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March 30, 2011

Vol 37 • No 30

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Fact-checking Keef

The Rolling Stones rocker’s account of his time in Fordyce is a page-turner, but how much of it is true?

Restaurant news round-up: Shugg's to River Market, new Boulevard, All Aboard and Seoul

Boulevard opens on South Main. Shugg's, All Aboard and Seoul soon too.

The Monday night line UPDATE

Nobody in state government seems likely to get a pay raise this year, but Little Rock city judges are looking at a $5,500-per-year bump thanks to the legislature.

The line is open UPDATE

Your comments welcome. Final notes: * LEGISLATURE: The legislature meets into the evening again.

Post script from City Hall

Nobody would put a figure on the amount of new sales tax revenue Little Rock would need to pull itself out of the hole it will find itself in next year if nothing is done.

Born on the bayou

Mostly hits, some misses at Cayenne's in Jacksonville.

Corporate agenda wins

The jury is still out on whether the 88th Arkansas General Assembly will be celebrated chiefly for its occupation with trivia or with serving corporate interests.

Set sights higher, UA

Frank Broyles had a rule about not hiring a head coach who had no previous experience as a head coach. The U of A Board of Trustees could do worse than follow Broyles' example, much worse.

GOP bats from hell

Legal gerrymander

As the so-called "Fayetteville finger" redistricting plan has gathered steam in the state legislature, some have suggested that they will consider taking such an obvious political gerrymander to court. They'd be smart not to waste any energy on it.

The Smittle Band plays The Afterthought

Also, the Jazz and Cuisine Classic of Conway this Saturday night at the Agora.

UA president search

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meets Friday in Monticello. Lobbying was at work to get the Board to name a new system president at the meeting to succeed the retiring B. Alan Sugg.

Boozman's false start

In remarking on predecessors, Boozman remembered U.S. Sen. Hattie Caraway of Arkansas as the first woman "to serve" in the U.S. Senate. She wasn't, though the mistake is frequently made.

Clemmer scheme

Why couldn't we all have a Clemmer scheme? Fix yourself one tailored to your particular occupational situation, and I'll personalize one for Ol' Moi.

UA shows colors

"Once again Arkansas-Fayetteville has shown its true colors and what they are all about. They had a good, decent man in John Pelphrey."

Start me up

Kickstarter gives artists a shot in the arm, maybe.

Punch drunk

Director Zack Snyder tries everything in 'Sucker Punch.'

The Observer and the taco truck surprise

We usually eschew lagniappe from Samantha No. 2 and discard it along with the styrofoam carton, but this time we decided to pick up one of those little peppers.

Orval, March 30, 2011

The Liberator

Circuit Clerk Larry Crane has freed employees from former Pulaski Circuit Clerk Pat O'Brien's "personal appearance guidelines."

Vandals on wheels

Thrill seekers who've apparently seen too many Ford truck commercials have been tearing up the playing fields created at Section 13 Park on Garrison Road.

Elevator safety

At press time, a bill to exempt all elevators on the Capitol campus from regulation by the elevator safety board had passed both chambers and awaited the governor's signature.

This Modern World, March 30, 2011

Kenny Chesney comes to Verizon this Friday

Also: Monkhouse, Exene Cervenka and Kevin Seconds at White Water Tavern, 'Livestock' at The Peabody, Eggshibition XX at UALR, Tyrese Gibson speaks at the Central High Auditorium and Four on the Floor releases an album at Stickyz.

'What's a weekend?'

Random House says that 'weekend' first appeared around 1875-80, so it wouldn't have been terribly old at the time of "Downton Abbey," the source of the question.

Good week for corporations

The legislature isn't quite done, but the winners are already clear. Corporate Arkansas won again.

Little Rock Government Payroll

Find the annual base salaries of more than 700 Little Rock government employees and the hourly wages of nearly 2,000 more.

Tropical Smoothie opening in River Market

Developers say it will hopefully be open by the end of April.

