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February 19, 2009

Vol 7 • No 6

Food to Peck at

Enveloped in the rich aroma of a simmering demi-glace of red wine and veal bones, a reporter got a tour of the kitchen at Capi’s by third-generation restaurateur Capi Peck.

On the road again

Back during the presidential campaign, some Alaskan whose name I forget now made a lot of political hay out of the idea of “Real America.”

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.

Over the top?

This editorial cartoon in the New York Post has caused a deluge of criticism. The question: Is it racist  or otherwise excessively offensive to draw a parallel between President Obama and a crazed (dead) chimpanzee?

Open line

Over the hump night.

Editorial cartoon, Feb. 19

International incident

A former Arkansas State University student from India has sued ASU claiming she was unfairly expelled.

Girl Talk

Because I was emceeing our Musicians Showcase down the street at Sticky Fingerz, I only caught about 10 minutes of Girl Talk at Revolution on Thursday. But I saw enough.

First things first

A secretive sale of Little Rock park land has been called off, and the Little Rock Board of Directors can now approach the issue by way of the front door, rather than trying to sneak through an unguarded window in back.

Still showcasing

The Showcase might've gotten Girl Talked a bit on Thursday (see page 38), but no matter, no riders-of-the-zeitgeist DJs are scheduled for March 6. That's the finals. Mark your calendars, people!

Snark

This peckerwood I know called me a snark the other day, and not being exactly sure what that was, I didn’t know whether to throw down a gauntlet or thank him for the compliment.

This modern world, Feb. 19

Tweet, tweet

I’m as bad as the next guy at belaboring topics on which I might as well save my breath.

Eagles of Death Metal

I heard grumbling from a few folks pre-show about Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) not being part of the tour, but enough didn’t know or didn’t care for the show not to sell out.

Spending vs. tax cuts

Nothing dies harder than a cherished idea proved wrong.

Divine secrets of Ya-Ya’s

There’s some confusion associated with the PB&J restaurant group’s entry into the West Little Rock upscale market.

Uncivil case

A civil court fight over a family trust turned into a criminal case in January when Janet Lea Hundley, 52, of Little Rock and San Marco, Fla., was arrested for assaulting her stepdaughter with a hammer.

Maximum pop

Little Rock has been seeing double - and quadruple - in Technicolor for nearly three months now, thanks to the Andy Warhol exhibit.

Depression-era bullet points

What a nightmare. Coach Pelphrey’s sophomore season looks more and more like a disaster each week.

Halter 2, Legislature 1

The score stands as follows: Lt. Gov. Bill Halter 2, state legislature 1.

The Times they are a changin’

Last week, we posted news of an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette section shake-up on the Times’ Arkansas Blog.

Orval, Feb. 19

Words, Feb. 19

Life begins at forte: A reader inquired about the pronunciation of forte, and the question has proved trickier than I expected. Most questions do, come to think of it.

Horrible retread

The tendency is to read any given rebirth of horror movies as symptomatic.

What's cooking, Feb. 19

Smokers and lovers of barbecue, mark your calendar.

In brief, Feb. 19

In case we haven’t promoted it enough, tonight is the fourth round of the ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE.

Feb. 11-17, 2009

It was a good week for … ARKANSAS. The Obama stimulus package should pump $4 billion into Arkansas.

The observer, Feb. 19

A couple weeks back, The Observer’s cousin — more like a sister, really — had her truck stolen.

Inspirational

I was pleased to see Ernest Dumas’ inspiring profile of Dr. Joycelyn Elders in the Feb. 5 issue.

To-do list, Feb. 19

Adam Carrol and Owen Temple, 'Avenue Q', Jeff Dunham 'Spark of Insanity', Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Dave Hollister, PBR, International Rugby Contest, Regnat Populus, Punk Bunny and Jim Mize / Ace Spade and the Whores of Babylon should pique t

Smart talk, Feb. 19

The ever-expanding availability of books on-line has not reduced patronage at the Central Arkansas Library System.

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.

The best single dish in Arkansas

On a lark, we asked readers of the Times’ Arkansas Blog to send in their ideas for the single best restaurant dish in Arkansas.

More favorites

Here are more of the dishes nominated by readers as the best single restaurant dish in the state. Some are only memories.

Treasure hunting in the pepper bin

Take one food nerd who spent his Peace Corps stint in Nicaragua. Add La Regional, a sublime restaurant/grocery/butcher shop/bakery in southwest Little Rock (the main store is at 7414 Baseline Road; the panaderia next door is 7500 Baseline (at Chicot Road)

A dream of rolls and meatloaf

Barbara Stockton’s is such a familiar face to Little Rock diners it’s a bit surprising to find that she resisted entering the restaurant business.

Lest we forget

A Blog reader reminds: Feb. 19, is Day of Remembrance -- the day FDR signed EO 9066 incarcerating approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans in a West Coast exclusion zone as national security risks.  There was no due process.  Approximately 17,000 of them were imprisoned in the Arkansas Delta at two War Relocation Centers called Jerome and Rohwer.

