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February 26, 2009

Vol 7 • No 7

Gun beat

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

Open line

It's yours.

‘Avenue Q’

So rarely does the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville host a show worth its steep ticket prices that it’s doubly striking when that show turns out to be provocative and challenging in the way of “Avenue Q.”

Look who’s talking

Worthwhile legislation is hard to come by.

Orval, Feb. 26

Doomsday stew

I think it’s too late to fix whatever’s wrong.

Orval, Feb. 26

Words, Feb. 26

Open machinations, openly arrived at: “Obama made several moves aimed at creating what he called ‘a new standard of openness’ about the behind-the-scenes machinations of his White House and those before it.”

Pick up some spice

It says a lot about my stage of life that I’d personally rather start this column talking about the upcoming children’s consignment sales than the racy new upscale lingerie store in West Little Rock.

Off with his head?

Arkansas fans are certainly living up to their reputation.

To-do list, Feb. 26

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, 'The Last Five Years', Lucero, The Moving Front / Magic Hassle, Cool Shoes, 'Ode to Joy', Grupo Fantasma, Kristen Lewis, Billy Lee Riley / Sonny Burgess and 'The Rat Pack is Back' provide a few entertainment options

Bloody Sunday

Give us that old-time religion, when nobody saw a need to pack a gun to church services, and when, in fact, anyone caught carrying in the sanctuary would have been deemed in violation of Lord’s House rules.

In Brief, Feb. 26

At Satellite Cafe’s new free live music series, prolific and winning local singer/songwriter Isaac Alexander offers a solo set, 9 p.m., free.

What's Cookin', Feb. 26

Interior decorator Larry West is preparing to open Star Bar, a restaurant and lounge, in the space on West Third Street that previously housed the Italian Couple.

Give til it helps

We happened to learn last week of an interesting perk of public office for some: The Wal-Mart Foundation lets certain politicians pick a charity to receive its largesse.

One more to go

Too bad nobody's taking odds on the Showcase, 'cause somebody could've made some cash on round four. The Chicklettes, the fiercely punk rock girl group from Little Rock, might be the upset of the contest.

A&E news, Feb. 26

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

This modern world, Feb. 26

Feb. 18-24, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … ARKANSAS PRESBYTERIANS. They voted to allow non-celibate single people be ministers and hold church office. This means gay people can participate fully in church life.

Smart talk, Feb. 26

Paul Barton, reporting from Washington for the Arkansas Blog, rounded up White House estimates on job creation in Arkansas by virtue of the initial stimulus package approved by Congress.

Lesson from Lee County

Part of the $86 million that Gov. Mike Beebe wants spent on a number of health programs would go to the state’s Community Health Centers, non-profit, federally funded clinics created during the so-called War on Poverty in the 1960s.

Dumb, dumb, dumb

During my more “experimental” college days, an unbroken span of halcyon afternoons spent hazily munching on the couch and forgetting to go to class, one favorite pastime was ascertaining the degree to which a given television show’s writers were stoned.

Packing in church, revisited

My recent e-mail has gone pretty much like this, if you’ll permit a composite

The dean of barbecue places

Like Abraham Lincoln, White Pig barbecue was born in a log cabin. And — in restaurant years — about as

Party of Yes?

The Republican Party is in a precarious situation both locally and nationally.

Art makers, take note

Two big opportunities for artists to gain recognition have popped up.

Editorial cartoon, Feb. 26

Turf battle over lottery

Whatever you think about the wisdom of a lottery, you know that it is a dangerous business.

Lobbying for the Lord

The Arkansas Faith and Ethics Council started out in 1899 as the Arkansas Anti-Saloon League, a temperance group.

‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’

The protection of human rights is a necessary component of our Catholic faith and you and I are obligated to bring the truths of our faith to bear on the pressing issues of our day.

On the one hand ...

Brummett: Concealed carry permit holders should be public information. Newspapers shouldn't publish it.

Calories count

I expected to see more coverage of this important study today, which affirms a sermon preached by my mother the registered dietitian 50 years ago.

Somewhere, Huck yuks

It's agreed: Rising star Bobby Jindal flamed out Tuesday night as designated hitter for the GOP after President Obama's speech to Congress.

The eternal election

Wonder if Minnesota will ever get its second senator? Here's a good go-to spot for ongoing coverage.

