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April 10, 2008

Vol 6 • No 13

The Wal-Mart effect

For good or for ill, it’s safe to say that the educational landscape in Arkansas would be drastically different if Sam Walton hadn’t chosen the state as his adopted home.

Hillcrest crime

A crime spree in Hillcrest last week has left residents agog at the brazenness of the perpetrators.

No service

Cammack Village residents lost their cable television service in the tornado that hit April 3, and as of today it has not been restored.

Your morning Huck UPDATE

Leading up his big announcement in 5 days, 16 hours and 8 minutes, the Huckster will share his favorite fart jokes with Tommy Smith and David Bazzel tomorrow on "The Show with No Name" on KABZ 103.7 FM "The Buzz."

Safety networking

When Floyd Carrethers first moved to Little Rock, he dreamed of a better life. But eventually his marriage was in crisis.

Orval, April 10

To-do list, April 10

'Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure', 'Madame Butterfly', American Princes, Blue Man Group, Hill Country Revue, Rock 'n' Roar, 'Movin' Out', East Village Opera Company and Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk are all happening this week.

Behold the critters

It come two foot of rain here at the house Thursday night a week ago. I never seen the like.

Observer, April 10

At least once every spring, The Observer loads up Spouse and Junior, hops in the Mobile Observatory, and heads for the alligator farm in Hot Springs.

Smart talk, April 10

Arkansas does not fare well in a new study of children’s health published last week by the Every Child Matters Education Fund, a non-profit in Washington, D.C.

The presidential campaign

John Brummett’s column criticizing Barack Obama for not burning his bridge to his “angry” pastor shows that Brummett has not caught up with a lot of us.

Words, April 10

“ ‘King of Torts’ Cops a Plea,” was the headline, and you can tell that the writer derived pleasure from it, as who wouldn’t.

A law to keep innocent kids down

An Arkansas school superintendent walked over and said he’d become so troubled that he’d written me a letter.


It was a good week for … SPEEDY LEGISLATING. In only three days, the minimum allowed by the state Constitution, the General Assembly approved Gov. Mike Beebe’s proposed increase in the state severance tax on natural gas. And then went home.

Buy green

Spring means a focus on all things green: Trees and bushes and flowers, of course, but also, thanks to Earth Day April 22, on being environmentally responsible.

Fresh start for AYPN

The phone call came around lunchtime: “Have you seen the blog?” I naturally knew to which blog my friend was referring — we both check the Arkansas Blog regularly throughout the day — but I couldn’t recall seeing a story that morning of particular interes

America, meet your roots

The sepia-toned, poverty-stricken paradise in the songs of most Americana artists today has little literary direction, other than to charm the listener with vignettes quaint and country.

Editorial cartoon, April 10

Teen-age goldmine

If there is such a thing as a psychological and cultural petri dish, it’s high school.

Getting away with torture

If you thought that the administration of George W. Bush was more lawless than the certified one of Richard M. Nixon, records keep proving you right, or did before they were in some cases destroyed.

Buy green

Spring means a focus on all things green: Trees and bushes and flowers, of course, but also, thanks to Earth Day April 22, on being environmentally responsible.

Humiliated, yet hopeful

You had to love the look on Roy Williams’ face.

What's Cooking, April 10

Pro-consumer Pryor

Sen. Mark Pryor’s consumer product safety bill passed the Senate 79 to 13 and would’ve had a couple more votes if Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had been present.

In brief, April 10

A Main event

Starting Sunday, April 13, Southside Main Street (SoMa) will begin installing chairs made by artists along three blocks of Main Street.

Second choice gets first place

Ever get your mouth set for something?

Whither Walton money?

Just wants to help

Rep. Frank Glidewell of Fort Smith tells a TV station there that he "just wants to get them help" by denying welfare to people who use alcohol or drugs.

That's show biz

Sarah Huckabee tells CNN that her father has signed a talent contract with Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles.

Flying anytime soon?

The New York Times sees more big trouble in the next couple of weeks for airline passengers: By MICHELINE MAYNARD and MATTHEW L. WALDAir travelers, whose plans have already been disrupted by thousands of canceled flights recently, may face continued chaos in coming weeks as the Federal Aviation Administration and the airlines expand their scrutiny of passenger planes.Passengers waited in lines at an American Airlines ticket counter at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Wednesday.The groundings at airlines like American, Alaska, Delta and Southwest resulted from a broader round of inspections, ordered by the F.A.A., to determine whether the airlines have complied with past directives to check airplane structures, wires, electronics and other components.A second wave of audits began on March 30 and will continue through June 30.

