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May 21, 2009

Vol 7 • No 19

Riverfest fast facts

HOURS: 6-11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; noon-10 p.m. Sunday.

Riverfest Vendors

MARKET ROW ARTISTS AND MERCHANTS

Take it to the river

She won’t play weather prognosticator. In the wake of recent rain-soaked festivals like Toad Suck Daze and Memphis in May, Riverfest director DeAnna Korte says this year’s theme, among organizers, is “it is what it is.”

California terminates Arnold

California voters rejected Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot proposals to cope with a budget crisis. (They did approve curbs on official pay.)

Get a life

House Speaker Robbie Wills says he and family voted 1,000 times for Kris Allen to win "American Idol."

Alcohol offenses

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has distributed a media advisory today about new information it has received about an alcohol offense by a Little Rock teen, Benjamin Swindoll, who is free on bond while awaiting trial on a negligent homicide charge in a traffic death in March.

Cuba si, Arkansas no

A reader apprises me of a blog report of something called the Human Development Index.

Another opponent for Lincoln?

With most believing Sen. Kim Hendren will soon exit a U.S. Senate race against incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, state Sen. Gilbert Baker sounds like a man increasingly likely to get in.

Three-fifths done

And the line is open.

Kris Allen...

is the winner of American Idol. 

Colleges pay to play

The University of Central Arkansas stepped up from Division II athletics to Division 1AA in 2006.

Film fest recap

The third annual Little Rock Film Festival was a complete success. Nothing in this year’s Arkansas Times wrap-up should be read as a qualification of that sentence.

He’s the man

With the University of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas Lottery Commission and the Arkansas Republican Party standing in need of leadership, why not hire James Lee Witt to head all three?

To-do list, May 21

''Birth,' Thick Syrup Records Anniversary Party, Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, American Princes, 'Heavy Metal,' and 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil,' make for more than a few entertainment options this week.

This modern world, May 21

Words, May 21

From the Boston Globe — “In an interview on WBUR’s ‘On Point,’ former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was explaining his skepticism about hate-crime laws when he used a surprising new verb.

Keeping it local

The local renaissance at Riverfest continues this year with the return of the Arkansas Tent and a renewed commitment to filling daytime main stage slots with local, rather than regional, talent.

In brief, May 21

Like it used to do, the city’s pre-eminent jazz threesome, the Ted Ludwig Jazz Trio, takes on a double bill, beginning the night at the Capital Bar, 5 p.m., free, and ending it at the Afterthought, 8:30 p.m., $5.

The Observer, May 21

Cruising through Norte de Little Rock on the way to work the other day, The Observer saw:

Eye on Arkansas, May 21

Rain Delay? Who cares

Ump’s is a sports bar and what better place for a sports bar than a ball park, right?

Orval, May 21

May 13-19, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … SUNSHINE. After the deluge, this week concluded crisp and clear and sunny.

Smart talk, May 21

While it’s looking as if the Internet is going to render obsolete the tired old business of staring at collections of tiny black ink marks on compressed wood pulp, you whippersnappers with your Kindles will get our marked-up, dog-eared copies of “Catcher in the Rye” and “Moby Dick” and “Leaves of Grass” when you pry them from our cold, dead, slightly ink-stained fingers.

No tolerance for bigotry

Escaping its growing reputation for religious intolerance and bigotry is going to be much harder than most devoted members of the Republican Party figured.

Mother-child reunion

Ashley Moore of Little Rock, who lost custody of her foster child after she left him in a car in her daycare’s driveway, may finally be getting the boy back.

Lancaster fan

Next to my husband, Bob Lancaster is the world’s funniest person. I loved the May 7 Pop Quiz.

Shell games and airplanes

The state attorney general — the person, not the whole office — doesn’t do much of a real job and enjoys a political standing all out of proportion to the work he does.

Choosing sides

I left for vacation just about the time a gay rights group announced a website — www.knowtheyneighbor.org — with the names of the 84,000 people who signed petitions to put Act 1 on the ballot.

What's cooking, May 21

Chef/owner James Meadors hopes to open FatSam’s Louisiana Cafe in the northwest corner of the River Market in time for Riverfest.

