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October 31, 2013

Vol 40 • No 9

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Finally a decision on the Little Rock Tech Park: Downtown

Or not. Tech board will seek more advice.

Arkansas's anti-abortion laws focus of major article; Rapert misses the point

Sen. Jason Rapert's Twitter feed alerts me to an article in The Atlantic about abortion.

A prelude to beer

Some suggestions on what to drink at this year's Craft Beer Fest, arranged by style.

Democrats are now unanimous. Joe Manchin supports ENDA

Every Democratic member of the U.S. Senate has now declared support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Former Little Rock cop gets 104 months for drug escort duty

Former Little Rock cop Mark Anthony Jones, 46, was sentenced tod [jump]NEWS RELEASE

Rand Paul latest politician to borrow a few good lines

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, the extremist Republican who'll headline an Arkansas Republican fund-raiser Dec. 6 in Hot Springs, is getting some unflattering attention this week for lines in his speeches that appear to come verbatim from Wikipedia.

Join the Arkansas Times for cocktail hour at Salut!

As part of the monthly events we've begun as part of our digital membership program, the Arkansas Times will host a cocktail hour (two-hour) gathering at Salute!

Clemmer declares; wants to repeal Obamacare

Term-limited state Rep. Ann Clemmer said she is answering a call to fight for change.

The midweek line is open

Kind of a slow day. Finishing up:

Poll: Governor's race up for grabs

Another poll — this one by a political group led by former Republican Party officials — shows Asa Hutchinson to continue to hold an essentially meaningless lead, 40-37 over Mike.

The Wild Feathers play Revolution

Also, Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival; Boo at the Zoo; Motion City Soundtrack at Juanita's; Audra McDonald at UCA; The Mowgli's, The Kopecky Family Band and The Rocketboys at Juanita's and 'The State of Arizona' at Laman Library.

Iron Tongue does 'Back in Black' at White Water

Also, The Doobie Brothers play Walton Arts.

Accolades are for knights

"As a former film student, I hold an extremely high level of respect and admiration for Ebert's accolades and I can only dream of replicating the amount of success he achieved."

It was a good week for Sen. Mark Pryor

It was also a good week for candidate announcements, a tech park decision and Peyton Hillis. It was a bad week for the Clinton National Airport. Also: RIP to William Harrison and Hal Needham.

Ghosts we have known

The Observer grew up in Little Rock, but at 12, dear old Ma and Pa — God rest Pa's soul — moved our family to deepest, darkest Saline County. They bought 20 acres there, which included a ramshackle old crackerbox of a house that probably should have been burned as practice for the volunteer fire department years before.

Brantley: Gay equality now

Thanks to court rulings and changing public sentiment, gradualism has disappeared from the vocabulary of advocates for gay equality. That has certain adverse consequences in the darker corners of the world. Places like Arkansas.

Healthcare expansion isn't working

Just like Leonid Brezhnev's Five Year Plans in the good ol' days of the Soviet Union, all of you in Central Planning can't understand why your grand scheme of nationalized medicine isn't working out as you command.

Buncombe forever

In North Carolina, a Republican told the truth and was fired for it. This is disappointing to those of us who'd hoped that other Republicans, including Arkansas's, would begin to lie less.

'12 Years a Slave' is the best film of the year

Horrors of slavery shown anew.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Police Beat Edition

Play at home.

Body talk

Little Rock native Lee Buford talks about his metal group.

It's Petrino's fault

The transfer of Ryan Mallett to Arkansas in early 2008 was essentially the peak of Petrino's recruiting, a bad sign for a coach who had not even overseen a single game yet.

Lyons: Government spending truths

Given the great hullabaloo in Washington over government spending, here are a couple of noteworthy facts. Under President Obama, the federal budget deficit has been more than cut in half, from a FY2009 high of $1.55 trillion (largely inherited from George W. Bush) to an estimated $642 billion this year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Billionaires' dirty laundering

The state of California, often the pacesetter for governmental reform, struck a small blow for democracy and openness last week when it forced two dark-money groups to admit they had illegally laundered $15 million from secret businessmen to influence voters on two ballot issues, one that would raise their taxes and the other that would trim the political clout of California unions.

