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February 12, 2009

Vol 7 • No 5

Kid gloves

Because I write about crime, I am often asked if I’ve ever been threatened. For years, I’ve answered no.

A life well lived

It's a slow morning. So I'd like to reprint the best thing I read in the morning paper.

Take it away

Open line.

Yeah — what he says

Former President Bill Clinton rambled so much Saturday night in a speech to the Virginia State Democratic Convention — and we all know how he can get sometimes — that just about anyone could cite his remarks as supportive of their position on this stimulu

Smart talk, Feb. 12

An article in the Little Rock daily’s sports section said that Harding University at Searcy has “far more” Arkansans on its basketball team than do other Arkansas colleges.

Guns in the sanctuary

House Bill 1237, which is before the Arkansas legislature, would remove churches and other places of worship from the list of prohibited places for a person licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

Home for the homeless

The city of Little Rock is applying to the General Services Administration to take over the former Jobs Corps building at 2200 Vance St. for use as a day resource center for the homeless, the city’s homeless services coordinator confirmed Tuesday.

Lock and load

There are some arguments, yes, for brazenly taking your piece, your gat, your equalizer, into the churchhouse.

What's Cookin', Feb. 12

The Italian Couple has closed.

Last-minute love

You haven’t bought your sweetie’s Valentine’s Day gift yet, you say?

Mad for Maddie’s

Making good on the familiar cliche, Maddie’s Place proves the third time indeed can be the charm.

One man, one vote

President Obama has had a full three weeks in office, so isn’t it long past time to be talking about the next presidential election, and the next? Better late than never.

No replay

Many lessons can be learned from the shambles that was the Bush administration.

2nd Friday gets new venue

Norton Arts Conservation Studio and Artist’s Showcase chose the auspicious date of Feb. 13 to become the newest venue to take part in the 2nd Friday Art Night gallery roll (trolleys are available for transport) from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.

Wildlife lovers

Leslie Peacock’s “The Observer” entry of Jan. 22 about the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center is misleading.

Orval, Feb. 12

In brief, Feb. 12

In case we haven’t plugged it enough, tonight is round three of the ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE at Sticky Fingerz.

Down the drain

When Petey King and his family walked into their West Little Rock home after a three-day trip to visit relatives in Houston in February 2008, the first thing they noticed was the smell.

The observer, Feb. 12

The Observer spent Sunday afternoon at a bowling alley.

To-do list, Feb. 12

Girl Talk, Eagles of Death Metal, Clutch, 'Mancini and Moonlight,' Winston Family Orchestra Record Release Show, Foxy Shazam, 'Avenue Q' and A.A. Bondy round out a few entertainment options this week.

Hogs need focus on growth

I think I’m growing too calloused to be truly disappointed in anything but a pitiful defeat.

Editorial cartoon, Feb. 12

Words, Feb. 12

His power finally restored, Tommy Durham could e-mail us an item from the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas concerning the ice storms in the area.

‘The Fever’

This one-man play is an ambitious work, one that must surely tax the actor playing its protagonist. At over two hour's duration, full of semi-coherent rants, it also taxes its audience.

Feb. 4-10, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … ARKANSAS. Toyota, battered by a sales slump, may never open a new assembly plant in Mississippi that was once thought headed for Arkansas. Bad news for workers. Good news for the state that didn’t lay out millions for a plant that

Stop-motion fantasy

I suppose the first thing I should tell you about “Coraline” is that you probably shouldn’t bring little ones to it.

More to Showcase

Second week, same as the first: A big crowd, partial to whooping, packed into Sticky Fingerz to see four really diverse acts — Loch Ness Monster, Nik and Sam, Gina Gee and Whale Fire — play impressive sets at round two of the Arkansas Times Musicians Show

Clinton has it right ...

... on Obama's political triangulation to win support for his stimulus proposal and other issues.

For the wonks: Con law

Yesterday was the deadline for proposing state constitutional amendments. Many have been filed.

For the wonks: Con law

Yesterday was the deadline for proposing state constitutional amendments. Many have been filed.

A mighty fortress

The House voted yesterday to allow churches to become armories. I turned my column space this week over to Rev. Jim Freeman, interim pastor of Central Presbyterian in Pine Bluff, who has some thoughts on that.

Broken arrow

We reported last October about "Project Arrow," a project to find a new home for the  National Boy Scout Jamboree.

