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January 19, 2011

Vol 37 • No 20

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Yesterday's Republicans look at today's

"A conservative Republican in Arkansas would be a liberal over here." – Jim Caldwell of Tulsa, a former member of the Arkansas Senate.

It's a new ball game

Republicans at bat.

...they also stood out

Other important Arkansans in 2010.

Opening Tuesday at Fayetteville Walton: Bethany Springer

Installation of mixed-media work by UA professor opens Tuesday.

Hey, struggling Little Rock restauranteurs, this is your chance to be on The Food Network

The Food Network is looking for Little Rock area restaurant owners to apply to be featured on season two of its restaurant makeover show “Restaurant: Impossible.”

'Norwood' streaming on Netflix

Netflix saves "Norwood," a 1970 Glen Campbell vehicle based on the Charles Portis debut novel of the same name, from obscurity by offering the long out-of-print movie on its streaming site.

Attorney General offers weak opinion on the Razorback Foundation

The attorney general's office released an opinion late today in response to questions posed by state Senator David Johnson about the Razorback Foundation and FOIA law.

Pho real

The crowds don't lie at Pho Thanh My


Ice cream — like pizza, chocolate and sex — is pretty good no matter how you can get it, so we're not complaining if somebody wants to quibble over the name.

A vote against reform is a vote against Arkansas

If anything beneficial came of Jared Loughner's attempt to assassinate an Arizona congresswoman and as many of her followers as he could take out, we will find out this week when the House of Representatives takes up repeal of the health-insurance reform law.

Empowering the wackos

It seems equally counterintuitive — if not bonkers — the Arkansas legislature's first response to a mass murder is always to seek to put more guns in the hands of more shooters.

Eye on Arkansas, Jan. 18

If you've got it, spend it

It will be a true test of Gov. Beebe's leadership to create a true opportunity to learn for Arkansas's poor kids.

In Brief, Jan. 20-22

Robert Randolph and the Family Band at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, the Big Buck Classic returns to the Arkansas State Fairgrounds, Chris Denny at Town Pump, Kevin Kerby at White Water Tavern and more.

Packing heat

We asked the Arkansas delegation if they, too, planned to pack heat in the wake of the Arizona shootings.

Bad year for meat

This has not been a good year for the meat, dairy, and egg industries.

Conflicting messages

State holiday causes a stir.

Cell block brothers

The gay romcom: not much different from your standard Sandra Bullock pic.

The Observer, Jan. 18

The Observer is very close to the same age as the WM3, Echols a bit older, Baldwin a little younger. We remember the crime. We remember the trial.

Orval, Jan. 19, 2011

The worst month

Here's more damning evidence that January is and always has been the worst month.

Keeping guns from the insane

Arkansans who've been judged mentally defective can still buy guns if an individual wants to sell to them. Sellers who hold federal firearms licenses, on the other hand, are required to run background checks.

This Modern World, Jan. 19, 2011

The To-Do List, Jan. 21-22

Jason Aldean at Verizon Arena, "The Color Purple" at Robinson Center Music Hall, Old Crow Medicine Show at George's Majestic Lounge, The Big Cats at Dreamland Ballroom, Randy Newman at Walton Arts Center.

The Televisionist, Jan. 18

On "Flying Wild Alaska," "Heavy" and the U.S. version of "Skins"

The Week That Was, Jan. 12-18

Good week: Ernie Passailaigue, Florida fliers, charter schools, Tom Schueck, John Burkhalter, Billy Roy Wilson, texters, civility. Bad week: Todd Turner, the Little Rock Police Department

What's Cookin', Jan. 18

The Food Network is looking for Little Rock area restaurant owners to apply to be featured on season two of its restaurant makeover show "Restaurant: Impossible."

Words, Jan. 18

"Cecil Newton put Auburn through enough agita over the past two months. The least he could have done was spared them more on Monday night." Agita?

'Raisin' at the Rep

Phyllis Yvonne Stickney stars in the Lorraine Hansberry classic.

A&E News, Jan. 19

The return of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, Robert Duvall signs on for upcoming Billy Bob Thornton film and more.

