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April 6, 2011

Vol 37 • No 31

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Arkansas Literary Festival 2011

Pop favorites, niche heroes and non-fiction standouts lead the way at this year's Arkansas Literary Festival.

Arkansas Literary Festival: Harris meets Sedaris

Pop favorites, niche heroes and non-fiction standouts lead the way at this year's festival.

Charlaine Harris: Small-town savant

Tales from the South: True Grits

Restaurant puts 'Tales from the South' on the airwaves.

Pub or Perish 2011

Eighth year for Times' bar reading

Arkansas Literary Festival 2011 schedule

A heck of a cookbook

Festivities, Too could be this year's breakout cookbook on the local level, with nearly 1200 recipes from all sorts of folks, including the folks that make waves in our lives.

'Hairspray' hits the stage

The John Waters adaptation opens at The Rep

The irony and the hipster-y

There's cool, and then there's foolish

Cage the Elephant returns to Revolution

Also: 'Fete du Film' kicks off at the Arkansas Arts Center, the 'Support Shoog Radio' showcase and Afroman come to Revolution, 'The Last Night of Ballyhoo' opens at The Weekend Theater and Mike Epps (and Friends) come to the Robinson Center Music Hall

Arkansas Chamber Singers bring 'Bach Cantatas' to St. James United Methodist

Also: Tyrannosaurus Chicken to tear into Midtown Billiards.

It's not about the money

So how much money did UALR make for putting two teams, men's and women's, in the NCAA basketball tournaments? Not much.

SWEPCO's power

"HB1895 will grease the rails for any large utility company, such as AEP, to come into our state and site a power plant wherever they please."

Try Terry's

Lunch at the Heights bistro won't disappoint.

Sushi restaurant Eastern Flames closes

Meanwhile, Seoul, a Korean restaurant with sushi offerings, is planned to open in the old Satellite Cafe.

302 on the Square

The green-awning-shaded restaurant serves classic American dishes with Cajun twists.

This Modern World, April 6, 2011

Clemons surrenders law license

When a promised donation of $500,000 to the Arkansas Arts Center ostensibly from a Dubai businessman was a no-show, the lawyer who'd promised the gift made himself scarce as well.

New Martin staffer

Secretary of State Mark Martin has added Mark Myers, a Republican Party activist and Van Buren ad man who handled Martin's campaign radio advertising, as a "project coordinator" for $58,711.

Taylor Swift to Verizon this October

Magic Springs to bring Blake Shelton, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and 3 Doors Down to Hot Springs for its summer concert series.

Chairmanships key to Democrats' agenda

Moore had 'right people in the right places.'

Urban hiking guide

Who says you have to trek up to Northwest Arkansas to find good hiking in Arkansas? In 10 minutes or less, all Little Rockers and North Little Rockers can get to an urban trail that'll put them in a natural state of mind.

Good week: Arkansas

The legislature mostly came to a close. Given the increased Republican contingent, the damage done was remarkably slight.

Transcending space and time, on a train

'Source Code' doesn't make much sense, but that's OK.

They come for oldsters

The new Republican budget for 2012 should supply the truth of whether people can be sold one lie and then be made to like the lie they hated. Sound deceptive? It ought to be.

The child comes last

Education issues ought to be decided every time, without exception, on the basis of what is best for a child.

Could have been worse

The 2011 legislative session was not as fractured along party lines as observers had feared, though it was still largely disappointing.

Sound and fury

Take a few steps back from the bubble of the Capitol and you sometimes wonder what the fuss surrounding this session was all about.

The art everybody loves

The Arts Center's 'Impressionists.'

The Church of Netflix Instant

On 'That Evening Sun' and Bill Hicks.

Dean Faulkner Wells, niece of William, visits Wordsworth

And more visiting authors in the month of April.

Orval, April 6, 2011

Writ lit

Here at Pine Knot Abundant Life, our Sunday School class, God's Go-Getters, agrees with the Arkansas legislators who want the Bible taught as literature in our public schools.

The Observer and M of UALR

It started when he was 12 years old, M said. That was the year he died.

