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June 4, 2009

Vol 7 • No 21

From Conway to glory

Today, without much effort, you can get online and read about Kris Allen’s chest hair, learn that he had a rib surgically removed in junior high and see a video about his “young, effortless hairstyle.”

Dr. George Tiller's work

Here, from American Prospect, is the article I've been looking for in mainstream newspapers about the nature of the work of Dr. George Tiller, targeted for murder because he performed late-term abortions.

For free choice

Sen. Blanche Lincoln may not be ready to get behind Employee Free Choice, but one elected representative is. That would be state Rep. Lindsley Smith of Fayetteville, at left in photo, at a demonstration by academic employees in favor of the act.

Indictments at USA Drug

A release from U.S. Attorney Jane Duke announces the indictment of Garret Sorensen, a former vice president of USA Drug, and his wife and her sister for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 29 counts of mail fraud and three counts of money laundering.

New Hampshire makes six

Its governor signed legislation today legalizing same-sex marriage.

The road to hell

Circuit Judge Willard Proctor has some good intentions. But his judgment is terrible.

‘Up’ and away

As a matter of fact, they do make them like they used to, no matter what you’ve heard to the contrary.

Arkansas: tax haven

This is about certain passive subsidiaries, but don’t leave just yet.

To-do list, June 4

Wakarusa, Black Moth Super Rainbow / School of Seven Bells, Too Short, Localist Release Party, Chase Pagan, 'Oliver', Heifer Village Grand Opening, American Aquarium, Merle Haggard, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, MGMT and Arkansas Shakespeare Festival are happening this week.

Thanks, LR

Thank you, Little Rock. Last night, from the second row, I sang Suzy Q with Dale Hawkins when the rockabilly legend invited us to join him.

This modern world, June 4

The televisionist, June 4

Straddling the seam that runs between more art-focused filmmakers like Ingmar Bergman and the box-office obsessed blockbuster directors of the 1980s and ’90s, Steven Spielberg has always been one of those love ’em or hate ’em filmmakers for a lot of folks.

May 27-June 2, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … JUSTICE. A panel of the state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission recommended the removal of Circuit Judge Willard Proctor from the bench.

Orval, June 4

Dream team

Whether or not you’re a futbol fan, it’s hard to comprehend just how much winning this year’s boys 4A state soccer championship means for De Queen — both for the players and the community they live in.

Smart talk, June 4

The New York Times Magazine last Sunday featured a major profile of former President Clinton and his activities since leaving the White House.

What's cooking, June 4

The fifth annual Taste of the Rock is 5-7 p.m. Thursday, June 4, in the River Market Pavilions.

In brief, June 4

Buzz-y local garage-lounge act Stella Fancy had the crowd atwitter following a performance last Friday at Sticky Fingerz.

The bar, remodeled

Larry West, the owner of the newly opened Star Bar in Capitol View, comes to the business with experience.

Who’s on stage

There are an infinite number of good ways to fill a brilliant Saturday.

Eye on Arkansas

Musical chairs and hangers-on

It’s one of the more uninspiring periods in state government.

Words, June 4

“HEADS OF STATE, 8:15 p.m., Miller Lite Amphitheater *** Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant are performing again under one of the worst, most unimaginative band names in the history of bad band names.”

Right as Rahn

If you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs, you’ll be as worthy as Bill Rahn of the Little Rock Parks and Recreation Commission.

More art for the park

More sculpture is on its way to Riverfront Park, small-scale work that will be located in a garden just east of the Peabody Hotel and south of the Forever a Rose garden.

The observer, June 4

First there was the startling BANG! and then the lights went out, along with the computer here at the Observatory Annex.

Being watched

The FBI won’t confirm it, but the bureau apparently is investigating certain dealings between the state Employee Benefits Division and private vendors.

A&E news, June 4

For those Kris Allen fans who didn’t snatch up tickets to see Kris and the rest of the “American Idol” top 10 in concert at Alltel on July 25, the Times has your back.

The way we were

We left that world many light years back there, parsecs ago, farther back than there are zeroes to number the miles.

What’s happening in June.

Unless indicated, event is a reading and/or book signing.

Guns and women judges

She's OK on guns. That's Brummett's assessment of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, in the context of whether her judicial record allows Arkansas's gun lobby-wary senators to vote for her.

Protecting the lobby

President Obama continues to push for a public health care plan as part of addressing health care needs.

