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March 19, 2009

Vol 7 • No 10

Film feast

Film festival season is upon us, and Arkansans have a lot to look forward to.

From ‘Elephant’ to ‘Shrew’

Though there will be the usual array of crowd-pleasing musicals in Arkansas theaters this spring, the next few months also offer notable variety and a number of artistically ambitious productions.

The hippies are coming

It’s not the second coming of Woodstock. It’s not Bonaroo.

Much music

After a fairly quiet winter, spring is so jam-packed with national touring acts coming our way there’s no excuse for not stepping out.

Check and double check

Wall Street Journal says a former staffer of U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln has gone to work for Wal-Mart to fight the Employee Free Choice Act, the so-called card check legislation.

The line is open

Take it away.

To-do list, March 19

'Little Shop of Horrors', Pelican, Poison Arrows/Heypenny/The Heat Machine, Framing Hanley, 8ball and MJG, Black Stone Cherry, Tigercity, the Pack A.D., and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are among this week's entertainment options.

State shell game

What Gov. Mike Beebe wants, Mike Beebe gets. Disputes at the legislature these days are mostly on the fringes.

Recovery room

Three Community Health Centers in Arkansas have had a run of good luck in the past several weeks.

In brief, March 19

After successfully playing solo for the first time in something like two decades, the Boondogs’ Jason Weinheimer returns to Satellite Cafe for songs and stories, 9 p.m., free.

This modern world, March 19

Save the park

God enjoins his people to beat their swords into plowshares, so the prophet Isaiah tells us, but nowhere does he command that we beat our parks into parking lots.

Period. Paragraph.

I think they ought to go ahead and name Chuck Norris president of Texas.

Card check and secret ballots

I’m getting mail saying that, contrary to what I’ve written, “card check” would not do away with secret-ballot elections on certifying labor union affiliations. So here are the facts.

Save the park

God enjoins his people to beat their swords into plowshares, so the prophet Isaiah tells us, but nowhere does he command that we beat our parks into parking lots.

‘The Foreigner’

Larry Shue’s “The Foreigner” is the most requested play at the Arkansas Rep, so it’s no surprise the play opened to a packed house.

The Observer, March 19

The Observer turned out early Saturday to help the history faculty at UALR judge local entries in History Day. High school students make exhibits, documentary films and plays on historical subjects to qualify for state and even national contests.

Words, March 19

Never really trustworthy, my filing system grows even more erratic under the Obama administration.

Spa City stopover

Nestled against a sheer rock wall not far from Hot Springs’ dilapidated Majestic Hotel sits a gaudy turquoise building that appears to be a converted warehouse.


While I’ve never been a big fan of folks who wear their politics on their dorm room wall, I can see the appeal of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

A&E news, March 19

New on Rock Candy: Read a Q&A with Memphis rap legend 8ball on representing the Memphis underground, his and his partner MJG’s upcoming show at Revolution and what “space age pimpin’” really means.

It’s over, and a fond farewell

Not qualifying for the NIT might seem a pretty ignominious end for John Pelphrey’s Arkansas Razorbacks this season, but I can think of a few possible postseason occurrences that would make next season’s outlook even grimmer.

Between two panels

The graphic novel is having its day in the sun. Or is it?

What's cooking, March 19

There’s a new pizza joint in Little Rock.

Smart talk, March 19

The legislature and Gov. Mike Beebe heard the pleas of so-called charity bingo operators.

March 11-17, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … U.S. SEN. BLANCHE LINCOLN. Vice President Joe Biden came to town to help her raise $800,000 or so for a re-election campaign that, so far, hasn’t produced a Republican opponent.

No frills necessary

The Butcher Shop has come a long way — slowly — in its quarter-century-plus.

Tweeted off

The Batesville Chamber of Commerce’s Twitter website, which until recently included tweets, or short messages, directing followers to an “I Want Obama to Fail” sign-up and defended Bush administration enforcer Karl Rove, has cost the chamber some of its members.

Democratic primaries

I read with interest an Arkansas Blog item in which a Democratic county chair indicated displeasure with the apparent practice of elected officials and party leaders endorsing candidates in the primary election contests.

Orval, March 19

The cost of gas tax

When Governor Beebe persuaded the big gas producers last year to accept a hike in the production tax to raise a little money for Arkansas’s poor roads, the gas companies extracted some serious concessions from the state.