Welcome back

The Little Rock National Airport welcomed back the American Eagle mainline air service between Little Rock and Dallas-Fort Worth with a water cannon salute Tuesday.

'The Aluminum Show'

March 30, Robinson Center Music Hall

"US jet crashes in Libya, both crew are safe"

A crew is "a group of people working together." A crew is not an individual any more than a team is.

Philander president in top 5 for La. job

Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Philander Smith College, is one of five candidates named yesterday as semi-finalists for the job of chancellor of Southern University, the historically black state university in Baton Rouge.

Divided race for Wisconsin court

Fewer than 600 votes separate an incumbent conservative Republican member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and a previously unknown challenger to his re-election bid.

Republican plan to rip up safety net UPDATE

I wasn't honored with a return call from my congressman or any of the other Republican members of Congress, but I note both Reps. Tim Griffin and Steve Womack issued warm statements to the Democrat-Gazette about the portion of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan to turn Medicaid into a block grant program.

Wednesday To-Do: Cage the Elephant

Kentucky swagger rockers Cage the Elephant returns to Revolution with Biffy Clyro and Sleeper Agent

Explosion shuts down Newport distillery

Two people were burned in an explosion that has temporarily shutdown the distillery in Newport that makes Uncle Ed's Arkansas Moonshine.

Legislative redistricting begins

The Board of Apportionment is meeting this morning. Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel voted to hire Joe Woodson as staff coordinator.

Senate passes redistricting plan

The Senate is debating the congressional redistricting plan that came out of committee yesterday. But other options are still being pitched.

Booze news: Macadoodle's wins another court round

For NWA drinkers: The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, a circuit court and now the Arkansas Court of Appeals has turned back challenges by a group of retail liquor stores to a permit for the Macadoodles package store in Springdale.

'Sexting' investigated at Lake Hamilton JHS

The Garland County sheriff's office has issued a report of an inquiry about "sexting" — the phone transmission of provocative photographs — by students at Lake Hamilton Junior High.

Arkansas airports: Overpriced

By now, many have grown tired of my complaints about Little Rock National Airport price-gouging.

Sen. Pryor orates on possible shutdown

Sen. Mark Pryor has distributed a copy of the speech he delivered in the Senate today about the possibility of a government shutdown.

Acxiom announces layoffs

Acxiom Corp. is expected to announce a round of layoffs today — less than 50 people across the U.S. and about a dozen in Central Arkansas.

Beebe vetoes $60,000 transfer

Gov. Mike Beebe has vetoed a line in an appropriation bill transferring $60,000 from the Arkansas Crime Information Center to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Wisconsin challenger declares victory

Jo Anne Kloppenburg, a lightly regarded candidate who came from nowhere to challenge an incumbent member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, has declared victory in her race against Justice David Prosser.

New leadership for Rockefeller Institute

The University of Arkansas has announced a new chief executive office for its Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, established on 188 acres at the former governor's Petit Jean Mountain ranch as a conference and education center.

Wednesday night line

The line is open. Closing note: * UALR Provost David Belcher has been named a finalist in a couple of searches by other colleges for top administrators — in Wisconsin and South Carolina.

'Painted and Posted': Emily Wood

Emily Wood's been showing her work all over Arkansas. Now, it's at UALR.

Re: Elgin Clemons

For the .00000001 percent of Eye Candy readers who don't read Max Brantley's Arkansas Blog, here's a link I forgot to post yesterday, to my story about former Arts Center board member Elgin Clemons.

Obama nominates Susan Hickey for federal judgeship

NEWS RELEASE WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman today announced that Judge Susan O. Hickey has been nominated by President Obama for the U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. Ms. Hickey currently serves as Circuit Judge of the 13th Judicial District in El Dorado, Arkansas. “Hickey’s experience as Circuit Judge and former law clerk for Judge Barnes will serve her well as U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Arkansas,” Pryor said. “I look forward to moving her nomination forward through the Senate confirmation process.” “I am confident Hickey will do a good job representing the people of the Western District of Arkansas,” Boozman said. “She is highly recommended by her peers and I am hopeful she will be confirmed by the Senate.” Ms. Hickey previously worked as in-house counsel to Murphy Oil and as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes. In September of 2010, Hickey was appointed by Mike Beebe to replace Carol Anthony as Circuit Judge of the 13th Judicial District. With her upcoming nomination, Hickey will succeed Judge Barnes who has now reached senior status.