Hot air

A Republican front group funded by ultra-rich conservatives staged a media event in Little Rock Wednesday, part of its campaign against proposed environmental legislation.

Today's headlines

Several of us did doubletakes on the headline today for the D-G's gun nut columnist: "Hunters could get liberal season" A dream come true for some.

Media's conservative bias

Food for thought from E.J. Dionne: A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Snyder opponent UPDATE

Religious Right Repub from Conway might run against U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder. UPDATE: It would appear the fellow, David Meeks, will formally announce today.

The Things We Do For Love...

If you've watched the Food Network, you've probably seen those commercials that ask "How do YOU Iron Chef?"  Well, that's a valid question for those of us who enjoy cooking for a crowd.  I know Eat Arkansas contributor Joel loves to throw a good dinner party...

Weekend To-Do: Wakarusa

Claypool. WAKARUSANoon, Mulberry Mountain, Ozark.

Thursday: Black Moth Super Rainbow - School of Seven Bells

BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW / SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLS9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $8 adv., $10 d.o.s.Technology has always been central to Black Moth Super Rainbow's sound.

Rally set

Secure Arkansas, the out-there group formed to battle the immigrant influx, emerges. The group is rallying at 4 p.m. today at the military recruiting station in Little Rock where two soldiers were shot.

So much for transparency

The state Lottery Commission called a hurryup meeting today. Chairman Ray Thornton promptly announced the commission would meet in secret to "discuss" the lottery director's job.

Big gift for UAMS

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation has given $33.4 million to the Reynolds Institute on Aging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Boozman opponent

Speaking of political unknowns facing long odds against incumbent congressmen, here's a report from Roby Brock on a potential Democratic challenger for Rep. John Boozman in the Third -- self-described "conservative Democrat" Beau Stricklin of Russellville.

School money suit fails

As oral arguments had indicated would happen, the state Supreme Court today found no merit in a lawsuit by several school districts, led by Fort Smith, that contended the state wasn't making sufficient financial effort to support public schools.

Thursday: Stella Fancy, Jason Boland, Travs and more

A fraction of Stella Fancy. Or maybe the best hair in Stella Fancy.

Woo Pig

How about some positive Hog news for a change of pace? Derek Jenkins recommends this heart-warming ESPN feature on tight end D. J. Williams and the troubled home life he overcame.

Calling all gun nuts

I didn't think the NRA would take kindly to Sonia Sotomayor. A murderers' row of wingers have "mobilized" in Arkansas on her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Public Restroom Stall Selection

Years ago, my good friend Jeff posed the following question to several while soliciting response in efforts to compile a statistical report:   “When using a public restroom, which stall do you typically select and why?”   So, I thieved his idea and presented this question to several.

UALR takes on the world

Enough with football, sputters my UALR friend. "How could you overlook this (see jump)?"

The mystery of the Hillcrest streaker

I've heard from two different people that a nude man was running through Hillcrest this morning.

Helicopter crash

Channel 4 reports a National Guard helicopter crash in the Buffalo River in Marion County Yellville today.

Warning: CCTV in operation

I'd missed this news if it came up earlier. Fox 16 reports the city is spending $104,000 to install surveillance cameras throughout the River Market district.

How'd they escape?

I'd say this detail-filled photograph by Lynn Brennan in the Evening Tribune of Hornell, N.Y., tells quite a bit of the story about how those two killers escaped from Cummins prison last Friday night.

The Yemenis made him do it

Our news partner Fox 16 posts interview with lawyer for LR terror shooting suspect about root of his expressed anger toward American military.

Q&A: Chase Pagan

He'll celebrate the release of his sophomore album "Bells and Whistles" on Friday at Vino's.

I quit

I think 12 hours is about enough. Your turn.

'Tommy' video

Check it out in our home page video player. Listening to "Tommy, can you hear me!" for several hours mid-edit has got me ready to join the chorus.

Hurry Up and Slow Down.

Slow Food believers unite!  The Second Annual Ozark Slow Food Potluck/Cooking Contest will be held Saturday, June 20th at the Brick House Kitchen Restaurant in Fayetteville.  This year the competition is on for the best cocktail party recipes featuring locally grown ingredients.  Prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place -- and there will be a prize for Best Use of Local Ingredients.  Press release on the jump, along with a link.

The latest from the Butler Center.

