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January 29, 2009

Vol 7 • No 3

How green is our valley?

WASHINGTON — 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.

Repubs revolting all over

Republican opposition in the House has killed the bill to delay the transition to digital TV by four months.

It's the law: Be kind to animals

The felony animal cruelty bill passed the House 88-9. It's done with passage by both houses. Mighty easy.

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.

You're on

Fresh thread.

Pinned by “Wrestler”

I’m a sucker for sports movies. Good, bad or indifferent, I love ’em.

The televisionist, Jan. 29

Do young women even have parents anymore? How about grandmothers, maiden aunts, prudish uncles?

A new king

It’s hard to conceive of any restaurant that can take on the nostalgia-laden power of Russellville’s famous Whatta-Burger.

Necessary evils

“Hendren said he didn’t care what the lawyers said.”

Energy conservation? Bah.

Rep. Roy Ragland, R-Marshall, has introduced a bill that would repeal the Energy and Conservation Endorsement Act of 1977.

Abandon all hope ye who waver here

Not quite midway through our season’s journey, and the Razorbacks have already found themselves in a dark wood.

Mr. Carroll goes to Little Rock

With his silver hair, sunglasses, and crisp black suit, Richard Carroll certainly looks the part of a state legislator.

Before a black man could be president

In what’s surely the most anticipated theater debut of the season, “Looking Over the President’s Shoulder” opens Friday at the Rep.

Deals at Circuit City

I don’t know how long Circuit City’s creditors have given them to liquidate their assets and pay off what they can, but they don’t seem to be in too much of a hurry.

Whang

I know it was a big surprise to you that near the top of the agenda for state legislators was raising their own pay.

This modern world, Jan. 29

The observer, Jan. 29

The Observer’s mother comes from mountain folk, people who spent their days on Good Ol’ Rockytop wrestling black bears, dodging the revenooers, and trying to coax a living out of the scrubbiest dirt known to man.

Smart talk, Jan. 29

Mike Huckabee is doing more than TV and radio since he lost a run for president.

For sale cheap

The tobacco companies spent $66.7 million in California, $5.7 million in Missouri and $7.1 million in Oregon to defeat tobacco tax increases, exactly enough to do it each time, but Arkansas will be a bargain.

Puncturing the puffed-up governor

Any of you who might be inclined to praise Gov. Mike Beebe for declining his pay raise should proceed to the official fitting room for your dunce caps.

To-do list, Jan. 29

The Weisenheimers, Pretty Things Peep Show, Cool Shoes, Jonathan Wilkins, 'Three Blind Mice,' Lippizzaner Stallions and Dirty Dozen Brass Band round out this week's good-time options.

Obama: Role model

President Barack Obama hadn’t been president 24 hours before he began fulfilling promises — to close Guantanamo and secret CIA prisons, to begin withdrawal from Iraq and lots more.

In brief, Jan. 20

Just before the last weekend of the Warhol exhibit at the Arts Center, the Warhol Film Festival, co-presented by the Times, wraps up at Market Street, with “I Shot Andy Warhol,” Mary Harron’s indie bio-pic of Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor), the radical fem

In review

The Jan. 15 review of the movie “Gran Torino” should be an embarrassment to the management and ownership of the newspaper.

Jan. 21-27, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … The SINGLE LIFE. New national statistics show a sharp drop in marriages in Arkansas, but the divorce rate continues at about the same rate.

What's cooking, Jan. 29

Pizza and beer and an outdoor patio across the street from a 600-bed college dorm? Ought to work, you think?

Words, Jan. 29

Nickolas S. Jovanovic writes: “From the Arkansas Blog Jan. 16 – ‘I can barely sit still, waiting for the renewal of “Friday Night Lights.” Lindsey Millar, more up-to-date than me in all things, has already seen the season opener on DirectTV.’

Orval, Jan. 29

Safe 'Black Ice'

AC/DC played Alltel Wednesday night. I wasn't there, needless to say.

An August primary?

Sen. Steve Faris, who has plenty of clout at his end of the Capitol, has proposed to move the political primaries to August.

Too much monkey business

Brummett considers the ongoing consideration of what to do about the recently approved annual legislative sessions and decides the best solution is to propose another amendment to undo it.

Pay fixes

I note the Bruce Maloch-Gilbert Baker bill to amend the recently approved pay raises for the executive and legislative branches.