Meet the guest judge: Rob Bell

Round Three Guest Judge Rob Bell Who? Riverfest board member, keyboardist/vocalist.Claim to fame: Founded the Arkansas Music Tent at Riverfest and recorded two essential albums with the Easys.

Thursday To-Do: Girl Talk

GIRL TALK9 p.m., Revolution. $15.Despite what you may have heard, Girl Talk isn't sold out.

Thursday: Stars Go Dim, Justin Carr and more

Stars Go Dim. THURSDAY 2/12In case we haven't plugged it enough, tonight is round three of the ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE at Sticky Fingerz.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Sean West

Sean WestLive debut: The summer of 2007.From: Little Rock.Albums: One EP, "In Love," and a lot of plans.

Dingaling

There's a Chuck Berry song or a Bro. Dave routine somewhere in this news report from the Searcy Daily Citizen:

Tobacco tax approved

It's done. The Senate this morning approved the $88 million tobacco tax with a vote to spare, 28-7.

Tobacco tax approved

It's done. The Senate this morning approved the $88 million tobacco tax with a vote to spare, 28-7.

SEC Basketball Power Poll Ballot: Week 6

Below is our ballot for this week's SEC Basketball Power Poll. (The overall results are available here.)

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: The See

Photo by Lizzie Burnham. The SeeFormed: Last summer.From: Little RockMembers: Tyler Nance (drums), Dylan Yelenich (bass) and Joe Yoder (guitar, vocals)Album: They're finishing up a debut with the American Princes’ Will Boyd, which they’re aiming to release in April.Sounds like: Indie rock before it got boring.Where you've seen them: White Water, Downtown Music, On the Rocks.

Decadent Dining.

Chocoholics rejoice!  The Humane Society of Faulkner County is serving up a special event just for you.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Style Guide

  Style GuideFormed: Fall 2008.From: Little RockMembers: Jeremy Brasher (beats, noises), Erin Lang (vocals), Lydia Washburn (vocals)Album: Just practice sessions streaming from the band's MySpace page.Sounds like: Goldfrapp before it got dull.

Through a beer glass, darkly

So how come Sen. Steve Bryles wants to prohibit alcoholic beverage advertising outside licensed premises, such as retail liquor stores and restaurants?

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 3: Four on the Floor

Four on the FloorFormed: April 2007.From: Little Rock.Members: Mike Dougan (drums), EC Haynes (vocals), Al Martin (bass) and Charlie Page (guitar).

Stimulating

So now we have a stimulus package. In that vein, there's a website where you can look up projects cities have submitted for federal aid.

What's wrong with LR?

Roby Brock's Talk Business has begun a series of reports on a business community study of the Little Rock area to assess pluses and minuses in the ongoing effort to grow the local economy.

What's wrong with LR?

Roby Brock's Talk Business has begun a series of reports on a business community study of the Little Rock area to assess pluses and minuses in the ongoing effort to grow the local economy.

Showcase lowdown

  Nik and Sam doing "Down Home" at last week's semi-final round.

Major bust in Baxter County

Breaking news from the Baxter County sheriff's office: They've busted an unlicensed "facility for body art" in Midway.

Now it's the lottery

With the tobacco smoke cleared, the backrooms now can work full-time on the lottery bill.

Leak confirmed: Kris Allen makes it to top 36 on 'American Idol'

Kris Allen. The list I told you about two weeks ago turned out to be on the money, save the woman who was disqualified after it was revealed she'd stared in an MTV reality show, released an album on Geffen, recorded a song subsequently covered by Britney Spears and had a "private relationship" with two execs from "Idol's" production company.

Sound and fury

Opponents didn't even bother to object in debate. The ban on certain late-term abortions -- part of the resume-building effort by Rep. Dawn Creekmore, D-Vast Wasteland, -- passed the House a few moments ago.

Judd Gregg drops out

The senator won't be Commerce Secretary. And, by the way, Democrats also sold arts, museums, parks down the river in kowtowing to Coburn on the stimulus bill.

Arena comedy

Robin Williams is bringing his "Weapons of Self Destruction" tour to Alltel on April 10.Tickets go on sale Feb. 28.

College buyouts ok?

May colleges make severance payments or pay for "sabbaticals" for college administrators, professors or coaches who have resigned or been terminated?

