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March 23, 2006

Vol 4 • No 10

The missing link

In the fall of 2004, I received an e-mail from an old friend back in Arkansas, where I was raised. She was concerned about a problem her father was having at work. “Bob” is a geologist and a teacher at a science education institution that serves several Arkansas public school districts. My friend did not know the details of Bob’s problem, only that it had to do with geology education. This was enough to arouse my interest, so I invited Bob to tell me about what was going on. He responded with an e-mail. Teachers at his facility are forbidden to use the “e-word” (evolution) with the kids.

Rules or blows

Simplify, Henry David advised us, and I’m finally doing it after years and years of threatening to. I’m trashing the subtleties, the gray shades, and have commenced the process of dividing people, places and things into two piles. Call them good and evil,

The judge’s words

State Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen’s mouth has him in trouble again and he’s making it an issue in his campaign for state Supreme Court.

Orval March 23

The week that was March 15-21

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS. A Democrat-Gazette analysis of Gov. Huckabee’s idea to cap school administrative expenses at 7 percent showed it would affect only a relative handful of small districts.

Bush’s fantasyland

Introducing the fourth year of his war to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, President Bush this week allowed the first small shards of reality to intrude into the official line.

Raw material

Vermillion Water Grille has a new raw bar, and it has just about perfected a system to bring in the freshest specimens.

The Observer

OK, so it’s not quite spontaneous human combustion, but a correspondent Observer reports an incident almost as bizarre at the West Little Rock bank where he works. We suspect — or rather, we’ll choose to believe — the involvement of aliens. Or warrantless

No free ride in NW Arkansas

Woodrow Anderson III, a 33-year-old Fort Smith businessman, intends to file next week as a Democratic candidate for Arkansas’s third district U.S. congressional seat.

Falling giants

Even when engaged in spirited disagreement, as all legislators must from time to time, it was hard for Jerry Bookout to be unpleasant. The most amiable of men, he valued the good will of his colleagues more than the scoring of transient debating points.

Editorial cartoon March 23

Smart Talk March 23

This week's topics: The new gambling machines at the race tracks; a kosher kitchen in LR; killing (game) for Christ.

Inmates are human, too

Humanizing convicted criminals is no easy feat but Doug Smith’s article, “Faith of Our Felons,” effectively demonstrated that people are people no matter where they reside.

Words March 23

Let him speak now or forever hold his piece: “A Sikh warrior wears a 463-yard-long turban as he speaks his peace Tuesday at the Anandpur Sahib shrine near Chandigarh, India, during Hola Mohalla, a festival saluting martial preparedness.”

Meth and martial arts

Arkansas is ninth among the states that have the most people making methamphetamine. Last week the White House Office of National Drug Control sent a deputy director to Little Rock to honor the state for preventing people getting stuff to turn into

Christian souljah

Last Friday, Gov. Mike Huckabee missed his best chance to be the next president of the United States. He spoke at a “grassroots training conference” organized by the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ, a group that is serious about its missi

Care to gamble?

For a state known for its religious conservatism and electoral opposition to casino gambling, there sure is a lot of talk about gambling in Arkansas.

Is anybody watching?

It’s all there, in black and white: high school students in Arkansas must be taught about evolution, both in eighth-grade science class and in high school biology. But who makes sure it happens?

South by Southwest was the scene

Downtown Austin was teeming with rock stars, hipsters, quirks and eccentrics, and there was no rest for me — and I’m sure the other music fan attendees of the South by Southwest Music Conference — with so many things going on.

Letters of support

After this article first appeared in the Reports of the National Center for Science Education, Jason Wiles heard from several Arkansas educators, including Susan Epperson, the former Central High School teacher who was the plaintiff in a landmark 1968 c

‘Vendetta’ a powerhouse

Though it’s not very popular to say so in America these days, it’s as true as it ever was: One man’s “terrorist” is another man’s “freedom fighter” — it all depends on who is wearing the jackboots. Plus: 'Walking on the Moon.'

Hero worship

Alltel Arena’s crowd greeted Kid Rock last Friday night like he was a hometown hero.

Dream Weavers

The Work o’ the Weavers will headline a show Friday, March 24, at Acoustic Sounds Cafe.

TV highlights March 23-29

CHEERLEADER NATION 9 p.m. Sunday, March 26 Lifetime Network (Comcast Ch. 55) NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: SEARCH FOR THE PHOENICIANS 5 p.m. Saturday, March 25 AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2) THIEF 10 p.m. Tuesday, March 28 FX (Comcas

What's cooking, capsule reviews March 23

What's cooking: Mimi's Cafe, Nu Cuisine Lounge, Rumba Revolution. Capsule reviews: P.F. Chang's, New China.

Black and white TV

This week, I thought I’d take a moment from flogging the local press scene to steer you toward some groundbreaking television: “Black. White.,” a six-episode reality show now appearing on the FX Network, Wednesday nights at 9 p.m.

Urban Bush Women perform at Hendrix

The energetic dance ensemble Urban Bush Women, which addresses social and political issues with dance, will appear at Hendrix College on Monday, March 27.

Young rascals

Rascal Flatts will be the featured act in a big country show at Alltel Arena on Friday, March 24.

Looking ahead to Riverfest

Dave Matthews at Riverfest, forget it. U2? No way. Train, Live, Switchfoot, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and the bluegrass favorites Del McCoury Band? Yes.

Equal aid per child -- just not fair

State money for schools ought to be distributed equally per child. That sounds so basic. You wonder how anyone could argue.

Lift a glass to Bob Johnson

Someone needs to say a congratulatory word to and about Bob Johnson, the state senator from the countryside of Perry and Conway Counties. He won.