Congressional redistricting: Senate plan won't go

Late word is that polling of the House State Agencies committee indicates the Senate congressional redistricting plan/strong> won't be approved in the committee tomorrow.

West Memphis cops indicted

Two West Memphis cops, including the internal affairs director, have been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Burger joint of the week: Buffalo Grill

A classic tall burger that hasn't changed at all over the years, worthy of any lunch.

The Republican Medicare swindle

John Brummett isn't buying the Paul Ryan plan to destroy Medicare by diverting federal money to enrich insurance companies.

Michelle Rhee: Education reform huckster

Those who don't see the Democrat-Gazette might have missed a fine Gene Lyons column today on Michelle Rhee, the self-promoting education reformer who's lost a bit of her sparkle recently because of reports on her exaggeration of her own performance as a teacher and a USA Today investigative story that raises questions about her claims of advancement in Washington, D.C. schools when she was chancellor.

The war on Planned Parenthood

Also in Salon: A good column by Joan Walsh, highlighting Republican Rep. Mike Pence's vow to shut down the federal government rather than continue federal support for Planned Parenthood.

Fayetteville First Thursday

Here's the lineup for First Thursday in Fayetteville, 5-8 p.m. tonight:

Hankins' art donated

Eight paintings by Jane F. Hankins, known widely for her whimsical ceramic figures, have been donated to UAMS' Child Study Center.

Thank God for Mississippi

Or at least thank God they only polled Mississippi. Polling on Republican presidential preferences in Mississippi finds that Republican voters split 46-40 in favor of the proposition that interracial marriages should be illegal.

Supreme Court strikes down adoption law

The Arkansas Supreme Court today ruled the initiated act aimed at barring unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children is unconstitutional.

Thursday To-Do: Fete du Film - 'Under the Roofs of Paris'

UALR's Department of World Languages and the Arkansas Arts Center kick off their three-part movie series this Thursday with "Under the Roofs of Paris," an early romantic comedy by early French master Rene Clair.

UALR's Belcher still out of pocket

UALR Provost David Belcher has not responded to my query about reports that he'd dropped out of job searches for college administrative jobs in South Carolina and Wisconsin because he'd accepted a job elsewhere.

Thursday To-Do: 'Support Shoog Radio'

The ladies behind KABF's latest local rock radio show raise money for the radio station with a showcase of their favorite local bands: Booyah! Dad, Ginsu Wives, The Reparations, Sweet Eagle and Winston Family Orchestra.

Jon Stewart grills Mike Huckabee

Monet, Degas, Renoir in action

See Monet paint at Giverny, Degas stroll down a street and Renoir paint in his studio.

Kimbrough withdraws from Southern U. job hunt

Philander Smith College President Walter Kimbrough has withdrawn from consideration for the job of chancellor of Southern University in Baton Rouge, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.

Ham for the holidays

I might not be able to enjoy ham at Easter, but that's no reason a big, tasty Petit Jean Meats ham shouldn't be on your Easter table.

Helena councilman does it again

I tried to ignore it when Helena-West Helena Council member Joe St. Columbia seemed to refer to black city officials as monkeys running the zoo.

No progress on congressional redistricting

The House State Agencies Committee will meet at 1 p.m. today to consider the Senate-passed redistricting plan.

First Thursday in Hillcrest

Gallery 26 open late tonight.

Ballpark built, but nobody came

What a shock. Springdale has discovered that taxing the locals to build a new ballpark didn't prove to be a spur to ballpark neighborhood development.

Five indicted in racial firebombing case

Five people have been indicted on charges related to the January firebombing of a an interracial couple's home near Hardy.

The line is open

Your comments here. * If you care to follow the Wisconsin vote canvass, TPM is all over it.