Questions, questions

Brummett joins the questioning Republican chorus on the stimulus bill -- how much, for what?

Billionaires for Blanche

Tim Griffin (need I explain?) has been pounding Sen. Blanche Lincoln for talking like a populist despite a record of earnest devotion to the interests of the super-wealthy who helped us into this mess.

THE SUN’LL COME OUT . . . “TOMORROW” . . .

  Methinks Little Rock suffers delusions of grandeur. First, our coming “world-class” zoo.

For your, cough, pleasure UPDATE

Here's the summary of the study commissioned by opponents of SWEPCO's proposed coal-fired generating plant in Hempstead County.

Main Street dreamscape

Our own Norma Bates has some thoughts about Main Street. No it'll never be Main Street again.

Legislative fine print

Oh, no, emoluments are BAAAACK. A generally solid legislator, Rick Saunders, perhaps eying a race for Senate in the district that includes a big prison, is proposing to once again let certain Correction Department employees receive freebies.

Paying it forward

Paul Barton, who looks after Washington for the Arkansas Blog, asked U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder this week how he feels about voting for stimulus legislation and the debt it unavoidably adds on future generations, such as his new triplets (below).

The shoe-tosser speaks

Finally, he's heard from, the Iraqi shoe-tosser. And he's raising legal technicalities about his prosecution.

Sustained Mediocrity

I remarked recently that if you had told me in April 1994 how the Razorback basketball program would perform over the next 15 years, I would have been very, very surprised.

Somebody deserves a break today

Check this week's Times for, in addition to Best Restaurant news, one of those outrage stories.

Thursday To-Do: Jeff Dunham

JEFF DUNHAM 7:30 p.m., Alltel Arena, $44.25.I am a devout lover of comedians, especially those who've challenged the status quo and First Amendment, such as the late Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, George Carlin and Sam Kinison, coincidentally all deceased.

Thursday To-Do: Adam Carroll and Owen Temple

Adam Carroll. ADAM CARROLL AND OWEN TEMPLE9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Thursday: Cory Morrow, Sharon Douglas, Wallace Lucas

Wallace Lucas, AKA Sulac. In case we haven't promoted it enough, tonight is the fourth round of the ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE.

It's Oscar Time

The Academy Awards take place on Sunday in Los Angeles.  I've already submitted my picks to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette and to InContention.com.  I'll post them tomorrow, but needless to say I'm not expecting a lot of upsets.Also, I'll be on KARN Newsradio 920 AM on Monday morning talking about the winners and losers.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 4: The Chicklettes

The ChicklettesFormed: Spring of 2001 after Cindy Sinn and Sophonda Mayhem met in New York in a taxi.From: Little RockMembers: Aggro Annie (bass), Sophonda Mayhem (vocals), Cindy Sinn (drums) and  Jessica Strange (guitar).Sounds like: Subversive Girl Group punk-pop.

More on Eminent Domain

Here's a really good piece on Jonathan Dismang's eminent domain bill that failed in the House Ag Committee a couple of weeks ago.  Kudos to Warren Watkins at the Searcy Daily Citizen.

Stimulus irony

Another stimulus-related dispatch from Paul Barton in Washington, this one on the White House projections for job creation in Arkansas.

LR to get more firefighters UPDATE

Federal grant of $1.8 million will put 18 more people on the line for the Little Rock Fire Department.

IRS vs. Oxford American

I just got a letter from my former colleague, Warwick Sabin, whose current duties include being publisher of the Oxford American, the Southern lit magazine based at UCA.

AG McDaniel to wed

He proposed on Valentine's Day, the romantic. How about a photo, Dustin?

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 4: Good Time Ramblers

Photo by Lacy Bruner. Good Time RamblersFormed: June 2005From: Little RockMembers: John Lefler (vocals, guitar), Rich Dwiggins (vocals, bass), Alex Piazza (lead guitar, pedal steel, etc.) and Brooks Browning (drums).Albums: A seven-song EP, "Sinners Welcome" and full-length, tentatively called "Nashville Cowboy," coming soon.Sounds like: "Delta rock," is how the band describes it.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 4: Rockst*r

Rockst*rStarted performing: 2004From: Little RockAlbums: A number of mixtapes and digi-singles (one featured production from David Banner).

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 4: Midwest Caravan

Photo by LED. Midwest CaravanFormed: Late 2007From: Little Rock by way of Shreveport and Dallas.Members: Joie Lyle (drums), Sammy Williams (guitar, vocals).Sounds like: Infectious indie-pop.Where you'll find them: All over.

Profiles in courage

The Dale Bumpers Award today to Sue Madison, David Johnson and Mary Anne Salmon, the only three senators to vote no on the meaningless demagoguery to ban an ultra-rare form of late abortion, even if the health of the mother depended on it.

