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March 9, 2011

Vol 37 • No 27

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The strange sounds of springtime in Arkansas

From Texas country and Memphis rap to eccentric Canadian pop acts.

Rep's summer program turns out pros

'Review the Revue' continues at The Rep.

Ozark Foothills, Little Rock Film Festivals celebrate anniversaries

A look at the movie milestones in Batesville and Central Arkansas.

The coming theater season brings a slate of greats

The 39 Steps,' 'Les Mis,' Shakespeare and more.

Springs Arts 2011

A preview of the coming season.

High on art

'Impressionists and their Influence' brings Monet, Renoir, Degas, more.

Spring arts calendar

The best in music, film, theater and more throughout the state.

Beebe opposes SWEPCO bill UPDATE

Significant news on House Bill 1895, the legislation by the American Electric Power Company and the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation to put a screeching halt to court review of the regulatory decisions that allowed construction to begin on the Turk coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County. Gov. Mike Beebe opposes the bill.

Jew remark 'inadvertent,' Hot Springs Republican claims

I tried to reach Garland County Republican committeeman Chuck Chatham to ask him about his offensive e-mail in which he cast the special House District 24 election today as a contest between a Christian Republican and a "pro-abortion Jewish lawyer."

Tyrannosaurus Chicken bests the rest, wins Showcase

It's 'psychedelta!'

Harding's subversive literature

Will Harding gay rights zine have a lasting impact?

Broadway Bridge needs more than a touch-up, AHTD says

No estimate given on cost to repair.

Socialized telephones

Government subsidies, corporate welfare, hypocrisy, AT&T and HB1525.

Political decline

Northwest Arkansas used to send pretty fair legislators to the Capitol: Now they send Justin Harrises and Charles Collinses.

Rogue jurist

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke federal law by failing to report $700,000 that his wife was paid by a think tank.

Lu Hardin's punishing walk

The former UCA head pleads to wire fraud and money laundering.

Other business

Oelke has been working of late in opposition to legislation that would collect the state sales tax on Internet sales.

Do as I say

Teresa Oelke, the Arkansas director of the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity organization, speaks out against, benefits from Obama's stimulus.

Pot shots

Rep. Ed Garner of Maumelle demonstrated a lack of respect for yet another law the other day. This time, involving squirrels.

2nd district candidate?

Retired Circuit Judge Marion Humphrey, 61, said he's "taking a look" at running as a Democrat for Congress from the 2nd District in 2012.

What culture?

"When did the Times last review a performance of classical music? Does the editorial staff think only Republicans enjoy classical music?"

Salut toasts Italy

The bistro changes menu with rich results.

Babe Ruth joins the parade

Did Bambino hit the longest ball in the (then) history of baseball in Hot Springs? On St. Patrick's Day?

Hog crime

Arkansas football ranked second in a new list from Sports Illustrated and CBS which rands football programs in terms of players with criminal records.

Sheerly repellent

Your tax dollars at work, in the form of a news release from the secretary of state.

Brown Sugar Bakeshop

Consider the not-so-humble cupcake. Could it be the perfect dessert?

Huckabee's whoppers

Mike Huckabee may have set a record for the number of fibs told by a presidential aspirant in a single week.

Tough stroll

An argument in favor of drinking

"Wine does of a truth moisten the soul and lull our griefs to sleep."

Youth Rock Orchestra at Robinson Center Music Hall

Also, Damn Bullets at Stickyz, Royal Thunder at White Water Tavern and Sonny Burgess & the Pacers at Conway's Sunset Ballroom.

A cautionary tale

The story of Al, the first documented hamster in Arkansas.

'Rango' a quick draw

The new cartoon is good enough to bug your eyes out.

The Observer's birthday loot

It's the first time The Observer has ever received birthday cards from the dentist and the auto insurance agent.

Orval, March 9, 2011

Riding the CAT

As gas prices have gone up, so has ridership on the buses of Central Arkansas Transit Authority.

This Modern World, March 9, 2011

'The Hanging of David O. Dodd' premieres at The Weekend Theater

Also, Heypenny at White Water Tavern, Baths at Stickyz, The Small Ponds and Glossary at White Water Tavern, Wild Flag and Times New Viking at Stickyz, Damien Jurado and Viva Voce at White Water Tavern, The Body at Downtown Music Hall, Nicholas Sparks at UCA and Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses at Revolution.