Outdoor dining guide

With the weather on the verge (we hope) of a sustained period of just-rightness, this week we examine the best places to eat or drink outside. In selecting what follows, we looked for good views, large seating areas and spots that, even if they didn't satisfy the first two criteria, still steadily draw crowds.

All over the place

Fayetteville musician Joe Heffernan makes noise in European act Paris Suit Yourself.

Enter our Foo Fighters ticket give away

We're looking for your best cover/karaoke/dance interpretation/music video treatment of a Foo Fighters song. In exchange, we've got a handful of tickets to the band's May 18 concert at Verizon Arena.

Property tax appraisal errors found

Country club area owners benefit.

Fayetteville in the Fourth?

Democrats look south.

Muse of the spheres

Benini is back, at Greg Thompson.

Praise the Lord and pass the ammo

That was quite a productive little Friday morning they had in the state House of Representatives, voting to put guns in church and the Bible in school.

Lamoureux's midnight judge bill

There's more last-minute legislative shenanigans than you can shake a stick at, but here's one.

Shiloh Christian on Frontline

Tivo alert: The fabulously successful Shiloh Christian football team is going to get national coverage April 12 in an installment of Frontline, the PBS investigative series.

Acxiom CEO John Meyer resigns

Acxiom, the Little Rock-based data management company, has announced early this morning the resignation of its CEO, John Meyer.

Excited for Foo Fighters yet?

Foo news! The band screens a new documentary and live, 3D concert telecast at Rave next Tuesday.

Getting to know the Tea Party

Polling shows the country's negative view of the Tea Party continues to rise steadily. No kidding.

Birther bill dies in committee

Tea Party Rep. Jon Hubbard couldn't draw a motion for a "do pass" in committee this morning for his bill to require candidates for president and vice president to prove they are qualified to seek office — born in the U.S. of A., in other words.

Rick Crawford tea partying in Washington UPDATE

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford has a leading role in an effort by a group of Republican freshmen to stage a publicity stunt in hopes of spinning a government shutdown as the work of Democrats, not the slash-and-burn Republicans like Crawfrord.

Bible study bill fails in Senate committee

John Lyon of Stephens Media reports that Rep. Denny Altes' bill to encourage academic study of the Bible in Arkansas public schools was defeated in the Senate Education Committee today.

Insurance Department bill defeated again

Drama in the House this afternoon — continued blockage of the Insurance Department appropriation, HB 1226, by a Republican minority.

Miss Arkansas is KTHV's new morning anchor

Alyse Eady to co-host wake-up show.

School consolidation bill fails in House

The House this afternoon failed by one vote, drawing 50, to pass Rep. Jon Hubbard's bill to end consolidation of school districts solely because they fall below 350-student enrollment.

Paxton's Pizza replaces Pizza Perfect

The new pizza joint is set to open in two weeks.

Del McCoury Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Walton Arts

The invaluable bluegrass and jazz bands, respectively, co-headline a show in Fayetteville on April 17.

The redistricting fight rolls on UPDATE IV

A Republican plan for congressional redistricting was defeated in Senate committee this morning. Roby Brock reports.

Insurance Department bill defeated 3rd time

On its third try, the Insurance Department appropriation failed the House again this afternoon, once again drawing 70 votes, needing 75.

The Wednesday night line

Rep. Barry Hyde recalled his bill to exempt state elevators in the Capitol area from the state elevator safety law.

A good impression, from the Arts Center

There are 119 pieces of art “The Impressionists and Their Influence” and you will want to spend some time with virtually all of them.

The nut roll

Here are the 19 Republicans who, in the last roll call, said they'd rather end insurance regulation in Arkansas, shut down a state agency and private insurance companies and strip $100 million from state and retirement funds rather than approve a bill that authorizes (but doesn't spend) $1 milllion in federal spending on planning for health insurance exchanges.

The Internet sales tax bill

Now that it's passed both houses, it's a good time for John Brummett's explanation of the bill aimed at collecting sales tax on Internet sales.

