by Max Brantley
The comment line is open. Finishing up:
* ARKIES ON LOSING SIDE OF FARM BILL: The Senate passed a farm bill today, 64-35, with Sens. John Boozman and Mark Pryor (one of only
three five Democrats) voting no. Pryor faulted an "unworkable" crop insurance program for rice and shortcomings in inspections of imported catfish.
* TIMELY TOPIC: Dr. Mindy Fullilove, a Columbia University professor of clinical psychiatry, will speak at 5 p.m. Friday, June 29, at the Clinton School of Public Service on the topic "Neighbor Like You Mean It: A Social Psychiatrist’s Views on Urban Life in the 21st Century." Fullilove has written a book "Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It." Could the board of the Little Rock Technology Park Authority be persuaded to attend? Or do they already know all they need to know about neighborhoods — liquor stores are indispensable; homes are dispensable.
* GOV. BEEBE TO FRANCE: Gov. Mike Beebe is taking an agriculture/economic development business trip to France June 21-29.
* EFFECTIVE DEATH SENTENCE: Sad story in Northwest Arkansas newspapers (pay wall) about a woman found unfit to stand trial in Benton County because of mental incapacity. She died in the Benton County Jail awaiting a bed in the State Hospital. She had undiagnosed cancer and was given Tylenol and Pepto Bismol for treatment in her final days. Others are backed up in local jails awaiting State Hospital beds, the story reports.
* DEATH AT UAMS: Davis Young, 58, was found unconscious in the bottom of the exercise pool today at UAMS' Jack Stephens Spine and Neuro Sciences Institute. He died later, Fox 16 reports.
* CAUGHT IN THE ACT: A security guard nabbed three juveniles attempting to steal iPads from Cloverdale Middle School in a burglary last night. He was responding to a burglary alarm. Computers were recovered; suspects turned over to juvenile authorities.
* FOX AND ABC DODGE INDECENCY RULING: The U.S. Supreme Court gave Fox and ABC a procedural pass today on FCC sanctions over indecent broadcasts. The Court didn't rule on the constitutionality of the indecency rules, but said the networks hadn't been given adequate advance notice of the standards. Fox was rapped for vulgar words uttered by Nicole Richie on the Billboard music awards show. ABC was under scrutiny for a scene in which a child was depicted seeing a woman's naked buttocks on "NYPD Blue."
* LR AIRPORT DELAYS: An air traveler says the taekwondo tournament in town this week, with thousands of participants, has added to security screening woes at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport. Only two lines were open when my correspondent tried to pass security. Screening for taekwondo tourney participants toting big trophies took a big amount of time. Counsel to this traveler when a complaint was lodged at City Hall: The airport is open 24 hours. Come early.
* PEABODY HOTEL: NEW MASTER KEY? Hotel industry chatter increases that the Peabody Hotel, owned by Belz Enterprises of Memphis, could change ownership. At least one investment group is taking a look, I was told this afternoon. Marty Belz wasn't available, nor was Monte Hansen, the Peabody's GM. I also didn't hear back from key city officials — Mayor Mark Stodola, Conventions and Visitors Bureau Director Gretchen Hall and Philip Tappan, chairman of the Advertising and Promotion Commission. The city has a stake as owner of the shell of the hotel and the first floor, plus the adjoining Statehouse Convention Center. It leases the property to the hotel owner and would have some say on a change in ownership. The city primarily must be assured that a new owner would have an affiliation with a top-drawer hotel group, such as Marriott or Hilton.