The gang that can't shoot straight

It's back to the drawing board for what's to be done about Ray Winder Field, the defunct minor league baseball park in War Memorial Park.

Enough!

Your turn.

Speaking of UAMS

Heard on the street tonight: The search to find a successor to the retiring Dodd Wilson as chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is about to reach the finalist stage.

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

Per Brandon Marcello at Whole Hog Sports' Slophouse blog, Courtney Fortson has been suspended indefinitely.

Single Mingle

Tonight my friend Jill and I went to a single mingle at our apartment complex.  Single.  Mingle.  I can't stop saying it because I think it sounds hilarious.  Lookit, I'm a bit of a commitment-phobe and like many members of my generation, I have trouble looking sincerity directly in the eye.  I'm all about irony and things that are awesomely bad, so the idea of a "single mingle" is compelling because it promises to be deliciously awful.

Round three goes to the See

Photo by Brian Chilson. In our most diverse Showcase night yet — how bout a lil' hard rock, electro-pop, indie rock and R&B — the crowd ebbed and flowed.

Top of the morning

Is there anyone more shameless than Pulaski County elected officials? I read this morning that they are lobbying again for 3 percent bonuses for themselves and other county employees.

Top of the morning

Is there anyone more shameless than Pulaski County elected officials? I read this morning that they are lobbying again for 3 percent bonuses for themselves and other county employees.

The Proctor beat

So much to write about, so little time. That would be the case with Mara Leveritt's cover story this week about the curious and lawless probation program started and singularly overseen by Circuit Judge Willard Proctor, now facing disciplinary charges in that operation.

The Proctor beat

So much to write about, so little time. That would be the case with Mara Leveritt's cover story this week about the curious and lawless probation program started and singularly overseen by Circuit Judge Willard Proctor, now facing disciplinary charges in that operation.

Cork the bubbly

Krugman re stimulus legislation: By any normal political standards, this week’s Congressional agreement on an economic stimulus package was a great victory for President Obama.

What's cooking? UPDATE

Out today is the list of the semi-finalists in the James Beard Awards competition for outstanding restaurants, chefs, etc. On the list again this year, as a semi-finalist for the title of best chef in the South, is Lee Richardson of the Capital Hotel.

Shut the Huck up

Mike Huckabee better get rich, because he's fast on the road to marginalizing himself as a credible political candidate with his work as Fox commentator.

Adios, Weekend

Today apparently was the last day for the Democrat-Gazette's Weekend section as a stand-alone tabloid insert in the Friday paper.

Adios, Weekend

Today apparently was the last day for the Democrat-Gazette's Weekend section as a stand-alone tabloid insert in the Friday paper.

Good Samaritans, go home

Unhappy story from the Madison County Record: A group of out-of-state electric company workers helping restore power to Madison County residents were subjected to racial epithets and other forms of harassment while in the area on Saturday.

Why 56 cents?

I probably missed this elsewhere, but I got to thinking after passage of the tobacco tax yesterday about why 56 cents was chosen as the increase on the existing 59-cent-a-pack cigarette tax -- not 57, not 55.

Legislative notes

Fridays tend to be slow at the Capitol. John Williams reports on highlights so far:

Q&A: A Sea of Blue

With Saturday's game against Kentucky just around the corner, we thought it was a good time to check in our with friend Truzenzuzex from the wonderful blog A Sea of Blue for a pre-game scouting report.

Friday To-Do: 'Mancini and Moonlight'

‘MANCINI AND MOONLIGHT'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$72.For Valentine's weekend, the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra mines the catalog of Henry Mancini, the master of the film and TV score.

Friday To-Do: Clutch

CLUTCH8 p.m., the Village. $20-$23.A recipe for Clutch includes the following ingredients, if not more: a loading dose of hard rock, a dash of punkish metal, a truckload of stoned grooves and some Southern rock seasoning.

Friday To-Do: Eagles of Death Metal

Homme and Hughes. EAGLES OF DEATH METAL10 p.m., Juanita's.

Q&A: Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal

Earlier in the week, Jesse Hughes talked to me on the phone from Arizona. We covered a lot of ground in 15 minutes — Josh Homme's absence on tour, rollerblading, the Left's "Nazi-like grip" on the music biz, mustaches.

Ray Winder rewind

I broke the news here yesterday (and thanks to my tip, the D-G followed up this morning) that Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter was expected to issue a legal opinion disqualifying all three bids submitted for use of the old Ray Winder Field.

