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May 25, 2011

Vol 37 • No 39

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Rolling on the river

Riverfest 2011 returns with the music, food and events you've come to expect. And a few changes you didn't.

Riverfest fast facts

Tuesday talk

The line is open.

Pretty and petite

Two ladies in Hot Springs come up with a delicate yet tasty idea, and MaryClare Macarons are born.

State cell phone usage data

How many mobile phones do state employees use?


A torrent of lesser-known bands from Arkansas and beyond round out this year's Riverfest line-up.

Raising Capitol

Young investors' plan would bring new life to Sterling Store downtown.

Blackboard jungle

There was a lot of local school news last week, all bad.

Have older folks gone Republican?

One thing we very recently knew about American politics was that senior voters favored Democrats. Now maybe we can forget that.

Not sold on Seoul

Heights Korean restaurant doesn't impress.

Tea party, our foot

Judging from Rep. Mark Biviano of Searcy and a hit and run after a five-course "Bourbon and Bacon" dinner, Republican legislators and law enforcement don't mix.


NBC weatherman Al Roker tweeted this aerial photo of Joplin, Mo.

Dillon Is 'My Dreamland'

America has been and continues to be a "dreamland," but we all know that the reality of America has always been more complicated than the myth.

Kitchen Store Guide

Whether you're an experienced cook or not, visiting a kitchen store can be therapeutic.

'Cool Shoes' celebrates its third year

Also, the Faulkner County Film Society spotlights David O. Russell.

UA trustee's UA deal

A member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees has gone into for-profit business with the University of Arkansas at Monticello, an institution that he helps supervise.

Not news

I come from the old school which holds that it's news when something happens but it's not when something doesn't.

Flaw in church defense

"There is no overwhelming evidence that child molestation occurred in the last four decades among public school teachers, Protestant ministers, Jewish rabbis, boys and girls club coaches, etc."

Digging through the archives

Facebook page reunites former Arkansas reporters.

Pirates of the billion-dollar franchise

Johnny Depp returns for a fourth 'Pirates.'

Foo Fighters

Was it too much? Almost. Was it one of the greatest rock shows Little Rock's ever seen? Without a doubt.

The Observer and Missions of Mercy

When we heard that the Arkansas State Dental Association and the Arkansas Mission of Mercy were putting on a free clinic in Little Rock over the weekend, we decided it was time to get that tooth filled after all.

Orval, May 25, 2011

Watch ol' 'Bandit' run

The Little Rock Film Festival will close this year with a special, outdoor showing of the 1970's mustaches-and-fast-cars epic "Smokey and the Bandit."

Gimme 'Shelter'

Little Rock-born director Jeff Nichols' second film, "Take Shelter," won two of the top prizes at the legendary Cannes Film Festival's 50th annual Critic's Week in France.

Calling on history

There's history haunting Boyle Park, Little Rock City Hall, Ditch Bayou Battlefield in Chicot County and other locales, so who you gonna call?

This Modern World, May 25, 2011

Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly, visit Revolution

Also, Mavis Staples headlines this year's Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Fest in Helena-West Helena.

"Up and down the Big Muddy, farmers braced for a repeat of a desperate strategy employed earlier this week"

They keep trying, but not even the corporate media can rewrite American history and American geography. The river known as the Big Muddy is the Missouri, not the Mississippi.

The Roux Cafe will open sometime in July

The New Orleans-style bistro specializing in Cajun cuisine is coming to downtown Little Rock.

Good week: Student's rights

Under pressure from the Arkansas ACLU, eStem Public Charter School agreed to change its filter to prevent blockage of the likes of support websites for gay youths.

Government by stunt

The Republicans latest in government-by-stunt is a House measure that Republicans will introduce to raise the debt ceiling and then vote to defeat.

Morning silliness

A Blog reader, inspired by a "Dumb and Dumber" headline on David Koon's account yesterday of the Keystone Kops plot by Little Rock School Board member Michael Nellums and Pulaski School Board member Tim Clark to do a number on another Pulaski board member, did a little photoshopping yesterday afternoon.

