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May 14, 2009

Vol 7 • No 18

Watch local

As in years past, the LRFF remains committed to showcasing Arkansas film.

LRFF schedule

Screenings and events are free except when otherwise indicated.

Cine-full

By now, the third annual Little Rock Film Festival should be the talk of the town.

32 counties declared disaster areas

The governor has declared 32 counties in the state disaster areas due to heavy rains and flooding.  The declaration will authorize $200,000 in assistance from the Governor's Disaster Fund for flood victims in Clark, Dallas, Jefferson, Garland, Lonoke, Miller, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, and Saline Counties.  The list of counties considered to be disaster areas is expected to grow as reports come in from other counties around the state.  The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management will ask FEMA officials for assistance in determining whether or not Arkansas qualifies for a federal disaster declaration.  Don't know about any of you guys but my folks lost 15 trees about one week ago.  They were also out of power for about 24 hours.  It's a mess.     

Coal opponents in court

Today, the Arkansas Court of Appeals will hear an appeal filed by opponents to the Turk Power plant now under construction in Hempstead County.  The group, which includes the Hempstead County Hunting Club, Schultz Family Management Co., Po-Boy Land Co., and Yellow Creek Corp. argue that the state's Public Service Commission didn't properly review SWEPCO's project before giving it the old rubber stamp.  Other groups, including the Sierra Club, have argued that the project is already costing more than expected.  They also argue that new environmental regulations from the Obama administration will drive costs up even further for ratepayers.    A report issued by the Energy Information Administration in March found that there was no need for new coal plants.  Glen Hooks of the Sierra Club says this is no time for more dirty coal plants.

Kiss and make up?

Well not entirely, but no Washington think tank was harder on Senator Blanche Lincoln’s proposal earlier this year to provide more estate tax relief than the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Open line

I'm turning it over to you. 

Happy trails

Texas gave us the boll weevil. Texas gave us the chainsaw massacre. Texas gave us cheerleader moms who murder their daughters’ competitors.

How to pray

If President Obama follows the Biblical injunction to pray for them which despitefully use you, he’s got a mess of praying to do.

Words, May 15

Maggie C.B. Smith writes — “There is a snarky debate raging in the comments of the Eat Arkansas blog. Also, a question about the spelling of the word I’ve always spelled omelette. Care to weigh in?”

To-do list, May 14

Sister Hazel, International Greek Food Festival, Dirt Nasty, Le Castle Vania, Running Of The Tubs, Kenny Chesney / Miranda Lambert, Kevin Kerby and Battery, Jenny Owens Youngs / Jukebox the Ghost and Fastball make for a few entertainment options this week.

Can they handle Kim’s math?

Live on-site Twitter posters proclaimed last week that the only announced Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate was getting eaten alive at a meeting of the Pulaski County Republican Committee.

Key an eye on health centers

As you know, the 87th General Assembly passed a tax increase estimated to exceed $80 million on the tobacco users of Arkansas.

Cyber degrees

Arkansas State University is calling its distance learning program, which lets students take master’s-level classes over the Internet, a success.

The observer, May 15

Waiting to cross the deadly intersection at Markham and Clinton Avenue minutes before starting time at the office, we were reminded once again of the terminal senselessness drivers often employ, especially during morning and evening rush hours.

Confused

“What the ... ?” were two-thirds of my initial comment upon trying to read Derek Jenkins’ movie ‘review’ of “Gomorrah” in your April 30th issue.

The televisionist

Complaints have been coming from Comcast viewers who can’t get a signal from the Arkansas Education Television Network: Color bars, frozen images, delayed sound.

Boldly going forward

Ain’t nothing in this world more ossified than a serial drama that spans four decades, six television series, 10 movies and Lord only knows how many books, comics, and gay fantasy fan stories.

Ten to watch

With the Little Rock Film Fest underway, here are ten films, including "Made in China" (left), not to miss. Check Rock Candy throughout the weekend for more previews, interviews and on-the-scene coverage.

Brats in the Pantry

OK, let’s write about what’s right about The Pantry, the new restaurant occupying the former digs of Gypsy’s (and before that Alouette’s) on Merrill Drive off Rodney Parham Road:

This modern world, May 15

Orval, May 14

Smart talk, May 14

In his latest newsletter to constituents, Rep. John Boozman, the lone Republican in the Arkansas delegation, discusses ways the unemployed and uninsured can get help with their health care needs during these rocky economic times.