GOP to U.S.: Screw you

House passes stimulus bill. Every Republican votes no.

Solons to the mattresses

Legislators privileged to be inside the process retreated to Petit Jean last night to brainstorm lottery legislation.

The Weekend: The Gettys, Benjamin Del Shreve, 607 and more

FRIDAY 2/13The Gettys, arguably Central Arkansas's favorite party band, headline at an 18-and-older show at Revolution, 9 p.m.

Saturday To-Do: Winston Family Orchestra

WINSTON FAMILY ORCHESTRA RECORD RELEASE SHOW10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.Sulac, of Loch Ness Monster (see our Showcase coverage), keeps busy.

So close to Tulsa ...

... so far from God. A Republican representative from Broken Arrow forced a floor vote this week on a routine motion to include the daily prayer in the official record of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Sunday To-Do: Foxy Shazam

FOXY SHAZAM7 p.m., the Village. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.Who said the kids don't know how to throw a party?

Last Night: Girl Talk

Click on the pic to enlarge. Photo by Wally Waller.

How stupid are we?

Pretty stupid, national Republicans believe. Arkansas, and specifically U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, is being targeted in new ads on select senators' votes for the Obama stimulus legislation.

The mind of a madman

The man responsible for the Knoxville Unitarian Church slaughter left a diary behind. Chilling.

Farewell Marcus Monk

He'll play no more basketball, the UA announces. Explanation?

The Good News Keeps on Coming

It's official: Marcus Monk is no longer a member of the basketball team. Not that this is any big surprise, but it's still a shame.

You're up

Open line.

Lil Wayne breaks our heart

The Lil Wayne concert at Alltel, scheduled for March 14, has been cancelled due to a "scheduling conflict."

Arkies stimulated

I should have made more previously about my happiness about our occasional contributions from Washington by Paul Barton, my old friend, a veteran of state Capitol and Washington, D.C., coverage for the Arkasnas Democrat, Arkansas Gazette and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Lock and load, parson

Guns in church? Brummett's for them.

Fabulous Fayetteville

Forbes puts Fayetteville No. 6 on its list of the Top 10 College Towns in the country. Access to collegiate athletics, housing prices and public schools are among the factors in the formula.

How low can they go?

A friend notes that Senate Republicans forced Sen.Sherrod Brown to fly back from his mother's wake to cast the 60th vote for the stimulus package, rather than allowing a simple majority to rule in this one case, on a bill they knew would pass.

Fightin' words

Boulder, Colo., and Fort Wayne, Ind., are challenging Hot Springs' claim to holding the world's shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The Heights and lows of finance

Here's a story for the times from Arkansas Business. A $2.5 million teardown in the Country Club neighborhood.

Lottery crossfire

Andrew DeMillo analyzes the political warfare underway between the legislature and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (with Gov. Mike Beebe looking on with amusement at the legislature's increasingly contemptuous treatment of Halter).

Lottery crossfire

Andrew DeMillo analyzes the political warfare underway between the legislature and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (with Gov. Mike Beebe looking on with amusement at the legislature's increasingly contemptuous treatment of Halter).

Big shoes to fill

House Speaker Robbie Wills' latest post recounts a visit by former Gov. and Sen. Dale Bumpers to his office.

All Hail Jodie Meeks

45 points from Jodie Meeks (a Bud Walton record) + Courtney Fortson nowhere to be found = a 16 point Kentucky win.

Movie review and open line

"Milk" See it. Take a member of the so-called Family Council, preferably that one who sort of looks like Josh Brolin.

Death Star rising?

John Brummett reassesses Sen. President Pro Tem Bob Johnson, making nice this session after some dark episodes in his past.

On electing judges

In West Virginia, a coal mining company spent $3 million to help elect a Supreme Court judge who then cast a swing vote in overturning a $50 million verdict against the company.

The Monday holiday

Some of us work. Some will head to Oaklawn.

Duggar watch

The infamous birth of octuplets occasions a New York Times look at TV reality shows that feature big families.

The Meteor Should Be Crashing Into Earth Any Second Now ...

This morning has produced that rarest of events: a Wally Hall column that contains something other than unintentional comedy and incomprehensible passages.

Hypocrites-R-Us

Congressional Republicans are issuing news releases lauding the wonderful spending projects in the new stimulus package -- after they voted against it.