About that retirement

This isn't exactly news, but the numbers make for some sobering reading. It's about the devastation done to 401K retirement plans and how some are eating what's left of their retirement in emergency withdrawals.

Ice station Fayetteville UPDATE

From Sunset Street. Courtesy of Archie Schaffer.

More job cuts

Add Arkansas Best Corp., the big trucking firm based in Fort Smith, to those announcing more job cuts (350 more in January), pay freezes and facility closures to cope with hard times.

Stop the presses!

Talk Business finds a legislator, freshman Republican Rep. Duncan Baird of Lowell, who has adopted a personal "Wal-Mart rule" for meeting with lobbyists.

Last Night: AC-DC

Angus, devil horning. Photo by Brian Chilson.

They'll leave the light on ...

... so you can see what else might be sharing a room with you. TripAdvisor website sets out to rank the dirtiest hotels in the United States.

Thursday To-Do: Weisenheimers

THE WEISENHEIMERS10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.Kindred strummers and shirtless drummers — that's what this rock band is made of.

Thursday To-Do: Pretty Things Peep Show

  NSFW depending on your workplace's policy on pasties.

Speaking of hotels

I park in the Main Street deck and I've been noticing how empty it and an adjoining surface lot used by the Peabody Hotel have seemed.

Speaking of hotels

I park in the Main Street deck and I've been noticing how empty it and an adjoining surface lot used by the Peabody Hotel have seemed.

Blago for the defense

If you're going to fire him, the embattled governor tells Ill. legislature, you need to fire Rahm, too.

By the Numbers

Noah Trister of The Associated Press has penned a fine article on the Hogs' SEC woes.

LR pre-schoolers in limbo

Sen. David Johnson of Little Rock today pulled down his bill to provide a work-around so that Little Rock School District pre-schoolers can continue to kindergarten next year and not have to wait on account of a new statutory age minimum.

Common sense

Thomas Paine had it. So does John Brummett.

Animal bill OK

Sharp readers noticed that the animal cruelty bill had been recalled to the Senate from the governor's office.

Animal bill OK

Sharp readers noticed that the animal cruelty bill had been recalled to the Senate from the governor's office.

ASU down too

Arkansas State University has had to close for the week, too, on account of intermittent power failures thanks to ice damage.

The grownups in the Senate

This is too rich. Lost in all the hubbub about the Obama congratulatory resolution's derailment by petty Republicans in the House was the news that a virtually identical resolution, sponsored by Sen. Tracy Steele, was passed without a problem in the Senate Jan. 15, in time to be delivered to the new president's inaugural.

Chip the magic loser

Looks like Mike Huckabee won't have his former campaign manager as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Least beloved 'American Idol' winner to UCA

No, not Taylor Hicks. David Cook, who last year used power ballads to steal an "American Idol" win from David Archuleta, is coming to UCA's Reynolds Performance Hall Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Woo, pig

Unsolicited testimonial: I had a pulled pork BBQ sandwich at the Capital Hotel Bar today that lived up to the waiter's billing as the best he'd ever eaten.

Thursday: 'I Shot Andy Warhol,' 'Saints and Sinners' kicks off, Boombox and more

Lili Taylor in "I Shot Andy Warhol" Just before the last weekend of the Warhol exhibit at the Arts Center, the Warhol Film Festival, co-presented by the Times, wraps up at Market Street, with “I Shot Andy Warhol,” Mary Harron's indie bio-pic of Valerie Solanas (Lili Taylor), the radical feminist who tried to murder Warhol in 1968, 7 p.m., $7.50.

2009 Musicians Showcase: The Lowdown

I wasn't around for the beginning of the Musicians Showcase a decade ago, but I've got to think that the decision to call it the “Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase” as opposed to something like the “Arkansas Times Battle of the Bands,” spoke to a desire to host a contest that showed off local talent in all its diversity, local acts the community didn't know about, but should.Our line-up last year fit that criteria, I think, but if people didn't know a lot of the participants, it was because they weren't following local music at all.

Do as I say, etc.

On the jump is an e-mail from DHS Director John Selig, apparently sent to all DHS employees, providing information about Gov. Mike Beebe's cigarette tax/health initiative.

Blago booted by Ill. ledge

He'll be missed by the press, no doubt. Except there's still a trial to come.

