← Back to issues

April 13, 2011

Vol 37 • No 32

Read the print version

The ruin of Reaganomics

You should be mad at the successful marketing of Republican 'supply-side' mythology.

Arkansas: A tax myth-maker, too

We are not quite the laboratory that the government has afforded us for testing supply-side economics and other popular tax myths. But our experiment is much older.

Boom-A-Rang Diner burns

Lightning may be to blame for the fire that destroyed Fort Smith's Boom-A-Rang Diner in the early morning hours Monday.

Art walk guide

You might say that we like to party arty, those of us who enjoy a glass of wine and conversation surrounded by paintings and pots and prints. Or the more cultured might say, Vive le salon! There is a 20-year-plus tradition of art walks in Arkansas, some carried on all year, others on special weekends. You stroll, look at new work, and if you're lucky you meet the artist and hear him or her give a talk. Appreciation grows, the artist sells, everybody's happy. Here's a list of towns and times to devote an hour or two to art.

Another round for Brandon's

After early stumbles, the local distillery wins big awards.

Win some Foo Fighters tickets

Our Foo-centric contest is still on. Send us your treatment of a song by Grohl & Co., win passes to the May 18 concert.

ASU preserving Dyess' Cash legacy with a star-studded concert

After years of neglect, Cash's boyhood home and other historic New Deal-era structures in the nearby town of Dyess may get a reprieve.

Two ways to search

An Arkansas Times Freedom of Information request for e-mails between members of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees unearthed several details about the UA's search for a system president to succeed the retiring B. Alan Sugg.

Morality and ethics

It is surely moral to seek a job that interests you so that you might attend to your future. But it might not be ethical, which is to say properly dutiful to the interests of integrity, both yours and that of the institution you represent.

Local Flavor can be proud of its prawns, and more.

If you find yourself in Eureka Springs, go Local. Given the quality of the food, it's really not that expensive. And whatever you do, get the shrimp.

Original Fried Pie Shop

In a word: Ugh.

Pious profiteers

Misguided, impure — how would you describe the impulse that caused most Republicans in the House to try to block the appropriation for the frugal little Arkansas School for the Deaf for the next two years?

Second-rate Clinton

"Paul Ryan is worse than Bill Clinton." Well of course; the former president is clearly bigger-brained and bigger-hearted than the Wisconsin congressman. What's new?

Spring tulips

Spring is in full effect at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs.

David Sedaris wraps up this year's Arkansas Literary Festival

Also: Hot Springs offers two great shows from Kevin Gordon and The Dirt Daubers for the Derby Day throngs.

Up and gone

After only three months on the job, Teresa Belew has left her post as executive assistant to Secretary of State Mark Martin.


Speaking of Mark Martin, he's off to a rocky start in misspending Board of Appropriation money, buying a new car the state didn't need and now spending $54,000 with John Brown University.

Senator passed over

Joint Budget co-chair Sen. Gilbert Baker had applied to be president of Henderson State University. He said he was invited by trustee Anita Cabe, a supporter of Baker's failed bid for U.S. Senate in 2010.


Even a Bible, if it's one of those doorstop models from the old drummer days, can in a doctrinal pinch wreak ponderable blunt force trauma. Gives a new dimension to Bible thumping.

Capitol mall

"How much would we save if we just did away with the legislature entirely, turned the Capitol into a mini-mall and let corporations and special interests write their own legislation?"

Streaming the Senate

House video was a success. Will the Senate follow?

Mrs. Observer and the 'F**k me? No, f**k you, B*tch!' shirt

Spied in Wal-Mart, the only difference was that the anonymous woman's version came without those pesky asterisks we inserted to keep the schoolmarms and children from being offended.

'The Conspirator' gets mired in its message

Despite a mostly strong cast, the new Robert Redford movie ends up undercooked.

Orval, April 13, 2011

This Modern World, April 16, 2011

Art to ease young souls

Eight paintings by Little Rock artist Jane F. Hankins, who is known widely for her whimsical ceramic figures of women, have been donated to UAMS' Child Study Center.

May the force be with them

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.

White men can't jump, but ...

When President Obama nominated Circuit Judge Susan Hickey of El Dorado last week to an opening on the federal district court bench in the western district of Arkansas, it was his first blow for affirmative action in federal justice-related appointments.


April 8, Arkansas Repertory Theatre

We didn't know God made bespeckled coaches

"I guess that's like butterbeans," Bob Lancaster says. "Or the Great Speckled Bird."

