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January 8, 2009

Vol 6 • No 52

But what are we teaching?

A reader finds a disconnect in news earlier today about a high ranking for Arkansas in educational matters when a new CDC report puts the state fourth in teen pregnancies.

Church and state in Fountain Lake

Americans United for Separation of Church and State has raised an objection to the construction of what it described as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes addition to the athletic facilities at Fountain Lake High School.

Orval, Jan. 8

A&E news, Jan. 8

Off Center, the official name of Norman Jones’ new incarnation of the space that used to house Easy Street, will open at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, with Cody Belew and Co.

The year in Arkansas sports 2008

Here I am mulling over 2008 and the Razorbacks have already slated one of the most memorable moments in 2009 with their stunning home win over Oklahoma.

Race is meaningless

I enjoyed and was somewhat amused by Mara Leveritt’s article “From Octoroon to Other.”

Cut! For filmmakers

Arkansas is one of only two states not offering incentives for filmmakers (Delaware is the other), but legislation to change that is being prepared for the upcoming General Assembly.

Dizzy for Izzy’s

Any restaurant that has survived nearly 24 years has some secrets to success.

In brief, Jan. 8

Two Arkansans who’ve long flirted with national fame share the stage at White Water.

Words, Jan. 8

Hugh N. Crye writes: “An acquaintance of mine addresses me as ‘old bean.’ What does he mean by this? Should I hit him?”

Burning Benton

Tempers are running high in Benton over Mayor Rick Holland’s appointment of new Police Chief Kirk Lane.

Editorial cartoon, Jan. 8

The Gospel of John

Political arguments about scientific issues such as global warming are deeply frustrating.

‘One Ninth’

Most everyone is familiar with the story of the Little Rock Nine.

Predictions for ’09

The Oracle of Bob doesn’t prophesy; it merely extrapolates.


“The Tale of Despereaux” is one storybook tale that should probably have remained on the page.

Dec. 30, 2008-Jan. 6, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … KIDS. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Act 1 of 2008, which prohibits unmarried, cohabiting couples from fostering or adopting any of the many Arkansas children who need a go

To-do list, Jan. 8

Boondogs, 2nd Friday Art Night, Lucero, MAXX, Brad Williams / Amy Garland, WWE Smackdown, Gym Class Heroes and Bryan Frazier are among this week's entertainment options.

Smart talk, Jan. 8

In his new book “Do The Right Thing” (see full review, this issue), former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee attempts to tie up a chapter on the importance of self-governance with a strange anecdote.

Greenberg: Let women pay to get pregnant

Women in Arkansas who have small-group or individual health insurance have been able to get coverage up to $15,000 for in vitro infertility treatments since 1991, thanks to a state mandate.

The Observer, Jan. 8

The Observer had a few days off last week, so we took the time to putter around the little woodshop we’ve set up in our tiny Capitol View garage.

On the Verge

Arkansas natives Jay Kell and Emily Collins enjoy living on the edge —at least when it comes to wine.

Bad law redux, on union cards

Fifty-two years ago, Arkansas amended its Constitution to proclaim that the laws of the United States would not be enforced in Arkansas.

Wasting time and space

A racist letter made its way onto the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Voices page on Jan. 2.

The wisdom of pardons

The nomination of Eric Holder as the next U.S. attorney general has renewed concerns about the end-of-term clemencies granted by President Clinton.

Unfrivolous lawsuit

Even in a democratic society, some rights are too important to be left to popular vote.

What's cooking, Jan. 8

After a little more than a year in business, North Little Rock’s Argenta Seafood Company has closed.

This modern world, Jan. 8

For You or For Me?

Last week, my mother asked for some book recommendations.  She had some time between semesters, and she wanted to pick up a few things to read.  I sometimes get a little nervous recommending things because I don't want to suggest something I love to someone I love, only to have them hate it.  I've done it, and I've had it done to me.  I disliked a movie called Dogville so much, I actually called my friend Ali, who had recommended it, and yelled at her a little.