Open line

It's yours. Blagojevich a minute ago was something.

Which side are you on?

The dope head? Or President Obama?

Food Lovers' Open Line.

Frequent commenter Mordy came up with a good suggestion -- let's try it out.  Here's an Open Line for all you food lovers out there.  The image, by the way, is a favorite of mine from Chris Dimino.

Off the Schneid - At Last

Solid, solid win by the Hogs. Shooting 45 percent from behind the three-point arc and 80 percent from the free-throw line will win you a lot of ball games.

Stuff I've Learned from Reading

I stole this format from Lindsey Millar, but I like it.  Here are some of the weird things I've picked up from what I've been reading lately: "The Robber/Sanchez must be pure evil and inhuman [to make a joke about the death of Felix Leiter].  James Bond ought to kill them, preferably in a similar way or at least in some fashion equally, if not more, gruesome.  Yet when Bond responds to the death of a villain with such nonchalance we laugh or giggle and generally take pleasure not only in the death but the way in which Bond responds to it, namely, with such lightheartedness that he might have just flushed a fish down the toilet instead of dropping a defenseless Blofeld wheelchair and all down a smoke stack."  The essay "Don't You Men Know Any Other Way?" by Jacob M. Held from the book James Bond and Philosophy.  There are some intriguing essays, although, one of the essays that addresses sexism in Bond films seems to conclude it's nothing to worry one's pretty little head about.

Showcase time

I wasn’t around for the beginning of the Musicians Showcase a decade ago, but I’ve got to think that the decision to call it the “Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase” as opposed to something like the “Arkansas Times Battle of the Bands,” spoke to a desire t

Tonight!

The six-week Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase kicks off at Sticky Fingerz tonight with performances by Jordan Atwater (left), Velvet Kente, Magic Hassle and Frown Pow'r. Download a compilation of songs by all the semi-finalists

Bipartisanship at work

Note that nine Senate Republicans, for a total of 66 senators, voted to provide more health insurance for children.

Fightin' words?

A $5 million appropriation bill for the War Memorial Stadium Commission passed with almost no notice yesterday.

Friday To-Do: 'Three Blind Mice'

‘THREE BLIND MICE'7 p.m., Children's Theatre, Arkansas Arts Center. $10-$14.Based on the Mother Goose nursery rhyme, the latest from the Arkansas Children's Theatre follows three young, curious mice, who journey into “Big Kitchen World” in search of cheese.

Friday To-Do: Jonathan Wilkins

JONATHAN WILKINS10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.Originally from St. Louis, this singer/songwriter, who you'll often find working the door at White Water, found his way into Central Arkansas's vibrant folk punk scene through Conway, where he schooled at Hendrix.

Republican speaks truth

The rare event is worth noting: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a blunt warning to Republicans Thursday: Their party must regain lost supporters plus blacks, Hispanics and voters on both coasts — or risk becoming a permanent minority party with a limited power base.

Friday To-Do: Cool Shoes

Shea Marie. COOL SHOES10 p.m., Downtown Music.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 1: Jordan Atwater

Jordan AtwaterSolo debut: Late 2007From: Little RockBacking group: Bruce Brown (background vocals), Bruce Fouler (drums), Natalie Griffin (bass), Whitney McClinton (dancer), Carl Mouton (keys), Six String (lead guitar), Eric Ware (lead guitar), Heather Webb (dancer and costume designer).Albums: Last year, she released "Emotional Intelligence," an album recorded entirely with studio musicians that flirts between pop and soul.

Shoutout to Arkansas House

National TV for the slavery apologists on the House State Agencies Committee and their defeat of the Obama congratulations resolution.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 1: Magic Hassle

  "Fascination" live at the Ameroplace in Fayetteville.

Bipartisan tax and spenders UPDATE

The Democratic Party promises a show of Democrat and Republican "leaders" Monday to support the tobacco tax for health programs.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 1: Velvet Kente

.joshua. Velvet KenteFormed: This is one of the ever-shifting performance names for local composer .joshua.

UAMS recommended for Ray Winder UPDATE

The special city committee considering what to do with the old Ray Winder Field met this morning and, when it was over, came out of a closed session and recommended that the neighboring University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences get the property.

Landowner Issues Meeting

From the Searcy Daily Citizen: The Fayetteville Shale Citizens Association will sponsor an informational meeting on natural gas issues on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. at the White County Fairgrounds exhibit building in Searcy.