Mount Holly Cemetery wall damaged

Anne Orsi, a member of the Mount Holly Cemetery Association, writes to tell me a vehicle crashed three times Wednesday morning into the historic cemetery's wall along Broadway.

Gun bill stymied in Senate

I missed the news yesterday that the Senate Judiciary Committee lacked votes necessary to approve the House bill allowing guns in church.

Minority tyranny works UPDATE

Perils of Pauline: A handful of Republican zealots has the insurance industry and a significant chunk of the state budget tied to the railroad tracks.

Epiphany releases "Love Jones Gone Wrong" video

The forward-thinking local rapper's new music video gets an internet release.

Redistricting plan passes House

A Senate committee defeated Democratic and Republican congressional redistricting plans. The House is debating the Democratic plan.

Burger joint of the week: The Town Pump

The Pump Burger is unusual, featuring a smattering of black olives and two types of cheeses with special sauce. It's a burger you can't get out of your head.

Guy Fieri comes to Northwest Arkansas

The popular host of Guy's Big Bite on the Food Network will be at the Walton Arts Center June 1st.


The museum commissioned an artist to design a full page advertisement in the New York Times' special museum section that ran March 17.

New engineering dean named at UALR

UALR has announced the successor to Mary Good, founding dean of its College of Engineering and Information Technology, who's retiring June 30.

House defeats corporate welfare amendment

Shazam. The House defeated a corporate welfare constitutional amendment by a 19-65 vote.

Thursday: The Smittle Band, "The Aluminum Show," Donald Glover at UA

Tonight, folk jazz fills The Afterthought, "Aluminum" wraps up a three-day run and a "Community" cast member visits UA.

Gluten-free bakery coming to Little Rock

Christie over at Fancy Pants Foodie has broken the news — Paula Dempsey, formerly of Dempsey Film Group, plans to open Little Rock's first gluten-free bakery at the corner of 4th and Cross.

Art on Saturday: Corazon

Corazon auction is all heart Friday night at ACAC.

Money bills approved; health reform slowed

The House passed the revenue stabilization act and the general improvement fund bill this afternoon.

KIPP schools: High dropout rates for black males?

Interesting story in Education Week. KIPP charter middle schools enroll a significantly higher proportion of African-American students than the local school districts they draw from, but 40 percent of the black males they enroll leave between grades 6 and 8, says a new nationwide study by researchers at Western Michigan University.

Last night: 'The Aluminum Show'

"The Aluminum Show" has been compared to those other popular performance art shows "Stomp" and "The Blue Man Group." Those comparisons are fair in that "The Aluminum Show" is mostly spectacle — basically a group of dancers dance in and around various aluminum things, mostly tubes.

Matt & Kim to UCA — next week!

The popular synthpop duo plays the university's annual Spring Fling party.

Scramble on over to Eggshibition XX

Eggshibition XX, "Evolution of the Egg," cracks open Friday night at the Jack Stephens Center.

Philander's Kimbrough on list for Southern job

Had to happen. Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Philander Smith College, is one of 10 names submitted by a search firm for a commitee's consideration for the job of chancellor of Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. DHR Executive Vice President Robert Clayton described some of the applicants as rising "superstars," including Philander Smith College President Walter Kimbrough, who is also known as the "hip hop prez," and Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas.

Thursday news roundup

Sangeeta Mann filed for divorce Tuesday from Dr. Randeep Mann, convicted in a plot to bomb the chairman of the state Medical Board.

Magic Springs announces 2011 Concert Series

The Hot Springs park announces their upcoming, pumped-up lineup.

Thursday night line

Let's make this an open line. Too much going on in my earlier post.

Pieday Bonus: Snipe Pie for dinner

The recent talk about the Arkansas snipe being put on the endangered species list has brought the cookbooks out in my family. Before the snipe goes on the hallowed list of Animals We're Not Allowed To Eat, we want to enjoy it at its best.

Weekend: Ballet Arkansas, UALR baseball, Grand Serenade returns

This weekend offers dance, baseball and a ton of live music.

Whatever happened to ....

