County vote on alcohol sales

I'll be watching the Arkansas Supreme Court building for a sign today of a decision in the appeal of a lower court's disqualification of a local option vote on alcohol sales in Saline County.

The Democrat-Gazette still fond of white supremacists, in spite of themselves

The descent into self-parody in the Democrat-Gazette’s endorsement last weekend of Tom Cotton was as inevitable as the endorsement itself. Arkansans should vote for Cotton or vote for Sen. Mark Pryor as they see fit. But all of us should be embarrassed of our daily paper’s Confederate nostalgia gussied up as True Grit.

Profile in courage: No, it's NOT Tom Cotton

Seth Moulton, Massachusetts congressional candidate, offers a sharp contrast to Arkansas's Tom Cotton, who runs from decency on a recent political controversy. Moulton, faced with the same issue, did not shirk.

Mike Ross, Democrats blast Chris Christie on Arkansas visit

Democrats blast New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and his hosts, for his campaign swing into Arkansas for Asa Hutchinson and Tom Cotton.

If anybody sees French Hill ....

It's about time for French Hill to make up his mind on the minimum wage increase.

New album from 607, 'GrowTivation'

Here we have it: The first serious challenger to Lo Thraxx's "Deep Waters" for best local album cover of the year (This is an actual contest, by the way). Also, more importantly, it's 607's 40th album (40!), "GrowTivation," and easily one of his most ambitious yet, with references to Goodie Mob and Lime-A-Ritas (in the same song) and 16 tracks of aggressive, technically impressive rap. He calls out the LRPD for jamming it's scanners on "10-4" and even pulls out some Auto-Tune on "I See You."

Grassroots group drops mailer against Issue 1, the legislative power grab

The Arkansas Citizens First Congress, a grassroots coalition, has joined the battle against Issue 1, an unalloyed power grab by the legislature.

Beckman draws the line at the Arts Center

Anyone who has ever drawn with charcoal knows how tempting it is to draw outlines in soft, fat, black as night lines. It feels good. But it can really screw up what you're drawing. Unless you are William Beckman. In that case, your fat, black mark emphasizes the gorgeous contour of the human body without turning the figure into a paper doll. A review of the exhibition "William Beckman: Drawings" at the Arkansas Arts Center.

State Election board admonishes Jefferson County clerk

Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson has accepted a letter of warning from the state Board of Election Commissioners to settle a complaint that she violated numerous election laws during the 2014 primary/judicial elections.

Jackson T. Stephens Jr. says judicial recall is on his agenda

Steve Stephens says he's thinking of putting his inherited wealth to work to allow judicial recall under Arkansas law. That's how mad he is about losing his case to take the minimum wage increase off the ballot.

SpaceShipTwo in accident on test flight

Virgin Galactic's space travel vehicle is down in the Mojave desert and the fate of two pilots is unknown.

Suhl's business suspended by Alaska Medicaid as well

The Alaska Medicaid program has suspended Trinity Behavioral Health in Warm Springs from its Medicaid program, Deputy Director Stacy B. Toner tells the Times. Toner said the agency was "required under our regulations to take this action based on the State of Arkansas suspending the agency from their Medicaid program."

Private option version of Obamacare saving millions for Arkansas hospitals

The Arkansas Hospital Association reports a sharp drop in uncompensated care thanks to the private option Medicaid expansion, a drop that meant $69 million in savings from what could have been uncompensated care for people without insurance.

Gunman shot at Leslie bakery dies of wounds

The State Police announces the death of a man wounded by officer fire at a Leslie bakery Oct. 17. T

Voting, Tumblrs, Halloween costume ideas, Alex Harvey and more

Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying (or, in Max's case, not enjoying) this week.

Split Supreme Court opens door to vote on Saline County alcohol

The Arkansas Supreme Court, split 4-3, has reversed a lower court and ordered him to reconsider signatures he disallowed in blocking the counting of votes on a local option alcohol vote in Saline County.

The Scary Pre-Election Edition

The drama and silliness of the final days leading up the midterm election, Jackson T. Stephens' plans to support a judicial recall measure and the Metropolitan Housing Alliance of Little Rock and its embattled director Rodney Forte — all covered on this week's podcast.

Friday's open line

Stick a fork in us and pass the Reese's peanut butter cup miniatures. It's the Halloween open line.