Enter a candidate

John Brummett writes further about the interest of Tyler Denton in running for lieutenant governor. What is it with Brummett and Dowd, reducing everything to Clintonphobia? Is it not possible that Denton, whose resume indeed includes time in the Clinton White House, has a mind of his own and is interested in running for his own reasons?

Suffer the animals

The recession is causing difficult times for zoos nationwide. (Not a good time, the news suggests, to undertake an expansion program, speaking of a Little Rock-relevant idea.)

Suffer the animals

The recession is causing difficult times for zoos nationwide. (Not a good time, the news suggests, to undertake an expansion program, speaking of a Little Rock-relevant idea.)

Half full

As I scanned the morning headlines, it occurred to me that I've been as guilty as others, maybe moreso, of missing the forest while spotting diseased trees.

Maybe they forgot the anchovies?

A report from the LRPD indicates somebody had a bone to pick with a local pizza joint.

Merit pay, charter schools, testing, etc.

Great column by Gene Lyons today in the Democrat-Gazette on recent pronouncements by President Obama concerning education.

Q&A: 8ball

Together with his longtime partner MJG, Memphis' 8ball has been one of the driving forces in Southern rap for 15 years.

Murder suspect in court

Fox 16's David Goins is Twittering from the initial appearance of Curtis Vance on a rape charge in Marianna.

Return to scene of crime

Log Cabin Democrat reports that the man accused of shooting a Conway cop was convicted of stabbing someone at the same address two years ago.

Coal Ash, Arkansas's Dirty Secret

Coal ash accumulation on a pool toy and plant from an AR resident's yard I've heard complaints from citizens, especially in northwest Arkansas about the presence of fly-ash, or coal ash - waste from coal plants that contains toxic chemicals and metals.  This material is sometimes dumped in pits that contain natural gas drilling waste.  Amy Mall, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, has a report on her blog about coal ash drifting onto people's property.  She notes that coal ash is exempt from regulation as a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act or the RCRA.  Mall writes:

Huck: The next Paul Harvey

Now it's up to Mike Huckabee. If it works, maybe he'll just stay in radio.

Obama team falters UPDATE

The Obama team was near-perfect in the campaign. The politics of governing are proving a little harder.

Bleeding the leeches

Inexorably, justice grinds the payday lending industry. Today, the state Supreme Court upheld the certification of a class action lawsuit in Clark County over usurious lending practices.

Speaking of Coal

Coal plants are dirty News comes today that construction of the Turk Power Plant in Hempstead County by SWEPCO has negatively impacted wetlands in the area.  Talk Business reports:

Thursday To-Do: Framing Hanley

FRAMING HANLEY9 p.m., Juanita's, $10 adv., $12 d.o.s. This five-piece, post-hardcore act from Nashville comes complete with heavy radio rotation and trendy haircuts.

Thursday To-Do: Poison Arrows - Heypenny - the Heat Machine

This song is good. POISON ARROWS/ HEYPENNY/ THE HEAT MACHINE9 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Thursday To-Do: 'Little Shop of Horrors'

‘LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS'6 p.m., Murry's Dinner Theater. $25-$30.Maybe there have been stranger trajectories for musical adaptations, but I can't think of one.

Thursday To-Do: Pelican

PELICAN7 p.m., Vino's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.Pelican get called a lot of names.

There'll always be a paper

A fax (remember when that machine was the greatest invention in history) just whirred in from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newsroom with a cover sheet saying: "Fodder for your blog."

Senate on the constitution

A constitutional right to hunt and fish. The end of independent status for the Game and Fish Commission.

Thursday: Jason Weinheimer, Ted Ludwig, RK Collections fashion show, more

Weinheimer is the one not bursting into flames. Photo by Jim Hunnicut.

Triple threat

You're not invited -- all seats are committed -- but I'm sure they'll be videotaping for posterity the Kumpuris Lecture Friday night at the Cllinton Library.

Obama on Leno

President Obama will make an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno tonight.  This marks the first time that a sitting president will be a featured guest on a late-night talk show.  The question that comes to mind is, why Leno?  Feel free to disagree, but Letterman is funnier.  Politically, though, Leno is the obvious choice.  He's kitschier than Letterman and has a bigger audience.  Paul Begala, a former Clinton advisor, says it's a good move because a lot of people that watch Leno don't watch CNN.  Good point.  It'll just be weird to see the president trading anecdotes with Jay and making jokes with Kevin Eubanks.  It's a good way for Obama to connect with the public (the new fire-side chat?), however, critics will say the prez should be focused on more serious matters.  It's also likely that this will just reinforce the old Obama "celebrity" meme conservatives tried to push during the last election.  What do you think?  Good move or bad move?  Letterman or Leno?  UPDATE (Max adding to Gerard's original post): Stephens blogger Zach Stovall isn't so sure about Showbiz President.