Baby steps

Agencies trying to get a handle on gas regulation.

Third Friday, Argenta ArtWalking

Gorrell at Cantrell Gallery.

Taxpayers 1, tax receivers 0

Gov. Mike Beebe declared that his budget was as low it could go without forcing reductions in essential services. But then, only four days into the session, our newly Republicanized state Legislature found painless savings.

Man charged in animal cruelty case

Robert Everett Keck will serve two years in prison after pleading guilty to felony charges of animal cruelty. The Saline County prosecutor's office says it's one of the first prison sentences handed down since the animal cruelty bill passed in 2009.

The real victim

The Daily Show takes Palin to task for her response to the Arizona shootings.

Why we're glad we don't live in Alabama

The governor might not find us worthy to call us "sister." Read here.

Wrinkle in iPad security case

The New York Times has more details on the iPad security breach that led to the arrest of two men yesterday.

NC lottery passes on Barden

Arkansas Lottery vice president of gaming operations, David Barden, was passed up for a job to run the North Carolina lottery.

Breaking legislative news

Members of the House State Agencies Committee will spend actual, real, precious time this morning debating whether Arkansas should change it's nickname back to "The Land of Opportunity," from "The Natural State."

Rohwer art given to Butler Center

Rosalie Gould donates Japanese internees' art and other materials.

Hitchcock is in at Game and Fish

An Arkansas Game and Fish Commission committee voted to recommend that interim director Lauren Hitchcock become the agency's permanent leader.

Gay-lesbian rights pioneer dies

Carolyn Wagner, the feisty Fayetteville mother whose struggle to stop gay and lesbian bullying in schools resulted in a landmark legal agreement, has died in Tulsa after a long struggle with cancer, liver failure and hepatitis she acquired through a blood transfusion.

Creeping Sharia law

Republicans express support for hearings regarding the creeping threat of Sharia law.

New jobs coming to Fort Smith

Sykes will employ 600 people at a call service center in Fort Smith.

Legislative rundown

A summary of what happened at the Arkansas state legislature today.

Fergit, hell!

Just in time for the Demo-Zette's annual, tearful huzzah for a guy who fought to rend the nation and keep black folks in chains comes word from Searcy County that Marshall Mayor Jim Smithson flew the Confederate Flag over city hall there through the long holiday weekend — including on MLK Day — in honor of Robert E. Lee's birthday.

Cody Arnall at Pulaski Tech

Closing reception and talk is next Wednesday.

You can have it...

I'm calling it a day. Just for giggles, Mike Ross (R-AR) bragged via Twitter: "I just voted to repeal the health care reform law in the House of Representatives - Mike."

Thursday: Cody Canada, Mandy McBryde, Robert Randolph

Thursday night offers Cody Canada and the Departed at Rev, Mandy McBryde at The Afterthought and, in Fayetteville, Robert Randolph at George's.

Losing independence

Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, filed a senate joint resolution seeking to amend the constitution to take away the independence of the Game and Fish Commission, the Highway Commission, colleges and universities and exert more control over the lottery.

Streaming starts now

Live streaming of committee hearings in the House will start this morning.


Former Gov. Mike Huckabee will host a Christian-themed Alaskan cruise.

Reagan's Alzheimer's, or not

David Corn on the family feud over whether or not Pres. Ronal Reagan suffered from Alzheimer's disease while in the White House - his sons Ron and Michael have very different opinions on the matter - and how close reporter Leslie Stahl came to reporting on Reagan's despondence after a meeting she had with the president in 1986.

Celebrate the New Year... Asian style

The ever-popular Chinese New Year celebration dinner is scheduled for January 29th at Chinese Pavilion Restaurant in Sherwood.


Well, your new year could be going worse. Local community blogger Faithful Minion has posted a slideshow of photos of the house near 4th and Woodrow Streets that was heavily damaged on January 7 when a guy fleeing from police in a Honda Civic hit a fire hydrant, which caused the engine to rip out of the car and fly through a fence into the house, which then caught fire.