A new ethics drive might mitigate the rise in independent spending in elections

Independent expenditures in political races are on the rise and that doesn't even count other 'dark money' spending that falls outside state disclosure rules. Ethics reform is needed in Arkansas and there's news here of what's afoot for 2016.

Will one election really determine whether Arkansas goes dead red?

Jay Barth answers: Everyone keeps saying that this is the election that will finally determine whether Arkansas has joined the South in going full Republican. Are we over-reading one election?

Department of nonsensical analogies: Democrat-Gazette columnist Dana Kelley compares hoodies to Confederate flags

D-G columnist Dana Kelley thinks people wearing hoodies is equivalent to displaying the Confederate flag. There are a few issues with this analogy.

LR City Board likely to defer Uber ordinance

The Little Rock City Board agenda for Monday (a day early because of the election) includes \the ordinance that would allow permits for ride-sharing services such as Uber in the city with rules similar, but not identical, to those applied to the taxi franchise. Action likely will be deferred.

The line is open. Kill no mockingbirds.

The line is open. Let's talk about Atticus Finch.

Northeast Arkansas poised to have outsized impact on election

Early voters in Jonesboro, Pocahontas, Walnut Ridge, and other cities and towns in Northeast Arkansas are starting to cast ballots that could shape the political landscape of the state for years to come.

Another poll with good news for Arkansas Republicans

Public Policy Polling last night released a round of Arkansas polling and it shows Republicans leading in everything sampled. Results in low-profile statewide offices produce uniform results in the range of 45-38 Republican over Democrat.

Who is Elbert Guillory? A tool of limousine conservatives, that's who

The black man who attacked Mark Pryor in an ad aired last night is doing cookie cutter attacks on Democratic Senate candidates across the South.

The Beverly Carter case: A personal connection

Friends say a suspect in the slaying of real estate Beverly Carter knew Carter from a cheerleading program in which the suspect's child participated.

Hearing set in Saline Circuit Court Monday on alcohol initiative

Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips has scheduled a hearing in his court at 1:30 p.m. Monday to implement Friday's Arkansas Supreme Court order that he consider additional signatures submitted to put a local option alcohol election on the Saline County ballot.

Early morning shooting near North Little Rock

The sheriff's office said a juvenile was shot and critically wounded early today near Primose and 46th near North Little Rock.

Opposition to private prisons in Arkansas

A group that advocates rehabilitation of people convicted of crimes has issued a statement blasting moves to have Arkansas again try private contractors to house prison inmates.

Should Tom Cotton be farther ahead in polls?

Is Tom Cotton running behind where a generic Republican should be against Mark Pryor in 2014? Jay Barth answers.

Poll indicates voter education could defeat Issue 1; also provides outlier for Democrats in top races

The Arkansas Citizens First Congress completed polling this weekend on Issue 1, the proposed amendment by which the legislature wants to take control of executive agency rules. The poll also found surprising strength for Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and governor.

The Sunday open line

The Sunday open line

Bill Clinton's old-time religion draws crowds across Arkansas in final election push

Bill Clinton makes an Arkansas campaign swing and murky money continues to flood in as Election 2014 reaches its climax.

Fire damages historic filling station in Sherwood

A suspicious fire has damaged a historic filling station in Sherwood.

Arkansans make the list of major super PAC donors

Two Arkansans figure prominently in the flood of contributions to super PACs this election cycle, spending driven by a handful of the super wealthy.

Arkansas Governor's School: Where are they now?

A project aims to compile information about the whereabouts and achievements of Arkansas Governor's School, the summer program for gifted students begun by Gov. Bill Clinton in 1980.

Will Tom Cotton join Ted Cruz in trying to kill the private option in Arkansas?

Tom Cotton refuses to state his position on the private option or own up to the fact that he has voted to repeal it and that his stated policy goals would kill the policy. If Cotton wins and the GOP takes the Senate, he will be under pressure to join Sen. Ted Cruz's crusade to take any any means necessary to repeal the Affordable Care Act and end the private option in Arkansas. With the health insurance of 200,000 Arkansans at stake, he can dodge the issue no more.

Log Cabin Democrat reporter digs into the details of the Jason Rapert bill on eminent domain

A bill sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert in 2013 has become a big issue in the race between Rapert and Democrat Tyler Pearson for Conway's state senate seat. Pearson says the bill would have enhanced the power of oil and gas companies to seize private property for pipelines. Rapert maintains that it did just the opposite; it strengthened landowner rights, he says. In reality, all it seems to do is make a confused jumble of the law.

