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April 9, 2009

Vol 7 • No 13

Honorable mention: The other finalists

These 10 students reached the final round of judging for this year’s Academic All-Star Team, but not the final selection.

The 2009 Arkansas Times Academic All-Star Team

An assembly of super achievers.

The rifleman

Rep. Jon Woods (R-Funny Farm and Springdale) presented Sen. Steve Faris' right to hunt and fish constitutional amendment in the House Monday.

If this were New Orleans ...

... and the legislature was a jazz funeral, the tempo would be picking up now from the dirge. Soon, the Second Line would form, parasols waving, and shortly the trombones would wail, "Didn't they ramble?"

Basic rights

The legislature in its sagacity has decided that our top priority in state constitutional reform should be an amendment guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish.

GOP’s absurd leaders

Thirty-one percent of Americans had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party last week, a record low, and even that slender faith must rest on the party’s storied past, not on anything its leaders have done or said lately that would merit anyone’s admiration.

D’Lightful

Bryant’s Taste of D’Light may have an odd name, but when it comes to whopping serving sizes and pleasant service, it’s one you should remember.

‘Truth! Reconciliation?’

It had never occurred to me that it is possible to stage a bibliography. But that is essentially what Grif Stockley has done with his new play, “Truth! Reconciliation?”

Words, April 9

Let’s separate the sheep from the fish:

Derby day

First things first. A bit of clarification. The Rock Candy 500, running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the River Market Pavilion, is a pinewood derby, not a soapbox derby. We're talking small, handcrafted cars. Not something you sit in and steer.

Biker critic

Over the past 10 years of living off and on in the Little Rock area, I have noticed an increase of bicycle use in the city.

Coming of age

“Adventureland,” it turns out, is the best kind of nostalgia movie — the kind that doesn’t punch you in the face with nostalgia.

The televisionist, April 9

Let’s face it: dying ain’t fun.

Free at last

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week all but ended the Little Rock school desegregation lawsuit by upholding a lower court’s finding that the district had achieved unitary status.

Lincolnian logic

Political philosopher Blanche Lincoln has produced a novel theory in support of her proposal to further reward the very rich.

April 1-7, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … The LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT. A federal appeals court declared it desegregated and no longer in need of court supervision.

A&E news, April 9

Get the lowdown on this year’s Riverfest line-up, which is gradually nearing completion.

Artists come down for 2nd Friday

Artists from the North (the Ozarks and New York) bring their sensibilities to Second Friday Art Night, starting at 5 p.m. April 10.

In brief, April 9

At the Clinton School, Steve Hannah, CEO of the Onion, speaks, 6 p.m., free.

Derby day

First things first. A bit of clarification. The Rock Candy 500, running from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the River Market Pavilion, is a pinewood derby, not a soapbox derby. We're talking small, handcrafted cars. Not something you sit in and steer.

The graduate

As anyone who has ever taught a class can tell you: four years in front of a chalkboard can seem like a very long time.

Gambling

When House Speaker Robbie Wills announced his three appointees to the new state lottery commission last week, a gambling follower noted that one, Dr. Susan Ward-Jones of Marion, was involved in another gambling enterprise.

Smart talk, April 9

With the country in a deep recession, unemployment rising and foreclosure rates skyrocketing. U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln drew attention last week for legislation she introduced to extend a quarter-TRILLION in tax breaks to families of the wealthiest people in the U.S.

What's cooking, April 9

As we’ve previously reported, Whole Hog Cafe is expanding its porcine empire into Rock Creek Plaza, the shopping center at the corner of Bowman and West Markham that houses, among other things, Hobby Lobby and El Porton.

To-do list, April 9

Travs season opener, Anthony David, 'The Magical Music of Disney,' Johnathan Wilkins / the Reds / the See, Party at the T, Great American Taxi, Dana Falconberry and Sonny Rollins make for a few good-time choices this week.

Lincolnian logic

Political philosopher Blanche Lincoln has produced a novel theory in support of her proposal to further reward the very rich.

