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Daily Arkansas news, politics and entertainment. Featuring the state's most trusted blog, dining guides and dining reviews, movie times and more.



Published: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 00:00:01 -0500

Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 01:00:00 -0500

Copyright: Copyright 2018 Arkansas Times. All rights reserved. This RSS file is offered to individuals, Arkansas Times readers, and non-commercial organizations only. Any commercial websites wishing to use this RSS file, please contact Arkansas Times.
 



The Blocked By Rapert Edition

Fri, 02 Feb 2018 16:34:00 -0600

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State Sen. Jake Files' guilty plea in federal court; state Sen. Jason Rapert, social media and the Conway Police Department; and a proposed gag order for the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/14197010/the_blocked_by_rapert_edition.mp3




The LRPD and the N-word Edition

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 15:01:00 -0600

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The Little Rock Police Department's decision to fire a black recruit for using a racial slur in an old social media post, the state of UAMS, a constitutional initiative and Tom Cotton — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/13991570/the_lrpd_and_the_n-word_edition.mp3




The Tough Talkin' Tom Cotton Edition

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:51:00 -0600

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Tough talkin’ Tom Cotton, a major state Supreme Court decision and a pivotal lawsuit for Little Rock politics — on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/13845785/the_tough_talkin_tom_cotton_edition_1.mp3




The Asa on the Move Edition

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:59:00 -0600

(image) Trump, Cotton and immigration; Governor Hutchinson navigating a primary challenger and the fiscal session; the hog farm in Newton County; and UAMS layoffs — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/13624696/the_asa_on_the_move_edition.mp3




The End of the Year Edition

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 16:10:00 -0600

(image) The tax bill that just cleared Congress, a Democratic candidate for governor, sexual harassment and state politics, transparency and the Razorback Foundation and turmoil at Arkansas Baptist — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/12936857/the_end_of_the_year_edition.mp3




The Cotton Dominoes Edition

Fri, 01 Dec 2017 17:09:00 -0600

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Tom Cotton headed to the CIA, Razorbackland in turmoil and more — covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/12247901/the_cotton_dominoes_edition.mp3




The Tom Cotton's Bright Idea Edition

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:47:00 -0600

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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.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/11771618/the_tom_cotton_s_bright_idea_edition.mp3




The Jeff Long's Cloudy Future Edition

Fri, 10 Nov 2017 15:40:00 -0600

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Jeff Long's future at the University of Arkansas, UAMS' grim outlook, the Highway Department vs. Metroplan, the state Supreme Court's decision to stay the execution of Jack Gordon Green and whether Democrats' big wins on Tuesday are a harbinger of things to come — all discussed on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/11540447/the_jeff_long_s_cloudy_future_edition.mp3




The Widening Drug Rehab Scandal Edition

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 16:49:00 -0500


Sen. Jim Hendren and the drug court rehab program scandal, the planned execution of Jack Greene and the big national political stories this week — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/11328232/the_widening_drug_rehab_scandal_edition.mp3




The PR Stunt Edition

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:44:00 -0500

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Little Rock’s Amazon PR stunt, the Tom Cotton to the CIA rumor, French Hill and Puerto Rico and UA-Little Rock's football future — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/10766459/the_pr_stunt_edition.mp3




The First Amendment, Yo Edition

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 16:36:00 -0500

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The latest in the legal fight to stop a law that would prevent Planned Parenthood from performing abortions in Arkansas, the cancellation of a rap show in Little Rock and its First Amendment implications, a stunning investigative report on drug court defendants being forced to work for free for Arkansas poultry companies and bellicose Tom Cotton — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/10449093/the_first_amendment__yo_edition.mp3




The GIF Gone Edition

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 16:57:00 -0500

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The Las Vegas mass shooting, the Arkansas Supreme Court decision on GIF money, Judge Wendell Griffen's lawsuit against the state Supreme Court and more — on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/10240413/the_gif_gone_edition.mp3