The 20th annual Cooks Tour returns

Chenal homes open their doors on Sunday afternoon for patrons and local chefs.

Good week: Children and other human beings

The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down the meanly intended initiated act that prohibited adoption or foster parenting by sexually cohabiting couples.

Barbara Koppell explores V-Tech massacre in "Gun Fight"

Also Ken Burns' "The Civil War" (on Netflix) and "The Judds."

Bob Dorough plays "Blooms!", The Afterthought

Also, the Travs home opener at Dickey-Stephens, British Sea Power at Stickyz, Bobby Rush at Maxine's, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's season closer at Robinson Center Music Hall, Corey Smith at Revolution, Del McCoury and Preservation Hall Jazz Band in Fayetteville and Dirty Projectors bassist Nat Baldwin at Dreamland Ballroom.

The morning report

Quiet morning. I think I'll head to the gym.

Trumann police officer killed

The State Police says a Trumann police officer was fatally shot last night. More details coming at a news conference later today.

Focus on LR photographer for Katrina actions

A Los Angeles Times story today focuses on the work of former Little Rock resident Alex Brandon, now an AP photographer in Washington, for his work as a New Orleans Times-Picayune photographer during coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

Legislature finishes Arkansas redistricting

The Senate this morning passed the amended version of the House congressional redistricting plan 23-11.

Remapping Little Rock wards

Metroplan has updated population numbers in existing Little Rock wards in preparation for redrawing the wards to reflect population changes.

Thursday To-Do: Arkansas Travelers home opener

The first ball game at Dickey-Stephens goes down against the Midland RockHounds.

Mama - "Get Later" out today

Lenny Bryan's newest album under the Mama moniker is out today.

Wednesday: Sedaris

David Sedaris comes to Pulaski Academy tonight in the concluding event of the Ark. Literary Festival.

The Obama plan

President Obama's budget speech appears to aim for that "third way" so useful to President Clinton.

'Gun Fight' premieres tonight

In early 2007, a college student at Virginia Tech University named Seung Hui Cho purchased two automatic pistols: a Glock 19 and a Walther P22.

NPR or Falwell. You pick

Jerry Falwell's Liberty University blocked the local Lynchburg, Va., newspaper on the school's website recently.

Alligator escapes from nature center

An alligator has escaped from the Game and Fish Commission's nature center in Pine Bluff.

C.R.E.A.M.="Callin' Razorbacks with Everyone Around Me"

Hands down, the best Arkansas tattoo we've seen since we can remember

We're over the hump.

The Wednesday night line is open. Close-outs: * Those who religiously read the divorce listings in the daily paper looking for familiar names might have read over this one from April 6: Young Hutchinson v. Anne Hutchinson.

Herman to head Arkansas Arts Center

Todd Herman was hired as the new executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center

Beebe explains UA appointment

John Brummett looks askance at Gov. Mike Beebe's appointment of John Goodson, a Texarkana lawyer and Beebe financial supporter and boyfriend of new Supreme Court Justice Courtney Henry, to the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.

Frontline on football

I'm sorry to say I had a conflict and couldn't watch the Frontline Tuesday night on high school football that prominently featured a couple of private school football powerhouses in Arkansas, Shiloh Christian and Pulaski Academy.

Little Rock superintendent applicants

Here's the list of applicants for superintendent of the Little Rock School District. It will be winnowed to a group of finalists, I expect.

Thursday: Tyrannosaurus Chicken, Elliott Brood, 3 Penny Acre

White Water Tavern has this year's Musicians Showcase winners, Hot Springs offers a great Canadian roots trio and Laman Library gets a dose of "Ozarkansas" music.

Demonstration planned on defrocked priest

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which held a news conference in Little Rock yesterday about a woman's lawsuit against a former Arkansas Catholic priest, plans to display signs and hold a news conference outside diocesan offices today on another priest abuse case.

Burger joint of the week: Pig 'n-Chik

A smoky chargrilled Hubcap puts this Sherwood staple on the burger map.

Huck: "Rock on!"

Huckabee selling a limited edition run of 100 autographed guitars. Doesn't he play bass, though?

Memo to legislature re shale

A Texas state senator is pressing the case in that state over health and safety risks from the shale gas exploration boom and a failure of the state to adequately regulate the industry.

Friday To-Do: British Sea Power

The UK guitar rockers make their Little Rock debut at Stickyz.

ASU to buy Cash home

Arkansas State University in Jonesboro has reached a deal to buy the historic boyhood home of music legend Johnny Cash near Dyess in Mississippi County.

