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June 10, 2010

Vol 36 • No 40

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Arts Center works to dig out from under 'Pharaohs' debt.

Pollster to Lincoln: Fuhgeddaboudit

Polling outfit counsels Democratic groups not to waste a dime on Blanche Lincoln in the fall.

Election commissioner resigns

Charles Tapp, long-time chairman of the Garland County Election Commission, tendered his resignation today, accordiing to George Hozendorf, chairman of the Garland County Democratic Committee, which selects two people to serve on the commission.

"Jersey Shore" casting comes to Arkansas

Looks like Doron Ofir Casting, the reality show agency who wrangled up characters for "Survivor," "Wife Swap," "Tool Academy" and the single most important cultural landmark of this century, "Jersey Shore" is out to find an few good Southern Snookies and redneck Ronnies for a hillbilly twist on the MTV sensation.

Vaccinations were in order

The Health Department says the ill foreign visitor to the Walmart shareholders' meeting last week had rubella, so shots given to 142 people who might have come in contact apparently were in order.

Harvest Music Festival set for October

Hey! You!

Requiem for a Mama Grizzly

Powerline, the conservative blog, finds a moral victory in Cecile Bledsoe's close loss to Steve Womack in the race for Republican nomination for 3rd District Congress.

Arkansas: Land of Cheese Dip UPDATE

"In Queso Fever: A Movie About Cheese Dip" from Nick Rogers on Vimeo.John Brummett wrote a column for election day that would be "evergreen," in newspaper terms.

Oglesby nominated for U.S. marshal

President Obama has nominated H. Michael Oglesby to be U.S. marshal in the western District of Arkansas.

The line is open

I think I"ve had enough. You?

Search for slaying leads UPDATE

The State Police today circulated photographs that they hope will help find suspects in the slaying of an elderly woman last Sunday in her Cross County church.

News and notes

From the Arkansas media world.

Soak it up

Magic Springs to further entice the hordes with new wave ride.

To the mat

At age 28, Christal Ransom is still a very young woman. But as an athlete, she's beginning to feel the physical strain of a life spent committed to a very physical sport. One of the world's best in women's judo, Ransom missed out on the 2008 Olympics because of a last-minute change. Now aiming for the 2012 Games in London, she says that it's make or break.

Mayoral might

In Little Rock Monday, Mayor Mark Stodola led a news conference to announce three blocks of a street had been renamed (Commerce to River Market Avenue; it won't change your life much). Then he scuttled away quickly from the news conference. No need for more embarrassing talk about his car — stolen in this very neighborhood Friday night.

Little Rock's essence? It's cheese dip

My first wife, and this was long ago because we married much too young and split predictably and quickly, brought to our otherwise ill-advised union a recipe for cheese dip.


We rarely go to a restaurant on its opening weekend; there are usually far too many kinks to be worked out. But the buzz for Bravo Cucina Italiana was strong and, since it's a chain, where, presumably, the processes have been honed over the years, we decided to go ahead and give it a shot.

What socialism?

Scary times always breed popular delusions and this season's is socialism. Creeping government control demolished the economy and now the socialists are using the crisis to finish the conversion from capitalism to a socialist state.

Throw 'em out

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union; let it now be the first ejected.

Eye on Arkansas, June 10

Arkansas's Democratic runoff for the Senate garnered a lot of national media attention. Candidates Blanche Lincoln and Bill Halter were able to squeeze in some last-minute campaigning at festivals around the state.

Check almost in the mail

Repayment of an $8 million state loan to the Safe Foods Corporation of North Little Rock is taking longer than expected, but the firm is now profitable and plans to have the loan paid off "in a few years," according to a Safe Foods executive.

Where we're at

The River City usage scolds have been asquawk lately about crimes against the mother tongue in the local media.

Park planner

Here's an idea for the Zoo and the golf course (and the Stadium, later). First we find good zoos for all the animals, maybe see if San Diego would take them, though they might have to be Californicated with better social skills, how to share, express their inner feelings, honestly enjoy tofu, then we level the area and build really nice public housing.

Words, June 10

Knuckleheads, more on "bar pits" and new verbs.

What's Cookin', June 10

Rockston's American Bar and Grill closes; Juanita's cuts its hours.