The 60 Years Later Edition

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 17:11:00 -0500

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The 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School, the Republicans’ last-gasp attempt to replace Obamacare, and a few odds and ends — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/9799249/the_60_years_later_edition_2.mp3




The Future of the LRSD Edition

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:32:00 -0500

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The Little Rock School District settling a racial bias lawsuit, the state board of education approving three new charter schools in Little Rock and the latest news on DACA — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/9535840/futurelrsd.mp3




The Asa's Health Care Pitch Edition

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 17:07:00 -0500

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Governor Hutchinson’s
critique of the Senate health care bill, the erection and destruction of the 10 Commandments monument, the U.S. Supreme Court and birth certificates for same-sex married couples and the appointment of Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland to U.S. Attorney — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/7785042/the_asa_s_health_care_plan_edition.mp3




The Silence of Tom Cotton Edition

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 17:45:00 -0500

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The Senate health care bill, Judge Wendell Griffen's ruling on a new juvenile sentencing law, the revival of the bathroom bill and more — all covered on this week's podcast, sponsored by 42 at the Clinton Center and "Drive sober or get pulled over," a message from the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety office.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/7608152/the_silence_of_tom_cotton_edition.mp3




The No Insight From Dr. No Edition

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:56:00 -0500

A hot car death and Heath Department recommendations, the health care overhaul bill being negotiated in secret in the U.S. Senate, a federal court verdict in a police violence case and more — discussed on this week's podcast, sponsored by 42 at the Clinton Center.

(Errrr ... the metronome feature in Garageband, the program we use to record the podcast, was inadvertently left on, so ... clap along to the beat.)

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/7448096/the_no_insight_from_dr._no_edition.mp3




The Tribalism Edition

Fri, 02 Jun 2017 16:30:00 -0500

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President Trump withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement and how that decision was greeted by Arkansas politicians, new candidates emerging to take on French Hill in the 2nd District, Max’s annual visit to Arkansas Boys State and an embattled charter school before the state board of education — all covered on this week's podcast.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/7146019/tribalism.mp3




The 'Jason Rapert Must Go' Suggestion Box Edition

Fri, 26 May 2017 18:02:00 -0500

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Judicial bickering, the latest in a big bribery case and more — covered on this week's podcast, sponsored by Forty Two at the Clinton Center.

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Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/6985254/the__jason_rapert_must_go__suggestion_box_edition.mp3




Bill to place monument to Ten Commandments on the state capitol grounds passes House

Wed, 01 Apr 2015 14:55:00 -0500

(image) A bill that will place a monument to the Biblical Ten Commandments on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol has passed the House by a vote of 72-7, with one member voting present. 

Senate Bill 939, known as "The Ten Commandments Monument Display Act," would allow private citizens to fund the creation of a permanent monument to the Biblical Ten Commandments. The Arkansas Secretary of State's office would be responsible for the design and maintenance of the monument. The bill passed the Senate this morning by a vote of 27-3

Rep. John Walker gave an impassioned speech against the bill today, noting that when the colonists fled Britain to come to North America, one of the things they were fleeing was a government-established religion. "Our country was founded on the idea that while we value religion, we cannot establish a religion," Walker said. "And therefore there is an establishment of religion clause in the Constitution."

Walker said that it would be improper for the state to adopt a religious viewpoint, especially one that would likely be seen as offensive by some. Walker went on to say that the U.S. Supreme Court has already addressed the issue by declaring unconstitutional the placement of a Ten Commandments in an Alabama courthouse by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who Walker notes persists with the idea that public buildings are a proper place for the Ten Commandments. 

"He still persists with the notion that because we are each sovereign as states within the United States, we can do what we want to do," Walker said. "But that was resolved by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. We cannot do what we want to do. Because when those amendments were adopted, all the states agreed to the Bill of Rights."

Walker said that while American society gives "lip service to the concept of being religious," he noted that less than half of Americans profess to being involved in organized religion in national polls. Walker said that placing a monument to the Ten Commandments on Capitol grounds would create a schism between religious and non-religious Arkansans, one that he called unnecessary.