Music video mix

It’s year two for the Arkansas Music Video Competition (or in all its cumbersome beauty, the Third Annual Little Rock Film Festival’s Second Annual Arkansas Music Video Competition).

In brief, May 14

One-man band Never Shout Never hails from Missouri, specializes in super-twee, acoustic emo and headlines at Revolution, with Carter Husley and Dreamfast supporting, 6:30 p.m., $12; open to all ages.

Kris Allen

In one of Fox 16’s dispatches from its relentless coverage of The Day Kris Allen Was Crowned King of Arkansas, Sandra Kirk reported that some anxious concertgoers had arrived at the amphitheater for a mini-concert scheduled to begin at 11:45 a.m., at 4 a.m.

Is and ought

An old political science professor of mine said that everything really comes down to the difference between “is” and “ought.”

Richard Buckner

When I interviewed Richard Buckner last week, I asked if he was bringing a band for his show last week at Vino’s, and he answered, half-defensively, “I’m coming alone, but I’m bringing five guitars!”

A&E news, May 14

The latest from our “Rock Candy Presents” live music video series is online now. It's Kevin Kerby + Battery, who celebrate the release of their new album “Beautiful and Bright” on Saturday.

Court bites fat cats

It’s not every day that the richest, most powerful elements of Arkansas society are rebuffed by Arkansas’s elected officials, but it happened two weeks ago.

Why they fear ‘empathy’

Conservatives are going nuts over President Obama’s wish to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would have “empathy” for people standing before the courts as plaintiffs or defendants, which is like saying you would like to see a kind person on the bench.

MAY 6 – 12, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … MAXINE AND HOMER BOOSE. Little Rock city government and St. Mark Baptist Church began a joint effort to repair a huge sinkhole that formed in the Booses’ yard when an underground culvert collapsed after heavy rain.

What's cooking, May 15

River City Gift Company, in Hillcrest, has added a lounge, with tables, chairs and couches, where it’s serving drinks and sweets.

Eye on Arkansas, May 14

Ten to watch

With the Little Rock Film Fest underway, here are ten films, including "Made in China" (left), not to miss. Check Rock Candy throughout the weekend for more previews, interviews and on-the-scene coverage.

Rationalizing torture

Wendell Griffen writes about the decision by the Obama administration to keep new torture photos under wraps and the willingness of some Americans to rationalize or accept torturous practices.

Off the cuff UPDATE

Jason Tolbert follows up with Kim Hendren to find out a little more about what really happened at the Pulaski County GOP meeting one week ago.  Twitterers at the meeting said Hendren was met with some hostility, especially regarding his vote for the cigarette tax hike.  Hendren gives his side of the story and defends, rather poorly, some of his more controversial remarks, like referring to New York Senator Charles Schumer as "that Jew."

Sushi Lunch.

Sushi is such a pretty thing to shoot... its clean lines and simplicity coupled with the bright colors of fresh fish and vegetables on contrasting and complimenting plates make it some of the best "food porn" out there.

Sushi Lunch.

Sushi is such a pretty thing to shoot... its clean lines and simplicity coupled with the bright colors of fresh fish and vegetables on contrasting and complimenting plates make it some of the best "food porn" out there.

Thursday To-Do: Sister Hazel

SISTER HAZEL8 p.m., Village, $17 adv., $20 d.o.s.Named in honor of Sister Hazel Williams, an African-American nun who ran a homeless shelter, this five-man crew from Gainesville, Fla., has logged the prior 15 years evolving into a multi-genre recording and touring machine.

Downtown thievery

The Downtown Neighborhood Association reports that thieves broke into a residence in the 2000 block of South Arch Street about 3 a.m. this morning and stole a woman's purse.

Kris Allen gets free cheese dip for life!

From Stoby's! Also, he found out last night that he's in the final two, where, you know, with the help of the Gokester's evangelical bloc and another "Heartless"-esque vocal performance, he might win the damn thing and become the biggest pop star from Arkansas since, well, no one.Aside from that revelation and how much harder Conway and Little Rock represented in the homecoming montages than San Diego and Milwaukee, the main thing I took from last night's show is that I'm an idiot for not betting back when you could get 10-1 odds on Kris to win.Best Kris-related blog ephemera lately: New York magazine's culture blog Vulture has a "Dewey beats Truman"-style photo montage of Kris in a coffin, pre-yesterday's results show.

