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April 20, 2006

Vol 4 • No 14

A liver let him live

Greg Gilliland, 57, of Hot Springs is a muscular and imposing 6 feet 4 inches, his healthy skin a perfect complement to sky blue eyes. Sixteen months ago, he was on his hands and knees on the floor of the men’s room at the Garland County DHHS office, weighed down by a swollen belly, trying to mop up blood with a paper towel.

Hospital shopping

Ever have the urge to shop around for a hospital? To see which is ranked best for, say, cardiac care? According to a New York Times study of data on more than 3,000 hospitals assessed by the Hospital Quality Alliance and published last August, if you were shopping in Arkansas in 2004 for cardiac care, you were looking at the lowest-performing hospitals in the country.

New liver, new life

By the age of 13, Youmin Wu was living on his own, in Nanjing, in China’s Jiangsu Province. It was 1968, the Cultural Revolution had begun, and his father (a former general in the People’s Liberation Army) and his mother had been sent to work on a farm. He took care of himself through high school, and went to work in a movie theater and a factory while earning a college degree in mechanical engineering.

More chicken****

There are no atheists in foxholes and no environmentalists in the crowd when politicians appear before farmers.

White House spokesman resigns (UPDATE)

White House press secretary Scott McClellan resigned this morning, and Karl Rove is relinquishing his control over policy coordination in order to focus more on political affairs in advance of the November midterm elections.

When Democrats karaoke

                Just to show you the lengths we go to bring you the news, that's me with Drew Pritt at the Democratic Party's karaoke get-together at Sticky Fingerz last night.

When Democrats karaoke

                Just to show you the lengths we go to bring you the news, that's me with Drew Pritt at the Democratic Party's karaoke get-together at Sticky Fingerz last night.

About that veto

Gov. Huckabee explains here why he vetoed that bill to fund a science specialist program.

Bikers, start your pedals

A friend says she heard County Judge Buddy Villines say today that the new bike/pedestrian bridge over Murray Lock and Dam (shown here under construction) would open with a big celebration Sept. 20.

Disturbing the peace at Greers Ferry

According to the Sierra Club of Arkansas, the Army Corps of Engineers is issuing a permit to allow ocean powerboat racing on Greers Ferry Lake over the objections of residents.

Bush: The worst

Sean Wilentz, the Princeton presidential historian, writes in Rolling Stone: George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace.

Superfluous column

Some of you remember H.W. Fowler, and you might remember that one of his peeves was what he called Superfluous Words.

What are we smoking?

After reading Max Brantley’s column, “Will the minority rule?”, April 6, I’m left wondering. Just how much anti-tobacco smoke has been blown up your ass, or how much Robert Wood Johnson Foundation anti-tobacco money has been shoved in your pockets?

Paving paradise

Iriana’s, the Insider’s favorite pizza, leaves its home in the old bus station next week (April 25, precisely) to take up new quarters immediately below our desk on the first floor of the Heritage Center at Markham and Scott. Happy day.

High-rises on Dickson Street

Of the many thousands of former University of Arkansas students, all spent time hanging out on Dickson Street, that avenue of bars and restaurants, pool halls and used book stores that leads directly to the UA campus. Many of them still feel a proprietary

Governor in waiting

No topic on our Arkansas Blog inspires more vitriol than a mention of the race for lieutenant governor. Even if the smack talk is coming mostly from the campaign coteries, why such ardor for an office that means so little?

The Observer

A business establishment frequented by The Observer puts little signs in its lobby supposedly appropriate to the season. “Cold enough for you?” the February sign might say. Well, they’re usually more original than that, but you get the idea. The other day

Another monopolist

Yet another proposal for casino gambling in Arkansas has been put forth, and it is defective in the way that all the others have been, or at least all the ones we can think of : It is anti-competitive.

This Modern World April 20

Editorial cartoon April 20

Words Apri 20

“What are the most important criterion in selecting a cheerleader?” School spirit and how she looks in one of those little short skirts, I’d say. But what we’re really concerned with here is the misuse of criteria and criterion.

De-generating

With his 1998 book “The Greatest Generation,” Tom Brokaw celebrated the experiences and accomplishments of the Americans who came of age during the Depression and fought in large numbers during World War II. It is unusual to give so much credit to an enti

Smart Talk April 20

This week: A prize-winning florist; a question for Joe Klein;

Huckabee a conservative?