Media mastery

Blog. Twitter.

Griffen departs

Former Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen says he's notified Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson of his resignation from the policy board of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, which Thompson directs.

'Waltz with Bashir'

The Oscar nominated film "Waltz with Bashir" arrives in Little Rock tomorrow at Market Street Cinema.

Thursday To-Do: Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears

BLACK JOE LEWIS AND THE HONEYBEARS9 p.m., Revolution. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.Austin's Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears have a healthy sense of the past.

Kris Allen's got a shot

So Kris Allen didn't kill it last night. But his version of "Man in the Mirror" was solid, and my wife said "He's sooo cute!" about 10 times in 30 seconds.

Thursday: Isaac Alexander, Little Rock Wind Symphony, Colin Gilmore

THURSDAY 2/26At Satellite Cafe's new free live music series, prolific and winning local singer/songwriter Isaac Alexander offers a solo set, 9 p.m., free.

The Station opens

The Station Grocery and Deli has opened in the wedge formed by the intersection of Kavanaugh and Markham streets at Stifft Station.

Library tax OK

Circuit Judge Tim Fox today upheld the legality of putting a library tax approved in December 2007 on 2007 tax bills.

Coming soon

Interior decorator Larry West is preparing to open Star Bar, a restaurant and lounge, in the space on West Third St. that previously housed the Italian Couple.

Do the math

The Walton Family Foundation has contributed $2.9 million toward matching requirements for a $13 million grant to an organization based at UALR that is working to improve high school students' math and science knowledge.

Ark.: Good times roll

USA Today cover story highlights Arkansas's economic soundness, at least relative to implosions all around.

Comes the lawsuit

Arkansas Business reports that a lawsuit has been filed in federal court in Little Rock against the Stanford Financial Group for misleading a family trust about the safety of its certificates of deposit.

Welcome to my nightmare

I experienced a similar situation once when an elderly neighbor died -- 15 essentially feral cats flying from furniture, hissing and swarming when I tried to feed them until the Humane Society arrived.

Earmarks? Bring 'em on

Washington reporter Paul Barton has surveyed the Arkansas congressional delegation about attitudes toward earmarks, specific appropriations often derided as wasteful pork but also seen as a measure of a congressman's ability to deliver for constituents.

Meet the guest judge: Brad Williams

Week five Musicians Showcase guest judge Brad Williams. Who?

Biden: Not one of us

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is making high sport out of Vice President Joe Biden's coming visit to Arkansas for Sen. Blanche Lincoln's campaign opener.

Biden: Not one of us

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is making high sport out of Vice President Joe Biden's coming visit to Arkansas for Sen. Blanche Lincoln's campaign opener.

Meet the guest-proxy judge: Isaac Alexander

Week five proxy/guest judge Isaac Alexander. Who?

RIP Mark Sallings

Mark Sallings, the legendary harmonica player and leader of the Famous Unknowns, died last night in Crawfordsville in a automobile accident, KARK reports.

Iron Chef, Arkansas Style.

Last year, food lover fantasies have become reality in a form often seen before (on the hit TV shows Iron Chef and Iron Chef America), in our very own Kitchen Stadium (the foyer of the Little Rock Peabody Hotel).  The motivation for this contest by the Culinary School is to encounter new and original cuisines, and to raise funds for Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School, which currently serves 130 students who are pursuing associate degrees in culinary arts or technical certificates in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts.  To realize this dream, four chefs have been chosen -- Michael Powell, executive chef at Chenal Country Club; Ted Roman, executive chef at the Arlington Hotel; Jason Knapp, executive chef at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion; and Cynthia East, lead instructor at the Pulaski Technical College Arkansas Culinary School.  These potentially invincible chefs will have 40 minutes to tackle the theme item of the day.  Using all their senses, skill, creativity, they are to prepare artistic dishes never tasted before.

Huck: Fox's attack dog

Mike Huckabee fed the C-PAC convention today some liberal media-bashing raw meat, referring to MSNBC as MSBS.

It was a jolly green day...