About that hearing

Yesterday, opponents of the coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County argued before the state Court of Appeals that the Arkansas Public Service Commission did not properly review the need for the SWEPCO plant.  An attorney from the attorney general's office said the PSC had complied with the law.  John Lyon, with the Arkansas News Bureau, has more. 

Chrysler closings

Arkansas Business reports that Chrysler has announced plans to shut down nearly 800 dealerships across the country including eight in Arkansas and two here in Little Rock.  Cook Jeep Chrysler, Inc. and Crain Chrysler Dodge Jeep will be shutting their doors.  Check link for a full list of the affected dealerships.

A contender?

Well, we love our ex-hogs in this state and it turns out one might decide to run for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2010.  Talk Business reports that Chris Bequette, who is currently living in Illinois, has been making calls to potential supporters here in Arkansas.  Party Chairman Doyle Webb says he's not sure what Bequette's intentions will be.  See the link for a little background info.  PS - GOP might be looking to nudge Bequette or Baker or Griffin or anybody now that Sen. Hendren's remarks have gone from The Tolbert Report to the Politico.   

A big man

A dedicated blog reader brings to our attention this great sports story from the New York Times about Eagles offensive lineman Shawn Andrews from Camden, who talks about his struggles with depression and his worries about being a good enough father.

LRFF: 'That Evening Sun' and post-partying

Shew. If last night is any indication of how the Little Rock Film Fest is gonna go, color me tired just thinking about what's to come — and excited as hell.

Q&A: John Schafer

Tonight, at Riverdale, "Slumberland," a buzzy feature film made by three dudes you've probably seen around town or at Pizza Cafe (all work there) — John Schafer, Rhett Brinkley and Zach Turner — debuts before what's sure to be a packed house.

Double down

Back in March of 2007, David Koon wrote a nice cover piece for us about the developing "racino" at Oaklawn, in Hot Springs, and about how similar venues were the wave of the future. 

Fighting cancer

Nanotechnology scientists from UALR and UAMS will hold a briefing on Monday to present a new discovery that they claim will help in the fight to cure cancer.  Researchers will talk about their findings, which were recently published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.  Drs.

Thursday: Never Shout Never, Zoso, more

One-man band Never Shout Never hails from Missouri, specializes in super-twee, acoustic emo and headlines at Revolution, with Carter Husley and Dreamfast supporting, 6:30 p.m., $12; open to all ages.

LRFF: Planning

From "The Room" One big scheduling note for tonight: "(500) Days of Summer," originally scheduled for tonight, and still listed that way in our print schedule, is now showing Saturday at 7 p.m. at Market Street.Also, check out, on our home page, a video of co-founder and organizer Brent Renaud running through some of the highlights of the fest.

Lottery retreat, or re-tweet UPDATE

Capsearch is tweeting from the Arkansas Lottery Commission's retreat.  Any news so far?  Not really.  The commission is hearing from Ernie Passailaigue, executive director of the South Carolina Lottery.  Passailaigue says, "if at all possible keep politics out of the lottery."  If they could actually do that, that would be news.  According to Capsearch, commission chairman Ray Thornton "cites Sen. Johnson, Rep. Wills and Commission Oversight Committee telling the commission to 'go your own way.'"  Follow the feed for more updates @capsearch. UPDATE: Arkansas Business has an update on the day's events.  Apparently, Margaret DeFrancisco, director of the Georgia Lottery, told commissioners to remember the reason for the commission's existence - to set up a lottery to fund scholarships.  It seems as though she is inferring that there will be a considerable temptation to do something else with it.

Beltway news

A federal prosecutor conducting a criminal investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration is going to have a chat tomorrow with Bush advisor Karl Rove, says the Washington Post.

That lesbian

State Republican head Doyle Webb acknowledged today that in Lincoln Day fund-raising speeches around the state this spring he has described the state Democratic Party as one that includes an openly lesbian legislator.

No to secret ballot

Citing ambiguous text, The Arkansas Attorney General's Office has rejected the ballot title for the proposed constitutional amendment to "protect" the "right" to a secret ballot, backed by anti-union forces.