Good week: Demagoguery

Legislators filed a torrent of unnecessary legislation at the filing deadline. It ranged from the silly to the pernicious.

Party like it's Mardi Gras

Was that a group of Republican legislators gathered just by chance at Cajun's last night?

Forrest City election probe

The Forrest City Times-Herald reports an arrest there Tuesday on an election law violation related to the November general election.

Gas drilling in national forests

The exploration of the Fayetteville shale for natural gas has been expanded by a federal agency into the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.

Bill to allow coverage of weight-loss surgery

A Senate committee yesterday approved legislation for a two-year pilot program to allow state employee insurance coverage for weight-loss surgery — gastric bypass and lapband.

Barenaked Ladies, Widespread Panic added to Riverfest Lineup

Riverfest has booked jam heroes Widespread Panic for Friday night at the Clinton Center stage and late '90s pop rockers Barenaked Ladies for Saturday night at the same stage.

Legislation filed to move Ark. Entertainers Hall of Fame

Rep. Jon Woods of Springdale has filed legislation to move the museum to Little Rock.

Shop, eat in Arkansas for half price

A message from the Arkansas Times: It's our weekly reminder of the good deals available at our Half Off Depot page.

Health bill: a states' rights attack UPDATE

Sen. Missy Irvin's bill to add expense and time-wasting to Arkansas implementation of health care reform law (and add elements to interpose the state against implementation) is being debated in Senate committee this morning.

NPR boss resigns; AETN and the GI tract

NPR CEO Vivian Schiller resigned today, effective immediately. It follows a gotcha video by a right-wing provocateur with a former NPR fund-raiser.

This is smaller government?

Republican Sen. Michael Lamoureux has introduced a bill to create a new judgeship in his part of the state.

The perils of high-stakes testing

As Arkansas and the rest of the country moves inexorably toward an educational system shaped by the philosophical outlook of Walton money, we'd do well to take note of news developments in a world where test scores are everything.

Illinois abolishes death penalty

The Illinois governor signed the bill abolishing the death penalty today. We should, too.

High (Museum's Impressionists) in Arkansas

"The Impressionists and Their Influence" exhibition coming April 1 to the Arkansas Arts Center.

Electric utility bill moves out of committee UPDATE

Though the final legislation is still a work in progress, a House committee today speedily approved the SWEPCO/Arkansas Electric Co-op bill originally drafted to retroactively put a stop to judicial review of the Turk power plant in Hempstead County.

Altes takes Bible bill off calendar

Rep. Denny Altes asked that his bill to encourage teaching of a Bible course in public schools be sent back to committee.

Private property rights: Not over guns

The House today passed, 69-16,.Rep. John Catlett's bill to allow people to take a gun onto their employers' parking lots if left in a locked car.

There goes Mike Huckabee again: On death panels

Media Matters points out another bit of dishonesty promoted by Mike Huckabee in his latest bookette.

HSDFI hosts "Open Screening"

The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival is hosting an "open screening" on April 2.

'True Blood' cast reveals details about coming season

The fourth season of "True Blood," scheduled to debut in June on HBO, draws, unsurprisingly, from Charlaine Harris' fourth Sookie Stockhouse novel, "Dead to the World." Creator Alan Ball and the cast of "True Blood" dished on what to expect recently

Lottery reveals demographic study

The lottery released the results of a demographic study and moved forward with plans to introduce a $20 ticket.

Is it Wednesday already?

The midweek line commences. The loan shark bill advanced.

Six courses of awesome at Chefs Ball 2011

Want something more than just dinner? If you're interested in the top talent on the Arkansas culinary scene, think about the 2011 Chefs Ball.

Don't try this at home

OK. I give up. I can't resist.

Hunka love

I shared Hunka Pie with readers of Serious Eats this week... and for once, there's some real love going on.

Thursday: Youth Rock Orchestra, Young the Giant, "Review the Revue"

Tonight offers up orchestral rock, buzzy indie and musical theater at The Rep.

Thursday To-Do: Heypenny

The Fayetteville-formed, Nashville-transplanted pop trio swings into White Water Tavern

Walker aims at Little Rock wards

Of course the bill introduced by Rep. John Walker and discussed today in the Democrat-Gazette is aimed at requiring ward government for Little Rock.