Self-dealing: OK at the UA

ICYMI: Our Insider column this week focuses attention on the quaint practice of the University of Arkansas to specifically allow its trustees to do business with the university, so long as the conflict is revealed and the trustee doesn't vote on the contract in question.

Cathedral School to close

The vestry at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral sent notice today that the Cathedral School would close at the end of this school year after 54 years.

Report: John Edwards to be charged

CNN, quoting sources, is saying the Justice Department has authorized prosecutors to charge former Sen. John Edwards in the investigation of payments made by his presidential campaign and supporters to his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

Has the Tea Party brew gone cold?

Polling shows Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's numbers keep dropping and a solid Wisconsin majority wishes Democrats were in control of the Wisconsin Senate.

Death in hit-and-run accident

Little Rock police say Billy Joe Morris, 53, was found dead shortly about 11 p.m.

Four dead in Arkansas storms

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Services says four people were killed in storms that hit Arkansas after midnight last night — two in Franklin County and two in Johnson County.

Wednesday: Monkhouse, Intimate Stranger, Lance Daniels

What's going on around Little Rock tonight.

Police seek Beauty Gallery robber

The Little Rock police have distributed a security video of a robbery yesterday at the Beauty Gallery at 5919 Baseline Road in hopes it will help them arrest a suspect in the case.

Wednesday To-Do: The Verve Pipe

The '90s rockers return to Juanita's.

Wednesday To-Do: Wanda Jackson

The Queen of Rockabilly comes to Revolution tonight in support of her new Jack White-produced album, "The Party Ain't Over."

We're over the hump

The Wednesday line is open. Why not start with a sing-a-long (above)?

Tornado alley

With reporters still scrambling to catch up with overnight storm damage — David Goins of Fox 16 just Twittered about problems in Clarksville from tornadoes last night — everyone is watching wariily for more trouble today.

Little Rock's appeal of deseg ruling

Federal Judge Brian Miller refused yesterday to stay his ruling ending most state financial desegregation aid to Pulaski County school districts and threatening to end the rest of it.

Brum to GOP: Take a deep breath

John Brummett today writes about hyperventilating Republicans wildly exaggerated whining about the legislative redistricting process.

Harrelson's woes mount UPDATE

The Texarkana Gazette reports today (pay wall) that the man with whom state Sen. Steve Harrelson (D-Texarkana) scuffled at the home of Harrelson's estranged wife has asked that Harrelson be charged.

Supreme Court rebuffs SWEPCO plant challenge

The hunting club fighting the SWEPCO coal-fired generating plant in Hempstead County lost a major round before the state Supreme Court today.

U.S. Supreme Court upholds Arizona immigrant law

The legislative activists on the John Roberts Supreme Court court — which likes federalism when it likes the outcome and disapproves of it when it doesn't — has upheld, 5-3, the Arizona law that usurps federal authority and allows the state to punish businesses that hire undocumented workers.

Wisconsin anti-union law struck down

A judge said Republicans violated the Wisconsin open meetings law in approving Gov. Scott Walker's bill to strip public unions of power.

Luke Hunsicker work at Thea

If you'd like to help a Parkview senior planning to study art or music in college head over to the Thea Foundation at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

Another stealth political group exposed

Salon has a report on the exposure another bogus "grassroots" group. It's the American Action Network, which called itself a grassroots group, but shows $2.75 million in fund-raising from a whopping 11 contributions, two of them $1 million each.

Friday To-Do: Cory Branan

The Memphis singer/songwriter returns to White Water Tavern.

Arkansas GOP adopts Bill Clinton

The Arkansas Republican Party has gone to quoting Bill Clinton. Out of context.

Friday To-Do: Cedell Davis

Arkansas's greatest living bluesman takes to Maxine's in Hot Springs.

Viva las Elvis

Elvis will be in the building: the Clinton Presidential Center.

Hot Springs wins trademark fight with Park Service UPDATE

A federal panel has ruled that the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission may continue to use the name Hot Springs National Park in its trademarked logo.

Trinity: Cathedral School finances too poor for survival

The vestry of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral has issued a news release giving a more extensive explanation of what many had thought was an abrupt decision to close the K-5 Cathedral School at the end of the school year this week, after 54 years of operation.

