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April 20, 2011

Vol 37 • No 33

Read the print version

The love equation

Little Rock native Christian Rudder's $50 million idea to turn dating into math.

Wednesday To-Do: 'Up in Smoke'

Revolution hosts a night for those celebrating the unofficial holiday with music from Muck Stikcy, Adam Bomb & Lilo Eskimo, Futuro Boots and a 'School of Dub' afterparty.

Tuesday talk

Supreme Court Justice Karen Baker appears in a fashion designer's advertising.

GOP attacks Medicare

The theory that persistent marketing can make people yearn for that which they formerly feared is about to get its supreme test, the selling of the Republican deficit blueprint and the scuttling of Medicare, the most beloved government program in history.

Congressional death panel

If Wilbur Mills were still around, he'd be crying "Give me my country back!"

Spring storms

Storm damage piles up outside a home in Little Rock.

Charter schools' hidden agenda

What happens when there is little accountability?

Bookstore guide

Today there are fewer bookstores in Central Arkansas than anytime in recent memory, with only three big-box retailers, two indies and one used bookstore to pick from. You'd be wise not to take them for granted.

Montgomery Trucking and The Cleverlys team up at Stickyz

Also, the Meshugga Klezmer Band celebrates Passover at The Afterthought

Unsuitable

Supreme Court Justice Karen Baker, modeling a blue suit, features in a Jamileh Kamran advertisement in the April 15 issue of the lawyer-targeted Daily Record newspaper.

Act of principle

A Times Freedom of Information Act request turned up Belew's resignation letter, saying she resigned over concerns that "certain aspects related to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act are not being properly followed by the Secretary of State's Office."

Diamond Bear blues

Amid the hoopla surrounding Diamond Bear Brewery's announcement of a move to a much bigger, custom-built space on the North Little Rock waterfront next year is a mechanical headache that has choked off the flow of Diamond Bear's bottled brews to retailers

ASU buys in Chenal

The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees has purchased a home at 4 Lacelle Court in Chenal for new ASU system president Dr. Charles "Chuck" Welch.

Getting it

"You just don't get it," the little boogers used to tell me in exasperation. And of course they were right. I didn't get it then; I don't get it now; I'll never get it.

Avoid ad hominem

"My hope is that the redistricting process can avoid the ad hominem.  We're all citizens of Arkansas, and we can be better than that."

Awful(ly) meta

Wes Craven's horror chops almost save 'Scream 4' from itself. Almost.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

April 14, Robinson Center Music Hall

The Observers hates reptiles

The Observers loves reptiles.

Orval, April 20, 2011

Cash house purchased!

After a year-long negotiation, the family of the current owner, William Stegall, has reportedly accepted ASU's $100,000 offer to buy the Cash house and the small plot of land it sits on in a cotton field about a mile outside Dyess.

If it's White, it's alright

At least as far back as the congressional redistricting of 1991, people have been saying that White County, the easternmost county in the Second Congressional District, should be moved to the First Congressional District.

The rise of Hillis

Conway native and emergent Cleveland Browns star Peyton Hillis is a finalist to be named the cover star of Madden NFL '12.

This Modern World, April 20, 2011

Bob Seger's back at Verizon

Also, The Boondogs host their "Annual Shareholders Meeting" at White Water Tavern.

On 'American Experience: The Stonewall Riots'

And the first two seasons of "Sons of Anarchy."

Good week: Legislature

It completed work on congressional redistricting and went home.

The Dream Eats Cafe enters the local food truck boom

In the cafe's early days it'll serving items like shrimp gazpacho, a Cubano sandwich, a Cobb salad, a chicken Caesar salad, a pulled barbecue chicken sandwich and hand-cut fries.

'The multibillionaire Koch brothers are used to running their nefarious network of political front groups from behind closed doors...

But now, the curtain is being pulled back, and there they are — buck naked and butt ugly — for all to see."

The Arkansas Earth Day Festival returns, expanded.

The North Shore Riverwalk keeps it down to Earth.

