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January 22, 2009

Vol 7 • No 2

Animal cruelty bill gets unleashed

Kay Simpson has seen horrors she’ll never forget.

Now the governing

The inauguration was wonderful, but I wanted to know a lot more about the details -- what Bush did in his final hours and what Obama has done to begin rectifying the reign of error.

A moment of reflection

Rick Warren was all about Jesus yesterday. Natural for him, though likely unsettling to the many of different faith listening, the linked commentator notes.

White smoke at the Mansion

UPDATE: Here's a surprise. Gov. Mike Beebe is recommending Todd Turner, a trial lawyer from Arkadelphia and a good one, as Arkansas Democratic Party chair.

You are known by your enemies

Sen. John McCain, class act, called for unanimous consent on the confirmation of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.

Fresh thread

Let the sewing begin.

What's cooking, Jan. 22

Peter Brave of Brave New Restaurant is arranging to have a whole farm-grown bluefin tuna, raised in the Gulf of Baja, flown in for a special dinner on Sunday, Feb. 8.

Upsetters look soft of late

Brandon Moore’s arrest early Sunday morning was just one more reason to hang your head over the floundering Hogs.

Live from Studio Joe

Deep within the cavern of office buildings and mega-stores that is Financial Centre Parkway in West Little Rock sits a squat music venue called Studio Joe, anonymous to all but a few.

Words, Jan. 22

Mollie Kottel submits an item from Parade magazine:

The Observer, Jan. 22

If it weren’t for duck hunters, the Cache River might now be a long straight ditch with farm fields on either side.

From Bavaria to Bangkok

It might be a stretch to simply call Mason's Deli and Grill “Bavarian” or “German,” as the River Market does on its website, and leave it at that.

A strong mayor

I wish Little Rock had mayor-council government and a vibrant leader like Pat Hays, with a ballpark, arena and reviving Main Street to show for his toil.

Predictably fine

Based on the story of the heroic Bielski partisans, Edward Zwick’s latest historical drama comes across like “Saving Private Ryan” by way of Merchant-Ivory productions.

Brad Paisley

By the time Dierks Bentley and Darius Rucker returned to join Brad Paisley onstage in the closing moments of a concert Friday night at Alltel Arena that had rocked along for almost three and a half hours, the Paisley Party Tour was already one to remember

Can you hear me now?

Officers of the North Little Rock Police Department are grumbling about a request by Chief Danny Bradley for copies of their personal cell phone records.

Jan. 14-20, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … The UNITED STATES. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty we’re free at last of the Bush administration. But enough with him. Up with hope for Barack Obama. What kind of person could not be moved by the historic inaugurati

Smart Talk, Jan. 22

Women, including Arkansas women, face special problems in buying individual health insurance, a study by the National Women’s Law Center has noted.

Orval, Jan. 22

A & E news, Jan. 22

There’s a new record store in town. Circa ‘76 opened about two weeks ago at 1910 W. Third, next to Warehouse Liquor and the Italian Couple.

This modern world, Jan. 22

Atonement day

John Gray Lucas could have been the Barack Obama of his time, which was a full century before the first African-American president took the oath of office on the steps of the most famous edifice in the world that was built with the toil of slaves.

Obama as Bill Clinton redux

As he prepared to make history when inaugurated Tuesday as the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama reminded me more strikingly each day of one of his predecessors.

In brief, Jan. 22

The Andy Warhol film festival, co-sponsored by the Arkansas Times, continues at Market Street with the biopic “Basquiat,” 7 p.m., $7.50.

That woodpile

Bob Lancaster predicted that in 2009 “irrefutable evidence” will surface establishing my kinship to the new president.

National media descend upon Arkansas

Arkansas is a pretty quaint place.

Editorial cartoon, Jan. 22

Clear-eyed and hopeful

President Bill Clinton left a peaceful and prosperous country to his successor, George Bush.

Send in the elephants

The Little Rock Zoo seems to be at another turning point, large questions being raised by public officials and animal lovers about what sort of zoo there should be, and even, in some quarters, whether there should be much of a zoo at all.

Piling on

I saw the Bushman in one of his 40-eleven exculpatory public farewells saying he was proud of the heckuva job he did as president.

