A reminder that you can see the police report here and decide how the woman could have hit Biviano if he struck the rear of her car as he pulled away from the curb.
How a fellow votes on health care reform is a matter of policy and opinion. But how a fellow of elected office responds to undesirable publicity over a traffic incident is a matter revealing personal responsibility and, conceivably, broader character.
A public servant of character would take reporters' calls. He also would demand a public replay of the Capital Hotel security video to see who was telling the truth.
His Facebook page carries many remarks from friends. He was best known in his hometown as voice of the Malvern Leopards.
The Little Rock Film Festival has a full report, including comments from Harry Thomason, with whom Dial worked on "The Last Ride." Wrote Thomason:
I was screening The Last Ride a few weeks ago for some people in Los Angeles when Rick Dial appeared on the screen, an actress of note turned to me and said, “Who is the guy who is playing the bartender?”. I told her a little about Rick and she said, “He is such a great actor and there is something about him that lights up the entire room.”
It is so true, Rick wore an aura of light — you just knew everything was going to be okay if he was around. The world just felt like it was a better place when Rick was there.
From the looks of it, Poison was a hit with a happy crowd at Riverfest last night.
For others, the beer and eats midway was as alluring as always.
Thanks to Brian Chilson for his annual photo plunge into the maelstrom.
Poison just got finished sound checking down the street. Let's have a blog sing-along through the wires.
Consider this an open line. One note:
* CRI DE GUERRE: To quote Bluto: Did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Blue Arkansas declares political war on Republican tricksters.
* SOLIDARITY? Also, Max here, just arrived in Kansas City, and I notice the Tolbert Report is down and his Twitter account photo shows him with a black tape over his mouth. I'm inquiring.
Former President George W. Bush was in Little Rock today for the dedication of a garden honoring Warren and Harriet Stephens at First Tee of Central Arkansas, a public golf course established with a gift by the late Jackson T. Stephens.
The event also marked the 10th anniversary of First Tee, a not-for-profit organization supported by gifts and the city of Little Rock. Its Jackson T. Stephens Youth Golf Academy aims to introduce to the game to children who might otherwise not be able to play. The child in the photograph is Rebekah Walker, 11, who participated in the ceremony.
The Little Rock Express edged the Tuscola Turn by 3,042 votes to win Union Pacific Railroad's "Great Excursion Adventure - You Route the Steam" contest. In a case of old technology meeting new, Union Pacific's legendary steam locomotive, No. 844, is headed to the communities that cast the widest social media network through our contest.
No. 844 will make good on Union Pacific's promise to travel through the communities along the Little Rock Express route, beginning May 29 in Kansas City, Mo., and concluding June 9, after a stationary display day in North Little Rock, Ark. The trip will celebrate the railroad's past with today's wired, social media generation in eight states.
All the cyclists out there will love this. I just thought it looked cool. The city of Little Rock has come up with a new design to mark dedicated bike paths. They've already started using the stencil on some paths and will continue to use it in the future.
Now all we need is more bike paths to put these on.
The AP is reporting that the lawsuit over the use of state vehicles by constitutional officers has been dropped. Judge Tim Fox granted the GOP's motion to dismiss.
State party Chairman Doyle Webb said the suit was dropped because a law passed by the legislature addressed their concerns. From a Republican Party press release:
“We could not have received a better result if we proceeded to court,” Webb said. “We commend the Legislature for recognizing the abuse of state vehicles by elected officials and passing Act 1021. We feel this is a bi-partisan resolution that benefits the people of Arkansas.”
Full release on the jump.
Jason Tolbert, the Republican-oriented creator of The Tolbert Report, interviews Republican Party executive director Chase Dugger about his FOI requests related to state employees Matt Campbell , who created the Blue Hog Report, a Democratic blog.
He takes a dim view of the Republicans' targeting a critical news source.
In addition, it is chilling for any citizen journalist exercising their free speech right in the new media forum of the internet for a political party to single out a voice that criticizes them by scrutinizing their employment records. My fear is this will have a ripple effect that will weaken the overall transparency of our state government, which has made strides in the recent years driven by the emerging vibrant state blogosphere.
I'm with Jason, but it's important to emphasize that the blog work should not be done on state time. Campbell says it has not been, but the question hasn't been completely resolved. I do have to snort at the Republican Party spokesman who told the D-G they merely want to make sure no blogging is being done on state time. They've shown no such interest in holding Secretary of State Mark Martin's staff to the same standard or to standard accounting practice on use of state vehicles. The GOP, too, whines that they're only doing what others have done to the secretary of state. Poor baby. He has a multi-million-dollar budget, a fleet of cars, a press aide who makes nearly $90,000 a year. He can fulfill FOI requests, but has done so grudgingly and, in the early going, withheld information from me about his fancy $54,000 retreat this weekend.
Here's the real untold part of this story. The real fuss about Campbell's blog is a bipartisan exposure of the unconstitutional expense reimbursements paid Arkansas legislators — Democrat and Republican. They have made their displeasure known at the state Supreme Court, which, it happens, just got another year without a pay raise. Keep that in mind when the inevitable lawsuit is filed challenging these phony expense payments, which have allowed legislators like Mark Martin to pile up incomes in the $50,000 range when the Constitution limits pay to about $14,000.
UPDATE: I asked Matt Campbell about comments related to times of posting to his Blue Hog and Facebook accounts. His response:
My blog is written using WordPress, which lets me schedule posts to come up in the future. Typically, I would write stuff at night, but set the posts to come up starting some time the following work day, because that drove more traffic. Anything else was written during lunch on my personal laptop, on a day off, or at some other point when I was not working.