Beth Ditto, naked again

Judsonia's Beth Ditto, lead singer of the Gossip, posed nude again for a magazine cover.

Lottery students' aid

Speaker Wills has posted the draft of the lottery bill. It's incomplete and subject to change, but it's a start.

GOP goes funky UPDATE

New RNC Chairman Michael Steele, or maybe we should call him the Mr. B.I.G. of Today's Republican Party, promises to update the image of the GOP, in part by applying the party's principles to urban hiphop settings.

GOP goes funky UPDATE

New RNC Chairman Michael Steele, or maybe we should call him the Mr. B.I.G. of Today's Republican Party, promises to update the image of the GOP, in part by applying the party's principles to urban hiphop settings.

Prosecute Bushies?

Maybe so, says Pelosi.

A new mix from g-force

Photo by Jonny Meyer. The hardest workin' DJ in the A-state is all over the place this weekend.

Strongman to D.C.

Mayor Muscles Stodola will be heading to D.C. tomorrow as one of a "select" group of mayors at a White House meeting on the stimulus.

Dow hits six-year low

Only six years? Not 30?

Steep competition for Kris Allen in week two

Last night, the first three advanced to the round of 12. The laughing hyena girl sang well, but couldn't overcome her hyena laugh and general bat-shittiness with voters.

Pounding the immigrants UPDATE

Republican Rep. Bill Sample is still working to grind down immigrants. Today, he introduced a bill to limit the validity of identification cards, such as driver licenses, given to legal aliens.

Pounding the immigrants UPDATE

Republican Rep. Bill Sample is still working to grind down immigrants. Today, he introduced a bill to limit the validity of identification cards, such as driver licenses, given to legal aliens.

Another Texas thug nailed

MSNBC is reporting that fugitive Texas thug investor Allen Stanford has been found in Virginia and served with papers by the FBI.

Riverfest moves eastward

Now imagine 100,000 people. After drawing a record-breaking 252,000 in 2008, Riverfest is making sure that folks have room to breathe this year.

Open line

I quit.

Where there's a will there's a Webb

OK, out of retirement briefly, for one of those higher ed-style debates -- low stakes, high interest in narrow quarters affected.

Hungry? Check it out.

Let’s eat. Where? Where else but at one of the best restaurants in Arkansas, as chosen by readers of the Arkansas Times.

Be a hero on your own time

“Victim’s heroics rouse judge,” read a headline in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, but Nigel Haskett’s heroics apparently didn’t rouse his employer, McDonald’s.

New Orleans, Baby!

I'm going to New Orleans this weekend for Mardi Gras.  There's a certain embarrassment that I feel about saying that, like maybe that's a ritual I'm too old for.  As if I said I was going to spend my 31st birthday on Spring Break.  So, I hasten to add that I will be going to stay with friends, check out some parades, and see the city.  I've never been to New Orleans before, and I'm not planning to spend my first visit (or any subsequent ones) showing my breasts to strangers and trying not to get thrown up on amidst a crushing throng of drunk people.

On the road again

Thanks to a tip from a friend, I recently found one of those hidden corners of Real Arkansas: Georgetown One-Stop. Served there, on plastic tabletops and paper plates, is nothing less than the finest fried catfish ever made by human hands.

Chicklettes maul competition in round 4

Sophonda Mayhem. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Let's NOT go to the lobby

Great idea by Sen. Steve Faris -- prohibit lawmakers from going to work for a lottery vendor for two years after they leave the legislature.

'Rent' faces controversy

Know any Arkansas high school putting on the newly available school version of the hit musical "Rent"? Don't spread it around.  The subject matter of the play is making it a subject of controversy all over -- too explicit for the Comstocks who'd prefer not to acknowledge that young people have sex, take drugs, contract communicable diseases, etc. A demoralized drama teacher in California -- California!

No bullet trains yet

For the railheads: More on the stimulus spending on high-speed rail, including a corridor that passes through Arkansas.

The NY Post cartoon

Murdoch's tabloid issues a non-apology apology over the dead chimp cartoon. (See it here.)

Dogtown law

Quote of the day comes from NLR City Attorney Jason Carter, in a motion to dismiss the North Little Rock School Board's slam-dunk lawsuit over multiple deficencies in the city's attempt to create a tax increment finance district to provide subsidies to a hotel developer.

And the Oscar goes to . . .

A sampling of my predictions appear in today's Arkansas Democrat Gazette.  For a complete listing of all of my picks, visit InContention.com.  Over the weekend, I will have some added thoughts about the awards, including my alternative Oscars.  I'm debating (and I emphasize debating) seeing all five best picture nominees again.  I don't know that I can suffer through another viewing of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" or "The Reader," but I may try.On Oscar night, rather than the customary live blog, I'm going to update in real time on Twitter.  You can sign up and follow me at http://www.twitter.com/blakerutherford.