KUAR pledge time!

Max is en route home from China at this hour, but plans to be in his normal place at 6:30 a.m.

Big Wind, round two

KTHV is reporting a tornado warning for several counties in central Arkansas including Grant, Saline, Dallas and Hot Spring Counties.

New bishop

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has a new bishop: Father Anthony B. Taylor, a priest in the archdiocese of Oklahoma City, will succeed Bishop J. Peter Sartain, who left 21 months ago to become Bishop of Joliet, Ill. The Rev. Msgr.

Town evacuted

The town of Leslie has been evacuated because of mudslides and flooding after today's round of storms, which CNN describes as "wicked Texas weather."

Thursday: Damn Bullets, Eoff Brothers, "Gimme Green" and more

The Damn Bullets in blur. Here's a little something different: Root Cafe, a spot aimed at building community through locally produced food, will hold a one year pre-anniversary fund-raiser bash at Arkansas Flag and Banner, 800 W. Ninth St., with food, door prizes and music from rapper Juggernaut Glitch and folk miscreants Damn Bullets, 8 p.m., $5.

Billy Bob is a Boxmaster

  A perfect opportunity to post the classic ballad of love and loss.

What's the matter with these women?

The Huffington Post is reporting that Air America radio host Randi Rhodes has resigned from the network rather than apologize for calling Hillary Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro f * * * * ng wh * res.That's the kind of talk we've learned to expect from Ann Coulter and her fellow GOP sock-puppets, but Air America?

Aldersgate celebration

On Saturday, Camp Aldersgate will dedicate the new buildings -- 7 cabins, a health center and a swimming pool --  made possible by a $7 million grant by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.

Time for him to go

Three, two, one ... rapture? Comedy Central's Indecison 2008 is offering reader speculation on the Huckabee countdown:

Defining 'landmark' down UPDATE

I'm on a Mike Huckabee conference call that's been billed as a 'landmark' event. "You will be truly blessed," said a separate email advertising the call.

New federal judge

The U.S. Senate today confirmed the nomination of Arkansas Appeals Court Judge Brian Miller to be a federal district judge for the eastern district of Arkansas.

$800,000 of elaboration

A recent Insider item about private child-care companies with connections to former state Sen. Nick Wilson of Pocahontas did not give a complete picture of the companies' receipts of public funds.

America, meet your roots

The Magpies, known not long ago as Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds, dig deep.

He's back -- time to pledge!

Calling all blogophiles: Now's the time to call in your pledge to KUAR. Max and Rosi Smith are on the air and they're trying to raise $10,000.

He's back -- time to pledge!

Calling all blogophiles: Now's the time to call in your pledge to KUAR. Max and Rosi Smith are on the air and they're trying to raise $10,000.

How low can he go?

New Gallup poll says Bush has hit a new low in approval rating: It's dropped to 28 percent.

We interrupt regular programming ...

I'm back in Little Rock, barely. American Airlines was beset by troubles Wednesday, as you know, and they spread deep into the American Eagle commuter routes.

Free trees

In light of last week's tornadoes, some folks might want to get the free trees that the Arkansas Forestry Commission today between now and 4 p.m. at the Wal-Mart in Maumelle, on Maumelle Boulevard.

Friday To-Do: 'Madame Butterfly'

'MADAME BUTTERFLY'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $16-$55 This three-hankie Puccini opera comes to Little Rock for a concert performance by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m.

Friday To-Do: 'Sherlock Holmes'

‘SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE FINAL ADVENTURE' 8 p.m., Arkansas Repertory Theatre, $20-$35. The Rep's latest production has it all: A famous detective, his famous nemesis, a beautiful and mysterious damsel in distress, and the foggy, seamy streets of London.

Buckethead, more interesting than Satan

From a recent Harper's Index, culled from a Google report (I'm paraphrasing):Ranking of  "who is god?" among "Who is...?"  questions on Google last year: 1Ranking of "who is satan?": 10Ranking of "who is buckethead?": 6 There's a sure sign that it's time to bring him back to town.

How low can IT go?

