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April 3, 2008

Vol 6 • No 12

Bro. Huckabee fix

Rev. Kenneth Copeland, the Texas prosperity apostle who had Mike Huckabee on his TV show six times and arranged a critical infusion of cash into the Huckabee campaign in January, is defying Sen. Chuck Grassley’s request for financial records of Copeland’s opulent ministry, including credit card records, information on offshore bank accounts and information on whether his non-profit ministry used mineral rights to capitalize a for-profit company.

Who's in charge here?

Mayor Stodola will convene a meeting of a new Tourism Committee at noon today that will “seek ways to build on Little Rock’s great momentum,” he said in a press release.

Severance tax a done deal.

  It passed the House 82-17 and the Senate 32-1. (Bob Johnson and Ed Wilkinson abstained.)

Now the line is open

For your comments.

Mike Gauldin, April 3

Rock City Kicks!

Sneaker fiends of all stripes, your prayers are answered. No more bribing your big-city friends into trips to the store and the post office. No more chancing the pitfalls of online shopping. On Thursday, in conjunction with Hillcrest's monthly Shop-n-Sip,

This Modern World, April 3

Orval, April 3

Kithless and kinless

The tissue or, not to mince the issue, toilet paper, is the sole luxury I permit myself, and that sparingly, using scarcely more at the nether aperture than at the higher, the bung than the maw, packing on my back, each semi-annual seven-mile hike back fr

Mixed messages

Every small town has its stories, from Grovers Corners, N.H., to Monterrey, Calif. Dr. Sam Taggart’s town is Gum Ridge, Ark.

Book notes

"During Wind and Rain: The Jones Family in the Arkansas Delta: 1848-2006."

Pub or Perish 2008!

The Arkansas Times’ reading series “Pub or Perish” celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2008 with a brand new location and what can only be described as a sterling lineup.

2008 Arkansas Literary Festival Schedule of Events

Who, what, where and when, starting April 3.

What we’re reading, April 3

Here are the top 10 bestsellers from three local bookstores. Data is most recent available.

What’s Happening in April

A calendar of readings, signings, book clubs and more.

One body recovered

    Times photographer Brian Chilson caught the scenes of the retrieval late Thursday of the scaffolding cage that fell into the Arkansas River yesterday with three men trapped inside.

Bad to the bone

How bad has been George W.'s presidency? Real bad, says an informal poll of historians.

Charismatics remorse

More recriminations from religious conservatives. Charisma magazine devotes its cover to Michael Dale Huckabee, “The Preacher Who Dared to Be President.”  Conservative religious leaders, the magazine says, failed Christian voters by getting behind Huckabee too late or not at all because of non-religious or –social issues, so they are stuck with a Republican presidential candidate who never shared their values.       

You decide

For those of you who rant that this blog is relentlessly, hopelessly pro-Clinton, we offer Chip Collis' look at some "myths" surrounding the Clinton-Obama contest.

Shackleford Crossing Superstore on track?

Al Norman, a Huffington Post blogger, reports that Wal-Mart has quietly killed plans for 45 of its SuperCenters since last summer.The one announced for the new Shackleford Crossing shopping center out west isn't on the list: The list of store cancellations was compiled by Sprawl-Busters, which has maintained a database on Wal-Mart battles for more than a decade.

Glib digs

If you think Maureen Dowd is all lip and no teeth, you'll like this Columbia Journalism Review analysis of her columnizing.

Bullied, or Bully?

Northwest Arkansas Times digs up the dirt today on Billy Wolfe, the Fayetteville High School sophomore whose parents are suing one bully and a number of "John Does" over his maltreatment at school.

You decide, part 2

For those of you who rant that this blog is relentlessly, hopeless pro-Clinton and like it that way, here's an op-ed piece from the New York Times from two women who traveled with Hillary to Tuzla.

Going home

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a Crawford County Judge has approved a plan to disinter and move to Salt Lake City the body of influential early Mormon leader Parley Parker Pratt from a cemetery near Rudy, Ark. Chosen by Brigham Young as one of the first Mormon apostles, Pratt was accused in California of breaking up the marriage of one Hector McLean.

Scotch Eggs

If anyone is interested in trying a new fried dish, I just ran across this recipe for Scotch Eggs.