Fighting for a Good Bill

Rep. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, is trying to get a bill through the House Agricultural Committee that would limit the power of some pipeline companies to claim eminent domain.  It turns out some gas companies in the state are bullying property owners into allowing pipelines on their land by threatening to take it anyway.  It's a bit complicated, but basically the bill says that only common carriers (pipeline companies that install lines for public benefit, or to transport gas from state to state) can claim ED - not companies transporting gas for thier own private benefit, which is going on now.  Chesapeake will no doubt argue that the bill would only benefit a small group of complainers.  I know that's not the case.  I've received numerous complaints about pipeline companies ruining land, waterwells, fences, etc.  If you've had trouble with this, or know someone who has, it is IMPERATIVE that you call your legislators and let them know that you support House Bill 1178.  The gas companies will be coming out against this in full force.  Spread the word.  Here's the number for the House: 501-682-6211.  If you don't know who your legislator is, they'll tell you.   If your legislator happens to be on the Agricultural Committee, then it's even more important that you call them.  Here are the members of that committee.

Shale watch

Gerard Matthews is keeping up with natural gas exploration in the Fayetteville Shale on our Shale Watch blog.  Today's posts include work on a new bill to protect landowners from greedy pipeline companies and the announcement of a meeting tomorrow in White County to address landowners' concerns with the industry.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 1: Frown Pow'r

Frown Pow'rFormed: May 2008From: Little Rock by way of Arkadelphia.Members: Blake Phillips (drums and tambourine, percussion), JT Tarpley (vocals, guitar, stomping), Marshall Dunn (guitar, banjo, stomping, theremin), John Babb (electric mandolin, stomping).

The subject is dope

Meet Davy Carter. Freshman legislator from Cabot.

The subject is dope

Meet Davy Carter. Freshman legislator from Cabot.

Spoiler alert: Little Rock musician appears to be among the top 36 on 'American Idol'

Local singer/songwriter and UCA student Kris Allen, who's surely soon to overtake this Kris Allen and this Kris Allen atop Google searches, appears to be among the top 36 on "American Idol."

Blogger Wills

Is House Speaker Robbie Wills really doing all this blogging and tweeting and etc. himself between presiding and dining with lobbyists?

Blogger Wills

Is House Speaker Robbie Wills really doing all this blogging and tweeting and etc. himself between presiding and dining with lobbyists?

Pittsburgh college peeved at Grisham

John Grisham's new novel, "The Associate," (surely, there's a John Grisham title generator out there somewhere) came out on Tuesday.

Proctor hearing set

The public hearing on the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission's complaint against Little Rock Circuit Judge Willard Proctor has been set for April 27-May 1.

Steele new RNC head

Michael Steele, the Maryland politician, was elected today as chairman of the Republican National Committee, its first black leader.

Video: Cool Shoes

Go to the video player on our main page, or go to the multimedia page and click entertainment, and you'll find a new video about the much-buzzed about monthly dance party, Cool Shoes.

Emergency leave for state workers

Gov. Beebe issued a reminder today that state employees may qualify for up to a week of paid leave to cope with weather emergencies.

Need a little time off?

You've heard of the layoff. You've heard of the furlough, a somewhat less painful way for a company to cut costs in these hard times.

Weekend To-Do: 'Looking Over the President's Shoulder'

Lawrence Hamilton stars. "LOOKING OVER THE PRESIDENT'S SHOULDER"8 p.m., the Rep. $20-$35.In what's surely the most anticipated theater debut of the season, “Looking Over the President's Shoulder” opens Friday at the Rep. The one-man show, starring one of Arkansas's favorite sons, Lawrence Hamilton, and directed by Rep vet Gilbert McCauley (“Fences,” “The Piano Lesson,” both starring Hamilton), tells a story that's especially appropriate in this new era, in which a black man occupies the White House.

The Weekend: Art on Tap, 'The White Party,' Rwake, the See, Riverboat Crime and more

Riverboat Crime. FRIDAY 1/30In case you somehow missed the nine jillion blogs and stories about it, the ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE kicks off tonight!

Saturday To-Do: Dirty Dozen Brass Band

DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND8:30 p.m., Revolution. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.The Crescent City is known for harvesting its own flavor of swamp-boogie funk, voodoo blues and traditional Dixieland jazz roots.