Free speech, free press, free buckshot

Big-government conservatives infest our Legislature. They profess to abhor intrusive government even as they ever intrude.

The observer, April 9

As far as baseball goes, Arkansans’ loyalties are divided between the Texas Ranger fans in the southwest corner and St. Louis Cardinal fans everywhere else.

Orval, April 9

This modern world, April 9

Why. Now who?

So now we know that Gov. Mike Beebe allowed a self-storage warehouse tax break to pass this session because he was delivering on a four-year-old campaign promise.

Union compromise

John Brummett thinks a tiny sop to workers -- a promise of somewhat stricter federal enforcement of labor laws -- might be a workable way to deliver something useful from the failed drive for the Employee Free Choice Act.

Union compromise

John Brummett thinks a tiny sop to workers -- a promise of somewhat stricter federal enforcement of labor laws -- might be a workable way to deliver something useful from the failed drive for the Employee Free Choice Act.

Si puede

There IS a difference in Washington. While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Obama plans to begin addressing the country’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.

Vermillion closes

Mike Selig's Vermillion, a prime River Market district restaurant and watering hole, closed abruptly last night.

Who Lincoln's working for MONEY UPDATE

Yet another analysis of the Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Mark Pryor-endorsed) estate tax plan. It would cut taxes on a grand total of 60 "small"  family farmers and businessmen.

Alamo: champion of religious freedom

The Tony Alamo circus adds a new legal wrinkle today. A federal court pleading is scheduled that will argue that state efforts to protect children by removing them from the Alamo organization compound amounts to an unconstitutional limitation on Alamo church religious freedom.

Thursday To-Do: Travs opener

TRAVS SEASON OPENER7:10 p.m., Dickey-Stephens Park, North Little Rock. $6-$10.It's a new year for the defending Texas League champion Arkansas Travelers, and one that could prove just as exciting as last.

Thursday: The CEO of the Onion, Greg Spradlin, Whale Fire, more

Whale Fire. THURSDAY 4/9At the Clinton School, Steve Hannah, CEO of the Onion, speaks, 6 p.m., free.

Thursday Must-Do: Rock Candy 500

Cars by David Koon (L) and Patrick Jones (R). ROCK CANDY 5007 p.m., River Market Pavilion.

Death at the Zoo

A Little Rock Zoo zebra died as a result of an accident that occurred when animals were being introduced into the zoo's new African veldt exhibit.

Booze OK at Sam's Club

The Arkansas Supreme Court today upheld a lower court ruling that Wal-Mart had come up with a legal way to have a retail liquor store on the premises of its Sam's Club in Fayetteville.

Payday for local courts UPDATE

Rep. Steve Harrelson's Under the Dome blog has been a treasure trove of legislative information and reporting, sometimes almost instantaneous reporting.

Legislature packs up VOTE NOW

The House has adjourned. I hope for a report soon on the Senate's final business, electing a president pro tem for 2011.

Did Coach K Get Strip Searched at the Canadian Border?

One has to wonder about that after reading the Ol' Greybeard's column from this morning.

Other songs, other rooms

This is one of those days. I have to be other places.

Tempting Eats.

I'm sure over the past 28-someodd years that a lot of big decisions have been made over breakfast at Delicious Temptations.  The somewhat posh north Rodney Parham eatery sits tucked back behind Party City is a splendid little place to catch up over breakfast delights such as Eggs Temptations ($4.50 for one or $7.95 for two, shown above) -- the traditional Eggs Benedict but with artichoke hearts and lump crab meat instead of Canadian bacon.  The light crab meat might be lost beneath the hollandaise sauce without the tart artichoke hearts, but all together it's a beautiful little sonata to sway your taste buds.

Evening update

An open line for you. Also, a few news headlines before I head to the Rock Candy 500: * Thank you, sir may I have another?

Be a Fountain, Not a Drain

My mother once said, “Be a fountain, not a drain,” a phrase surely quoted before her though I cannot state by whom.

Neo soul night

Continuing an impressive streak of attracting neo-soul talent, Little Rock gets another potentially rising star on Friday. Recent Grammy nominee and India.Arie cohort Anthony David comes to Revolution tonight.