Much to be done

The day after Barack Obama was elected, John Wesley Hall of Little Rock, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, posted a message to members on the NACDL website:

What’s Happening in January

Unless otherwise indicated, event is a reading and/or book signing.

Chadwick “Buddy” Habig, 1971-2008

Those of us fortunate enough to have known or shared a stage or collaborated with Chadwick “Buddy” Habig were left with heavy hearts and spirits following his death on Dec. 23, 2008.

What we’re reading

Here are the top 10 bestsellers from three local bookstores. Data is most recent available.

Beebe: Not sweating small stuff

Brummett recounts the recent press meeting with legislative leaders and Gov. Mike Beebe. He found a governor characterizing the new lottery as relatively small potatoes, even though legislators are investing a great deal of importance in it.

Happy ending for immigrant

Remember the immigrant woman held four days without food and water in a Washington County holding cell?

New leader at CDI

Lloyd Garrison, who had been the firm's president, will succeed William Clark as CEO of CDI Contractors, the construction firm now wholly owned by Dillard's.

The case for the cigarette tax

Brummett's blog expands on the notion of using a cigarette tax increase to leverage a triple match from the feds for Medicaid.

Heroes and villains

Ah, yes, it's that time again. The fergit-hell crowd is ready for a double-barreled memorial to the traitorous Arkansan hanged for spying on Union forces in Little Rock back in the day.

Heroes and villains

Ah, yes, it's that time again. The fergit-hell crowd is ready for a double-barreled memorial to the traitorous Arkansan hanged for spying on Union forces in Little Rock back in the day.

Bush by the numbers

Then and now. Heckuva job.

Not too shabby

It's been a year of ups and downs for Chesapeake Energy Corp.  The company leased land from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for gas exploration, natural gas prices went into the tank, and the company has had to deal some financial issues, but it's all good for CEO Aubrey McClendon who will get a $75 million bonus.  Arkansas Business has more.

SEC Basketball Power Poll: Week 1

With conference play rapidly approaching, the folks who brought you the SEC Football Power Poll have joined forces once again to bring you the basketball version.

Now that we're done with 2008...

Pynchon's got a Jimmy Buffett novel coming out in 09.'s time to spend some time licking your chops at all that 2009 promises.So:"2009 May Be a Great Year for Books" [via The Millions]None of these really inspire too much excitement in me. But a quiet yay for Zadie Smith, Wells Tower and Pynchon."The 60 Most Anticipated Films of 2009" [via The Playlist]Malick's supposed to be back!

That didn't take long

John Brummett won't have Kristin Fisher to kick around any more.  KATV's "Choose Your News" media darling will be headed to Washington D.C. to work as a correspondent for WUSA, a CBS affiliate in the nation's capital.  Fisher made the announcement during her Daily Debrief segment over the internet last night.  Fisher sparked a huge old vs. new media debate with seasoned columnist John Brummett that had the Arkansas press corps talking for weeks (You can catch a brief summary of their arguments in our video player).  Fisher gained national media attention for her "Choose Your News" segment, which allows viewers to choose the news stories on which Fisher reports.  In the beginning she received about 1,000 votes per day.  At the height of her skirmish with Brummett, Fisher was getting about 3,000 votes per day.  David Koon and I raised some questions about the segment in a Times cover story a few weeks ago.  Viewers can tune in to the CYN website and watch Fisher at her desk - drinking coffee, chatting with co-workers and working on her story - all throughout the day.  Fisher's segment turned into a money-maker for the station and made her popular with local viewers.  I suspect we haven't heard the last of Kristin Fisher.  

Hands across the sea

Three students in UALR's Middle East program have organized a vigil at the Capitol this evening to urge peace in Gaza and Israel.

In vitro coverage spared

Rep. Dan Greenberg appears a little perturbed that Leslie Peacock gave some attention to his idea, now shelved, to end mandated health insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization.

Sarah ungagged

A friendly filmmaker has drawn out Sarah Palin on a variety of issues. Summary here.