The Week That Was, June 2-8, 2010

Good for film lovers, desperation and the economy. Bad for Grant County, Mayor Mark Stodola, Jim Keet and the state lottery.

Televisionist, June 10

On 'True Blood' and 'Bethenny Getting Married?'

This Modern World, June 10

Orval, June 10

The Observer, June 10

The Observer often sees it on our stroll to the Fortress of Employment: a 1970 or '71 Chevrolet Camaro, our favorite car in the whole world, with the egg crate grill and the back window inspired by Ferrari, built in the days before the Camaro got elongated and Brut-scented and ridiculous around 1975.

Dillard's beats Wal-Mart

Plus, 'The color of Arkansas justice' and 'A generally peaceful Riverfest.'

In Brief, June 10

The Frontier Circus, The Screaming Females, Ras Levi and more.

To-Do List, June 10-16

Including Joe and Mint Condition, 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' The Little Rock Wind Symphony, Reckless Kelly, Cheap Girls, Arkansas Shakespeare Festival, 'The Blind Side.'

'Smokey Joe's Cafe'

The Rep's new jukebox musical lets very little stand in the way of 30-plus songs of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller.

John Prine

The man of the night moseyed around stage stiff-legged, unassuredly, a tad twitchy. When he spoke, he did so a bit nervously, eyes darting about, unable to settle his hands. He wore a sharp suit, all black and with the best of intentions, but ended up looking like an antebellum Kim Jong-Il.

Little Rock Film Fest 2010

The Little Rock Film Festival was an almost unmitigated success in year four. The crowds swelled — to 25,000, up 25% from last year and almost 10 times the audience of year one. The programming throughout the five-day whirlwind was strong and, as we've come to expect, thrillingly diverse.

Lincoln-Boozman game on

The New York Times assesses the fall senatorial race between Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Rep. John Boozman.

Democrats fight fire with fire

This is good news and overdue. I hope it's well crafted.

Thursday: Train, The Frontier Circus, The Dirt Drifters

After an omnipresent run on the radio around the turn of the millennium, Train (above) is back with a new hit single in "Hey, Soul Sister" and a show in Hot Springs.

Thursday To-Do: Joe-Mint Condition

JOE / MINT CONDITION7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $34-$69.

Televisionist: 'Bethenny Getting Married?'

This is a strange country we live in. For whatever reason, middle class folks in Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana and other places that don't even seem to be on the same continent as New York City tune in, week after week, to watch Bravo's "Real Housewives of..." series.

Q: What's funnier than hippies dancing with glowsticks?

A: Hippies dancing with glowsticks while wearing headphones. That's right, welcome to the Silent Disco.

The whole world was watching

Insider Washington was and remains consumed with Blanche Lincoln's runoff victory over Bill Halter. Here, it's the lingering unhappiness in organized labor about White House disrespect.

This should make Sen. Lincoln happy

With the estate tax suspended this year, a Texas billionaire's fortune may pass without taxation, unless Congress can figure out a way to reinstate the tax retroactively before the year is out.

Lincoln contradicts herself on health care

A good catch here by Jason Tolbert. Blanche Lincoln is quoted in the Democrat-Gazette today as saying she was not the deciding vote on health reform legislation, but among a group that brought about consensus.

How much should BP pay?

Didn't Tim Griffin say he would vote for John Boehner for speaker of the House if he's elected over Joyce Elliott to represent the 2nd District?

Halter's magic carpet ride over

Just in time for the election, legislators dredged up a $2,400 rug purchase by Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's office to generate a negative headline for him to help Blanche Lincoln.

One in four kids in poverty

According to a new report released by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, 24.9 percent of Arkansas children now live in poverty.

Murkowski resolution fails

A resolution to block the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gases failed in the senate today 47-53.

New charges for Muhammad

Abdulhakim Muhammad, who stands accused of shooting and killing an Army private last year in Little Rock, has been charged with battery and possession of a weapon while being held at the Pulaski County regional detention center.

Garland election lawsuit dropped

George Hozendorf, chairman of the Garland County Democratic Committee, says the lawsuit over the Garland County Election Commission's handling of the runoff election was dropped today.