Go Green

The Sierra Club will honor good citizens, public and private, for environmental activism next week.

House to the rescue

Reading between the lines, I'd predict that Rep. Steve Harrelson's Judiciary Committee will clean up the mess a craven Senate passed along to the House in passing Denny Altes' offensive bill to allow some people access to car accident records, but not others, including newspaper people who don't publish in an acceptable format.

NY Times settles with lobbyist

The New York Times has settled a lawsuit by a lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, who said the Times had suggested she had an improper relationship with John McCain.

Unhelpful hands

We reported a couple of weeks ago that Little Rock had made a formal application to turn the former Job Corps center in a former hotel at 22nd and Vance into a center for the homeless.

Unhelpful hands

We reported a couple of weeks ago that Little Rock had made a formal application to turn the former Job Corps center in a former hotel at 22nd and Vance into a center for the homeless.

Potential security breach?

The Arkansas Department of Information Services announced today that a computer record of criminal background checks run on more than 800,000 people over the last 12 years is missing from a storage facility.

Friday-To: Dave Hollister

DAVE HOLLISTER10 p.m., Juanita's. $20.Little Rock continues its run of landing high profile R&B crooners with Dave Hollister, who comes pretty seriously pedigreed.

Friday To-Do: Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm

Photo by Jerry Colburn. CEDRIC BURNSIDE AND LIGHTNIN' MALCOLM9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern.

The Weekend: Rock Street, 'The Last Five Years,' George McConnell and A LOT more

Grim Muzik. FRIDAY 2/20Rock Street, the new monthly party from organizer Cool Shoes, brings together local rappers and DJs to Vino's to celebrate hip-hop culture, old and contemporary.

Muffle the drums

Shoot. A reader tipped me to this last night, but I waited for the morning to doublecheck and the UA sent out a news release before responding to our inquiry.

Muffle the drums

Shoot. A reader tipped me to this last night, but I waited for the morning to doublecheck and the UA sent out a news release before responding to our inquiry.

To the rescue of Oxford American

I've been copied on an e-mail from Warwick Sabin, publisher of the Oxford American, to say someone who read about the literary magazine's troubles with the IRS thanks to an embezzling former employee will ride to the rescue.

Catfish and other smelly business

John Williams with a Capitol report: The bill to make the blue catfish the state fish, HB 1348, failed to clear committee today on a 10-10 vote, with 11 needed for a good report.

SEC Basketball Power Poll Ballot: Week 7

And now ... the moment you've been waiting for all day: the unveiling of this week's SEC Basketball Power Poll (like the JFK assassination and the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, this will be one of those "where were you when?" moments).

Saturday To-Do: PBR

PBR7:30 p.m., Alltel Arena, $9.25-$41.75.There's a reason Professional Bull Riders bills its events as "The Toughest Sport on Dirt."

Saturday To-Do: International Rugby Contest

INTERNATIONAL RUGBY CONTEST12 p.m., Little Rock Rugby Complex. Free.This is the best press release I've gotten in weeks: “Did you know that Little Rock plays home to a United States sports team?

Saturday To-Do: Regnat Populus

The See. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Saturday To-Do: Punk Bunny

PUNK BUNNY2 a.m., Discovery, $10 with admissionTalk about one nasty, tongue-in-cheek disco performance. Punk Bunny.

Tough Break for SWEPCO Customers

Construction on that coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County is coming back to bite rate-payers in the Natural State.  SWEPCO announced yesterday that they will be seeking a $53.9 million rate increase from the Public Service Commission, a substantial portion of which would go to pay for construction on the plant.  This would raise rates by 17.7 percent - which means an additional $15.43 per month for the average customer.  From Glen Hooks at the Sierra Club:

Still writing after all these years

The state's pre-eminent poet, Miller Williams, gets a warm review for his latest volume in the coming Sunday New York Times Book Review.

Cronyism

Members of the House take a load off just minutes before the big vote. HB 1026 got through the House today after failing earlier this week.  Rep. Garry Smith simply waited until more of his like-minded colleagues were present (the bill failed by a vote of 41-47, today's vote was 62-30).  The bill would require a majority, or five members, of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission to have experience in the development, production "or" transportation of oil and gas.  Current law requires four members to have such experience.  When the commission was created there were seven members.  This bill seeks to keep those with oil and gas "experience" in the majority, but why now?  The commission has had nine members for years, so why the sudden rush?  Also, "experience" is never clearly defined.  Smith has agreed to let the bill be amended to read experience in the "development, production or transportation."  An earlier version used the word "and," almost assuring that those appointed would be industry insiders.  This will just make it easier for oil and gas companies to get the rules and regs they want. 

Wal-Mart settles truck case

This is a biggie. Go here for details on Wal-Mart's $17.5 million settlement of a class action race discrimination lawsuit over the hiring of truck drivers.