Cauley suing former partners

You may remember Gene Cauley, the Little Rock lawyer and real estate investor who is being investigated by federal prosecutors after withholding around $9.3 million, the last installment of a settlement payment, from victims of a class-action lawsuit.  Well, now Cauley is suing his former law partners (the law firm formerly known as Cauley Bowman Carney and Williams), and their attorneys, for interference with a contractual relationship, breach of contract, and unlawful taking of property.  How much is Cauley asking in damages?  $10 million, plus costs and attorney fees.  According to the filing in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Cauley says his former partners refuse to give him access to legal pleadings and filings in which he has a financial interest.  He also charges that he is being denied fees owed to him.

Not a good day...

for state-level Republicans.  How was yours?  Here's a nice, fresh, steaming open line for you.

What a Way to Start the Day

I've been running on fumes all week.  My best friend came into town this weekend and stayed through Wednesday morning, so we'd been staying up late catching up, sometimes over pomegranate martinis.  Wednesday afternoon, I should have come home and taken a nap, but instead, I changed and headed out to the Little Rock Film Festival.  I didn't make it in time to get into the movie, and could have gone home and taken a nap, done a quick workout, and gone to bed.  Instead, I drank a beer and read a book called Rapture Ready, which is about Christian pop culture.  I skipped getting caught up on sleep in order to learn about Christian stand up comedy and Christian wrestling.  I don't exactly regret making that choice because the book is really interesting, but this morning, I drank as much coffee as I could stand, edging towards the early stages of caffeine poisoning where I buzz around like a hummingbird and start to think I can actually feel my hair growing before falling asleep on the nearest flat surface.  Still a little draggy, I went to work.

Music and Mudbugs.

If you're brave enough to ride out to Chicot County this weekend, you too can enjoy the tunes and tails at the Dermott Crawfish Festival.  In addition to gospel music, a motorcycle poker run and plenty of activities for the kids, there's crawfish galore.  The crawfish dinners begin at noon today and continue until tomorrow night or until the mudbugs are gone.  For more information, call (870) 538-5656 or check out the festival website.

The China problem

Paul Krugman writes that China's development, and the greenhouse gas emisions that go with it, is likely to have disastrous effects on the climate.  Scientists' predictions about the effects of global warming are growing more and more pessimistic.  Part of the problem is that Western nations haven't been much of a good example.  But as China continues to grow, the question becomes, what are we going to do about it?

Bush's third term?

That might be a little too strong, says Brummett.  Commenting on an article in the New York Times, Brummett says it's Obama's pragmatism that allows the parallels to be drawn.  One huge difference between the two administrations: "a less creepy vice president."  Amen.

The torture question

I have to admit I'm growing tired of the debate over whether it's okay to torture, or okay that we did it in the past, or whatever.  The mainstream discussion on the issue can be quite frustrating, like when a Fox news anchor said John McCain shouldn't be able to talk about torture because he was once tortured.  Now we have Joe Lieberman taking up for Cheney and co.  This video was noted in a comment from an open line the other day, but since watching it, I haven't been able to get it off my mind.  A rather brash Playboy reporter thinks he can stand waterboarding for 15 seconds.  He can't.  His comments afterward are very interesting.   

Steak-Out.

Don't forget the 20th Annual World Championship Steak Cookoff down in Magnolia at the 21st Annual Magnolia Blossom Festival.  Tickets are $15 for that massive, massive steak feast tomorrow afternoon.  More info at the website.

Response from Rep. Webb

In response to state GOP head Doyle Webb, whose acknowledged yesterday that he's described the state Democratic Party as the party of lesbians and other people not as Godly as he is, state Rep. Kathy Webb sends this via e-mail (she had trouble posting a comment to the blog):

Weekend To-Do: The Greek Food Festival

INTERNATIONAL GREEK FOOD FESTIVAL11 a.m., Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Free.It's the 25th anniversary of arguably the best food festival around, and while I suspect I speak for a lot of folks when I say that I'd be content with heaping gyros and falafel, grilled chicken kebabs and four or five pieces of baklava, the festival long ago expanded beyond food.

Friday To-Do: Le Castle Vania

LE CASTLE VANIA8 p.m., The Village. $10-$20.If the kids aren't getting dirty with Dirt Nasty, they're likely to be in the pit at the Village sweating it out to Atlanta DJ Dylan Eiland, better known by his Nintendo game-inspired performance name, Le Castle Vania.

Friday To-Do: Dirt Nasty

DIRT NASTY8 p.m., Revolution. $18 adv., $22 d.o.s.“F*ck finals, we want Dirt Nasty!!” is how promoters are billing this gig, which is probably smart, since the target demographic, those who'd be f*cking away their finals, is the kids singing “I Love College” (“Time isn't wasted when you're getting wasted,” etc.) and meaning it.

