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January 26, 2011

Vol 37 • No 21

Read the print version

Wilbur Mills' wall

I-630, Little Rock and 25 years in a divided city.

A quick trip

An I-630 timeline.

Back to the future

Widening? Reconstruction? Light rail?

Why we need the Dream Act: Jonathan Chavez

Jonathan Chavez is a student in the Honors College at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Thursday: Eric Sommer, Graham Wilkinson, Sugar & Gold

Thursday night brings the acoustic guitar wizardry of Eric Sommer, groovy Americana from Graham Wilkinson and the Underground Township and jazz from Dr. Rex Bell.

(Show)casing the scene

Stickyz sets the stage for the 2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.

Meet the judges

The music-loving panel for the 2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.

A&E News, Jan. 26

Sony Pictures Classics purchased Jeff Nichols' new film, "Take Shelter," for an undisclosed amount before it debuted on Monday at Sundance.

UA Honors College senior faces deportation

Dream Act would have spared him.

Arkansas gay-lesbian rights pioneer dies

Carolyn Wagner, Fayetteville, died in Tulsa, Okla., on January 18 after a long struggle with cancer, hepatitis she acquired through a blood transfusion, and liver failure. She was 57.

Who needs balance?

The cancer on our political dialogue is not incivility, but partisan stereotyping by which honest expression of independent thought is not permitted.

Raw deal

Papa Sushi long on decor, short on flavor.

Emelia's Kitchen

You can make a meal out of the appetizers at this chic but cozy spot on Dickson Street.

0 for 4

Kindness was shut out last week when Arkansas's delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives voted as a bloc to repeal health-care reform.

Eye on Arkansas, Jan. 26

The rough friendship of Tony Hoagland

We're lucky in this life to find two or three people we can call true friends. Similarly, even though it's a one-way street, we're lucky to find a handful of writers who do the same things.

Real reform will come from people

What might a strong ethics package to enhance public trust in the way state government does business include?

What's Finland got to do with it?

Let's take a look at the Finnish societal context and see how it is similar and different from the context of the United States.

In Brief, Jan. 27-29

Winder wind-up

The Ray Winder Project will be discussed at the Jan. 28 meeting of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees' buildings and grounds committee.

Late in the game

I'm interested in this Republican/Tea Party proposal to save the country by destroying it. As I understand it, the idea is that the House of Representatives becomes a death panel of sorts.

A diet of violence

Most of us abhor violence, but we don't know how to prevent it. Giving our kids an honest answer when they ask "Mommy, where do hamburgers come from?" is certainly a great start

Coming of age

'Tiny Furniture' adroitly navigates that post-collegiate in-between time.

The Observer, Jan. 26

A couple of years ago, Randy Newman stole our heart in Eureka Springs. So of course The Observer headed to Fayetteville last weekend to see Newman perform in front of a full house at the Walton Arts Center.

Orval, Jan. 26, 2011

Rohwer reconstructed

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies announced last week that it has received "Miss Jamison's" collection of art and hundreds of documents generated at Rohwer, a gift of former McGehee mayor Rosalie Gould.

'A Raisin in the Sun'

Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Jan. 20

This Modern World, Jan. 26, 2011

The To-Do List, Jan. 26-31

No Age at Revolution, Alpha Rev at Stickyz, Knuckfest at Downtown Music Hall, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at Robinson, Nachtmystium at Downtown and Peter Wolf Crier at Stickyz

The Televisionist, Jan. 26

On "Megapython vs. Gatoroid," "Being Human" and "Portlandia."

The Week That Was, Jan. 19-25

Good week: security, malicious foolishness, Loren Hitchcock, coming clean. Bad week: highway safety and justice, the Broadway bridge, North Arkansas, John Pelphrey.

What's Cookin', Jan. 26

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

Words, Jan. 26

If you mean "black," why not just say "black"? I'm reminded of the sportswriters who go to great lengths to avoid referring to black players.

How'd he do?

Reactions to the state of the union address.

Grasping at straws

The Arkansas Highway Department has lowered the weight limit of trucks traveling on certain highways to mitigate damage being done by trucks used in the exploration of natural gas.

Wednesday To-Do: No Age

Critical darlings (for some reason lost on us) No Age come to Revolution tonight.

"You lie" happened on Twitter this time

Rep. Paul Broun tweeted during the State of the Union address that President Obama believes in Socialism.