Nichols lands in Cannes' 'Critics' Week'

'Take Shelter' is the only American feature film with the distinction

'Anchor babies' weigh down Arkansas?

That's what the punitive Birthright Citizenship Act claims.

Is 'Huckatrump' a monster for its time?

Their differences center on hair and cultural background. Otherwise Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump amount to the same prospective Republican presidential candidate.

Burger showdown

David's Butcher Boy Burgers versus Wimpy's Burgers and Fries in Conway.

Bambino's

This little corner eatery, opened in March by Thelma Anaya, is an intimate breakfast and lunch place, featuring Italian/American entrees.

Tea Party governance in Baxter County

Interesting story from Mountain Home, where Ozark Tea Party leader Richard Caster, now a Baxter County justice of the peace (member of the county government governing body) isn't too embarrassed about a video on his website making fun of an elderly woman urging the county to join the national flood insurance program.

Principal seeks prayer for school woes

Also noted in mail this morning is an article from the Fort Smith newspaper: In a handwritten letter this month, Van Buren High School Principal Becky Guthrie asked 20 high school employees to become prayer warriors with her to resolve the crises at the school.

Why did Benton remove school superintendent?

The Benton School Board constructively fired superintendent Tony Prothro Monday. It suspended him with pay (a package worth $200,000) through the end of his contract in June 2012, but didn't say why.

Canon Grill serves sustaining food

Hearty Mexican-inspired fare covers the menu at this Hillcrest standard.

Attacks continue on GOP anti-Medicare vote

A new PAC aimed at regaining Democratic control of the House is on the air with radio ads attacking select Republican members of Congress who voted for huge tax breaks for millionaires in the same legislation that will bring an end to Medicare.

U.S. saying yes to same-sex marriage

Nate Silver at the New York Times reports on the mounting poll evidence that opponents of same-sex marriage are now in the minority.

Griffin visits Head Start, GOP cut target

UAMS has announced a visit Thursday by U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin to the central office of UAMS' Head Start program, which serves kids at 21 sites.

Hog news: drugs and guns

Why does sports news often seem to sound more like the police blotter? DRUGS: Sports talk shows were buzzing this morning with news that former Hog quarterback Ryan Mallett, hoping for an NFL draft bonanza, has been telling NFL teams that he has "used drugs" in the past.

Arkansas abandons the landline

The news that Arkansas and Mississippi lead the contrary in abandoning landline telephones for cell phones isn't surprising.

Thursday To-Do: Brian 'Head' Welch

BRIAN 'HEAD' WELCH7:30 p.m., Revolution. $18 In a nutshell: Guy co-founds Korn, one of the heaviest, most successful bands of metal provocateurs in the '90s.

Thursday To-Do: Boondogs Annual Shareholders Meeting

The widely-loved, seldom-united collective of Little Rock musicians offers a night of mini-solo sets at White Water Tavern.

Taxpayers to Ryan: We want our country back UPDATE

This is rich. Rep. Paul Ryan went home to a town hall to tout his plan to end Medicare and further cut taxes on the rich, who already enjoy the lowest tax rates in decades.

'We shall overcomb'

Thanks to Lawrence O'Donnell for the headline, a bumper sticker for Huckatrump 2012. Here it goes again, Mike Huckabee defending Donald Trump despite his past support for universal health care.

Mary Steenburgen to play mom of dog's best friend, Billy Bob Thornton to the disco

Lots in the hopper for Mary Steenburgen.

Steeling the deal

Installation of the first shipping container homes in Little Rock and what consultants say are the first platinum-level LEED-rated homes in the nation began today as the first of the pre-cut containers were lowered by crane onto foundations at the corner of 21st Street and Commerce Street.

Wednesday night line

It's open. Final notes: * Fire today in one of the old buildings in downtown Van Buren.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's bad start

The reviews are in. Secretary of State Mark Martin hasn't even taken 100 days to prove himself spectacularly unprepared to head a state ministerial office that Charlie Daniels managed quietly.