Altes' Bible bill to be changed

Rep. Denny Altes can't help but show his true colors and they are reason to be afraid — very afraid — of his bill to encourage the teaching of the Bible in public schools.

Flash: All children are NOT above average

President Obama's education secretary Arne Duncan spoke some simple truth yesterday. The United States is not Lake Wobegone.

Billy Bob Thornton's Willie Nelson doc to close SXSW

Billy Bob's new Willie doc to screen at SXSW.

Bacigalupi on Crystal Bridges

The City Wire in Fort Smith, followed by the Real Clear Arts blog by Judith Dobrzynski, reported on Don Bacigalupi's thematic description of the Crystal Bridges Art Museum collection that he gave businessmen at the Arkansas Governor's Tourism Conference on Tuesday.

Where is the Arkansas attorney general? UPDATE

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel boasted in a Democrat-Gazette op-ed today about how his office's quiet negotiations with utilities had paid dividends for ratepayers.

Arkansas unemployment rate drops

The Arkansas unemployment rate in February was 7.8 percent, down from 7.9 the month before.

Should you wrap your banana?

Del Monte is planning to offer single bananas individually wrapped in packaging designed to prolong the shelf life of the fruit.

Peyton Hillis to Park Plaza

Former Razorback Peyton Hillis and current apple of Cleveland's eye Peyton Hillis will sign autographs and pose for pictures from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13.

Big chili time

The Central Arkansas POD of the Chili Appreciation Society International is holding an open chili cookoff this Saturday out at Pulaski Tech's South Campus.

Nursing home firm HQ to exit Fort Smith

Michael Tilley at the City Wire reports that the Golden Living nursing home chain (formerly Beverly Enterprises) is preparing to move its corporate headquarters from Fort Smith to Plano, Tex. Hard to recruit execs to Fort Smith.

Download: DJ Disciplinary Action 11

DJ Discipline drops a new mixtape.

Razorback coach Pelphrey photographed with recruit

More trouble for embattled Razorback basketball coach John Pelphrey. He was photographed with basketball recruits, a contact that CBS says, because of the date the picture was taken, is a violation of NCAA "contact" rules

Todays' agenda: Highway taxes; civil rights

Channel surfing the legislature this morning: * The House Transportation Committee discussed and then recommended the 5-cent diesel tax increase to pay for $1 billion in highway construction.

Gino's in NLR

Cheesesteaks at Gino's Pizzaria & Philly Steak don’t match those deliciously greasy and gooey delights at Rocky’s Pub, but they’re not bad.

Meredith Oakley to leave Democrat-Gazette

Meredith Oakley, columnist and associate editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is leaving the newspaper after almost 35 years there.

Mike Huckabee book a best-seller

Factually challenged though he and his book are, Mike Huckabee's new bookette will be at No. 2 on one of the New York Times' best-seller lists this Sunday.

The Romany Rye gets SXSW shout-out from Paste

The L.A./L.R. folk act gets a spotlight from Paste Magazine.

Forrest City death possible hate crime UPDATE

The Commercial Appeal reports the FBI is investigating the death of a Forrest City transgender person as a potential hate crime.

Looking ahead: Norwood Creech

Drawings and pen and inks by Delta artist Norwood Creech will be featured in the Mezzanine Gallery of the Arkansas Studies Institute starting March 11.

Hendrix's 'Harmonic Pass' opens

Friend of the Times Nelson Chenault was on hand last night for the opening of Christopher Janney's permanent sound and light installation in the new underpasses at Hendrix College in Conway.

Slideshow from The Rep's young artist show, 'Review the Revue'

Check out a new slideshow from "Review the Revue"

Gas drillers get their own caucus

Education caucus. Environmental caucus.

Burger joint of the week: Thirst 'N' Howl

A Gilligan's Island themed bar and grill serves up several burger creations alongside other kitchy and cutely named appetizers and meals.

Looking for El Dorado?

Emily Woods, Kelly Campbell Phelps at SAAC.

Say what? No Arkansas burgers on Food & Wine's Top 25 Burgers in the U.S.

Few things get my ire up more than my home state being lumped in with the "flyover states" in the Union.

Trailer, film fest dates for 'The Last Ride'

More news from the Arkansas-filmed Hank Williams biopic.

