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March 2, 2011

Vol 37 • No 26

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Facebook, Clint McCance and a teaching moment about hate

But was anything learned during Midland's opportunity? No.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Three: Sea Nanners

Sea Nanners plays the third round of the Musicians Showcase this Thursday night.

Six will vie for Diamond Chef

The popular annual competition among the brightest and most promising up-and-coming chefs in Central Arkansas begins Wednesday.

Harmonic Hendrix dances to architecture

On March 9, architect/artist/composer Christopher Janney will unveil the latest of Janney's urban musical series, "Harmonic Pass: Hendrix."

Don't know much about history

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank, has evaluated the states' standards for teaching U.S. history in school and found that a majority of the standards, including Arkansas's, are "mediocre to awful."

'Wreak not, lest you be wreaked'

"Can one wreak anything besides havoc, and can havoc come about by any means other than wreaking?"

Q. How does this legislature and this Congress rank with those of the past?

A. The Arkansas legislature is a cross-section of all that is bad about Arkansas.

Pierre's Pizza rolls

The new pizza truck is good - but that's the problem.

Kent's closes

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration recently closed the barbecue and home cookin' booth in the River Market's Ottenheimer Hall for non-payment of sales tax.

The debut of Toad Suck Review, Nicholas Sparks to UCA and more.

The new incarnation of the UCA Department of Writing-based Exquisite Corpse Annual, will celebrate its release on Friday, March 4, with the "Toad Suck Review Launchapalooza" on the rooftop of Michelangelo's in Conway.

Meet the penguins

'I have been a member of both Republican and Democrat parties...'

'...but not of any Tea Party or any other groups you call 'fringe''

This Modern World, March 2, 2011

Wrapping up Musicians Showcase 2011 with a double header

Last semi-final Thursday; finals Friday at Revolution.

Bob Seger, Patti LaBelle, Willie Nelson to Little Rock

The nadir of Nicolas Cage?

'Drive Angry' mostly bad bad, occasionally so-bad-it's-good bad.

An alternative news outlet in Conway

The Conway Post site a good test for smaller markets.

The Observer's new neighbors

The Observer lives down in Capitol View, and the house next door to us has been empty for awhile. Then, one night this week, we saw a young couple unloading their small SUV to the door.

The To-Do List: The Reparations release a new album at White Water Tavern

Also: The Buckinghams and Blood, Sweat & Tears at UCA; Homebrewers Showcase 2011 and Queer Prom 2 at ACAC; Sugarland at Verizon; True Soul Revue at White Water Tavern; Little Rock Marathon this weekend.

Orval, March 2, 2011

Double-dip watch

The Insider was tipped to take a look at Rep. Allen Kerr's recent uncomfortable appearance before the House to endorse bringing the Arkansas State Highway Employees retirement system into compliance with federal law.

First Thursday in Hillcrest

Also, Isaac Alexander & Co. at The Afterthought, The Yipps at Town Pump and Cuban jazz legend Arturo Sandoval at Fayetteville's Walton Arts Center.

Bottom line

Flowers has been a popular and effective highway director with unprecedented tenure. He'll retire with a benefit that exceeds his pay, but likely nowhere near the multiple some former legislators.

Long-term employee

Highway and Transportation Director Dan Flowers, who makes $157,430 a year and has been department director since 1994, is in a favorable retirement situation because of a convergence of events.

Former speaker of the house Robbie Wills working for a lenders' group

Consider it a chance for the newly empowered Republican Party to show its legislative muscle as well as its good intentions.

Enter the loan sharks

Wills and the industry paint legislation to remove the interest cap on loans of less than $5,000 as almost a public service for needy people.

Richard Hofstadter and today's paranoid politics

That great historian of American political thought would have a keen fascination with the wacky politics of the day.

Huckabee behaving like a money-chasing celebrity

...rather than a serious candidate for president

Looking for gas under Greers Ferry

Concern grows over seismic testing.