KIPP schools' 'shocking' dropout rate

You might have missed on the web this week another guest column from Paul Hewitt, a former school superintendent on the University of Arkansas education faculty.

Contraception saves money

Good column by Susan Collins that illustrates how Tea Party math and Religious Right zealotry ends up costing us all money when it comes to conservatives' battle to interfere with women's reproduction.

Burger joint of the week: CJ's Butcher Boy Burgers

How could I go naming all these great burger joints and leave out CJ’s? You can't get better than made-from-scratch when you get there, can you?

Blake Shelton to Fayetteville

The country superstar comes to UA's Barnhill Arena on April 30.

State fiscal outlook: cautious

Richard Weiss, director of the state Finance and Administration Department, has provided an updated assessment of the state's financial condition based on current revenue, future estimates and the impact of tax-cutting the recent legislation session.

More show announcements from Fayetteville

The Arkansas Music Pavilion announces the second half of its Summer Music Series.

Republican signature racket in Wisconsin

Funny story given the rich context of recent years. Republicans apparently hired signature gatherers — some apparently with criminal records and some who misrepresented their aim — to gather recall petitions for Democratic senators in Wisconsin.

Rating legislators on bill passage

Roby Brock begins a project today to rate Arkansas legislators based on the success rate of the the legislation they introduced.

Report faults Pulaski desegregation accounting UPDATE

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today released an accounting firm's report on spending of state-supplied desegregation funding to the Pulaski County and North Little Rock School Districts.

Arkansas congressional redistricting — BFD

You'd have thought something was important underway given the excitement among the political class as the Arkansas legislature limped toward approval of new congressional districts.

Call Ripley's: A lawsuit for the cop killers

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports on a lawsuit filed by a woman whose husband and son were killed in a West Memphis police shoot out. Nutty stuff.

Mobile Food Fest coming to Main St. Little Rock

Several blocks of Main Street will be blocked off on October 1st for a celebration of mobile eating.

The Thursday night line

Your comments welcome. Final notes: * HUCKABEE ON BECK: Mike Huckabee unloads on Glenn Beck for calling him a — gasp — "progressive" for endorsing Michelle Obama's campaign against childhood obesity.

Tim Griffin: Millionaires before kids

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin got his photo op yesterday with cute Head Start kids, prominently displayed on 1B of the Democrat-Gazette, but the payload down in the related article inside the paper (pay wall), when Charlie Frago reported Griffin's answer to the question of whether tax cuts for the wealthy were more important than money for Head Start.

'Nightline': The fracking of Arkansas UPDATE

ABC's Nightline last night featured an extensive piece on concerns about the environmental impact of fracking for natural gas in Arkansas, particularly the question of whether the activity relates to earthquake swarms.

Dustin McDaniel's excellent week

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, prepping for his race for governor against Mike Ross in 2014, has had an excellent week by his lights.

Fluoride is coming back to Boone County

Ginger Shiras reports for the Harrison Daily Times that fluoride is returning to the drinking water of Carroll and Boone Counties, thanks to a new state law.

As Bryant turns: Republicans in spotlight again

It's small town politics, but I admit a certain fascination with the pitched political battle in Bryant, the booming suburb near Little Rock's southwestern edge.

Pieday: Chocolate Meringue at The Country Rooster

Lots of folks have been pestering me about heading up to Green Forest for pie at a very unusual little restaurant.

Webb, Williams lead House rating

I wrote yesterday about the legislative ratings compiled by Roby Brock's Talk Business, an index based on legislation introduced and passed.

Cary Gaines gets four months in prison

Former North Little Rock Alderman Cary Gaines received a four-month federal prison sentence — not the home detention prosecutors had recommended — for conspiring to set up kickbacks on city jobs to pay off his gambling debts.

Saturday To-Do: Rooney

It seems the Los Angeleno rockers play Juanita's every sixth week. Not like that's a bad thing, though. As far as melodic, vintage rock played in the key of Vitamin D goes, you could do a lot worse than these guys.