Told you so

Not a single nay cast in the House, final passage, against the bingo tax cut.

New chancellor at UAMS UPDATE

Evidence is mounting that UA President B. Alan Sugg has reached a decision on who to recommend to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees to succeed Dr. I. Dodd Wilson, who's retiring as chancellor of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

'The Foreigner' gets extended

Because of overwhelming audience response, the Rep has announced that it's extending production of "The Foreigner" an extra week.

Also tonight and continuing through the weekend: Valley of the Vapors

John Williams has a feature on the indie festival in Hot Springs in this week's issue.Here's what's on tap tonight.Thursday features punk veterans the Queers, who play in a Ramones-influenced surf style.


A fresh thread.

Vic Snyder says ...

U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder was one of only six Democrats, and the only Arkansas member of Congress, to oppose the House resolution to put a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to execs of bailed out financial companies -- the AIG clawback legislation.

Seniors spooked by health bill

Herb Sanderson, AARP advocate and spokesman in Arkansas, remembers getting the calls shortly before Congress passed the $787 billion economic stimulus measure last month.

Cosmopolitan LR

Los Angeles Times readers get a friendly review of Little Rock in the travel section. A former LR resident wrote the piece, which opens:

Blog bites senator

A blog with a Fayetteville focus delves into a little piece of legislation by Sen. Sue Madison of Fayetteville to "clarify" the law about security deposits.

American knowhow

Visionaries still can do. Here's a story about a product we've become enamored of -- the super simple Flip video camera.

There will always be a newspaper, Pt. II

  Some interesting future-oriented comments followed yesterday's post about Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman's note to his staff on the occasion of a Seattle newspaper converting to online-only publication.

Friday: Michael Burkes, Benjamin Del Shreve, Chris Denny, VOV, Breezy Osborne and more

Michael Burks. Michael Burks didn't earn his nickname, “Iron Man,” from the comic.

Roberts Elementary

I was surprised, pleasantly, at the Little Rock School Board's decision to name a new west Little Rock elementary school after former superintendent and former state education director Don Roberts.

UAMS pick official UPDATE

The news we brought you first yesterday is now official: The UA Board will meet Tuesday to ratify President B. Alan Sugg's choice of a Georgian, Dr. Daniel Rahn, to be next chancellor of UAMS.

Praying for a technicality

Norm Coleman knows he lost the election and the trial of his election challenge. His hope now rests on a legal technicality that would give him a mulligan.

Back to your day job

President Obama's Leno appearance seems likely to be dominated by his Special Olympics reference -- a miscue so obvious that the apology was tendered before the show aired.

Pryor hops on AIG

Sure. Hard to resist this one.

It's time for an official Arkansas rock song

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. So, now that we've officially got a Rock 'n' Roll Highway, it's time for the ledge to move onto other insignificant-but-fun-to-talk-about matters.

Valentine's kaput

Valentine's, the fine Italian restaurant in the Arkansas Travelers' Dickey-Stephens Park, the labor of love of now-retired Traveler GM Bill Valentine, will close Monday.

Trailer Gazing: 'That Evening Sun'

I'd forgotten about this Ray McKinnon film until Philip Martin plugged it this morning in the Dem-Gaz.

Starr's chamber

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court's refusal to let Susan McDougal have copies of her Whitewater grand jury testimony for use in a proposed movie about her travails as a target of Special Persecutor Kenneth Starr.

Saturday To-Do: Black Stone Cherry

BLACK STONE CHERRY8 p.m., the Village. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.In its first club show after two or three high profile local gigs in recent years, Black Stone Cherry continues to mine what seems to be an endlessly winning formula in these parts: The band blends post-grunge sensibilities with big Southern rock riffs.

Picking and grinning UPDATE

'I'M SO YOUNG AND YOU'RE SO OLD': Gov. Beebe, joined by, among others, fron left, Billy Lee Riley, state Rep. J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge and Sonny Burgess, pitches in on 'Diana.'