As far as the Facebook account that the D-G referenced this morning, there were four Admins, all of whom posted as Blue Hog Report. It was common for someone else to post the links to my stuff.
Campbell disputes, too, the secretary of state's complaint about his "massive" FOI requests. He said he made five or six. And he said he never withdrew a request after documents were compiled. He said he'd withdrawn one request which Alice Stewart had never acknowledged.
Finally, why did the GOP go after Jeff Woodmansee, a law school librarian, who posted perhaps once a month on Blue Hog. He's never made an FOI request, never done anything that would suggest he did Blue Hog contributions on state time. Maybe because the Campbell FOI came up dry, they decided to harass someone else and intimidate them, too.
Funny story in Politico. U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin — friend of millionaires, enemy of Medicare and Medicaid — has decided it is just a bit TOO unseemly to be sponsoring billions of dollars in tax incentives to promote natural gas-fueled vehicles.
Politico said Griffin had "quietly" removed himself as a co-sponsor.
Griffin said in a statement to POLITICO that “H.R. 1380 is well intentioned in that it seeks to promote natural gas as a clean burning, abundant and American energy source.
“However, I am concerned that H.R. 1380 might be inconsistent with my goal of simplifying the tax code by lowering the overall tax rate and simultaneously ending industry specific incentives,” he added.
So why did he sign on as sponsor? Did he really think his rank hypocrisy would go unnoticed?
Now I understand the news account yesterday afternoon about the prosecutor's actions in the case of Sen. Steve Harrelson's fight with his estranged wife's boyfriend. John Lyon of Stephens Media explains that the prosecutor has forwarded a misdemeanor complaint to a district judge who'll decide if the facts merit issuance of an arrest warrant.
1) Harrelson faces an uphill battle with his wife, her boyfriend and his wife's brother apparently prepared to say he started the fight. Where was their young daughter? I shudder to ask.
2) Cary Pessel, the fellow who whipped up on Harrelson, is a piece of work. He was offended by Harrelson causing a scene in front of his daughter and the Harrelsons' daughter, he said, and told the Democrat-Gazette, "That's why I hurt him so bad." Got that? A fight is bad. A really bad butt whipping is good. It's the Arkansas ethos, sure enough. Might makes right, whether whipping school kids or in domestic relations.
3) If Pessel and Harrelson's wife and Harrelson really want to move forward with re-establishing normalcy for the Harrelsons' child, neither challenging the boyfriend nor prosecuting daddy is a rational course of action.
Our leaders keep telling us that Little Rock is getting safer and safer — even as our police force shrinks on account of lack of financial support. And even as neighborhoods have become a virtual mugamatic for car and home burglaries and street robberies to feed the daily needs of the professional working criminal class.
Better for the city to toughen up the reporting and admit we need more cops. Pass a tax by saying we need to do something about LR turning up on a list of the 10 most dangerous cities in America.
More bad news for 103.7 The Buzz host Tommy Smith, who was arrested today around 2 p.m. and booked on several charges, including failure to stop after an accident, DWI, refusal to submit to a chemical test, drinking in public and possession of a controlled substance.
The arresting officer's handwritten report is a bit scrawled, but it looks like an Arkansas State Trooper was dispatched just before 2 p.m. today to the scene of a hit and run accident at I-430 and Col. Glenn Road. A witness told the trooper that a black Dodge Durango had crossed the median then fled the scene. The trooper was able to catch up to the Durango and pull over the driver at I-630 and Fair Park. After stepping out of the car, the officer said, Smith appeared drunk, and admitted to drinking two pints of liquor and taking Xanax pills, some of which were found in his pocket.
This is the latest setback for Smith, who has struggled with substance abuse in the past. In September 2010, he collapsed and suffered a seizure while doing a live, on-air appearance at a Sherwood car dealership. Smith later said that the collapse was the result of him trying to go "cold turkey" from alcohol addiction.
The Thursday night line is open. The Memorial Day Weekend slowdown has begun. Final notes:
* PARIMUTUEL, MY FOOT: This mini-rant is occasioned by posting of a proposed change in Racing Commission rules that will allow gamblers to make a one-cent wager on the Instant Racing slot machines at Oaklawn Park and up to 40 "wagering units per active pay line" on the machines. This sounds an awful lot like the penny slots you see in Vegas casinos, where multiple payoff options encourage multiple wagers in search of big jackpots. When first sold to gullible Arkies, Instant Racing was solemnly described as a game of parimutuel wagering, not strictly chance, and nothing more than a replay of past races for conventional horse wagering. Horse hockey. It's horse hockey, too, that the poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and slots — even if all-electronic — now underway in Hot Springs and West Memphis are in any meaningful way different from the casino games found where casino gambling is explicitly legal. As opposed to de facto legal. The monopoly casinos at Southland and Oaklawn are now, presumably, too big to fail or to be subject to a court attack as unconstitutional gambling. I have no problem with gambling. But if they can gamble, why can't others, who weren't afforded this back-door entry to a hugely profitable monopoly enterprise? Let's make Hot Springs and West Memphises little Las Vegases, with competition for the gambling dollar.
* MEMORIAL DAY ON THE TAXPAYERS: I'll be checking out early tomorrow for a weekend trip to Kansas City. I'll be paying my way. Be happy to know that you'll be paying for a $54,000 retreat for members of Secretary of State Mark Martin's staff in
Siloam Springs Rogers, a deluxe retreat that might have some other expenses involved, like mileage to and fro and what not. If the leadership center there can teach Martin how to keep a car mileage log, it might be money well spent.
* REPUBLICAN WITH A CONSCIENCE: A Republican legislator in Alabama has switched over to the Democrats because he had a gut full of school teacher bashing.
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