Ducks in a row

Jon Nichols contributed this photo of ducks in Heber Springs to our Eye On Arkansas Flickr group.

Starlite shines again

Does diner food right.

Starlite shines again

Does diner food right.

Exxon slow to reopen Pegasus

The lengthy outage is costing the company as much as $450,000 a day.

'Red': Masterpiece at The Rep

Rothko play a complement to Arts Center exhibit.

Little Rock school superintendent sets conditions on John Walker's visits to school offices

Dexter Suggs, the new Little Rock school superintendent, has set strict conditions on visits to district offices by John Walker, the Little Rock state representative and attorney for black families in the decades-old desegregation lawsuit.

Doe's and the trouble with tamales

Doe’s does a respectable version of this classic Mexican dish. It’s easy for me to see why these Delta tamales have become a staple in Little Rock and the surrounding southern communities. It’s a recipe that’s been working for them since 1941, so I doubt they’ll be changing things up any time soon.

CATA studying free Wi-Fi on buses

I applaud this. And it reminds me of my No. 1 recommendation for use of the $22 million the city has promised for a tech park of some as yet undefined shape in some undefined location.

FAA to loosen rules on use of electronic devices on airplanes

The FAA says it will loosen rules on use of electronic devices on airplanes (not cell phones) and expects most airlines will eventually allow their use during flight, gate to gate and not just at altitudes above 10,000 feet.

Timothy Brooks gets Senate committee approval for judgeship

Carl Tobias at the University of Richmond, a law professor who monitors the judicial selection process closely, sends word that Timothy Brooks of Fayetteville was approved by a voice vote today by the Senate Judiciary Committee for a federal judgeship in the western district of Arkansas.

Art Group opens new gallery

Maumelle artists open gallery in Pleasant Ridge.

Supreme Court in reversing mood today

The Arkansas Supreme Court issued its weekly opinions today and reversed all or part of lower court rulings in seven of nine opinions.

Met's "pay what you wish" policy upheld

In for a penny.

Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot" returns to Fouke

[embed-1] Animal Planet's "Finding Bigfoot" — the reality show with a character who makes the guys on "Ghost Adventures" look rational and sane — returns on Nov. 10 for their fourth season, with the first episode featuring the team's return to Fouke, Arkansas in search of the famous Fouke Monster. Check local listings for times and channels, because there's 'Squatchin' afoot!

Appeals court dismisses Judge L.T. Simes suit against judicial disciplinary agency

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a district court judge's dismissal of Circut Judge 

Mount St. Mary staff hears church defense of termination of teacher

Msgr. Francis I. Malone, pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church and judicial vicar and chancellor for ecclesial affairs of the Catholic Church's Diocese of Little Rock

The Body is under attack in new video for 'Shrouded'

The Body, the newly-Portland-based metal duo comprised of Arkansas natives Lee Buford and Chip King, have a new video, and, as you might expect, it's pretty creepy.

New: Club Level opens tonight on Main St. in LR

We talked this morning with Brad McCray, co-owner of Club Level at 315 Main Street, which will have their grand opening tonight, starting at 8 p.m.

Halloween open line: Plus, remember the Alamo?

Trick or treat. The line is open.

607 drops 'Nerd from the Hood,' video for song called 'Kill Crooked Cops'

In keeping with recent years' tradition of releasing a new album on Halloween, Little Rock's favorite rapper has a new album out today. It's called "Nerd from the Hood," and it's typical 607 — aggressive, stylistically diverse, full of dexterous rhymes. It's fairly provocative, with a song called "Kill Crooked Cops" leading off the album.