Lottery bickering

House Speaker Robbie Wills sets out to correct "misconceptions" in the AP analysis mentioned here yesterday about conflicts between the legislature and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter.

Clean slate

The Sunday line is open.

Post-race America

Barack Obama has not brought a post-racial mindset to the U.S., John Brummett writes. Not if the actions of the Arkansas legislature's Black Caucus are any guide.

Post-race America

Barack Obama has not brought a post-racial mindset to the U.S., John Brummett writes. Not if the actions of the Arkansas legislature's Black Caucus are any guide.

What's the matter with Arkansas?

The Washington Post religion blog notes a convergence of religion-oriented topics in the Arkansas legislature.

Boss Hays

The Democrat-Gazette got around today to a subject that North Little Rock bloggers have been harping about for months -- Mayor Pat Hays' disdain for an open process for selecting members of city boards and commissions.

Levon's new un

Relix magazine reports that Levon Helm is currently putting the finishing touches on his studio follow-up to 2007's Grammy winning "Dirt Farmer."

Ocean Blue

  Here's something to help you decompress after a long weekend.

Wakarusa adds to line-up

Last week, the Wakarusa Camping and Music Festival unveiled a dozen or so additions to its line-up.

George Hamilton's mom movie debuts in Berlin

Based loosely on the first half of George Hamilton's memoir, "Don't Mind If I Do" (which I reviewed here), the new film "My One and Only," starring Renee Zellweger and Kevin Bacon, debuted at the Berlin Film Festival over the weekend.It follows Zellwegger, who plays Hamilton's mother, as she ditches her philandering husband and packs her two sons in the car and sets off on a cross-country trek to find them a step-father.Variety, as usual, does its damnest not to end up on the poster.

Fayetteville school search

The Fayetteville School Board will consider candidates from Texas and Virginia to succeed Bobby New as superintendent

Das Boots

Out of all the oceans in all the world, French and British subs armed with nuclear missiles collided in the Atlantic earlier this month.

Das Boots

Out of all the oceans in all the world, French and British subs armed with nuclear missiles collided in the Atlantic earlier this month.

Clinton rips 'automatic' votes

In TV interview, the former president knocks the automatic no votes by Republicans in Congress.

Get out the ear plugs

The Chamber of Commerce should be shrieking shortly about the new bill by Rep. Jim Nickels of Sherwood to conform the state minimum wage ($6.25/hr.)

Get out the ear plugs

The Chamber of Commerce should be shrieking shortly about the new bill by Rep. Jim Nickels of Sherwood to conform the state minimum wage ($6.25/hr.)

Fewer trips to the vet

Gov. Mike Beebe has signed the bill that repeals the statutorily required annual rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats.

Working the crime beat

What's Rep. Dawn Creekmore running for? Same question, Rep. Darrin Williams.

Rock Candy 500

Clear your calendar. On April 9 under the River Market Pavilion, we're launching the first annual Rock Candy 500.

Teen driving restrictions

A bill to provide for "graduated" driver's licenses cleared a Senate committee today, but it's clear that rural legislators don't like the idea of making it harder for young drivers to get full driving privileges.

Bush library update

Fund-raising for the Bush library at SMU isn't going so well, apparently.

The Weekend: Eagles of Death, MOMCHILOV, Winston Family Orchestra

My wife ditched me this weekend to visit her sister, so I pretty much stayed in the clubs.

Annals of gun nuttery

The gun crowd has gone berserk in Tennessee because The Commercial Appeal in Memphis has posted on-line the names of all holders of concealed weapon permits in the state.

Annals of gun nuttery

The gun crowd has gone berserk in Tennessee because The Commercial Appeal in Memphis has posted on-line the names of all holders of concealed weapon permits in the state.

Early out

Gotta run some errands. You're on your own.

Intuition

As a woman, I’ve been both blessed and cursed with intuition. It seems some men possess this sense as well, but most women have this internal and innate compass.

Free classified

I said I was done, but ... Tonight was the Arkansas Times' Chefs' Night Out Party in advance of our Best Restaurants in Arkansas issue this week.

Calling the roll

George Arnold, who writes editorials and columns for the Northwest edition of the D-G, calls down, by name, the "thumb suckers" and "back benchers" from Northwest Arkansas who voted against the tobacco tax.