Consumer confidence in the economy continues its decline to a new record low, now at 29.5 percent:

30,000 tunes? It is to laugh

For those worried about filling up their 160-GB iPods with the complete works of Homer and Jethro, help is on the way.A new report says IBM has a new chip that will let you get 500,000!!!

Tax reprieve for disaster victims

One less thing for the flooded-out and tornado-hit to worry about: Filing their state taxes.

Machine break-down

The L.A. Times reports from the Swamp that Obama is running into trouble in Philadelphia because he is refusing to pay walking-around money to operatives getting out the vote.

What the Bushes paid

The Bushes have released their tax returns. They paid $221,635 in taxes on taxable income of $719,274.

Architect dies

John G. Williams, who took the architecture program at the U of A from two courses within the School of Engineering into a school of its own died today.

Let it out

If you're unfortunate enough to be inside after what feels like a month of nonstop downpours, vent your frustrations here.

State budget magic

Brummett explains how a billion-dollar state surplus turns into a forced state spending cut. Yes, it's a relatively small cut, but tell that to the colleges, such as UAF, which expects fewer state dollars next year than this.

'The seventh ring of hell'

The quote describes air travel and I can relate, having been on the last delayed airline flight out of O'Hare Thursday night (1:10 a.m.

A serious sandwich

Kat Robinson's Tie Dye Travels drops in on a restaurant that has stood the test of time -- Jimmy's Serious Sandwiches.

Saturday To-Do: HIll Country Revue

HILL COUNTRY REVUE9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $10 adv./$12 d.o.s. In the tradition of foothill stomp tunes authenticated by the late Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside comes Hill Country Revue, composed of North Mississippi Allstars members Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew, Burnside's son Garry on bass and Kirk Smithhart on vocals and guitar.

Saturday To-Do: Rock n Roar

ROCK 'N' ROAR7 p.m., Civitan Amphitheater, Little Rock Zoo. $8.

Saturday To-Do: American Princes

AMERICAN PRINCES10 p.m., Revolution. $8.

Saturday To-Do: Blue Man Group (plus Q&A)

BLUE MAN GROUP8 p.m., Alltel Arena. $45-$75.


Max has been cold-cocked by his 36-hour plane ride back from the Far East, or he'd surely have reported on Barack Obama's ill-advised remarks calling some who oppose him bitter people who cling to their guns and religion.Huffington Post is reporting on the set-to, which seems to have energized Hillary Clinton's campaign in Pennsylvania.

Gubernatorial tag team

Andrew DeMillo's weekend column focuses on the so-far wildly successful tag team of Gov. Mike Beebe and his old pal, chief of staff Morril Harriman. Noted: Harriman's account of his break from the Nick Wilson Senate faction in 1988: My comment: The record indicates that their shared interests continued for years after that, famously including Harriman's enabling of 1997 legislation that ultimately brought down Wilson and assorted other legislative boodlers.

Your turn

Munford's right. I'm still befogged by jet lag.

Playing the "ponies"

General manager Eric Jackson tells the Louisville Courier Journal that if it weren't for instant racing, Oaklawn would probably have bit the dust.

College loan money dries up

The Arkansas agency that makes college loans is out of money to lend -- it so far can't sell bonds to generate cash for the fall.

High on Hog coaches

Brummett, rating various public figures, has kind words for both the Hog football and basketball coaches.


Washington Post political blog issues a scorecard on pluses and minuses from Obama's remarks to a small group of San Francisco supporters about the bitterness of some voters.

Sunday Hodge Podge

Sorry about our slacker posting habits lately. Real life occasionally interferes with blogging, but we'll get back on track soon.

Two punks

There's a war going on, the economy is in the dumper, the airlines don't work any more and two of MSNBC's star weasels, Chris Matthews and the little jerk David Shuster, who crapped up Arkansas's airwaves for a spell on his winding road to pundithood, think the biggest issue up for discussion is Barack Obama ordering orange juice instead of coffee in a diner.Media Matters covers this incredible pair of crap-ferrets.


I'm tempted to reprise my earlier call for favorite hymns. I think I need the uplift after sleeping most of the day and doing taxes the rest.


I'm tempted to reprise my earlier call for favorite hymns. I think I need the uplift after sleeping most of the day and doing taxes the rest.