Picking and grinning UPDATE

'I'M SO YOUNG AND YOU'RE SO OLD': Gov. Beebe, joined by, among others, fron left, Billy Lee Riley, state Rep. J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge and Sonny Burgess, pitches in on 'Diana.'

Saturday To-Do: 8ball and MJG

8BALL AND MJG9 p.m., Revolution. $20 adv.You probably haven't heard them on the radio lately.

Hardin paid off

UCA has announced it has completed payment of the buyout of former President Lu Hardin's contract.

Hot Springs home to "Children of Armageddon"

Chris Meeks, 36, of Hot Springs is on his way to winning's weekly comics contest.

ERA drive continues

Though the resolution for Arkansas to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment is mired in Senate commitee after a 4-4 vote on approval, the fight is not over.

Socialized chicken

My man in El Do tips me to breaking Pilgrim's Pride news: With help from Louisiana taxpayers, a new operator is buying the closed poultry plant in Farmerville, La., not far across the Arkansas line.

It's in the mail

And it may be a while reaching you. Postal Service has offered early retirement to 150,000 workers and plans to close district offices.

Who's in charge here?

It's not wholly surprising that the chair of the Finance Department of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas would ask for an attorney general's opinion on whether the Freedom of Information Act requires him to release the names, titles and salaries of people who work in that department at what is nominally a public university.

Unemployment blues

Roby Brock's Talk Business reports that the state's unemployment benefit fund is tapped out and the state must seek federal advances to keep benefits flowing.

The line is open

And I'm moving on. PS -- Yes, I know an Ark. mayor was arrested again for DWI and pot possession and that somebody in western Ark. faces charges for sex with a dog and a palomino, but you're going to have to find those stories on your own.

Blanche v. Rush

By jove, I think David Kinkade, the court jester of the Arkansas blogosphere, is on to something in re early polling for the 2010 Senate race.

Who's up; who's down?

Brummett fires arrows today. He's high on just about everyone.

Thank you for smoking

NY Times headline flash: States look at tobacco to balance the budget. Arkansas's near doubling of its cigarette tax is front and center.

AIG: Take a deep breath

The NY Times' Joe Nocera is the best business writer going. His Saturday column is consistently informative, deeply reported and understandable, even on unfamiliar topics.

Gun beat

Lance Turner alerts me to an On the Media program with an editor of The Commercial Appeal about the Memphis newspaper's controversial -- and profitable, the show promo says -- decision to put a database of concealed weapon permit holders on-line.

Early line

Over to you. I may take a Flip camera over to the gathering of former governors at the library's monumental new Arkansas Studies facility.

Annual sessions

The amendment to abolish annual legislative sessions will not be among the three put on the 2010 ballot by this year's legislature.

The latest splinter group

It's a group of self-avowed centrist Senate Democrats, including Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor. Brummett sees it as a) a re-election device and b) a problem for President Obama.

Katrina moment

Is a two-month-old presidency already at its crisis point? Frank Rich suggests so:

Too nice a day

To be tied to the computer. No, a movie instead.


I just HAD to get away to L.A., Razorbabies. That’s where you go when all the world is a hopeless jumble.

Huck watch UPDATE

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee's radio programming won't automatically slide into Paul Harvey slots, this Daily News article notes.

Cash for trash

Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman despairs over the Obama admnistration's bank bailout plan. (For what it's worth, overseas markets rose on early reports about the trillion-dollar purchase of devalued assets.)

Unintended consequences

Sustainability? It's a popular word with the new administration.

Legislative freebies

Payola. Whether it's a trip to Turkey for religious understanding, a Microsoft or Apple junket or a trip to Washington so the Electric Co-ops can ingratiate themselves with legislators for a coming special-treatment electricity ratemaking bill, it shouldn't be legal.

'Antiques road show'

The Clinton-Bumpers-Pryor appearance Friday night in the Kumpuris lectures series is now on-line.

Tax shoe to drop

Interesting prediction in House Speaker Robbie Wills' newsletter today. Maybe the tax cutting on groceries and manufacturers was overly optimistic?

Monday morning coming down

LRPD reports a shoot-em-up on parking lot at University and Col. Glenn around 3 a.m. this morning.

Digital news

Add Ann Arbor, Mich. (pop.

'See the pyramids along the Nile ...'

The camel driver is Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who earlier on the blog explained his recent trip to Egypt -- an Aspen Institute-paid junket -- during the legislative session.