... for environmental groups at the Capitol today.  Arkansas Citizens First Congress, a coalition of over 40 groups from across the state, held a press conference  to announce the filing of a series of bills that would implement the recommendations of the Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming.  Rep. Steve Harrelson said the bills, which have not been filed yet, will likely draw a good deal of opposition.  One of the bills, to be filed by Rep. Joan Cash, D-Jonesboro, would require the Arkansas Public Service Commission to expand existing energy efficiency programs carried out by utility companies.  Roy Ragland, R-Dark Ages, has a bill that would do the exact opposite.  Five of the bills from the "Energy Efficiency Package" should be filed by the end of the day.  They include a bill to: make public facilities more energy efficient, provide low-cost financing to retrofit schools and government buildings and reauthorize the legislative task force on sustainable building design and practices.  Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, said the bills would put Arkansas at the forefront of renewable energy, energy efficiency and job creation.  She said funding for the various programs would likely be affected by the availability of federal stimulus money, but would not depend on it.  She also said she hoped to have the support of the energy industry although to our knowledge there were no representatives from utility companies present at the press conference.    

It was a jolly green day...

... for environmental groups at the Capitol today.  Arkansas Citizens First Congress, a coalition of over 40 groups from across the state, held a press conference  to announce the filing of a series of bills that would implement the recommendations of the Arkansas Governor's Commission on Global Warming.  Rep. Steve Harrelson said the bills, which have not been filed yet, will likely draw a good deal of opposition.  One of the bills, to be filed by Rep. Joan Cash, D-Jonesboro, would require the Arkansas Public Service Commission to expand existing energy efficiency programs carried out by utility companies.  Roy Ragland, R-Dark Ages, has a bill that would do the exact opposite.  Five of the bills from the "Energy Efficiency Package" should be filed by the end of the day.  They include a bill to: make public facilities more energy efficient, provide low-cost financing to retrofit schools and government buildings and reauthorize the legislative task force on sustainable building design and practices.  Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, said the bills would put Arkansas at the forefront of renewable energy, energy efficiency and job creation.  She said funding for the various programs would likely be affected by the availability of federal stimulus money, but would not depend on it.  She also said she hoped to have the support of the energy industry although to our knowledge there were no representatives from utility companies present at the press conference.    

Your window to buy tickets for booze, Mexican food and comedy is about to close

Candyce B. Hinkle and Paul Tigue star in "The Foreigner." Photo by Ben Krain.

Game and Fish Money

From AP via KSLA News in Shreveport, LA.  Looks like some of that sweet Chesapeake lease money is being put to good use by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.  I wonder how many inspectors this will actually allow ADEQ to hire?  The commission:

Time Flies When You're Having...Well, Fun Isn't the Right Word

On January 6th of this year, the Hogs beat Texas in what I think we can all agree was one of the most glorious Razorback sports moments in recent memory.

Ethics watch

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will talk to the reporters today about his developing ethics legislation.

State secrets

Secret legal action continues in the case of Circuit Judge Willard Proctor, who faces a coming state judicial discipline proceeding over his operation of a probation program he created.

It smells of money

All this talk of lottery scholarships has obscured the most interesting  issue. The real winners. Who'll make the big bucks off the new game?

Kris Allen is pretty much famous now

Never underestimate the nimble texting fingers of tweenage girls. Kris Allen, UCA student and Little Rock native, is one of the final 12 on "American Idol."

Late but

Here's a thread anyway. I went from work to eat and then the LR Wind Symphony.

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.

Sigh

The resolution calling for Arkansas to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment is on the agenda in a House committee this morning.

Beebe's right, gamblers wrong

What is it about Fort Smith and bingo? The gambling operators don't think they should be regulated.

Interesting thought ...

... but I'd guess impact would be small. WASHINGTON — A group of liberal bloggers said it was teaming up with organized labor and MoveOn.org to form a political action committee that would seek to push the Democratic Party further to the left.

Inch deep, mile wide

This review of Mike Huckabee's speech yesterday to the conservative convention is not unlike commentary you've seen in these parts before, from the observation of his eternal stretch for metaphors to his uncontrollable penchant for potty humor.

Big job loss in El Dorado

Pilgrim's Pride is closing three plants in three states, a move that will put 3,000 out of work.

Grade inflation

House Speaker Robbie Wills elaborates on why he -- and Gov. Mike Beebe -- think a grade inflation factor needs to be considered in standards for lottery scholarships.

Keep your powder dry

The frenzied e-mails about an appearance by the ERA in House committee today were for naught.