Deathlock

The gloomy, spiteful, unpleasant antihero of “Notes from Underground” has nothing on Ol’ Moi insofar as being totally paralytically seasonally bummed, sick and tired of the downturn, swine flu, torture, extremists, imbeciles, malfeasance, gunplay, sexting, steroids, child abuse, and rain.

To-do list, May 21

''Birth,' Thick Syrup Records Anniversary Party, Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, American Princes, 'Heavy Metal,' and 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil,' make for more than a few entertainment options this week.

Convict air

Brummett re Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and his use of a Correction Department airplane -- for free until the Democrat-Gazette discovered the, uh, "oversight."

Today's news

What the heck? The top of the NY Times front doesn't seem to have a word about Kris Allen's victory in American Idol.

Banana Republic? UPDATE

Marlin Hawkins, in eternal slumber just up the road from Kris Allen's Conway home, would be proud of our ballot box stuffing.

Banana Republic? UPDATE

Marlin Hawkins, in eternal slumber just up the road from Kris Allen's Conway home, would be proud of our ballot box stuffing.

Horror story

A reader asks for a post mentioning the hair-raising story in the Democrat-Gazette this morning about the North Little Rock Housing authority maintenance employee accused of using a pass key to gain access to the apartment of a deaf woman and raping her.

STFU -- forever

Karl Rove Twitters: Obama either had little grasp of what governing would involve or, if he did, he used words meant to mislead.

Thursday To-Do: 'Birth'

From a Chicago performance. ‘BIRTH'7 p.m., Haislip Arena Theatre, UALR.

Kris Allen post-Idol interview round-up

Here's a three part post-show interview on "American Idol Extra" that begins with an amazing piece on the evolution of not just Kris' talent, but his hairstyle.Comcast Entertainment has a transcript of sorts from the post-show press conference, including Kris' reaction to what we now know was an erroneous report that 38 million votes came from Arkansas.

No racial profiling

The state Court of Appeals had held that a Pope County traffic stop of a Latino man later charged with marijuana possession was a case of racial profiling.

Go Huck yourself

Another poll gives Mike Huckabee the best numbers among an assortment of potential Republican opponents for Barack Obama in 2012.

Thursday: 'Arkansas Flyer,' Ted Ludwig Jazz Trio, Out of Ashes and more

Amy Garland. THURSDAY 5/21For a dose of local music, theater and culture, "Arkansas Flyer," somewhat akin to "Prairie Home Companion," goes live tonight t the UALR Center for Performing Arts' University Theater.

Trouble at Heifer

Janet Ginn, the CEO of Heifer Foundation, endowment for the Heifer International hunger relief organization based in Little Rock, has been removed amid allegations of "plagiarism and copyright infringement."

Green Day doesn't need Wal-Mart to sell CDs

Green Day (now 1/3 Arkansan on tour! ) has the number one album in the country — it's "21st Century Breakdown has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 215,000 copies since it debuted last Friday — but you won't find it at Wal-Mart.

No Regulation

Oil producers don't think they should be regulated by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, and the big knee-slapper of the whole thing is that the Arkansas Supreme Court doesn't think so either.  Today the supreme court allowed a lawsuit filed by Oil Producers of Arkansas to proceed.  The group says the Oil and Gas Commission, an agency that collects a significant part of their revenue from permit fees, should have sole regulatory power.  Give me a break!  Oil and Gas has no incentive to strictly regulate oil and gas exploration in this state.  This would be another case of the foxes watching the hen house.  We love that here in Arkansas.  Arkansas Business has more.

In an alternate reality, the show part of the 'American Idol' finale was amazing

This would've so made up for Gokey and Lionel Richie. According to director Adam McKay, he and Will Ferrell were contacted by the "American Idol" producers about doing a song for the finale.

An Open Letter Containing a Confession of Presumptuousness to Dave Eggers Following His Non-Lecture Public Address at the Clinton School of Public Service on Wednesday Night

The storefront of 826 in Brooklyn. Dear Mr. Eggers,My presence at your recent speech here in Little Rock was almost arbitrary; even though I attend the Clinton School’s speaker series more regularly than most any other employed person in the city, I had no desire to fawn with the other quasi-literary irony-smiths of my generation (born since 1970, before 1990) whom I expected to turn out.