Our favorite #rejectedarkansasmottos

Twitter is lighting up in response to yesterday's "Land of Opportunity" bill with the hilarious #rejectedarkansasmottos trend.

Walmart pledges to sell, make healthier food

Accompanied by the first lady in Washington D.C., Walmart executives today that the company will gradually reduce or require the reduction of sodium, sugar and trans-fats in its products by 2015.

The weather line

An open line on Arkansas weather.

The Gossip tops 'Protest Songs' list

The Gossip's "Standing in the Way of Control" named the "Most Powerful Protest Song of the 21st Century" by Flavorwire.

Scoffing at Jesus

Politics Daily reporter David Gibson has an interesting column on remarks made by Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Billy, in a speech at John Brown University, in Siloam Springs, on Tuesday. Graham spoke about the memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Tuscon, and expressed his displeasure that it was not as explicitly religious as services following the Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 attacks.

Big Boi to Hendrix

Hendrix College is bringing another huge night of music with Big Boi (of Outkast) and rising Alabama emcee Yelawolf.

The South is up for grabs

Scholars from the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service this afternoon to celebrate the release of a national poll conducted to better understand political attitudes of voters in the South versus the balance of the country.

Snowed in?

We aren't. The sun even came out for a little bit over downtown Little Rock.

Today on Twitter: Jazzfest 2011, jazz 'Donuts', Pazz and Jop

News from beyond Arkansas on our Rock Candy Twitter: New Orleans Jazz Fest and Coachella lineups, J Dilla's masterpiece covered live by a jazz trio, Village Voice's Pazz and Jop poll released.

No snow in Cambodia

I hear it snowed in Arkansas. No snow in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Weekend: Chris Denny, Big Buck Classic, Izzy Cox

A long overdue gig from Chris Denny, "voodoobilly" flapper Izzy Cox and the annual Big Buck Classic stand out in this weekend's happenings.

Friday To-Do: Jason Aldean

No stranger to gigging in Arkansas, country star Jason Aldean finally makes his way into Verizon Arena this Friday night.

Friday To-Do: 'The Color Purple'

The touring company of Broadway's "The Color Purple" lands in Robinson Center Music Hall this weekend for a three-day stand.

Friday To-Do: Old Crow Medicine Show

Without a doubt, the biggest young bluegrass band in music, Old Crow Medicine Show, stops at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville this Friday night.

Saturday To-Do: The Big Cats

Dreamland Ballroom opens their doors this Saturday afternoon for a special matinee show from The Big Cats.

Saturday To-Do: Randy Newman

Songwriting giant Randy Newman brings 50 years of musical genius to Fayetteville's Baum Walker Hall this Saturday night.

A real health care vote

A "top Democratic aide" tells Talking Points Memo that some Democrats are thinking about forcing Republicans to put their money where their mouth is and take votes on repealing popular versions of the health care reform bill, like provisions preventing an insurance company from barring you from coverage due to a pre-existing condition.

Letterman loves Miss Arkansas

Miss Arkansas makes an appearance on David Letterman.

Watch: Miss Arkansas on Letterman

Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady performs her ventriloquist rendition of "I Wanna Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart."

The best of Bobby Ampezzan

Bobby Ampezzan's quest to elevate food writing.

Burger joint of the week: Capital Bar & Grill

It's rare that I ever give an absolute on anything. But I can honestly say to this date, the burger at Capital Bar and Grill is the best I've ever had.

Kendall Stallings, Benini, Matthew Castellano and more

Pop, impressionist, surrealist, children's work, all tonight in North Little Rock.

Health reform already paying off in Arkansas

A White House press release says 30,572 Medicare beneficiaries in Arkansas have received prescription drug cost relief.

A Huckabee-less Republican field in 2012?

Does a fat mortgage and a new job for former campaign manager Chip Saltsman suggest that Huckabee isn't running in 2012?

She made it better

As we noted a few days back, Arkansas gay and lesbian rights advocate Carolyn Wagner passed away on Jan. 18 after a long battle with cancer.


The Arkansas Beef Cookoff is coming to Conway next month.