Good week: Sheffield Neson

The former gas exec and Republican gubernatorial candidate continues his crusade for severance taxes from gas production.

No suds for Junior

If you work in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol, look out: ABC is constantly on the prowl for those selling to minors.

Congressional districting rumor mill UPDATE II

Move Fayetteville to the Fourth Congressional District? Hah.

The highway chief's $195,000 pension — and more

The new Arkansas Times is now on the web. I thought I'd call attention to some items of current interest: * The Insider explains a mysterious and impenetrably worded bill, now law, that passed the House recently with reluctant support from pension reform hawk Allen Kerr.

Republican tax cutters at work

Stephens Media has a few more details today on the item I reported yesterday — the effort by a group of House Republicans to block spending bills that contain spending increases.

Tax cut imperils state budgets

A tax cut signed by President Obama allows, in the name of stimulus, a huge tax cut for business.

Jumbo Gumbo coming April 8th

Got a good gumbo? Like competition? Here's a chance to show off yours.

Funeral protestors win at Supreme Court

Bad facts make proper law. The despicable Topeka family that has used the occasion of military funerals to pursue its anti-gay and other agendas has won an 8-1 U.S. Supreme Court decision denying the award of damages to a family that sued over protests at their son's funeral.

Arkansas football ranks high in SI-CBS crime report

Arkansas football is ranked second in a new top 25 from Sports Illustrated and CBS. In this case, that's a bad thing.

State money report: mixed

As Republican legislators mobilize to cut spending a touch to justify humongous tax breaks for the wealthy, the state issues its February revenue report.

Arkansauce is out

The inaugural issue of Arkansauce, the Journal of Arkansas Foodways is out and available to you, free of charge. Click through to find out how to obtain your copy.

Republicans push spending increase for 'checkbook'

The Republicans' bill for a website to review state expenditures came up in a House committee this morning and it was an occasion to point up some growing tension over the movement that developed yesterday among conservative Republicans to block spending bills with even small increases — a total of $200,000 on the three bills.

Chef Lee wins!

It's official! Chef Lee Richardson of Ashley's at the Capital l and Capital Bar & Grill has been selected by readers in Food and Wine Magazine's competition for Top New Chef of 2011: Midwest.

The South loves Huckabee

Politico must love Mike Huckabee. It wraps up polling of primary voters in 11 Southern states by saying Huckabee "swamps" the competition for the Republican nomination.

Fox News suspends Gingrich, Santorum

Neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich has announced a presidential candidacy, but Fox News has suspended them as contributors for 60 days, when they will be terminated unless they are not running.

Bill advances on LR airport parking operator

Legislative committee votes to roll back the Little Rock National Airport's big sales tax on a parking lot competitor.

Corporations: People or not?

Several readers have commented today on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that, when it comes to an invasion of privacy exception to the Freedom of Information, law, corporations are not people and cannot claim the protection.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Five: This Holy House

The harmonic indie rockers play tomorrow's final round of the 2011 ATMS.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Five: The Pink Drapes

The shoegaze pop act plays tomorrow's final round of the 2011 ATMS.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Five: Michael Leonard Witham

The folkie brings his one man show to tomorrow's final round of the 2011 ATMS.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Five: Brethren

The big-name blues act plays tomorrow's final round of the 2011 ATMS.

The help: Texas can't quit it

Thanks to JC for a tip to this amusement from Texas: It's one thing to get tough on immigrants and people who hire the undocumented.

Fluoride bill passes

The Arkansas House today passed SB 359 by Sen. David Johnson to require sufficient fluoridation of water supplies in Arkansas to prevent tooth decay.

UPDATE: Chef Cindy East-Malik finalist for Diamond Chef

Chef Cindy East-Malik of Pulaski Technical College pulled out a victory in the final round of the preliminaries. She will go on to face Chef Daniel Capello June 7th in the final competition.

Republicans' spending blockade continues

A minority of the House — a Republican clique — continues to hold up appropriation bills in the House.

