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The green rush

The green rush

November 16, 2017

Vol 44 • No 11

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Arkansas joint ventures

With dispensary and cultivation applications pending, hundreds of Arkansas entrepreneurs are sitting on go for a medical cannabis gold rush. How will it pan out?

Chris Stapleton and Marty Stuart come to Verizon

And more!

Beaten down

Not many expected Arkansas to challenge LSU in Baton Rouge over the Veterans Day weekend, but there were enough odd variables in play that might have suggested a dogfight was to ensue.

The River Kittens come to South on Main

Also, Bryan Borland reads as part of the Argenta Reading Series.

More pub grub for Little Rock

Brewski's does it right, mostly.

Another fox

Is "draining the swamp" a national joke yet? Owing to the virility of the swamp, which commonly describes corporate influence on government bureaucracy and Congress, it may never be laughable.

Trust in Putin

The more Donald J. Trump talks about Russia, the harder it is to believe he's actually loyal to the United States. He's dedicated to his money and to his grotesquely inflated ego. He enjoys pomp and parades. The end.

Elaine's history resurfaces in a documentary

100 years later.

'Locked and loaded'

The smell of the swamp

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has been ravaged by the industry-wide decline in circulation and advertising, but it continues to invest in important state Capitol reporting.

Inconsequential News Quiz: Repeat Offenders Edition

Play at home, while wearing one flip-flop and your boyfriend's drawers.

Benton backs med bud sales

Also, the Arkansas National Guard just says no and two medical marijuana events on the horizon.

'Thor: Ragnarok' is here to destroy the past

Fight the horde.

The line

Well, it looks like we found the line. We found the line drawn by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other GOP members of Congress to separate acceptable and unacceptable behavior from an elected official.

Intrigue on the hill

Also, 8th Circuit refuses to reconsider and Argenta makes moves.

Heart of the city

The Observer pulled a gun on a guy in my driveway Saturday night. It was the first time in 43 years that I've ever pointed a firearm at another human being on purpose.

Rutledge-led GOP group entertains big contributors Trump-style

Maplight, which tracks the influence of money in politics, has shone a spotlight on a Republican group led by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, which entertained big donors last weekend at, among others, a dinner at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

New Deal award to Clarke Tucker for reading program

NewDEAL, a national group formed to encourage progressive policy at the state and local level, will honor innovative ideas with awards today to six people, including state Rep. Clarke Tucker of Little Rock.

Another Obama reversal from Donald Trump: On elephant trophy hunting

Another reversal of Obama administration policy: The ban on importing elephant trophies to the U.S.

Sen. Greg Standridge dies at 50

KNWA reports today the death of state Sen. Greg Standridge, a Russellville Republican. He was 50 and had been treated for cancer.

Waltons put $3.6 million into Northwest Arkansas city parks

The Walton Family Foundation has announced $3.6 million in grants to help develop parks in four cities in Northwest Arkansas.

Ten Commandments destroyer found unfit to stand trial, hospitalized

Circuit Judge Chris Piazza decided this morning that Michael Tate Reed, charged with demolishing the Ten Commandments Monument on the Capitol grounds shortly after it was installed, was unfit to stand trial and ordered him committed to the State Hospital to see if he could ever be fit for trial. J

Arkansas Supreme Court split on caseload division in Pulaski County circuit courts

Another division emerged on an administrative matter today in opinions of the Arkansas Supreme Court. It concerns how cases are parceled out among the 17 judges who sit in circuit court in Little Rock.

The latest 'Me Too' accuses Sen. Al Franken

Now it's Democratic Sen. Al Franken who stands accused by a woman of sexual misconduct

Crawford gets a Democratic challenger in the 1st Congressional District

Fresh face watch: Chintan Desai, a regional project manager for the KIPP Delta charter school operation, is running as a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 1st District, now represented by Republican Rep. Rick Crawford.

House passes tax cut bill

The House has passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut bill 227-205. Thirteen Republicans — none from Arkansas, naturally — joined Democrats in opposing the bill because of elements that will be harmful to the blue or bluish states from which they hail.