Cotija's experiments with afternoon happy hour

Cotija's, the terrifically popular downtown Mexican restaurant, introduced a happy hour earlier this week that, at least initially, will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.

GOP judge nearer

Amy Russell is creeping closer to being nominated for a federal judgeship though many Arkansas Democrats are unhappy about it.

Tonight: Doug Gorrell

Exhibit opens with reception from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight at Cantrell Gallery.

Hayes Carll on Leno tonight

Honorary Arkansan, Hendrix grad and Little Rock regular Hayes Carll brings his twang to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno stage tonight.

Lawyers for indigents

Abdulhakim Muhammad, a defendant in a capital murder case, won an Arkansas Supreme Court decision last year saying that the state would have to pay for a lawyer that had been hired for him.

VIDEO: Janet vs. The Trooper

Former Arkansas first lady Janet Huckabee paid a $100 fee in Pulaski County District Court yesterday and a received "reserve judgment" ruling from Judge Wayne Gruber, with an agreement that charges of careless and prohibited driving against her would be dismissed if Huckabee doesn't get into any more vehicular trouble for six months.

Legislative rundown

Here's what happened at the legislature today.

Friday line

Take it away.

Sony Pictures Classic snatches rights to Jeff Nichols' new movie before it debuts

Jeff Nichols' new movie "Take Shelter" doesn't make its world debut at Sundance until Monday, but he can already breathe easier: Sony Pictures Classic has already acquired the rights to the film.

UAMS to pay city for Ray Winder soon

Little Rock city manager Brian Day says UAMS will fork over the $1 million-plus it has offered to pay the city for its portion of Ray Winder Field "soon."

Inciting hate

Conservative showman Glenn Beck's incessant rants against a 78-year-old City University of New York professor Frances Fox Piven - on whom the crackpot blames the downfall of the economy - have resulted in numerous death threats against the professor.

Olbermann out

MSNBC announced yesterday the network's relationship with Keith Olbermann had come to an end. Is this a good thing?

Let's open it up.

A little late. Sorry about that.

March for life

The March for Life is being held today.

UA moves forward with building plans

The athletic department at the University of Arkansas will seek approval from the board of trustees to move forward with plans to build a new football center.

Sunday, Sunday

The Packers are going to the Super Bowl. Third string quarterback Caleb Hanie nearly pulled it off.

Coming this week

A bill to ban Arkansas from participating in the federal health reform bill will come up at the legislature this week.

QB deficiency bodes well for Mallett

Analysis of Ryan Mallett's decision to go pro.

Sugarland to Verizon

Super-duo Sugarland is headed to Verizon on March 4 with Little Big Town and former "American Idol" contestant Casey James opening.

Thank the GOP for economic upturn

Republicans claim the economic upturn is a result of GOP policies.

Robert Ford nominated for Edgar Award

Fayetteville playwright Robert Ford, who serves as the artistic director for, has been nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Play for "The Fall of the House."

Arkansas poet Bryan Borland lands on 'Over the Rainbow' list

Alexander poet Bryan Borland, whose book of poems, "My Life as Adam" (Sibling Rivalry Press), was recently selected for The American Library Association's "Over the Rainbow" list of the best gay and lesbian books of 2010.


Alice Stewart, deputy director of public affairs for the secretary of state, will be on Hannity tonight.

Salut unveils new Italian menu

Salut Bistro, the Heights area restaurant and bar best known as a late-night hangout, has a relatively new chef and a new Italian menu.

AETN on the go

AETN, and PBS, have developed an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app to help public television viewers keep up with the station's programs, watch videos and learn about news and events.

Televisionist: 'Heavy'

I was prepared to hate — to call it yet another addition to the ongoing Freakshow Channel programming that A&E and several others have leaned toward in recent years (polygamists and hoarders and compulsives, oh my!).

Still no broadband

Last June, we told you about Michael Horton, a tireless advocate for rural broadband. Horton lives with his wife in Snowball, in southwest Searcy County.

Rivershore Eatery coming to River Market

Sam and Omar Kassees, owners of Mason's Deli, plan to open Rivershore Eatery in the River Market's Ottenheimer Hall in the space that previously house Brown Sugar Bakeshop sometime in the next two weeks.