Twister

Two dead and up to thirty injured in Mena, which took a direct hit from a large tornado just after 8 p.m. last night.

GAYS, GUNS & GODS (V) - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WHEN QUEENS COLLIDE

Ten millennia of human civilization, ancient revealed religious wisdom, separation of Church and State, and civil equality for all Americans come down to . . .

GAYS, GUNS AND GODS (IV) – FOR BETTER? OR WORSE?

  Technically, all Myths are Lies if taken literally.  

GAYS, GUNS AND GODS (III) – MYTHS, LIES & LINKS

[I planned to be in Little Rock for Easter, but God had other plans. A sudden invitation to Myrtle Beach.

GAYS, GUNS AND GODS (II) – CAN WE TALK?

No, apparently, we can’t.   We can SHOUT but it’s not the same.   50 years of fast and furious dialogue spanning, “Put ‘em in concentration camps,” to, “Let ‘em get married like everybody else,” is boiling since Iowa’s, Vermont’s and D.C.’s rulings for same-sex marriage recognition.

Local boy does bad

Billy Bob Thornton has been getting hammered for a surly interview he did recently with Canadian public radio.

GAYS, GUNS AND GODS (I)

(Parts I - V in sequence . . . scroll down or JUMP to PART II or PART III or PART IV or PART V . . .

Mena deaths rise

The death count in last night's Mena tornado is now three, CNN reports. Some 100 homes damaged.

What will NLR think of next?

I thought the North Little Rock Police Department's tireless devotion to trolling the Internet for international perverts a little strange.

What will NLR think of next?

I thought the North Little Rock Police Department's tireless devotion to trolling the Internet for international perverts a little strange.

Friday To-Do: 'The Magical Music of Disney'

‘THE MAGICAL MUSIC OF DISNEY'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$66.You can't accuse the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra of being inaccessible.

Friday To-Do: Jonathan Wilkins - The Reds - The See

The See. JOHNATHAN WILKINS/ THE REDS/THE SEE10 p.m., White Water Tavern, $5.Three's not always a crowd, but this three-band group of 2008-09 Musicians Showcase performers, all trios, coincidentally, should certainly attract one.

Friday To-Do: Anthony David

ANTHONY DAVID10 p.m., Revolution. $20.Continuing an impressive streak of attracting neo-soul talent, Little Rock gets another potentially rising star on Friday.

Wally Hall Remixed

I know we've been posting a lot of Wally Hall content lately, and although I worry a bit about running that theme into the ground, it's the offseason and pickings are slim.

Last Night: Rock Candy 500

Gerard Matthews surveys the winners. The stars aligned last night at the River Market Pavilion at the Rock Candy 500.

She is risen

-- John C. Jones for NLR Times Three days of pumping and the Salty Parrot, the one-time restaurant barge, has been mostly raised from its watery grave on the NLR riverfront, The Times of North Little Rock reports.

Here comes the stimulus

State Education Director Ken James met with school officials to outline plans for a coming infusion of more than a half-billion dollars in federal stimulus money over the next six months.

Here comes the stimulus

State Education Director Ken James met with school officials to outline plans for a coming infusion of more than a half-billion dollars in federal stimulus money over the next six months.

The Weekend: Leon Russell, Eric Sardinas, Carl Marshall, Bill Morrissey, church, more

What a weirdo. FRIDAY 4/10Guitar hero Eric Sardinas plays blues-rock at Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s. Up Fayetteville way, classic rock stalwart Leon Russell comes to George's Majestic, 9:30 p.m., $25.

Saturday To-Do: Party at the T

Whale Fire. PARTY AT THE T4 p.m., Broadway and Main, North Little Rock.

Saturday To-Do: Great American Taxi

GREAT AMERICAN TAXI9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10.The modern Americana sound has been further established in the two years this band has been together.

Storm damage report UPDATE

Brandon Cogburn supplies the picture above (taken by his sister) of storm damage to the water treatment plant  in Dierks (Howard County), hit last night.