Saturday To-Do: Lippizzaner Stallions

LIPPIZZANER STALLIONS2 p.m., 7 p.m., Alltel Arena. $24.25-$31.25.Even though the horses are out of the gate at Oaklawn, expect plenty of equine lovers to turn out for the annual return of the World Famous Lippizzaner Stallions.

Over to you

I'm outta here.

Boo from the Zoo ....

... over the recommendation to turn the vacant RayWinder Field into a parking lot. A petition drive is underway to encourage the City Board to transfer the land instead for Zoo expansion.

Now it's Tom Daschle

With tax problems. $100,000 worth.

Velvet Kente!

Velvet Kente mesmerized our judges in the first round of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Friday. The Afro-beat, funk-rock act, who'd played only a handful of shows before Friday, delivered with the force of an arena rock band. Check

More common sense

Brummett discovers verities of blogging: Sometimes you think something blogged is just too good not to repeat in a subsequent print edition of your publication and the different readership of digital and print forms justifies it.

Cop misconduct and the court

Interesting reporting on how legal scholars believe Chief Justice John Roberts is moving to undo the "exclusionary rule" that allows criminal defendants to suppress evidence produced by police misconduct.

Friday night frenzy

If the crowds weren't heading to the first round of the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase last night at Sticky Fingerz (see Rock Candy for updates and other things to do daily) they were storming down to Riverdale to try the just-opened Maddie's Place, Brian Deloney's casual New Orleans-influenced spot newly opened between Faded Rose and Buffalo Grill.

SEC Basketball Power Poll: Week 4

It's time for another exciting edition of the SEC Basketball Power Poll. In the wake of the Hogs' long-awaited first conference victory last night, we took the bold step of moving them from 11th place up to 10th.

Time to Start Obsessing Over the Whims of Teenagers

I need to preface this post by saying I generally don't get that into recruiting and the hoopla over rankings, can't miss prospects, etc. It's all very hypothetical and inexact, and most importantly there's something a little creepy about a bunch of adults freaking out over every move made by a 17 year old kid (who is probably already fawned over too much, anyway).

Velvet Kente takes round 1

.joshua and Velvet Kente. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Beebe scores

DeMillo analysis: Gov. Mike Beebe hit a political homerun by declining a pay raise provided in legislation he signed.

From the speaker's office

Another plug for House Speaker Robbie Wills' blog -- and thanks to the speaker for chipping in with a blog comment yesterday and claiming authorship of every last word.

Open line

Here it is.

Makin' It Up as We Go Along

For reasons that we'll get to in a minute, I decided to attend an improv class at The Public Theatre done by Josh and Matt, two of the guys from ImprovLittle Rock.  I called Friday morning to see if I needed to sign up in advance and spoke with Josh, who nicely told me I could just show up and gave me directions.  So, I didn't need to give him my name in advance, although he did point out that "If you tell me your name, then, we'll know who you are when you get here."  True enough.  Anything else I needed to know?  "That's it.  Just show up at three.  Come dressed...in clothes, and yeah..."

Lottery: heavy reading

Lottery bill taking shape, will be 100 pages long, Speaker Wills tells Stephens Media. Sadly, it seems a given that Gov. Beebe's wishes to continue existing scholarship programs and create still another one with lottery money is going to prevail.

Do you have a church home?

A report on the intertwining of church and state in Arkansas: * Its unconstitutional state Constitution -- atheists are theoretically prohibited from holding public office.

The GOP's bad idea

John Brummett today pounds the Republican alternative for paying for a trauma system -- using court costs.

More red ink in Conway

Another shoutout for Debra Hale-Shelton, the Democrat-Gazette reporter in Conway, for another in a series of what should be prize-winning coverage of the financial shambles at the University of Central Arkansas.

In defense of corporate jets

--Wikipedia: A Dassault Falcon jet. Op-ed writer in NY Times defends the corporate jet for practical reasons, including the access they provide to small airports for the likes of Wal-Mart and the jobs the industry provides in places like Little Rock (Dassault's 2,000 workers are mentioned).

Proud of the Hogs

For someone who didn't see yesterday's game, that headline may seem strange after yet another double-digit defeat on the road. But this wasn't your standard lifeless Hog road loss.

Super Sunday open line

Have at it. I hear there's something going on that might divert attention.