Partisan positioning on redistricting

The two Democratic members of the state Board of Apportionment — Gov. Mike Beebe and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will control legislative redistricting.

Friday To-Do: Bobby Rush

The dirty blues master returns to Maxine's for a post-Arkansas Derby party.

New sculpture in Riverfront Park

Artist Kathleen Caricof of the National Sculptors Guild in Loveland, Colo., sands with her work, "Infinity," unveiled today in the city's Vogel-Schwartz Sculpture Garden behind the Peabody Hotel in Riverfront Park.

UA sets public forums on president search

The University of Arkansas System has announced a series of public forums April 26-28 on the search for a new president.

A glitch in new state testing of kindergarteners

A teacher wrote me this morning to say she'd heard the wrong version of a standardized test had been admnistered to kindergarten students statewide.

Oddities abound

What's the strangest restaurant you've seen here in Arkansas? Can you top the eatery Kat found in Ft. Smith?

Huckabee backs tuition break for illegals

Again: When Mike Huckabee is right he's right. And he's pretty well been right all along about a compassionate position toward children who entered the U.S. with undocumented parents, went to school, followed the rules and did well enough to go to college.

The Thursday night line

It's open. Parting shots: * ROAD TO RUIN: That's how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee characterizes the first 100 days of Republican House majority.

Court overturns Jennings Osborne award

I forgot to check Supreme Court decisions earlier. A couple of note: * JENNINGS OSBORNE: The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned a $3 million verdict medical researcher Jennings Osborne had won against Arkansas Medical Research Testing.

Call KUAR Friday morning for blog match

Don't forget. Friday is the final day of fund-raising for the spring KUAR/KLRE fund drive.I'll be on from 6:30-9 a.m. with Rosi Smith of Children's Hospital.

Storms down trees, kill seven

Storms kill four and down trees all over Arkansas.

School vouchers are back

A little-noticed element of the budget deal was approval of private school vouchers in Washington, D.C. It's part of a national movement by conservative Republicans back toward vouchers — including for church schools and without regard to family income.

Secretary of state's Tea Party outreach

Alice Stewart, deputy to Secretary of State Mark Martin, spoke to the Faulkner County Tea Party yesterday.

KUAR pledge drive a success

Thanks to all for the support this morning on my stint with Rosi Smith of Children's Hospital raising money for KUAR/KLRE.

Cornyn says GOP health plan 'identical' to Obamacare

You read that headline right. A leading Republican senator, John Cornyn of Texas, says the Ryan proposal for Medicare is exactly the same thing as the "Obamacare" program adopted for everyone else.

Walmart enters utility fray

Roby Brock reports on Walmart's request to participate in a state Public Service Commission case on energy conservation and efficiency.

Pieday: Banana Cream at Letti's Cakes, Etc.

My North Little Rock readers have been on me for some time to try out the sweet delights over at the little cake place on JFK.

Weekend: The Smittle Band, Lyrics Born, "Dinner for Change: An Evening with the Arkansas Times"

Our weekly run-down of the best ways to waste a little time this weekend.

Poll: Trump leads Republican presidential field

Donald Trump tops everyone in the Republican field, including Mike Huckabee, a distant second, according to a new national poll.

Weekend To-Do: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's 'Pictures at an Exhibition'

The Symphony closes its season this weekend at the Robinson Center Music Hall.

Weekend To-Do: 'Blooms!' Festival

This year, the annual festival promises a slate of garden parties: one 1920s themed, one "Storybook Garden Party" and a "Rockin' the Suburbs" garden party with croquet and bocce ball. The festival continures the following day with Bob Dorough performing a 3:30 p.m. matinee.

Saturday To-Do: Corey Smith

The whitest music we've ever heard comes to Revolution this Saturday night.

Chaos in the House on budget bill

Wild development in the U.S. House today on budget legislation. In the end, Rep. Mike Ross opposed Arkansas Republicans in the plan to wreck Medicare, soak the poor and put more money in the pockets of rich people.

Brockmeier pays tribute to David Foster Wallace

The Arkansas author pays tribute to the late genius tonight at a University of Texas memorial/reading.

Real Deal in the Rock this weekend

The annual basketball tournament returns, showcasing the nation's best high school prospects and future superstars, in Little Rock and North Little Rock

The past and future of the Times edition, part one

On the conclusion of redistricting, Secretary of State Mark Martin's quest for "ethical leadership," deficit fights in Washington and the past and future of the Times.