Keep your powder dry

The frenzied e-mails about an appearance by the ERA in House committee today were for naught.

The Showcase primer

Download our digi comp. Our archives are pretty worthless, so for those lookin' to catch up, here's a handy set of links.Read about the bona fides of our weekly judges: 607, Nicole Boddington, Jason Tedford and Jason Weinheimer and our guest judges so far — Joey Lucas, Jim Mize,  Rob Bell, Shannon Boshears, Brad Williams and Isaac Alexander.Download a free digital compilation featuring all 20 Showcase semi-finalists.Stream music from our first round contestants: Jordan Atwater, Magic Hassle, Frown Pow'r and the winner, Velvet Kente.Read judges commentary on Velvet Kente, see pictures and read rundown of round one and see a video of VK.Stream music from our second round contestants: Whale Fire, Gina Gee, Loch Ness Monster and the winner, Nik and Sam.Read judges commentary, see pictures and read a wrap-up of round two.Stream music from our third round contestants: Four on the Floor, Sean West, Style Guide and the winner, the See.Read judges commentary on the See and a further round-up and pictures of round three.Stream music from our fourth round contestants: Midwest Caravan, Rockst*r, Good Time Ramblers and the winner, the Chicklettes.Read judges commentary on the Chicklettes, see pictures and read a wrap-up of round four.

Riverfest gets Heart

Behold years of moisturizing. Or an expert Photoshop retouch?

More on Clinton Mayor's Plan to Treat Drilling Water

Clinton Mayor Roger Rorie A couple of days ago, I followed up on a DG report about Clinton Mayor Roger Rorie's plan to treat water used in the natural gas drilling process.  Here's another good story on the issue from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

Friday To-Do: 'The Last Five Years'

‘THE LAST FIVE YEARS'7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $14-$18.Here's something we don't do around these parts too often: a modern musical.

Friday To-Do: The Moving Front - Magic Hassle

Magic Hassle. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Friday To-Do: Cool Shoes

Ettiem and I.K.E. Photo by AiLien Draheim. COOL SHOES10 p.m., Downtown Music.

Doctors v. Baptist Health decided

Judge Collins Kilgore ruled today in a lawsuit with high interest in the medical community.

Friday To-Do: Lucero

LUCERO9 p.m., Revolution. $15.It's an embarrassment of riches for Lucero fans.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 5: Apples and Spades

Photo by Waynette Traub. Apples and SpadesStarted performing:  Late last year, but rapper Maxx, who's a freshmen in college, started rapping when he was in third grade.From: Little Rock.Members: Sam Baxter (bass), Max Farrell AKA Maxx (raps), Lucas Murray (guitar) and Daniel Olah (drums).

The no doctrine

How's the GOP Just Say No policy on response to the country's economic crisis playing out?

Pee on your own dime

Story of the day. Head of Ryanair, Europe's budget carrier, says he's thinking about charging airline passengers to use plane toilets.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 5: Riverboat Crime

Photo by Brian Chilson. Riverboat CrimeFormed: July 2007From: North Little RockMembers: Josh Stoffer (vocals, guitar, piano, woolitzer), Adam Tompkins (drums, percussion), Wes Coker (bass).Album: The band's debut, "Walking Shoes," came out early last year.Sounds like: Big, bright unironic pop-rock with hints of blues.Where you'll find them: All over, but especially north of the river at Cornerstone and Reno's.

Is porn a family value?

I get e-mail. Here, a link to the summary of a study of on-line pornography purchasing patterns.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 5: Jonathan Wilkins

Jonathan WilkinsStarted performing: Seven years ago.From: Little Rock by way of Conway and, originally, St. LouisAlbum: Lots of homemade releases and "Highway Robbery," released earlier this year on Last Chance Records.

Ark. Times Musicians Showcase Round 5: The Weisenheimers

The WeisenheimersFormed: Spring of 2007From: Little RockMembers: It's kindred strummers and a shirtless drummer, as the Times Paul Peterson has said.

Injustice of the day

Until Conway's Kris Allen gets famous enough to snatch away domain names or Google's algorithms catch up with pop reality, Kris Allen of Kris Allen and Southern Thunder (call him Kris Allen Jackson) will top Google search results for "Kris Allen."Time to take advantage of some accidental traffic, Kris Allen Jackson.