Arkansan extradited to Virginia in Charlottesville beating case

KUAR's Jacob Kauffman reports that Jacob Scott Goodwin, 22, of Ward has been extradited from Lonoke County to Virginia to face a charges that he joined in a beating of a black man at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Resolution expected Friday in case of judge who failed to file tax returns

Saline Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister has apparently reached an agreement to end a judicial ethics complaint against him over failure to file state and federal income tax returns.

Thursday: Open line and the daily roundup

Here's the open line, plus the daily news roundup.

Trump went there. He really went there

Donald Trump really did it. The Pussy Grabber went after Al Franken.

Jeff Long's final days: A fan lifts his spirits

The University of Arkansas last night responded to my requests for some further information about Jeff Long's removal as athletic director, partly on financial arrangements and partly on communications between Long and Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz in the last couple of weeks before his firing Wednesday.

Rapping Saturday at Little Rock City Hall as protest of music show crackdown

Rappers plan a City Hall protest of city oficials' discouragement of rap music shows in the city. Their art, they say, is about life on the mean streets of Little Rock and, if you haven't noticed, an accurate representation must include references to violence.

FCC approval of bigger media monopolies will be felt in Arkansas

On a party line vote controlled by Republican appointees, the Federal Commuinications Commission rule that limited ownership of multiple media outlets in the same market by one company. This holds implications for Arkansas TV, particularly more outlets for the conservative viewpoint espoused by Sinclair Broadcasting.

UAMS begins budget tightening; raises and hiring affected

The financial problems at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, discussed at last week's UA Board of Trustees meeting, are now having an impact on staff.

State Police investigating complaint against Jonesboro-based lieutenant

The State Police are investigating an unspecified complaint against Lt. Brant Tosh of Jonesboro, CID commander for Troop F based in Jonesboro.

Review and slideshow: Chris Stapleton and Marty Stuart at Verizon Arena

Don't get me wrong: Chris Stapleton is wildly accomplished and in complete command of his voice. He’s probably the closest thing, vocally, that we have to Chris Cornell on this earth, but somewhere there must be an unwritten rule that the headliner is to be afforded the luxury of a superboosted presence; something that lets the audience know, as I knew when my entire body began to rumble seismically upon his grand entrance, that things were cranking up to eleven, that we were “really gonna party now.”

Bobby McCallister agrees to resign as judge

As expected, Saline Circuit Judge Bobby McCallister has settled a pending judicial ethics action over his failure to file income tax returns by agreeing to resign from the bench.

Arkansas unemployment rate rose in October

The Arkansas unemployment rate in October rose to 3.6 percent, up from 3.5 percent the month before.  There was an overall drop in the number of people working.

Cavalacade of Trump horrors: Court-packing edition

From the horror show of the Trump administration comes the worst idea yet: A Federalist Society proposal for court packing, from the district level to the Supreme Court to erase any legay of Obama judicial appointees.

Another week done. Another open line.

The Friday open line and the daily news report.

Art partying on Friday night: McLeod's, Museum School sale preview, New Deal, Argenta Art Wall

Matt McLeod Fine Art is celebrating its 2nd anniversary from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 106 W. Sixth St. See paintings by Cindy Holmes, alabaster sculpture by Bryan Massey and more, plus blown glass ornaments and art, and hear Rena Wren sing and play guitar. You will be plied with snacks and drinks, too.

The Tom Cotton's Bright Idea Edition

The downfall of Jeff Long, Tom Cotton’s terrible contribution to the Republican tax plan, a no-bid consulting contract in state government and #metoo in Arkansas — all covered on this week's podcast.

Bill and Hillary Clinton talk to be available on the web

All tickets are taken for a talk this afternoon by Bill and Hillary Clinton, moderated by James Carville, but the event will be streamed on the Clinton School of Public Service website at 3:30 p.m. today.

CORRECTION: Downtown gets spruced up with lighting ceremony MONDAY

A bit of old-time Christmas magic returns to downtown Little Rock MONDAY NIGHT with the lighting of a 55-foot tree at Capitol and Main festooned with lights and custom-made blown-glass topper.

The Clinton anniversary open line; talk includes some Trump digs amid the memories

An open line and a check on the 25th anniversary of Bill Clinton’s presidential election. Already today, Hillary Clinton has signed several thousand copies of her book and made headlines with a Mother Jones interview in which she says the legitimacy of Trump's election remains in doubt.