The Coens to do "True Grit" sooner rather than later

The Coen brothers have bumped their adaptation of Charles Portis' "True Grit" into the batter's box, ahead of projects like an adaption of Michael Chabon's "Yiddish Policemen's Union," according to Variety.Arkansas film commissioner Christopher Crane says the brothers haven't decided where they're filming and that Arkansas could be in the running if the film incentive package, which is scheduled for committee in the senate tomorrow, is signed into law.

The question of appearances

Arkansas Business' Mark Friedman has a detailed report on the lawsuit in which a hospital is appealing a ruling of then-state Insurance Commissioner Julie Benefield Bowman.

Home rule

The Joint Retirement Committee approved Rep. Lindsley Smith's bill to return home rule to cities on the question of pensions for mayors -- currently set by state law at half pay after 10 years of service at age 60.

Pork panderer's pratfall

Rising star Bobby Jindal plummets further on news of a volcano eruption in Alaska. Jindal had earlier mocked federal spending on monitoring of that volcano as wasteful spending.

Lots of Dave Matthews tickets left

There's still some 1,500 tickets available for September's Dave Matthews Band concert at Dickey-Stephens, via the Trav's box office, according to general manager Pete Laven.There's still some on Ticketmaster, too, though Laven said those are dwindling.

For cleaner air

The EPA is moving swiftly to a rule that would declare carbon dioxide a health hazard.

Market mania

Huge day in the financial markets (Dow up almost 500). What's it mean?

Why land use matters

Click on photo to enlarge Photo above, an aerial shot of Lake Maumelle overlayed on a road map, comes from Central Arkansas Water, via tireless public policy activist Kathy Wells.

UCA seeks opinion

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's persistent, hard-nosed reporting has prompted the University of Central Arkansas to seek a formal opinion from federal Education officials about whether release of discretionary tuition waivers and other scholarship awards violates federal privacy law pertaining to student records.

High rollers wanted

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, suffering from a sharp dip in traffic and the loss of some direct air service to major cities, hopes to make some of it with the gambling trade.

Animal cruelty

Fox 16 says it will be posting photos shortly of a bust of a puppy mill operation in Logan County.

Who owns the Arkansas lottery? UPDATE

Check out this link. No, the new state lottery, shortly to become law with Gov. Beebe's signature has nothing to do with this website.

Show us the money

The Beebe administration will take federal stimulus money for extended unemployment.

Post comments here

Or not.

Helping children

After reading both the D-G coverage and John Williams' coverage here, I don't think it's by any means clear, as the Beebe administration argues, that Joyce Elliott's effort to provide in-state tuition rates to all graduates of Arkansas high school with sufficient state residency is illegal.

Clinton and the death penalty

John Brummett reviews the gathering of former governors in Little Rock last Friday, particularly Bill Clinton's recall of imposing the death penalty.

The schoolhouse door

What do children give up by way of rights when they cross that threshhold? Does it allow a strip search of a 13-year-old girl with no disciplinary record suspected of possessing prescription-strength ibuprofen?

Shooting victim named

The police have identified the child shot about 3 a.m. Monday in the parking lot at Col. Glenn and University.

News from the Northwest

The Fayetteville Trucker calls attention to a post by the Fayettevillage Voice blog, commentary on the writing and activities of columnist Mike Masterson and his wife, Laurie, the former scourge of Fayetteville school libraries.

Thar she goes

The teardown of the old Kempner's store on Main is moving rapidly now. The work so far hasn't disturbed the historic facade, which the contractor said might be saved.

Follow the bullets

A lobbyist whose institutional knowledge I respect tells me that Sen. Steve Faris is within reach of his goal of putting a right-to-hunt constitutional amendment among the three amendments the legislature may send to the next general election ballot.

George Kell dies

The Swifton baseball Hall of Famer has died at 86. A summary of his career at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Diploma milling

Inside Higher Education has a report on a growing hubbub about a private outfit's deal to work in concert with public universities to market on-line master's degrees in education.

Doomed to Repeat

One of the biggest problems with the surge in natural gas exploration in Arkansas is the failure of public officials to learn from other states.  I've linked to many reports here about how officials in states like New York, Pennsylvania and Colorado seem to get it.  Our legislature has rubber-stamped every bill the gas industry wanted to see put into law.  Yesterday, a friend passed along this article from the Denver Post.  It was written by a former oil and gas exec who says regulations on the industry are necessary.  Big takeaway: it's only extremely profitable if you don't count the costs.  Arkansas lawmakers should take note. 