An Open Letter Containing a Confession of Presumptuousness to Dave Eggers Following His Non-Lecture Public Address at the Clinton School of Public Service on Wednesday Night

The storefront of 826 in Brooklyn. Dear Mr. Eggers,My presence at your recent speech here in Little Rock was almost arbitrary; even though I attend the Clinton School’s speaker series more regularly than most any other employed person in the city, I had no desire to fawn with the other quasi-literary irony-smiths of my generation (born since 1970, before 1990) whom I expected to turn out.

School funding back in court

The state Supreme Court heard arguments today on a lawsuit, unsuccessful so far, that claims the state has illegally exacted money from schools by capturing required minimum local school property taxes for state general revenues.

School district arrest

A criminal investigation is underway into affairs of the Pulaski County Special School District. We learned today of what is expected to be the first of several charges filed stemming from a fraudulent purchasing scheme in the district The district maintenance supervisor was taken into custody in Saline County yesterday on charges of felony theft by receiving.

The line is open

Have at it.

Kris Allen on Leno tonight

With that Photoshopped sheen! From the newly launched http://krisallenofficial.com With Andy Samberg and Lionel Richie.

Horror Story II

Fox 16's David Goins followed up today on the NLR Housing Authority custodian who's been charged with raping a tenant after using a pass key to enter her apartment.

Convenient beer

Interesting happenings at the state ABC Board yesterday. The move to open beer sales at convenience stores at Fayetteville apparently will be limited for the time being to the two fortunate convenience stores recently approved.

Stormy weather

Slow day and all, so why not a link to news about a potential opponent for the whorehopping U.S. senator from Louisiana, David Vitter?

The worth of daughters

This is old, but in catching up on my Nate Silver reading, I came upon this interesting account of new research: Having only daughters makes parents more liberal. Silver quotes this commentary on the study:

Pour on the coal

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross. Vote for sound energy legislation that promotes more renewable energy use and better environmental stewardship by energy companies?

Friday To-Do: Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses

RYAN BINGHAM & THE DEAD HORSES9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz, $10.Saddle up for the perfect post-Willie Nelson after-party with this crew, which Sticky Fingerz is billing as one of its most requested acts in the past 15 months.

Friday To-Do: Thick Syrup Anniversary Party

Mr. Bear. THICK SYRUP RECORDS ANNIVERSARY PARTY10 p.m., White Water Tavern.

Kris Allen on Leno

Early Morning at Riverfest.

This afternoon, Arkansas' largest food and music festival opens along both banks of the Arkansas River.  But the cooking has already started.  I wandered about this morning and caught the whiff of savory cooking at the Arkansas Philipine Association booth behind LaHarpe's Landing... where Chicken BBQ Kebabs are already on the grill.

Music for heavy readers

The homie Charles Wyrick has hit on a novel idea. He's compiled a companion mix to go with Colson Whitehead's much-loved new novel "Sag Harbor."

Riverfest odds and ends

*Before you pony up $25 for admission, make sure you've checked local Cranford Markets, City Markets, Wendy's and Central Arkansas Big Red stores.

Golden grenade in Spa City

Plug, plug for the Times art aficionado Leslie Peacock's Tumblr site. It's full finds.

Riverfest Friday: Roam if you want to

607 is doing a short set at Cool Shoes. For my money, Friday's the big night at Riverfest this year.

No worse

I guess this passes for good news. The state's unemployment rate didn't worsen in April, holding steady at 6.5 percent.

Order in the court -- and no short skirts

Funny story in the New York Times today about a judicial panel in Indianapolis concerning courtroom attire.

Out With The Old? Not So Fast

I am off today, and I am sitting at home in what, sadly, might be my favorite pair of jeans.  I say "sadly" because after close to five years of denim-y good times, they need to be retired.  They were a gift from someone who couldn't wear them for some reason, but they fit me perfectly.

Butt In.

More goodness from Riverfest... from the Chuck's BBQ stand at LaHarpe's Landing food vendor area.

New Gossip video

Nice video collage.I'm not just bowled over by the song. But I just started spinning it.