Annals of abuse of power

Perhaps you've heard of the line-item veto, with which the executive can strike out parts of a bill while keeping the rest as law.

Annals of abuse of power

Perhaps you've heard of the line-item veto, with which the executive can strike out parts of a bill while keeping the rest as law.

Flying the hostile skies . . .

ATA Airlines, which handled many Southwest Airlines connecting flights, abruptly shut down today, according to Bloomberg.

Bobbitt says bye-bye

Some big news out of Fayetteville. Fulbright College Dean Donald Bobbitt is leaving the UA to go to the University of Texas at Arlington.

King vigil

Candlelight prayer vigil tonight between 6-9 p.m. at Curran Hall, 615 E. Capitol, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King.

The severance tax aftermath

We can finally put months of severance tax obsession and speculation to bed, but perhaps it's worth one final look at what the bill will do and where it will fall short for some people.

Google me

Though you’ve likely heard about this by now, I’ve got to give a shout about the modern miracle that is the new Google Streetview map of Little Rock, North Little Rock and Central Arkansas. Type in an address — most any address — and you get a picture of

March 26-April 1

It was a good week for REGAINING SENSES. At the request of the parents, a federal court in St. Louis dismissed a lawsuit filed against the Little Rock School District over a student’s failure to make the Central High School cheerleading squad.

Art auction for Parkinson’s Disease

Three Hot Springs galleries are pitching in again to help the Arkansas Parkinson’s Disease Association’s annual silent auction during this Friday’s Gallery Walk event.

Hot judicial politics

Former state Sen. Jim Holt, a fire-eating conservative Republican and former U.S. Senate candidate, is sending letters seeking votes and contributions for Ron Williams of Springdale, a lawyer running for a seat on the state Court of Appeals.

Full speed ahead

If we’re lucky, the legislature will have met, enacted Gov. Beebe’s severance-tax increase, and gone home by the time this appears. The less time for lawmakers like Sen. Bob Johnson to act up, the better.

In the severance cross hairs

CHARLESTON — Lonnie Turner was so evidently displeased to see me that you might have thought he was a Razorback fan who had booed Texas. But, no, he was an oil and gas lawyer from Ozark.

Ousting a legislator

Public opinion is rather inflamed against former state Rep. Dwayne Dobbins of North Little Rock. There’s talk of denying him entrance to the House next year, or of throwing him out once he’s in. But the public today is nowhere nearly as excited as it was

'Towncraft' heading to Europe

In brief, April 3

Opening day at Dickey-Stephens Park Thursday kicks off this day-by-day look at what's up.

Shame on Arkansas

Shame on Arkansas lawmakers for their failure to protect schoolchildren from assault and battery by educators.

“Fat Pig”

Though the Weekend Theatre’s production of "Fat Pig" starts off promisingly, particularly with the actress who plays the overweight Helen, its cast ultimately struggles to bring the characters to life.

‘Stop-Loss’ is a winner

For whatever reason, America can’t simultaneously experience and deal with war.

The sound of Bell

Joshua Bell proved on Wednesday night that performance is more than just playing the notes.


The well dried up quite a while back and damn it all I just don’t think I can squeeze any more blood out of these turnips that were my solitary inheritance.

A young MC

Max Farrell started rapping when he was in third grade. So nine years later, it’s not a huge shock that the now high school senior put together the biggest local hip-hop hoorah in months.

An enduring story

Americans like to venerate those things we’ve allowed to disappear from society. Like the ageless codes defining what it means to be a good man, a good woman — to be honorable, trustworthy, loyal. Often, the desire to reclaim these attributes takes the la

To-Do List, April 3

Rock City Kicks opens, Yonder Mountain String Band, Living Sacrifice reunites, Kevin Kerby and Kyoto Boom, Dierks Bentley, Louis Jordan film series, Dirt Nasty and Robin and Linda Williams all happen this week.

Words, April 3

I’d heard advertorial and infotainment used to describe the blending of advertising with news and entertainment, but I hadn’t heard of infotainmercials. I find this whole trend disturbing.

The Observer, April 3

Monday morning last found The Observer having breakfast with a Hujiol Indian woman on a sidewalk in the little high desert mountain town of Real de Catorce, Mexico.