The Butler Center’s publishing arm, Butler Center Books, has two new titles out now.

Waka-whatta?

Wakarusa, the big music festival/campout that moved from Kansas, is underway at Mulberry Mountain and the Fayetteville Flyer is going to provide the equivalent of gavel-to-gavel coverage, including lots of photos. A big crowd is already on hand.

The roots of terrorism

The NY Times, too, has talked to the lawyer for the man accused of killing a soldier outside a Little Rock recruiting center.

I'd rather be at Wakarusa

Wal-Mart stockholders are meeting today in Fayetteville. Fun starts early.

Brother can you spare a dime?

The jobless rate -- 9.4 percent -- is at its highest nationally in 25 years.

Richest man in town

A new book sets out to identify the richest man/woman in 100 large U.S. cities.

Keith Jackson Jr. in drug bust

Former Razorback lineman Keith Jackson Jr. was among three men and a woman arrested in a Little Rock narcotics bust, police announced this morning.

D-Day memories

Here's a local angle on the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landing in Normandy. Little Rock lawyer Robby Wilson was presented a key to the French city of Mont St.-Michel for his gift of the Piper spotter plane (above) to the Airborne Museum at Ste.-Mere-Eglise.

Torture? Not us.

Yemen responds to torture accusations asserted by lawyer for Little Rock shooting suspect.

Supreme Court candidate

Appeals Court Judge Courtney Henry officially announced her candidacy for state Supreme Court today. She'd earlier indicated she'd run for the seat temporarily filled by Justice Elana Wills, appointed to serve following Justice Tom Glaze's retirement.

Supreme Court candidate

Appeals Court Judge Courtney Henry officially announced her candidacy for state Supreme Court today. She'd earlier indicated she'd run for the seat temporarily filled by Justice Elana Wills, appointed to serve following Justice Tom Glaze's retirement.

UA holds that line

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees today approved budgets for the 2010 fiscal year.

Friday To-Do: 'Oliver!'

Jacob Clanton stars as Oliver Twist. ‘OLIVER'7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater.

Friday To-Do: Chase Pagan

CHASE PAGAN8:30 p.m., Vino's, $7.Wynne-born Chase Pagan celebrates the release of his long-anticipated debut full-length, “Bells and Whistles,” in front of a hometown crowd on Friday.

Misusing the Buckley Act

An old pet peeve: How colleges reflexively cite the so-called Buckley Amendment to keep from releasing almost anything meaningful related to college students, particularly if they play sports.

Friday To-Do: Localist Release Party

Magic Hassle. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Friday To-Do: Too $hort

TOO $HORT8 p.m., the Village. $22.50-$35.When I was 12, I taped Too $hort's drastically edited version of “I'm a Player” off Power 92 and listened to it constantly.

Arkansas hires lottery director

Arkansas has a lottery director. He's Ernest Passailaigue Jr.

The Weekend: The Juke Joint Duo, Poptart Monkeys, Cornerstone's anniversary and more

Malcolm and Cedric. Photo by Jerry Colburn.

Big News Round-up

Hot Air: A climate change denier group came to Little Rock a couple of days ago.  I didn't want to give them the space on this blog so I'm waiting until now to say anything about it.  Climtae change is getting on up there with evolution when it comes to scientific consensus.  These people are so Republican they're blinded by facts.   

Gag order sought in terror shooting UPDATE

This just in from Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, a letter to James Hensley, attorney for Abdulhakim Muhammad, suspect in the killing of one soldier and shooting of another outside the Little Rock Army-Navy recruiting station:

$21 million verdict for doctor

A 15-year-old case produced a $21 million jury verdict this week for Little Rock Dr. Jon Dodson and a related medical clinic against Allstate Insurance Company.

Open line

Got fresh space. Oh, but this headline from Fox 16: 120 laid off at Dassault Falcon in Little Rock.

Sounds like a plan

Sen. Edward Kennedy is circulating something that sounds more like it regards health care. No need to send it to Mike Ross.

Brave new worlds

John Brummett writes today about the far-fetched notion of a world without automobiles. But this next topic is real and even more dislocating for those it will affect.

Big bucks

Some eyebrows have been raised about the $324,000 pay deal for the new state lottery director, Ernie Passailaigue of Charleston, S.C. The deal was telegraphed, we can now see, by Commission Chairman Ray Thornton's comment Thursday that the state would have to pay at the higher end of the authorized range to get an experienced hand.