'It's on' — school board prez and union leader

The deteriorating relations between the four-member controlling bloc of the Pulaski County School Board and the teachers union, which the majority wants to oust, is getting poisonous.

Halter wants a meeting

A spokesman for Bill Halter says the lt. gov., loser of the runoff battle with Sen. Blanche Lincoln, wants a meeting with her before he announces a decision on an endorsement of her for the fall general election.

Arrest made in church slaying

The State Police have announced an arrest in the fatal beating death of an elderly woman found beaten to death Sunday in a rural Cross County church.

Thursday line

It's open. Off to blow out 60 candles.

Ice cream social set

My old pal Ginger Shiras writes with eating news from Berryville: BERRYVILLE — In the early days of the Berryville Ice Cream Social, volunteers churned homemade ice cream for sale but as the event grew, that became impossible.

When stimulus runs out

I got a sad note yesterday from a woman whose son, a single custodial parent, had been notified by state Human Services that a child care aid program was running out June 30 and his payments would cease.

Listen up, White House UPDATE

The New York Times today editorializes on the White House's snotty response to the defeat of Bill Halter by Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

Cheating in the classroom

Do tell. High-stakes testing in pursuit of No Child Left Behind goals has led to numerous cases of teacher cheating to improve test scores.

Walmart gets into higher education

A New York Times article today describes Walmart's investment of $50 million with a for-profit on-line university to provide college courses for its workforce.

The incredible Huck UPDATE

Polling shows that Mike Huckabee continues to be strongest among potential Republican challengers to Barack Obama in 2012.

Working at the car wash blues

Two men were shot in a drive-by at a car wash on Broadway last night, LRPD says.

Weekend: Jonathan Wilkins & the Reparations, 607-Velvet Kente, Rwake

FRIDAY 6/11 Pizza D'Action houses a birthday riot for local musician and world-class badass—not to mention Little Rock's Bill Brasky— Matt Floyd (above).

Friday To-Do: 'Jesus Christ Superstar'

'JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR'7:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat; 2:30 p.m. Sun; Weekend Theatre.

Saturday To-Do: Little Rock Wind Symphony: 'Stars and Stripes'

LR WIND SYMPHONY: 'STARS AND STRIPES'7 p.m., MacArthur Park. Free.

Do GOP candidates back BP? UPDATES

Maybe the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is reading the Arkansas Blog. I noted yesterday House Minority Leader John Boehner's damaging comments yesterday that expressed a clear sympathy for limiting BP's exposure to damages from the Gulf oil disaster.

Saturday To-Do: Reckless Kelly-Hwy. 5

RECKLESS KELLY/ HWY. 59:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $20.

'Movies in the Park' vs. 'River Flicks'

In her "Paper Trails" column in today's Demazette, Linda Caillouet calls me out for my post earlier in the week about the weird sibling rivalry between Little Rock and North Little Rock that's led to NLR starting a its own free movie series almost directly across the river from Little Rock's "Movies in the Park."

BREAKING NEWS: Tomatoes are in

An Arkansas Times regular reports that boxes of South Arkansas pink tomoatoes are being unloaded for sale at The Market at Green Tree Nursery on Rodney Parham.

Arkansas trails in college degrees

Item popped up today on Huffington Post that said Arkansas has the lowest percentage of college degree holders among all the states, slightly more than 25 percent.

Charlie Crist: Republican no more

I guess Florida Gov. Charlie Crist really is an independent now. As he positions himself to the center in the U.S. Senate race, Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday vetoed a measure requiring most women to pay for an ultrasound and hear a description of the fetus before they can have an abortion.

Dog gone from original spot in Riverfront Park

This sculpture of a labrador retriever poised to leap into water to retrieve a downed water fowl no longer sits in its original spot near the Peabody Hotel in the Riverfront Park sculpture garden.

At least 18 drown in Little Missouri flooding

At least 18 people drowned when flash flooding before dawn Friday tore through campgrounds and homes along the Little Missouri and Caddo Rivers in Montgomery and Pike counties.

Stone County election questions

You thought the race for Stone County sheriff was over? Think again.

Open line

Bad day for Arkansas. The rest is up to you.

One more week

A week from now, a Little Rock landmark will close its doors for good. The Band Box, or as we locals know it The Box, has just a week left before operations cease at the Main and 17th Street location.