Proctor deliberations UPDATE

The three-judge judicial discipline panel that heard allegations of ethical misconduct by Circuit Judge Willard Proctor is meeting in closed session today to begin considering the case.

If you can't pass English ...

... maybe you, too, can sue your way into the high school graduation ceremony, as a Palestine-Wheatley student did.

Plea deal with mayor

The mayor of Shannon Hills, Larance Davis, has agreed to plead to a state felony charge of failing to file state income taxes and resign from office, the Saline prosecutor has announced.

Sympathy for car dealers

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln speaks up for auto dealers facing closure.

Over to you

It's dead -- save the throngs hurrying to Riverfest and hoping the rain won't come.

Party time

Riverfest opened last night, without a downpour. Rock Candy has a report.

Hearts and minds

The NY Times today features a Georgia high school that has held segregated proms since 1971.

Marriage and the church

Same-sex marriage is moving forward nationally, if not in Arkansas. With it comes emerging questions about protections for religious institutions and others with contrary beliefs.

Riverfest report

Twittering of police radio junkie Pat Lynch and several PR people on the scene indicates a pedestrian suffered injuries (apparently not serious) when struck by a Shriner's vehicle at the parade at Riverfest this morning.

Hearts and minds II

Speaking of attitudes -- changed and unchanged -- about race. Here's a racial discrimination lawsuit filed in Pulaski Circuit Court last week.

Riverfest recap: Introducing the masses

Willie. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Riverfest Saturday: Go see Velvet Kente

Heart, Buddy Guy, Dale Hawkins and Heart (clockwise) There's good stuff early today, particularly Bonnie Montgomery's two folk acts, the Shelby Avenue Baptist Singers and Montgomery Trucking, from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Open line

Did you know? Arkansas law says you MUST grill chicken at least one night on a three-day holiday weekend.

Rise against the years

Gavin Rossdale put on quite a show last night, ripping through a surprisingly strong set of newer material while indulging the audience with a ton of Bush favorites.  Throngs of people showed up despite the time slot competing with Willie and the B-52s.  The set started off with a song from Rossdale's new record and then ripped into a fist-pumping version of "Machinehead," which sent the crowd into a frenzy.  The rest of the set was a mix between the softer new material, including a cover of "Landslide" (see video on the jump), and the harder-edged Bush stuff.  Rossdale told the crowd at almost every opportunity how great it was to be in Little Rock and how great all the locals had been.  He spent a lot of time walking through the crowd down in front of the stage and at one point literally mounted the stack of monitors at the side of the stage, scraping guitar strings along the backside of the speaker, hips thrusting.  Great rock show.    

Awwwww

Tim Griffin won't run for U.S. Senate, David Sanders reports. Elsewhere, Brummett repeats that U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder will run for re-election.

Athletic glories

The Democrat-Gazette's Debra Hale-Shelton is back with more shoveling from the UCA stable. Here, it's about the continuing funny business in laying off athletic costs on other university departments to evade state caps on athletic spending.

The Confederate Party

National Journal takes a look at today's Republican Party -- an increasingly regionalized Southern clique of angry white men.

Riverfest Saturday recap

Buddy Guy. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Riverfest Sunday: Rain or shine

The show goes on. The gates are open.

Riverfest

Please note that Rock Candy is following Riverfest developments, with an update planned at 3 p.m.

Sunday To-Do: 'Heavy Metal'

‘HEAVY METAL'9 p.m., Downtown Music. $3.For a certain set of folks who grew up in the '80s, this was the film to watch on psychedelics with a crew of buddies when someone's folks were out of town for the weekend.

You're on

An open line. And Riverfest headliners appear to be on.

First California, then the rest of us?

Paul Krugman sees in California's financial crisis the logical extension of the bitter enders of the Republican Party, potentially a broader threat.

'American Idol' conspiracy theories

The NY Times says the "American Idol" franchise remains strong, though ratings this year were the lowest in eight years and the audience is trending older.

Monday To-Do: 'Anvil: The Story of Anvil'

MONDAY 5/25 ‘ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL'7 p.m., Market Street Cinema, $8.Don't think you have to be a heavy metal or documentary fan to appreciate this testament to human spirit, perseverance and determination.