... those resorts that Parks and Tourism planned at Amagon, Parkin and Palestine for brown-water rafting enthusiasts?The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture has the answer and a lot more background on this underappreciated sport.

Mount Holly wall damage

Belatedly, here is a photo of some of the damage done to the wall at Mount Holly Cemetery by an out-of-control Tahoe.

Hillcrest street robberies reported

The Forbidden Hillcrest website reports two street robberies on Kavanaugh in the Hillcrest commercial district last night.

Leding statement on redistricting

Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville, who voted for the House-approved congressional redistricting plan that moves a portion of Fayetteville from the 3rd to the 4th Congressional District, has issued a statement on his vote.

Have Arkansas voters been trucked?

Did I read the article in the Democrat-Gazette this morning correctly? Did I read that truckers will get a honking big rig sales tax reduction EVEN IF voters don't approve a nickel increase in the tax on diesel for a highway bond program?

Republicans take charge of Arkansas

Republicans/corporations. It's all about the same.

A Governor's Mansion Christmas

I'm looking for some cheap office stuff, so I clicked on the notice of a Saturday surplus state property auction.

Saturday To-Do: Four on the Floor

The local rockers release their new album, "Forbidden Fruit," at Sticky Fingerz.

Pieday: Sweet Potato & Pecan at Rhoda's Famous Hot Tamales

You know, sometimes the best things come in small packages. The best pies don’t always come in an eight or nine inch pie shell.

Riverfest releases advance tickets, drops the buttons

Get three-day passes to this year's festival at half-price at Walgreens, starting today. Also, the entry buttons? Gone.

Corporate welfare amendment revived, passed

As I predicted yesterday, the House made another run at SJR 5, Sen. Jake Files' proposed constitutional amendment that would set up a corporate welfare scheme for retail stores, hotels and restaurants.

UA Board meeting on president search

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, meeting today in Monticello, has gone into executive session to discuss the search for a president to succeed retiring System President B. Alan Sugg.

Larry Teague wins Senate president election

Sen. Larry Teague of Nashville was elected this morning to be the next Senate president pro tempore, succeeding Paul Bookout.

To-Do List Plus: First Thaw Festival, 'Designer's Choice' Fashion Show

The Avett Brothers and Langhorne Slim highlight Harding's weekend festival and an annual fashion event returns for another year of couture.

Channel 11's Audas off to Greensboro

Larry Audas, the former anchor who has been general manager of KTHV-11 in Little Rock, is off to another Gannett-owned TV station as GM in Greensboro, N.C. No word yet if new leadership in LR announced at 12:30 staff meeting with visting Gannett brass.

Legislature extended until Monday

The legislature won't finish work today. The Senate will reconvene Monday to complete action on congressional redistricting legislation because Republicans resisted a suspension of rules to allow consideration of the House redistricting bill today.

UCA plans purple football field

A lot of people thought this was an April Fool's Day prank. But it's not.

Sunday To-Do: Exene Cervenka-Kevin Seconds CANCELED

This weekend's anticipated show has been called off. Cervenka, who suffers from MS, has had to cancel her remaining tour dates.

Next up: legislative redistricting

Gov. Mike Beebe announces that the Board of Apportionment will meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Old Supreme Courtroom at the Capitol.

It's all over but the crying

All about the nearly-completed state legislative session.

The Bob Dorough Homestate Tour expanded

The geek-jazz hero and man behind the music of "Schoolhouse Rock!" adds two extra dates to his stay in Little Rock.


The Friday night line commences. Noted: * Fox 16 is reporting an emergency landing at Little Rock National Airport by a Delta regional jet that hit birds.

Session (mostly) over and done with

Well the 2011 legislative session has come to an end. That is, except for redistricting.

Taylor Swift to Verizon on Oct. 4

The country superstar and worldwide object du crush visits Little Rock this fall.

Palio's opens in West Little Rock

A new Dallas-based chain has opened in The Village at Rahling Road.

