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Dining Review

Right at the corner

September 21, 2017
Right at the corner
The Restaurant at the Market dishes up date-night deliciousness. /more/

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A&E Feature

ACANSA preview

September 21, 2017
ACANSA preview
Art you can experience. /more/

Columnists

Ernest Dumas

Bad health care bill, again

Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators. /more/

Gene Lyons

Sex on campus

Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated. /more/

Pearls About Swine

SEC hope?

September 21, 2017
There's precedent for the Hogs rebounding from a September misstep or two. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

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Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Arkansas Blog

Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 15:54:00

Woo. An open line


Sad day for the Hogs down in Texas today. Any thoughts? Here's your open line to write them down.

I'm enjoying the fallout from Donald Trump's knock of the NFL and the Golden State Warriors. LeBron James had a good comeback. So did the Warriors for his disinvitation of the team to a White House visit.

I know. Trump's people will cheer his continued juvenalia, not the least because he's trying to suppress successful black men. One of the Trumpistas responded to my Facebook post about his slam of the NFL by saying, well, Hillary once took some china from the White House. I kid you not.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 15:43:00

Arkansas's prison population is still growing, but not as fast as before

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Arkansas's prison population is growing, and likely to continue growing, but not as fast as before, according to to the most recent report from Wendy Ware, a consultant with JFA Associates of Colorado who has been analyzing Arkansas's prison growth for 20 years.

You can read her full report here and below.

"Stability," Ware told the Board of Corrections when presenting the report, was the word to define her most recent report. "Everything has been pretty much the same."

After ADC saw a one-year 17.7 percent increase in 2013 — fueled, in part, by parole violators being locked away in response to a high-profile murder by a parolee — there were lingering increases in prison population growth.

click to enlarge JFA ASSOCIATES
  • JFA Associates


That leveled out around the end of 2015, says the report, after the Board of Corrections implemented changes to stop such an outsized percentage increase in prison population.

But, these changes have not stopped a general trend to incremental growth over time in the prison population in Arkansas.

The population is still projected to grow to 20,134 by 2027.

"You are projected to grow slower than you have," Ware told the Board of Corrections Friday at a meeting in Little Rock, but there is still growth.

"In spite of everything that's been done," Benny Magness, chairman of the Board of Corrections said, "we're still growing."

Magness said that though numbers are not decreasing, you have to imagine "where we'd be if we hadn't done it" if changes had not been made after 2013.

"Especially with Governor Hutchinson giving us money for the re-entry, that right there saved a whole prison," he said. "And it's not just that it saved the money, it's changing the inmates. But, there is more that has to be done or they're going to have to have some money in the system."

"Even though we had a spike, we were going to grow anyway," Magness said.

That projection includes potential changes from Act 423, which was supposed to help curb increased prison population that resulted from those on parole being sent back to prison that takes effect on Oct 1.

In the past, Ware's report included a best-case and worst-case scenario, but she said she "feels pretty confident" in the number 20,134 for 2027, even with the uncertainty of the new regulations with Act 423.

But Magness said he is hoping the changes will bring a greater decrease.

"I don't think any of us know how successful [Act 423 changes] will be. At the end of the day I think it'll have a big impact on probationers," he said.

There is also the upcoming implementation of the shift by the Sentencing Commission to ranges on their grid, which officials hope will stem prison population growth.

But, as Board of Corrections member discussed at their last meeting, some see in the growth a potential need for a new prison if the growth cannot be stopped and specifically a prison with segregated cells.

Magness said that if a new prison is built he would, reluctantly, want a maximum security unit.

"I think sometimes that's, unfortunately, what we need," he said.

But, that this should be combined with the "right mixture" of funding for reentry programs and work release beds.

"If you don't have a lot of family support coming out of prison with just $125, it's not a lot of help," he said.


 

Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 06:42:00

Trump launches attack on 'SOBs' of the NFL

click to enlarge TWITTER/NFL MEMES
  • Twitter/NFL Memes
Donald Trump led a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange Friday night and the resulting news coverage (though not in the Democrat-Gazette news section account) is giving great attention to his rant against the NFL, including but not limited to players who have made political statements by taking a knee during the National Anthem.

UPDATE: you must read the Washington Post full account of Trump's unhinged performance.

From The Guardian coverage:
Donald Trump launched a sensational attack on NFL players who have kneeled in protest of the national anthem during a speech in Alabama on Friday night, challenging the league’s owners to release anyone who engages in the movement started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the president said at a rally at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center in support of Republican senator Luther Strange, who is running in a special GOP primary election next week to remain in the Senate seat vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

Trump went on to attribute the NFL’s dip in television ratings to the rule changes implemented over the last few years to make the game less violent and limit head injuries, an issue abruptly thrust back into the spotlight on Thursday with the revelation that Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots star who killed himself in April while serving a life sentence for murder, suffered from a ‘severe’ case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the progressive degenerative brain disease that’s been linked to repeated blows to the head.