"I do not understand why we unnecessarily take on issues that are divisive. This is a divisive issue, primarily set forth in order to make a point that the United States cannot regulate what we do as a sovereign and cannot tell us what to do, and if someone doesn't like it, they can challenge it," Walker said. "When can we come to our senses and determine that we don't have to always challenge things which have already been challenged, where we have lost, and continue to go through that same confrontation with the federal government?"

If the bill to build the monument becomes law, Walker said, the rest of the country will take note, especially as the issue is litigated.

"Again," Walker said, "we'll be, as we are now in some respects, the laughing stock of the United States along with Indiana." 

You can listen to audio of Walker's speech by clicking below: 




Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/3786993/zoom0046.mp3




Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' bill passes Senate

Fri, 27 Mar 2015 11:21:00 -0500

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HB1228,
the so-called conscience protection bill by Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) that would allow Arkansans to discriminate against LGBT people based on their personal interpretation of religion, has passed the state Senate by a vote of 24-7. It now heads to the House.

No one spoke in favor of HB1228 after it was introduced by Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs), though several senators spoke out passionately against it.  

Sen. David Johnson (D-Little Rock) said that while other states have passed similar Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, "one of the issues with this bill is that it opens a huge gray area as a defense to the laws we pass and the ordinances that cities and counties pass."

Johnson noted a case in Texas in which a religion-based halfway house sued over a municipal prohibition on where halfway houses could be located. The Texas Supreme Court, Johnson said, later ruled that under the state's RFRA, the halfway house could, in fact, locate anywhere they pleased. In another case Johnson noted, a Buddhist temple in Connecticut sued a city, saying that parking and noise restrictions were hindering their religious freedom. The temple later won in court under that state's RFRA, Johnson said. The ability to skirt the law by invoking religion, Johnson said, will "encourage people to hijack religion." 

"It's a double standard. It's a huge gray area," Johnson said. "It will employ attorneys for the next decade while the courts try to put limitations sand try to figure out what this new law in Arkansas means." 

Sen. Joyce Elliott read from a letter from a gay constituent, who wrote, in part, that the bill was extremely unconstitutional, and "mutes those who like myself are a religious or denominational minority." 

"I'm always wondering when we're passing laws: What are we advancing?" Elliott asked her colleagues. "What problem are we solving? Are we really doing this in the interest of most people in our state? Have we created a problem so we can create a solution?" 

Elliott asked her fellow senators to consider a scenario in which her 16 year old gay nephew with her 17-year-old straight niece walked into a business, with one of them being served while the other was discriminated against. "How would you explain that to those two young people standing in front of you?" Elliott said. "What would you say to them?" 

Sen. Linda Chesterfield asked Senators to remember Christ's commandment to love one another.

"Having lived in this state a long time," Chesterfield said, "I know what religious freedom means. And I also know that it has not always been used in the best way. Having grown up in the South all of my life, I know that religious freedom has meant that slavery was okay. It has meant that Jim Crow was okay. It has meant that it was okay to keep people from achieving that which they deserved. It's impossible for me, having suffered from that religious freedom in a negative way, to fail to say that we are better than this." 

You can listen to the audio of today's debate and vote below: 




Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/3771683/senate_audio.mp3




An open line; dissection of Sen. Jason Rapert, and strange murder case witness

Wed, 18 Feb 2015 16:16:00 -0600

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Here's an open line. And, in time, perhaps today's video. Meanwhile:

* SEN. JASON "NUKE 'EM" RAPERT: We've had sport already with Sen. Jason Rapert's emergence from the Gilbert Baker Memorial Legislative Bunker to advocate use of nuclear weapons on ISIS. His bomb-riding blast drew national attention, which naturally led Rapert to blame his troubles on liberal bloggers, not his own big and misinformed mouth. He tried to cover today on Facebook, with more misinformation and some selective cleaning up of his own words to make them look less objectionable. He only managed to make more mistakes. He needs some legal instruction, too. He accused the Arkansas Blog and others of libeling him. All we did was republish direct quotes from the Bloviator of Bigelow.

Blue Hog takes him to school over it and then some.