James Lee Witt set to enter race for 4th District Congress

It's been a given for several weeks that former  as committed to a Democratic race for Congress from the 4th Congressional District (mercifully being vacated by Extremist Tom Cotton).

School Board president OK with rules on John Walker access to school offices

Greg Adams, president of the Little Rock School Board, has sent me a copy of his response to attorney and state Rep. John Walker about a directive issued by Little Rock School Superintendent Dexter Suggs on Walker's access to Little Rock School District offices.

UPDATE: A deeper look at those canceled insurance policies

The sound bites are so easy. The explanations are so long.

A meeting at Mount St. Mary; Arkansas Blog likely on agenda

Word arrives this morning of a special staff meeting at Mount St. Mary Academy before the start of school this morning.

Win tickets to see Audra McDonald at UCA

We told you all recently about the upcoming performance Saturday night at UCA by Tony- and Grammy-winning singer and actress Audra McDonald.

Dr. William Tsutsui named president of Hendrix College

The Hendrix College Board of Trustees announced today that Dr. William M. Tsutsui will become the 11th President of Hendrix College beginning June 2014.

Arkansans prepare to 'Correct the Record' on Hillary Clinton

Interesting news from Politico confirmed by one Arkansan named in the story and, I suspect, the subject of a promised phone call today from another Arkie.

Taj Mahal and a better buffet experience

The verdict? Try the buffet. It’s surprisingly good and can stand up to any of their menu items. And considering the inflated price you’ll likely be paying by ordering individual items from the menu at Taj Mahal, it makes a whole lot of sense to get your fix for Indian during buffet hours.

State, federal lawsuit against Exxon gets trial date

U.S. District Judge James Moody has scheduled the trial date for the joint complaint brought by the state of Arkansas and the U.S. government against ExxonMobil Pipeline Company and Mobil Pipeline Company. A pre-trial conference will happen Feb. 13, 2014, with the trial scheduled to begin the following day.

Arkansas home sales in September up 18 percent over 2012

The Arkansas Realtors Association monthly market report shows home sales statewide in the counties it monitors were up more than 18 percent in September compared with the same month in 2012.

American exceptionalism: Hunger edition

Cuts in the food stamp program take effect today, a 5 percent cut in money for food for the record number now participating in the supplemental nutrition program.

Investigation of Blytheville failure to remit taxes closed without charges

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington of Jonesboro said he'd concluded a nearly year-long review of the city of Blytheville's failure to pay $2 millioni n tax withholdings without finding evidence of criminal w

Pryor blocks Defense nominee until answers given on ASU ROTC

Nomination blocking is not just for Republicans. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor announced today that he would block confirmation of a nominee for a Defense Department post until answers are provided for the reasons to end an ROTC program at Arkansas State University.

Tonight in Hot Springs: Matthew Hasty, Dolores Justus, Jason Sacran, David Rackley

Galleries are open 5-9 p.m. in the Spa City.

River Market parking meters now said to be working

After more than a month of de-bugging, the new parking meters for eight blocks of curbside spaces in the River Market area are now working, the city has announced.

Food Feedback Friday: candy, cornbread, and catfish

Alright, your turn to weigh in.

Cheers! The Friday night line

The week's done and the line is open. If you hurry over to Main Street, Argenta, there might still be a few tickets left for our Craft Beer Festival.

The Rush of Republicans Edition

The rush of Republicans joining the race for Arkansas’s 2nd congressional district, Sen. Mark Pryor’s decision on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Arkansas politicos seemingly paving the way for a Hillary Clinton run for president and more on Mount St. Mary in the wake of the forced resignation of English teacher Tippi McCullough after she wed her longtime partner.

Two wounded in family-related shooting in Southwest Little Rock

A report from Sgt. Cassandra Davis of the Little Rock Police Department: At 2:30am officers responded to a shooting At 7305 Marsha.