The Thursday line

Hope you have something to contribute. Seems like I've been in meetings all day.

Weekend: Iron Tongue, Sonny Burgess, Mandy and Amy McBryde

The weekend offers local metal, a rockabilly legend and a couple of strummin', singin' sisters.

Friday To-Do: 'The Hanging of David O. Dodd'

The Civil War play, written by Little Rock's Phillip McMath, opens at The Weekend Theater on Friday.

Earthquake rocks Japan, tsunami follows

If you don't follow TV much, you might turn it on. The video coming from Japan, as readers noted on the open line overnight, is frightening stuff.

Rotary Club schools Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee's mouth now draws criticism from Rotary International, the civic organization. The letter comes in response to a statement made by Huckabee in a March 2 radio interview that most Americans "grew up in communities filled with Rotary clubs, not madrassas (Islamic seminaries)," during a critical assessment of President Barack Obama's "world view."

UALR celebrates basketball wins

UALR invites all to a pep rally. Chancellor Joel E. Anderson invites all students, faculty, staff, and the community for a Celebration Pep Rally at 12:15 p.m.

Saturday To-Do: Baths

The one-man glitch-pop wunderkind comes to Stickyz.

Corporate tax fairness defeated in legislature

Rep. Jim Nickels failed, as expected, yesterday with his bill to require combined corporate tax filling by multistate corporations.

Sunday To-Do: The Small Ponds-Glossary

Two sterling alt-country acts with big-time pedigrees come to White Water Tavern.

Bryant Republicans complain they aren't paid enough

The new Republican mayor of Bryant, Jill Dabbs, and Republican city clerk, Heather Kizer, aren't happy about a city policy that pegs their pay to education and experience in elected office. They are thus making a bit less than predecessors and they want their money.

Pieday: Pecan at Your Mama's Good Food

A pecan pie with nuts not just on top but all the way through to the sandy bottom. Just another great example of fine comfort food to be had at Your Mama's.

The President's Speech

It's Friday. Why not a laugh?

Gas industry: We damage the roads, you pay

The Highway Department estimates almost a half-billion in damage to 800 miles of roads from gas drilling, against $35 million in revenue from the severance tax.

House votes diesel tax referendum

The House this morning voted 67-24 to pass HB 1902 to call an election on a five-cent increase in the diesel tax to raise money to repair U.S. and interstate highways.

Cantrell Gallery: Kitty Harvill

Cantrell Gallery opens "Brazil: An Endangered Beauty," pastels and watercolors of rainforest wildlife by Kitty Harvill, tonight.

2nd Friday Art Night

More art goings-on tonight, from the Marriott Courtyard to Mediums Art Lounge.

Auburn boots 4 players, one from LR, after robbery

Auburn University has dismissed four football players after their arrests on robbery charges. Those arrested include tight end Dakota Mosley, a former star at Little Rock Christian.

Griffin refuses pension

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, as promised, has officially declined a congressional pension.

'New Africa' arrives in Barrow addition

A dozen-plus Muslim Arkansans gathered today at the site of the New Africa development, on a no longer vacant block at 40th and Potter in the John Barrow neighborhood, to celebrate the completion of three houses and the construction of a fourth.

Friday night is light

Not much to leave you with for the open line, except these items hot off the rumor mill: * UAMS faces a budget pinch.

The parsing conservative legislation we hate edition

Tune in to the latest "Week in Review" podcast.

Corporate welfare continues

The free enterprise crowd — such as the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce — have a new scheme to tax poor people to put money in the pockets of big business.

Japanese nuclear plant explodes

Grim news from Japan on earthquake-damaged nuclear power stations.

Bryant Republicans under fire

I wrote yesterday about efforts by Republican Jill Dabs and Republican Heather Kizer, the newly elected mayor and clerk, respectively, in Bryant, to be paid more than allowed by city ordinance.

Razorback coach John Pelphrey: Days numbered?

Sounds like a regime change is in the works for Razorback basketball. 40/29 asks Hog coach John Pelphrey about a report that his time is up as UA basketball coach: 40/29: "Will you be back next season?"

The Saturday line

I'm opening it up early. I have things to do.

Wimpy's Burgers and Fries to open Conway location

You may have noticed the work on the long abandoned Hardee's location on Highway 65 on the north side of Conway. Wimpy's will open in the building at some point this week — serving up burgers, fries, shakes, fried pickles and a Philly.