LRFF: 'Slumberland,' Velvet Kente and bikinied girls

John Schafer, Rhett Brinkley and Zach Turner. In our Q&A yesterday, John Schafer was bluntly honest.

Face-off

The Democratic and Republican state party chairmen will face off at the next gathering of the Political Animals Club.  Democrat Todd Turner and Republican Doyle Webb will have a discussion moderated by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette political editor Bill Simmons.  I wonder if recent insensitive remarks made by both Sen. Kim Hendren and Webb himself (see post below for Rep. Kathy Webb's response) will be discussed.  The event will be held at the Governor's Mansion on June 1.  $18 per person at the door and lunch will be served.

High-water

Rep. Steve Harrelson has posted some photos worth sharing.  The Narrows Dam at Lake Greeson crested for the first time since '68.  Check out Under the Dome for more.  Will the rain ever end? 

Park lodge closed

If you were thinking of taking a weekend at Lake DeGray State Park, don't. The lodge had to close yesterday thanks to high water and the threat it could overload the wastewater system, Assistant Supt. Mark Campbell says.

LRFF Preview: 'Crude'

“CRUDE” 2 p.m., Riverdale, Friday. 9:30 p.m., Riverdale, Saturday.

LRFF Preview: 'Goodbye, Solo'

“GOODBYE SOLO”2:30 p.m., Fri., Riverdale1:30 p.m., Sat., Riverdale From highly touted Iranian-American director Ramin Bahrani (“Man Push Cart,” “Chop Shop”), this narrative feature tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Solo, a Senegalese cab driver (Souleymane Sy Savane), and William, an elderly Southern man (Red West, who was part of Elvis' Memphis Mafia).

LRFF Preview: 'Died Young, Stayed Pretty'

“DIED YOUNG, STAYED PRETTY”4:30 p.m., Fri., Riverdale.5 p.m., Sat., Riverdale. It's a grim pop culture joke applied to those who die early but leave behind some rich catalog of work.

LRFF Preview: 'Downloading Nancy'

“DOWNLOADING NANCY”9:30 p.m., Friday, Riverdale. Yet another buzz-y film that screened at Sundance, but one with a different sort of buzz.

Walkers put UAMS over the top

A $3.75 million gift from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation has allowed UAMS to more than reach its goal to match the $36 million in state funds allocated to build the new 12-story Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Center.

LRFF Preview: 'The Room'

“THE ROOM” 10 p.m., Friday, Market Street.You need to know the cues. When a framed photo of a spoon appears onscreen, which, apparently, it frequently does, you're to hurl plastic cutlery at the screen.

The Weekend: The RiverTop Party, Nick Moss and the Flip Tops, Eleisha Eagle and more

Eleisha Eagle FRIDAY 5/15The RiverTop Party at the Peabody continues to pack them in with local party favorites Tragikly White and DJ Ugly Ed, 8 p.m., $5.

Saturday To-Do: Running of the Tubs

RUNNING OF THE TUBS9 a.m., Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs. Free.The rules give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Saturday To-Do: Jenny Owen Youngs - Jukebox the Ghost

JENNY OWEN YOUNGS / JUKEBOX THE GHOST9:30 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.Ah, indie bills.

Saturday To-Do: Kenny Chesney - Miranda Lambert

KENNY CHESNEY/ MIRANDA LAMBERT7:30 p.m., Alltel. $25-$89.50.If it'd stop raining long enough for the sun to come out this would be perfect.

Saturday To-Do: Kevin Kerby + Battery

KEVIN KERBY + BATTERY10 p.m., White Water Tavern. $10.After Mulehead dissolved and Kevin Kerby took a break from the whole band thing and released a solo album, 2005's “Your Disease,” he formed a new band, which he let his son name, and though they've played together since around the release solo album, they haven't released an album until now.

Not out of the woods yet

Sen. Charles Schumer might have accepted the apology, but the controversy hasn't quite settled down.  The National Jewish Democratic Council released a statement today saying that although they appreciate state Sen. Kim Hendren's apology, it's still important that Republicans recognize that such remarks are completely unacceptable.

The American Princes want to give you a ticket to Bonaroo...