“The NFL ratings are down massively,” he said. “Now the number one reason happens to be they like watching what’s happening ... with yours truly. They like what’s happening. Because you know today if you hit too hard: Fifteen yards! Throw him out of the game!”

He added: “They’re ruining the game! That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game.”

The president then encouraged American people attending NFL games to leave the stadium in a show of counter-protest if they see a player kneeling during the anthem, which is traditionally performed before kickoff.

“But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that?” he said. “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium.

“I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.”
A number of NFL players took to Twitter to respond, including Minnesota Viking Bishop Sankey.

click to tweet
Where Donald Trump saw torch-carrying people displaying Nazi trappings in Charlottesville as "classy," he sees NFL players who silently express thoughts about police brutality or who have concerns about their health as cowardly sons of bitches.

This was, as one observer said on Twitter, effectively a white supremacist rally.

There's never been a more classless president. Sad to say, the voting majority (at least as represented by the electoral college) approves. I suspect Trump would have drawn an ovation in Arkansas for the same remarks.

Trump likely will ignite the issue further, much as his taunts of foreign leaders have done.

PS: Trump drew a response from Kaepernick's mother.

Oh, and this;

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Friday, September 22, 2017 - 17:07:00

Frank Frazier at Hearne Fine Art: Tribute to the Nine

click to enlarge "Let Us Learn — The Little Rock Nine," by Frank Frazier, 2012.
  • "Let Us Learn — The Little Rock Nine," by Frank Frazier, 2012.

Hearne Fine Art, 1001 Wright Ave., is featuring on social media every week an artist from its 29th anniversary exhibition, "XXIX Prime." This week's focus is Frank Frazier, a Texas sculptor, painter and collage artist who working on a series of paintings on the civil rights movement. His work above, painted with shoe polish and ink, is part of that series, an appropriate choice as we ponder the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central and today's roadblocks to education.

 

Friday, September 22, 2017 - 09:43:00

Review: The Secret Sisters at South on Main

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
In an 1988 essay published by The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America titled "Intonation precision of choir singers," results from "two experimental investigations on the acoustics of choirs" are revealed. "The second investigation," the essay reads, "concerns the effect of spectral variations in the reference sound." Put super simply, the study investigated the way a choir's agreement on things like vowel formation impacted how often that choir sang at a desirable, unified frequency. Changes in vowel quality, it said, "and absence/presence of certain partials and of vibrato, were all found to affect somewhat the degree of fundamental frequency agreement between singers." Deviation between singers in the studied live rehearsals ranged from "0.10 and 0.15 semitones, or 0.6% and 0.9%."

The science and mystery of aligned vowels and semitones was on full display at the Secret Sisters concert last night. And the thing is, with the way those shared-DNA harmonies washed over the room last night, you'd bet the two were nearly vocally identical. As listeners will attest, though, the two voices are quite different. Lydia Rogers' is warm and smoky with a thrilling upper register. Laura Rogers' is pure, crystalline, theatrical.

The night was all wide fifths and aching minor thirds the likes of which would have made the Everly Brothers proud, paired with softshoe melodies that wielded dark bits and daggers. Laura's and Lydia's are two acoustically sympathetic voices, voices that vibrate on the same frequency, filling in the gaps between resonances over the course of big, arching phrases, their breaths occurring in startlingly precise unison. They wove through murder ballads, a scant few covers ("Make the World Go Away") and odes to an unnamed but specific ex-lover. With their sharp rhythm section (a pair of siblings as well, Cheyenne and Will Medders), the Rogers sisters seemed on a mission to prove that a recent lawsuit and dip into bankruptcy are not only in the rearview mirror (See their 2017 release's title track "You Don't Own Me Anymore"), but that the downturn emboldened them to self-realize through their music — to cement their own identities as well as their stage personas. Or are those one and the same?



 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 13:51:00

Matt Damon to portray LR charlatan famed for goat testicle implants

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  • Brinkley
John Romulus Brinkley is one of Arkansas's greatest frauds, famed for his claim, fatal for some, that surgery to implant goat glands into testicles would restore virility. An early 20th century resident of  Vilonia (briefly, with one of his two wives), Brinkley amassed a fortune at his clinic in Texas. He moved to Little Rock after he met with competition from a cheaper quack.

Thanks to the upcoming movie "Charlatan," we might get to see Matt Damon handling goat gonads, birthmoviesdeath.com reports. The movie is based on Pope Brock's "Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the 
click to enlarge Damon
  • Damon
Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam," which sounds like it  could be a contemporary account of American politics. The adaptation for is being written from "Ocean's Thirteen" writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien. avclub.com says there's no director on board.

 

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In backing Obamacare repeal, Arkansas governor would trade billions of dollars for more state flexibility

September 20, 2017
In backing Obamacare repeal, Arkansas governor would trade billions of dollars for more state flexibility
Hutchinson said Tuesday that the Graham-Cassidy bill "does not represent a significant cost-shift to the states." Yet several health care experts said the proposal would slash projected federal funds to Arkansas by billions of dollars. /more/
 

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