Gov. Huckabee put himself in rarified company when he declared himself to be the most conservative governor in Arkansas history. Arkansas elected some mulish reactionaries back in the mists, but the governor said they did not hold a candle to him.

The week that was April 12-18

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … FREE SPEECH. An itinerant street preacher won a federal court appeal of a lawsuit against the University of Arkansas. The UA can no longer limit outside speakers such as the preacher to five appearances per semester on the m

Which goes first, toughness or compassion?

Asa Hutchinson bears no more responsibility to come up with a solution for our immigration problem than does the other candidate for governor, Mike Beebe.

Tax day

I sent in my income tax money early this year – two days before the deadline. Also, I was more careful than I usually am.

Dashing and daring

Having already experienced the highly competitive world of championship figure skating, Michael Kuluva has found his way into a field where the battles may be fiercer: clothing design.

Bedside manor — the hospitalist’s bailiwick

What if you, during a stay in the hospital, knew that your internist was never farther than five minutes away? That you would know the results of blood work and X-rays quickly, and that your family would too, without having to make a 5 a.m. trip to the ho

Pubs, parties and readings

The Arkansas Times and Mallard’s Bar at the Peabody Hotel will welcome all comers for Pub or Perish, part of a plethora of events at the third annual Arkansas Literary Festival this weekend.

The best doctors in Arkansas

There are 273 physicians on the Arkansas Times’ 2006 list of Best Doctors. Our annual publication, now in its 12th year, makes use this year of a list compiled by Best Doctors Inc., a national organization that surveys doctors around the country. Best Doc

Primary pitch day

Stephens Media: Arkansas Democratic Party officials are in New Orleans today to seek an early 2008 presidential primary date for the state.

Caution: legislators at work

Rep. Bob Mathis: poster child for term limits. (And it wasn't a good day for Leroy Dangeau, either.)

Wal-Mart's new tone

The NY Times' reporter at the Wal-Mart PR fest detects a new tone from CEO H. Lee Scott, somewhat less aggressively defensive and somewhat more willing to talk about the "transformation" of the company and even the need for improvement.

It's a party

The group that backed a minimum wage proposal that prodded the recent legislative increase is having a party tonight to raise money to pay off some bills from the campaign.

Poultry postal

We heard on KUAR driving in that someone had opened fire overnight at a Tyson plant in Pine Bluff and wounded two with semi-automatic gunfire.

Poultry postal

We heard on KUAR driving in that someone had opened fire overnight at a Tyson plant in Pine Bluff and wounded two with semi-automatic gunfire.

Ding dong the TIF is dead

We'll believe this good news only after the state Supreme Court drives a stake through the heart of unconstitutional TIF legislation, nonetheless here's good news from the Morning News.

Payola again?

Say it ain't so. Radio jocks are taking freebies in return for playing certain music?

Trouble in the woods for Dubya

This short posting at buzzflash has been circulating around since yesterday. We can't vouch for its authenticity, but it at least rings true:

Tickets go on sale for Strokes' Memphis show

Wish we could get them in Little Rock. Somehow, despite evidence that shows Little Rock is outdrawing Memphis regularly in rock shows, the Strokes will play the Orpheum, and it's only about a two-hour drive anyway, so why not?

The tax charge cometh

The North Pulaski Leader brings Ernie Dumas' four decades of coverage of the Capitol to bear in an editorial on the Republican Party's attack on Mike Beebe for voting for tax increases as a state senator. Dumas explains how the Republicans cooked the books (by their methods, you could say Asa Hutchinson cut taxes for billionaires by trillions while he was in Congress); they disingenuously tried to tar Beebe with a tax passed after he left the Senate at the Republican governor's urging and they failed to give him credit for leadership in an income tax reduction that WAS passed on his watch.

UALR looks forward

UALR took a strategic plan to its Board of Visitors today. You can read it all here.

To do Thursday: Celtic Woman, 'Book Guys'

I'm excited about seeing this Celtic Woman show tonight. Yeah, I know to some of you that might seem like saying I'm looking forward to Riverdance.

Ark Dems make case for early primary

Democratic Party Chairman Jason Willett called from New Orleans with an update on his bid for Arkansas to be selected by the Democratic National Committee for an early presidential primary slot.