Memorial Day feature

A different one is the discovery in the late Donna Reed's possessions of a cache of letters sent by servicemen in World War II seeking a photo of the girl-next-door-prototype actress from Iowa.

Steel: the local angle

There was a healthy dose of Arkansas-related coverage in "60 Minutes'" look last night. The Nucor operation at Blytheville was the on-camera representative of the troubled U.S. steel industry, a victim of the credit crunch and foreign competition.

Riverfest by the numbers

A report from the Riverfest organization on this year's event: We had an attendance of 200,000 people over the weekend.  We had 85,000 on both Friday and Saturday night (total of 170,000).  Our Sunday attendance was 30,000.   In comparison, the total attendance from 2008 was 253,000.  Typically Sunday is our highest attendance day so you can see that we were on pace to set a record attendance.  However, Sunday's weather just didn't cooperate, but even with it being a very rainy day, 30,000 people still attended the festival.

Cheesy, But In A Good Way.

A fascinating photo essay over at Green AR By The Day, on the production of Honeysuckle Lane Cheese, a raw milk cheese made by the father and son team of Ray Daley Sr. and Jr.  Definately worth a look.

Monday line

It's open. A word also to our Eat Arkansas blog readers.

'Restorative justice'

Interesting post today on The Arkansas Project by Cory Cox, a lawyer who once served as legal counsel to Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Grillin' time

My parents called this morning and wanted to come up for a few hours to spend Memorial Day with me.  It was a nice surprise--although if I'd had a little more notice I would have vacuumed, but dirty carpet is what they get for giving me little advanced warning--because my parents are kind of awesome.Mom mentioned that they'd thought we might cook out, but since it was rainy and I don't own a grill, I didn't give much credence to that idea.  I was surprised, then, when my parents came up to my place carrying bags of groceries and a grill in a box.  A tiny grill.  One might even go so far as to call it cute, but the punishment for undermining the grill might mean one doesn't get to partake in the delicious charbroiled food cooked upon it.  So, I didn't call it cute.I let them in, and since it was close to lunchtime, Dad started prepping the food while Mom and I sat on the couch and got caught up on the latest news.  It took me a while to realize we weren't having hamburgers.  Or hot dogs.  We were having kabobs.Generally speaking, there's nothing wrong with kabobs, it's just that it wasn't what I was expecting.  He got this idea and wanted to try it out, and that's the sometimes weird but often wonderful thing about my dad.  He and my mother live in the small town where I grew up, and I sometimes used to joke that it was a town that almost forcibly resists culture.  But sometimes major trends and fads make it all the way to our little corner of the state, and people like my dad find out about them.  Five years after I tried my first mojito, he heard about the drink and decided he'd like to try one.  He grew his own mint for the mojitos, and the thing you should know is that my father is a much better gardener than he is a bartender.  We had an abundance of mint, and the result was that he became very generous with it in order to prevent waste.  The first time he handed me a glass, I stared at the veritable forest floating amidst the liquid ingredients."Next, time, I don't want a salad at the bottom of my drink," I teased him.When the mint started to overrun the place, he put it in the iced tea as well, and insisted on calling it "mohi-tea."  Because while he is often a really, truly funny man, my father sometimes cannot resist the siren call of a cheesy joke.I like the fact that my father is curious and willing to try new things.  Sure, I wasn't thrilled when he commandeered a bottle of my wine to try his hand at French cooking, and we have actually had an argument about what truly makes a sandwich a panini, but generally I think it's an admirable quality.  It's one that I think I've inherited in small ways--I prefer to sample pop culture more than food, but I can be persuaded to try a new drink now and again.  The kabobs were good, even the slices of grilled pineapple that I pooh-poohed early on turned out to be delicious, and I was glad Dad decided to try something different.  I did have hot dogs for dinner, though.  You know, just to be patriotic and all.

Rain delay? Who cares?

Ump's is a sports bar and what better place for a sports bar than a ball park, right? While many in Little Rock were sad to see the departure of Valentine's from the local food scene, most will be happy with its new, perhaps more fitting replacement.

Lottery chief

John Brummett is less concerned than I am about legislators' desire to install Tom Courtway, former legislator and interim UCA president, as head of the state lottery.