The defeat of the Tim Tebow law

John Brummett laments the defeat of the so-called Tim Tebow law, which would allow home-schooled children to compete in athletic, musical and other competitions for regular public schools.

Your legislature at work: redistricting

I think it will be a miracle if congressional redistricting is completed Monday. Senators are working this weekend on possible compromises.

Beware the double-dip sidestep

Arkansas's recent efforts to curb double-dipping — simultaneous retirement and rehiring of public employees into the same job with both retirement and regular pay — are being emulated elsewhere.Article in today's New York Times reports on abuse of the practice in Arizona.

Maurice Mitchell dies at 85

The law firm of Mitchell, Willliams, Gates, Selig and Woodyard has announced the death today of one of the firm's original partners, H. Maurice Mitchell.

The line is open

Over to you, sports fans. I have places to go.

Neighborhood farmers market

The spring weather puts me in mind of growing things. And so I want to mention to Hillcrest neighbors that I ran into Randy Hyde, pastor of Pulaski Height Baptist, on my morning walk yesterday and he had good news.

Partisanship comes to Arkansas

Gov. Mike Beebe remarked on partisanship in the House as the legislature completed most of its work Friday.

The Republicans come for Medicare

The current debate over federal budget cutting is only a prelude to a much bigger fight — the House Republicans' leadership plan to target Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Candy lovers should love Sweet!

The new confectionary has just opened next to Sherwood's Scrumdiliumptuous, creating a corner where diets will be broken and massacred.

KUAR: On-air, but fire mystery remains

KUAR, Little Rock's public radio, has managed to get back on the air in some areas with backup transmitter after a damaging weekend fire.

Sunday thoughts

Looks like a grill evening, don't you think? I have to go to the store again, so I'm turning duties over to you.

Seoul coming to The Heights

The folks who've run Eastern Flames are picking up and moving on up — shedding the old Japanese sushi house on Cantrell and heading to the old Satellite Cafe location on Kavanaugh.

Photo recap of the Designers Choice Fashion Preview 2011

Photos from the Fourth Annual Designers Choice Fashion Preview.

Math counts: And Arkansas is a leader

Here's a bright touch from the Washington Post: A national story on education in which Arkansas plays an exemplary role.

Making it harder to vote

Think about it. Why do Republicans want to make it harder to vote?

Korea: What cost high test scores?

Speaking of education: Korea. From the Washington Post: By the numbers, the South Korean system is the envy of the world: The nation regularly places among the top five countries on international math and reading tests, the high school dropout rate is less than 4 percent, and the college completion rate among young adults — at 56 percent — is among the highest in the world.

Obama announces re-election campaign

By video.

Fix gun checks

Tucson shooting victims speak up for"> the campaign to fix the gun check law. Why not 1) a comprehensive database of people who should not be allowed to purchase weapons and 2) a background check for each gun purchase?

March state revenue: mixed

The March report on state tax revenue isn't scary — gross is up for the month and year by modest amounts — but mitigating factors cloud any definitive trend spotting.

McCain Mall makeover underway

A ribbon-cutting was held this morning to mark the beginning of a $5.5 million renovation of McCain Mall, which, after about 40 years, could use some restyling more in keeping with the new face of retail centers.

State Police director retiring

Col. Winford Phillips, director of the State Police, has retired. Gov. Mike Beebe will pick a successor.

The Root Cafe's Dinner for Change with the Times

The Times provides the program at the next Root Cafe dinner/fundraiser.

Albert Pike camping area in limbo

The U.S. Forest Service today provided an update on repair and future plans for the Albert Pike Recreation Area near Langley, where flash flooding of the Little Missouri River killed 20 people last June.

Energy industry values on display

This just about says it all. Remember it every time some apologist/legislator tells you we can trust the energy industry to be good stewards of the environment without meaningful regulation because they share the same interests as the rest of us.

Crazed attack at the National Gallery

A nutty woman who was offended by Paul Gaugin's "Two Tahitian Women" tried to pull the canvas off the wall of the National Gallery in D.C. on Friday, and the museum is examining the painting today to see if it was damaged.