To-do list, Jan. 22

Mix Master Mike, Rock Street, Col. Bruce Hampton and the Quark Alliance, Monster Jam, Days of the New, Drexel and the Bootleggers, Damn Bullets, The Chill, Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe and AC/DC should make for plenty of entertainment options this week.

Times... They Are A-Changin'.

  There's nothing quite like a late-night malt craving.  Fortunately, you can always pop the baby in the child seat and run over to Sonic for drive-in service.  I was quite surprised, though, to see a big change in the menu.  No, they haven't done away with malts or shakes or foot long chili cheese Coneys... but there are some rather radical changes.  The biggest -- or at least the one that was most prominently displayed -- was the availability of bananas and string cheese as healthier options.

Robohuck

Mike Huckabee is being used for some automated telephone calling on abortion and it provokes a critical response from a Missouri editorialist.

Supporting bark for Boss Hays

Ultimate NLR Leader Pay Hays got supporting fire today from the Democrat-Gazette editorial page on his unconstitutional and illegal grab of school tax money for a downtown development scheme.

Supporting bark for Boss Hays

Ultimate NLR Leader Pay Hays got supporting fire today from the Democrat-Gazette editorial page on his unconstitutional and illegal grab of school tax money for a downtown development scheme.

LRSD, contd. UPDATE

Still more from internal Little Rock School Board discussions with the administration about budget cutting.

LRSD, contd. UPDATE

Still more from internal Little Rock School Board discussions with the administration about budget cutting.

Obama distilled

Brummett concludes the theme for the inaugural address was, "Be happy, do worry." Reading about Obama's busy first-day actions on open government, closure of Guantanamo and secret CIA prisons, lobby influence, etc., I choose, for the moment, just to be happy.

Religion as science

What happens in Texas, regrettably, doesn't stay there, particularly when it comes to textbooks. They're still trying to trump science with religion down there in a school textbook battle that inevitably will be replicated elsewhere.

Arkansas's war effort

Controversy continues about whether Israel has used phosphorous weapons improperly in Gaza. The Arkansas angle, as reported in Gerard Matthews' media column this week, is the production of such phosphorous weapons at the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

Highway unrest stops

Just caught this on the Stephens Media political blog. Gov. Mike Beebe wants the state Parks and Tourism Dept. to share a little money with the pinched Highway and Transportation Department to rehab highway rest areas.

'Forrest Gump' retread leads the way in Oscar nominations

  The Oscar nominations are here and, as usual, they're fairly boring.

Booze news

Sen. Robert Thompson yesterday introduced the ABC's bill for increased alcoholic beverage permit fees. Looks like complaints produced some compromises.

UCA student advances on 'American Idol'

  A UCA business major inspired the new judge on "American Idol" to do one of those eyes-closed, head-shake, smell-moves that people often do when they're on camera to signify that they're "feeling it" last night  en route to picking up a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Wild, wild west

A West Little Rock homeowner fired shots at intruders  in his home early this morning, striking one of them, and that was just the start of it.

Big names at Clinton School

Big names coming to the Clinton School lecture series in February, beginning with Bob Woodward Feb. 3.

Too easy?

Animal cruelty bill passed Senate 34-0. If it's this easy, is it strong enough?

Good place to work

Fortune magazine puts Arkansas Children's Hospital at No. 85 on its list of the 100 best U.S. companies at which to work.

Let us pray ...

... that a Fayetteville school superintendent candidate highlighted by The Iconoclast will get no farther than being one of 42 applicants.

At the end, Bush was president

Must have been. Cheney says Scooter should have been pardoned.

What's it all about, Norm?

Norm Coleman, who looks likely to lose to Al Franken in the race for U.S. Senate from Minnesota, has taken a job with a lobby group.

You go, GOP

An anti-global warming dead-ender is holding up some Obama appointments. Talking Points Memo explains why this is good.

Thursday: 'Basquiat,' Kevin Gordon, Boondogs

THURSDAY 1/22The Andy Warhol film festival, co-sponsored by the Arkansas Times, continues at Market Street with the biopic “Basquiat,” starring Jeffrey Wright, 7 p.m., $7.50.

Another Nannygate?

Or similar? NYT says housekeeper and tax problems scuttled Caroline Kennedy's Senate bid.

Blogginfoo

I didn't think anybody could outdo the prolific Steve Harrelson and his Under the Dome for legislative blogging, but I believe House Speaker Robbie Willis is coming out of the gate fast.