Free press bugle call

At last, some backlash forming to Denny Altes' bill to allow some people, but bar tens of thousands of others, from seeing car accident reports.

The lottery decision UPDATE

Sounds like the decision has been made. No way the legislature will allow the creation of a separate lottery scholarship fund, something that the Father of the Arkansas Lottery, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, could possibly claim authorship of.

The lottery decision UPDATE

Sounds like the decision has been made. No way the legislature will allow the creation of a separate lottery scholarship fund, something that the Father of the Arkansas Lottery, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, could possibly claim authorship of.

Heart of stone

Rep. John Boozman, R-Slough of Despond, doesn't like our commentary so he won't talk to us.

Open line *

RIP: Socks has passed. This was intended purely as an open line,but a passage has intervened.

Feisty Food at Flying Fish.

First off, might I just say that I find it incredibly odd that there are three -- THREE -- eateries in the River Market with the first name "flying."  There you go.

Remember Chandra Levy?

San Francisco TV station says Washington police are about to make an arrest in the slaying of the congressional intern.

So close to Oklahoma

Brummett analyzes Fort Smith and its legislative contingent. Independent conservatives.

Where'd the money go?

How do you spend $50 billion? That's the question with the discovery that Bernard Madoff did no trading with the money he received from investors.

Rainy day reading

Slow here. Check out some of our other blogs.

The Moviegoer's Oscar Predictions

Here are my predictions for the Oscars. I'm not going to live blog this year.

Picking up tabs

Andrew DeMillo previews the coming week at the legislature -- lottery, guns in church, etc. There's mention that Attorney General Dustin McDaniel may finally roll out some ethics bills.

Say yes to tolerance

A fellow Presbyterian writes to say the Presbytery of Arkansas, the Presbyterian Church's governing body for most of Arkansas, voted in Clarksville today solidly for a rule change to allow non-celibate single people to serve as ministers and church officers.

Me oh my oh

No crawfish pie or file gumbo, but I do have some jambalaya on the stove, with shrimp and ham.

Houston Nutt Named Emperor of Mississippi and Other Fun Facts

Ok, it's been well-established that the basketball team is not exactly the most fun topic of conversation these days, so it's time to shift gears to something lighter: one Mr. Houston D. Nutt.

Oscar night

Brummett has thoughts.

Compassionate conservative

The Repubs do beat all. Take David Sanders, please.

Living in sound bites

Washington Post feature examines the impact of text messaging on teens. Does it affect attention span, family relationships, writing ability, social life?

Living in sound bites

Washington Post feature examines the impact of text messaging on teens. Does it affect attention span, family relationships, writing ability, social life?

A Noble Failure

Thanks to the wonders of satellite radio, I had the pleasure of listening to last night's game.

Still saying no

Some Southern Republican governors seem intent on standing on "principle" and refusing some of the stimulus money.

Open line

It's yours. Observation: I went to an old school funeral today -- "Farther Along," "In the Garden," "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder," "Amazing Grace."

And the Winners Are . . .

Against my predictions.  Best Picture: “Slumdog Millionaire” Best Director: Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire” Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler” Sean Penn, "Milk" Best Actress: Kate Winslet, “The Reader” Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight” Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” Best Adapted Screenplay: “Slumdog Millionaire” Best Original Screenplay: “Milk” Best Art Direction: “The Dark Knight” "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Best Cinematography: “Slumdog Millionaire” Best Costume Design: “The Duchess” Best Film Editing: “Slumdog Millionaire” Best Makeup: “The Dark Knight” "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Best Music (Original Score): “Slumdog Millionaire” Best Music (Original Song): “WALL-E” "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire" Best Sound Editing: “Slumdog Millionaire” "The Dark Knight" Best Sound Mixing: “WALL-E” "Slumdog Millionaire" Best Visual Effects: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” Best Animated Feature Film: “WALL-E” Best Foreign Language Film: “The Class” "Departures" (Japan) Best Short Film (Animated): “Presto” La Maison en Petits Cubes Best Short Film (Live Action): “Toyland” Best Documentary Feature: “Man on Wire” Best Documentary Short: “The Conscience of Nhem En” "Smile Pinki"Overall: 15/24.

Food to Peck at

Enveloped in the rich aroma of a simmering demi-glace of red wine and veal bones, a reporter got a tour of the kitchen at Capi's by third-generation restaurateur Capi Peck. She described it as small, but it looked big to the reporter — or maybe it was just the rich alchemy going on within.

On the Air

I’ll be on KARN Newsradio 920 AM (102.9 FM) Monday morning at 7:40 a.m. talking Oscars with Bob Steel.

The vision thing

Obama has it. And optimism, which Brummett also likes.

Hog in a poke

Thanks to reader Fed Up to Here for a link to an interesting article Sunday in the Dallas Morning News.

Mickey Rourke got robbed, or...

Loki! I half watched the Oscars while I tried, and failed, to paint a straight line on a bookcase.