Thursday To-Do: The Boondogs - The See

The See. Photo by Lizzie Burnham.

Aaaiiiiieeee! More of those ads!

After more than a year of being hollered at more than 450,000 times a day in "reminders" to get ready for the February 17 switch-over to digital television, it looks like Congress in its wisdom may delay the switch.

LR school cuts

A special Little Rock School Board meeting has been called this evening for a vote on Superintendent Linda Watson's proposals to cut $10 million from the budget in response to a sharp drop in enrollment.

LR school cuts

A special Little Rock School Board meeting has been called this evening for a vote on Superintendent Linda Watson's proposals to cut $10 million from the budget in response to a sharp drop in enrollment.

The senator's good work

Credit Sen. Blanche Lincoln for her work to extend the child tax credit for working poor.

More from Habig

Jason McHughes, Ivan Yarborough and other musicians expect to return to the recording studio within a month or two to finish the Art Porter Sr. tribute album that Buddy Habig was working with them on at the time of his death.Also, a project under the name McHughes & Habig consisting of originalcompositions should be released sometime this year and will be titled, "Another Damn Thing."

It's about time

Sources say the Attorney General's office will hold a press conference Wednesday at noon to announce the filing of the much-talked-about animal cruelty bill that has been in the works for roughly a year.  Arkansas is currently one of only five states without a felony charge for animal cruelty.  Lawmakers, animal protection groups and others involved in crafting the legislation will be present for the announcement.  When asked about the details of the event, the AG's office said they had reserved the old Supreme Court room at the Capitol for a press announcement, but added they were not ready to confirm or deny the purpose of that announcement.  McDaniel has said the bill would be filed next week.  The bill would make aggravated assault of a cat, dog or horse a first-offense felony.  It also includes increasingly stiff punishments for misdemeanor offenses, with the fourth misdemeanor resulting in felony charges.  Sen. Sue Madison, D-Fayetteville, and Rep. Pam Adcock, D-Little Rock, will sponsor the bill.  Sen. Madison confirmed that the bill would be filed on Wednesday morning.   

Justice watch

The legal rumor mill is really cranking about the spate of appointments to be made by the Obama administration from a pool of Democratic lawyers eight long years in the wilderness.

Annals of crime: Cabot division

Tip: If you're out on bond for possession of stolen property, and you  decide to go break into some cars, try not to leave your wallet  behind.

Open checkbooks

Rep. Dan Greenberg, R-Little Rock, filed legislation today calling for the creation of a website, through the Department of Finance and Administration, that would track expenditures of state funds.  The "Open Checkbooks in Government Act" would create a searchable database of all state expenditures including: the name of the recipients (excluding private information or recipients of state or federal assistance payments); the amount spent; a description of the transaction; source of authority for the expenditure and the funding agency.

Riviera condos 'financially sound'

The developer of the big makeover of the Riviera apartments into condos has issued a news release on the soundness of the project following a report in Arkansas Business on some liens filed by firms working on the job.

Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow

Much as I'd like to sit by the TV with some popcorn and a Mickey's 40-oz.

Bulldog, bulldog, bow wow wow

Much as I'd like to sit by the TV with some popcorn and a Mickey's 40-oz.

The late report

I had a minute to check e-mail, so I thought I'd mention: * For comic relief, The Arkansas Project offers Rep. John Boozman inveighing against the idea of a bailout for the porn industry.

‘Come back with a warrant’

A week before the election, John Wesley Hall was obsessed with the presidential race, so nervous, he said, that he’d gained weight from reckless nibbling.

On the Verge

Arkansas natives Jay Kell and Emily Collins enjoy living on the edge —at least when it comes to wine.

Hucksterville, USA

In his new book, “Do the Right Thing” (Sentinel/Penguin Books, $25.95, hardcover) former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee presents a simple fix for all of America’s problems, from higher taxes to big government to drug abuse to c

Let others pay

Rob Moritz of Stephens Media follows others wondering about whether NWA Repubs will support a cigarette tax increase to pay for medical facilities in their area.