Improving the lottery

House Speaker Robbie Wills says the lottery legislation will forbid gifts to lottery employees and commissioners (and I hope their families) of any size, no matter how small.

Bond daddy watch

A move is afoot for more regulation of the bond business. Good idea, given questions about the frequency of municipal bond refinancing, with all the fees each generates, and the dubious worth of some bond issues.

Spending the stimulus UPDATE

Brummett has a blog note saying that Gov. Beebe is giving some thought to using federal stimulus money, if rules allow, to prepay a decade of teachers' health insurance costs.

EPIPHANY! . . .

  “Epiphany” is my Vocabulary Builder word for the week.  

The Plot Thickens...

Well, it looks like the Ol' Greybeard's unsourced report on why Marcus Monk is no longer eligible may have been close to right.

In re City Hall

I think City Manager Bruce Moore is a nice guy, capable administrator and, potentially, a future political force in this city.

In re City Hall

I think City Manager Bruce Moore is a nice guy, capable administrator and, potentially, a future political force in this city.

Down in the back

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's office said she underwent successful outpatient surgery Monday for a herniated disc in her upper back.

FLASH: Bush did something right

He turned down Dick Cheney's persistent lobbying for a pardon for Scooter Libby. Blind hog.

Obama moves on coal UPDATE

The Sierra Club says the Obama administration is moving to regulate CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

More financial turmoil

News breaking today of what the SEC is calling "massive ongoing fraud" in the sale of about $8 billion in CD's by the Stanford Financial Group's bank in Antigua.

Charity begins at the Huckabode

Mike Huckabee has a swell idea for spending your stimulus tax cut -- contribute it to his PAC.

Accused killer in court UPDATE

Curtis Lavelle Vance, accused in the slaying of KATV reporter Anne Pressly, had a brief appearance in Circuit Court today.

Making sausage

A rumor went around that legislative drafters of the lottery law had shared a copy with potential lottery vendors, though they've so far released only the barest outline of what they have in mind to the public.

Like, duh

Bristol Palin talks to Fox. In her first interview since giving birth, the teenage daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said having a child is not "glamorous," and that telling young people to be abstinent is "not realistic at all."

Pancakes for Fat Tuesday?

In England back in the days before old King Henry VIII got it into his mind that his kingdom should have a church of its own, Lent was observed.  Lent would start on a Wednesday, so on the Tuesday before every bit of milk, butter, and egg were used up.  Hence the term "Fat Tuesday."

Viva le Diner UPDATE.

It's time for another Around The World Thursday at Cafe 42.  The Clinton Presidential Center's eatery hosts a French celebration this Thursday the 19th at 7 p.m.  For $27.95, enjoy a three course French dinner prepared by an executive chef.  Doors open at 6:30.  For reservations and additional information, call (501) 537-0042 or visit the Clinton Presidential Center website.

What happens in Arkansas ....

... gets copied by other states with legislators who know  a wedge issue when they see one.

More on round three of the Showcase

Joe Yoder of the See. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Tuesday To-Do: 'Avenue Q'

‘AVENUE Q'7 p.m., Walton Arts Center. $20-$58.There's a disclaimer on the on the Walton Arts page about the show that reads, “Avenue Q has not been authorized or approved in any manner by The Jim Henson Company or Sesame Workshop, which have no responsibility for its content.” In other words, don't blame “Sesame Street” when you find it that its residents (or at least their alter-egos) have grown up to be profane, self-doubting post-collegiates, who've replaced spelling bees and number games with songs and stories about sex, unemployment and crystal meth.

This is awesome

  Ely Kim, a graduate student in Yale's graphic design program, created this video, "BOOMBOX," in a workshop devoted to documenting 100 days.

Billy Bob Krueger

Here's a preview of our review of "Friday the 13th," which'll be online tomorrow: It's bad.While trolling the web today, I stumbled across an old rumor—that the same people behind "Friday" would produce a remake of "A Nightmare on Elm Street," starring Billy Bob.As superfluous and silly as these endless horror remakes are, that could be amazing.

In defense of atheists

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has urged the Arkansas legislature to act  to remove the constitutional provision banning atheists from holding public office or testifying in court.

The news is good from UCA UPDATE

It's been a rough year for UCA. So you can imagine that hearts were lifted there when one of the premier higher education publications  came out this week with a lengthy article extolling the University of Central Arkansas as a cultural hub and transformative force in the city of Conway.