Dark moments in history

The StoryCorps, National Public Radio's huge oral history project, features a story from Arkansas today. A black minister, Rev. James Seawood, remembers the 1950s in Sheridan, when, facing school integration, the town's major employer began forcing black families to move away.

If you've ever wondered...

...what Cormac McCarthy's scorched-earth epic, "Blood Meridian," would sound like as read by Ben Nichols, wonder no more.

Drink up; good for the budget

Here's an idea for the legislature: Emulate other states by ending Sunday blue laws restricting alcohol sales in the name of recession-fighting.

Holy Mole.

Amidst Central Arkansas' several Mexican and Mexican-esque chains (including El Parton, Senor Tequila, Casa Mexicana, El Parian, and more), there's the slightly-more-than-ordinary Casa Manana.  Maybe not old enough to be venerable, but certainly established well enough to be considered a Little Rock staple, and with one of the best traditional margaritas to be found in Pulaski County.  You're welcome to read more on the Tie Dye Travels website... including my impression of the dish above, the Mole Poblano.  And, if you do go, give the tacos a shot -- the crisp fried flour shells and shredded beef are a far cry from the corn-tortilla-and-ground-beef most of us have come to expect from "Mexican" fare.

For more disclosure

I note some activity today on Sen. Steve Faris'  SB 317 to change campaign finance reporting rules.

What's a trauma system for?

A: To treat motorcycle riders who don't wear helmets, for one thing. The number won't be declining.

A little slice of the Chicklettes

  In this episode, Sophonda Mayhem unleashes her fury on our dutiful videographer Roland Gladden.

'preciate a good vote

The House beat one bad bill today: * HB 1380 would have made races for prosecuting attorney non-partisan.

'preciate a good vote

The House beat one bad bill today: * HB 1380 would have made races for prosecuting attorney non-partisan.

The check WAS in the mail

Warwick Sabin, publisher of the Oxford American, confirms that the promised $100,000 donation to bail out the magazine arrived in the mail today.

Free Candy: Crookers feat. 607 "What Up Y'all"

Here's 607's latest. It's an overture to the dance kids and the blogosphere, but it doesn't a sound a bit contrived.

Lottery takes shape

Speaker Robbie Wills told reporters today that he envisioned combining lottery money with the existing Arkansas Challenge Scholarship -- showing some $20 million in surplus money -- for a bigger scholarship for all students who earn a 2.5 in high school or who meet some other standard as a non-traditional student.

Church and school

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is still unhappy with the Fountain Lake School District's response to complaints about Fellowship of Christian Athletes' involvement in a building on the school campus.

The daily layoff report UPDATE

Talk Business reports a layoff of 150 workers at the Hino Motors plant in Marion.

Escapees caught in NLR

State Police report says three Mississippi jail escapees, including a murder suspect, were arrested near Prothro Junction today after a stop of an erratically driven pickup that had struck three other vehicles.

How low can it go?

Stocks at a nearly 12-year low today. The question: When does a recession become a depression?

Who's coming to Riverfest

Set your links. This is going to be my permanent Riverfest line-up update spot.

One Night Stand

Evenings ago, my neighbor Steven and I assisted my sister Audrey with studying. She had created flash cards enabling her to memorize definitions for her health class.

For your thoughts

An open line.

Re seat belts

With debate looming on the primary seatbelt bill, opposition comes from former Judge Wendell Griffen, who believes it will open the door to racial profiling.

'Love,' razzed

In happier times. Forgotten in the Hugh Jackman hangover, Conway native and now Little Rock resident Graham Gordy earned a Golden Raspberry for Worst Screenplay of the year on Sunday.

Anticipate: Kyoto Boom providing the soundtrack to your spring

Dave Raymond, blurred, and Scott Cook of Kyoto Boom. Last year's Musicians Showcase runners-up Kyoto Boom could have its debut album ready for a spring release, drummer Duke Boyne reports.The three-piece is finishing recording now.Hear demoes here.

Let us be armed

John Brummett considers still further the question of concealed weapons in church and concludes he's still more in favor of it.

Sounds stimulating

Though some had carped about school spending in the stimulus package, Gov. Mike Beebe brought news last night that seems hard to quarrel with -- Arkansas's share can be spent on school construction projects.

UAMS chancellor finalists

As mentioned here several days ago, the finalists to be chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences have been chosen and all are from out of state.

Robohuck on abortion

The Atlantic blog reports that Mike Huckabee is robocalling to stir up the anti-abortion crowd in a couple of states.

Your people or your 'principles'?

Sen. Chuck Schumer puts it on the line to demagoguing Republican governors who say they want some kinds of stimulus money, but not other kinds.

Your people or your 'principles'?

Sen. Chuck Schumer puts it on the line to demagoguing Republican governors who say they want some kinds of stimulus money, but not other kinds.