Jeff Nichols to LRFF

As predicted, Cannes' winner "Take Shelter" won't screen at the Little Rock Film Festival. But director Jeff Nichols will return to the fest to show his debut feature, "Shotgun Stories," and show clips from "Take Shelter" and talk about it and his experience in Cannes and whatever else you want to know.

McDaniel, Beebe back slashing of LR school aid

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and Gov. Mike Beebe to Little Rock school students: Screw you.

Republicans retaliate against Blue Hog bloggers

They're a rough bunch, those Republicans. Chase Dugger, the state Republican Party executive director, has apparently (according to a good source) covered up state agencies with FOI requests related to phone records, email and other employment data on two people — both state employees — who contribute to the Blue Hog Report.

Thursday thoughts

The Thursday night line is open. The Memorial Day Weekend slowdown has begun.

Harry and Jorge's is open

Harry and Jorge's, Daniel Bryant's new sit-down Mexican restaurant in the former home of Flying Burrito, is now open.

DJ Tommy Smith arrested in Little Rock

103.7 The Buzz host Tommy Smith, was arrested today around 2 p.m. on several charges, including leaving the scene of an accident, refusal to submit to a DWI test, drinking in public and possession of a controlled substance.

Roux Cafe to cook it up Cajun-style

A New Orleans-style bistro specializing in Cajun cuisine is coming to downtown Little Rock. The Roux Cafe will open sometime in July at 801 Markham St., according to owner Lee Miller. Fried catfish, fried crawfish, fried shrimp, jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish pies and boiled crawfish will all be on the menu. The restaurant will offer a full bar, Miller said, and specialize in a Bourbon Street standby — daiquiris.

Big Daddy's Dog to feed the hordes at Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Starting on Saturday, you'll be able to celebrate climbing up and down Pinnacle Mountain with a hot dog. Big Daddy's Dogs just scored a contract with Pinnacle Mountain State Park to serve hot dogs every Saturday and Sunday.

Little Rock: A dangerous city

Our leaders keep telling us that Little Rock is getting safer and safer — even as our police force shrinks on account of lack of financial support.

Harrelson complaint before judge

Now I understand the news account yesterday afternoon about the prosecutor's actions in the case of Sen. Steve Harrelson's fight with his estranged wife's boyfriend.

Tim Griffin jumps off corporate welfare bill

Funny story in Politico. U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin — friend of millionaires, enemy of Medicare and Medicaid — has decided it is just a bit TOO unseemly to be sponsoring billions of dollars in tax incentives to promote natural gas-fueled vehicles.

From the right: Defense of Blue Hog Report

Jason Tolbert, the Republican-oriented creator of The Tolbert Report, interviews Republican Party executive director Chase Dugger about his FOI requests related to state employees Matt Campbell , who created the Blue Hog Report, a Democratic blog.

Pieday: Chocolate meringue at Atkinson's Blue Diamond Cafe

Buttery meringue, crumbly crust and a rich custard put the Morrilton diner on the pie map.

Riverfest Friday: Widespread Panic

The venerated jam band sets up at the Clinton Center for a three-plus hour set.

Riverfest Friday: Poison

'80s hair metal returns to the river when Bret & Co. hit the Riverfest Amphitheatre.

Saturday To-Do: Easton Corbin

Magic Springs' summer concert series kicks off with a show from the rising country star.

Saturday To-Do: Arkansas Delta Family Gospel Fest with Mavis Staples

The Delta Cultural Center hosts its 11th annual festival in downtown Helena-West Helena.

Saturday To-Do: Kevin Gordon

The Nashville singer/songwriter and graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop returns to White Water Tavern.

State car suit dropped

The AP is reporting that the lawsuit over the use of state vehicles by constitutional officers has been dropped. Judge Tim Fox granted the GOP's motion to dismiss.

New design for bike path markers

The city of Little Rock has come up with a new design to mark dedicated bike paths.

Little Rock express headed this way

The Little Rock Express, a Union Pacific steam engine route named for Little Rock after Arkansans voted en masse via social media networks to route the train through the natural state, will arrive on June 6.

Bush in LR

Former President George W. Bush was in Little Rock today for the dedication of a garden honoring Warren and Harriet Stephens at First Tee of Central Arkansas, a public golf course established with a gift by Jackson T. Stephens.