Mike Huckabee: Keep the money coming

Of course Mike Huckabee doesn't want to dampen talk of a potential presidential candidacy in 2012.

The battle for 2nd District

John Brummett anticipates the coming general election contest between Democrat Joyce Elliott and Rove Republican Tim Griffin in explosive terms, enhanced by the balkanized nature of the district — Pulaski County v. suburban-to-rural counties.

Tea Party turmoil

Anger is one thing. Noisy town hall meetings will spook craven politicians.

Tea Party time in LR

Something called the Defend the American Dream Summit (a project of the Dick Armey/billionaire lobby to starve government) is underway at Robinson Auditorium today.

Death in Perry County shootout

Details are sketchy at this point, but Pulaski Prosecutor Larry Jegley confirms State Police are gathering information about the death of a prison parolee in a shootout with Perry County deputy sheriffs Friday evening at a home west of Perryville on Highway 60.

Arkansas flood death toll at 18

Searching continued Saturday for victims of the flash flood that swept through the Albert Pike campground on the Little Missouri River early yesterday killing at least 18. At least three more are missing.

Saturday night live

The line is open.

'True Blood' returns

TRUE BLOODHBO, 8 p.m. Sundays The terrible accents.

Search continues for Arkansas flood victims

Love, American style

Taking off from the splendid setting of Rush Limbaugh's wedding, Frank Rich delves today with the immensely important federal court case over whether equal rights has meaning for same sex couples.

Sunday line

It's open. I have relatives in town to feed.

A world without cellphones

The New York Times today writes about the lack of cellphone coverage in the rural area hit by Friday's flooding.

Food news you can use

Jimmy Dean dies, Paula Deen visits, freezing strawberries and a favorite Ft. Smith restaurant returns. Check out some of our favorite blogs.

Congressman caught getting rough UPDATE

The Michael Moore-style agitators of the right have landed another piece of video sure to go viral — Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge of North Carolina getting rough with a young man trying to ask him questions.

20th flood victim found

The State Police say searchers today found a 20th victim of the flash flood that tore through a campground on the Little Missouri River Friday morning.

Monday: Me Talk Pretty, Child Bite, "Passion for Fashion"

Epic co-ed modern rockers—and winners of the 2009 MTV VMA's "Best Breakout Band" award— with a taste for David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty (above), headline Revolution tonight.

Stone County sheriff dead heat UPDATE

Tyler Henderson of Mountain View promises a report shortly on the Stone County Election Commission meeting today over the dead heat in the Democratic primary for sheriff that's been through several recounts and plenty of controversy.

Dem. program adds Causey, Elliott

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added Joyce Elliott in the 2nd District and Chad Causey in the 1st to its Red to Blue fund-raising effort.

Lincoln backs $20 billion BP fund

Sen. Blanche Lincoln has joined other Senate Democrats in a letter to BP asking it to set aside $20 billion in a fund for cleanup and economic damages from the Gulf oil disaster.

Dixie Pig makes I-55 tolerable

In that interminable drive I'm regularly forced to make up I-55 to visit the in-laws, one stop — geographically positioned just far enough away that, if we leave around 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m., we hit right when my belly is calling for lunch — makes the trip almost bearable.

Annals of gun nuttery

Congress may consider legislation restoring some accountability in campaign financing. But only if it's written in a way to suit the NRA.

Both ways Blanche Lincoln

John Brummett, seeking a definitive answer from Blanche Lincoln on whether she was or was not the deciding vote on health reform legislation, got two of them — yes and no.

Keet goes for dough tonight

Republican gubernatorial nominee Jim Keet says Florida tax shelter Mike Huckabee and BP defender Haley Barbour will be on hand at his 6 p.m. fund-raiser tonight at the Capital Hotel.

Ark. schools on Newsweek's 'best' list

Newsweek is out again with its ranking of the country's best open admission public high schools.

Rock Candy endorses this commercial

Looks like Tony Cotton's got a rival.

Over to you

The Monday line commences.

Strong mayor v. cigarettes: Cigs win

So much for the strong mayor concept. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola has suggested that the Little Rock Zoo, since it sits in a city park, have a no smoking policy, just like other city parks.