Thinking Eureka!

It's not too soon to start thinking about the May Festival of the Arts in Eureka Springs, and a great website helps you plan.

Shaping Congress: what next?

The missing man in the debate over new congressional district lines is Gov. Mike Beebe.

The Republican extortion game UPDATE

Democrats fall prey to this over and over. You cannot bargain with Republicans in good faith.

Speaking of extortion, aka corporate welfare

Amen corner here today on story in New York Times. The focus is on competition between Missouri and Kansas for business location, but it applies in all 50 states and sometimes to competition within states: ...the interstate rivalry has grown fierce on a new battlefield — business — as the two states stage cross-border raids and entice companies with generous incentives to move a few miles and resettle on the other side.

Big announcement at Empty Bowls

A big check from a big settlement puts a bulge in the Arkansas Foodbank's pocketbook.

Sangeeta Mann v. Randeep Mann

Pulaski County court records indicated convicted bomber Randeep Mann said this week through his attorney that he doesn't object to his wife Sangeeta Mann's request for a no-fault divorce on ground of their 18-month separation.

David Belcher to Western Carolina

UALR Provost David Belcher has been named new chancellor at Western Carolina University in Cullhowee.

Weekend: Cody Belew, Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Benjamin del Shreve

This weekend, a local staple begins his farewells at Afterthought, Musicians Showcase winners at Midtown, Fayetteville comes to town at Stickyz and more.

Friday To-Do: Afroman

The novelty-rap icon behind 2000 mega-hit "Because I Got High" returns to Little Rock. Fun fact: he's widely acknowledged as the first musician whose success is indebuted, in toto, to the internet. Afroman: the original music meme.

Friday To-Do: Mike Epps & Friends

The comedian/actor/prolific Tweeter brings his national tour to Little Rock. A by-the-numbers cut-up in the movies, Epps' comedy twists to the goofy everyman shtick. Also along for the ride: Lil JJ, the 20-year old, Little Rock-born comedian and actor.

Weekend To-Do: 'The Last Night of Ballyhoo'

The Weekend Theater opens its doors for the season's penultimate production, a period piece, set in 1939 Atlanta, follows a Southern Jewish family whose concern about the atrocities against the Jews in Europe is overshadowed by the upcoming social event of the season.

2FAN at Hearne: Lewis, Hobbs, Catlett and haiku

Hearne invites gallery-goers to wax poetic.

Moore "communicating" with Beebe on redistricting

Speaker Robert Moore says he has been in communication with the governor's office regarding the issue of redistricting. He hopes for a resolution early next week.

Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen fight for their right to party

Beastie Boys debut the trailer for their upcoming, half-hour video "remake" of "Fight For Your Right."

Pieday: Raspberry cream cheese at Trio's, er, Capi's

Sweet, tart and creamy... and somehow familiar. Trio's best pie can also be found at its sister restaurant.

Saturday To-Do: Pub or Perish 2011

Our annual Pub or Perish night returns for an eighth year for this weekend's Arkansas Literary Festival

McDaniel faults law banning political robocalls

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion today that shouldn't gladden anyone's heart, even if it happens to be legally correct.

Overstock cuts Ark. ad contracts

The new Arkansas law that aims to collect the sales tax from Internet retailers that advertise through Arkansas-based websites has, as expected, cause one such retailer to drop its use of the Arkansas affiates.

Huckabee urges GOP to avoid shutdown

When Mike Huckabee is right, Mike Huckabee is right. In an interview Friday on Fox Business Channel, the potential 2012 presidential hopeful said the GOP should avoid a shutdown at all costs "because the consequences of that are going to hurt the Republicans, not the Democrats."

Million-dollar raffle winner

Gene Simpson of Sulphur Rock, shown with his wife, held one of the two $1 million raffle tickets drawn yesterday by the Arkansas Lottery after a sale of 500,000 $10 tickets.

The line is open

Government closure, Planned Parenthood, gay marriage. Today's last shots.

2FAN at HAM: Greer

The Historic Arkansas Museum opens "Empty Spaces," digital photographs by Conway artist Jasmine Greer.