Record Store Day 2011 tomorrow!

Records stores across Arkansas take part in the nation-wide music geek holiday.

The eagle is flying

The Friday night line is open. Final notes: * BEST THING I READ TODAY: Former NBA center John Amaechi, who is gay, responded eloquently to Kobe Bryant, who yelled an anti-gay slur at a referee and is protesting the $100,000 fine.

Princella Smith resigns secretary of state post

Princella Smith, director of education, for Secretary of State Mark Martin has resigned her position, Martin's press spokesman Alice Stewart says.

Ex-employee: Secy. of State's office dodged FOI

Teresa Belew, who recently resigned from Secretary of State Mark Martin's office, claims she had concerns over the office's compliance with FOIA issues.

Followup: The secretary of state and FOI

John Lyon of Stephens Media also obtained the resignation letter of Teresa Belew, former administrative assistant to Secretary of State Mark Martin, who said she resigned because of the office's resistance to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Arkansas Times.

Redistricting: The cast of characters

John Brummett begins today a useful roundup of the characters and motivations at work in the recently concluded legislative debate over congressional redistricting.

GOP pushes for environmental deregulation

Along with Medicare destruction and windfall tax breaks for the rich, Republicans nationally are pushing to dismantle federal environmental regulation.

Landmark day at the pumps

Paid $4.04 per gallon for premium gas this morning. I'm glad my commute is not much more than two miles.

The season begins

The Argenta Certified Arkansas Farmers Market kicked off with nearly a dozen booths selling onions, potatoes, turnips, herbs to take home and grow, fresh eggs (duck and chicken), cheeses, Bibb lettuce, soap, honey, pickled peppers and oodles and oodles of fresh strawberries.

The line is open

Beautiful day, but nothing to report. Four-cheese pizza is in the making.

Sunday To-Do: 'American Legacies'

No mashup is as exciting as hearing Del McCoury's high and lonesome tenor ring though Preservation Hall Jazz Band's ecstatic NOLA boogie on "I'll Fly Away" and the country standard "One Has My Name (The Other Has My Heart)." This pairing is a stroke of booking brilliance.

Mark Martin: I needed help

The Democrat-Gazette's Alison Sider today talked to Secretary of State Mark Martin about that $54,000-plus-expenses consulting contract he signed with the Soderquist Center of Siloam Springs for "values-based" strategic planning.

Calling the Shale Caucus

Hurry. Round up the Arkansas Legislative Shale Caucus to assure us that this report is of no concern.

Update on the Huckabee beach home

The Democrat-Gazette's Charlie Frago strolled the Blue Mountain Beach in Florida where Mike Huckabee's big new home is rising and reported today on neighbors' enthusiasm for the Arkansas tax fugitive.


Lift every voice and sing. The line is open.

Monday To-Do: Bob Dorough

The man behind "Schoolhouse Rocks!" and a pile of wry, geek-jazz records, returns to Little Rock for his first time in years.

President Obama's new liberalism

John Brummett looks kindly on President Obama's response to the Republican plan to kill Medicare and lavish windfall tax cuts on millionaires.

Donald Trump leads 'birther' charge

I mentioned Donald Trump's love of the 'birther' issue and was a little surprised at the defense of The Donald as a serious candidate.

Planned Parenthood myths

The Washington Post has a regular feature exploding myths about familiar topics. Its latest installment is about Planned Parenthood, beginning with the falsehood that federal money for a variety of valuable health services and family planning subsidizes abortion.

Dream Eats Mobile Cafe opens

It's starting to become clear that we're in the midst of a food truck mini-boom.

Father charged with killing 2 daughters

Gruesome story from Dermott, where a father is charged with running over and killing his two daughters, according to Channel 4.

Boulevard Bake House now offering dinner

Good news for downtown dwellers: The new Boulevard on South Main is now offering its take-home dinners.

Marijuana initiative in the works

A group in support of marijuana law reform will talk about a new initiative this week.

Comfortable food at Master Chef

The Harrison restaurant has been around since 1969, serving up American and Mexican favorites to generations of Harrisonians.

The myth of tax cuts and economic boom

Nice convergence of Twitter feeds a few minutes ago: * Arkansas Business headlined a wire story that details how the super rich are paying lower taxes than ever — 17 percent federal tax take versus 26 percent in 2002 — and how the average tax rate for everyone is declining.

Forget website: Arkansas adoption rules changed

A reader asks: The state website for adoption states "An individual who is cohabiting outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent.