Gettin' Out: Thursday

Billy Currington's show at Electric Cowboy has cancelled, but AmyB's got a bucketload (or a Trainwreck) of information on what you CAN do tonight at clubs and hearing other music, after the jump:

Hiring undocumented workers: 'organized crime'

This ought to be interesting. If they're serious about executing this kind of enforcement across the board, there might be a few companies in Northwest Arkansas that can expect a visit from the Feds.

Huckabee goes to GITMO

Arkansas Business is reporting that Gov. Mike Huckabee tomorrow will tour the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

Some lessons from Hogs’ spring game

EDITOR’S NOTE: We offer a regular Little Rocking weblog feature, a sports column from “J.R. and Henry,” to fill this week’s sports space and invite you to check them out twice a week on the Little Rocking blog on the Times homepage.

What's cooking April 20

Ferneau has new menu; Hooters in business.

TV highlights, April 20-26

THE GODFATHER WEEKEND April 22-23, beginning at 8:15 a.m. Saturday Turner Classic Movies (Comcast Ch. 30) MODERN MARVELS: BRICKS AND CONCRETE 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 The History Channel (Comcast Ch. 70) STANDARD OF PERFECTION: SHOWCATTL

Getting Southern Exposure

John Corbett is an actor by trade –- we’re fans of his cool quirky DJ role in “Northern Exposure,” not to mention his stint as one of Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriends on “Sex and the City.” But there is also a side to Corbett that is just now being expose

Rep gets ‘Intimate’

“Intimate Apparel,” Lynn Nottage’s play that won the 2004 New York Drama Critics award for Best New Play, opens on the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s Main Stage Friday, April 21.

Celtic Woman

Celtic Woman –- four singers and a violinist along with a backup chorus and band, all dressed in beautiful costumes and performing under wondrous lighting –- owes its popularity in Arkansas to its 2004 taped show that airs regularly when AETN is doing a p

Retreat into laughter

If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, a good cry and some good theater, don’t miss the Rep’s production of William Nicholson’s “The Retreat From Moscow.”

It’s a ‘Blast’

“Blast” brings together some versatile young people, some who can both blow a French horn and leap through the air, whatever the moment calls for.

Facing life well

What is the face of a life lived well? Find out when “Elder Grace,” an exhibit of black and white portraits by New York Times photographer Chester Higgins Jr., opens at 5:30 p.m. April 20 at the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging of the University of A

Nothing quite like April heat wave

Keep repeating it: There is nothing wrong with our weather. Yes, the polar ice caps are shrinking, and tornadoes are normal in downtown Nashville, Indianapolis and Fort Worth. But this all runs in cycles, certain people keep telling us.

T for Texas, T for tasty meat

As the new Texas Roadhouse, on Warden Road near the McCain Boulevard shopping and eating frenzy, states on its menu, if it doesn’t say “Texas,” it isn’t Texas Roadhouse.

Smokin’ good film

If most Americans were asked to choose a list of hot-button issues these days, it’s fair to say a bunch of them would probably list smoking. It is, therefore, the perfect time for a movie like “Thank You For Smoking.”

Krain: Photo poet

There are a few Arkansas institutions — like Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Wal-Mart Corp. and the Clinton Presidential Center — that I sometimes think could exist quite happily anywhere else. Photographer Ben Krain is one of them.

NYTimes visits Fayetteville

            Today's New York Times devotes its weekly "36 Hours" travel feature to Fayetteville.

Legislators return for veto vote

The state House and Senate will re-convene today at 1 p.m. to consider overriding Gov. Mike Huckabee's veto of a $570,303 appropriation for an elementary school science program.

Killer bees coming to Arkansas

The Arkansas News Bureau also reports that killer bees will likely make their way through one-fourth of the state by the end of the year.

Do as we say, not as we do

National Public Radio's morning report about Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the White House yesterday included President Bush's remarks urging more freedom in China.

Literary Festival weekend is here

The Arkansas Literary Festival kicked off last night with NPR's The Book Guys taping two national radio programs at the Central Arkansas Library System in Little Rock's River Market District.

Stephens may bid for California papers

The Stephens Media Group may partner with Gannett and MediaNews Group to purchase three newspapers in Northern California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Arkansans support environmental action

A group called the Natural State Coalition is trumpeting the results of a poll they commissioned showing Arkansans overwhelmingly (62 percent) in favor of taking action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and stop global climate change.

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson

Katherine Harris, the Florida congresswoman who is well-known for her role in the 2000 Bush-Gore recount when she was Florida's secretary of state, is running for U.S. Senate there.