...in exchange for a really sweet design for an old-school hand fan, which they can, presumably, mass produce and then pass out to the sweaty masses at the festival.Details here.ALSO: Luke's returning to the fold on Saturday!

T.I. is moving to Arkansas

To beautiful Forrest City, where he'll reside in the city's medium security Federal Correctional Institution.

Lotto reminder UPDATE

Capsearch is following the events at the Arkansas Lottery Commission retreat and tweeting updates often.  One notable comment: the director of the South Carolina lottery says "There are going to be a lot of people criticizing what you're doing.  Sunshine is the best disinfectant."  UPDATE: The Lottery Commission's website will be live on Monday, if everything goes according to plan.  The URL (which is not yet active) is www.LotteryCommission.Arkansas.gov.  The Bureau of Legislative Research had reserved a few names to avoid paying big bucks to schemers like this. 

Drowned out

Residents around Lake Conway have had it up to here, literally.  The lake has flooded one too many times and landowners in the area say the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the state agency that owns the lake, isn't doing enough to help.  There will be a meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Mayflower City Hall.   

Not so fast

Arkansas Business reports that the head of the Arkansas Automobile Dealers Association says that under Arkansas law, General Motors could not revoke franchise agreements before they expire.  One GM dealership in Fordyce received such a revocation earlier today.  The owner of the dealership in Fordyce says he'll keep selling used cars and doing repairs no matter what happens.  Click here for the full story.

Prom night

At Central High, and that requires that I open this line now so I can go see off the kids.

LRFF Golden Rock Winners

No big surprise in the narrative feature category. "That Evening Sun" took home the inaugural award.

That Doyle Webb

What a stitch that guy is. First, he tells the Arkansas Times blog that it "doesn't ring a bell" that he might have warned his GOP brethren that a lesbian respresentative could ascend to head the legislature's budget committee.

If you're driving on Hwy. 71

You might want to watch out for this fellow on the road ... Sorry about the lack of postings today.

If you're driving on Hwy. 71

You might want to watch out for this fellow on the road ... Sorry about the lack of postings today.

LRFF: Stuffs and Thangs and "Goodbye, Solo"!

From "Goodbye, Solo" Long time no check in. Since I've been gone, I've seen "Died Young, Stayed Pretty," a documentary about rock poster artists filled with rich, distinctive visuals and interviews, but crippled by an editing style that spits everything up in one jumbled, decontextualized mess.

Executive air

Says here that the FBI is investigating a former governor´s receipt of private jet travel for political purposes, the expense being well in excess of gift limits.

LRFF: Art Dealers, Brawlers, and Arkansas's Best Ear

Formidable. Either I managed to catch two of the frontrunners for the Golden Rock in documentary Saturday, or the LRFF programming is even better than I thought.

Dumas on GOP bigots

Ernie Dumas writes about Kim Hendren and Doyle Webb in his column today in The Leader newspapers of Jacksonville, saying the diehard duo has set the Republican Party back quite a bit.

Late Sunday line

Better late than never....  An open line.  Take it away.

Court bites fat cats

It's not every day that the richest, most powerful elements of Arkansas society are rebuffed by Arkansas's elected officials, but it happened two weeks ago. Whether those elements will stay rebuffed is another question; they're capable of buffing back.

Cleaning up

Well, I'm back, with only several days of jangled rhythms, laundry and two weeks worth of newspapers to deal with before normalcy returns.

Free news on the web

A journalism blogger files a lengthy report on his appearance with Democrat-Gazette Publisher Walter Hussman on a newspaper convention panel debate about whether newspapers should charge for access to their websites, as the Democrat-Gazette does.

Targeting Vic Snyder

Jason Tolbert touts the Republican talking point of the day -- on obscure pork vote by U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder -- as a takeoff for stirring talk of a potential challenge of Snyder in 2010.

Want to run the state lottery?

Help wanted ad here in The Lottery Insider.

Bye-bye Dillard's

Arkansas Business reports that a New York hedge fund that had raised sand about Dillard's management has unloaded nearly all its holdings in the company.

LRFF: More winners

Busy over here at Times HQ trying to get the paper out, but a quick final word on the film festival.Props to the dudes behind "Slumberland," which took home the Charles B. Pierce Award for Arkansas Film, and the Good Fear, for winning the Arkansas Music Video Competition with "Dear Daniel."