Deseg settlement

Little Rock School District Attorney Chris Heller will take a new proposal to the School Board tonight about ending the desegregation settlement agreement with the state.

New thread

Take it away.

Friday To-Do: Monster Jam

MONSTER JAM7:30 p.m., Alltel Arena. $6.25-$21.75In these gas-conscious, economically unsure times, one issue not getting enough coverage in the mainstream media is the burden borne by average Americans who might otherwise be buying huge trucks driving them over large obstacles and through the mud.

Light 'em up

Harmonic convergence today. Spokesmen for Altria, the company once known as Philip Morris, flew in from Richmond, Va., to talk to media about the company's opposition to Gov. Beebe's 56-cent-pack increase in cigarette taxes to pay for a range of health initiatives.

Pro-life bishop

Arkansas's new Catholic bishop, Anthony Taylor, continues to stand out. The Arkansas Catholic provides coverage of last Sunday's March for Life and Taylor's remarks on the occasion.

Cig tax maneuvers

Roby Brock details coming strategy on the cigarette tax legislation and the trauma system legislation the money is to fund.

Get your guns

Bucking a long state and national trend, Arkansas reported a small uptick in hunting licenses in the first half of the fiscal year, Joe Mosby reports.

NY's new senator

Readers caught this last night, after I called it quits, but Hillary Clinton's replacement in the U.S. Senate will be U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand.

Self-promoter for Senate

Some Republicans of my acquaintance think Tim Griffin is a self-promoter whose insider White House credentials were hyped.

Higher ed watch

Higher education writers are calling attention to a lawsuit that alleges a proprietary college that operates in Little Rock, the University of Phoenix, has misused the federal student loan program.

Friday To-Do: Col. Bruce Hampton and the Quark Alliance

COL. BRUCE HAMPTON AND THE QUARK ALLIANCE9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.Five years after I first saw Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, my former band mate Sterno turned me on to Hampton Grease Band, which featured a wily and screaming side of Hampton.

Need a tow in Fayetteville?

Whatever you do, DON'T call Terry's Towing.

Friday To-Do: Rock Street

ROCK STREET9 p.m., Vino's. $5.Emboldened by the success of the Cool Shoes parties, local promoter TJ Deeter is branching out.

The failed Obama administration

Fox News is on it. Jon Stewart has the story.

Friday To-Do: Mix Master Mike

  MIX MASTER MIKE9:30 p.m., Juanita's.

Legislature to hear from dick

Tolbert Report says Dick Armey bringing his circus to town to fight the tobacco tax for his special interest keepers.

Don't Be Fooled or Bullied!

This letter appeared in teh Searcy Daily Citizen yesterday.  I found it worth re-posting here.  The writer, Beverly, has contacted me about her problems before.  She owns a ranch in Arkansas which is being kept up while she lives in Florida.  Her land has been destroyed, large swaths of trees have been cut down and gas companies are running rough-shod over her ranch.  Here is her letter to the editor, a rallying cry for the citizens of Arkansas who, like her, are mad as hell and realizing they don't have to take it any more!

All in the family

From the Log Cabin Democrat: Wayne Dumond's cousin has been arrested for sexual assault. Calling Mike Huckabee.

Beebe appoints

A slew of gubernatorial appointments announced today. Among them: Bill Lancaster of Sheridan, close to Beebe when Lancaster was Senate staff chief, was named to the state Claims Commission, a paid slot.

Beebe appoints

A slew of gubernatorial appointments announced today. Among them: Bill Lancaster of Sheridan, close to Beebe when Lancaster was Senate staff chief, was named to the state Claims Commission, a paid slot.

Biting the hand that feeds

An alternative newspaper in Atlanta writes about a Georgia legislative proposal to create a secretary of state website for all legal advertising, thus ending a valuable, even life-sustaining, business for smaller print newspapers.

On 7's side no more

Multiple sources -- though no official from the station has responded to calls or e-mails so far -- report that a staff meeting at KATV today brought news of layoffs, including one on-air employee and a number of others, including long-time hands.

Zut alors!

Sarkozy proposes to give every 18-year-old in France a free one-year subscription to the newspaper of his or her choice.

