KASU

Social Issues

Talk Business and Politics

 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Eighteen condemned inmates say in new court filings that the executions of four men in Arkansas last year exposed problems that should render the state's lethal injection procedure unconstitutional.

The prisoners late Monday asked a federal judge to let them amend a lawsuit filed after Arkansas scheduled eight executions in an 11-day period last year. Four inmates from the original lawsuit were put to death, three received stays and Gov. Asa Hutchinson granted clemency to one.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

  LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Opponents of a Ten Commandments display at the Arkansas state Capitol filed federal lawsuits Wednesday to have the monument removed, arguing it's an unconstitutional endorsement of religion by government


An anonymous scientific survey conducted on the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville campus to measure the incidence of nonconsensual sexual contact revealed that 31 percent of women sampled reported being victims. Such contact includes campus rapes and sexual assaults as well as unwanted sexual touching.

The survey was conducted at the urging of an Arkansas legislator raising awareness about widespread sexual violence on college campuses, and that Arkansas is among more than a dozen states that do not teach comprehensive sex education in public schools — including what constitutes sexual consent.

Further illuminating the widely-reported UA survey, a female student who claims she was sexually assaulted carried around a bed sheet for weeks, raising alarm.

Students and adults in Jonesboro joined the crowds elsewhere in the state and the nation on Saturday for a March for Our Lives protest demanding gun control and other measures to help stop mass shootings, but the Jonesboro rally was also a remembrance of the Westside Middle School shooting exactly 20 years earlier.

“Just because we are students, just because we are kids does not mean we do not understand this issue.  We have a voice,” said Mohannad Al-Hindi, a senior at Jonesboro High School.

“I’m just wondering how many more school shootings it’s going to take,” said Makyla Norvell, 15, who attends Riverside High School.

Jonesboro is marking a grim anniversary March 24 — 20 years ago two children shot and killed five people outside Westside Middle School. 

The shootings occurred 13 months before the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado  that is often called the seminal tragedy in a subcategory of mass shootings that take place at America's schools. 

Most recently, 17 students and teachers died at the hands of a gunman inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14.

Pixabay

  NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill to require public schools to prominently display the national motto, "In God We Trust."

Hundreds of students at Little Rock’s Central High School walked out of class Wednesday in a show of solidarity with young people conducting similar demonstrations at schools across the nation and outside the White House.

At Central, students chanted slogans like “books not bullets” and “this is what democracy looks like,” while holding handmade signs that read things like “Never again,” “Central stands with Parkland,” and “Why are we still talking about this?”

Arkansas school students are expected to join thousands around the country March 14 in a national school walkout at 10 a.m. (local time). Billed as “Enough,” the demonstration is a coordinated public response to the shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It’s expected to last 17 minutes — one for each victim.

In Fayetteville, school officials are helping students coordinate a walkout at 10 a.m., though a district document also recognizes that some students have obtained a permit from the city to march on the Washington Count Courthouse — a demonstration the district has gently warned against.

Former SEMO coach sues LA College for not hiring him, citing 'Jewish blood'

Feb 22, 2018
Entrance to Louisiana College, Pineville, LA
Billy Hathorn / Wikipedia

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The president of a private Baptist college in Louisiana refused to approve a football coach's hiring because of what he called the applicant's "Jewish blood," a federal lawsuit claims.

UPDATE 3:30 p.m. Gov. Hutchinson has issued a statement expounding on a brief remark made this morning about a radio station's "Babe Bracket" that ranks women television journalists based on appearance.

On the steps of the Arkansas state Capitol today supporters of ending legal abortion gathered for a rally. Yesterday, another march with very different ralliers called for keeping abortion legal — as well as grooming female political candidates for office, gun control and other liberal aims.

Both marches enjoyed passionate speakers and considerable turnout, but only one enjoyed the presence of the state's most powerful constitutional officeholders, from Gov. Asa Hutchinson down.

This weekend the Arkansas Capitol building will be the site of two rallies with two very different messages. Those in support of reproductive rights and a larger progressive presence in the 2018 elections plan to be at the Capitol Saturday. While those seeking to end abortion are set to rally Sunday – minus Roman Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor.

updated 11:44 am - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Roman Catholic bishop who has led prayers at Arkansas anti-abortion rallies says he will not take part this year because its featured speaker is a public official who actively pushed for the state's aggressive execution schedule last year.

Bishop Anthony Taylor wrote an open letter to the state's 125,000 Catholics inviting them to special Masses instead of attending the event featuring Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Participants of the 2017 Craighead County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade walking across the Jonesboro Main St. bridge.
Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

2018 will be an important year for the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  April 2018 will mark the 50th Anniversary of King’s assassination in Memphis, TN.

Communities across the nation have been remembering King’s legacy in January since 1986, and Craighead County has been no exception.  I sat down with one of the organizers of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade for Craighead County, Dr. Lonnie Williams.  He is also the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Arkansas State University.  We talked about the parade, Dr. King’s legacy, and where he was when he heard the tragic news of King's assassination.  You can listen to the conversation below.