This modern world, April 10

Safety networking

When Floyd Carrethers first moved to Little Rock, he dreamed of a better life. But eventually his marriage was in crisis. “I had to leave the house,” he said, “but I had no place to go. I was living paycheck to paycheck.”

Lottery: too much of a good thing?

Stephens Media has an interesting story today about how Tennessee's lottery revenue is far outstripping demand for college scholarships because most students aren't meeting grade requirements.

Real journalism

Brummett today pays tribute to the Washington Post business columnist who won this year's Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

A message from the Green Party

Jim Lendall notes that the Green Party has more candidates running for Congress in Arkansas than the Republican Party.

The D.C. prostitution case

U.S. Sen. David Vitter won't be called to testify for the defense in the trial because his attorney said he'd invoke the Fifth Amendent.

Sullivan lecture cancelled

The lecture by The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. planned for Tuesday at Philander Smith Colllege, has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled, the college has announced.

From the SI Archives: Battle of the J.K.s

Bird-Magic. Chamberlain-Russell.

WM3 and DNA

That alphabet soup of a headline refers to a hearing tomorrow in Jonesboro in the appeal of the West Memphis Three murder case and the case's potential, according to defense lawyers, for becoming a landmark on use of DNA evidence.

Responsible gun sales

Wal-Mart, in co-operation with a mayors group formed by New York's Michael Bloomberg, has announced a list of procedures to follow in selling guns.

Responsible gun sales

Wal-Mart, in co-operation with a mayors group formed by New York's Michael Bloomberg, has announced a list of procedures to follow in selling guns.

'They're coming to your town'

Courtesy of Think Progress, a report on the American Family Association's new DVD about homosexual activists' takeover of Eureka Springs, part of a national agenda in case you didn't know.


Over at The Huffington Post, regular columnist Lawrence O'Donnell thumps the tub for Wesley Clark as a vice-presidential nominee: Yes, Clark was a bad campaigner in 2004.

Dennis the Menace

Arkansas GOP Chair Dennis "What we need is another 9/11" Milligan clips and pastes the national Republican talking points on Obama's bitter words.

Speaking of the presidential primary

My daughter Martha is continuing her volunteer campaign work for Hillary Clinton. Read on for her report from a weekend of work in Pennsylvania.

Obama's 'scream'

Was the "bitter" remark a Howard Dean moment? Maybe, Brummett suggests. Quote:

Ramping up gun control

The NY Times reports a surge of state legislation on gun use. The idea is, for example, to make it easier to trace guns used in crimes and harder for criminals and the mentally disturbed to get weapons.

The Huckapac UPDATE

Today's the day Mike Huckabee will unveil a new Political Action Committee, ostensibly to support other conservative candidates.

Well-earned time off

Gov. Mike Beebe's weekly schedule indicates he'll be vacationing in Arizona April 16-20. I may be wrong about this, but I don't remember previous governors typically announcing where they'd be taking time off, though news would slip out from time to time.

Volunteer brainchild

The Forrest City Times Herald reports that Tennessee has passed a law that warms the hearts of east Arkansas law-enforcement officers.

Armey times

You miss Dick Armey, don’t you? Armey was the House Republican leader, chief author of the 1994 Contract on America and owner of the vilest tongue in Washington: “Barney Fag,” he called Rep. Barney Frank.

Sharp decision

The NY Post reports that Little Rock native Richard Thalheimer came out smelling like a rose -- and with $25 million in his pockets -- for his decision to dump shares a year ago in the Sharper Image, the gadget retailer he founded.

West Memphis Three case

Looks like a hearing on the absence of DNA evidence against the three convicts will go on in September.

Easy Street needs Easy Money

So Easy Street Piano Bar is in dire need of some funds (I think the taxman has come a knocking) and will be having an impromptu benefit Tonight from 7:3-ish - ? to try and raise $3,000K to keep the doors open.

Closing the Book on Eddie Sutton at USF

Someday we'll all look back at the University of San Francisco's Eddie Sutton era - all six wins and 13 losses of it - with nostalgic fondness, but today the only word is that it's officially over.

Tuesday To-Do: 'Movin' Out'

‘MOVIN' OUT'7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$54.

Tuesday To-Do: East Village Opera Company

EAST VILLAGE OPERA COMPANY7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. $10-$35.


The French parliament is halfway there on passing legislation to prohibit advertisers, magazines, websites, etc. from encouraging extreme thinness.