Merit selection of appellate judges

A proposal is filed for merit selection of Arkansas Court of Appeals judges.

The line is open

Little Rock looks for school superintendent. Fired state trooper is reinstated. Mike Huckabee catches hell for misstatement about Barack Obama.

Talk about the budget axe UPDATE

I'm seeking more information, but a reliable tipster says a proposal is in the hopper this afternoon before Joint Budget to chop $17 MILLION out of the budget of the state Game and Fish Commission.

God and gays at Harding University

A group of current and former gay and lesbian students at Harding University have put together a publication on their lives and experiences at the Church of Christ college.

Thursday To-Do: The Reparations release 'Ride or Die'

White Water Tavern hosts an album release show for the local roots rockers.

Welfare for AT&T

John Brummett gets into the fine print of legislation speeding to approval that boils down to a multi-million-dollar subsidy for AT&T, not to mention some potential work for the utility contractor/citizen legislator who's sponsoring it.

Women at work: The norm

Nobody much cared about the item here the other day about the federal report on the status of women.

Winning political friends with corporate money

Interesting article with Arkansas relevance in today's New York Times on how corporations, limited in the amount of money than can give to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have poured money into his wife's foundation.The foundation supports schools and Mrs. Jindal receives no pay.

Burger joint of the week: Crazee's Cool Cafe

A Facebook fan turns Kat onto the Cantrell Road bar on the search for the state's best burgers.

Harding responds on blocking gay website

David Crouch, director of public relations at Harding University, got back to me this morning with a university statement in response to a publication and website by current and former gay students at Harding and the university's decision to block access to the website on its computer network: Harding University is a private Christian university whose mission and policies are rooted in biblical principles.

Steamboat Mary Woods can't be saved

The Mary Woods 2, a former working steamboat that was a prime attraction at Jacksonport State Park, near Newport can't be saved, park officials say.

Tax cuts stymied in House; a new tax plan emerges UPDATE

A House committee today indicated it didn't want to consider tax cut bills from the Senate. Also, a new income tax plan emerged.

Mike Huckabee: Lies-misspeaks again

Mike Huckabee continues to dig himself deeper on branding President Obama a Kenyan. Media Matters notes Huckabee's interview with Bill O'Reilly in which he cites a reference in his own book that a check shows didn't exist.

Congressional redistricting: the Fayetteville plan

Sen. Sue Madison confirms (sorry only subscribers can read full story) that congressional redistricting plans under consideration include one that would grow the Fourth through Franklin and Madison counties in Fayetteville.

Pollster: Social issues hold peril for Republicans

Interesting poll results from North Carolina, a Southern state. A majority of voters support either civil unions or marriage for same sex couples.

Committee defeats bill for guns on college campus

Rep. Charlie Collins of Fayetteville ran into some hostile questions in committee today on his bill to allow faculty and staff of colleges to carry concealed handguns.

Internet sales tax bill filed

At last, the bill to level the playing field between Arkansas-based retailers and on-line merchants has been introduced.

Two electrocuted on home project

Channel 4 reports that two workers were killed in a house project on H Street, just west of North Martin in Hillcrest about 3:30 p.m. this afternoon.

The Thursday line

Marching penguins. Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker had a bad day. Republican Rep. Bryan King wants to make it harder to vote. Loan sharks entertain black legislators. Just another open line.

Two Arkansas bars make Imbibe's 100 Best Places To Drink In The South

Smoke & Barrel, Capital Bar & Grill cited in the latest issue

Moore on tax cuts, severance tax

Robert Moore takes questions after the House session today.

Weekend: Colin Hay, Arturo Sandoval, Showcase finals (!!!)

Our regular weekend round-up features the former frontman for Men at Work in Juanita's, a Cuban jazz legend in Fayetteville and, yes, our Musicians Showcase finals!

Friday To-Do: The Buckinghams-Blood, Sweat & Tears

Two "golden oldie" bands visit Conway to close out UCA's "Nostalgia Series."