J.B. Hunt tightens up

Tipster says the the trucking company's employees got e-mail notice today that company 401K contributions would cease March 1.

The Weekend: The Schwag, Kevin Gordon, the Diving Bell Ball and more

Kevin Gordon. FRIDAY 2/27In case I haven't plugged it enough: The last semi-final round of the ARKANSAS TIMES MUSICIANS SHOWCASE is tonight at Sticky Fingerz.

Saturday and Sunday To-Do: 'Ode to Joy'

‘ODE TO JOY'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$52.The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's Stella Boyle Smith Masterworks series returns with a nice balance: an iconic piece, recognizable to even the most musically ignorant, and a provocative 20th century composition inspired by jazz and African creation myths.

Saturday To-Do: Grupo Fantasma

GRUPO FANTASMA9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10.The December before last, this 11-piece Austin-based orchestra played to a criminally small crowd at Revolution.

Proctor loses at Supreme Court

It wasn't reported in the Arkansas Supreme Court's weekly report of decisions, but the court yesterday denied a request for a writ of certiorari from Circuit Judge Willard Proctor to stop next month's hearing by the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission.

Hot Dogs, Cold Cream.

Out West on Cantrell (in the IO Metro complex) you'll find Jerzy's Creamery.  I've passed by many a time and never seen it open.  Finally got by when the doors were open today -- only to find that the hot dogs were still in process.  The folks on duty let me know that starting next week the restaurant will be open from noon to 8 p.m. for "summer hours."  The eatery serves 1/4 pound gourmet hot dogs and a wide selection of ice creams.

Not Constantinople.

Sandwiched in-between other businesses bookended by the highly enjoyable Capi's and the kid-friendly Cheeburger Cheeburger is a new eatery, scheduled to open March 9th.  Istanbul Mediterranean Cuisine will feature a wide variety of kababs, gyros, and Turkish delights (maybe even Turkish Delight -- we didn't ask).  No website yet, but staff is being hired and the space outfitted for a casual yet hip dining experience. 

Review: "The Visual Narrative"

Ariston Jacks. Ariston Jacks and Susan Williams are African-American artists who have in common substantial talent.

Turn out the lights

My party's over. .... except, to say that ACLU filed its brief today objecting to the state's attempt to dismiss the challenge of Act 1, which prohibits adoptions by unmarried couples.

Jonathan Wilkins claims the final spot in the Showcase

And then there were five. The finals for the Showcase are set.Jonathan Wilkins, with help from Will Boyd (drums) and Matt Floyd (bass), earned the final spot with an impressive set that showed off his sharp songwriting and deft guitar work.

More on grade inflation

John Brummett today looks further at high school grade inflation, which will be a factor in qualification standards for the lottery-increased state college scholarship program.

Brighten the day

The Arkansas Times has been helping to promote the Peter Max Paints America coloring contest for kids at the Clinton Library.

Sorry for the difficulties

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Make this tonight's open line.

End of the road.

This map was a tribute to good barbecue, a map documenting the travels of hundreds of hungry diners who at one point or another made their way to Backwoods BBQ in Greenbrier.  Alas, with the passing of Doug Chrestman, the restaurant is no more.  Earlier today I noticed the sign out front as I passed, the sign announcing the restaurant is closed and searching for a new owner.  A fund has been set up for Doug's wife Sharon and their children to handle expenses.  I sure hate to see it go... it was one of the first restaurants I ever blogged about, and even mentioned in USA Today.

Nothing Quite Like Southern Hospitality

New Orleans was amazing.  My friends John and Randy were fantastic hosts, and they knew some of the best places to watch the parades.  I discovered that I catch beads like someone who was traumatized by them as a child with a lot of flinching and looking away at the last minute.  I got hit in the head more than once as a result of some long strands of beads and my overall poor form.

Bob Johnson's atonement

John Brummett has an informative column today about Sen. Bob Johnson's effort to buy sod farm acreage in the Lake Maumelle watershed for future natural use.

Stand by for ...

Readers noted in last night's open the line the death of radio commentator Paul Harvey at 90.

Politics and reality

Good Frank Rich today. It summarizes crisply the Republican Party's current tone-deafness and the continued pursuit of failed talking points by pseudo-populist plutocrats.