Following the paychecks

Governor's office appropriation filed today. In light of the reader screaming about pay raises over on Channel 11's story about the legislature's vote to increase legislative, executive and judicial pay by 3.8 percent, I thought it might be of interest.

From the SI Archives: Bill Clinton Calls the Hogs

In honor of the presidential inauguration this week, I was inspired to dig up this old Sports Illustrated article of President Clinton from their March 21, 1994 issue...shortly before Hogs made their glorious run through the NCAA's.

Give Me a Break

Boy, we loves us some natural gas.  The House is just trying to make it official.  Check out John Williams's blog for the full story.  Here's the short of it: legislators want to officially recognize Southwestern Energy Company for the first producing well in the Fayetteville Shale.  Come on.  This works out great for the gas guys and their PR people.  Not so good for people with dirty drinking water, or whose property has been destroyed for a pipeline, or who can't find peace in their own homes due to the noise, or for those who've been run off the road by trucks hauling waste.  This is just great!

Bill Gives Cities and Counties More Power

Sen. Bobby Glover, D-Carlisle, has introduced a bill that would give municipal and county governments more of a say in whether or not ADEQ can issue a "no-discharge" permit within their boundaries.  Citizens of Prairie County have been fighting this battle for a long time.  It looks like this is too little too late for them, but this may help others in the future.  Glover's bill would require municiapal or county government approval for the department to issue, continue, or modify a permit for the disposal of drilling fluids and other wastes associated with gas exploration.  The city or county (if the site is not located within a municipality) can withhold approval if it determines that the activities associated with the site:

Bad signs at Crossroads

From Arkansas Business: First, Dillard's Department Store closed its store there last October. Now, the Crossroads Mall in Oklahoma City, owned by Doyle Rogers and John Flake of Little Rock and Sam Mathias of Springdale, doing business as Midwest Mall Properties, has gone into foreclosure.

Friday To-Do: Damn Bullets

DAMN BULLETS10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.Still pushing their aptly titled “Electric Folk Boogie,” the Damn Bullets return to the Tavern on Friday armed not just with those songs, which should be familiar to fans by now, but also seven or eight brand spankin' new ones.

The Weekend: The Rock's Auto Extravaganza, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Big Boots, Ace Spade and more

FRIDAY 1/23Take note, car junkies: The Rock's Auto Extravaganza, at the Statehouse Convention Center, features street rods, muscle cars and the like, 9 a.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s., through Sunday.

Saturday To-Do: The Chill

Epiphany and Gina Gee. THE CHILL9 p.m., Revolution.

Saturday To-Do: Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe

DIKKI DU AND THE ZYDECO KREWE9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $6.Even though it's alive and flourishing just a couple hours to our south, zydeco rarely makes an appearance in Central Arkansas.

Saturday To-Do: Days of the New

Meeks, looking lupine. DAYS OF THE NEW9:30 p.m., Juanita's.

Saturday To-Do: Drexel and the Bootleggers

DREXEL AND THE BOOTLEGGERS6 p.m., Barnes and Noble. Free.9 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Building a Better Buffet.

It's been interesting to watch the evolution of the buffet and offerings over the years at the Golden Corral in North Little Rock.  Once your typical meat-and-potatoes restaurant, Golden Corral keeps reinventing itself -- offering lots of choices that aren't ordinary.  For instance, along with the pot roast and fried shrimp, you'll find rotisserie chicken quarters, baked fish, and barbeque hand-pulled pork.  Alongside corn on the cob and mashed potatoes are healthier options like steamed beans, steamed zucchini and squash, and steamed broccoli.  And of course there's the grill, which produces mini hamburgers and grilled chicken at lunch and Applewood bacon-wrapped steaks, chicken, and pork loin at dinner.  And there's salad and soup and pizza -- and of course, dessert (check out more food porn on the jump).

Beebe declines pay boost

Dang. That noise from the public about government pay raises that I mentioned earlier -- some of KTHV's commenters took their ire out on the governor -- has not gone unnoticed.

Five LR shows to clear your calendar for

It's staying light longer! We're having occasionally nice weather!

Promise kept

As expected, President Obama has rescinded the gag rule that kept family planning money from going to international organizations that provided abortion or might even mention it as an option to pregnant women.

Open for business

A Friday night thread.

School supt. on hot seat

The Pulaski County School Board told Superintendent James Sharpe in a special meeting tonight that his contract wouldn't be renewed when it expires in 2011.