UPDATE: I have a rough quality copy of remarks Rapert made on the Senate floor Wednesday explaining himself. He doesn't advocate violence or conventional nuclear weapons, he said. Social media types misquoted him. Those ISIS guys are terrible. Etc. Poor, pitiful Jason, in other words.


* WITNESSING: Mara Leveritt reports on her Facebook page that she's turned up on the witness list for the retrial of former Death Row inmate Tim Howard for Little Rock slayings. She has nothing to contribute to the case that hasn't appeared in the Arkansas Times. She suspects Prosecutor Bryan Chesshir is attempting to keep her reporting out of the courtroom. We'll be contesting that. This case has been riddled with questions about prosecutorial actions for years. And still.


Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/3670937/rapert_nuke_comments_edited.wav




Kim Kardashian, a Christmas playlist, local poetry and more

Fri, 12 Dec 2014 15:51:00 -0600

Arkansas Times Recommends is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. Tonight, is the Arkansas Times annual holiday party. As usual, I've been asked to DJ. That means putting together a playlist on iTunes and Spotify that starts with not-lame Christmas music, gradually transitions into mid-tempo party music, moves to Stax and Motown so the boomers on staff will dance and then, maybe after Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, is just "Back That Azz Up" played on a loop. It's a winning formula. We start all sport coat and cocktail dress-y and end up like this. The most important part of the playlist, of course, is not-lame Christmas music. Because there's nothing more soul-sucking and party-ruining than cheeseball Christmas music. Over years of doing this, I've come up with about two CDs of excellent not-lame holiday tunes. In the spirit of the season, I'll recommend three of my favorites to help you start building your not-lame holiday mix around: Paul "Fat Daddy" Johnson: "Fat Daddy." Johnson was the "300-pound King of Soul," a legendary Baltimore R&B DJ. I got turned on to the song thanks to filmmaker John Waters, always a great champion of all things Baltimore, who put it on his excellent Christmas CD collection. Lee Perry and Sandra Robinson: "Merry Christmas, Happy New Year." You can't go wrong with a dubbed out holiday duet about giving love another chance. I found this song on the Trojan Christmas Box Set. Looks like it's easily available elsewhere, too. Craig Le Roq: "Little Drummer Boy." I don't know where I found this, and I can't find it anywhere online now. That's too bad because this is my No. 1 Christmas song. I know nothing about it other than Le Roq is (was?) a Detroit DJ and it sort of sounds like Funkadelic doing "Little Drummer Boy."  — Lindsey Millar When the National Book Award for fiction was awarded to Phil Klay last month for his book of short stories "Redeployment," my reaction was: Who's Phil Klay? So I tracked down the title piece, originally published in Granta, and it languishedin my tabs until I finally turned my attention to it this week. It's the story of an American marine returning home from a seven-month tour in Irag. Narrated in a distant and terse manner, "Redeployment" is essential reading for Americans, especially those of us who have never been near a war-zone, and we are legion. And that's why Klay's book was awarded one of our top literary awards. To get you started, here's the brilliant opening paragraph: "We shot dogs. Not by accident. We did it on purpose and we called it 'Operation Scooby'. I'm a dog person, so I thought about that a lot." — Maxwell George I recommend the song "Baby," recorded by Donnie & Joe Emerson in the 1970s, when they were teenagers living in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific northwest. Their dad took out a loan against the family farm to build the boys a home recording studio, where the two young amateurs made an out-of-this-world pop masterpiece LP, "Dreamin' Wild," that basically no one outside their family knew about until a record collector happened upon a copy decades later. There's a pretty amazing outsider-art story of how this vanity press album, basically a family memento, became a critically acclaimed re-release in 2012 with a loving cult following (you can read more here). Also the art on the album cover is ou[...]


Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/3577747/01_little_drummer_boy.mp3




Republican ad calls 10-year-old's song idiotic; the return blast is awesome

Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:54:00 -0500

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Empathy has never been a strong suit of Republicans. Pain is good for you (emphasis on you), they think. Tom Cotton's voting record demonstrates. But sometimes toughness backfires.