Keys to the courthouse

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is right, of course. Rep. Dan Greenberg's bill to allow taxpayers to get a free, quick second opinion from the attorney general's office on Freedom of Information requests would inundate the office with work.

Honeymoon's over

Krugman says Obama's stimulus plan isn't enough. Senate allies saying much the same thing.

Alltel: The new world

Roby Brock promises developments today on his blog as Verizon assumes control of Alltel. Arkansas Business is also monitoring.

Like it or lump it, gals

More from Rick Warren: LAKE FOREST, Calif.

Probing the bond business

NY Times reports today that the investigation that ended New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's cabinet future ties into national concerns about the municipal bond business -- bid rigging, pay-to-play, etc. Arkansas has seen its share of bond scandal.

Who will grow Arkansas?

Gov. Beebe will, that's who. His Economic Development Department today released his long-range strategy for economic growth.

The Unfinished Swan

  A first person shooter for fans of chiaroscuro.In development, at least in part, in NWA currently.

Friday To-Do: WWE Smackdown

The Great Khali! (and some other far, far less great dude) WWE SMACKDOWN7:30 p.m., Summit Arena, Hot Springs.

Initial line-up for Wakarusa a little meh

At least from my perspective. Aside from Sly and Robbie, I can't think of anyone on this list I'd drive three hours to see.

Friday To-Do: Brad Williams and Amy Garland

Brad Williams, brightly. BRAD WILLIAMS/ AMY GARLAND8 p.m., Studio Joe.Here's a rare gig for you.

Juvenile justice

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families reports today that there are hopeful signs in a decline in juvenile crime in Arkansas, but the state is at a critical point of doing more to move treatment of problem kids from institutions to community-based programs.

A Few Quick Thoughts on Tim Tebow

I'll be the first to admit that I don't like Tim Tebow (or, more accurately, the whole culture around's not like I know the guy).

Football and race

I'd overlooked this story with an Arkansas angle. It's about Charlie Strong, a Florida assistant football coach and Batesville native who graduated from UCA and earned a master's from Henderson.

Carrying charges

Steve Lucchi, the barbecue man turned wine wholesaler, is raising sand about the slate of permit fee increases proposed by Michael Langley, director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency.

Friday To-Do: 2nd Friday Art Night

by Jon Shannon Rogers. 2ND FRIDAY ART NIGHT5 p.m., Downtown.A new venue joins the 2nd Friday Art Night bunch this Friday: The Arts Scene at 110 La Harpe.

Blago impeached

Tricky business, isn't it? Illinois politicians getting exercised about favor trading.

Friday To-Do: Maxx

MAXX8 p.m., Vino's. $5.“Maxx is back!” That's how the young MC Max Farrell introduced himself to the local rap scene a couple years back.

Friday To-Do: Lucero for Luke

LUCERO9 p.m., Revolution. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.A week after Lucero played White Water, the band returns to Little Rock about five months ahead of schedule.

Bloody Sunday

Bono is going to become a columnist and podcaster for the NY Times.

Child porn nets big sentence

A Springdale child pornographer got a 110-year sentence in federal court in Fayetteville today.

A giant's passing

I regret I couldn't make it to Margaret Kolb's funeral today. But several who did have reported on Pulaski Heights Baptist Pastor Randy Hyde's tribute to the tiny woman with the outsized record of good deeds, including brave work with the Women's Emergency Committee in the late 1950s.

The Weekend: Jim Mize, the Gillet Coon Supper, Josh the Devil

FRIDAY 1/9Jim Mize and the Germans, always worth seeing, are a late booking at White Water, 10 p.m., $5All the tried and true Arkie pols will be glad-handing at the Gillet Coon Supper (Gillet High School Gym, 507 Champion), 7:30 p.m., $20.

The bad news business

Seattle is about to become a one-newspaper town.

You're on

Friday night thread.

You're on

Friday night thread.

Grandstanding or good government?