The criminal mind

The FBI is sending word around to banks and law enforcement agencies about a new wrinkle in the bank robbery game, observed in the robbery of an Arvest branch on Grant Street in the Heights last week.

Senate's on your side

The upper chamber today approved the primary seatbelt bill 29-6 and the bill with new restrictions on teen driving 30-2.

Make a music video, win stuff

The Moving Front filming the video for "Zombies," which won last year. The deadline for entries into the 2nd Annual Arkansas Music Video Competition is fast approaching.

Chesapeake Loses Big

Talk Business has this on Chesapeake's $866 billion fourth quarter loss.  Ouch. CORRECTION: Thanks for the comments.  It was million - not billion.   

This One Doesn't Smell Right

A bill was narrowly defeated in the House yesterday that would require a majority of the members of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission to be "experienced in the development, production, and transportation of oil and gas."  HB 1026 was introduced by Rep. Garry Smith and will likely come up for another vote later in the session.  Currently, the law requires four members of the nine-member commission to have industry experience.  What's curious is that "experience" is never defined.  Also notice that the phrase uses the word "and," as in "development, production, and transportation."  So one would have to have experience in all three.  It looks like this is an effort to stack the commission with industry people, thus making it easier to get by with the things industry people want to get by with.  I tried to call Smith but could not get in touch with him.  Also notice that Rep. Lowery's name is listed alongside Rep. Smith's.  Lowery is in the oil business himself.  He is the owner of Lowery Oil Company and was a vocal opponent of HB1178, the eminent domain bill discussed here last week.  

You're up

Rain. Another bad day in the market.

Where's the love for Ashley's?

It's no surprise that the readers of the Times chose ZaZa as the best new restaurant in our reader's poll. Nor that three chains landed in our runners-up slots. But where's the love for the finest of fine dining spots in Little Rock?

Marion Berry behind closed doors

Columnist David Sanders reports on U.S. Rep. Marion Berry's private session with Arkansas business bosses.

Main Street no more

I wrote a column for our weekly deadline before the City Board met last night, but made clear that I didn't expect the city to present an obstacle to Warren Stephens' demolition of all the structures on the west side of Main between Fourth and Capitol, along with a significant chunk of the architecture on the east side of Main in the same block.

Speaking of shabby downtowns

I happened to get a letter today from the Downtown Little Rock Partnership urging support for two bills that would give some honkin' huge state subsidies to downtown redevelopment projects.

Speaking of shabby downtowns

I happened to get a letter today from the Downtown Little Rock Partnership urging support for two bills that would give some honkin' huge state subsidies to downtown redevelopment projects.

DiPippa to head UALR Law

A national search failed to produce a new UALR dean when a deal couldn't be struck with the final candidate, but the problem has been solved at home.

Confusion: Yes or no

Nothing is simple at the Arkansas legislature. Rep. Kathy Webb has a bill, HB 1404, to simplify the ballot when multiple issues appear.

Lottery whispers

Word is that lottery structural issues are all but resolved. Scholarship money remains the big issue.

Lottery whispers

Word is that lottery structural issues are all but resolved. Scholarship money remains the big issue.

Wednesday To-Do: A.A. Bondy

A.A. BONDY10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.Those who were paying close attention to indie rock in the early '90s might remember Bondy as the bleached-blond front man for Birmingham's Verbena.

Four shows to clear your calendar for

                                                                                         1. Bishop Allen, Sticky Fingerz, Tues., March 17.

You scratch my back

Some Republicans grumbled when Ron Fuller, a former Republican legislator and a former campaign finance chief for Republican Mike Huckabee, turned up as a vigorous supporter of Mike Beebe's candidacy in 2006.

Lost his marbles

Add Rep. Mark Martin, R-Twilight Zone, with his new "Off the Marble," to the ranks of legislative bloggers.

Child's body found

The body of a child was found today in White Oak Lake in Ouachita County.

Covering food

As the Arkansas Blog reported last week, the Democrat-Gazette today (Feb. 18) ended its free-standing Food section and rolled two pages worth of food coverage into the Wednesday feature section, which continues family topics on the front.