'Stop driving us to drink'

Students at the University of Arkansas have overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging university officials to treat marijuana violations no more seriously than alcohol violations.

Skank "DJ" famous for five minutes of TV comes to Rev on Saturday

Slouching toward Gomorrah Gonorrehea. NSFW, but totally worth watching elsewhere.

Art beat

Leslie Peacock is all over it on her tumblr page. Today, she reports that woodworker Douglas Stowe of Eureka Springs has been announced the 2009 Arkansas Living Treasure by the Arkansas Arts Council.Read more here.

The daily outrage

Move over Beck and Limbaugh. Arizona State University takes center stage today.

Riverfest is not just 80s nostalgia, rock bands you don't care about and Willie Nelson and Buddy Guy...

joshua of Velvet Kente. ...it's, once again, a concentrated dose of all that's great about local music.

The race report

Lots of good photos and film here from last night's first Rock Candy 500, an all-ages Pinewood Derby.

Minority 'goals' for city of LR

City Director Erma Fingers Hendrix has drafted an ordinance to "establish as a goal" that minority representation on city boards and commissions match the makeup of the city population.

Over to you

I heading to the barn.

The envelope please

Brummett passes out Bubba Awards for legislative session achievement. In it, I see my own theme for the session.

Do unto others

The New York Times' Charles Blow explains why Vermont was the first state to legislatively endorse same-sex marriage.

'Saratoga of the South'

There's still time to get down to Hot Springs for the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park.

Open line

The ongoing pirate drama seems to be the only thing shaking today. What a glorious one.

Open line

The ongoing pirate drama seems to be the only thing shaking today. What a glorious one.

Who knows?

If using surplus to pay for continuing expenses this year will leave the state of Arkansas in a bind next year?

Blanche and the estate tax

Brummett gives U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln some benefit of the doubt on her advocacy of estate tax cuts.

The criminal mind

Frank magazine, the glossy product of the Clinton School of Public Service, is due shortly for a big rollout.

The criminal mind

Frank magazine, the glossy product of the Clinton School of Public Service, is due shortly for a big rollout.

Ship captain freed; pirates killed

Here's good news from CNN. That ship captain has been freed and is unharmed.

Welcome to Little Rock

A respected national blog posts an allegation about sexual oriented harassment that will bear some further reporting tomorrow.

Sunday leftovers

I leave the comments to you. Easter dinner?

The graduate

As anyone who has ever taught a class can tell you: four years in front of a chalkboard can seem like a very long time. Ask most teachers about the prospect of spending FORTY years there, and you're likely to get called — at best — a little crazy.

Kind words for Harry Reid

John Brummett offers some for the difficult job that faces the U.S. Senate majority leader.

Same old GOP

Paul Krugman has some unkind words for the Republican Party and the tired old dance steps they've been employing for years.

Rambo meets Berry (D-Ark.)

A Wash. Post profile today on Rahm Emanuel includes an anecdote in which U.S. Rep. Marion Berry figures.

Latest Duggar pregnancy

Readers had mentioned last night hearing a Dateline teaser of Duggar news this morning. It is that the 20-year-old wife of Josh Duggar, eldest of the 18 Duggar kids, is prepared to begin popping them.

Monday To-Do: Dana Falconberry

DANA FALCONBERRY9:00 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.It's always gratifying when former band mates succeed.

Too much gravy for Billy Bob?

Yesterday, the Billy Bob Thornton's band the Boxmasters cancelled the final two performances on the Canadian leg of their tour with Willie Nelson.

Partisan voting

The Cook Political Report has developed a partisan voting index. It demonstrates, by congressional district, how strongly the districts follow or depart from national voting patterns in the 2004 and 2008 presidential races.

Loosest slots

Here's the Arkansas Racing Commission's monthly report on machine gambling at Oaklawn and Southland parks.

Wanton Wontons.