Word on the street

Calling all tome raiders, bibliophiles and book hounds: It's time to put down that page-turner and step out for a little author interaction. Here are the details you need: can't miss events; a complete schedule; our annual literate throwdown, Pub or Perish and an excerpt from the forthcoming Donald Harington novel.

More than tempting

We’ll be honest. (Good idea, you say.) It had been awhile since we dined at Delicious Temptations. In fact, our most salient memory of the West Little Rock eatery stretches back to when we were in short pants — or jams, probably — and the restaurant’s pit

What's cooking, April 3

Velo Rouge.

For the tax

The League of Women Voters (LWV), a non-partisan organization, has held a long-standing position regarding this issue: Severance taxes should be equalized and increased.

Back to the minors

I consider myself a fan of the Arkansas Travelers, mainly because I’m a lover of baseball in general. But my fandom is two-faced. Though I enjoy the experience of the games, I don’t much give a damn who wins them. Just give me a few cheap beers and a trip

Focus on the Marshallese

“Unnatural Causes,” a TV documentary series airing on PBS, took the filmmakers to Springdale for a segment on the Marshall Islanders, a population suffering from high rates of TB and other infectious diseases.

Two tall tales

Hillary Clinton and John McCain were caught telling whopping lies, each grotesque in its own way and transparent in its falsity, but one of the senators got away with it and the other didn’t.

Word on the street

Calling all tome raiders, bibliophiles and book hounds: It's time to put down that page-turner and step out for a little author interaction. Here are the details you need: can't miss events; a complete schedule; our annual literate throwdown, Pub or Perish and an excerpt from the forthcoming Donald Harington novel.


What a night. Fires, power outages, gas leaks, interstate flooded, airplanes upside down at NLR airport.


KATV, Channel 7, has a good wrap-up of Thursday night's storms. CNN says Little Rock looks like a war zone.

Zoo closed

The Little Rock Zoo is closed today because of a power outage, the city's PR guy Scott Carter has notified us.

Tall tales

Katie, Katie ... why are you on the nightly news? CBS gets blasted by Columbia Journalism Review for repeated the debunked claim that Gore says he invented the Internet.

Are we sheep?

A new New York Times poll says that an astonishing 81 percent of Americans think the nation has lost its way.

Wally Watch: April 3, 2008

Wally Watch: Where we read Wally Hall so you don't have to. April 3, 2008: Domino effect could see Pelphrey in Kentucky Primary Theme: The forced resignation of Sean Sutton at Oklahoma State could set in motion chain of events that would result in John Pelphrey coaching at Kentucky next year.

Storm photos

Planes at the North Little Rock Airport, photographed this a.m. by W. Mikeltodd Wilson of the AR Times staff.

Storm photos

Planes at the North Little Rock Airport, photographed this a.m. by W. Mikeltodd Wilson of the AR Times staff.

Storm Chasers

Okay, storms are bad, and thankfully it seems it's just damage and not loss of life.  That being said, I would like to first commend most of the local television news for being on top of the storms and telling people to get to safety.

For the record

A writer for a San Francisco alternative paper has written a long piece about Obama's voting record.

Shock of the new museum

A Wall Street Journal article today says museums around the country are worried about what could be a trend of collectors building their own museums rather than donating them to public museums.

More storm pix

Work on Mississippi (looking south) this afternoon and other pictures from Leawood. Much of Cammack Village is blocked off.

Plane explodes

Reuters reports that a U.S. B-1 bomber exploded on landing at Qatar.  

State revenues up

The Department of Finance and Administration says general revenues to date are up 1.9 percent over last year and 4.8 percent above what was forecast.

A change of pace

Hendrix' lacrosse team plays its final home game at 7 p.m. tonight against Southwestern and Conway is celebrating with Friday Night Stix.

Your turn

It's time to head over to hear E.J. Dionne talk about religion and politics at the Clinton School.

The Clintons' taxes

They've released their 2000-2007 income tax returns -- $109 million in income, more than $33 million in taxes paid, $10 million in charitable giving.

Final Four Dilemma

This year's Final Four features the consensus best four teams in all of the land, so it should be a highly competitive and entertaining weekend of basketball.