Podcasting our blues away

Arkansas Times Week in Review Podcast for April 8, 2011.

Paper trail: UA's search for system president

University of Arkansas trustee e-mails reveal details on one-on-one private meetings in search for UA System president and a flirtation with the University of Missouri chancellor.

Clarksville jury clears porn store of obscenity

I heard this morning from John Wesley Hall, one of the attorneys for three clerks at X-Mart, the porn store in Clarksville, who were cleared by a Clarksville jury yesterday of criminal charges for selling obscene merchandise, hard-core movies featuring the likes of anal intercourse.

The details of the shutdown compromise

The workout of the federal government budget debate came late Friday, so the morning paper lacks many of the specific details of the compromise.

West Memphis 3 DNA testing OK, McDaniel says

The attorney general's office gets it, apparently. It is not objecting to requests for additional DNA testing of evidence gathered in the West Memphis Three murder cases.

Did publisher's politics contribute to column cancellation?

April 6, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette readers got the last installment of Forces of Nurture, a column on mothering started in 2008 by staff writers Cindy Murphy and Cathy Frye. Did the publisher's politics play a role?

Where's Whitewater in L.J. Davis obit?

The New York Times carried a fairly lengthy obituary today on a relatively obscure "journalist and novelist" named L.J. Davis, who'd written for the Times among others.

The line is open

Saturday night's all right for writing.

Shale pipeline builder enters guilty plea

Nice coincidence. The Sunday Democrat-Gazette has an article recapping the gas lobby's defeat of even modest legislation aimed at providing some assurance of decent environmental regulation of the drilling, waste disposal and other activities in the Fayetteville shale zone.

'Monkeys don't eat tamales'

Helena-West Helena Alderman Joe St. Columbia apparently had to shut down his Pasquale's tamale stand Saturday because of a demonstration about e-mail he's forwarded that many have characterized as racist.

J.R. Howard to head State Police

Gov. Mike Beebe's office has announced that the governor will announce his choice to head the State Police Monday morning.

Gilbert Baker seeking Henderson presidency

Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker is a candidate for president of Henderson State University and my sources indicate he'll be interviewed next week about the opening.

The Sunday line

A sleepy Sunday for me, except for one of my two golf-watching days of the year (British Open, too).

More details on Henderson presidency search UPDATE

I reported Sunday morning that Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker, co-chair of Joint Budget, had applied to be president of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

Ryan plan: Obamacare

Ernie Dumas explained all the details last week, but it bears the further emphasis John Brummett gives it today.Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's health care plan is nothing more or less than Obamacare.

Japanese radiation in Little Rock milk UPDATE

We're all Japanese today. Milk from Little Rock and drinking water from Philadelphia contained the highest levels of Iodine-131 from Japan yet detected by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to data released by EPA Saturday.

The Walmart economy

The American Prospect magazine has a deep special report on Walmart, with a focus on its low wages and the pressure it puts on wages of others, from competitors to suppliers.

The Rep's 'Hairspray' is 'exceptional'

The musical "Hairspray" is, in many ways, about progress. It's also about big hair and about a man dressing up as a woman and about Baltimore.

LISA charter school expansion voted down

The state Board of Education today turned down an expansion application by the LISA Academy charter school. It hasn't proved it outperforms similar public schools.

Howard named to head State Police

As predicted here yesterday, Gov. Mike Beebe has named JR Howard as new director of the State Police.

Redistricting compromise unveiled UPDATE

The legislature reconvenes at 1 p.m. The big news will be at 1:30 p.m., when the House State Agencies Committee convenes and Chairman Clark Hall unveils a new congressional redistricting map.

Mark Martin: $54,000 worth of strategery

Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin ran for office as all Republicans did on promises to be careful with the public's money. So why's he spending $54,000, plus expenses, on a "strategic planning process"?

Former Arkansas Arts Center officer to repay almost $12,000

The Arkansas Arts Center's former chief financial officer will repay the AAC $11,976 for personal items he charged to the organization's credit card, the Arts Center board of directors revealed today.