Dow tops 12,000...

Dow Jones tops 12,000 for the first time since 2008.

The pits

An update for this week's Insider column. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality responds to some questions I had about regulating drilling fluid pits on natural gas drilling pads.

Jonathan Chavez: Update

I just talked to Jonathan Chavez' lawyer, Sandra Lambert, on the telephone. Chavez is the Peruvian-born University of Arkansas Honors College senior who is being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Florida.

Harps blocks Elton

A bit of an online furor this morning after the gay/lesbian blogs lit up with word that the Harps grocery store in Mountain Home had apparently put a obscene material placard over all the copies of Us Weekly Magazine bearing the family portrait of singer Elton John, his partner, and their new baby.

Meet the Judges: Travis Hill

Who? Record label head/musician.

Meet the judges: Bonnie Montgomery

Who? Local songwriter/chanteuse.Claim to fame: The mind behind "Billy Blythe," the internationally-known opera based on Bill Clinton's childhood, front woman for Montgomery Trucking.

Art for the heart

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has a super feature story today on the artists-in-residence program at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Meet the judges: Mike Brown

Who? DJ, promoter, entrepreneur Claim to fame: Owner of Green Grass Rock n' Roll Grocery and Bodega in the River Market, founder of RSVP Society, renowned house DJ.

Meet the judges: Andy Warr

Who? Winner of ATMS 2010, Little Rock's newest icon.

Meet the guest judge: Jason Magnusson

Who? "Doctor Crossfade" Claim to fame: Co-producer/engineer of genre classics "Emotion is Dead" by The Juliana Theory and "Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest" by Zao.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round One: Cody Ives Band

Cody Ives Band plays the first round of the Musicians Showcase this Thursday night.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round One: Tyrannosaurus Chicken

Tyrannosaurus Rex plays the first round of the Musicians Showcase this Thursday night.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round One: Catskill Kids

Catskill Kids play the first round of the Musicians Showcase this Thursday night.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round One: Zach Williams and the Reformation

Zach Williams and the Reformation play the first round of the Musicians Showcase this Thursday night.

Charles Pearce: Lined up at Laman

Charles Pearce — born in England, living in Eureka Springs — combines calligraphy with paint "in a vain attempt to have calligraphic work more widely accepted by the fine art fraternity."

Dirty tricks?

Live Action, an anti-abortion group that has performed undercover investigations at abortion clinics, will neither confirm nor deny that it has sent a man to Planned Parenthood clinics in five states representing himself as a sex trafficker.

Your least favorite Baldwin brother is in town to direct a music video

Erstwhile actor Stephen Baldwin, famous more recently for baptizing Spencer Pratt, regretting a Hannah Montana tattoo and suing Kevin Costner over oil spill technology, is in town today to direct a music video for Cory Lamb, a local musician who's spent some time in LA and opened for Ryan Cabrera.

Restaurant rumblings

A Taco Garage? A Tokyo House? A home for a new McGehee concept?

Still time, barely

For all those who've put off going to the "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" exhibit at the Arkansas Studies Institute, stop putting off.

Senator charged in high speed chase: UPDATE

Perry County Sheriff Scott Montgomery released a statement today saying that Greenwood Senator Bruce Holland has been charged in connection with the lawmaker leading a deputy on what police have called a high-speed chase through two counties on Monday.

Rep. Smith guilty of theft, resigns seat

Rep. Fred Smith was found guilty of felony theft. Smith then announced he will resign his seat. A statement from Smith.

Legislative rundown

What happened at the legislature today.

Open line

Let's hear what you have to say.

All in a heart-shaped box

Seven pounds of gourmet chocolate in a heart-shaped box? Sign me up.

Bird deaths explained, still no idea about fish

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission explains bird deaths over Beebe. Fish deaths still a mystery.

Abortion bill to come up for vote CLARIFICATION

The Senate will vote this morning on SB 113, which would prohibit insurance exchanges set up by the federal health care reform law from offering coverage for abortions.

Burger joint of the week: Good Times Grill

Big half-pound burgers are celebrated at this El Dorado eatery housed in a former laser tag arena.

Elections and social media

Republicans are catching up to Democrats in the use of social media, says a new Pew study.

A breakthrough at the legislature?

A behind the scenes look at some things coming up at the Arkansas legislature including ethics reform, tax cuts and redistricting.