Lottery chief

John Brummett is less concerned than I am about legislators' desire to install Tom Courtway, former legislator and interim UCA president, as head of the state lottery.

Eye in the sky

Scott Miller reports that the NLR PD is nearing readiness to apply to test its unmanned surveillance helicopter over the city.

Obama's Supreme Court pick

CNN says it's Judge Sonia Sotomayor, an appellate judge in New York. She'll be the first Hispanic on the court.

New band leader

An Arkansas native, Dr. Christopher Knighten, has been appointed director of the University of Arkansas athletic bands.

Well Baked.

I usually end up sucked into the pastry side of Community Bakery when I go... something about chocolate croissants and almond poppyseed muffins derails most attempts at eating healthy.  Maybe it's the proximity to available parking, but by the time I enter that side door and make it to the register, I'm usually packed in with purchases.

Wipe that smile off UPDATE

Says here that Arkansas is one of four states with "neutral facial expressions" policy for driver's licenses.

Twittering in the delivery room

I report. You decide.

Whither the GOP

Andrew DeMillo's weekly analysis looks at Republican stumbles as the party tries to build strength in Arkansas.

Gah-rohn-teed Openin'.

Speaking Of River Market Eats...

  The folks behind Gravel Ridge favorite Meat Shoppe will be opening Kent's Downtown in the River Market.  Kent's is going into the Oppenheimer Hall where the beloved Shaka Smoke Lodge perished a few months ago.  The men working loudly to get the store ready were quick with a flyer that announced "Breakfast, Big and Bold" and "Catering w/Executive Chef Heinz Klein."  We can best hope that the new venture will retain what's great about the Meat Shoppe -- good ready-to-go smoked chicken and ribs, and some of the finest "take it home and cook it yourself" steaks you can find in Pulaski County. 

Gay marriage ban upheld

As generally expected, the California Supreme Court has upheld the voter initiative that banned same-sex marriage in that state.

Last night: Anvil Live!

Anvil somewhere else, but similarly live. 'Anvil!

News Round-up

Photos: NYT, Getty, AP I'm trying to get back to a more regular blogging schedule.  I'm going to try to start posting more items about a wider range of environmental topics, so please feel free to send me tips whenever you get them.  My email is gerard@arktimes.com.  Duh: Drilling is bad for local water supplies.  Yeah, we get it, but this piece is actually pretty informative.  The reporter lists Arkansas as one of the states where fracking has poisoned water wells.  I've heard numerous complaints about this over the past year or so, but if you have any specifics let me know.

Drilling Loophole to Close?

Meet the new boss: EPA head Lisa Jackson The new head of the EPA has said the Obama administration may shift policy on hydraulic fracturing.  Fracking is a process whereby millions of gallons of water are injected into the ground, along with sand and other chemicals, in order to extract natural gas.  Pro Publica has been on this story from the start, and puts together another great piece.  It's informative, brief, and has links to a lot of helpful information. 

Cheney's Legacy

It should be noted that former Vice President Darth Dick Cheney did play a pivotal role in shaping administration energy policy and even led the charge to exempt natural gas drilling from federal clean water laws (see post below).  Did you know that Haliburton played a major role in developing the hydraulic fracturing techinque?  Interesting isn't it?

Rapper T.I. is in the house

The Big House, I mean. Over to Forrest City.

Tuesday: Patrick Sweany and more

If you missed Ohio-based guitar whiz Patrick Sweany at Riverfest, or you caught him and want more, he's at White Water tonight, 10 p.m., $3-$5 suggested donation.Or Carl Mouton leads a jam session at the Afterthought, 8 p.m., free.

Wal-Mart cited by OSHA

Inadequate crowd management found in death of temp crushed by Black Friday shopping horde at Long Island Wal-Mart

The rest of the story

From House Speaker Robbie Will's Twitter feed: Alley Reece Wills was born at 3:30 p.m.

STONED AT CANNES . . .

  “How’d you like to go to the can?”   “WHAT? Sharon – it’s the middle of the fucking night.

Tuesday talk

Back in the swing of things? The line is open.

Tuesday talk

Back in the swing of things? The line is open.

Divinity for a Dollar.