Creationist chronicles

Mike Huckabee, who famously held up his hand in an Iowa debate in May 2007 when the Republican presidential candidates were asked who did not believe in evolution, has cut a promotional video for the Ben Stein film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” The film, which will be released this month, posits that scientists who believe in intelligent design are being censored and punished in a Darwinist assault on religious faith.

New ballot initiative targets immigrants

Disappointed that there's no severance tax initiative to get excited about anymore? Don't sweat it: the immigration-obsessed are stepping up to the plate.


Brummett sees certain governing similarities between Mike Beebe and John Adams, the founding father every-HBO subscribing American is now expert on: 

PoP goes the ALF

The Arkansas Times' annual contribution to the Arkansas Literary Festival, the boozy bar reading we call Pub or Perish, went off without a hitch last night at Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack down in the River Market.

The happy — but misinformed — warrior

The Huffington Post reports on several mainstream media outlets that caught John McCain in another misinformed delusion about the Iraq war.

Mike Beebe's legacy

Brummett takes a look at Mike Beebe's legacy as governor one year into what Brummett hopes will be an eight-year administration.He finds it to be just fine.

The modern Eva Braun blabbers

Media Matters documents right-wing blabbermouth Ann Coulter's comparison of Barack Obama to Hitler: During the April 3 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, conservative pundit Ann Coulter stated of Sen. Barack Obama: "He's a dime store Mein Kampf."

Susan and Tony, sordid and phony

The Times ran a story last year about Tony Alamo's latest cult hideout, in Texarkana, prompted by an examination of Alamo by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

When eLwood speaks

The blog listens!  Here's the open line, tho' you all should be watching John Adams instead.

Clinton strategist quits

The New York Times is reporting that Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, has quit.

Final Four Follow-Up

I've been enjoying the commentary following my recent post about who not to root for in the Final Four.

Injudicious talk

The Times told you earlier about the hot court of appeals race in NW Ark. featuring a right-wing judicial candidate endorsed by wacky Jim Holt, who enjoys a paid position in the would-be judge's campaign. The candidate is related by marriage to the Hutchinson clan, too.

Games of skill

Roby Brock's Monday Morning Briefing reports on electronic games of skill at Oaklawn and Southland: ELECTRONIC GAMES OF SKILL WAGERS RISEThe Arkansas Racing Commission reported figures for February's electronic games of skill (EGS) at Oaklawn Racing Park and Southland Greyhound Park.In February 2008, Oaklawn EGS wagers totaled $18.2 million, up 9 percent from the previous month and a whopping 52 percent increase from February 2007.  Payouts topped $17 million for the month of February, the first full month of live horse racing at Oaklawn.Southland's EGS wager totals pulled in more than $29.1 million for the month of February and paid out $27.2 million.  February wagers are up $5.8 million from the previous month, roughly 25 percent higher.  In a year-over-year comparison, Southland's February wagers have increased by 76.5 percent.  Track officials say that increased advertising and extended hours of operation contributed to the increase.


The Wall Street Journal reports that security officials extinguished the Olympic torch in France to protect it from protesters objecting to China's treatment of Tibet.

Hucking around

The Washington Times reports on the efforts of pro-Huckster folks out West putting out an open letter warning McCain not to pick Romney as a running mate.

How the West is being supported

The blog announced last week that the  pro-immigrant alliance Arkansas Friendship Coalition will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. today at the state Capitol to publicize a study by the Oklahoma Bankers Association on the downside to new laws there to expel illegals.

Judgment at Nuremberg

Huffington Post quotes conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic as predicting that Bush's henchmen will be indicted for war crimes: Media coverage of the disclosure of the "torture memo" authored by Bush Justice Department official John C. Yoo has been mostly a deafening silence.

Depends on whose distortion is Gored

Media Matters columnist Jamison Foser notes that the mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post are speedy on the trigger to defend John McCain against what they say are "distortions" of his remarks.

It's called philanthropy

Max had difficulty signing on, so I'm passing this along from him: Re: some typically uninformed comments on this subject: Here's a link to the most recent IRS Form 990 filed by the Clinton Family Foundation.