Go dip it

Have you had a chance to try one of the winning cheese dips from the World Championship Cheese Dip Competition?

Thursday To-Do: Eric Sommer, Graham Wilkinson, Dr. Rex Bell

Thursday night offers Eric Sommer, Graham Wilkinson, Dr. Rex Bell and more.

Censoring Elton: in perspective

Suzi Parker puts the Elton John-Harps grocery controversy into perspective.

Hearing in truck burning case UPDATE

Daniel Gatrell, who was 16 when he was arrested for the Dec. 12 murder of 23-month-old Hannah Grace Dowdie and her father, Michael, will appear in Pulaski Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's courtroom today.

Tonight: Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round One

The Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase kicks off another year tonight at Stickyz with Zach Williams and the Reformation, Catskill Kids, Tyrannosaurus Chicken and Cody Ives Band.

Thank you, sir, may I have another?

A new report shows that two Arkansas coal-fired power plants rank in the top 25 in the nation when it comes to mercury pollution.

Majored in frugality

U.S. News and World Report has compiled a list of the "10 most-loved" colleges and universities, measuring love by the percentage of a school's alumni that contribute money to their alma mater.

No charge, assessor says

Contrary to what some people believe, the property information kept on the Pulaski County assessor's website is still free, according to Assessor Janet Troutman Ward.

Infamous crime

Bloggers pose the question: Does Sen. Bruce Holland's fleeing from a sheriff's deputy count as an infamous crime? Also, why wasn't Holland charged with felony fleeing?

Unmarried foster ban to Ark. Supremes

The Arkansas Supreme Court has set a date to hear arguments in the appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down Initiated Act 1 as unconstitutional.

Gatrell update

Daniel Gatrell, whose decision to turn down a plea deal in the murder of toddler Hannah Dowdie and her father we reported earlier on the blog, has apparently changed his mind.

A softer Stone

Hicks Stone, son of architect Ed Stone, will give a talk on his father's work tonight at the U of A.

Legislative rundown

Arkansas legislature round-up for today.

Tonight, tonight

Head down to the Showcase if you get a chance. Otherwise, we'll see you on down the road.

This is ethics reform?

Gasket blown here off the coast of China at the backslapping among legislators and commentators on the so-called bipartisan ethics package.

'Grit' too gritty?

Sure, sometimes the quickest way land an Oscar nomination is to throw on your goofiest accent and go to town.

Friday To-Do: Alpha Rev

MOR radio rockers Alpha Rev land in Stickyz this Friday night.

Weekend To-Do: Knuckfest 2011

Little Rock hardcore festival Knuckfest returns for another year at Downtown Music Hall.

Weekend To-Do: 'Reformation'

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra offers another installment of their "Masterworks" series with "Reformation," featuring guest soloist Julie Albers on cello.

About that health care bill

Passing a health care bill in contradiction to federal law could land the state in big trouble.

The birther tax

A proposed bill in Hawaii would allow the state to charge a $100 fee for those seeking the president's birth records.

Injection well moratorium extended

The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission extends the moratorium on fracking.

Clear as Grit

It's Friday, so we offer a little chuckle to start your weekend right: In the new adaptation of Charles Portis' "True Grit," Jeff Bridges landed an Oscar nomination while talking like he had a throat full of the title material.

Crime down in NLR

Crime numbers are down in North Little Rock.

Dispatch from Cairo

Cory Ellis, a former University of Arkansas graduate, reports from Cairo on the ongoing protests.

Martinis down the stairwell

Did you know Eureka Springs has a martini bar? I didn’t, not until I stumbled into the stairwell across from the Basin Park Hotel and made it down to the landing below.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round One goes to Tyrannosaurus Chicken

Congratulations to Tyrannosaurus Chicken! More to come.

Beebe: Severance tax hike unlikely

Gov. Beebe says efforts to increase the natural gas severance tax might not get very far in the legislature

Public airing

Give the public a say in evaluating Airport Director Ron Mathieu’s job performance? That was the suggestion of Gen. Wesley Clark, recently appointed to the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission, in his first meeting with the commission’s personnel committee this morning.

Magical winter wonderland

Who says Arkansas has no food festivals in the winter? The third annual LANTERNS! festival is coming up February 18-20 at Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts.

Jonathan Chavez: No bond

We haven't been able to reach either Jonathan Chavez' lawyer or the court, but according to the Facebook page Praying for Jonathan Chavez, the judge did not grant a bond for the U of A honors college student.