Guest Mix: Christopher Farris Terry (C.T.)

I try to listen to music constantly. I don't listen to as much creepingly heavy metal as one would think, and when I do it's an entire album at a time instead of mixed up. Any mixtape I make usually has Paige Anderson and the Fearless Kin on it. I also LOVE soft rock hits. I have entire comps put together of this stuff, I can't make a comp without some.

More than 3 million people would have health insurance if Supreme Court ruled differently or if all states expanded Medicaid

Recommended: The data wizards at the New York Times Upshot blog take a look at who would be covered if Medicaid expansion wasn't optional. The big picture: 3 million people, most of them in the South, are uninsured because states refused to accept the federal money to expand their Medicaid programs.

Gus Malzahn 'dancing' to MC Hammer

Apparently, while coaching high school in Arkansas, Malzahn was self-deprecating enough that he used to show it to his teams as part of pre-playoffs routine.

Tom Cotton likes puppies, but voted against funding for farm aid, disaster relief, and Children's Hospital

The premise of the latest Tom Cotton advertisement is that ha ha, those mean Democrats will probably say he hates puppies, but that he actually totally likes puppies! We stipulate. But that's cold comfort to the people whose interests he harmed by voting against farm aid, funding for Children's Hospital, and disaster relief.

Secretary of state invoking voter ID for certain voters; Pulaski protests

The secretary of state's office is imposing a voter ID requirement on thousands of voters who should not have to produce one, says Pulaski County election officials. Efforts to get the office to change its procedure on the master state voter file so far have been unsuccessful.

Don't Forget: Submit to our Fiction Contest, win money and get published

Writers, it's not too late to submit to the 2014 Arkansas Times Fiction Contest. We're looking for short stories which, in some significant or minor way, engage the question of what it means to live in Arkansas in 2014. The First Place winner will receive $250 and Second Place will receive $150. Winners will also be published as the centerpiece of our Fiction Issue this December. Trenton Lee Stewart, Arkansas native and bestselling author of the "Mysterious Benedict Society" series and the Arkansas-set "Flood Summer," has agreed to serve as our Guest Judge.

Say, it's pie contest time again

The "Say It Ain't Says" sweet potato pie baking contest returns to the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center on Sunday, Dec. 7, for the third year in a row as part of its Holiday Open House festivities. The museum asks, "Do you have what it bakes" to bake a pie as good as Say McIntosh's? Give your answer by 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17. Entry is free with a toy for the "Stop the Violence" toy drive. The event runs 2-5 p.m.

Sneak preview of South on Main's No Kid Hungry menu

We've got your first look at the No Kid Hungry benefit menu.

Saline County local option alcohol election cleared for ballot

Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips after a hearing today in Saline County certified sufficient signatures to put a local option alcohol sales proposal on the county ballot.

Lost Forty Brewing to open in mid-December

Lost Forty, the much-anticipated brewery from Yellow Rocket Concepts and the people who brought you Big Orange, Local Lime and ZaZa, should open by mid-December with a grand opening to follow in the spring, according to co-owner Scott McGehee. Large scale brewing is scheduled to begin this week in Lost Forty's 19,000-square-feet space at 501 Byrd Street in the warehouse district east of Interstate 30. Meanwhile, McGehee is prepping the menu for Pint and Pantry, the brewery's tap room restaurant.

City review of Little Rock Zoo accident praises employees for response, silent on how accident happened

Assistant City Manager James Jones has presented his review of the accident Oct. 10 in which a three-year-old boy fell into the Little Rock Zoo jaguar exhibit. The review shed no light on how the child happened to fall into the enclosure,

Can Arkansas Democrats retake the House?

What are the chances of Democrats taking the majority in the House? Jay Barth answers.

The election eve open line

Today's open line and video roundup.

Artist with ALS, M2 owner start nonprofit to support research

Brian Fender, a photographer/writer who has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease), and Mac Murphy, the owner of M2 Gallery in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center, have incorporated a non-profit group, Artists Lend Support, to raise money for ALS research through the online sale of art.

Breaking: Al Green's bull has escaped, is on the loose

Forrest City native and soul icon Al Green has a problem. For t

Damgoode Pies to take over Boscos space, begin brewing beer

Potentially good news on the horizon for River Market-area pizza lovers and Central Arkansas's growing legion of beer fans: Little Rock's Damgoode Pies is moving into the space once occupied by Boscos at 500 President Clinton Ave, and the restaurant plans to brew its own beer on premises using the microbrewery equipment installed by the previous occupant.