Andrea Dezsö, My Grandmother Loved Me Even Though So I'm back. Calf-sore, sated on ethnic food and wondering why there's no juice bar in Little Rock.

The 18 percenter

Who is the choice of rank-and-file Republicans for vice president? A third of them don’t have a clue about whom John McCain should pick, but more mentioned our man Mike Huckabee than anyone else.

(Championship) Monday, Monday

Tonight, of course, is the NCAA championship, and for only the 68th time in the 70-game history of the event, the title bout will not feature the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Tuesday To-Do: Robin and Linda Williams

ROBIN AND LINDA WILLIAMS7 p.m., Christ Episcopal Church. $17.50.

New job for Hatfield

Former Razorbacks football head coach Ken Hatfield is heading up a program that provides prescription discounts through something called the Arkansas Drug Card program.

Pullet surprise

The Wall Street Journal reports that The Washington Post won six Pulitzer Prizes today, including one for its work exposing the Bush administrations betrayal of veterans being treated at Walter Reed Hospital.For the complete Pulitzers list go to.

Fired, but not.

For anyone not burned out on the internal drama of the Clinton campaign: Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic emphasizes that Mark Penn isn't actually leaving the Clinton camp.

It's open

In case Munford and Ernest get wrapped up in the pre-game to tonight's NCAA playoffs (Go, Memphis!)

Outing a legislator

Public opinion is rather inflamed against former state Rep. Dwayne Dobbins of North Little Rock. There's talk of denying him entrance to the House next year. But the public today is nowhere nearly as excited as it was the last time a state legislator was

Folk royalty

Few names in acoustic folk music are bigger than Robin and Linda Williams. The acclaimed husband and wife duo honed their skills at Nashville open mics and songwriters' workshops in the early '70s, before catching their first break, when they secured a sp

And now Pennsylvania

The New York Times reports that the shale-gas frenzy has spread from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas to Pennsylvania.  Triggered by the success of horizontal exploration in the Barnett Formation underneath Fort Worth and thereabouts, new drilling technology and spiking natural gas prices, energy companies like Chesapeake Energy, a big player in the Fayetteville shale, are madly gathering leases across Pennsylvania, where for a hundred years gas has been known to exist in the deep rock.

It ain't me, babe . . .

Alan Greenspan, once viewed as the genius behind the economic growth of the last two decades, is getting a bit touchy now that his peers are saying he probably caused our present bust.The Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip has an excellent interview: Alan Greenspan's reputation is under siege, and he's incredulous.Hailed three years ago as "the greatest central banker who ever lived," the retired chairman of the Federal Reserve now is being criticized for his management of the U.S. economy before he retired in 2006.The Fed's low rates and laissez-faire regulatory oversight during his final years are widely blamed for sowing the seeds of today's financial crisis -- one that began in the U.S. housing market and is now battering banks, stock markets, borrowers and consumers around the world.For much of his 18 years atop the world's most-influential economic institution, Mr. Greenspan was lionized for the economy's performance.

Pants on fire . . .

William Rivers Pitt writes for the Truthout website that Bush and his entire claque of toadies are world-class liars.

Lest WE forget: UPDATE

Out of Texas this morning via scurrilous e-mail comes what was predicted by some two months ago.It's an e-mail from a source of previous easily disproved lies about Hillary Clinton.This time the Fort Worth stalwart sends along -- in an e-mail with the subject line "Lest We Forget" -- a cartoon showing Barack Obama with exaggerated ethnic facial features and pointing to a sign that says "The WHITE House."

New idea for museum

The Fayetteville blogger Iconoclast suggests today that the Northwest Arkansas Museum Foundation, launched by the late banker and community visionary John Lewis, should look no further than the U of A campus to build, since former Chancellor John White did away with the museum there.

No habla Español

Bill Clinton may be magic at the Pink Tomato Festival, Dublin, Nairobi and even Kazakhstan but he’s pretty pedestrian in Puerto Rico.

Big Mac to the Bay?

Could Darren McFadden be headed for Oakland? The San Jose Mercury News reports that the big back was in Oakland Monday meeting with coaches and the Raiders’ front-office people.

Home sales down

The Arkansas Realtors Association announced today that home sales are down 13 percent in February.