College rivalries

I wish we'd been able to staff the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees meeting yesterday.

Bodies from Air France plane found

Brazilian air force reports.

Weekend To-Do: Heifer Village Grand Opening

Dan Zanes. HEIFER VILLAGE GRAND OPENING10 a.m., Heifer International.

Saturday To-Do: American Aquarium

AMERICAN AQUARIUM10 p.m., White Water Tavern, $5.Tavern favorites from Raleigh, N.C., American Aquarium, return in support of their latest release from Little Rock's Last Chance Records, “Dances For the Lonely.” The band's combination of keen lyrical storytelling with a mix of piano, Hammond B3, accordion, pedal steel and double-kick drum has inspired comparisons to bands such as Whiskeytown, Son Volt and the Old 97s.

Sunday To-Do: Merle Haggard

MERLE HAGGARD7 p.m., Robinson Center Performance Hall. $32-$52.Fans disappointed by the last minute cancellation of Merle Haggard's 2008 Riverfest show should be more than compensated with this intimate concert in a venue with second-to-none acoustics.

Hogs win! Hogs win!

The Razorbacks are in the College World Series after beating the Florida State Seminoles, 9-8, taking a two-day sweep of the boastful Floridians.

Generalities

Brummett spoke to a rural interest conference and came away concluding that you best not make assumptions about beliefs on hot button issues -- sexual orientation, hunting, etc. Well, sure.

How dry is Jonesboro

Scanning the NY Times for news of Arkansas interest, I find the college football blog's report on Arkansas State, which is ranked at 87th in the pre-season assessment.

With God on our side

Interesting report of Republicans playing the God card in Virginia politics. Newt Gingrich, of all people.

Old times there ...

The Northwest edition of the Democrat-Gazette follows the Rebel-centric vision of Little Rock leadership apparently.

Sleepy Sunday

The line is open for you.

Dick Cheney, beacon of hope

Brummett.

Save energy, freeze a Yankee

The old bumper sticker comes to mind on this news in NYT today: CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. — The federal government is spending $5 billion in stimulus money to weatherize homes across the country.

Lowering health care costs

I'm reminded of a thought I had earlier and wish I'd expressed then. The issue is President Obama attempting to soothe the health insurance industry about a health care plan that includes a public option.

Not so mighty wind

LM Glasfibers, the new plant making blades for wind turbines in Little Rock, is laying off more than 20 percent of its workforce on account of a reduction in demand for the product.

Monday To-Do: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

BONNIE ‘PRINCE' BILLY8:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.Will Oldham, who's recorded, alternately, under his own name as well as Palace Music, Palace Brothers, Palace Songs and just plain Palace, seems to have settled on the Bonnie “Prince” Billy moniker.

Kennedy swings left

Justice Anthony Kennedy was the pivotal vote today as the U.S. Supreme Court decided that case in which a West Virginia energy company had spent millions to get a friendly judge elected to the state Supreme Court.

Lottery salary an 'investment'

Roby Brock at Talk Business further interviews Arkansas Lottery Commissioner Derrick Smith (thanks to many copy editors for correction of my brain malfunction on the name) about the decision not to interview any applicants for the job but to recruit a non-applicant, Ernie Passailaigue, and hire him for a whopping $324,000.

'Rosie the Riveter' to Crystal Bridges

Arkansas Business reports that Crystal Bridges, the Walton-financed American art museum under construction in Bentonville, has acquired Norman Rockwell's original "Rosie the Riveter."

Monday News Round-up

From Above: Many an Arkansas politician has said that the natural gas drilling boom in the state was sent from heaven.  Well, here's a look at the drilling industry from on high, via Bluedaze.

Dueling claims in Chenal fire

Now the insurance company has countersued lawyer Aaron Jones for the $1.2 million it's out paying a fire claim to the mortgage holder on the Chenal Circle mansion torched in what Jones has claimed was a robbery he barely escaped.

We are the champions

If you thought Mike Huckabee might ease off the American exceptionalism theme on account of a little weekend criticism, you don't know the Huckster.

Chesapeake to Sell More Assets

Chesapeake Energy Corp. has announced the sale of hundreds of gas rigs and some undeveloped property to Indigo Minerals LLC for $218 million in cash.  The deal will include the sale of some rigs here in Arkansas.  It's been a rough year for the natural gas company.  Chesapeake has had to sell more than $2.2 billion in debt and shares over the past year and CEO Aubrey McClendon even had to sell off part of his wine collection.  Reuters has more. 