Cauley gives up law license

Little Rock lawyer Gene Cauley has filed papers with the Arkansas Supreme Court that say he's surrendering his law license and has agreed to a plea deal with a federal prosecutor over allegations that he'd mishandled $9.3 million won for sharehholders in a securities  lawsuit.

Here I sit, brokenhearted ...

I swear my first link to this came from The Onion. But now, it appears that Mike Huckabee really has gone to writing doggerel about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

What Mark Pryor wrought

Chief Justice John Roberts is what. Check Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker, with the latest examination of how Roberts misrepresented the sort of justice he would be during his confirmation hearings.

'American Idol' finale details

From the unparalleled KrisAllenNation.com. So the details for the "American Idol" finale are shaking loose.

The phone numbers game

Roby Brock's Talk Business brings news of a possibly unwelcome sign of growth in Arkansas.

Heavy

Coming to a theater near you. "Anvil: The Story of Anvil" previewed on Saturday at the LRFF, and opens, for an extended run, this Friday at Market Street.

Oops, I forgot ...

That someone is supposed to open the line for free-flowing comments. The picture from Venice above means nothing, except that it's typical of something you see turning any corner in this incredible city, where I just spent three days.

Oops, I forgot ...

That someone is supposed to open the line for free-flowing comments. The picture from Venice above means nothing, except that it's typical of something you see turning any corner in this incredible city, where I just spent three days.

Men sought for questioning

State Police announced this evening that they've identified men wanted for questioning in the slayings of two people found shot to death in an SUV parked along a freeway in NLR.

Look for the anti-union label

The anti-union movement to initiate state-level prohibitions on changes in union organizing -- a dubious infringement on federal superiority in labor negotiations for one thing and rank labor bashing demagoguery for another -- has submitted another try at a ballot proposition for Arkansas voters to consider.

Booze bias?

A lobby group, the Dry County Coalition, has formed to combat what it sees as a pro-alcohol bias on the part of state Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Doyle Webb's a jerk

John Brummett adds his condemnation to the homophobic tactics of the state Republican Party chair.

Doyle Webb's a jerk

John Brummett adds his condemnation to the homophobic tactics of the state Republican Party chair.

Speaking of nutty Republicans ...

A Republican of my acquaintance who's usually ahead of the curve on GOP developments predicts that Sen. Kim Hendren will soon take his shoe-stuffed mouth out of the U.S. Senate race and also that he'd be losing his GM dealerships in the latest round of closings..

The perils of plastic UPDATE

If Congress cracks down on the fees and other blood money extracted by the credit card companies from the poorest credit risks, what are the poor suffering credit card companies to do?

Lottery on-line

Arkansas doesn't have  a lottery just yet, but its new lottery commission does have a website.

Ray Winder reminder

The City Board will hear today from the Zoo and UAMS on competing proposals to use the former minor league baseball park in War Memorial Park.

Cops and robbers

A little wrinkle in a home intrusion robbery reported this morning by LRPD -- robbers posing as cop SWAT team members.

Stimulating

The federal stimulus program includes, it turns out, a $38,000 contract for Goodwill Industries of Arkansas to provide free assistance to people having difficulty figuring out the transition to digital TV.

The speaker's shoes

Who'll succeed term-limited state Rep. Robbie Wills? Steve Magie, a Conway ophthalmologist and Democrat, says he intends to try.

GM to drop one Gwatney dealership

General Motors has informed Gwatney Automotive that it does not intend to renew its sales and service agreement with the Gwatney Pontiac Buick GMC store on Chenal Parkway.

Tuesday To-Do: Fastball

FASTBALL9 p.m., Juanita's. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.For brevity, consider five albums, a cross-continental tour for each and a new release barely a month old.

Kris Allen is going to win

So Vote for the Worst, one of two psychics interviewed by Newsday and Congressional Quarterly all like Kris Allen to win the finale of "American Idol," which kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. on Fox.

Delta coffee

A foodie reader reports a Jonesboro discovery -- a local doctor has gotten into the business of growing coffee in Hawaii and roasting the single-source beans himself.

Prediction: Allen to win 'Idol'

Think Progress reports: Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) took to the House floor last week to sing the praises of American Idol contestant Adam Lambert, who is the favorite to win the show's finale on Wednesday.

ASU ripped on textbook costs

A new study on rising college textbook costs prompts further comments from Sen. Sue Madison of Fayetteville, who's been a legislative champion of measures to help struggling students.