Morning mailbag

OK, I don't have President Obama's e-mail, but I did find this in my in-box this morning:

Hands across the sea

Brummett contrasts Bush's macho man approach to foreign policy -- and the general shambles it produced -- with President Obama's outreach to the Muslim world.

Dump Daschle

That's Brummett's take. Income tax issue was bad enough.

Al Gore: snark victim

Ancient history, I know. But the Daily Howler offers an extended take on a new book by New Yorker film critic David Denby, "Snark."

Denby: 2008 Not a Great Year

David Denby of The New Yorker weighs in on the Oscar nominations and the year in movies.

Nobama, Ray-gan

Sen. Kim Hendren and other Repubs in the Senate would proclaim Feb. 6 Ronald Reagan Day in Arkansas.

Driving while phoning

A Senate committee this morning endorsed bills to 1) prohibit texting while driving; 2)  ban cell phone use while driving for those under 18 and require hands-free only phone use up to 20; and 3)  to simply ban cell phone use while driving up to 18 but place no restrictions over that age.

Republicans for tax

Well, the Democratic Party had its little bipartisan rally to show support for Gov. Mike Beebe's 56-cent-a-pack tobacco tax to pay for a variety of health programs.

Musicians Showcase Round 1 recap

The winner: Velvet Kente's joshua. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Spring's coming, hedgehog says

On the jump is unalloyed silliness from the Little Rock Zoo, but it does give me an opportunity to run a photo of its African pygmy hedgehog, maybe my second favorite critter after the anteater.

Baghdad on the Arkansas

Remember a while back when there was some talk about finding a way to curb North Little Rock residents who had a fondness for shooting firearms in celebration, Iraqi style, or maybe just to make noise?

Friends in high places

Tom Daschle's years in the Senate leadership served him well. Key former staffers now work for President Obama.

A tale of two pay raises

The pay of Mississippi judges and prosecutors is just about the lowest in the country and it looks like the Mississippi legislature isn't of a mind to do anything about it despite a plea to lift them out of the basement. In Arkansas, where the pay was already significantly higher, judges recently got a raise from the legislature of about 3.85 percent and prosecutors got an 8 percent pay raise.

Cig tax: Mrs. AND Mr. Green vote 'aye'

I mentioned earlier that former state Rep. Mary Beth Green had joined proponents of the tobacco tax at a media event this morning.

Obama resolution now P.C.

Presumably this amendment filed today will satisfy the prickly Republicans (and a few namby-pamby Dems) who derailed a congratulatory resolution for Barack Obama because it tarred founding fathers with slavery.  (No matter that slavery happened to be legalized by the laws and Constitution all the public officials among them swore to uphold.)

Now we're talking

Rep. Lindsley Smith has revived legislation defeated two years ago to provide attorney fees and litigation expenses for plaintiffs who substantially prevail in Freedom of Information Act challenges.

The Best 31 Days of Moviegoing

TCM's 31 Days of Oscar has kicked off. Today you can see "Sabrina," "Brewster's Millions," "You Can't Take It With You" and many more.

Huckabee on legislating and perks

Read it yourself. Mike Huckabee is opinionating on the legislative process and, particularly, pay and perks for Congress.

Open for business

This thread.

You Go, Girlfriend.

Just for the ladies:  a night out at Trio's with the girls.  Girlfriends Night Out pairs an hor d'ouerve buffet with sassy coctails from Alexia Elichiry and from Suzi Parker, author of 1000 Best Bartender's Recipes and Sex in the South:  Unbuckling the Bible Belt.  It's $25 for "a full night of food, drinks, and girly fun."  The event is Thursday, February 12th at 7 p.m.  For more information, call (501) 221-3330.  You can find out more about Trio's at the restaurant website.

Sweet Surrender.

Give up chocolate for New Year's?  If you've already given up on your resolution, or are looking to break it in a big way, head up to Eureka Springs this Valentine's Day for the 5th Annual Chocolate Lovers' Festival.  From 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday the 14th, sample chocolates until you pop at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks Convention Center.  There will be a chocolate fountain, a white chocolate fountain (yes, I realize white chocolate isn't really chocolate, shush, it's sweet), and all sorts of chocolates big and small, dark and light, covering nuts and fruits and anything you can imagine.  A Valentine's Day destination for the chocoholic -- and at $12 ($6 for those 12 and under) not a bad deal.  For more information, check out the event website.