Choose your poison

Brummett today defends Rep. Lindsley Smith's legislation honoring Thomas Paine and chides the "Taliban-Lite" resistance.

Hotel confidential

Slow day. Thought you might -- well, enjoy isn't quite the right word -- want to read this MSNBC posting, confessions of a hotel housekeeper.

Split decision in Texas

Here's the followup on the Texas fight over how to treat evolution in textbooks. It's not an end to the battle, but the vote yesterday included one big win for moderates and some apparent gains, of dubious educational value, for the religious conservatives.

KATV's Black Friday

Arkansas TV News blog names on-air talent Steve Powell and veteran program director Richard Farrester, with something like 30 years at the station, as among the casualties of the round of layoffs and pay cuts announced at KATV yesterday.

KATV's Black Friday

Arkansas TV News blog names on-air talent Steve Powell and veteran program director Richard Farrester, with something like 30 years at the station, as among the casualties of the round of layoffs and pay cuts announced at KATV yesterday.

Beebe's risk

DeMillo's analysis of Gov. Mike Beebe's plan to raise tobacco taxes to pay for a trauma system, children's health care and Medicaid expansion, is headlined "Beebe takes risk."

Au revoir Gypsy's

An e-mail comes today signaling the closing of Gypsy's, the end of more than two decades of fine French cooking from Denis Seyer and family, including Le Casse Croute and Alouette's.

Open line

Fresh thinking here.

Ouch Ouch Ouch

That was brutal. I don't know that I have much else to say right now.

Protecting acts against animals

Brummett pretty well nails it on the animal cruelty bill. Though it makes a worthy improvement in the law, it does so only by including page after page of protection for all manner of things you can do TO animals.

Wal-Mart goes green

The New York Times today reports in-depth on Wal-Mart's decision to embrace environmental sustainability and the impact it has had on the rest of corporate America.

Happy New Year!

Another interesting evening with the folks from the Asian Pacific Resource and Cultural Center and guests over at Chinese Pavilion in Sherwood, where diners enjoyed the Asian New Year Celebration Dinner Saturday.  The annual event features a master chef's interpretation of traditional Asian dishes.  Above, pictured, are slices of Korean beef and pork barbeque, seaweed, sweet and salted cashews, and Thousand Year Eggs.  Nearly eighty people came out to savor nine courses -- including "Heaven and Earth," a dish of soft-boiled quail eggs and pork over fried noodles; savory fried beef and stewed sweet-tart lychee in an orange sauce; bok choy and mushrooms in oyster sauce; and of course the traditional whole fried fish (for good luck), this year being the ever lucky and delicious red snapper.

Slacker Sunday

Sorry about service interruption. I've been slacking anyway.

They Call it Trivia for a Reason

Some of us got together this weekend to play in a trivia contest/fundraiser, and we ended up winning the grand prize: $500. We split it 10 ways, and we each paid to sign up, but even so…YAY! It was maybe even more exciting than the time I won 750 nickels at a riverboat casino. Plus, one of the people on our team was having a birthday, so there was cake.

Let us pray

But let us do it more privately, Brummett exhorts, in a critical review of inaugural prayer -- invocation and benediction.

The Kennedy question

Why did Caroline Kennedy withdraw from seeking the U.S. Senate seat in New York? A deep New York magazine article details just about every single thing about the mess except the answer to that singular question.

Searching for an honest man

Noted: The disappearance of The Iconoclast from the blogosphere. I'm checking what's up.

Caterpillar cuts

Caterpillar announces 20,000 job cuts on top of earlier voluntary incentives to retire. Plus, it is freezing most salaries.

Caterpillar cuts

Caterpillar announces 20,000 job cuts on top of earlier voluntary incentives to retire. Plus, it is freezing most salaries.

Thank you SWEPCO

An important new study says industrial emissions of greenhouse gases are growing faster than previously estimated.

'Don't let the doorknob hit you'

William Kristol has written his last column for the NY Times. Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher gives a good riddance to the man who gave us Sarah Palin.

PA: Where you can light your tap water on fire!

(Photo: DIOGENES AGCAOILI JR. / Press Sun-Bulletin) From the Press Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, PA.  Natural gas is not poisonous, so it does not present a drinking hazard, said Diane O'Hora a spokeswoman for the Broome County Department of Health.