Brummett concludes there may be a bit of both in Rep. Dan Greenberg's idea -- likely going nowhere -- to give citizens a right to request FOI opinions from the attorney general.

Grandstanding or good government?

Brummett concludes there may be a bit of both in Rep. Dan Greenberg's idea -- likely going nowhere -- to give citizens a right to request FOI opinions from the attorney general.

Ethics schmethics

The Democrat-Gazette reports today on the continuing parade of former legislators into the lobby ranks where they hope to earn a living from people they befriended during lawmaking days.

We're No. 1!

There's a great new book out that only wonks and nerds could love. It's "How Barack Obama Won" (Vintage Paperback, 258 pages, $12.95).

It's Definitely Time for a Change of Subject

Ok, I'm calling 'time out' on comments in response to my Tim Tebow post. It was intended merely as some light-hearted trash talk about an opposing player and has somehow morphed into a discussion about religion that was about the last thing from my mind when I wrote it.

Federal help for Hope

Note a big land bill pending before the Senate would designate Bill Clinton's Hope birthplace as a national historic site.

Segregating charter schools

An interesting article in NY Times today about the rising use of charter schools in Minnesota to cater to distinct ethnic and immigrant groups -- Hmong, Latino and Somalian, for example.

Segregating charter schools

An interesting article in NY Times today about the rising use of charter schools in Minnesota to cater to distinct ethnic and immigrant groups -- Hmong, Latino and Somalian, for example.

The rich get richer

This isn't really news, except for the update in worsening statistics: But yet another study shows that capital gains and investment tax cuts are of use primarily to the rich.

Trailer thieves nabbed

Heard about a trailer theft operation in LR? This report from the Heights neighborhood bulletin board indicates an arrest was made Friday after thieves struck in Cammack Village.

Over to you

A fresh slate. Open line.

Letdown City

OK, so maybe you want to hold off on booking that April plane flight to Detroit.

The Death Star twinkles

Brummett evaluates Sen. Bob Johnson's outburst at a media conference last week and finds some good -- not leaving two-year-college students out of the lottery funding formula (which nobody has proposed to do) -- and some bad, specifically that zoo nonsense. In advocating the end of the LR Zoo as we know it, Johnson is merely carrying water for UAMS' manifest parking destiny.

Forget hell!

No this is not meant to be another rumination on the fixation of a handful of Lost Cause dead-enders, including the local daily, with a minor Civil War figure hanged for spying.

Drink up, boys

I see Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has Sen. Steve Faris lined up to handle his ethics legislation.

Slow day

Perhaps readers can spice it up.

Obama to NYT: Stick it

A NY Times editorial today calling for still more disclosure about former President Bill Clinton's activities gets a quick rejection from the Obama team.

Cut! for filmmakers

Arkansas is one of only two states not offering incentives for filmmakers (Delaware is the other), but legislation to change that is being prepared for the upcoming General Assembly. (See the video below, too.)

Huckabee v. Coulter

She has called him stupid. He had her on his show to get even.

Twelve zeros

Brummett tries to get his arms around a trillion-dollar deficit and the ways, none pleasant, that Barack Obama has to address it.

Immigration obsession

We already know, thanks to knee-jerking by Gov. Mike Beebe, that the "problem" of allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students (albeit Arkansas high school grads with more years in residence than New Yorkers on big scholarships) is virtually non-existent.

Estate tax to live

Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Obama will move to prevent the estate tax from expiring next year.

Where charity begins

The Iconoclast has a good post, and some good comments, on the declining fortunes of United Way in Northwest Arkansas, a situation that includes some Washington County v. Benton County tension.

Mistakes were made

OK, maybe that "Mission Accomplished" banner was a mistake.

Jindal to speak

La. Gov. Bobby Jindal, a rising Republican star, will speak at Washington County Republicans' Lincoln Day dinner in Fayetteville Feb. 7.

LRSD budget cuts

Little Rock School Board member Melanie Fox has sent a letter to Supt. Linda Watson and other board members explaining her disagreement with the superintendent's proposals for balancing the district budget in the face of declining enrollment.