Judge gags terror case parties

Fox 16's David Goins Twitters that District Judge Alice Lightle has granted Prosecutor Larry Jegley's request for a gag order in the murder case against the man charged with killing a young soldier outside a Little Rock recruiting station.

Big ball in cowtown

Since there's something of an Arkie angle, I thought you might be interested in some coverage of the star-studded country music concert that marked the opening of the Dallas Cowboys' new stadium over the weekend.

Review: 'Tommy'

Cousin Kevin and co. ‘Tommy’The Rep, June 5You could exhaust yourself trying to apply logic to the plot of “Tommy,” but at the outset, it doesn’t hurt to try.

The Weekend: Cornerstone's Sixth Anniversary

Whale Fire. Photo by Stacey Bowers.

Disorder in the court

The case of Circuit Judge Willard Proctor keeps getting messier. Now that a state judicial panel has recommended Proctor's removal from the bench for unethical handling of probationers in his court, Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley in a letter Friday formally asked Proctor to avoid further conflicts.

Chrysler sale delayed

U.S. Supreme Court holds things up on behalf of unhappy investors.

McDonald worker gets break

Fox 16 is reporting that an undisclosed financial settlement has been reached in the Workers Compensation case of Nigel Haskett, the employee of a Little Rock McDonald's restaurant who was injured when he stopped a man attacking a female customer.

Review: Merle

Merle HaggardRobinson Center Music Hall, June 7Merle Haggard played a little trick on his audience last Sunday night at Robinson Auditorium.

Acting chief

Rep. Mark Martin Twitters that Deputy Education Commissioner Diana Julian was chosen by the state Board of Education today to serve as interim director on departure of Director Ken James.

Bare-knuckle politics

Thanks to Jason Tolbert for a link to some rip-roaring political battling -- New York Republicans flipped some Senate Democrats to their side to take control of the chamber, something like the coup Dems pulled in Tennesse.

The line is open

Monday, Monday. PS -- Blue day for Bill Halter.

Bigger-than-life Barack

Says here that a 20-foot sculpture of Barack Obama will be on display during the noon hour today at the Central High School National Historic Site.

First lottery winner

Not a scratch-off ticket has been sold, but the Arkansas Lottery will have its first jackpot winner today.

Wrongsville

My head hurts when I think about the star-crossed city of Wrightsville, the small community in southern Pulaski County long run by a corrupt mayor who apparently plundered the city treasury.

Is your refrigerator running?

Better hurry up and catch it. Have Prince Albert in the can?

Interview with wounded soldier

Local TV is atwitter about the "first" opportunity today to hear from the solider who survived the terrorism-inspired shooting at a recruiting station last week.

Loud and Proud.

  The new Texas Roadhouse has opened at Shackleford Crossing.  And just like its other area location in North Little Rock, it's loud and proud of its country fried roots.  The volume (as in the noise, not just the influx of people) is intense; those wooden floors and overhead beams do nothing to quiet down the hubbub of a crowd.  This is not the place for quiet conversation.

Lottery deal is done

A legislative oversight committee today approved the pay for new Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue. He'll go from $226,000 to $432,000 income a year (counting South Carolina retirement pay he'll now be able to draw on top of $324,000 Arkansas salary.)

Tuesday To-Do: MGMT

It's pronounced "em gee em tee." MGMT8 p.m., Village.

Bjork film coming to the Malco

Bjork fans in Arkansas have probably come to grips with the idea that Iceland's finest pop chanteuse will never play a show anywhere in the Natural State.

NLR plant closure

The Polymer Group will close its plant in North Little Rock -- acquired from Chicopee in 1995 -- by the spring of 2010.

Union keeps pressure on

The Service Employees International Union is putting double pressure on Arkansas senators today. It's about to roll out some new ads targeting Arkansas's senators on the Employee Free Choice Act.

Last night: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

Bonnie 'Prince' BillySticky Fingerz, June 8Will Oldham's beard was trimmer, more mustache-heavy last night than in the photo above, but similarly obscuring (doesn't his face look crooked in the picture above?).