Outsider art

-- DISFARMER PHOTO: In Museum of Modern Art collection. Mike Disfarmer, the reclusive Heber Springs photographer whose spare portraits of local people in the first half of the 20th century have become collector's items, is now the subject of a play opening a two-week run this week in New York.

Touchy, touchy

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel corrects the record about his office's response to the Family Council's motion to intervene in the lawsuit against Act 1, which prohibits adoptions in homes with unmarried couples.

Dunce cap fitting

Brummett Blog offers a one-paragraph preview of his further rapping of Gov. Mike Beebe for grandstanding in declining the new 3.8 pay raises for government officials.

Fired up

Gov. Beebe came out swinging at this morning’s rally for his proposed cigarette tax increase to raise $88 million to fund a statewide trauma system and other programs, suggesting he was staking his political career on passage of the tax.

Franken alert

I may be in the tiny minority very interested in the outcome of Republican Norm Coleman's court effort to overturn the will of Minnesota voters to elect Al Franken, by a whisker, as U.S. senator.

Franken alert

I may be in the tiny minority very interested in the outcome of Republican Norm Coleman's court effort to overturn the will of Minnesota voters to elect Al Franken, by a whisker, as U.S. senator.

Beebe: Still 'splainin'

-- Video courtesy The Tolbert Report Sure, Gov. Beebe says, he could have vetoed that pay raise bill if he didn't want the pay raise, but that just would have gummed everything up for everyone else.

Beebe: Still 'splainin'

-- Video courtesy The Tolbert Report Sure, Gov. Beebe says, he could have vetoed that pay raise bill if he didn't want the pay raise, but that just would have gummed everything up for everyone else.

Crossing a new bridge

Bob Workman, executive director of the embryonic Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville since 2006, announced today he would resign the position at the end of 2009.

Ponzi schemer sentenced

James B. Roberts, 71, of Heber Springs, got a 15-year federal prison sentence in Little Rock today for wire fraud. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $43.4 million to the 400 or so investors in the U.S. and Central America he'd defrauded in a Ponzi scheme based on supposed currency trading.

Ya Ya, It's Open.

The new Ya Ya's EuroBistro officially opens today.  I went down this morning, hoping for an early lunch... unfortunately that wasn't in the cards.  While the restaurant opens tonight at 5 p.m., lunch service begins Wednesday.  Barring any unforseen craziness, the restaurant should be open tonight and Tuesday night...

Monday, Monday

It's cold out there, but not icy on the streets I drove. An open line for you.

SHAMELESS PREDICTION UPDATE!

Only one month into 2009 and already 7 of my 11 predictions have come true!

Deflating Beebe

As promised, John Brummett today rips Gov. Mike Beebe for grandstanding by saying he'd not take his recently legislated 3.8 percent raise -- a raise that now looks to be about .5 percent higher than the inflation-indexed cap permitted by the Constitution.

Deflating Beebe

As promised, John Brummett today rips Gov. Mike Beebe for grandstanding by saying he'd not take his recently legislated 3.8 percent raise -- a raise that now looks to be about .5 percent higher than the inflation-indexed cap permitted by the Constitution.

Weather report

My street doesn't look icy. Yours?

Thus spake the Huckster

Fox commentator Mike Huckabee called yesterday for last-minute opposition to Timothy Geithner's ratification as Treasury secretary.

For the family

A former foster child writes in the LA Times of the need to allow unmarried couples to adopt.

The fight for cleaner air

The NY Times today features a division among Democrats on the environment. It roughly pits greener members from California and the East Coast against members from the Midwest who are fighting stronger pollution limits in the interest of supporting coal-burning utilities and manufacturers.

Rough year for colleges

College endowments dropped, on average, 23 percent in the first five months of the current fiscal year.

Weather notes

For what it's worth, the drive from Hillcrest to downtown was uneventful. No ice.

How to beat big tobacco

Too good to wait for Thursday is Ernest Dumas' column on how Gov. Mike Beebe can beat the tobacco lobby and its mostly Republican legislative shills, the result being better health programs and less smoking.

Irish eyes are smiling

The Spa City's promotions boss, Steve "P.T. Barnum" Arrison is at it again, thumping the drum for Hot Springs' short but wild St. Patrick's Day parade.