Duggar day

A lobbying pal says the Duggar family bus rolled up to the Capitol this morning to disgorge the clan for a day of lobbying on home school legislation.

One man, one vote

The national group that backs legislation to bypass the unfair electoral college system to elect president by, effectively, a more democratic popular vote, has a website to aid in lobbying local legislators.

The changing paper

Readers (that's a nice, old-fashioned word, isn't it?) express interest in the cutbacks announced yesterday at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Legislative notes

From the morning, via John Williams: Rep. Lindsley Smith's bill to allow recovery of FOI lawsuit attorney fees for winning plaintiffs got a do-pass in committee this morning.

Legislative notes

From the morning, via John Williams: Rep. Lindsley Smith's bill to allow recovery of FOI lawsuit attorney fees for winning plaintiffs got a do-pass in committee this morning.

The Civil Rights Movement In the Obama Era

While I'm not one of those to say that because we now have a black president - there is no need for a civil rights movement - I do agree that the civil rights movement has lost its way.

A voice for D.C.

Paul Barton checks in with Arkansas's congressional delegation on legislation to give the District of Columbia a vote in Congress.

Harvey Milk, Dan White, and the "Twinkie Defense"

The day before the Academy Awards, I was fortunate enough to see "Milk" with my intreped companion.

What? Racist Seat Belts?

Yeah, I'm back, thanks for kicking the corpse, still alive... Ummm, what the F?

Alltel Arena?

So now that Verizon has become the Godzilla of American Cellphonery, what's going to happen to Alltel Arena?  Will Verizon keep the sponsorship tie-in, will someone else step up and buy it or will it retain the Alltel name (which I'm sure it can't after the deal is up as the name is now property of Verizon, right?)

TL5Y and others

Things I must go see soon: The Last Five Years at The Weekend Theater, Endgame at UALR Theater, Lonely Planet and Rabbit Hole and CTLR's To Kill A Mockingbird... lots of theater happen, y'all...

Fat Tuesday To-Do: Jim Mize - Ace Spade and the Whores

Ace Spade and the Whores. JIM MIZE / ACE SPADE AND THE WHORES OF BABYLON10 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Help for the jails

Republican Rep. Allen Kerr, R-Real World, announces a bill today to up the reimbursement rate for state prisoners held in county jails from $28 to $40 a day.

The end of irony

David Vitter says Roland Burris should resign.

No more 'Book Guys' after tonight

"The Book Guys," the nationally syndicated public radio show on book collecting, is saying so long after tonight's broadcast.

Hear them roar

Another run at Arkansas passsage of the Equal Rights Amendment is due to be filed shortly. Senate sponsors are Sue Madison, Mary Anne Salmon and Joyce Elliott.

Tuesday Diversionary Maneuver

In the ExPats' never ending quest to bring you diversion from obsessing on the current basketball season, we offer up the most unlikely Florida State Seminole of all time: Myron Rolle, Rhodes scholar.

More Fat Tuesday doings: The Gettys, Dikki Du & the Zydeco Krewe

Dikki Du du-ing it. Little Rock's favorite party band the Gettys are at Sticky Fingerz, 8 p.m., $5 or a $10 wristband gets you into most of the clubs in the River Market.From Church Point, Louisiana, Dikkie Du and the Zydeco Krewe do a funky version of southwest Louisiana's favorite kind of music, 9 p.m., free.Juanita's hosts New York rockers Rev Theory and Aranda, 9 p.m., $3.The Afterthought hosts the Cover Band, who'll do feel-good covers, natch, 8 p.m., $7.ALSO: The Chris Denny Band is at Cornerstone, 9 p.m.

Beth Ditto has a "half-naked-only" clause in her contract

This week she's in the "Women's Fashion Spring 2009" edition of the New York Times magazine T.Here's the bulk of blurb: [The singer] will introduce a self-proclaimed ‘‘fat-lady clothing line’’ for the British plus-size label Evans this summer.

Free Candy: 'The Rise of Maxxism'

Maxx, who's live hip-hop band Apples and Spades is competing in the Showcase on Friday, is offering today a free download of his debut full-length with "My Soul," his first single with Apples and Spades, grouped in as a bonus track.

Clark Duke is now available unrated

Buy/rent it today. The New York Times Manolha Dargis mostly hated it but said that "Clark Duke as an unlikely lady-killer hit[s] every sweet-and-sardonic note with panache."So there you go.

Has Technology Come to Save Us?

Clinton, AR Clinton Mayor Roger Rorie has told the Democrat Gazette that his city has found a way to recycle contaminated water used in the drilling process.  We've spent a lot of time here discussing the impact of this left-over water and other drilling fluids.  In fact, back in October, I posted this note about how the technology existed to re-claim 70 percent of frack water used to drill gas wells.  I don't know off-hand, but I can just imagine it's expensive.  Rorie hopes the process will help create jobs for his town which has been hit hard by the recession.  He said he hopes to sell 80 out of every 100 gallons the city's sewer plant treats back to the gas companies for re-use.  "We feel like we have an answer for the Fayetteville Shale," Rorie said.  I hope he's right. It can take up to five million gallons of water to drill one natural gas well.        