I'm all about a bargain, and maybe that's why I am keen on Dave's Place on Center Street.  The long restaurant a block and a half from the Statehouse Convention Center is your usual soup-and-sandwich sort of place that dot downtown for diners with little time to spare and no desire to move parked cars.  Of course, it could be too easy to shortchange the place based on that assessment.  So don't.  Instead, go if you can (there's metered parking out front) and grab yourself a good sandwich or one of the specials (listed each day on the eatery's website).  And don't miss out on having dessert.  Each day, there's something different.  I rather enjoyed this memory-evoking slice of Key Lime Pie.  No, it wasn't some fruit-bit laden entity of out-of-state procurement, nor was it some creation that came packaged in a box from the freezer case.  This was one of those Southern granny specials where Key Lime Juice meets sweetened condensed milk, and it made me very, very happy.  Can't beat the price either -- just a buck.

Ballot box stuffing

It won't go away. I refer to questions about the "sanctity" of the vote in the American Idol contest that saw Conway's Kris Allen emerge the winner.

Ballot box stuffing

It won't go away. I refer to questions about the "sanctity" of the vote in the American Idol contest that saw Conway's Kris Allen emerge the winner.

Stimulating

Here's one way to spend stimulus money. The Arkansas Department of Human Services will use it to hire 112 temporary workers to help speed application for welfare assistance.

Banker dies in cycle crash UPDATE

View Larger Map Word comes of the traffic death about 3:50 p.m. yesterday of veteran marketing executive Tom Steves, 68, of North Little Rock.

O'Brien for secretary of state

It's official. Pat O'Brien, the Pulaski County clerk and circuit clerk, has announced his candidacy for secretary of state.

Wednesday News Round-up

Tighten Up: Archie Bell and the Drells will re-release one of their golden-oldies, "Tighten Up" as part of an effort to raise awareness for energy conservation.  TV and radio ads featuring the song will run through 2010. 

Hellish world

Bruce Jackson,, a photographer who had documented prison life in Texas, struck up a friendship with fiuture Arkansas prison boss Terrell Don Hutto that led Jackson to Cummins Prison Farm in 1975.

How'd they vote?

The Arkansas Citizens First Congress, a group formed to push policy change on issues ranging from education reform to the environment, issued their 2009 vote guide today.  It's basically a report card, showing who-voted-how on 41 pieces of legislation dealing with civil rights, economic justice, public health, etc.  Among those receiving the highest marks: Reps. Kathy Webb, Steve Harrelson and Lindsley Smith along with Sens. Sue Madison, Joyce Elliott and Hank Wilkins.  On the low end: Reps. Bryan King, Stephanie Malone and Bruce Maloch.

Remember Tim Hutchinson?

In a brief talking head stint, the former Republican senator from Arkansas, and now lobbyist, says the Sotamayor Supreme Court nomination is a "big political problem" for Republicans.

Strange bedfellows

Ted Olson and David Boies, who were on opposite sides of Bush. v. Gore, are co-counsel for a lawsuit challenging the federal constitutionality of Prop.

Wednesday: Cowboy Mouth, Pope County Bootleggers, Shawn Lee and more

New Orleans rockers Cowboy Mouth come to Revolution, 8:30 p.m., $12, 18 and up.At the Afterthought, the Pope County Bootleggers blend shades of bluegrass, folk and rock'n'roll, 8 p.m., $5.Literate local rockers Dog Gods come to White Water Tavern, 9 p.m., $5.From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Cool Shoes co-founder Shawn Lee offers "indie electro disco fidget house techno dance music" at Deep, free for ladies, $5 for everybody else.

He gave at work

The Times-Record reports that a convenience store clerk faced with a robber who said he needed money for insulin gave the man $40 from his own pocket.

'Idol' win defended

Sorry, grumps. More "American Idol" news.

Lottery developments

The state lottery commission met today. Gerard Matthews was there and will be reporting.

Multiple fatalities

Fox 16 is reporting four dead in a wreck involving a "special needs van" on Highway 63 between Jonesboro and Bay.

Another round of questioning

The State Police have announced they've picked up a third man for questioning related to the deaths of Tammy Lawrence and Ahki Hughes, found shot to death in an SUV in North Little Rock.
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