Dispatch from Cairo II

I just got an update on Cory Ellis, the University of Arkansas grad currently living in Cairo, from Daniel Green, founder and managing editor of Arkansas Abroad.

Trustees OK football center bonds

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees gave the Athletic Department the go-ahead to seek university approval to issue $35 million in bonds to build a "football center."

It's all about Egypt

So here's an open line.

$35 million at U of A, but not for art

A poster to the U of A's history listserv makes an apt observation Razorback athletics' plan to issue bonds to build a "football center."

I hear Little Rock calling

GUANGZHOU, CHINA — My trips nears an end. It's the start of the weekend in Arkansas.

Dirksmeyer case: another mistrial

For the second time, the jury in the case of Gary Dunn, the man accused of killing Arkansas Tech student and beauty queen Nona Dirksmeyer in 2005, has been unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial.

A Saturday line

What a beautiful day.

High-flying at the ledge

The people of Jasper are truly grateful, I expect, to be informed on the health of the shellfish in the Gulf of Mexico, cited by their senator as an excuse for his taxpayer-paid trip to a conference in Newfoundland, Canada.

Lead feet

Brummett takes the high road and notes the irony in a legislature that is reluctant to take on the responsibility of running the lottery, highway and game and fish commissions while assuring folks that they're completely safe behind the wheel of a car going 110 mph.

'Now that's what I'm talking about'

Here (apropos of nothing) is a great story from the New York Times today about college students celebrating their mixed race identity while making the point that the way we pigeonhole people as "black" or "white" or "hispanic" is essentially absurd.

It's Sunday

Does anybody care about the Pro Bowl? It's football.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round 1: Video recap

Video of Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Zach Williams and the Reformation, Catskill Kids and Cody Ives Band from the first round of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round 1: Judges commentary on Tyrannosaurus Chicken

The judges weigh in on Tyrannosaurus Chicken, winners of the first round of Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase .

Monday To-Do: Nachtmystium

Psychedelic black metal heroes Nachtmystium come to Downtown Music Hall this Monday.

Monday To-Do: Peter Wolf Crier-Retribution Gospel Choir

Peter Wolf Crier and Retribution Gospel Choir bring their mature indie-rock to Stickyz this Monday night.

Health care vote a win-win

Andrew Demillo's analysis of the failure of David Meek's health care bill.

So, soup

One of Little Rock’s longest running fundraising events is coming up next month. The 30th Soup Sunday will be held Sunday, February 20th 4-7 p.m. at the Embassy Suites on Chenal.

Obama to transcend?

John Brummet makes the argument that Obama will now try to transcend party politics and lead Americans, rather than Democrats.

Jackson Co. GOP chair linked to "white rights" group

The leader of the Jackson County Republican Party is also the contact person for the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white rights group.

World of the Pharaohs

From youtube, here's some video from inside the Cairo Museum, a small portion of which was looted during the ongoing protests.

'True Grit' vs. 'True Grit'

A side-by-side comparison of the 1962 and 2011 versions of "True Grit" hit the internet.

Lincoln to Entergy board

Former Senator Blanche Lincoln will now sit on the board of directors for Entergy Corp.

Dispatch from Cairo III

Cory Ellis, an Arkansan in Cairo, will evacuate Egypt soon.

Televisionist: 'Being Human'

These days, it's looking like if you want a half-ass decent American TV show, you have to go looking in Britain for the raw material.

'Natural State' looks at Carroll County herbicide fight

From Carroll County comes this good looking new documentary with a strong title, "The Natural State of America."

Rep exceeds capital campaign goal

The Rep announced today that it exceeded its $5.4 million, four-year capital campaign plan. Which means that it raised enough to receive a $600,000 Challenge Grant from The Kresge Foundation, bringing the grand total to $6,043,384.

Companies used diesel to drill in AR

Drilling companies have used frack fluids containing diesel in Arkansas and 18 other states.

The Root digs in

The Root, the long, long-in-the works local foods cafe, finally has a permanent home — 1500 South Main, the former home of the Sweden Creme dairy bar.

Judge says mandate unconstitutional, winks at Tea Party

A federal judge ruled against the mandate portion of the federal health reform package and also gave a shout-out to the Tea Party.

Huck in the Promised Land

Floridian and Fox News employee Mike Huckabee put on his "Presidential" hat yesterday, appearing with actor Jon Voight at the laying of a cornerstone for a controversial new Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem.