Little Rock housing agency named in class-action suit over evictions

A class action lawsuit was filed in federal court today against the Metropolitan Housing Alliance and its director Rodney Forte for terminating housing subsidies for indigent residents unfairly.

ACLU demands secretary of state change 'illegal' vote ID requirement

Holly Dickson, counsel for the ACLU of Arkansas, has asked the state Board of Election Commissioners and Secretary of State Mark Martin to take steps to insure that Martin's illegal voter ID requirement for certain voters doesn't prevent the counting of those voters' ballots.

Tracy Steele makes expected Asa endorsement

Former Democratic state Sen. Tracy Steele, who resigned Oct. 31 from the latest state government job he's held (director of the Youth Services Division, posted an expected announcement on his Facebook page yesterday that he'd be endorsing the Republican nominee for governor, Asa Hutchinson. Steele has a grudge against Democratic Party Chair Vince Insalaco.

If anybody sees French Hill …..

A small election mystery: Republican congressional candidate J. French Hill, the millionaire banker, has voted. What did he finally decide on the minimum wage increase?

The final hours of Election 2014; Mark Martin's illegal ID rule looms large

The weight of national polling strongly, if not unanimously, suggests a Republican sweep in Arkansas today, though Democrats keep hopes up with talk of the rise in early voting and the appearance of new voters in counties targeted for registration and turnout campaig

Vote problems? Here's a hotline

The ACLU and its partners have a vote protection hotline. Dial 1-866-687-8683. It might be needed. Thanks to Secretary of State Mark Martin's unconstitutional actions, the word hasn't exactly gotten around fully on proper voting procedures. No photo ID is required except in limited first-time voter circumstances.

New video from Adam Faucett, 'Ancient Chord'

Here is Adam Faucett playing a new song at an orchard in Charlottesville, Virginia, courtesy of the Garage Video Sessions. He looks very much at home in an overgrown, abandoned house, which I mean as more or less a compliment. Buy his great new album, "Blind Water Finds Blind Water," via Last Chance Records, and check out the Guest Mix he made for us last month back in September.

State revenue increases in October over last year

State tax revenue jumped up in key categories in October, possibly a hopeful budget sign for what have been bleak revenue reports this fiscal year.

Dumas: An advance election post-mortem

An early post-mortem on the Obama election. Ernest Dumas predicts you won't hear much more about Obamacare in elections ahead.

New video from Rodney CoLe, 'Iverson'

Here's the latest from Little Rock's Rodney CoLe, who you should really be listening to, another track from his upcoming tape, "CIGARELOTIVE," which he says to expect early next year. He has an infectious voice, and he's a bright, sensitive writer: "I heard memory lane was just a mile long / I dial on my friends but all I ever get is dial tones."

Tom Cotton likes puppies but his platform would cut funding for health coverage for up to a third of the state's residents

If Tom Cotton got his way, he would cut funding for health coverage used by a third of the state's residents, with 13 to 18 percent of the entire state's population potentially losing their coverage entirely.

Hearne Fine Art's powerful rally to voters

Hearne Fine Art, in a message to voters today encouraging them to vote, paired this bronze by Ed Dwight, "Hands that Picked Cotton," with a reminder that there are still groups trying to suppress the vote. Like the secretary of state, despite the Arkansas Supreme Court's unanimous striking down of the Republican legislature's voter I.D. law.

Pallbearer Demos to be released on vinyl

Olympia, Washington record lable 20 Buck Spin has announced the vinyl-only release of Pallbearer's "Demos," previously only available on limited edition CD-R and cassette, on December 9. The demos date back to 2010, before the Little Rock doom metal group's now-classic debut, "Sorrow and Extinction."

In House District 18, candidates Womack and Daniels diverge on healthcare and taxes — but not on social issues

It’s Election Day in Arkansas, and with polls showing a clear advantage for Republicans in the contests for U.S. Senate and the governorship, attention is being shifted down-ballot to state legislative races. One of the most hotly contested is in House District 18, a rural sprawl of southwest Arkansas centered on Arkadelphia, where incumbent Republican Richard Womack is trying to fend off Democratic challenger Damon Daniels.