Saturday To-Do: Edgefest VII

Avenged Sevenfold, Stonesour, Three Days Grace, Seether, Theory of a Deadman, Skillet, Sevendust, Helmet, Halestorm, My Darkest Days and Art of Dying, Dark From Day One play at Arkansas State Fairgrounds.

Saturday To-Do: Doodlebug

Doodlebug, one cog in early '90s jazz rap trio Digable Planets, is slated to bring his one-man show to Cornerstone. Hip-hop heads profit.

The auto theft report: too late for me

The Little Rock Police Department released this report on times and places for a recent series of breaking and entering thefts from automobiles in the area covered by the downtown patrol division — 38 between March 28 and April 17.

Eyes open again, for Earth Day art

I've been out of town and out of pocket and out of touch, and apologize.

Beck v. Huckabee, Round 2

Glenn Beck called Mike Huckabee a progressive. Mike Huckabee said Glenn Beck had smeared him.

Keep your hands off our Medicare

New polling isn't much of a surprise. Call it privatizing or call it shifting responsibility for medical care from the government to the private sector, the majority of people in the U.S. don't like it.

Zoo elephant has terminal cancer

Fox 16 reports that Mary, the Little Rock Zoo's 60-year-old elephant, has been diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer.

WRI show peek

The 2011 Winthrop Rockefeller Legacy Exhibition opens next week at the WR Institute atop Petit Jean, in conjunction with the institute's Legacy Weekend.

Podcast: The demagoguery and football edition

On this week's podcast, I quiz Max on the report from the attorney general's office on desegregation funding, the 2014 gubernatorial race, the politics of natural gas drilling and Ryan Mallet, the NFL draft and the sanctimony in sports reporting.

Friday frolics

The line is open. Parting shots: * NEWS SOURCES: One of the questions on a new round of polling by Roby Brock's Talk Business and Hendrix College was about where people got most of their Arkansas legislative news.

Looking for congressional candidates

Roby Brock runs down the list of potential matchups in the reconfigured Arkansas congressional districts.

Dustin McDaniel's grandstanding

John Brummett captures the essence of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's $250,000 accounting boondoggle to review spending of state desegregation money in Pulaski County.

Gastronomic explosion imminent at this year's Riverfest

Three words: Krispy Kreme Burger. You have been warned.

Saturday line

Please, chime in. I've been slacking, except for laundry and some cooking.

Polling on health care, adoption

Here's another installment of recent polling by Roby Brock at Talk Business and Hendrix College on Arkansas political issues.

The great budget debate

I, like some others, have been stunned by the relatively mild reaction to House Republicans' approval of a budget blueprint that drastically reduces Medicaid (health services for the poor and elderly); privatizes and essentially ends Medicare over a period of years,and gives an enormous tax break to the rich (a drop from 35 percent to 25 percent for households with taxable inconme — after deductions — of more than $373,000 a year.)

Native Arkie labors for workers

It's a pleasure to call attention to an Arkansas native who's distinguishing himself in Washington.

Easter line

Sorry. Nothing here our angle.

A progressive budget plan

Paul Krugman touts a plan by progressives in Congress to reduce the deficit. 1) Higher taxes for the rich.

Why didn't I think of this? A Peeps Show

Searching in vain for items of interest this quiet morning, I stumbled upon a video presentation of winners in the Washington Post's annual Peeps Show, a contest to create news-related dioramas from Peeps, the familiar Easter candy.

Poll: Beebe, yes!; Pryor, eh.

More from the Talk Business-Hendrix College polling. Gov. Mike Beebe's approval is bipartisan and huge.

Medicaid in jeopardy at Booneville center

KUAR's Kelly MacNeil reports that Medicaid money for the state's center for developmentally disabled at Booneville is in jeopardy because of lax supervision of residents.

Little Rock to pick superintendent finalists

The Little Rock School Board will meet this afternoon to produce a group of finalists for consideration for school superintendent.