 I like cheese in all its luxurious variations -- Cheddar, Brie, Blue, Feta... good nacho cheese like Stoby's or Mexico Chiquito, good baked macaroni and cheese I make during the holidays, good cheese-stuffed ravioli when I'm in St. Louis and those Cigar Pastries stuffed with white cheeses at Istanbul Mediterranean Cuisine.  I just like cheese.

Speaking of Marion Berry

The Arkansas Project reports that Rick Crawford of Jonesboro, known in some circles for radio farm reports, is considering a Republican challenge to U.S. Rep Berry in 2010.

School hearing postponed

Federal Judge Brian Miller's scheduled hearing today on the Pulaski school desegregation case was  postponed. He apparently was in an auto accident en route to Little Rock from his Helena home (he wasn't injured), but was afraid he might not make it to court in time for the hearing.

Awesome weirdo coming this summer

Will Oldham, as Bonnie Prince Billy, is coming to Sticky Fingerz on June 8.

Beebe's lottery picks

Gov. Mike Beebe today completed the appointment of the initial membership of the new state Lottery Commission.

More Beebe appointments

Gov. Mike Beebe today announced appointments to the state Parks and Tourism Commission, a plum appointment.

Marketing the Hogs

Robert Shields, who distributes a weekly sports column mostly focused on Razorback sports, isn't happy with the new-era Hog athletic department, at least as far as some new marketing gimmicks are concerned.

Family dispute leads to arrest

Arkansas Business reports that book publisher Ted Parkhurst has been charged by LR police with burglary and assault for breaking into the home of his former wife and daughter Sunday.

Nate Powell gets three Eisner nominations

That's Nate, with his mouth open, from his Soophie days. Big congrats to North Little Rock native Nate Powell, whose book "Swallow Me Whole" continues to rack up accolades.

Cuba, si

As long predicted, President Obama today will ease restrictions on travel and some financial exchanges with people in Cuba.

About that new lottery jackpot

Another national news account of declining lottery sales in many states around the country. Recession fallout, perhaps.

The Psycho Shower Story.

Last Thursday evening, I stayed up ridiculously late with Steven. It isn’t uncommon for us to stay up watching movies or talking as we are both nocturnal, however, this particular night, we were awake later, or earlier, depending on how you want to look at it, than normal.

Pulaski school plan rejected

The state Board of Education today rejected the Pulaski County School District's financing plan for new schools in Maumelle and Sherwood.

Hot pursuit ends downtown

Fox 16 has details on a police chase that began at Markham and Cedar today and ended with arrests of suspects near Second and Center.

Open line

Here it is.

Twitter: It's not just noise

John Brummett discovers one of the joys of Twitter, the microblogging service. A growing number of news organizations are using it for quick breaking news updates, all the better when they're from the scene of "real" news like a tornado-devastated community.

Zoo v. UAMS VOTE NOW

A new rounds of bids came in yesterday for a new use for the abandoned Ray Winder Field in War Memorial Park.

In re gloating

I shook my head when I read the chest-beating editorial in the Democrat-Gazette this morning about the Navy's rescue of the kidnapped merchant ship captain.

Wanna meet a lobbyist?

Note: Click on image to see full invitation. Then click on magnifying glass icon to enlarge text.

Socialized chicken nuggets

KTVE in Monroe-El Dorado reports that Gov. Beebe is working with a private group of investors to buy the closed Pilgrim's Pride poultry plant in El Dorado.

As NWA turns

You've got Don Tyson. You've got his girlfriend.

Lottery oversight

House Speaker Robbie Wills has appointed his members of the legislative oversight committee that will tell the lottery commission what to do "ensure accountability and transparency in the set-up and operation of the state lottery."

'Bell Curve' author at Philander

Author Charles Murray speaks at 7 p.m. tonight at Philander Smith College in President Walter Kimbrough's Bless the Mic lecture series.

Blog honored in Fayetteville

A friend in Fayetteville says I should be honored that I was called dimwitted today in the editorial column of the Northwest Arkansas Times.

Blog honored in Fayetteville

A friend in Fayetteville says I should be honored that I was called dimwitted today in the editorial column of the Northwest Arkansas Times.