The gas boom

Arkansas Business covers a business conference at which a Chesapeake Energy executive predicts that investment in the Fayetteville shale gas exploration will dramatically exceed previous estimates before it's over.

Art Amiss 24 Hour Film Fest

Times homie Derek Jenkins is opening up the 24 Hour Film Fest model to the friendless and rural.

Medical records ARE private

Prosecutions for this crime have been rare. But today U.S. Attorney Jane Duke announced a guilty plea by Andrea Smith, 25, a Trumann nurse, for wrongfully disclosing a patient's health information for personal gain.

Buy local

  "Other People" is out today in stores everywhere.

"War Eagle, Arkansas" kicks of the LRFF

The NWA filmed “War Eagle, Arkansas” kicks off the Little Rock Film Festival on Thursday, May 15.


It's no secret that New Orleans breeds top-shelf musicians and a sound incomparable to any genre. So if swamp-boogie voodoo funk is what you're after, look no further than Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, a five-piece outfit from the Big Easy fronted by the s

The Huck PAC

Stephens Media's Aaron Sadler did a lengthy report on Mike Huckabee's new PAC, aimed at giving him operating money as he explores future political possibilities.

Campaign account boodling

There was an excellent story in the Democrat-Gazette today by Seth Blomeley about state Rep. Robbie Wills' use of his 2008 re-election campaign account (he's unopposed), beginning midway through 2007, on expenditures in his race to be House speaker.

Good grade on school spending

The Office of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas has assessed state school spending in the aftermath of the Lakeview decision and concludes that the legislature "dramatically enhanced the adequacy of resources for schools and the equity by which they were distributed."

Speeding LR school construction

A message to LR School Board members from an assistant to Superintendent Linda Watson: She met yesterday with Mr. Kurrus, Wayne Adams, Sadie Mitchell and representatives from the architectural firm for the west LR school.  They discussed moving the timeline up to open the school in August 2010.  The architects had addressed the issue and, if things go as planned, the school will be operational for the 2010-2011 school year.   As you have requested, once construction begins we will have a monthly update on the project included on your monthly meeting agenda.

Raiders of the Hispanic Ark.

Improperly documented workers at an Arkansas poultry plant? Say it ain't so.

Hook 'em Hogs

Here's a little payback for that arrogant Texas Longhorn basketball coach. The official state musician of Texas for 2008 is roots rocker Shelley King.

Votes for sale -- UPDATE

When your principles are sold cheap, why bother with $25 gifts to fellow legislators? I refer to state Rep. Robbie Wills, mentioned earlier today for stretching campaign finance law to use contributions to his unopposed re-election campaign to mount a race to be House speaker in 2009.

Enchilada help sought

A mention here about 3 a.m. enchiladas back in the 1970s at the late Town Hall in downtown North Little Rock -- a blood relative of Mexico Chiquito of yore -- has sent one reader on a so-far fruitless quest for that enchilada recipe.

Juice 'em

Hat tip to Munford for notice (and the headline) on news that the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 7-2 vote, has upheld the lethal injection cocktail in a Kentucky case.

Hot after the Hillcrest burglars -- UPDATE II

The Hillcrest burglars who pawned a stolen digital camera with photos of the crooks celebrating their haul has led to a bust.

"Blood Car"

The Little Rock Film Festival, May 15-18, posted its schedule today. I haven't had a chance to really delve into it (more later), but after a quick run through, I'd be surprised if anything got me more pumped than "Blood Car."

Tune in: 'Front Row presents Epiphany and One Night Stand'

Gina Gee and Piph. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Conflict emerges on school search

LR School Board member Baker Kurrus has sent a memo to fellow board members informing them that he's learned a real estate agent working for the district had identified property in which he has an interest as a potential middle school site.

All the Gossip

The Gossip are on Letterman tonight to promote that live album/DVD Rick Rubin talked about last year in the New York Times magazine,  "Live in Liverpool."

Reverend Al, killing them softly and slowly

May 27, or tomorrow when this leaks, cannot come fast enough. Previously.

Still To-Doing: High art for the masses

Or something like that...‘MOVIN' OUT'7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$54.

Riverfest in (mostly) full

So the line-up for Riverfest, May 23-25, is just about set. Advance, $10 tickets are now onsale at Harvest Foods.