Flapper, yes sir, one of those

Just because it interested me: The Old State House Museum announces a $1,000 gift to restore the inaugural gown worn by First Lady Mabel Claire Martineau in 1927.

Obama adds gay bishop

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, who is gay, will deliver a prayer at the Lincoln Memorial inaugural event.

Q&A: Jim Harris, part 1

With the Razorback basketball season off to an unexpectedly absorbing start, we thought now was a good time to check in with one of our favorite sports scribes, Jim Harris, the editor of the outstanding

Set 'em up

The legislature's hearing from Speaker Robbie Wills and shortly I'll link his important committee leadership decisions.

The dangers of downloading

U.S. attorney in Fort Smith announces an eight-year federal prison sentence for a Springdale man found to be in possession of child porn.

Boss Wills UPDATE

To the winner of the speaker's race goes the prize of awarding committee chairmanships. You can see them now on the speaker's website.

Step your swag up

Free Blood, LR native John Pugh's post-!!! duo, cares about your smell.

Dinner and a Trial.

Looking for an interesting dinner and entertainment this weekend?  Head to Historic Washington State Park for the Trial By Jury Dinner.  Have a wonderful meal at the Williams' Tavern Restaurant before heading over to the beautifully restored 1836 Courthouse, where you and your fellow diners will determine the guilt or innocence of a man accused of murder.  The event is based on an actual court case from 1844.  Dress up in 19th Century clothing or come as you are.  Reservations required.  The event is this Saturday, January 17th starting at 6 p.m.  Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for kids under 14.  If the weather is inclement, the event will be rescheduled for January 24th.  For more information or to purchase tickets, call (870) 983-2684 or check out the park's website.

Heights food news

News of note for the Heights/Hillcrest crowd (and beyond):   Lex and Ellen Golden and their children Alex Golden and Amy McCay have purchased Terry's Finer Foods, the old-line carriage trade grocery on Kavanaugh, from Gene Lewellen.

Beebe appoints State Police commissioner

He's Jonesboro tycoon Wallace Fowler.

Let us pray

Comes notice of a Legislative Prayer Caucus. Sponsors: Sen. Gilbert Baker and Rep. Bruce Maloch. Suggested reading: Matthew 6: 5-7

'Simple, universal, fair'

The state's independent colleges adopt Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's mantra for establishing new college scholarships with lottery proceeds.

Open line

Over to you. Still surprised no one's turned up with more about that computer seizure last week at the home of a prominent Washington County resident.

Child missing in car theft UPDATE

Little Rock police are searching for a silver 2004 Land Rover Discovery SUV -- Ark. license 167 HGE -- which was stolen from the Montessori School at 4023 Lee late this afternoon with a 17-month-old child inside.

The mighty Huck

Major profile post-campaign in Esquire of Mike Huckabee. The writer, A.J. Jacobs, an avowed liberal, really likes him.

Cigarettes and health

Brummett writes today of the coalition that will be necessary to put together a bullet-proof (75 percent vote) coalition to raise the cigarette tax to pay for trauma care and (to bring other votes) other community health services.

Suffer the children

Court news is that the ACLU, for now, isn't seeking a temporary order to delay implementation of Act 1 because no one has immediately been affected.

School accountability: Not

Is there ANYTHING a charter school can do wrong to get the charter school shills on the state Board of Education -- led by the Walton's in-house paid charter advocate  Naccaman Williams -- to act against a law-breaking charter school?

Such a deal

Seen that ad in the Democrat-Gazette? The one that invites you to send Walter Hussman money ($5 minimum) to buy an ad congratulating Barack Obama?

Who's hustling?

A police scanner listener e-mailed a bit ago about a killing in his part of town, near Green Mountain Drive.

A House media first

Rep. Steve Harrelson's blog notes a legislative first on opening day Monday: House Speaker Robbie Wills used a teleprompter.