Another tobacco ploy

So, say those anxious to do anything to protect low-cost cancer sticks, why not use state stimulus money instead of a tobacco tax for the health program Gov. Mike Beebe proposes?

A vote for democracy

Rep. Monty Davenport is back with his bill to add Arkansas to the states that want to see the president elected by popular vote.

Voluntary regulation

One of the themes of the Bush years -- and it extended into Arkansas, too -- was the notion that Big Government was mean to the private companies that make this country great.

The superior sex

Nate Silver makes the case that the four most powerful women in politics are the four Republican senators who've shown a willingness to join the Obama administration rather than simply goosestep along with the party talking points.

Want better government?

Here's an idea: Less Dick Armey.  The sexist, homophobic shill for the tobacco industry was in town today to rally the dead-enders to try to create a rump minority large enough to kill a health program that could bring $200 million in aid and comfort to Arkansans with a tax on a product that creates a devastating health burden.

Presidential facts

The Obama resolution was factual. The one in praise of Ronald Reagan?

The money report

Here's the bottom line for state revenue in January: Overall, less than last year, with dips in both individual income tax collections and sales tax receipts.

Steee-riike THREE!

Another Obama pick with tax problems.

Stein lives free in Ark., dies in Vt.

Comedian Ben Stein is out  as a paid commencement speaker at the University of Vermont because of a campus uproar over his criticism of evolutionary theory.

Stein lives free in Ark., dies in Vt.

Comedian Ben Stein is out  as a paid commencement speaker at the University of Vermont because of a campus uproar over his criticism of evolutionary theory.

Daschle departs

Nope. They couldn't very well press for Tom Daschle after dumping an adviser with a lesser tax problem.

Last Week: AC-DC

Angus doing what Angus do. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Our cautious governor

I wish I was Mike Beebe. No, I don't want to be governor.

Playing Tour Guide.

So, imagine this.  You're hosting out-of-towners -- maybe your favorite actor or actress, relatives (that you like), or even a world leader.  Where would you take them to eat?  What, in your mind, is the quintessential Greater Little Rock restaurant?  And what would you order?  Here's a chance to share your favorite place to dine with fellow food lovers.  Enjoy!

Guns and god UPDATE II

The guns-OK-in-church bill finally was debated in House Judiciary Committee this morning, but the meeting had to recess for the regular House session before a vote.

UCA's next boss

I meant to ask this morning for thoughts about the next president of UCA and specifically news that Ray Simon, a Huckabee-era Education Department director and former Conway school superintendent who's had a Bush administration patronage job, was among the applicants.

A new King Commission

Looks like legislation to start over on the problem-plagued Martin Luther King Commission is sailing along.

Metropolitan wins NWA suit

Metropolitan National Bank has distributed a news release and letter opinion about its successful defense of a $50 million lawsuit by troubled Northwest Arkansas developer Tom Terminella, who was fighting loan foreclosures by the bank.

The Arkansas Times' bill

Well, it's not, really. But we are partial to catfish around here.

Round 1 video recap

  The sounds not great, but you can get an idea of what our round one winner, " style="font-weight: bold;">Velvet Kente, is all about.

Offensive driving

Seen today on westbound Cantrell: A former high LR city official, holding a wireless device and the steering wheel with his left hand, madly punching the keypad with his right as he stared intently at the device's screen.

Talk is cheap ...

... and boy do the puffed-up peacocks of the Republican minority like to shovel it.

Over to you

Tuesday thread.

Foster mother won’t be prosecuted

A woman whose foster child was removed from her home after a carjacking incident will not be prosecuted, her lawyer said last week.

Grand old deadbeat

Rep. Ed Garner of Maumelle, the Republican Party's poster boy for fiscal accountability, finally got the Democrat-Gazette's attention today for behavior we first reported long ago and mentioned again the other day.

No more golden parachutes

Bill has been filed to limit severance packages to departing state employees to six months' pay and benefits in public money.

The great mentioner ....

... has mentioned U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder -- along with many others -- to step in where Tom Daschle failed to become Health and Human Services secretary.

Counting heads

Roby Brock at Talk Business figures the House votes for the tobacco tax at 74, one short of the number needed.

Tiiiimmberrrr!

Against the deaths and other ice storm toll on homes and businesses, it might not seem like so much.