Legislature overrides veto

Per our earlier blog item, this afternoon the Arkansas House voted 71-13 and the Arkansas Senate voted 24-3 to override Gov. Mike Huckabee's veto of funding for an elementary school science program.

Slow Friday open line

This is a slow news day, and we're shorthanded here at Blog Central anyway. What's happening where you are?

Gettin' Out: Friday

Friday gets here, and suddenly Little Rock has so much to do, some of us can't make up our minds.

Review: AmyB's got a rant with people

AmyB checked out a really cool duo called Trainwreck last night at the Press Box.

Literary Festival is underway; the 'cue was good

We joined several barbecue lovers (and book lovers) for the first event of the Arkansas Literary Festival: Dr. BBQ, Ray Lamke, who told us a few of his secrets and chowed down with the rest of us on some Whole Hog barbecue at lunch today at the River Market.

To do Friday: Another Rep opening

"Intimate Apparel," the New York Drama Desk winner for Best Play, opens at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre today at 8 p.m.

Let the sun shine in

An opinion from the attorney general seems to indicate the ASU chancellor search committee is subject to the FOI if it has any real influence and, no matter what, that documents are open.

Sports Column: J.R. and Henry on UA's facilities

Arkansas has built it.  So why won’t they come? In 1989, America became enamored with the line “if you build it, he will come” from the popular baseball film "Field of Dreams."

Fuel worries

Yesterday oil hit $75 a barrel, lines of cars at East Coast service stations as they ran out of gas, and some people in California paid over $4 a gallon.

Review: 'The Incredibles' is pretty good family fare

We really expected to be bored silly by yet another one of these Disney on Ice deals designed to separate parents from their money, but "The Incredibles" surprised us.

To do Saturday: Pub or Perish

Hey, it's our event, why wouldn't it be the thing to do? Arkansas Times sponsores "Pub or Perish," a fun bar and book-reading event at Mallard's in the Peabody Hotel, starting tonight at 7 p.m.

Gettin' Out: Saturday-Sunday

Rock. Blues.

Slacker Saturday

Apologies to all for the light duty. I'm on vacation in San Francisco where the sun is shining, the temp is in the 50s, the Ferry Termainl is overflowing with produce at the farmers market and petrale sole beckons at a fish house down the street from our hotel.

National Dems' six-point plan

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean unveiled a six-point plan at yesterday's Spring meeting of the DNC in New Orleans:

Young officers join war critics

The younger generation of military officers is disgusted with their older colleagues who acquiesced to an ill-conceived and poorly-planned operation in Iraq.

Sucked in by Hoover

Is President Bush moving toward a strike against Iran? ThinkProgress notes that he spent time Friday at the Hoover Institution, where intellectuals are pushing for pre-emptive military action.

Sucked in by Hoover

Is President Bush moving toward a strike against Iran? ThinkProgress notes that he spent time Friday at the Hoover Institution, where intellectuals are pushing for pre-emptive military action.

Noble out at KTHV?

The Arkansas TV News blog is reporting that KTHV weekend anchor Win Noble was dismissed from his position over the weekend because of his personal blog and some after-hours bar fighting.

Afterthought goes smoke-free

The Afterthought, the storied corner bar in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood, sent a press release this morning announcing it will re-open this Friday as a smoke-free establishment after completing an interior remodeling.

Stem cell research divides GOP

Democrats across the nation are discovering that stem-cell research is a powerful issue, according to the NYTimes.

'Kenny Boy': Buck stops there

Kenneth Lay, the former Enron CEO, finally took the stand in the trial concerning the collapse of the company.

Beebe on abortion

Mike Beebe's position on abortion was articulated by his spokesman in the course of an article in Saturday's Democrat-Gazette.

Review: Amyb on John Lee Hooker Jr.

AmyB checked out the John Lee Hooker Jr. show on Saturday night at Sticky Fingerz and files this report:

To do Monday: River City Men's Chorus

There's a second River City Men's Chorus show today at 7 p.m., following yesterday's matinee, at Trinity United Methodist Church (Evergreen and Mississippi).

Houston Nutt's in town Tuesday

Houston Nutt will be the guest of the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Tueday beginning at 11:15 p.m. at Keith Jackson's P.A.R.K. on Geyer Springs Road.

Arkansas vs. Texas football game in Dallas every year?