Friday To-Do: Homebrewers Showcase 2011

Members of the Central Arkansas Fermenters Association march out an array of home-crafted brews at ACAC.

Friday To-Do: Sugarland

The superstar nu-country duo comes to Verizon with Little Big Town and 'American Idol' contestant Casey James.

Friday To-Do: True Soul Revue

The pride of Arkansas soul-funk returns to White Water for its first show since October.

Saturday To-Do: Queer Prom 2 - "Dirty South"

The second annual LGBT-friendly blowout returns with a slate of local bands.

Huckabee: He doesn't tell the truth

The bad reviews keep piling up for Mike Huckabee's incendiary comments about Barack Obama (if he wasn't raised by Mau Maus in Kenya he's likely still an anti-American schooled by Muslims).

Dermott School District begins staff cuts

A lively thread developed last month on news that the Dermott School District was considering cuts in extracurricular activities — including football, cheereleading and the yearbook — to balance the budget in a district with declining enrollment that's dropping near the point of state-required merger with a neighbor.

Live sex in college

Well, this beats all. A psychology prof at Northwestern University has been rebuked by the college president for inviting a couple into his classroom for a live sex demonstration involving use of a sex toy.

Pieday: Cinnamon Cream at Franke's Cafeteria

If there were ever an unheralded pie place in Little Rock, I would suspect Franke’s would be it.

Justus, Hazard-Bishop, more

Galleries are open late tonight in Hot Springs for the monthly stroll.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Five goes to This Holy House

The finals are tonight.

Two dead in SWLR

Police Lt. Terry Hastings is en route to the 3300 block of Pine Cone in Southwest Little Rock where he says two people have been found dead, perhaps victims of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator running in the house.

Senator claims hold on agency budget

Sen. Jason Rapert, the puffed-up peacock of a freshman senator from Bigelow who's angling to inherit predecessor Bob Johnson's Death Start crown, is back at it.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Five video recap

Video recap of round five of the Ark. Times Musicians Showcase.

Democratic Party opposes closed primaries

The Arkansas Democratic Party says a Republican bill to require partisan voter registration to participate in preferential primaries is just another Republican effort to discourage voting.

Companies to stop injection wells in Faulkner

You can go here to follow Fox 16 Twitter reports from the Arkansas Geology Commission, where the subject is stopping injection wells in Faulkner County that might have some relationship to recent earthquakes in the region.

School bribery case with Arkansas tie

Specifics were not revealed, but a man has pleaded guilty to bribery charges in Louisiana over kickbacks to Louisiana and Arkansas school officials for school library computer services contracts.

AT&T gets its welfare payment

The very day John Brummett explained how AT&T was angling to hang onto a $3 million corporate welfare payment provided by a phone tax, the House passed the legislation to allow it with 90 votes in favor.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Round Five recap

Conway trio This Holy House advances to tonight's finals.

Tales from the Capitol

A legislative story going around: It was during the battle over the bill to fluoridate water supplies.

Harding president addresses gay website UPDATE

Dr. David Burks, Harding University president, addressed the new website and publication by gay students at Harding, HUqueerpress, at a talk at daily chapel yesterday.

Police identify one electrocution victim

Police say one of the workers electrocuted yesterday in an H Street home renovation project was Ignacio Camarillo, 33, of 7308 Shady Grove.

Rep. Jon Hubbard back at work

A conservative women's group whose interests include punitive legislation aimed at immigrants has announced that Rep. Jon Hubbard, a sponsor of the legislation targeting benefits provided people without legal residency documents, will be back at work next week after hospitalization for a mild heart attack.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finalists: Tyrannosaurus Chicken

ATMS 2011 finalists Tyrannosaurus Chicken.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finalists: Year of the Tiger

ATMS 2011 finalists Year of the Tiger.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finalists: Sea Nanners

ATMS 2011 finalists Sea Nanners.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finalists: This Holy House

ATMS 2011 finalists This Holy House

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finalists: Mandy McBryde & the Unholy Ghost

ATMS 2011 finalists Mandy McBryde & the Unholy Ghost.