Tuesday's News

Doomed?: Attorneys for a hunting club based near the Turk power plant site in Hempstead County are arguing that ADEQ issued the permit for the plant based on flawed data.  An attorney for SWEPCO fought back saying the coal plant would be the cleanest in the country.  But cleaner than what?  The fact that the plant is already under construction while an appeal is pending shows you how state regulators think about this issue.  Check out KUAR for more.  Check out this report for the facts on the Turk plant.

Supreme Court race is on

Circuit Judge John Fogleman of Marion had a press event today to formalize his previously announced candidacy for a vacancy on the state Supreme Court, a race for which Appeals Court Judge Courtney Henry earlier had announced.

Terror suspect calls AP

Gag order? What's a gag order mean to a criminal suspect potentially facing a capital murder conviction?

Best high schools in U.S.

Newsweek is out with its annual list of the 1,500 best public high schools, based on a formula that divides the senior class by the number of Advanced Placement or similar tests taken.

Closing the Halliburton Loophole

It's not a repudiation of the entire process but it's a step.  A bill to allow the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate hydraulic fracturing, a process where by millions of gallons of water - mixed with sand and other chemicals - are shot into the ground in order to bring up natural gas, was introduced today.  Currently it's up to states to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and some states do a better job than others.  Few states, if any - and especially not Arkansas, require gas companies to disclose exactly what chemicals are used in the process.  It's suspected that drinking frack water is what killed 19 cows in Louisiana recently.  Treating illnesses or emergency health problems due to exposure to frack water is complicated by the secrecy of the formula as well - health professionals don't know what they're dealing with.  For more details on the process, check out the Natural Resources Defense Council report Drilling Down.  For more info on the bill, check out Amy Mall's blog, Switchboard.   Here's some more resources:  For history, fact sheets and all kinds of info, check out EarthWorks, and the Oil and Gas Accountability Project.

I scream -- nabbed!

LRPD has announced arrest of two 16-year-olds for shooting and robbing the ice cream truck driver over the weekend.

Last Chef Standing.

Being a great chef in Arkansas is hard enough; there's plenty of others out there who can say they're the best and the brightest.  But being recognized by your peers after rounds of competition featuring some of the toughest ingredients in the pantry?  That right there earns you the right to become Diamond Chef.

Praise for a Po'Boy.

I have been waiting with more than a little anticipation for the opening of FatSam's Louisiana Cafe in the River Market.  I seriously dig on Creole and Cajun creations (to the point that the hubster and I usually go to NOLA each year for a short vacation, just to eat and savor).  While I can look forward to certain items being offered from time to time at many Central Arkansas eateries, I've needed a true fix.

Dreams on the border

City Wire reports a design was approved today for a U.S. Marshals museum in Fort Smith.

The line is open

Post up.

The line is open

Post up.

Lottery details

Lottery junkies will want to check Roby Brock's interview with new Arkansas lottery director Ernie Passailaigue about lottery startup mechanics.

Dinner break

I'm going to take one. But that reminds me. Kat Robinson is working hard to add new food items on a regular basis to our Eat Arkansas blog.

In other news

T. Boone Pickens was in town tonight.

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST’:

Norton Fine Arts will feature the figurative paintings of Stephen Cefalo at this week’s 2nd Friday Art Night event, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 12.

Hellbound

It’s a shame, Newt Gingrich was saying the other day, that he and his fellow born-again pilgrims have to live “in a period where we are surrounded by paganism.”

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST’:

Norton Fine Arts will feature the figurative paintings of Stephen Cefalo at this week’s 2nd Friday Art Night event, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 12.

Corporate welfare payback

Scott Miller at Argenta News contributes some useful backstory to the announcement yesterday that 140 people would lose jobs in the closure of the 53-year-old Chicopee plant in North Little Rock.

American Idol vote stuffing

Sorry, soreheads, it's a cultural and commercial phenomenon with an Ark. angle. News, in other words.

Toward better teachers

The NY Times editorializes today on a new independent study -- based on surveys in four states including Arkansas -- that concludes schools suffer from a lack of meaningful evaluation of teachers.

Hard times hurt charity

NY Times reports: Charitable giving fell last year by the largest percentage in five decades, according to a new study by the Giving USA Foundation.

Berry Season.

Went by the Little Rock Farmers Market yesterday and noticed it's blueberry season... lots of the first of the year crop are out and available, little dully sweet things that are just on the brink of maturity.

Berry Season.

Went by the Little Rock Farmers Market yesterday and noticed it's blueberry season... lots of the first of the year crop are out and available, little dully sweet things that are just on the brink of maturity.