Gov. Mike Beebe's arithmetic lesson

Gov. Mike Beebe didn't really say anything that hasn't been said for months, but it's probably worth the headlines over his reminder yesterday that the legislature's refusal to continue to approve spending of additional federal money received under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion will deba

There are no bad years for the super rich

Interesting reading in the New York Times this morning from James Stewart, who reviews IRS data on 2009, a bad year in the stock market but not a bad year for the 400 highest earning U.S. taxpayers.

Gobble, gobble: Today's animal photo

Mountaingirl swears to the provenance of this wildlife shot by a friend's camera from up Yell County way.

Pryor cites the Golden Rule; with Cotton, Club for Gold rules

Roby Brock reports on remarks to higher education people by Sen. Mark Pryor and Extremist Republican Tom Cotton, who hopes to challenge Pryor in 2014.

The eagle flies open line

It's Saturday night. The Hogs haven't lost yet. But the bald eagle flew today.

Child shoots father in Russellville Walmart lot

From the River Valley Leader, details on police response to shots fired Saturday in the parking lot of a Walmart in Russellville: ' he officers discovered that while the child was attempting to enter the vehicle, the child accidentally grabbed a hold of a loaded shotgun that had not been secured to help pull himself into the vehicle (truck).

Beautiful day for a marathon

Beautiful day, period. Got any local color shots to share?

Reports: Arkansas's Jeff Long on list to be interviewed for athletic director job at Texas

Who was it who said never yield? Reports from Texas say Jeff Long, the University of Arkansas athletic director, is on the list to be interviewed for the AD job at Texas.

Sunday night line — heavenly music and a plea for HIV-AIDS

Here's an open line for Sunday night. A few final words:

Karen Leveritt, former Times executive, dies at 47.

Karen Leveritt, 47, died

Morning briefs: UA retirement; Kochs at play

The week begins slowly. A couple of items to note this morning:

Horse cruelty case set for trial Dec. 3 in Fulton County

An animal-cruelty case involving more than 100 malnourished and diseased horses is scheduled for trial Dec. 3 in Fulton Circuit Court in Salem, nearly three years after the alleged cruelty was discovered.

UPDATE: Senate prepares to vote on law to ban LGBT workplace discrimination

A Republican senator from Nevada's decision to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act appears to provide the 60th vote to prevent a filibuster of the legislation to ban workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender people.

Environmental challenge to delay Big River Steel startup

Roby Brock at Talk Business reports that Nucor Steel, already operating in Mississippi County, has mounted a challenge to state approval of an air permit for startup competitor Big River Steel and the challenge could delay the opening of the $1 billion state-subsidized mill.

State revenue exceeded forecast in October

Four months into the year and the state has piled up more than $37 million in net revenue beyond the forecast.

Beebe releases State Police report on parole system; no crimes, but systemic problems

Gov. Mike Beebe today released a State Police report on the state's community correction system that followed an uproar over a slaying in which a parole absconder was charged.

James Lee Witt announces for 4th District Congress on Tuesday

James Lee Witt, the Clinton administration FEMA director who went on to establish a successful emergency response and govenrment affairs firm, will announce his plans to run for 4th District Congress via conference call from Danville, his hometown, at 1 p.m.

Argenta Film Series plans memorial screening of 'Bandit' for Hal Needham

We were saddened to learn of the death of Arkansas born stuntman, writer and director Hal Needham on Oct. 25.

The open line: Pine Bluff-by-the-sea; does the secretary of state know when the election is?

The line is open. Finishing up:

Questions raised about quota system at UAMS Med School

Ryan Saylor at The City Wire reports on an evolving discussion about the legislatively imposed quota system on admissions to the UA med school — 27 entries each year from each of the four congressional districts.

Education at the legislature: A plug for geography and a report on school 'choice' transfers

Benji Hardy, writing on the Legislative Digest's blog, reports on yesterday's meeting of the legislature's education committees.

Memorial service set for Karen Leveritt

I've received a note from Paul Stroube, husband of Karen Leveritt, a former senior account executive at the Arkansas Times, who died Sunday at 47.