Marion Humphrey considering congressional run

With talk about congressional redistricting underway, it's not too early to talk about congressional candidates in 2012.

Sister Rosetta doc streaming online

The recent BB4 documentary about the Arkansas-born guitar hero is streaming on YouTube

Prosecutors endorse prison bill

The Arkansas prosecuting attorneys association has announced its endorsement of Gov. Mike Beebe's prison reform bill — a giant measure to alter sentencing, beef up probation and parole and otherwise find ways to curb the growth in expensive prisons.

The Friday night line

Let the weekend roar. Mike Huckabee. Natalie Portman. Double-dipping county officials. Child abuse. Walton money. All in the final roundup.

Masala: Gone for good

Sad to say, Masala Grill + Teahouse (the only Pakistani restaurant in Little Rock) will not reopen.

Lu Hardin resigns from Florida college

Lu Hardin, the former Arkansas senator and head of the University of Central Arkansas, has resigned as president of Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Ark. Times Week in Review Podcast: new and improved

After two early outings fraught with sound problems, we're finally inching closer to what we want the podcast to sound like.

Fayetteville to the 4th District? Maybe

John Brummett explains, as I did the other day, that growing the 4th Congressional District into Fayetteville is not so strange as it first appeared.

Talking the talk in the 3rd District

Amusing to read Twitters from this morning's gathering of Republican legislators in Northwest Arkansas. There's defense of the $2.3 billion tax increase for highways.

Little Rock Zoo penguins on the move

Harding paper covers HU Queer Press

The Harding University student newspaper provides through, straightforward cover of the HU Queer Press zine and website about the gay experience at Harding.

Winner winner Chicken dinner!

Tyrannosaurus Chicken wins the 2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.

Saturday line

I'm throwing it out early. Noted: Tax deadbeat Ed Garner praised Mike Masterson's column today as proving his point of the need for his proposed capital gains tax cut for the wealthy.

Follow the candidates' money

A reader, decrying the corporate influence she found in the campaign finance records for one of Arkansas's current members of Congres, used the website to illustrate.

Hits on Mike Huckabee keep coming

My in-box is full of links to national news articles and commentary about Mike Huckabee's very bad week — his over-the-top and erroneous comments about Barack Obama's childhood and Natalie Portman's pregnancy and his unwillingness to man up and give a simple apology.

The 'well-being' index for Arkansas

The New York Times has one of those interactive features today, a nationwide look — broken down by congressional district — on ongoing Gallup polling of a fixed panel on their well-being.

Arkansas priority: Jockdom

The Democrat-Gazette today published the names and salaries of the highest paid state and university employees.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finals video recap

Video from Friday night's ATMS finals round.

Little Rock Marathon winners: Chepses, Thorvilson

Sunday delights: Shopping and shooting

Sunday morning was a great time to go grocery shopping. I'm going to say it one more time because it's ended my frustration over the "new" Kroger in my Hillcrest neighborhood: there's no better total grocery shopping experience than the new Edwards Food Giant in Tanglewood, at least within reasonable range of my house.

The Sunday line

It's yours. I don't have anything else to say.

Skippy peanut butter recall

Channel 4 reports a "limited" Skippy peanut butter recall, of some reduced-fat blends that may have been distributed in Arkansas.

Ex-Hog fighting cancer

The New York Times today features Darrel Akerfelds, a former Razorback linebacker and now a coach with the San Diego Padres, who continues to work while undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Better education: Is it really an economic cure?

Here's a counter-intuitive Paul Krugman column. Is the problem really the need to train more people for the presumed greater education demands of the information age?

Gov. Beebe vs. legislature: No contest

The Talk Business/Hendrix College poll has some numbers today on the approval rating of Gov. Mike Beebe and the approval rating of the legislature.

Poll: Public opposes highway taxes

More from the Talk Business/Hendrix College polling: What a shock. The public doesn't agree with plutocrats like high-flying Jonathan Barnett and Madison Murphy that we need to increase the diesel tax and sales tax on everything to pay for a four-lane program to nowhere.