Monday To-Do: The Body

The amazing, experimental doom metal duo returns to Downtown Music Hall.

Monday To-Do: Wild Flag-Times New Viking

A huge, Merge Records double bill comes to Stickyz.

Monday To-Do: Damien Jurado-Viva Voce

The celebrated singer/songwriter comes to White Water Tavern.

If Arkansas schools teach Bible ...

John Brummett has a prediction of what likely will happen if religionist Rep. Denny Altes succeeds in legislating Bible courses in Arkansas schools.The very real concern is that little Johnny the preacher’s kid is apt to run home and tattle if the teacher suggests, for example, that the story of Adam and Eve is an allegorical variation on common mythology and lore and that maybe the fruit was not really fruit and that maybe the serpent was not really a serpent, but that they represent temptation and sin.

Teachers are underpaid

Nicholas Kristof isn't breaking new ground here, but it's worth repeating as the Tea Party and the school reform crowd promote the story line that teachers are overpaid, underworked and in need of mass firings.

Wesley Clark to U.S.: Stay out of Libya

Little Rock's Wesley Clark, writing in the Washington Post, says the U.S. should consider the checkered history of short-term military interventions before jumping into Libya.

Blogs to watch in Arkansas food

There are a lot of blogs out there concerning Arkansas food. These dogged individuals are bringing you all sorts of different angles on everything from growing to consuming to pairing to... well, you get the general idea.

John Pelphrey fired as Razorback basketball coach

It's official. The University of Arkansas has announced the firing of Razorback men's basketball coach John Pelphrey.

Sunday line

It's open. Guess what, it's chicken grilling season.

OW Pizza makes changes, closes location

The pizzaria has closed its West Little Rock location and changed prices at the store on West Third. More changes on the way.

Pour on the coal

Surprise. The disaster in Japan has many rethinking the notion of a vastly expanded nuclear power energy as part of the solution to U.S. power needs.

Amazon's fight against tax on Internet sales

Arkansas is not the first or only state where legislation has been introduced to force on-line retailers to collect the sales tax owed on Internet purchases.

AARP opposes installment lending bill

The AARP has announced its opposition to legislation to remove the constitutional 17 percent interest limit on small loans.

Memphis couple gives UA $1 million for Steinway fund

J.W. and Emily McAllister, alumni of the University of Arkansas, have given $1 million to the UA for the project to make the college an "All-Steinway School," or equipped with the famous pianos.

Foo Fighters and Motorhead to Verizon

Dave Grohl and co. are coming to Verizon Arena on May 18 with special guests Motorhead (!).

NPR video presented misleadingly

What a surprise. Conservative political hit man James O'Keefe presented his hit video on an NPR fund-raiser in a misleading way.

Bryan Frazier 'Kickstarting' upcoming album

The local singer/songwriter is attempting to raise $25,000 to record in Nashville's legendary Ocean Way Studios.

State Board approves eStem Charter expansion

Charter schools dominated discussion at the state Board of Education today. First up was a petition to expand the eStem Charter School elementary school in downtown Little Rock.

Apple store — again

A potential tenant in the Promenade at Chenal told us last week that he'd been informed an Apple store would be opening there by fall.

Pieday Bonus: Best pies in the state

Boy, I'm about to start an argument — over which of the state's piemakers has the best pie. My top choices are out, but I could always change my mind.

Booyah! Dad releases free E.P.

The band formerly known as Pilot Whale release the "Ride the Whale E.P." on Bandcamp.

Urban Charter School charter revoked

The Little Rock Urban Collegiate Charter School's defense of its charter is before the state Education Department.

Q&A: World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade grand marshal John Corbett

John Corbett talks about serving as grand marshal for Hot Springs' Worlds Shortest St. Patrick's Day parade,l life as a rock 'n' roller, having two passionate fan bases who may know nothing about the other and the potential for "Sex in the City 3."

Monday, Monday

The line is open. Notes: * To several who have inquired: I will not play the count-the-Duggars game.

Charter backers swing key vote

As late as noon today, Sen. Mary Anne Salmon of North Little Rock was reportedly resisting Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker's pressure to vote for his bill to effectively take the cap off open enrollment charter schools in Arkansas.