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Today's newspapers are reporting that junior forward Michael Washington is considering declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft.

Arkansas hearts Mike Beebe

Public Policy Polling is apparently the outfit in the field recently with some telephone polling that touched on U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's re-election campaign next year.

Stop the charade

Just as I suspected. A Senate panel has beaten the only good bill in Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's "ethics" package.

Tuesday To-Do: The Pack A.D.

THE PACK A.D.9 p.m., White Water Tavern, $5.Jeez Louise. Only 17 seconds into a virgin listening of the criminally-tight East Vancouver bombshell duo the Pack A.D. I wept tears of gratitude.

Robbery foiled

A man carrying a concealed .357 pistol foiled a robbery in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at Cantrell and Chenal about 11:30 p.m.

Tuesday To-Do: Tigercity

TIGERCITY9 p.m., Juanita's. $7.Riding the fairly recent electro-pop zeitgeist that draws inspiration equally from Hall and Oates and Roxy Music, Tigercity come to town post-SXSW (of course!)

Reyes gets National Magazine Award nomination

Big congrats to Paul "Puffy" Reyes, occasional contributor to the Times and longtime editor at Oxford American.

R.I.P. card check

Sen. Arlen Specter won't risk a vote to help it.

Adios Valentine's ...

... hello sports bar at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Arkansas Travelers announced the change in restaurant format today.

Official secrets

Another nabob at our nominally public university in Fayetteville, Craig G. Rennie, Ph.D., of the Garrison Financial Institute at the Walton College of Business at Walton U., asks whether release of his pay details is allowed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Legislative notes

John Williams updates on today's action at the Capitol: Besides the ethics bills, Senate State Agencies spent most of its time on a mind-numbing debate about beer manufacturer pricing.

The doctor is in

Dr. Rahn takes questions from the media as his wife looks on. The UA board approved President B. Alan Sugg's choice for the new chancellor of UAMS, Dr. Daniel W. Rahn.  Since 2001, Rahn has served as president of the Medical College of Georgia and senior vice chancellor for health and medical programs for the University System of Georgia.  The board approved the final motion in public, before a crowd of university officials and members of the press.  Rahn, together with his wife Lana, thanked the board, the search committee and President Sugg.  Afterwards, Rahn took questions from the media and said there were some similarities between the health challenges faced in Georgia and in Arkansas.  He specifically mentioned obesity, access to health care and prenatal care.  He also said UAMS' mission and structure within the state system were concurrent with his experience in Georgia.       Rahn will be paid a salary of $600,000 per year, a deferred compensation plan of $100,000 per year paid with private funds and a housing allowance of $25,000 per year.  The new chancellor will also receive a company car and other benefits including retirement, health and dental insurance.  And if a press conference wasn't enough, UAMS made the announcement via Twitter as well.  Rahn will start sometime between July 1 and the end of the year.   

Dan Hicks still weaving 'Tangled Tales'

This is awesome. Ageless weirdo Dan Hicks, who, like MacArthur, was born in Little Rock into a military family and moved as a toddler, has a new album out today with his longtime band the Hot Licks.

St. Vincent plans job cuts

I've received a copy of a long letter distributed to St. Viucent Infirmary Medical Center employees from CEO Peter Banko.

The line is open

I'm heading for the door.

UAMS vision

Since past is prologue, a reader thinks others might be interested in the vision new UAMS Chancellor Daniel Rahn developed for the Medical College of Georgia.

When legislators are outlawed ...

... well, you figure it out. Rep. Mark Martin (R-Twilight Zone) lost a round on his open carry bill today.

Starving Artist Cafe

Lavender-glazed carrot soup with herb bread and olive oil. While out and about with my mother this past weekend, we ran over to 411 Main Street in North Little Rock to have lunch at Starving Artist Cafe.