William Bird named to Ethics Commission

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr has named North Little Rock lawyer William Bird to fill an unexpired term on the state Ethics Commission.

Diamond Bear brewery moving to NLR

As expected, the Diamond Bear craft brewery is pulling up stakes in Little Rock and moving to North Little Rock.

Monday, Monday

Slow day for me. What do you have to say for yourself. Final notes: * The House Republicans have decided they have a winner in mounting their own fight to deny benefits to same-sex couples under the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

'Take Shelter' highlights Cannes' 'Critic's Week'

Jeff Nichols' newest effort is the only American feature film to make the annual festival's special week.

Medical marijuana initiative gets OK

I mentioned earlier today some work on a somewhat offbeat marijuana initiative to set up a study of cultivation and use of marijuana.

American Idiot, a reprise?

Punk rocker Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong hasn't lost his political edge since "American Idiot."Here he takes a punch at Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin.

Mark Martin's rocky start

The Associated Press and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported yesterday and today on assertions by Secretary of State Mark Martin's executive assistant, Teresa Belew, that she quit because of the office's unwillingness to fully comply with the state Freedom of Information Act in responding to requests for information from the Arkansas Times.

Huckabee-Trump 2012: It's real

Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump are birds of a feather, John Brummett writes, and in this weird political era, a Huckatrump presidential ticket might not be the stuff of absurdist fiction after all.

Seeking gay acceptance at Bible colleges

Harding University, and its encounter with a manifesto from current and former gay students, is mentioned prominently today in a New York Times article about gay students' struggle for acceptance at religious oriented colleges across the U.S. Gay students say they are often asked why they are attending Christian colleges at all.

Tuesday To-Do: Nat Baldwin

The wildly-imaginative cellist for (the great) Dirty Projectors comes to Dreamland Ballroom for one of the wildest and most unexpected shows of the season

Democrats hit air on GOP Medicare vote

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says it will hit the air today with radio spots highlighting votes by Reps. Tim Griffin and Rick Crawford in favor of the House budget plan to end Medicare as single-payer health insurance coverage for older people.

What? Sanity in Arizona?

Nobody ever accused Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer of being a moderate. So it was something of a shock when news came that she had vetoed a "birther" bill as a "bridge too far."

Delta adds nonstop to Minneapolis

Beginning July 1, Delta Airlines will fly nonstop from Little Rock National Airport to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

No change in Arkansas unemployment

The state says Arkansas's unemployment rate in March held steady at 7.8 percent.

The facts on 'historian' David Barton

Mike Huckabee has said the American people should be "forced at gunpoint" to listen to David Barton, "the single best historian in America today."

Cavender's brings spice to life

I know so many people who have just three spices in their cabinets... salt, pepper and Cavender's Greek Seasoning.

"Christians" pissed

Protesters in France slash Serrano's "Immersion (Piss Christ)."

Gun incident in Houston elementary

Early report: Five-year-old takes gun to Houston elementary school. Three children have been removed from the building on stretchers.

Beebe appoints 28

A batch of gubernatorial appointments today included two to the prestigious Arkansas Economic Development Commission — Stuart Dalrymple from Gov. Mike Beebe's hometown of Searcy and Ed Drilling, head of AT&T in Arkansas.

Wednesday To-Do: Disney on Ice's 'Princess Wishes'

The latest installment of Disney's ice show for kids brings the whole crew of femme royalty to Verizon for five days.

T Tauri accepting registrations for kids' movie camp

The annual young filmmakers program has opened registration for its 2011 sessions.

Burger joint extra: Midtown Billiards

There's no burger in Arkansas that more terrifies the weak-hearted and titillates the adventuresome than the burger at Midtown Billiards in downtown Little Rock.

Another corporate welfare angle

An official opinion today from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says in response to a question from Sen. Jeremy Young Hutchinson that it's most likely illegal or unconstitutional for Benton to take Advertising and Promotion Commission hamburger tax money to spend on economic development.

Rockstar Jones drops 'Bombs'

The Little Rock ex-pat, now Cali up-and-comer, drops his first single from his much-anticipated proper debut, "Better Than Good."

The past and future of the Times edition, part two

Alan Leveritt and Lindsey Millar discuss the past, present and future of the Arkansas Times.

Last night: Bob Dorough at The Afterthought

We were too busy reveling in Dorough joy to write anything legible last night.

Art in motion

Camille Saint-Saens' "The Swan" played by Yo-Yo Ma, danced by L'il Buck.