Short memories ...

... those who rose in ovation for Bob Woodward even before he spoke in LR last night.

Short memories ...

... those who rose in ovation for Bob Woodward even before he spoke in LR last night.

Obama plans pay cap

It would be $500,000 for execs of firms that receive bailout money. Let the Repubs oppose THAT.

Mike 'Tax Cut' Beebe

The governor's penny cut in the grocery sales tax sailed out of Senate Committee today.

Breakfast of (Racing) Champions.

Heading to Hot Springs for racing season?  If you're in the mood for a good, decently priced breakfast or brunch, check out The Pancake Shop... simple menu, simple prices, and right across the street from the Arlington Hotel.  More on the Tie Dye Travels blog site.  If you go, check out the walls -- a real smorgasboard of local celebrities, children's TV superstars, and horse racing teams.  But beware -- it closes daily at 12:45pm.

The Oxford Film Festival: 02.05 - 02.08

For those of you interested in taking a trip to Oxford, Mississippi anytime soon, might I recommend 02.05 - 02.08 for the Oxford Film Festival.

Valley of the Vapors announces line-up

Brave Combo, Headlights, the Queers and the Pink Spiders are among the headliners of the 5th annual Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, which runs from March 17 to March 22 in Hot Springs.As usual, the festival hosts band spots as far flung as Australia and Israel and Canada.Check the schedule after the jump and get band bios and streaming music at the VOV website.

Smokin'

As expected, the tobacco tax came out of the speaker-selected House Rules Committee without opposition from members.

Smokin'

As expected, the tobacco tax came out of the speaker-selected House Rules Committee without opposition from members.

Bomb suspected in W. Memphis blast

UPDATED Dr. Trent Pierce of West Memphis, chairman of the Arkansas Medical Board, was critically injured when his Lexus SUV hybrid exploded in the driveway of his home about 8 a.m. today. The  family practitioner, who was appointed to the Medical Board in 1997, was taken to a Memphis hospital where he was listed in critical condition.  A federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spokesman told Fox 16 (which posted the photo of Pierce) that an explosive device was found in the car. Police say they believe he was outside the car when it blew up as he prepared to go to work.

First Arsenal Church

The guns-in-church bill was supposed to be whooped through the House today, accompanied by at least a metaphorical 21-gun salute.

Review: 'Looking Over the President's Shoulder'

In a collaboration that’s just as winning as it’s been in the past, director Gilbert McCauley (“Fences,” “The Piano Lesson”) and actor Lawrence Hamilton have teamed to bring James Still’s one-man show to the Rep. The play follows Alonzo Fields, the White House’s first African-American chief butler, as he reminisces about his 21 years in the White House from a bus bench across the street after his last day on the job.Hamilton, always eloquent and erect as vocalist, fills the role of Fields with an easy grace.

Wednesday: Jack Oblivian, Harlan T. Bobo, 'Looking Over the President's Shoulder,' Weinheimer

Jack Oblivian. Three of Memphis garage rock's finest share the bill at White Water tonight: Jack Oblivian and the Tearjerkers, Harlan T. Bobo and King Louie and the Diamond Kings.

Meet the guest judge: Jim Mize

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase round 2 guest judge Jim Mize. Who?

Who won?

Enough with the bipartisanship claptrap, Kos says. Yep. I didn't vote for a Republican-shaped agenda.

Step your record game up

Max Recordings, tweaking a regular feature in Mojo, has a new series going called "12 Songs That Changed My Life."

Free Candy: New Kevin Kerby

Kevin Kerby and Battery have a new one, "Beautiful and Bright," that Max Recordings promises soon.

Viva la France

A rare bit of sympathy for Rep. Mark Martin (R-Twilight Zone), whose bill to allow small batch sales of non-pasteurized cow milk was treated rudely in committee today.

Teens: Shut up and drive

The Senate today voted 31-0 in favor of Sen. Kim Hendren's bill to ban cell phone use by drivers under 18.

OW Pizza

You asked about OW Pizza? Joel DiPippa answers the call:

OW Pizza

You asked about OW Pizza? Joel DiPippa answers the call:

Bombing update

CNN has some further word on the medical situation of Dr. Trent Pierce, Arkansas Medical Board chairman, who was critically injured by the apparent explosion of a bomb in his car at his West Memphis home this morning.
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