Head Hog’s must-do list: revenues, wins

By Steve Brawner, © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

The University of Arkansas athletic director has two must-accomplish responsibilities: first, keep the money flowing, and second, keep the fans happy by winning football games. Hunter Yurachek knows as well as anyone he’ll have to succeed at both.

Yurachek, who was hired last December, spoke Monday before a capacity crowd at the Little Rock Touchdown Club. His predecessor, Jeff Long, spoke to that same group nine times before being fired because he succeeded only at the first responsibility. Continue reading Head Hog’s must-do list: revenues, wins

Who should represent Arkansas for the next 100 years?

Bart Hester
Sen. James Paul Clarke’s statue at the U.S. Capitol, near the entrance.

By Steve Brawner,  © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

What two historical Arkansans are most deserving of one of the state’s highest honors and would best represent it before the nation and world?

I’ll give you a second.

You may have said Walmart founder Sam Walton, singer Johnny Cash, civil rights pioneer Daisy Bates, or Sen. Hattie Caraway, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

You probably didn’t mention Uriah Rose, founder of the Rose Law Firm, or James Paul Clarke, who served one term as Arkansas’ 18th governor from 1895-96 and later two terms in the U.S. Senate. But those are the two figures who have been memorialized in Congress’ National Statuary Hall Collection for about the past 100 years – Rose since 1917, and Clarke since 1921.

That might change. Continue reading Who should represent Arkansas for the next 100 years?

Lawsuit limits trailing in courts, poll

Lake View, Supreme Court, Issue 1By Steve Brawner, © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

There’s an expression sometimes used in politics: Go big or go home. With Issue 1, the tort reform amendment, the Arkansas Legislature went very big. And at the moment, that amendment is in serious danger of being sent home either by the courts or by the voters.

The wide-ranging measure would make major changes to the state’s legal system. It would limit “non-economic” (pain and suffering) lawsuit awards to $500,000. It would limit punitive damage awards meant to punish and deter wrongdoing to $500,000 or three times compensatory damage awards, whichever is greater. There wouldn’t be a limit if the defendant intentionally caused the harm. The amendment also would limit attorneys’ contingency fees to one-third the net amount awarded their clients. And it would enable the Legislature to override rules made for the state’s courts by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Legislators referred the measure to the ballot during the 2017 session. Powerful groups support it, including the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Hospital Association and the Arkansas Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes. Naturally, the trial lawyers oppose it.

Huge amounts of money are at stake for both sides. Therefore, huge amounts will be spent on this issue both for and against. Continue reading Lawsuit limits trailing in courts, poll

How to disagree about the NFL anthem controversy

Jim Hendren Joyce Elliott
Sens. Joyce Elliott and Jim Hendren as he flew her in his plane to Paragould, where they would disagree agreeably about the NFL anthem controversy.

By Steve Brawner, © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Jim Hendren and Joyce Elliott come from very different places, which is a big reason why they disagree on many issues including the NFL anthem controversy. But that was OK as they flew together in his small plane to speak about that subject to the Paragould Rotary Club.

How different are their backgrounds? He’s a conservative Republican state senator from Sulphur Springs in Northwest Arkansas. She’s a liberal Democratic state senator from Little Rock. He’s an engineer who owns a plastics company. She’s a retired schoolteacher. He’s the son of a longtime state legislator and nephew of the current governor. She’s the daughter of a single mother who struggled to keep food on the table. He flew F-15 fighter planes, now serves with the Air National Guard, and has deployed several times to the Middle East to fight ISIS. She and her siblings fought their own battle growing up in segregated schools in Willisville in southwestern Arkansas. Soon after forced integration, they were the only black students in an all-white school.

And yet Hendren calls her “one of my best friends in the Senate.” She says, “He’s one of my very best friends as well.” Continue reading How to disagree about the NFL anthem controversy