Supreme Court refuses speedy health law review

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to fast-track review of a lower court ruling (one of many) on the federal health care reform law.

Pressure increases on GOP Medicare vote

The House Republicans' vote to end Medicare (Reps. Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Rick Crawford all joined this historic repudation of a single-payer guaranteed health plan for the elderly) won't be soon forgotten.

Robbers leave $50 at crime scene

The Little Rock police report a robbery of a Valero station at 12001 Col. Glenn Road early Sunday morning.

Law firm won't defend Marriage Act

King and Spalding, the big-time Atlanta law firm that was lined up by House Speaker John Boehner to defend the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act, has decided not to take the taxpayer-financed job after all.

Helena school blues

If it's not a city government squabble occupying time and energy in Helena-West Helena, it's a school debate.

Tuesday To-Do: Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

The monster of Midwestern rock returns to Verizon.

Entergy unveils transmission plans

Roby Brock talks with Entergy Arkansas chief Hugh McDonald about the utility's plans to affiliate with an Indiana electricity transmission system as it ends a system agreement with other Entergy operating units.

Boom-A-Rang Diner resurfaces in Fort Smith

The popular burger joint will reopen in the former Nickel & Dime Diner spot at the Park at West End.

Terror prosecutor to speak at UALR

Capt. David Iglesias, a Navy lawyer who leads a team prosecuting war crimes and terrorism cases at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will speak at the UALR Law School at 4:30 p.m.

Old times there, etc.

Survey of Republicans in three former slave states finds not much happiness that the North won the Civil War.

Beebe resumes setting executions

Gov. Mike Beebe has resumed setting execution dates despite some ongoing court deliberations on death penalty challenges.

Forums set on UA president search

A reminder that public forums are scheduled Tuesday in Little Rock and Pine Bluff on the search for a new president of the University of Arkansas System.

Monday, Monday

Here's the open line. Close-outs: * LEGISLATURE IN LOW REGARD: More Talk Business-Hendrix College polling.

Storm aftermath — four dead in Vilonia

The morning hasn't yet brought a comprehensive assessment of the widespread damage from last night's storms and the continuing high water.

Little Rock school superintendent finalists

Following is the news release on the three finalists chosen by the Little Rock School Board last night to interview for the superintendent's job.

Bryant police chief: All in the family

I guess nobody in Bryant is surprised that Mayor Jill "Republican" Dabbs selected Mark Kizer, husband of her pal, City Clerk Heather "Republican" Kizer, to be the city's permanent police chief.

Colleges finagle to meet female athletic targets

Title IX, which led to a huge increase in female athletic participation in college, has left many men unhappy because of the impact on male sports.

Republicans rip Mike Ross

The National Republican Campaign Committee has cut a radio ad — extent of use unknown — to rip U.S. Rep. Mike Ross for voting against the Republican budget to destroy Medicare and Medicaid while slashing taxes for millionaires.

Big crowd for UA president search forum

UALR reports a full house at the meeting site on campus today for a public forum on the search for a University of Arkansas System president to succeed the retiring B. Alan Sugg.

Tips on home repairs

The Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board has sent a useful list of tips to remember when making home repairs.

Tim Griffin's war on wasteful government

A reader reminds me that a Republican-supported House budget plan — thanks Reps. Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford and Steve Womack — would take $450 million out of the hide of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"Expressions" is Thursday

The "Expressions" art show and sale of work by clients of Birch Tree Communities will fill the Arkansas Governor's Mansion ballroom to capacity.

Wednesday To-Do: Generationals

The NOLA pop act behind "Ten-Twenty Ten," one of the best singles of the year, comes to Stickyz.

Foo Fighters ticket give away is still on

Cover a Foos song, send it to us, enter the competition and maybe win some tickets. It's that easy!

Soft on Seoul

Like so many others, I have been impatient about the opening of Seoul, the new Korean joint in the Heights.

Open line and storm watch

The line is open. Meet you by the TV.
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