The illegal ID notation from Mark Martin: Election commission responds

Procedure outlined for voters improperly made to show an ID at the polls, but the state Board of Election Commissioners hasn't addressed the apparently improper instruction from Secretary of State Mark Martin's office.

About the voter ID law: a second opinion from Justice Corbin

Associate Justice Donald Corbin, who wrote the opinion striking down the voter ID law, got asked for an ID at the polls today. He objected.

The state school report card: hundreds still need improvement

The Education Department says 877 schools still need improvement to meet proficiency standards on tests required under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

Watch the trippy new video for Peckerwolf's 'Give Up, Give In'

Here's something new from Little Rock's Peckerwolf, finalists at this year's Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase and long-time purveyors of brash, riff-heavy stoner rock (or as they call it, "precious metal"). The song was the opening track on their self-titled EP, released in July, and the video was directed by Aaron Sarlo (Duckstronaut, The Dangerous Idiots, etc.).

Same-sex marriage ban in Kansas struck down

Another same-sex marriage ban falls, in Kansas.

The election day open line and voter disenfranchisement news

Here's an open line and video done before polls closed. We'll be back tonight with more, including some video episodes from campaign headquarters and reporters with analysis.

The races to watch tonight impacting the future of the private option

Here's your cheat sheet for legislative races that could impact the private option. Health insurance for more than 200,000 Arkansans is at stake.

Voter suppression reports; Prosecutor Jegley weighs in

A steady stream of complaints continue from voters who say election officials around Arkansas demanded a photo ID before they could vote. Make your complaints known so it can be corrected.

CNN projects Tom Cotton and Asa Huchinson victories; early vote in Pulaski also

Here's the early vote from Pulaski County. It's no indicator of statewide partisan races, but down the list you should find good indicators of races within the county.

As expected, minimum wage hike passes

The ballot proposal to incrementally increase Arkansas's minimum wage will pass, according to the Associated Press.

It's looking like a Republican sweep in Arkansas

Republicans appear to be on their way to a massive victory in Arkansas.

Arkansas's new day; a historic Republican victory

The roundup of the Tuesday election is simple — a triumphant Republican tidal wave that seems unlikely to ebb for many years to come.

Pictures of happy Republicans, sad Democrats

Selfies with Tom Cotton, empty parties, mom hugs and more.

The Republican tidal wave

Max Brantley's Election night analysis. 

Vote hotline update; ACLU still looking for problems

The election's over, but questions linger about how voting was administered. Thanks to advice from the secretary of state's office, many voters who'd moved from one county or another were improperly required to show a photo ID. At dozens of polling places, election officials demanded photo IDs though the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that requirement was unconstitutional.

Hats off to the Arkansas Poll

I doubted the broad margin reported by the Arkansas Poll of the University of Arkansas in races for U.S. Senate and governor, if not the consensus that Rep. Tom Cotton and Asa Hutchinson were likely to win. I was wrong.

A bright spot: Warwick Sabin's effort produces a winning ethics law

Big news in Tuesday night's election wreckage: Voters strengthened state ethics law and it means a ban on direct corporate contributions to candidates for public office. Big news. Credit Rep. Warwick Sabin.

Speaking of wreckage: Republican legislative majority makes big gains

Republicans added more than a dozen seats in the Arkansas legislature, potentially a complicating factor in renewal of the private option expansion of Medicaid.

Braving the sushi buffet at Panda Garden

One brave man tackles the sushi bar at an all-you-can-eat buffet. How did things turn out?

Another woman made history earlier in attorney general's office

Leslie Rutledge became the first woman elected Arkansas attorney general last night, but a historic footnote: She will not be the first woman attorney general of the state.

French Hill voted against minimum wage increase

At last it can be told: 2nd District congressional winner French Hill indeed voted against the minimum wage increase.

Dustin McDaniel's silver lining; he could have been on the ballot

Remember when a personal problem drove Attorney General Dustin McDaniel out of the race for governor, a race in which he probably would have been anointed the front-runner.

The election now a factor in Supreme Court deliberations on same-sex marriage case

Does the Tuesday election sweep by Republicans amount to a negative influence on whether the Supreme Court will uphold Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's invalidation of the ban on same-sex marriage? I think you have to answer yes.

Wives of Nate Bell, Mark Martin fail in races for office

Spouses of two elected Republican officials failed in bids yesterday to also be added to public payrolls in elected positions.