One killed after club fight on Asher Ave.

LRPD report on early morning homicide after Asher Avenue club fight.

Arkansas a leader in laws against better working conditions

The Economic Policy Institute has compiled a national look at state laws that prevent local governments from mandating better working conditions in cities and counties than state law provides.As you might expect, Arkansas is among the leaders

The Clintons side by side in Little Rock 25 years after

Bill and Hillary Clinton side by side taking questions from Donald Carville. The only thing more I could have asked for was a seat for Donald Trump to handle the same topics.

Sunday open line

Open line and “news” on the Hog football coach.

Three killed in medical helicopter crash

Three crew members on a Pafford Medical Services medical helicopter were killed in a crash on a flight from Pine Bluff to DeWitt last night.

Preview of downtown Christmas tree

The Downtown Little Rock Partnership and Arkansas Children's Hospital will have a ceremonial lighting tonight of a white fir Christmas tree at Capitol and Main but Brian Chilson was on hand when they tested the lights Sunday night.

About that middle class tax cut .... Interested in a bridge, too?

The poor pay and the rich benefit from the Senate tax bill. Sen. Tom Cotton doesn't see it that way.

Crime takes a bite out of sheriff's office

I don't have a report yet but Pulaski sheriff's Lt. Cody Burks confirms that TV was reported missing from a waiting room at the Pulaski County Jail.

Fayetteville has a City Council opening thanks to Alan Long's resignation

Alan Long has resigned from the Fayetteville City Council with more than three years remaining on his term and the Council itself must decide at its meeting Tuesday whether to fill the seat itself or call a special election.

Protest set on tax legislation

A coalition of groups will demonstrate at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in front of the state Human Services headquarters at Seventh and Main to show displeasure with the Senate tax legislation.

Monday's open line

Here's the Monday open line and today's news roundup

ASU announces $29 million athletic project backed by private booster foundation

The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees today approved a ground lease with the Red Wolves Foundation which will take the responsibility for building $29. million worth of improvements to the football stadium.

State employee keeps job after texts with teen

40/29 reports on an investigation of a state driver's license examiner after a mother complained he'd sent inappropriate texts to her 17-year-old daughter.

Little Rock Airport reports landing mishap

The Clinton National Airport reports that brakes failed on a private aircraft landing shortly before midnight last night, but no one was hurt.

New report on ill consequences of charter schools

A new report by the Network for Public Education challenges the talking points for the charter school movement and details ways they can be damaging to children and real public schools.

Give us your tired, your poor .... and Trump will harm them

The Trump administration has revoked legal status for 50,000 Haitian immigrants. This means 27,000 U.S. citizen children now have parents facing the dilemma of returning to Haiti or living in U.S. shadows as undocumented residents.

Dead coaches walking: The sad last reel of 2017 Razorback football

The expected change in leadership of the Razorback football team comes with the usual financial complications — both reaching a deal with the new coaches and settling up with the old ones.

Climate change: Graphically illustrated state by state

The Weather Channel has a great new feature — the United States of Climate Change — a story told graphically with illustrations from each state, illustrated by Nate Powell. The Arkansas episode focuses on immigrants from the Marshall Islands, threatened by rising seas.

Free birth control: Thank a Republican governor (no, not Asa)

Donald Trump overrode the Obamacare birth control mandate, but Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts took matters in his own hands. 

Tuesday: An open line and a news roundup

Here's the open line, plus the news roundup.

State law meant to block LGBT rights ordinances is unconstitutional, article says

A legal analysis by the NYU College of Global Public Health in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health concludes that the Arkansas law that prohibits local LGBT non-discrimination ordinances is unconstitutional.

Sen. Hutchinson loses gambling machine case in St. Francis County

A legal effort to win approval for gambling-style machines in Arkansas has lost a round in St. Francis Circuit Court.

Trump endorses accused teen molester

Donald Trump endorses Roy Moore. Of course he does.

John Brown U. student arrested on explosives charge

40/29 reports the arrest of a John Brown University student on a charge of criminal possession of explosives.