NWA does Asian

The faithful Blog correspondent eLwood of Springdale files a good report on a favorite Asian eatery in the Northwest corner of the state:

ZOMG: Jason Mraz to Alltel

April 28 with Plain White T's.Tickets go onsale on Saturday at noon.

On the gun beat

Channel 4 tells me that they've talked to Rep. Randy Stewart of Kirby, who is introducing legislation to exempt the list of concealed weapon permit holders from the Freedom of Information Act.

On the gun beat

Channel 4 tells me that they've talked to Rep. Randy Stewart of Kirby, who is introducing legislation to exempt the list of concealed weapon permit holders from the Freedom of Information Act.

And in other news ...

... have any?

Garden Chronicle: Seeds

Onion bulbs, red and yellow. With roots in rural Arkansas, summer gardens were an integral part of life.

The Religious Right has muscle

It is a measure of how much Arkansas has changed - progressed, some would say - that Jerry Cox may be the most hated person in the state, and if he's not, he's close.

Life is cheap

Some states are considering an end to the death penalty to cut costs.

More newspaper gloom

Employees at the Democrat-Gazette, which has just been through a round of layoffs, reductions in hours and other cost-cutting moves, got a memo from the publisher about the outlook this year.

Princes get Superfly

The American Princes continue to make next-level advances. After landing in the top spot of Magnet Magazine's year-end poll for their album "Other People," the band's recently signed with Superfly Management, who also represent Galactic, but more impressively, produce Bonaroo, the Outside Lands fest in San Francisco and a chunk of Jazzfest.

Congress a-twitter

U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder wasn't the only one madly texting during President Obama's speech last night.

Church gun bill stopped

After an hour of debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee today refused to endorse the bill to allow concealed weapons in churches, currently prohibited.

IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?

 Two recent scenarios have really twisted my Spanx.   1)     Publishing ALREADY public records of concealed weapons permit holders online, resulting in threats, and – 2)     Publishing ALREADY public records, online, of those who contributed over $100 to support California’s Proposition 8, which denies equality to same-sex Californians and also rescinds their previously-legal marriages, resulting in threats.

Lottery details UPDATE

The lottery working group today unveiled a draft of its ideas on lottery scholarships. House Speaker Wills had already indicated a central scholarship program built on the existing Challenge scholarship.

Lottery details UPDATE

The lottery working group today unveiled a draft of its ideas on lottery scholarships. House Speaker Wills had already indicated a central scholarship program built on the existing Challenge scholarship.

M.L. King strife

The legislation to restructure the M.L. King Commission came out of committee today, but not before some unhappy words concerning the sometimes-controversial agency.

Calling Pat Hays

Thanks to SF for a tip to some more surplus vessels available for the asking for the Arkansas River Fleet Reserve in NLR -- a super-secret Navy vessel and a submersible dry dock barge perfect for submarine repair work.

Calling Pat Hays

Thanks to SF for a tip to some more surplus vessels available for the asking for the Arkansas River Fleet Reserve in NLR -- a super-secret Navy vessel and a submersible dry dock barge perfect for submarine repair work.

Senatorial courtesy

Vice President Joe Biden, a former Senate colleage of Sen. Blanche Lincoln, will be in Little Rock March 14 to headline the opening of Lincoln's re-electon campaign.

Gun beat

Here's the promised bill to close the names of concealed weapon permit holders from public inspection.

Kris Allen vs. dramatic bangs, split personalities and 16-year-olds

Like I told you last week, the odds seem stacked against Kris Allen tonight in the second week of semi-finals on "American Idol."

Dinosaur Jr. now, officially, coming

Close readers of the blog might've caught this, fleetingly, a while back, but now it's totally and completely confirmed, t's crossed, i's dotted: Dinosaur Jr. is coming to Revolution, April 16 and Fayetteville the next night.

Brual. Absolutely Brutal.

Yikes. So much for feeling optimistic.

Buckle up for a popular president

John Williams reports: The bill for Arkansas to sidestep the electoral college process and eventually provide for election of president by a popular vote when enough states have joined the movement, passed the House today 56-43.

School Boy

Little Rock's School Boy Humor released

Action Alert

This from Sustainable Alternatives, an educational outreach and community resource center for environmental & sustainable initiatives in central Arkansas.

From us to the world

ABC News tonight carried a long feature on Nigel Haskett, unable to get workers comp insurance coverage for gunshot wound injuries suffered when he went to the defense of a woman being assaulted in a Little Rock McDonald's restaurant where he worked.

Open air dining

A patron reports a bit of a problem with a roof collapse last night at Pizza D'Action, the popular Stifft Station tavern.
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