Huckabee and the crushed hard drives

Mike Huckabee is a solid contender if not the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination.

Lawmaker cited for hot check conviction

The Blue Hog Report continues its work mining the public record for embarrassing facts about state legislators.

Legislature back for redistricting UPDATE

All eyes are first on the Senate this afternoon as the legislature reconvenes for purposes of attempting to complete action on a congressional redistricting plan.

Huckabee mansion rising in Florida UPDATE

A stroller in Blue Mountain Beach, Fla., sends along this progress photo of the $3 million home Mike Huckabee is building on the sugar sand beach of the Florida panhandle.

The Monday night line

I'll leave it with you.

Fractal all over the place: Terry Wright

Terry Wright explains fractal art in his article "From One Horse to Another" published this week in the online Chicago arts magazine Pure Francis.

The legislature: winners and losers

Brummett assesses the high and lowlights of the General Assembly. I'd agree.

The evil men do: Mike Huckabee edition

In the old days, there might or might not have been a local newspaper report on Mike Huckabee's appearance before a Religious Right group (mentioned here last week) in which he made another one of his near-patented wild statements.

The GOP's own Obamacare

Ernie Dumas has done it again. He explains how the Republicans will use deceit to wreck Medicare and Medicaid, in part by setting up an insurance system similar in many respects to the "Obamacare" they loathe.

Full-size planes return to LIT-DFW route

Little Rock National Airport says it will greet an American Eagle MD-80 with a Fire Department water cannon salute this morning to mark the return of full-sized planes on flights to and from the DFW hub.

Little Rocker on 'Jeopardy!' today

A local Clinton School student will compete on today's episode of "Jeopardy!"

Cooks Tour 2011 features neat eats in local kitchens

The 2011 Cooks Tour benefitting the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute is coming up April 15 and 17 here in Little Rock.

No retrial in Dirksmeyer murder case

Channel 4 reports that prosecutors have decided not to try Gary Dunn a third time in the slaying of Nona Dirksmeyer of Russellville.

State drawing new rules on school sports spending

The state Education Department plans a public discussion April 11 on proposed revisions in rules governing school district athletic spending.

Yes, open the Senate to TV ...

... but don't necessarily expect that will make it understandable. Roby Brock touts Jason Tolbert's column calling for the Senate to emulate the House and televise its sessions and committee hearings.

Video visit to Big Apple, thanks to James Kalm

Eye Candy discovers the James Kalm Report, videotapes of art exhibits and street music and other happenings in New York.

The Republican plan to end Medicare

As Ernie Dumas explained earlier today, the Republican budget leadership has rolled out today nothing less than the end of Medicare as we've known it.

Tuesday: Matt & Kim, Bonnie Montgomery Trucking, Breathe Carolina

Tuesday offers up a duo of cult musicians, emo/electro/earpoison, throwback Southern folk-pop and more.

House Republicans plan for shutdown

The Republicans are busy pre-spinning slogans to blame the shutdown of the federal government on Democrats, but I think the copy of House Republican leadership plans for administration during a shutdown indicates who's driving this trainwreck.

A stumble on Hendrix's gender-neutral housing

On March 23, the Times reported about the new gender-neutral housing pilot program at Hendrix College in Conway, which would allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students the opportunity to live in student apartments with people of the opposite gender.

John Goodson appointed to UA Board

Gov. Mike Beebe has appointed John Goodson, a Texarkana lawyer, to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.

New plan on congressional districts UPDATE

The state Senate recessed immediately after reconvening this morning so closed-door negotiations could continue on a congressional redistricting map.

LRFF news: Arkansas Music Video Competition, "Gone With the Wind" doc

The annual Music Video Competition and Showcase has extended its deadline to April 20. The festival screens a 1988 "Gone With the Wind" documentary on April 27.

Lawyer in 'Pharaoh' deal surrenders license

More details here than we were able to smush into the print edition this week on a local legal happening.

The Tuesday night line

Lay your burdens down.