Fly Ash Problems in NWA

Rod Bryan of the Arkansas Conservation Alliance ventured out to Greenwood, Arkansas the other day.  He comes back with this video.  I've been up to Greenwood a couple of times myself.  That city is probably typical of a lot of cities in that area.  Natural gas wells have made life a living nightmare, well water has been affected and the disposal of left-over natural gas drilling fluids and waste from coal mines, or fly ash, threaten everyone's drinking water.  Apparently, fly ash is used in some construction materials like concrete.  It's also used to fill in reserve ponds at gas well sites.  The material is highly toxic.  This is something I'll be following in the near future.  I'll try to get you more information on fly ash and the problems it can cause.  Good thing that coal plant's being built in Hempstead County, right?

Give us your poor... UPDATE

Here's Rep. Billl Sample's anti-immigrant bill, fresh in the hopper. It begins with a lie, that immigration can lead to "economic hardship."

The rot in Justice

News breaking today on release of a report on the outrageous politicization of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department by the Bush Administration.

Wingnut fear o' the day

The "nefarious" liberal attempt to destroy America by insistent references to the nation as a "democracy" when it says right there in the Pledge of Allegiance that it's a "republic."You figure it out.

Could be worse UPDATE

That's the takeaway from Gov. Mike Beebe's state of the state, seems to me. He upped his cigarette tax proposal from 50 to 56 cents a pack.

Wrestling "The Wrestler"

New York Press film critic Armond White tries to fight the hype in his year end "Better-Than List."

Going after cats

Cats that bite could be declared dangerous and banned from the city under an ordinance drafted by Little Rock Animal Services — a law likely to generate a few hisses at a public hearing set for 6:30 Wednesday at the Adult Leisure Center on 12th Street.

LRSD budget, contd. UPDATE

Little Rock School Board member Baker Kurrus has added his voice to the discussion over Superintendent Linda Watson's proposals to cut the budget to adjust for declining enrollment.

Presidential politics -- UA-style

Something's cooking on leadership of the University of Arkansas System. Dr. Alan Sugg, 70, president of the system for 19 years, hasn't announced retirement plans.

Prep Time.

The dead of winter may be upon us, but it is never too early to start thinking about making your garden grow.  Foundation Farms is gearing up for a couple of workshops for folks who want to grow their own produce in their backyard or start their own small farm.  The $35 covers a discussion of organic and no till methods, a talk about how to plan your gardening season, and a question and answer session.  The workshops are being offered at two separate locations and dates for your convenience. 

State of State: Beebe optimistic

Emphasizing that fallout from the poor economy poses the greatest challenge this legislative season, Gov. Beebe nevertheless gave a hopeful State of the State address this morning.

Power plant conflict

Say it ain't so. An Arkansas public official with a conflict of interest who voted on a related matter anyway?

Pryor: Moving on up

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor has been recommended by the Democratic caucus for a seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Q&A: Jim Harris, part 2

Here is the second and final part of our recent Q&A with Editor Jim Harris on this year's basketball team.

Where's the watchman?

Artchurch Studios, a school and gallery at 301 Whittington in Hot Springs, is missing a 6-foot-tall gecko.

Second conviction in child's slaying

Pulaski prosecutors have put another thug away for life in the death of Kamya Weathersby, 6, killed as she slept when shooters pumped dozens of shots into her Little Rock house.

Internet predator threats

One child harmed is too many, OK? Let's make that clear. But I've always had the suspicion that the panic over Internet predators was overhyped.

No-brain cellphone use

Yet another article supports the premise that it's not hands that make cell phone use while driving dangerous, it's the mental distraction.

The media crunch

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is not immune to the economic downturn that has wracked national media.

In the event ...

I haven't already given you enough to talk about on a busy day, here's an open line.

No. 2 man our No. 1

Until Nov. 4, Bill Halter was the politician who had made his way to a second-tier political office with a shoeshine and a resume. Now the lieutenant governor is the man who at long last gave Arkansas a lottery.