Planning in Lake Maumelle

The deadline for public comment on regulations in the Lake Maumelle Watershed is today. Here's how to submit a comment.

Legislative rundown

What happened at the Arkansas legislature today?

I'm outta here

You pick up the slack.

He's baaaaaack

OK, I'm back. It took 39 hours from the boat landing in Hong Kong, through a night in the weirdly empty enormous Beijing airport, to a lucky transit ahead of snow in O'Hare to be here, but here I am.

Judicious spending

So. Back to work after three weeks off And what does the e-mail bring?

Turn off the phones

Mark it down. The U.S. will eventually join the rest of the civilized world and enact bans on use of cell phones — hand-held or not — while driving.

Watering down school standards

Education Director Tom Kimbrell says he supports legislation to give school districts longer than two years to correct financial and academic deficiencies before being taken over by the state.

Gay marriage: the generation gap

Barbara Bush, George W. Bush's daughter, today will endorse same-sex marriage. She joins a line of children of Republican leaders in that camp.

The GOP's big tent

State Republican Chairman Doyle Webb thinks the Jackson County Republican chairman, John Casteel, should sever his ties with a racist organization.

Attacking stealth spending

The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has asked the IRS to investigate with the American Future Fund has violated tax law.

On our need for bread and milk

The bread-and-milk panic phenomenom has struck hard here in Central Arkansas this month. Boy, wouldn't it be nice if grocery stores stuck those items up front?

Weather emergency declared

Gov. Mike Beebe has declared a state of emergency on account of the winter storm that has hit Northwest Arkansas.

Talk of the Town: Arkansan's death

Ernie Dumas calls attention to the passing of Pat Crow, a Little Rock native who rose from the copy editing desk at the Arkansas Gazette to become an editor at The New Yorker.

OSHA cites Welspun plant

A federal agency has cited the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock for two dozen health and safety violations following an August inspection, Arkansas Business reports.

Mike Ross: A new low

Read yet about the latest in anti-abortion activity, the proposed federal legislation to permit public funding of abortions only in cases of forcible rape.

Huckabee: Fearful of democracy?

Mike Huckabee has been busy this week kissing up to conservative Israelis — such as by defending Israeli settlements in occupied territory and generally displaying an aversion to Palestinians — so it makes a certain amount of sense that he's displaying concern for Hosni Mubarak.

Helena-West Helena shut down by veto

Blogger Andrew Bagley reports that Helena-West Helena Mayor Arnell Willis has broken a promise and vetoed a one-month appropriation to keep the city government running.

The committee report

Among other action at the legislature today: * The fig-leaf so-called ethics bill, which might, in 2015, stop legislators from instantly becoming lobbyists after leaving office, was approved in Senate committee and seems headed for speedy passage in the House, too.

State lottery raffle a bust

We reported back in December that the Arkansas Lottery's million-dollar raffle wasn't living up to expectations.

John Bridges at SAAC

John Bridges' "Shadows on the Road" opens today in El Dorado.

A judicial 'cold war'

An Obama White House official has described as a "cold war" the situation in the Senate, where the judicial confirmation process seems to have been slowed down to an unprecedented degree by Republican opposition.

Broadening the smoking ban

I cheer the news, reported by Roby Brock, that legislation is coming to eliminate most of the exemptions in the law that banned smoking in most public places.

Mosaic Templars 'Creativity'

Collection now has 42 works of art.

Brockmeier's new novel out today

Kevin Brockmeier, Little Rock's favorite hometown novelist, celebrates today's release of his new novel "The Illumination" this afternoon with a party and a book signing at WordsWorth from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

True Soul comps finally get release dates

We've heard tell of a coming comp on Little Rock soul label True Soul from Stones Throw or one of its affiliates for years. Now comes word that Stones Throw's reissue label Now-Again will put out a two-volume case book CD/DVD comp.

House passes cell phone limit

The House reversed itself today and passed Rep. Fred Allen's bill to ban use of hand-held cell phones by drivers in school zones.

Trial set for fleeing senator

The City Wire reports that a May 12 trial date has been tentatively set for Sen. Bruce "Fireball" Holland of Greenwood who faces fleeing and other charges.

The night is young

But I turn the forum over to you. A closing note: Cato urges me to note a piece he read on the fact that federal health coverage begins today for new members of Congress.