Lu Hardin pleads to wire fraud, money laundering UPDATE

Former UCA president Lu Hardin pleaded guilty today in federal court to wire fraud and money laundering charges.

Your tax dollars at work

Do we really need to waste time on: * Rep. Tracy Steele's bill to require schools — which are already all over this topic — to go after students who were saggy pants.

Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Finals photos

Times photomaster Brian Chilson has the visual roundup of Friday's big shebang.

Marion Berry gives $250,000 to staff

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today. About departing members of Congress who divvied up surplus office funds in the form of pay increases or bonuses before they left office.

Artists: Half off art supplies

Half Off Depot, which provides half-off coupons from Little Rock retailers, has Art Outfitters coupons to buy.

Garland County: politics get religion

How ugly are the people now calling the shots for the Republican Party in Garland County?

Tasting New Orleans on St. Patty's Day

UALR's Alumni Association hosts Taste of New Orleans to benefit students who need financial assistance. Plenty of fabulous Creole and Cajun hits to be served up, for sure.

More legislative danger

House legislation would try to end court review of power plant decisions by state regulators, such as the coal-fired plant SWEPCO is building in Hempstead County.

Burlsworth on College Football Hall of Fame ballot

The late Brandon Burlsworth, a walk-on Arkansas Razorback football player who finished his career a second-team All-American, is on the ballot for the 2011 College Football Hall of Fame.

Study: Charter schools succeed on demographics

Charter school performance is more about demographic makeup of student bodies than educational strategies. So concludes a report by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and the Arkansas Education Association.

Bob Dorough to Afterthought

The "Schoolhouse Rock" composer and cool jazz icon returns to his home state for a show at the Hillcrest jazz bar.

Monday night line

It's open. Closing notes: * Fayetteville's Dickson Street "lost a piece of its soul," the Fayetteville Flyer reported today.

After Hardin: Mike Beebe stands alone

From a perspective of long legislative coverage, John Brummett beholds the Lu Hardin guilty plea yesterday and thinks back to a group of "young reformers" who once roamed the Senate.

The birther party

Some new polling for Daily Kos by Tom Jensen shows that about half of Republican voters think President Obama should be impeached.

Bible bill passes education committee

A bill that would allow public schools to teach a course on the Bible passed the house education committee this morning.

Framing the education debate

I don't know if anyone other than Jake da Snake and Luke Gordy will take the time to read this, but if you have any interest at all in the debate on education reform, charter schools, merit pay, high-stakes testing and media coverage of these issues I'd urge you to read this cover story in Columbia Journalism Review.

The Tea Party's new poison: health care reform

Rep. Ed Garner has put off plans to seek Senate committee approval Wednesday of his tax break for rich people.

Looking ahead: Gomez, Coleman, Henley, Schulten, Woodyard

Students and their teacher join for a group show.

Wisconsin takes its country back

Heh. Town hall meetings in Wisconsin suddenly aren't so comfortable for Republican politicians.

Forget what Scott Walker told you about pensions

Another good piece of reporting from McClatchy's Washington bureau: WASHINGTON — From state legislatures to Congress to tea party rallies, a vocal backlash is rising against what are perceived as too-generous retirement benefits for state and local government workers.

State checkbook approved

The House completed action on the bill to set up a so-called state checkbook, a website where the public can look at all state expenditures.

Tuesday talk

Ventriloquism. Hog football on TV. UALR women win. Tea Partyers go nuts over Beebe Medicaid plan.

Koch lobbyist Teresa Oelke: hypocrite of the day

Speaking of Tea Party hijinks, I thought I'd pass along an item shortly to be posted on-line in our Insider column: Do as I say We did some web-surfing this week on Teresa Oelke, the Arkansas director of Americans for Prosperity, the organization funded by the billionaire Koch brothers to advocate their low-tax, low-regulation gospel through Tea Party organizing.