Getting hot out there

The fight over global warming continues, as opponents of better regulation of greenhouse gases attempt to get a platform at the Capitol.

The Arkansas GOP

The Southern Political Report assesses the condition of the Arkansas Republican Party. Not so hot, particularly compared to the day when the governor, lieutenant governor, one U.S. senator and two congressmen were Republicans.

On House bill assignments

Speaker Robbie Wills explains on his blog today the bill assignment process. He's explaining why he put Bill Sample's immigrant-punishing bill in Judiciary, where it should get a bumpy ride, rather than in State Agencies.

On House bill assignments

Speaker Robbie Wills explains on his blog today the bill assignment process. He's explaining why he put Bill Sample's immigrant-punishing bill in Judiciary, where it should get a bumpy ride, rather than in State Agencies.


Republicans are in control of the Tennessee House for the first time. Not.

The Conway gulag

Lawsuit alleges egregious misconduct by a Conway cop in a traffic stop. Suit seeks temporary order preventing the cop from continuing to patrol the streets.

UPDATE: The legacy of Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmo and Green Forest native, got  pushed out of the top spot at the legendary magazine in '96 because of a series of politically incorrect gaffes, according to a forthcoming tell-all bio.Like: When asked if sexual harassment existed at Cosmo in the wake of Anita Hill's testimony that Supreme Court pick Clarence Thomas had harassed her for years, Brown cheekily responded: "I certainly hope so.

HBO sets date for 'East Bound & Down'

HBO will debut the the new Danny McBride series "East Bound & Down" on February 15 at 9:30 p.m. after "Flight of the Conchords."

Buckle up

Filed today is a bill to make mandatory seatbelt use a primary offense. That is, a motorist could be stopped solely for failure to buckle up.

Good fishing news

U.S. Rep. Marion Berry has sent out word that the Corps of Engineers today give final approval to the White River minimum flow project.

Suffer the animals

We'll have a report in a bit, but here's the animal cruelty legislation, filed today.

A Taste of Italy.

The Clinton Presidencial Center celebrates another beautiful country tonight with a celebration of Italy in its Around The World Thursday series.  Experience entertainment and cuisine kissed with the essence of the Mediterranean and enjoy a three course dinner.  Doors open Thursday night at 6:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 7 p.m., the cost is $27.95 and reservations are recommended.  Call (501) 537-0042 or check out for more details.

Billy Bob and co., debauched

  Mildly NSFW.

Change you can believe in

Re: Barack Obama's website taking reader input on things they'd like to see change in America.

Beebe unveils healthcare initiative

This morning Gov. Beebe's team unveiled his health care initiative, including further information about a proposed 56-cent tax hike on cigarettes.


When it seems the entertainment industry has done all it can to constrict the flow of music, here comes a new, head-slappingly asinine plan.

God and student at Fountain Lake

I'd written earlier about a complaint that the Fountain Lake School District gave the appearance that a new building was a facility for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The Hogs' House of Horrors

In a matter of hours on Saturday night, Arkansas fans went from wondering how high the Hogs would be ranked in the upcoming round of polls to fretting over the possibility of an 0-3 start in SEC play.

Tonight: Off Center opens, Paul Tull CD release

Granny gets justice -- temporarily

Morning News reports that the grandmother who is among those suing over Act 1 because of the obstacle it creates to her adoption of her grandchild has been awarded temporary custody of the infant.

Granny gets justice -- temporarily

Morning News reports that the grandmother who is among those suing over Act 1 because of the obstacle it creates to her adoption of her grandchild has been awarded temporary custody of the infant.

Rick Warren, who cares?

This is what it's about. President Obama will end the 15-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy that has prevented homosexual and bisexual men and women from serving openly within the U.S. military, a spokesman for the president-elect said.

Chasing Pavements

In the madness of my constant overthinking, I discovered something precious. There is nothing more divine than “easy silence.” In the past, I would take long walks which later turned into long runs.

Not Thanking God for Mississippi Tonight

Wow - that was ugly. Ugly.