Austin American-Statesmen columnist Kirk Bohls tosses this out, that Arkansas and Texas officials have been in talks about an every year football matchup to be played in the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Arkansas vs. Texas football game in Dallas every year?

Austin American-Statesmen columnist Kirk Bohls tosses this out, that Arkansas and Texas officials have been in talks about an every year football matchup to be played in the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Beebe raises cash in Beverly Hills

Asa Hutchinson's campaign and the state Republican Party are attacking Mike Beebe for a fundraising event he's having tonight at the Beverly Hills home of supermarket magnate Ron Burkle.

Arkansas-Texas football returns

Our own Jim Harris reports on his Little Rocking blog that Arkansas and Texas will reunite on the gridiron for a home-and-home series in 2008-09.

Standing room only ... on planes?

                  And you think air travel is bad now?

Voting machine trouble looms

The Pulaski County Election Commission held an emergency meeting this morning to discuss impending problems with voting machines as the May 23 primary election approaches.

Bush forced to act on gas prices

OK, OK, I'll do something. Under pressure from angry drivers and leaders in both political parties, President Bush said today he was taking steps to at least slow the rising price of gasoline.

Bush approval lowest ever

The previous item about President Bush finally taking action against high gas prices might have something to do with a CNN poll released yesterday showing him with a 32 percent job approval rating -- his lowest ever.

Gettin' Out: Yes, you can on a Tuesday

AmyB has your itinerary: Alright, we’re building up for the weekend, here’s few thing to do to warm you up.

A Nutty report: Houston at the Touchdown Club

One of our sources reports in from Houston Nutt's appearance at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, held at Keith Jackson's P.A.R.K. on Geyer Springs:

A Nutty report: Houston at the Touchdown Club

One of our sources reports in from Houston Nutt's appearance at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, held at Keith Jackson's P.A.R.K. on Geyer Springs:

Hathorn questions Halter's finance reports (UPDATE)

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Mike Hathorn just sent a letter to his opponent Bill Halter and "cc"d the Arkansas news media via email.

Hathorn questions Halter's finance reports (UPDATE)

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Mike Hathorn just sent a letter to his opponent Bill Halter and "cc"d the Arkansas news media via email.

Snow shoveler

Looks like Fox News anchor Tony Snow will be named White House press secretary tomorrow.

Editorial cartoon

Orval April 27

This Modern World April 27

Golfing in New Orleans and the Mississippi Coast

Here's a good story via Golf World on the golf business in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the damage suffered at New Orleans' First Tee program for kids, after Hurricane Katrina:

Sports Column: Green jerseys and red herrings

JR and Henry offer their Wednesday column, which also will appear in the print edition of the Times on Thursday: Green jerseys and red herrings Sometimes it’s difficult to determine which is more remarkable: that Arkansas fans work themselves into a frenzy debating a spring scrimmage, or that the majority of the media rush to defend every Houston Nutt decision quicker than Old Yeller did for Travis.

Uninsured rate high in Arkansas

Next week is Cover the Uninsured Week, an annual focus on health care coverage sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Gettin' Out: Hump Day, and lots to do

AmyB found a few minutes between all the fun happening around our office today and deduced what you've got to do tonight in terms of clubbing (and don't forget to listen to Amy on KABF-FM, 88.3, today from 3 to 5 p.m.).

Mike Ross and 'net neutrality' (UPDATE)

The Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement (COPE) Act is being considered by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce committee, of which U.S. Rep. Mike Ross is a member.

Timing

Mayor Jim Dailey and Police Chief Stuart Thomas held a news conference today to talk about Operation Quiet Nights, a new police initiative to target neighborhoods where people congregate in the wee hours and deadly events often follow.

Heckuva job Asa!

The Democratic Party, with help in Congress, spotlights the administration's poor performance on port security.

Heckuva job Asa!

The Democratic Party, with help in Congress, spotlights the administration's poor performance on port security.

Hear the news

Our news partner KUAR FM 89 public radio gets audio on a couple of stories you saw first on this blog: the problems with ES&S voting machines and the Mike Hathorn-Bill Halter dust-up over campaign finance reports.

Rove returns to grand jury

Karl Rove today testified in front of the grand jury investigating the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as an undercover CIA agent.

Arkansas newspaper magnates

NY Times reports that Stephens family of Little Rock will be in the partnership led by Dean Singleton that will buy the San Jose Mercury and several other former Knight-Ridder newspapers that were unwanted by McClatchy in its purchase of K-R.
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