Miss Teen Arkansas 2010 arrested

Channel 5 news in Fayetteville says 70 to 80 students are arrested by U of A police for public intoxication every year, but when you're the 2010 Miss Teen Arkansas, your arrest is going to be on the news.

Televisionist: 'Skins'

Remember the good old days of teen movies? "Porky's"? "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"? The entire John Hughes oeuvre? In those movies, teenagers smoke, drank, cussed, chased each others' groins, and were generally boiling cauldrons of hormones, confusion and angst. Between then and now, though, something happened. Something stupid.

Barton appearance cancelled

Tuesday and Wednesday's scheduled appearances by David Barton, the Texas "historian" who gives talks on how America was founded on Christian principles, have been cancelled.

LRPD: Fire death a homicide

Little Rock police spokesman Lt. Terry Hastings said that the man found dead in his burning S. Valentine Street home died of blunt force trauma and smoke inhalation.

Arkansas and West Virginia, yes

Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal think tank, says that Arkansas and West Virginia are getting it right when it comes to tax cuts.

Snyder takes post at Blue Cross

Former congressman Vic Snyder has taken a position at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield as corporate medical director for external affairs.

Legislative rundown

Daily rundown of activities at the Capitol in Arkansas

It's that time again

Yep. Time for an open line.

Bring the heat at airport

DA NANG, VIETNAM — Heading for harbor here on a gray morning over rough seas.

'Take Shelter' a hit at Sundance

Jeff Nichols' "Take Shelter" debuted earlier today at Sundance and judging from the reaction from critics on Twitter, it's good.

What's in the water?

Rep. Loy Mauch has introduced a bill to require water utilities to disclose what chemicals they're putting in the water.

'True Grit', 'Winter's Bone' big winners at Oscar noms

"True Grit," "Winter's Bone" make huge showings during this morning's Oscar nomination ceremony.

Tea Party rallying support to kill health reform in AR

The Tea Party is trying to rally support for a bill that would remove Arkansas from the federal health care reform bill passed last year.

'Grit' gets 10 nominations

The nominations for the 2011 Academy Awards were announced in Hollywood this morning, and the new adaptation of "True Grit," based on the novel by Little Rock author Charles Portis, snagged 10 nods, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Jeff Bridges, Best Supporting Actress for Hailee Steinfeld (who played teenage heroine Mattie Ross, Best Director for the Coen Brothers, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Carol Griffee, 1937-2011

Former Arkansas Gazette reporter and later independent journalist Carol Griffee died last night in hospice, we just learned from an e-mail from historian Michael Dougan.

HB1053 fails in committee

An act that would allow people to opt out of the individual mandate in the federal health reform package failed in committee this morning.

Fergit it!

Last week, we told you about Marshall Mayor Jim Smithson, who decided it would be a good idea to celebrate the birthday of Robert E. Lee by flying the Confederate flag over City Hall through the long MLK Day weekend — including on MLK Day itself.

Quick, Kris Allen's coming to the mall

If you drop what you're doing now, you can probably get to Park Plaza in time to get some ice cream of the future and get a prime spot to gawk at Kris Allen.

Coming soon to the Clinton School: Rhee, Reyes and 'positive deviance'

The Clinton School just released its February schedule of speakers slated to lecture at Sturgis Hall, and there's some dandies.

Today on Twitter: premakes, biopics, Jimmy Gooch

Today on @rockcandies: Jeff Buckley biopic, "Up" pre-made with Spencer Tracy and Jimimy Gooch.

Arkansas lags in science education

A national report shows Arkansas lags behind in science studies.

NRA poodle

We all knew Jay Dickey was tight with the NRA when he represented the Fourth Congressional District.

Legislative rundown

Sunk: David Meek's bill to remove Arkansans from the individual mandate set forth in the Affordable Care Act, and virtually shut down health care reform in Arkansas was defeated 12-7.

State of the open line

It's a special edition of tonight's open line. Feel free to use this post during the speech to post live comments.