Political Animals discuss lottery

The Political Animals Club hosted an "Arkansas Legislative Panel" today at the governor's mansion.  Speaker of the House Robbie Wills and President Pro Tem of the Senate Bob Johnson were the honored guests.  A panel discussion between the two was moderated by Bill Simmons, the political editor of the Democrat-Gazette.  Topics of discussion included the animal cruelty legislation passed earlier in the session, what to do about health insurance for teachers, the grocery tax (both think it will pass) and, of course, the lottery.   Simmons asked if Lt. Gov. Halter's role in the implementation of the lottery had been overestimated.  Johnson said it was important for anyone who introduces an initiative to have "skin in the game" which Halter obviously does.  He went on to say that people recognize Halter as the "titular head of the Arkansas lottery," but once the initiative passed the responsibility to set it up shifted to the legislature.  Wills agreed.  Both answered criticism that plans for the lottery were devised as part of a "back-room deal."  "If this was a back-room deal," Johnson said, "then what we're releasing today wouldn't be a draft, but the actual bill."  Wills said that everyone will have input on the legislation.  The speaker was no doubt responding to criticism by some (including here) that lottery vendors had seen some of the "language" of the bill before the public or even a majority of those in the legislature.    Johnson said he expects "less of a food fight than what the media and others have predicted" when the first half of the draft bill is presented during a joint meeting of the House Rules Committee and the Senate State Agencies Committee later today (2:30 in the Old Supreme Court Room at the capitol).  The meeting is open to the public.

Political Animals discuss lottery

The Political Animals Club hosted an "Arkansas Legislative Panel" today at the governor's mansion.  Speaker of the House Robbie Wills and President Pro Tem of the Senate Bob Johnson were the honored guests.  A panel discussion between the two was moderated by Bill Simmons, the political editor of the Democrat-Gazette.  Topics of discussion included the animal cruelty legislation passed earlier in the session, what to do about health insurance for teachers, the grocery tax (both think it will pass) and, of course, the lottery.   Simmons asked if Lt. Gov. Halter's role in the implementation of the lottery had been overestimated.  Johnson said it was important for anyone who introduces an initiative to have "skin in the game" which Halter obviously does.  He went on to say that people recognize Halter as the "titular head of the Arkansas lottery," but once the initiative passed the responsibility to set it up shifted to the legislature.  Wills agreed.  Both answered criticism that plans for the lottery were devised as part of a "back-room deal."  "If this was a back-room deal," Johnson said, "then what we're releasing today wouldn't be a draft, but the actual bill."  Wills said that everyone will have input on the legislation.  The speaker was no doubt responding to criticism by some (including here) that lottery vendors had seen some of the "language" of the bill before the public or even a majority of those in the legislature.    Johnson said he expects "less of a food fight than what the media and others have predicted" when the first half of the draft bill is presented during a joint meeting of the House Rules Committee and the Senate State Agencies Committee later today (2:30 in the Old Supreme Court Room at the capitol).  The meeting is open to the public.

Fast choo-choo?

Think Progress is reporting that a high-speed rail project linking Little Rock and Dallas/Fort Worth, and thence on into south Texas, could be one of the projects that gets funded by the Democratic stimulus plan.

'Cue contest

Smokers and lovers of barbecue, mark your calendar. The “Smoke on the Water” USA Barbecue Championship is coming to the Clinton Presidential Center on March 13-14.

Velveeta-gate

One thing you can be certain Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin WON'T be squabbling about when they run against each other in 2012 is feeding at the public trough.The Anchorage Daily News reports on Palin's Huckabee-like propensity for gobbling up free stuff at public expense: Gov. Sarah Palin must pay income taxes on thousands of dollars in expense money she received while living at her Wasilla home, under a new determination by state officials.

MC Serch speaks on it tonight at UALR

Host of the greatest reality show ever, creator of "the Gas Face," executive producer of "Illmatic" and one of the top ten greatest white rappers ever MC Serch participates in a panel discussion at UALR this evening.

Lottery: Into the sunlight

I've just left the Old Supreme Court chamber at the Capitol, where House Speaker Robbie Wills was explaining elements of a draft bill on the lottery.

Meet the guest judge: Shannon Boshears

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 4 Guest Judge Shannon Boshears Who? Local singer/songwriter.Claim to fame: Two decades of performing locally.

The music industry implodes, part 99

Chicago's Touch and Go Records announced today that it's ceasing the manufacturing and distribution side of its operation.

Open line

Over the hump night.

Legislative notes

John Williams reports some more lowlights: The bingo deregulation bill came out of the House Rules Committee.
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