Race violence expert Guy Lancaster, who serves as editor of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, has edited a new a collection of essays titled, “Bullets and Fire: Lynching and Authority in Arkansas 1840 to 1950." The book is published by the University of Arkansas Press.

Pixabay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - More than a dozen Arkansas residents are headed to Washington, D.C., to join thousands from across the country at a rally in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the group of residents left Little Rock on Tuesday. Officials with the organizing groups United We Dream and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement say they expect up to 17,000 people to attend Wednesday's rally.

pixabay.com

A lot of responses came down after President Trump's decision to end the DACA program that has been protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.  80,000 of those people are in Arkansas.  

Here is Governor Asa Hutchinson's response:

pixabay.com

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has ruled for same-sex couples who complained an Arkansas birth certificate law discriminated against them.

The justices on Monday issued an unsigned opinion reversing an Arkansas high court ruling that upheld the law.

Under the law, married lesbian couples had to get a court order to have both spouses listed as parents on their children's birth certificates.

As Republicans in the U.S. Senate near completion of an initial bill that could vastly alter or replace Obamacare, a  group of demonstrators gathered outside the Victory Building in Little Rock. They delivered the offices of Republican Senators Tom Cotton and John Boozman each about a thousand post cards from residents in the state. The cards, collected by activists with Arkansas Community Organizations and the group Health Care for America Now, ask the Senators to preserve Medicaid expansion and other benefits made available through federal health law. 

At a brainstorming session after school recently at district headquarters, a group of black school employees sit around a U-shaped table discussing how to become principals. Coach Shawn Burgess, head of human resources at the Pulaski County Special School District, speaks to two women in the room who recently interviewed for leadership positions and didn’t get the job.

“And it’s not what you did wrong, per se. It’s about, ‘When is it my time?’” she said.

“That’s right. Um-hmm. That’s it,” echo the staff.

A wall of police officers stood between two groups of protestors at Riverside Park on the banks of the White River in Batesville on Saturday afternoon, as the groups hurled insult after insult at each other over race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation.

“Our position is that we are here to make sure everyone gets their voice, everybody has the right to free speech, and that nobody gets hurt,” said Police Chief Alan Cockrill.

Cockrill called in all available help, including auxiliary police officers, after news broke that the well-known Billy Roper, a local leader in the white nationalist movement, planned an anti-Sharia law rally at the pavilion at the 

park. 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two northern Arkansas school boards have temporarily ceased prayer before meetings.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2n3xYoE) reports Springdale and Harrison boards are researching the legality of the public prayers after receiving a letter from The Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, Wisconsin. The foundation monitors matters regarding separation of church and state.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET Tuesday

With the stroke of a pen on Tuesday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson separated a holiday that has for decades celebrated both Martin Luther King Jr. and Gen. Robert E. Lee in the state.

Under the bill that Hutchinson signed into law, King now has the third Monday of January entirely to himself, as dictated by federal law; Lee will now be commemorated in a state holiday on the second Saturday of October.

Seventeen-year old Daniel Montgomery was born a girl but by age eleven knew he's a boy. He's always stood up for himself at school. He's bravely agreed to come forward to talk on the radio about what it's like growing up transgender in Fayetteville's public school system. But first, we discuss that pink tinge in his dyed blond hair?

“Oh that," he says. "That's way faded. I want to dye it half red, half blue but that’s so time consuming." 

Things are hectic for this high school senior with graduation on the horizon and getting ready for college. He wants to study art and German. He plans to teach high school someday. But right now he's being forced, he says, to reckon with the Trump administration's revoking of federal protections for transgender public school student school accommodations — for example bathroom and locker rooms. Montgomery, of course, prefers to use the boys restroom. And on rare occasion, he says, he's hassled. 

Since November, Mexican consulates around the U.S. have reported an increase in unauthorized immigrants venturing in to seek legal advice and update their citizenship papers in case of possible deportation. 

This morning, the Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a lower court's ruling that upheld the voter-approved city law, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The state's highest court ruled that the city law was in conflict with a state law that prohibits cities from enacting protections not already covered by state law.

There are many lessons to be learned from one of the most infamous tweets in social media history.

“It was like misogyny, within the warm glow of self-righteousness,” said Welch author and filmmaker Jon Ronson.

A legal showdown could be brewing over whether a satanic monument should be allowed on the grounds of the Arkansas state Capitol.

Legislation now heads to the desk of Gov. Asa Hutchinson after the state Senate gave final approval Tuesday to the bill that would require any monuments to first be approved by the legislature before going to the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission. Current law allows proposals to come through either entity, though they ultimately need legislative authorization.

Talk Business & Politics

Ahab Alammar has lived the American dream. The 28-year-old was born in Syria, but when he turned 13 his family was able to secure him a visa to come to the United States. He was the only person in his village of about 5,000 people to get one.

Pages