Saline County votes wet

Saline County voters yesterday approved the sale of alcohol in the previously dry county. Opponents will not appeal a court decision clearing the measure for the ballot.

VIDEO: "The red tide is coming!" Meet the triumphant Republicans, celebrating the new regime in Arkansas

Adventures in RepublicanLand: a video report.

Even one bright spot for Democrats — Clarke Tucker — hints at realignment

Clarke Tucker's victory for Democrats in a House race over Stacy Hurst nonethless offers hints at realignment even in that historically Democratic district.

Hawkish Tom Cotton, Rand Paul's 'worst nightmare'

Tom Cotton is featured as an important rising star as a Senate foreign policy expert and challenger to the views of potential presidential candidate Rand Paul. And if we're talking about presidential candidacies, what about Cotton himself?

House speaker Davy Carter reminds members of new ethics law

House Speaker Davy Carter has sent a memo to House members reminding them that Arkansas has a new ethics law embedded in the Arkansas Constitution that, among other things, prevents them from accepting anything of value from lobbyists.

Big Piph announces five-episode documentary, 'I Am Not Them' (Trailer)

Globetrotting Little Rock rapper-activist Big Piph has announced the release of a new, five-part, autobiographical documentary series focusing on his music and his education and relief efforts abroad and locally, through his organization Global Kids Arkansas. The series will premiere tomorrow and was directed by Arkansas Times Visionary Kenneth Bell.

Deaths and fire in I-40 crash in West Memphis

Media are reporting two dead and one missing in a crash involving two trucks and several cars in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 in West Memphis.

Michael Lamoureux to be Asa Hutchinson's chief of staff

Sen. Michael Lamoureux has beentapped to be Asa Hutchinson's chief of staff when he takes office as governor.

McDaniel settles suit with agency chief on expenses for $15,000 payback

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said today he'd settled a lawsuit against Catherine Gray, former head of the Arkansas Fire Protection Licensing Board with the agreement to pay back $15,426 in unauthorized charges on a state credit card.

An early open line

An open line and video news roundup.

The private option is not dead but it's in real jeopardy

The private option is once again on life support after a Republican wave election last night. Can the policy survive? It's too early to write obituaries for the private option, but it won't be easy. A deep dive into the ins and outs.

Our German correspondent quizzes Arkansas Republicans

German filmmaker Viktor Jakovleski, a friend of the Arkansas Times, stopped by Arkansas Republican midterm election celebrations and sent us along his footage. In the video, you'll find patriotic cakes, a man who doesn't believe the president graduated from college, a pirate who expects Republicans to "change the country back," one of the masterminds of the Say Yes to Asa wedding dress campaign and more!

State judge strikes down same-sex marriage ban in Missouri

Following in the footsteps of Pulaski Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, a Missouri state court has struck down the Missouri ban on same-sex marriage.

Columbia County also approves alcohol sales

Magnolia Reporter has the details on the successful campaign in Columbia County to pass a local option alcohol sales proposal.

Notes from a disaster: the scene at the Democrats' election watch parties

While Dave Ramsey was partying with gleeful Republicans on election night, I slouched around the Democratic watch parties downtown in the rain, watching the mood decay from anxious to anguished over the course of the evening and asking vague questions of stricken Democrats. Why did this happen? What's next for the party? What's next for the state?

Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs in runoff

Since Bryant doings have occasionally risen to the blog's attention, particularly in the early days of Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs' political life, I should note that this year's hotly contested three-way mayoral race, full of debate about Dabbs' management, has produced a runoff.

New music from NOUNS, Rino El Camino, DMZ, OsiSteele and LRG PZA

Here's something from Conway punk band NOUNS, from a split EP they released this week with HeadCold called "Downer." This first thing that strikes you is the defiantly ugly album art, which looks like a collage commemorating a boring summer camp. Also, though, the art reflects this song perfectly: messy and maximalist and awkwardly colored. There's a lot of glitchy Casio noodling and angry post-hardcore energy and also it seems like they're having a good time.

What to see in "Van Gogh to Rothko" at Crystal Bridges

Van Gogh, Picasso, Kahlo, Rousseau, Modligliani, Dali, Motherwell, Pollock, Lichtenstein, Rothko: Works by these and other masters in the collection of the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo, N.Y., will come to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on Saturday as part of a national tour. The exhibition includes more than 70 masterworks, including paintings and sculpture.
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