Trading Post

Yeah, the economy sucks.  Money's tight.  You don't have to tell me twice, since I'm looking at overdue medical bills and have a mower being held hostage at the repair shop, and a destroyed stretch of fence that must be mended ASAP.  It stinks.  Before, I might've turned to Craigslist or Ebay in an attempt to sell outgrown kids' clothes, no-longer-used horse tack, Hubby's hunting gear (shhhh), or anything that isn't nailed down, for extra cash.  But what do you do when no one else has any money, either?  They can't buy your stuff if they don't have any more cash than you do.Well, as I am learning right now, one thing you can do is return to your historical roots, and try bartering.  It may sound archaic at first, but really, it's something that's intuitive and much so that you're almost certainly already doing it, to some extent, without even realizing it.  We all keep a mental "scorecard" of sorts (though we'd never be so crass as to call it, or even think of it, in those terms, probably) of favors we owe and kindnesses given us, and tend to repay them in kind.  When you pick up the check at lunch with a friend, you probably do so knowing that your buddy'll get it next time.  It's a kind of tacit give and take that we enjoy in a civilized society, and it's not much of a stretch to extrapolate that experience into something broader and more literal, with tangible rewards.This all came home to me recently thanks to an exchange that began, as so many these days do, on Craigslist.  (Let me just pause here a moment and say how grateful I am that Arkansans are finally coming around to realizing the enormous usefulness of Craigslist.  It's about time!)   I had placed an ad to sell a few of our surplus Narragansett turkeys, and while there I of course had to look around and see what was up for grabs near me.  It's easy to fall down the Craigslist rabbit-hole, even without visiting the fantastically entertaining "missed connections" listings.There was an ad for established strawberry plants, at a real honey of a price, and they could be picked up just a mile or so from my home!   I've wanted strawberries for the longest time, so I responded to that ad straightaway, and asked the very nice gentleman who'd placed the ad some basic questions about their care, and made arrangements to pick up my new plants.  When I went to meet the strawberry seller at a local gas-mart, I took along a dozen fresh eggs, which is something I tend to do when I'm feeling sociable--everyone likes fresh eggs, right?   At this point, because it is just about to become relevant, I should show you what a sampling of fresh eggs from our place looks like.

The state of biking

Cycling in Central Arkansas is some of the best. But it could be better.

Legislative ethics

A good word for Arkansas Republicans. Sen. Gilbert Baker carried the bill beaten in committee yesterday to close the instant exit to the lobby for lawmakers and other public employees.

'Who does Mike Huckabee think he is?'

A columnist in New York isn't impressed by "Huck's Army" and Mike Huckabee's PAC's work for a Republican congressional candidate.

Some things are negotiable; some not

The rage over bonuses and the desire to finger-point in the current financial turmoil has been interesting to watch.

Wednesday To-Do: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s. Even though he's got two solo albums under his belt and two years have passed, Jason Isbell is still probably best remembered as a former guitarist/singer/songwriter with Southern rock heroes the Drive-By Truckers.

Marcus Monk's Car for Sale and Other Hodge Podge Links

* Spring football practice started this week, and since we laid off our interns recently we can't possibly keep up with the full stream of info coming out of Fayetteville.

We're NOT in the money

Tax cuts safely passed, Beebe administration finance chief Richard Weiss now can safely tell legislators that the outlook isn't quite as rosy as previously predicted.

Quaid and Moore take on the Clintons

Hil and Bill? Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore will star as Bill and Hilary Clinton in "The Special Relationship," the third of screenwriter Peter Morgan's Tony Blair trilogy, which began with "The Deal" and continued with "The Queen."Michael Sheen, last seen in "Frost/Nixon," will reprise his role as Blair.[Via Variety]

UA completes cleanup

The University of Arkansas announces that, after eight years and $6 million, it has completed cleanup of three hazardous waste sites on university property in Washington County.

Card check compromise?

Brummett blogs about talks with a union leader who thinks practical political considerations -- inability to break a Senate filibuster -- could lead to compromise on card check legislation.

Early entry give-away for the Rock Candy 500

The next five folks who drop off their registration and fee for the Rock Candy 500 to the Ark. Times office get a free pinewood derby kit.Here's a printable entry form.Our office is at the corner of Scott and Markham on the second floor.For those who haven't committed the details to memory: The first annual Rock Candy 500 pinewood derby race is slated for Thursday, April 9, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m at the River Market Pavilion.That's two weeks from tomorrow.It's open to all ages.

Chemicals in the Neighborhood

There's been a lot of talk here about the hydraulic fracturing process and the use of unknown chemicals therein.  Gas drillers will tell you that fracking fluid is about 98 percent water, so there's no need to worry about the heavily diluted chemicals.  However, the average frack job used somewhere between 3 and 5 million gallons of water.  When you do the math, that's a lot of chemicals.  Before they're injected in the ground, they have to be stored somewhere.  This poor guy in Pennsylvania has some stored close to his home where his 4 year-old daughter plays in the backyard.  There are about 20 kids in the neighborhood.  There are, of course, some regulatory issues involved.  Who regulates small amounts of stored chemicals?  In PA it's unclear, and I'm sure it's the same story for Arkansas. 