Cheney shield

The Secret Service says it would be a good idea to keep Vice President Cheney (a.k.a. "the Angler") under its protection after he leaves office, the Washington Post reports.

Local ephemera

This might be the best album promo video ever. Hayes Carll, a Texas native, who, by virtue of his time at Hendrix and his sophomore album, "Little Rock," is an honorary Arkansan, releases his major label debut, "Trouble in Mind," today on Lost Highway Records.

Big Tobacco at the Clinton School: UPDATE

This one should be interesting: Susan Ivey, CEO of Reynolds American, second-largest tobacco company and the U.S. and maker of Camel cigarettes, will be speaking at the Clinton School (Sturgis Hall) at noon today.


A protester at the pro-immigrant Arkansas Friendship Coalition's press conference yesterday alleged that UAMS is using illegal aliens working for $3.50 an hour in construction on campus.

The Demise of a Species?

The salmon industry is reeling.  But it's not in the sense of lures, lines or hooks.  Scientists and biologists have long been reporting that wild salmon populations are declining at an alarming rate.  But perhaps more recently, the cry for attention has become more urgent.  Blame it on over fishing, pollution or salmon farms, but if you happen to love salmon the way I do, you owe it to yourself to take note.

Death rattle or stall?

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel appears to be satisfied that payday lenders are heeding his demand that they stop usurious lending.

We've had it

Max is still gone and Leslie is at the house fixing collards. You're on your own now.

The Wal-Mart effect

The family’s millions multiply merit pay, charters and other conservative education ideas.

‘Same kind of different’

Interfaith Hospitality Network of Little Rock is hosting Denver Moore and Ron Hall, authors of “Same Kind of Different As Me,” for commentary, questions and answers, and book signings at 7 p.m. on April 17 at First Baptist Church, 62 Pleasant Valley Drive

‘Same kind of different’

Interfaith Hospitality Network of Little Rock is hosting Denver Moore and Ron Hall, authors of “Same Kind of Different As Me,” for commentary, questions and answers, and book signings at 7 p.m. on April 17 at First Baptist Church, 62 Pleasant Valley Drive

Decision on immigration initiative today

Dustin McDaniel's office is expected to issue an opinion today on a ballot initiative, proposed by a group called Secure Arkansas, that would eliminate welfare payments and tuition assistance to unauthorized immigrants.  The act would also bar enrollment at a public school to anyone 14 or older unless he proves his legal residence.

Bush to people: Hell with you

Marie Cocco, in a scathing piece posted yesterday on truthdig, looks at how the Bush administration's hands-off attitude towards regulation has left the public unprotected in any number of areas, including the credit crisis.

That's what we'd like to know

The British paper The Independent talks with Oliver Stone about his new movie, "W," set to start filming soon in Louisiana.


Hard on the heels of the release of his CD "Exodus," Arkansas Symphony Orchestra director David Itkin has announced the 2009-2010 season with the ASO will be his last.


Hard on the heels of the release of his CD "Exodus," Arkansas Symphony Orchestra director David Itkin has announced the 2009-2010 season with the ASO will be his last.

Smile, you're on camera

Want to see Wal-Mart managers in drag? Hillary Clinton being described by Sam Walton as "one of us"?

No regrets

Gov. Beebe says that despite the fact that the state budget will have to be cut by $107 million in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the $121 million tax cut he signed into law last year was the right thing to do.

Immigration initiative rejected

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected the immigration initiative proposed by Secure Arkansas. In a letter to Jeannie Burlsworth, chair of the group, McDaniel noted several legal ambiguities in the act.

Let 'em run

I'm in the Hong Kong airport, and homeward bound, finally with some Internet access that isn't glacial.


The Wall Street Journal is reporting tonight that CBS may be getting ready to junk its munchkin, Katie Couric: CBS News executives and people close to Katie Couric say that the "CBS Evening News" anchor is likely to leave the network well before her contract expires in 2011 -- possibly soon after the presidential inauguration early next year.

The Good, The Bad, And The Acting Ugly

On the way home from a recent trip, there were some flight delays. It was the day after tornadoes ripped through central Arkansas, and the weather front had moved all the way through to the East Coast.