Wheels on an LA road

Fans of song writer singer Lucinda Williams will want to check out a New York Times magazine "Domain" feature on her.

Garden Chronicle: Seedlings

Tomato seeds sprouting. I was happily surprised to find baby tomato plants peeking out of peat pots only two days after planting the seeds.

Sunday thread

Spin away.

The Formula for Victory

1994 National Championship Team in Attendance + Weekendlong Festivities + John Pelphrey's Boots + Nolan Speech at Halftime + Playing Worst Team in the SEC* = Blowout Razorback Win Now, if we could just replicate that formula about 25 times a year we'd be in business.

Area arias

Internationally known soprano Kristen Lewis concludes her stint in UCA's Artist in Residence program tonight with a concert of Puccini and Verdi arias at Reynolds Performance Hall. The Little Rock native is in Conway after just making her debut with Teatr

'In conclusion'

Add John Brummett to the list unimpressed by La. Gov. Bobby Jindal's recent national TV appearance.

The health care crisis

One element of the exploding cost of health care is unnecessary spending. Here's just one little slice:

Squeezing the cities

The D-G this morning examined an issue the local press in NLR had already noted -- the city's declining sales tax revenues.

Squeezing the cities

The D-G this morning examined an issue the local press in NLR had already noted -- the city's declining sales tax revenues.

Fighting for equal rights

House Speaker Robbie Wills made a ringing pitch for the Equal Rights Amendment on his blog yesterday.

Monday To-Do: Kristen Lewis

KRISTEN LEWIS7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. Free.Internationally known soprano Kristen Lewis concludes her stint in UCA's Artist in Residence program on Monday with a concert of Puccini and Verdi arias.

How low can it go?

At 8:49 a.m. today, Dow stood at 6,958. Lowest since Oct. 1997.

Services for Mark Sallings

Services for Delta bluesman Mark Sallings, who passed away last week, begin today in Memphis, with a blues second line down Beale Street, and continue with a funeral in McCrory on Tuesday and a burial on Wednesday.

Best Mug Shot Ever?

How he'll do on the field remains to be seen, of course, but presumed-future-Arkansas-star-QB Ryan Mallett has already turned in one of the best athlete mug shots ever.

Heard it here first

Here's another mention, in Wall Street Journal, of possibility that Paul Harvey's death could create an enormous opportunity for Mike Huckabee.

Marathon nearing capacity

Attention would-be marathoners. The Little Rock Marathon, coming up on March 15, is nearly sold out.

Actor's legacy

A star-studded Hollywood benefit is set to help the Myeloma Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Give us shelter

News conference today about legislation to establish a housing trust fund in Arkansas, where state money would match other sources to provide decent housing for low-income families.

Give us shelter

News conference today about legislation to establish a housing trust fund in Arkansas, where state money would match other sources to provide decent housing for low-income families.

Thoughts on HB 1026

HB 1026 came out of a Senate committee last week and will probably be voted on very soon (The bill passed the House recently).  The bill would require a majority of members of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission to have experience in the development, production or transportation of oil and gas.  It seems to me like an attempt to stack the commission with industry insiders.  What's the need for this?  Why is this all of the sudden a major concern of the legislature?  Why does the governor support it?  I can answer that last question after speaking with Matt Decample, the spokesman for Governor Beebe, last week.  Here is his statement:

Tune In: Korto rips the runway

That's The Dream in the blue trash bag jacket. Korto's back on the runway.

Stimulating

In the bills this morning: From Sen. Steve Faris, a $90 million appropriation (relying on federal stimulus money) for the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs.

Pryor to UA Board? UPDATE

Passing along a rumor that Brummett's Blog passed along: David Pryor to the UA Board seat held by Jim Lindsey, whose term has expired.

Watch This

 A group at MIT is working to develop a way for local communities to keep tabs on extraction industries operating in their area.  The Landman Report Card is:

No sewage in the watershed

View of Lake Maumelle from Pinnacle Mountain There’s been a lot of talk lately about what can be done to protect the Lake Maumelle watershed, a source of drinking water for about 95 percent of Pulaski County as well as other areas in the state.

New on the web

A complete new website for the Little Rock Nine Foundation, with current photos and biographies and info about the foundation's mission.

I Can Now Die Happy

That's because I met Dwight Stewart - perhaps my all-time favorite Razorback - and have the photo above to prove it.