Tuesday To-Do: Nicholas Sparks

The best-selling author of "The Notebook" visits UCA as part of the school's "Distinguished Lecture" series.

Tuesday To-Do: Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses

The Oscar-winning singer/songwriter moseys up to Revolution.

Witt to address earthquakes, nuclear plants

James Lee Witt, FEMA director under President Clinton, speaks to the Little Rock Rotary Club at 12:30 p.m. today at the Clinton Library.

Bible thumping: Altes' bill on agenda

Rep. Denny Altes' bill to allow school districts to teach Bible in an academic fashion could be up for consideration in amended form in House committee today.

Big-government conservatives in the legislature

John Brummett this morning enumerates the ways in which legislators — mouthing small-governmnent platitutdes — govern like big government corporate enablers.

UCA student winners

Amber Lea won the Grand Prize in the 2011 annual Student Competitive Art Exhibition at the University of Central Arkansas with her ceramic piece, "Deductive."

Sharks circling in Bryant

High interest over the weekend in two posts — the last one here — on red hot politics in Bryant, the booming suburban bedroom community that recently elected Republican Jill Dabbs as mayor.

Hearne's new exhibit

Work by UALR graduate LaToya Hobbs has been added to the latest exhibit at Hearne Fine Art, "Synergy," featuring the work of noted artists Elizabeth Catlett and Samella Lewis.

Opens today: 50th annual "Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition"

The YAA show opens today at the Arkansas Arts Center, in the Atrium, Strauss and Smith galleries.

At the Arkansas legislature

I've been distracted this morning. From the Capitol: * CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: Roby Brock reports that a Senate committee has sent just two amendments to the joint committee that will recommend three constitutional amendments.

Renz, Taylor, Pardue at Boswell-Mourot

An exhibit of work by mixed media artists Lisa Renz and Evan Pardue and ceramicist Winston Taylor opened Saturday at Boswell-Mourot Fine Art, 5815 Kavanaugh Blvd. You would have read about it here Friday had we hit the "publish" button.

Senator pulls installment loan bill

Sen. Michael Lamoureux has pulled his bill to allow the legislature to set the interest limit for small loans — and thus open the door to the loan sharking installment loan industry.

SWEPCO coal plant appeal before 8th Circuit

The Sierra Club reports on oral arguments today before the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on SWEPCO's appeal of a partial injunction against construction of the coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County.

Call it the environmental caucus

The Gas Lobby Legislative Caucus (they call themselves the Shale Caucus) has taken credit for shouting down efforts to make gas drillers pay for the damage they do to county roads with their rigs.

Library starts work on tax vote

The Central Arkansas Library System is beginning work to enlist public support to refinance bonds to allow library construction projects.

Another tax cut plan in House

I mentioned Friday talk of a "third-way" tax cut plan to break the House-Senate stalemate on competing tax cut ideas.

Damien Jurado - 'Arkansas' (live at White Water Tavern)

Footage of the songwriter performing an unplugged version of "Arkansas" with help from the crowd.

How the billionaires do it

I still don't know how the Billionaire Boys Club yesterday turned Sen. Mary Anne Salmon into the pivotal vote for the bill to take the cap off charter schools.

Mike Huckabee edges toward race

I think Mike Huckabee is going to run for president, but I think he's going to finesse the decision as long as possible to hang onto the money he makes as a non-candidate with his radio show (now on 560 stations) and his show on Fox News, which recently booted two commentators who've made not much more presidential noise than Huckabee.

Forrest City cuts school jobs, no teachers

Interesting story in today's Forrest City Times-Herald, which is, unfortunately, behind a pay wall. The Forrest School Board learned last night that the superintendent plans to fire at least 75 people to save $2.6 mllion in the 2011-2012 school year and avoid a state fiscal distress finding.

Rick Crawford: Welfare for millionaires

It's hardly surprising, but it's another good example of a tall-talking Republican who's all about cutting government unless it's his pet interest.

Severance tax ballot title approved

The attorney general's office announced today it had approved the form of the proposal being pushed by Sheffield Nelson to increase the severance tax.

Take it away

The line is open. Noted: * Tea Party Republicans continue to throw up obstacles to routine appropriation bills.

We get letters

I just don't have time to check. But I'll pass along an interesting tip that suggests funny business will be underway tomorrow in the special language subcommittee of Joint Budget.