Podcast: Complicated judicial decisions explained

This week, we talk about Judge Brian Miller's ruling to effectively end desegregation funding for Pulaski County school districts, the Supreme Court's SWEPCO ruling and the Nellums/Clark cloak and dagger scheme

Let's get the long weekend starting

This is an open line.

Riverfest opens

Actor Rick Dial dies at 56

Blogger Shelli Russell writes on her blog that actor Rick Dial of Malvern ("Slingblade" and others) has died of a heart attack.

Bourbon, bacon, Biviano, Brummett

John Brummett recaps Tea Party Rep. Mark Biviano's night on the town in April when he ran into a woman's car on Markham Street after the bourbon-and-bacon dinner at Ashley's in the Capital Hotel and left the scene.

Drilling the shale: Pluses and minuses

The New York Times reports this morning that exploring the Texas shale for oil (as opposed to gas) could increase U.S. oil supplies by 25 percent, with fewer risks than off-shore drilling presents.

Riverfest Saturday: Blue October, Papa Roach, Barenaked Ladies at the Clinton Center Bud Light Stage

Who's headlining tonight?

Riverfest Saturday: Pat Green, David Nail, Charlie Daniels Band at the Miller Lite Riverfest Amphitheatre Stage

The Riverfest Amphitheatre stage lands big country names

Scenes from last night

Here's a slideshow of scenes you might have missed at Riverfest. More later.

Saturday line

The line is opening. If it's happening, I don't know it.

Why do Republicans hate voters?

New York Times reports on the many ways Republicans are working across the country — including in Arkansas — to throw up impediments to voting.

The lobby can't be trusted

Good story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today that reports that cumulative spending by lobbyists appeared to be down this year during the Arkansas legislative session, at least judging by official reporting forms.

Riverfest Sunday: Mike Posner, REO Speedwagon at the Riverfest Amphitheatre Miller Lite Stage

Pop-hip-hop and classic rock dominate Sunday night.

Riverfest Sunday: Digital Underground, Nelly at Clinton Center Bud Light Stage

Eccentric rap monsters and a St. Louis superstar emcee close out the weekend.

You are on your own

Just consider this the all-day, all-night open line. As I mentioned, I'm in Kansas City, one of my favorite cities in part because of old memories of riding the train up from Louisiana with my dad every summer to watch the Kansas City A's.

Chicagoland dining

Kat's trip to the Windy City nets epicurean delights of all sorts.

The Memorial Day line

I'll be driving home today and plan to check in this evening. A quick look indicates a quiet Memorial Day.

Morgan Freeman and more to 'Tales from the South'

Tales from the South's "Delta Music" edition attracts Morgan Freeman, Joey Lauren Adams and more.

Back in Arkansas

So, back home. A quiet day from all appearances.

Prediction: Republicans to control Senate

John Brummett rounds up legislators' comments at a recent panel discussion, including Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker's prediction that the GOP will take control of the state Senate in the next election.

Transplant's expertise good for Bentonville

Chef Al Rubaie brings fine French-influenced dining to the Northwest Arkansas town.

Riverfest in pictures

See a slideshow from last weekend's festival.

Good morning: Stephen Cefalo on Rubens

Start your day with art by the Little Rock artist and a collaborating poet.

The Riverfest robbery report

The Little Rock Police Department has sent along two reports of robberies of people after they left the Riverfest grounds over the weekend.

Cell phones pose cancer risk

CNN has just sent a breaking news bulletin on this story: Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, the World Health Organization said today.

Russellville flap: Bush, Cheney 'worst' in world

Interesting story in the Russellville Courier. It seems the student-produced Russellville Middle School yearbook included a feature on the "Top 5 worst people of all time."

Lee Nora Parlor show extended

Cantrell Gallery response was enthusiastic; it will keep show up another few days.

Drug court heads to TV

Nobody organizing the enterprise is responding to my calls or e-mails, but work continues apace on a reality TV show, Last Shot With Judge Gunn in which Circuit Judge Mary Ann Gunn of Fayetteville plans to play a fictional judge doing something along the lines of the TV drug court she once presided over in Fayetteville.