Battle for 'soul' of GOP

It's Michael Steele v. Rushbo. Let's you and him fight.

Finally, something for the kids

Texas alt-rockers Flyleaf have been confirmed for Riverfest for Sunday night on the Bud Light stage opening for 3 Doors Down.

Spotted: Francis Ford Coppola

A tipster tells me he was in Flying Fish today eating alone at lunch. For shame!

Slow day at Capitol

The House sent to the governor Sen. Gilbert Baker's bill to require reporting of college executive pay.

Open line

Monday, Monday.

Lesson from Lee County

Part of the $86 million that Gov. Mike Beebe wants spent on a number of health programs would go to the state's Community Health Centers, non-profit, federally funded clinics created during the so-called War on Poverty in the 1960s.

Holy shizz!

Here it comes, America. This month.

Is Blanche liberal?

Brummett explains how a recent rating could be used to present Sen. Lincoln as a liberal.

Brummett for the defense ....

... of Tom Courtway, the interim UCA president. In his blog, he defends Courtway for refusing to release the names of students who received discretionary scholarships in the era of Lu Hardin.

Brummett for the defense ....

... of Tom Courtway, the interim UCA president. In his blog, he defends Courtway for refusing to release the names of students who received discretionary scholarships in the era of Lu Hardin.

The face of conservatism

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c CPAC After Party Daily Show Full EpisodesImportant Things With Demetri Martin Political HumorJoke of the Day

February revenue

The state revenue report says receipts, gross and net, were up in February over last year and forecast.

Old boys club

A 1956 Catholic High grad spurred a gift to the Little Rock high school for boys announced today.

Assessing early retirement

Little Rock School Superintendent Linda Watson has proposed an early retirement incentive as a means of reducing the district workforce on account of a drop in students and revenue.

Norm Coleman has lost

He knows it. Thus he's officially begun the drive for a new election to set aside the vote.

ERA today UPDATE

It's been debated in Senate Committee this morning. David Goins of Fox 16 quotes one senator, Bill Pritchard, as saying if he treated men and women equally he'd treat women worse than he does now.

Tuesday To-Do: Billy Lee Riley and Sonny Burgess

Billy Lee back in the day. BILLY LEE RILEY / SONNY BURGESS8 p.m., Juanita's.

Tuesday To-Do: 'The Rat Pack Is Back'

‘THE RAT PACK IS BACK'7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$34.Sandy Hackett, son of world-renowned comic Buddy, serves as both writer and producer of this nightclub tribute to Frank, Sammy, Dean and Joey, which recreates one of the famous “Summit at the Sands” gigs from the 1960s.

Further on grade inflation

John Brummett blogs further about grade inflation and its potential impact on eligibility for state college scholarships.

Nate Powell follows in the footsteps of "Maus"

Yesterday, North Little Rock native Nate Powell's "Swallow Me Whole," was nominated as a finalist, in the Young Adult Fiction category, for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

The new WPA

The Obama stimulus program has a logo. It has a website.

The new WPA

The Obama stimulus program has a logo. It has a website.

Round five recap

With a big mess of dreadlocks wrapped in a bun and wearing jeans and a beat-up T-shirt, Jonathan Wilkins kicked off his round-five-winning set on Friday with his best song.

Ain't that the blues: Two dead Arkansans make the Blues Hall of Fame cut

  "Baby Please" at Buddy Guy's Legend in Chicago.

A walk on the wild side

Regular readers will know -- and likely groan -- at our continuing interest in encouraging the Game and Fish Commission to spend a lot more effort on wildlife appreciation beyond hunters and anglers.

A walk on the wild side

Regular readers will know -- and likely groan -- at our continuing interest in encouraging the Game and Fish Commission to spend a lot more effort on wildlife appreciation beyond hunters and anglers.

More pain

More signs of the struggling newspaper world. On the heels of recent layoffs and other cost cuts, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is instituting what is effectively a 5 percent payroll cut for its news staff.