Morning minutia: The political season

Some more odds and ends: * ARKANSAS SHOCK TROOPS: If I read Twitter correctly, Rep. Nate Bell's wife, Phyllis, one of the Kochs' minions in Arkansas, is working with the same sort

Mike Beebe was right on health exchanges

Remember when Gov. Mike Beebe said Arkansas should run its own health exchange? Remember?

8th Circuit reinstates part of suit by man who said he was beaten by state trooper

The 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today sent back for further review the question of whether an individual state trooper could claim sovereign immunity for his actions in an arrest after a high-speed chase.

Say McIntosh on 7th St. re-opening on Friday, under new management

Say McIntosh on 7th, the Stifft Station soul food and barbecue restaurant run by the family of the great Little Rock political agitator, philanthropist and sweet potato pie maker, Robert "Say" McIntosh, was quietly shuttered over a year ago, but word comes that they'll be reopening on Friday, October 8 under new management and a new name: Say McIntosh Restaurant and Sweet Potato Pie Factory.

UPDATE: Republicans welcome James Lee Witt to 4th District race

With James Lee Witt set to annnounced his Democratic candidacy for 4th District Congress at 1 p.m., the Arkansas Repuiblican Party distributred a question for reporters to ask about a subject we've mentioned before, an NBC report that Witt's disaster management firm had profiteered 

Did Texas job search produce pay raise for Arkansas's Jeff Long?

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Wally Hall wrote this morning about the brief flurry of news about the mention of University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long being in the field of candidates to be the next athletic director at the University of Texas.

Tom Cotton lives where again?

U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton claims to be a resident of Dardanelle, though the rent house is mostly for show while he establishes himself to run for Senate next year.

The line is open; school is in session

Tuesday's done and another print edition has headed out the door (figuratively speaking; the pages go digitally now, of course).

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long to get $200,000 pay raise, $100,000 bonus after Texas overture

This just in from the University of Arkansas, via an e-mail from Kevin Trainor, associate athletic director.

More than 70,000 Arkansans have applied for Medicaid expansion "private option," DHS begins auto-assignment

The Department of Human Services today released the latest enrollment numbers on the "private option" for Medicaid expansion.

Thursday: Retox, Ronnie McDowell and more

Retox plays White Water Tavern Thursday.

Walmart fortune to back another museum in Bentonville, the Amazeum for kids

More big news for Bentonville today from 40/29. A new museum for families, the Amazeum, is to be built on J Street near the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art established by Walmart heir Alice Walton.

Friday To-Do: The Avett Brothers

The Avett Brothers play at Verizon Arena Friday.

Friday-Sunday To-Do: ComiCon-Way

ComiCon-Way kicks off Friday at Faulkner County Library.

Weekend: Ivan & Alyosha, 'A Clockwork Orange' and more

FRIDAY 11/8 Acclaimed organist Christopher Houlihan will perform works by Bach, Maurice Durufle, Ravel and Charles-Marie Widor, First Presbyterian Church, 8 p.m.

Friday: Two Cow Garage at Stickyz

Two Cow Garage comes to Stickyz Friday night.

Saturday To-Do: Nik Turner

Nik Turner performs at Revolution Saturday night.

Saturday To-Do: Marcus Roberts Trio

The Marcus Roberts Trio performs at South on Main Saturday.

Saturday To-Do: Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers performs at El Dorado Municipal Auditorium Saturday.

Saturday and Sunday To-Do: 'Beethoven & Blue Jeans'

Inbal Segev performs with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra this weekend.

Sunday: Butch Walker at Revolution

Butch Walker comes to Revolution Sunday.

Monday To-Do: Damien Echols and Lorri Davis

Damien Echols and Lorri Davis will speak at UCA Monday night.

Wednesday: Cory Branan at White Water Tavern

Cory Branan plays at White Water Tavern Wednesday.