Those freeway slayings

State Police not talking further today about the search for three men wanted for questioning in a double slaying last week.

State nudges fed court

The state of Arkansas, ">through the attorney general's office, asks the federal court to get moving on hearings to declare the North Little Rock and Pulaski County School Districts desegregated.

State nudges fed court

The state of Arkansas, ">through the attorney general's office, asks the federal court to get moving on hearings to declare the North Little Rock and Pulaski County School Districts desegregated.

Greasy Spoon Revisited.

You can't find a much greasier spoon (ie, roadside diner serving greasy fare) than Russellville's Old South Restaurant.  While it might lack new and innovative dishes (if you don't count Chicken Fried Bacon), it does have a certain nostalgia factor, especially for generations of Arkansas Tech University students.  Guaranteed to make your stomach rumble in one fashion or another, whether for a steak or a debate, the Old South remains a fixture along Russellville's Main Street.  Check out more, including a definition of "fried Arkansas steak," by clicking through to Tie Dye Travels.

Spooky

Thanks to LC for the tip that a local, Federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright, has been appointed to the "FISA Court."

Liveblogging the "American Idol" finale

7:01 Kris Allen "is the voice in the crowd that needs to be heard." In a bowler hat.7:02 Why can't the cameras anticipate celebrities better?

Open line

I'm tardy, but here it is. American Idol commentary welcome. Adam's "A Change Is Gonna Come" was a knockout, I have to admit.

It's Riverfest time

Willie Nelson and the B-52s highlight Little Rock's Memorial Day weekend riverfront jam and our cover story this week has all the details.

Ark. writer is No. 1

A big feature in this morning's NY Times about Charlaine Harris, the Magnolia writer who's made a hit of her Sookie Stackhouse series of vampire romance novels.

Stimulating

You perhaps saw a story in the Democrat-Gazette this morning about a plan hatched by NLR Mayor Pat Hays to get a group of local governments to apply for $5 million in federal stimulus money to convert vehicle fleets to run on compressed natural gas.

A case for labor

New study: Private workplaces are more hostile than ever to union organizing. "Standard practice" in union election campaigns: "...for workers to be subjected to threats, interrogation, harassment, surveillance and retaliation for union activity."

Dillard's: Calling Dr. Phil

-- New York Post. Click to enlarge Haven't seen any local pickup on this New York Post article over the weekend about struggling Dillard Department stores.

Wednesday To-Do: Dave Eggers

DAVE EGGERS*6 p.m., Clinton School Sturgis Hall. Free.Dave Eggers gets maligned a lot as the creator of an empire of twee.

Idol chatter

So I did a liveblog last night and told you what I thought about the show and how it'll turn out tonight, but what's the rest of the web saying?Michael Slezak, at EW.com, as he has much of the season, favors Kris in the finale.

Wednesday: Thermals, Treasure Fingers, Shawn Lee and more

The Thermals. Portland indie heroes the Thermals come to Revolution on Wednesday, May 20, behind their hook-heavy new album "Now I Can See."

Pants back on

Central High School has backed off its dress code for the seniors' Baccalaureate service and graduation : Girls may now wear pants and jewelry.

More on the Idol finale

Imparting words of wisdom. Mjsbigblog has new finale details, and it ain't getting any better.

Arkansas priorities

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management is using its Twitter account to apprise subscribers of ways to watch Kris Allen on "American Idol."

Double slaying update

Update on double slaying on NLR freeway: State Police spokesman says one of three men sought for questioning has been arrested on parole violation and is in custody after voluntarily meeting with investigators.

Lottery commission house shopping UPDATE

Caller says the state Lottery Commission will be traipsing over to a building at 720 West Third (it was Rose Law Firm quarters many years ago before the firm fixed up the old YWCA) in a few minutes to take a look at space owned by the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.

Action announced on hospice care

The U.S. government today unsealed a complaint filed in 2004 alleging overcharging of Medicare for hospice services by several hospices in Arkansas.

2010

One reason that Sen. Gilbert Baker is looking harder at U.S. Senate is that he desires to move up and any thought that there might be an open seat for U.S. House in the Second District appears to be out the window.

And all the people went nuts

It was a small crowd by Kris Allen celebration standards, maybe 300 strong, but fans stood gamely for two hours — or if they were really passionate, three or four —and clapped and did "gimme a K!" cheers and made crazy racket when the Fox cameras started moving.
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