607 is the flavor of the week

Sportin' the Tetris 'do. It looks like 607's staying true to his plan to put out a new remix once a week.This week he's on Royksopp's buzzy, P-funk-jacking new slice of pop goodness, "Happy Up Here."Royksopp "Happy Up Here" (607 remix of Mr. Wyse Nice edit)

Foxes Win

Today the Senate approved HB 1026 which requires that a majority of those on the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission have experience in the oil and gas industry.  So, again, it requires that oil and gas industry insiders be in charge of regulating oil and gas operations in the state (or that the foxes guard the hen house).  The governor has said he doesn't see the danger.  A lot of environmental groups across the state made a last-ditch effort to sway the vote, but to no avail.  It now goes back to the House because it was amended in the Senate. 

X another at XNA

Hard times bring a continuing reduction in the enviable direct plane service Northwest Arkansas Regional has enjoyed.

Nice try, Marty

Thanks to David Kinkade for tip to this fine article. He summarizes the subject: "... stupidest thing ever."

Now there are two people to look for when Green Day's on TV

Following up on a Tweet over the weekend: How 'bout this for the WTF? news item of the young year?

The line is open

And I'm edging toward the door.

Sharp Competition.

Ever tried Doritoes-encrusted skate?  Oreo-and-purple-potato puree?  Such are the strange delights that have emerged from the 2009 Diamond Chef Arkansas culinary competition at the Peabody Hotel this afternoon.  Four chefs faced off in pairs to see who will challenge Chef Donnie Ferneau on June 2nd for the title of Diamond Chef.

Stimulating

The money is starting to come in. Gov. Mike Beebe no longer seems concerned about new federal mandates hidden in the federal stimulus money.

Bottom fishing

The fine fellows at Countrywide, who helped create the home mortgage mess, are back in business, buying up delinquent mortgages for pennies on the dollar.

Immigrant police

What about those 287g programs in which local law enforcement agencies are working with feds to root out undocumented immigrants?

A Stronger Hand

Video courtesy of Rod Bryan at the Arkansas Conservation Alliance John Williams keeps a pretty keen eye on the legislature.  He has more to say about HB 1026, which has received a lot of attention in this space.  Check out more from John at the Legislative Beat.  Be sure to read down to the bottom for comments from Sen. Joyce Elliot, who says it's bad public policy for the interest being regulated to be in the majority on a commission doing the regulating.

Mission halfway accomplished

Now here's a grim analysis, if not unexpected. A former Pentagon correspondent for the Wall Street Journal believes the war in Iraq is only half over.

From the Italy office

You know, with Max out of the office I am free to put some oddball stuff on the blog.

R&B stars of yore and cock rockers added to Riverfest

Lovers of fine music and drink, like, say, Buckcherry and Jagermeister, Riverfest has the band for you.

Avoiding embarrassment

What's happening in the state legislature today? Not a whole lot.

Breathe deeply, Robin Williams

Doctors recommend a week of rest for Robin Williams, who after recently experiencing "shortness of breath" had to postpone four shows in Florida.

Wally Watch: February 27 and March 4, 2009

Wally Watch: Where we read Wally Hall so you don't have to. February 27, 2009: 2009 Razorbacks could learn from 1994 Hogs Primary Theme: Something is rotten in Fayetteville, and the way to fix it is by following the example of the ’94 national champs.

Billy Bob Thornton is not playing around with the music thing

The Boxmasters, Billy Bob Thornton's hillbilly rock band, is set to debut its third album in April.

For no good reason: Charles Portis remembers when

I was reminded, yesterday when I read that the UA Press is putting out an oral history of the Gazette in April, about this interview that Roy Reed, who edited the UA Press book, did with Charles Portis in 2001 about his days at the Gazette.

ACLU, students win

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the Watson Chapel School District over its disciplining of students who wore armbands in protest of the school's dress code.

Driving restrictions passed

A bill that would place new restrictions on teen drivers passed in the House today (58-35).  The bill would keep those under 18 off the road between the hours of 11 p.m. and 4 a.m.

Here's looking at you

I'm going to be preoccupied through Sunday. I hope to check in periodically, but Leslie, Gerard, David, Lindsey and John will attempt to stoke the furnace.

Tasty, Pricey Pseudo Mexican.

Had lunch at Cantina Laredo after all this time.  And I have to say, the food was good.  But it was also a bit out of the household budget.  Still, decent for a chain and maybe fourth on my choice of area Mexican-type restaurants.  If you'd like, read more at Tie Dye Travels -- including the shrimp-and-cheese stuffed, carne asada wrapped poblano pepper pictured above.
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