Climate change: Oh, never mind

New study says even if greenhouse gas emissions were halted immediately, climate change is largely irreversible for the next 1,000 years.

Talk about new media

Rep. Steve Harrelson is committee chair, voting legislator and journalist as he reports action in the Judiciary Committee on the animal cruelty legislation as it happens.

'Dog of the South' optioned

Ray Midge? In decidedly less awesome Arkansas-connected movie news than the Coens planned remake of "True Grit," Greg Mottola ("Superbad," "Adventureland") told Heeb magazine at Sundance that he and SNL's Bill Hader (who stars in both the above Mottola films) have optioned Charles Portis' other classic, "Dog of the South."

Praise the Lord; pass the ammo

Bill filed to allow concealed weapon permit holders to take their heaters to church. Pictured is lead sponsor Beverly Pyle, a Republican from Cedarville.

Praise the Lord; pass the ammo

Bill filed to allow concealed weapon permit holders to take their heaters to church. Pictured is lead sponsor Beverly Pyle, a Republican from Cedarville.

Dissing Paine UPDATE

Rough sledding today for Thomas Paine. Rep. Lindsley Smith's legislation to add Paine to a list of great Americans commemorated annually in Arkansas failed to get a second on Sen. Steve Bryles' do-pass motion in State Agencies today.

Can you spare a dime?

Arkansas unemployment rose to 6.2 percent in December. Still not as bad as the 7.2 national figure.

Add to the queue

  Out today: "Girls Rock," a new doc about Rock 'n' Roll Camp, where girls ages eight to 18 learn, well, how to rock.  Folks like Beth Ditto and Carrie Brownsteain (Sleater-Kinney) lead sessions that also touch on things like empowerment, self defense and anger management.

Tuition rising

There'll be more of these to come around the state, I expect. (Some may call them fee rather than "tuition" increases.)

Tuesday Basketball Hodge Podge

• Last Saturday, while watching the Hogs' stunningly lopsided home loss to Auburn, this thought occurred to me for the first time this season: I wish Patrick Beverley were on this team.

4 more months of them stinkin' ads

The Senate has voted to delay until June the switchover to digital TV.Rationale: Some viewers aren't ready for the February 17 change-over.After more than a year of unbearably frequent bombardment by ads warning of the change, does anyone seriously believe those who haven't gotten ready for the change will do so by June?Now we get four more months of minute-by-minute warnings that digital TV is coming so get ready.

Smokin'

The tobacco lobby's front men -- a gang of Republicans -- have filed their window dressing to oppose a tobacco tax.

Smokin'

The tobacco lobby's front men -- a gang of Republicans -- have filed their window dressing to oppose a tobacco tax.

Frogmarch up to Obama

Will Karl Rove finally be made to testify under oath about the dirty deeds of the Bush administration?

Rabbit at rest

By popular demand, a chance to comment on the passing of John Updike, a "kaleidoscopically gifted writer."

Cat ordinance iced

The weather has forced the postponement of tonight's Little Rock City Board meeting and a scheduled public hearing tomorrow on changes in the domestic cat ordinance.

Be careful out there

State Police report 214 crashes on state highways (this doesn't include accidents on city streets and county roads statewide) between 3 p.m.

New eats in Riverdale

Maddie's Place is now open on Rebsamen Park Road next door to Faded Rose in what was the Rose's original building.

Meet the judges: Nicole Boddington

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase judge Nicole Boddington. Who?

Meet the judges: 607

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase judge 607 Who? Last year’s winner.

Meet the judges: Jason Tedford

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase judge Jason Tedford. Who?

Meet the judges: Jason Weinheimer

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase judge Jason Weinheimer. Who?

AC-DC still on...

...until it's not. In other words, no one's canceling tomorrow's show at Alltel today.

Meet the guest judge: Joey Lucas

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase guest judge Joey Lucas. Who?

Warming The Cockles.

A cold wind is blowing, and ice is rattling in the trees.  Time to warm up.  And just as it's important to warm up on the outside with sweaters, gloves, and fuzzy hats -- it's just as important to heat up the insides, too.

More jobs gone

Target to close its distribution center in Maumelle. 500 jobs will be lost.

State of emergency

Gov. Beebe has declared one on account of weather. Not meant as snark, but, really, would state agencies have moved more slowly without the proclamation?