Quentin Tarantino to make "American Idol" infinitely more watchable tonight

Man. From this week's Entertainment Weekly. It's "songs from the movies" night on "American Idol" tonight, 8 p.m.

When counting the votes isn't enough

Republicans will go to any length to prevent seating of duly elected Democrats. See Minnesota and the now-until-doomsday legal challenge of Al Franken's victory.

Presidential nominee to visit

Michael Dukakis will speak at the Clinton School Tuesday,. April 21.

Tuesday: Bloodless Cooties, Bluesboy Jag, St. Leroy

At White Water, it's Arkansas Rockers night (or do they call it that anymore?), where the beer's cheap and the cover's nil (or donations).

LRFF details start to trickle in

Hal Holbrook in "The Evening Sun." First and foremost, passes for the 3rd annual Little Rock Film Festival, now five days, from May 13-17, are available for sale at littlerockfilmfestival.org.

Read the fine print

Sounds like the firewater sellers have snuck another one past the church folks, a la the legislation that loosed a flood of booze on dry cities in the form of private clubs that could claim economic development benefits.

Tuesday's thread

Talk among yourselves.

The televisionist, April 16

God, how I miss “The Sopranos.”

Q&A with Rick Bragg

Read our online exclusive Q&A with journalist and memoirist Rick Bragg, who'll be at the Arkansas Literary Festival on Friday.

Tax on the border

Arkansas's solution to prevent smokers from jumping borders to buy cheaper smokes -- give preferential tax rates to border cities -- draws attention here.

U.S. arms drug gangs

Interesting story. How lax U.S. gun sale rules have made the country a prime source of weaponry for Mexican drug cartels.

Somalian pirates

"If this doesn't teach these brigands not to mess with the United States of America, nothing will."  -- D-G editorial, April 14.

Somalian pirates

"If this doesn't teach these brigands not to mess with the United States of America, nothing will."  -- D-G editorial, April 14.

Gunman gets zesty response at Taco Bell

A couple of employees at the Taco Bell on West Markham gave an armed would-be robber more than he could handle last night.

Kris Allen actually sings a song you probably like

"Movie night" on "American Idol" was more painful than expected. Quentin Tarantino, the guest mentor, was just as blandly supportive as Randy Travis.

Democrat to win in NY

Convincing analysis says Democrat Murphy will beat Republican Tedisco in that close upstate New York congressional race, where the final GOP strategy is to challenge all probable Democratic absentee ballots, including that of the new U.S. senator from New York.

Wednesday To-Do: Sonny Rollins

SONNY ROLLINS7 p.m., Walton Arts Center. $35-$75.If you're prone, as I am, to making actuarial judgments about performers before you, say, drive three hours to see a concert, let me help you along.

Huckabee v. Armey

Mike Huckabee and Dick Armey, through his special interest FreedomWorks, have both been encouraging the teabagger anti-tax protests today -- (it's a Chick-fil-a kind of day).

Washington, D.C. roundup

Paul Barton checks in from Washington with a roundup of items related to Arkies in the capital.

The force

Check out this new local short. It's based an idea every Star Wars nerd has daydreamed about at least once or a hundred times: Using the Force in every day life.

GOP candidate exploring

Rick Crawford, a Jonesboro agri broadcaster, has formed an exploratory committee to consider a Republican race against U.S. Rep. Marion Berry.

Tea for two networks

Teabagging is the official Fox News national event and it apparently has gotten under CNN's skin.

Pork revisited

I made a passing reference the other day to a Johnny Cash museum mentioned in the legislature's division of the general improvement fund for local projects.

Helen Gurley Brown's legacy

Not holding up so well, says this recent piece in the Wall Street Journal. The occasion for a consideration of Brown, the 86-year-old Green Forrest native and former editor of Cosmo, is a new book, "Bad Girls Go Everywhere," by Jennifer Scanlon.

They would do it for you...

I made a mistake last Sunday. I received fair warning.

Good riddance

Texas Gov. Rick Perry talked Texas secession today in his talk to Lone Star teabaggers.
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