Here come the Farmers Markets

Get the lowdown on the opening dates for area markets.

Monday, Monday

The Dillard's proxy. A Mike Huckabee-Donald Trump ticket. Congressional redistricting.

Coming to Ketz: Spring Show, Auction for Autism

Lois Davis, Peggy Roberson and Paula Steele are the featured artists at Ketz Gallery for this Friday's Argenta ArtWalk.

A word from the sponsors

No way a tiny weekly can compete equally with a vigorous metropolitan daily newspaper with a staff of 200 and an admirable amount of space devoted to news, but we try in our small way to hit them where they ain't, aided by instantaneous free Internet publication of the news we do cover.

Harding engages homosexuality

Harding University began a two-night series of programs last night on the topic, "How Christians Should Respond to Homosexuality."

KUAR: The blog match lives

Thanks for asking. Yes, I'll be raising money for KUAR Friday morning from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. along with Rosi Smith.

Republican decision time on Medicare

Republicans face a defining vote on Medicare. Will House Republicans vote for a budget plan that effectively privatizes Medicare (a phrasing that Republicans hate)?

The legislature's illegal pay supplements

Ernest Dumas is worth another early look this week for his column on the illegal pay supplements nearly all legislators take — with varying degrees of hypocrisy — for undocumented "expense reimbursements."

More big spending Tea Partyers

The Hot Springs Sentinel-Record is behind an absolute pay wall, so I can't link you to a story there today on an ongoing community controversy that we'll be writing about before long.

Why won't Mike Huckabee apologize for killings, gay slurs?

Tough column in the Guardian by Fred Karger, a campaign director for George Bush's 1988 presidential run who helped hang rapist Willie Horton on Michael Dukakis.

Arkansas Arts Council giving away free money

Applications for the council's $,000 Individual Artists Fellowships are due by Friday, April 22.

Redistricting compromise headed to law books

The legislature is in session. Rep. Clark Hall, sponsor of the House bill, acknowledged that the final product of congressional redistricting is a compromise forced by Senate resistance to the bill passed by the House.

Enter our Foo Fighters ticket give away

The Times is looking for your best cover/karaoke/dance interpretation/music video treatment of a Foo Fighters song

Garland Camper resigns as Pulaski coroner

Garland Camper is no longer Pulaski Counthy coroner. He submitted his letter of resignation yesterday to County Judge Buddy Villines at Villines' request.

Special justice for SWEPCO case

Gov. Mike Beebe today appointed Deborah Knox of Mountain Home to serve as a special associate justice on the Supreme Court case in which a hunting club and others are challenging the SWEPCO power plant under construction in Hempstead County.

Boswell and Weber

Coming to Boswell-Mourot, a show by two of Little Rock's best known artists, who are giving up a portion of their earnings to benefit the Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute.

Peyton Hillis is going to be on the cover of Madden

Or at least he's got a good shot.

Tuesday topics now open

Funny day. Started strong, slowed quite a bit.

Proud of the purple and gray

A lot of people thought UCA's unveiling of the design for a new artificial turf football field last week was an April Fool's prank.

It's a cluster

A report on a new study just released by the Natural Resources Defense Council identifies and seeks causes for 42 so-called "disease clusters" in 13 American states.

Christie's art expert at Crystal Bridges

Amy Cappellazzo, an expert in post-war and contemporary American art and a deputy chair at Christie's International, will talk about the world of art collecting on Sunday, April 17, in Bentonville.

Coming Friday: Sculpture unveiling at Hot Springs

Fourteen sculptures selected for Hot Springs' annual "Invitational Sculpture Exhibition" on Bathhouse Row will be unveiled at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Palm Sunday art event

St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Hope is opening its doors (as usual) to all comers on April 17, Palm Sunday, to celebrate the installation of the "Stations of the Cross," 14 paintings commissioned from artist Randall Good.

Artosphere kickoff: "Garden as Muse"

The exhibit "Garden as Muse" kicks off Artosphere on April 22.

In plane view

Eric Peterson, whose firm is designing the Little Rock Airport expansion, will give the fourth "Art of Architecture" lectures.