Lincoln polling: 'Good but not great'

A Democratic-oriented polling outfit releases as promised its numbers from recent telephone polling on U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Tender Dawg probably safe in Motown Week

It's Motown week on that interminable singing contest that steals three hours of our lives every week and gives very, very little back.

Help for kids? Maybe. Guns in church? No.

Stephens Media reporter Doug Thompson says the Senate bill to provide in-state tuition for Arkansas high school graduates (in other words, including undocumented children) has cleared committee, 5-3.

Lunch report

Lunch today at Copper Grill was celebrity studded if politics is your game. The ACLU's Rita Sklar was with, among others, lawyers Cathi Compton and Graham Catlett, celebrating a rare morning of liberal legislative victories.

Lunch report

Lunch today at Copper Grill was celebrity studded if politics is your game. The ACLU's Rita Sklar was with, among others, lawyers Cathi Compton and Graham Catlett, celebrating a rare morning of liberal legislative victories.

Re Beebe's numbers: Oops

There was more to the dismal economic news at Joint Budget today than a reworking of general revenue forecasts.

Wednesday: Susan Gibson, Parachute Woman and more

Live last year at the Granada Theater in Dallas. Susan Gibson, a Texas singer/songwriter most famous for penning "Wide Open Spaces," the Dixie Chicks biggest hit yet, plays Studio Joe tonight in advance at her appearance in Hot Springs at ">"Pickin' and Winnin'" this weekend.

Broad daylight holdup UPDATE

Crime alert from UALR: UPDATE: UALR says two juvenile suspects are in custody.

More newspaper pain

Walter Hussman's newspaper in Chattanooga also is feeling the layoff pain. I haven't confirmed, but I think casualties include at least one old Arkansas Democrat-Gazette hand who made the move to Chattanooga after Hussman bought the paper.

More newspaper pain

Walter Hussman's newspaper in Chattanooga also is feeling the layoff pain. I haven't confirmed, but I think casualties include at least one old Arkansas Democrat-Gazette hand who made the move to Chattanooga after Hussman bought the paper.

Let's play Powerball!

The governor signed the lottery legislation today. We'll be scratching and losing by the end of the year if legislators have their way.

Bank robbery

Bank of America branch at Cantrell and Foxcroft. Camera caught a pretty good photo of the perp.

About preserving that facade ...

Adios Kempner's historic facade.

LR food blogger at work

Travis McConnell, chef at the Capital Hotel Bar and Grill, is blogging about food. He's not the best speller in the world, but he's writing and photographing some pretty interesting stuff, such as his effort to make his own pancetta, or Italian-style bacon.

Marcus Monk's ride

Thanks to an e-Bay crawler for a link to a hot ride for sale up in Lepanto.

Makin' Some Bread, Pullin' in the Dough.

What is is about the smell of fresh baking bread that warms the heart and spurs the memory?  Whatever it is, it's something that can't be replicated in a candle or manufactured in a scratch-and-sniff sticker.  One place to inhale the heady scent of fresh baking bread around these parts is the Old Mill Bread and Flour Company over in the Rock Creek Square shopping center (over by Hobby Lobby in Little Rock).  It's one of those places that nearly knocks you over when you enter the door with the scent of sweet breads, yeast, and grain.

Tumbling along

Contrary to what you might think, we're not all a bunch of Luddites over here at the Times.  Actually, I am, but I'm trying.  I wrote a rather disparaging article about Twitter a couple of weeks ago, but I've since jumped on board (follw my tweets here).  I've also recently started to tumble.  You can find out more at, but basically it's like Twitter, Facebook and Blogger all rolled into one.  I'll be using my Tumblr blog to post odds and ends - pictures that don't make it into the paper, more light-hearted fare than what usually appears on the Arkansas blog, quotes from interviews and lots of other stuff that doesn't really fit anywhere else.  Check out By the By and let me know what you think.            Tumblr is catching on quick, but there are still very few users in Little Rock.  Lance Turner, of Arkansas Business, is an early-adopter.  It's like blogging and social networking at the same time.  If you sign up, follow me.  It's just another way to stay in touch and push content.  We'll see how it goes.       

Open line

Over to you.