Republican Stacy Hurst, a Little Rock House candidate, stepped in it with her ham-fisted scheme to use opponent Clarke Tucker's 4-year-old son as a political weapon. I've nominated Hurst — for this and for her disdain for the constitutional right to legal counsel — as the most despicable campaigner of the season.

I might have spoken too soon. Independence County Tea Party Republicans may be giving Hurst a run for her money. They've apparently aired a commercial attacking as "idiotic" an ad jingle for Democratic House candidate Lackey Moody by his daughter, Kate, 10. It has prompted a whale of a response ad.

CORRECTION: I wrongly attributed the response ad to Senate candidate James McLean.

The speaker is Scott Lancaster, a lawyer and general counsel for Bad Boy Mowers. He didn't take the ad lying down. He taped this ad and ran it for Friends of Kate Moody. His blast delves into broader issues of health insurance expansion, which the Tea Party of Independence County is fighting. You want idiotic, he asks? Do what the Tea Party wants — gut health care, put people out of work and take away their insurance. He closes: "Kate, you can write a jingle for me anytime." He says the best for Independence County is to vote for James McLean for Senate and Lackey Moody for House.




You can hear Kate's jingle here.


Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/3523688/friends_of_kate_moody__1_.mp3




Holder, Clinton address national mayor's conference at Clinton Center

Wed, 08 Oct 2014 12:13:00 -0500

Former President Bill Clinton and current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared at the Clinton Center this morning to address the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who are holding a meeting in Little Rock today and tomorrow to discuss lessons of the racial furor that erupted in Ferguson, Mo., after police there shot an unarmed black man in August.  Holder, who was once a judge in Washington, D.C., said that prior to joining the Justice Department as an assistant attorney general under Bill Clinton, he'd seen a stream of young men of color through his courtroom, seeing some of them multiple times. He said that Washington was "a city in crisis" in terms of crime in the 1990s. He said that the Community Oriented Policing System (COPS) that was put in place during the Clinton Administration, which hired tens of thousands of new cops and shifted the focus to building bridges between police and communities, helped change things. He noted that under Obama, both crime rates and incarceration rates had declined — the first time both had declined simultaneously in over 40 years. He applauded robust community policing efforts to try and build connections between communities and police. Turning to Ferguson, Holder said the incident had shined a national spotlight on the rifts that developed between police and citizens.  "When I traveled to Ferguson a few days after that incident," Holder said, "my pledge to the people of that community was that our nation's Department of Justice would remain focused on challenges that they face and the deep-seated issues that the shooting had brought to the surface long after the national headlines had faded. This week, as we gather to confront those issues and consider ways to rebuild trust where it has eroded ... we're taking robust actions to make good on the pledge I made." The events in Ferguson, Holder said, showed the country that we cannot and must not allow tensions in communities to go unresolved.  After Holder, Bill Clinton came to the lectern. After remarking about how good it is to no longer be president ("The great thing about not being president anymore is that you can just say whatever you want," he said, "unless your wife might run for something, and then you can say anything you want as long as you don't make headlines."), his new granddaughter ("She's just like any normal child," Clinton said. "She was eight days old before we began to discuss quadratic equations."), and his trip around the state in recent days, Clinton spoke at length about the need to work for more inclusive communities, saying that everywhere in the world that "identity politics" are being practiced, problems abound. "Whether we like it or not," he said. "We are increasingly bound together."  Clinton said everyone in the world is struggling with fundamental questions about who we are and how we can all live together. In America, Clinton said, people seem to be more willing to live with anybody these days except those with whom they politically disagree. "There's a lot of evidence that Americans are getting over all their bigotries but one," he said. "We're less — probably a lot less — racist, sexist and homophobic than we used to be, but we still don't want to be around anybody we don't agree with."    Clinton, as is his impressive gift, went on to give a solid, well-reasoned, mostly off-the-cuff speech that tou[...]


Media Files:
https://www.arktimes.com/media/content/3488291/clinton_speech.mp3