We're in the money

An Arkansas bank, Liberty Bancshares, is on the list of banks getting TARP money in the first of the Obama-era doles.

PACing for 2012

Washington Post notes that Sarah Palin has joined Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in forming a PAC as a vehicle to help a run for president in 2012.

PACing for 2012

Washington Post notes that Sarah Palin has joined Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in forming a PAC as a vehicle to help a run for president in 2012.

Booze news

A Senate committee worked ABC director Michael Langley over pretty good today for his proposal to increase permit fees substantially.

Chili's on

... and the line is open now that I've caught up with mail after taking a couple of hours for errands.

Smokers are insane

One guy on one minor state commission is militantly anti-smoking, even more than me. Makes news.

How green is our valley?

For most of this decade, Arkansas politicians and many in the state's agricultural community have talked euphorically about the potential of biodiesel, an alternative fuel made from soybeans, to be a bonanza for the state.

Dining Deals in Dogtown.

It's a little late of a mention, but this week (January 26-31) is Argenta Restaurant Week.  Several Argenta District restaurants are offering eight dollar two-course lunches and $25 three-course dinners this week.  It's a great chance to try something new at a decent price.  Among the restaurants involved:  Bill Valentine's Ballpark Restaurant, Ristorante Capeo, Riverfront Steakhouse, Starving Artist Cafe, and Cregeen's Irish Pub.  For more information, check out the Argenta Downtown Council's website.

About that emergency

Doesn't appear to have arrived on my street.

Let us pray -- and check our safeties

I mentioned yesterday that Rep. Lindsley Smith of Fayetteville -- a Democrat, Thomas Paine's champion, etc. -- was a co-sponsor of the bill to allow concealed weapons in church.

Budget cut alert

Scott Miller at NLR Daily News reports a sharp decline in North Little Rock sales tax revenue in the last quarter of 2008.

To a healthier state

In the spirit of the health-focused legislative session: A New York Times report on a recipe sweeping the Internet.

To a healthier state

In the spirit of the health-focused legislative session: A New York Times report on a recipe sweeping the Internet.

Newspaper goes digital

The Morning News in Springdale delivered no newspapers today. Electricity was out yesterday, it reports on its website, which is functioning.

Newspaper goes digital

The Morning News in Springdale delivered no newspapers today. Electricity was out yesterday, it reports on its website, which is functioning.

Rocking Wall Street

Little Rock's effort to uncover the namesake little rock on the Arkansas River gets front-page attention, with photos, in today's Wall Street Journal.

Shot while cooking

Another house shot up, as reported by LRPD.

Wednesday To-Do: AC-DC

AC/DC7:30 p.m., Alltel. $66.25-$91.25.At least at press time, all of AC/DC's next 31 shows, save Alltel and Memphis on Friday are sold out.

Speaker Wills sez ...

Tobacco tax won't come up in House Rules today. The speaker, who controls this committee, has the votes there.

We're #19!

Exciting news: the all-knowing folks at ESPN have crunched the numbers and have scientifically determined that the Arkansas Razorbacks are the 19th best college football program ever.

Wednesday: Pay what you can at 'Looking Over the President's Shoulder'

After experimenting with it for "It's a Wonderful Life," the Rep brings back "pay what you can" night for the opening preview of "Looking Over the President's Shoulder."

Winter wonderland

A photo from Rick Baber in Springdale illustrates why newspapers didn't get delivered, schools didn't open, etc., in NWA today.

A good night for soup

Joel DiPippa reports: After an extended absence from Eat Arkansas, it is time to return. This weekend hatched impromptu plans for a dinner party last night (Tuesday, when ice was expected)(.

Looking for loopholes

State Rep. Jon Woods (R-Outer Space) posed questions to the attorney general about whether private e-mail accounts used by public officials for public business would be open under FOI requests.

This will go national UPDATE

Count on it. Arkansas will make headlines for this. The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee today rejected, 11-6, a resolution congratulating Barack Obama's election as president.

Stimulus bill passes

House has voted 244-188 to approve the stimulus package. What, in the interest of bipartisanship Obama didn't let the Republican minority have its way?

What's Your Sign?

Last Friday, I ventured to Tunica with Ben in efforts to celebrate his sister Caroline’s 22nd birthday.
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