Review: MGMT at the Village

Special thanks to Rock Candy contributor Sam Eifling for a review of last night's show: The technical term for the ticketing process at the Village on Tuesday night is, alas, unsuitable for print, as it consists of the word “cluster” and a four-word epithet.

Wednesday's News

Behind Closed Doors: The Arkansas Public Service Commission will meet today to decide whether citizen and environmental groups are allowed to investigate whether SWEPCO's recent proposed rate increase of over $50 million per year is justified.  Walmart can.  We can't.  Be sure to check out this post from Eddy Moore at GreenAR by the Day.  The hearing will be today at 1:30 at the PSC headquarters, 1000 Center Street, Little Rock, AR 72201.

An ill wind

Troubles in the wind energy business may be more than a short-term problem. Scientists say winds are dying down in the U.S. Why?

Employee shot in robbery

I know the city says crime is dropping. But it sure feels like there's been a surge in old-style business armed robberies -- convenience stores and such.

Rep. Williams staying put

State Rep. Darrin Williams of Little Rock said he'd seek re-election in 2010. This would be a routine thing except that he'd been mentioned as a potential candidate for term-limited Sen. Tracy Steele's Senate seat.

Courting Lincoln UPDATE

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is among lawmakers Judge Sonia Sotomayor will meet with today in her path to confirmation on the U.S. Supreme Court.

'Domestic terrorism' in Conway

The Smoking Gun has posted an extensive account, including police report and police crime scene photographs (on the jump), of the event in Conway we linked yesterday from the Log Cabin Democrat.

Who needs reality TV?

When you have the real life saga of John Daly and his estranged wife Sherrie, who he's sought to bar from attending a Memphis golf tournament.

Holocaust Museum shooting

A man was shot after opening fire on and fatally wounding a Holocaust Museum guard. MSNBC is reporting that the gunman is an 88-year-old white supremacist.

A Festival For Us.

Food lovers, unite!  On this upcoming Independence Day, celebrate in the streets of downtown North Little Rock with the first ever Argenta Foodie Festival.  From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 4th, enjoy free music and entertainment along with demonstrations and arts and crafts displays.  Plus, a huge bonus -- some of Arkansas’ favorite restaurants and catering companies will be featured, as their chefs create their own specialties utilizing only locally grown produce and meats.

Golf carts for golf only

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office has issued an official opinion -- requested by Sen. Paul Miller -- that said golf carts may be operated on city streets only between a residence and a golf course and only if a city ordinance allows it.I figure an outbreak of golf cart traffic in some retirement community or another prompted this.But I wonder about the implications for the old fellow in the photograph we ran a while back.

Where's Waldo?

In the developing group portrait of potential candidates in the U.S. Senate race next year, we keep looking for Waldo -- Gilbo actually -- in the motley crew of Republicans that has begun mustering.The political tom-toms have been beating this week.

Wednesday To-Do: Movies in the Park

The Princess Bride is tonight's pick for Movies in the Park at the Riverfest Amphitheatre.  Gates open at 6:30, the movie starts at sundown.  And the best part?  It's free.  Picnics and pets welcome. 

Left Behind? We'll See

The Arkansas Public Service Commission held a hearing today to decide whether the Sierra Club, Audubon Arkansas and Citizens Advancing Reasonable Rates (or CARR) will be able to intervene in future rate cases that come before the commission.  Currently, private individuals and companies like Walmart can participate in such cases.  Today, the aforementioned advocacy groups tried to make the case that their interests would not be adequately represented by PSC staff or the attorney general's office.  The AG usually intervenes on behalf of the citizens of Arkansas.  Attorneys for SWEPCO and the PSC staff argued against the inclusion of the Sierra Club, Audubon and CARR, saying the public already has a chance to participate in such cases by submitting comments and such.  I don't know but it seems to me that they're argument contradicts any social studies book I ever learned from in school.  People form groups to represent their interests, because the average Joe, beside having to work every day from 8-5, doesn't have enough time to research every issue or hire a lawyer to testify before the PSC.  It simply seems like an effort to keep more informed input out of the process.  Consumer and environmental groups are allowed to participate in similar rate cases in other states.

Move to strip Proctor

Pulaski Circuit Judge Vann Smith’s proposal for case assignments next year would send no criminal cases to Judge Willard Proctor, he said Monday.
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