Why Elena Kagan will be confirmed

She's no liberal. She was part of the New Democrat vanguard of the Clinton Administration.

Garden variety Italian

Russellville's Italian Gardens provides decently priced Italian-style fare on Main Street.

Tuesday To-Do: Cheap Girls-Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth

CHEAP GIRLS/O! PIONEERS9:30 p.m., White Water Tavern. Donations.

The Pryor-Lincoln vote for dirty air

Wayne Shewmake of Russellville, president of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, has some choice words of criticism for votes last week by Sen. Mark Pryor and Sen. Blanche Lincoln to gut clean air legislation.

New Good Fear

Gold Robot Records, the

New benchmark test results released

The state Education Department is releasing school district performance on the so-called benchmark tests that measure academic progress.

Justice-elect to divorce

A divorce action was filed Monday in Washington Circuit Court to end the 14-year marriage of Mark Henry and Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Courtney Henry, recently elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Football road trip nets coaches probation

The Paragould Daily Press continues to go after the case of four assistant football coaches at Greene County Tech suspended for five days (with pay) after a road trip to a playoff game in Monticello.

Tuesday: We Landed on the Moon, "Hope for Makenna," Karaoke with DJ Debbi T

North Little Rock skate center/arts space, The Enjoy Life, brings the orchestral pop of We Landed on the Moon (above) and local indie rockers with a '90s sound and a great name, Ezra lbs., 6 p.m., $9.

Louisiana: Drill, baby, drill UPDATE

OK, I get it that Louisiana is supportive of offshore drilling (though the poll I'm about to link didn't differentiate between deepwater and shelf drilling).

Katchen in the kitchen

Hot Springs artist Carole Katchen has cooked up what she considers to be one of the best servings of her work to date: Cantrell Gallery's "Let's Eat!"

New owner, new vision for Downtown Music

Samantha Allen, 28, long a presence in local music promotion, has purchased Downtown Music, 211 W. Capitol, from founding owner Alan Wells, who’ll continue booking shows in the venue through June.

Crooked man

I missed a couple of exhibit openings while I was on vacation, including “You Fit into Me: Works by David Carpenter and Lindsey Maestri” at the Historic Arkansas Museum and "Draw Me a Story: A Century of Children’s Book Illustration" at the Laman Library in North Little Rock.

Vino's to dish up breakfast pizzas for World Cup on Friday

Good news for all planning to skip or go in late to work on Friday.

Tuesday's open line

It's here.

Beebe's cash machine

Gov. Mike Beebe raised more than $550,000 in May, for a total of more than $2.8 million and he has $2.3 million on hand.

Ark. angle in iPad hack

Tipster notes a Gawker blog post that says there's an Arkansas connection in the security breach of iPad users.

Catfish credibility

Garden & Gun magazine ranks Spruell's Cafe in Doddridge among the best places to get catfish in the south.

Before the show

The Doubletree Hotel's Plaza Grill offers eats and drinks for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a convenient place to dine before a show at Robinson Center Music Hall.

New at Crystal Bridges: Kara Walker

Kara Walker uses the cutout silhouette to create a jarring irony in her depictions of violence against African Americans.

Stodola set back, again, on 'no-knock'

The Little Rock City Board yesterday declined, at least for the time being, to go along with Mayor Mark Stodola's proposal for a "no-knock" registry for door-to-door sales.

New on the website

I hope readers have noticed that the new website here has given new prominence on our home page to the latest blurbs on our food (Eat Arkansas) and art (Eye Candy) blogs, as well as displaying the Arkansas Blog and Lindsey Millar's Rock Candy blog.

Wednesday To-Do: Arkansas Shakespeare Festival

ARKANSAS SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL7:30 p.m., UCA Campus, Conway. $10-$20.

New at Crystal Bridges: Robert Scott Duncanson

Robert Scott Duncanson's name may not be familiar in contemporary art circles, but it will be better known in Arkansas now that Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has included one of the 19th century landscape artist's works in its collection.

Jo Luck wins World Food prize

Jo Luck, the long-time leader of Heifer International, will share the 2010 World Food Prize and its $250,000 award for her work in a worldwide effort to fight poverty and hunger.

Paragould paper wins FOI case

A Greene County circuit judge has ruled in favor of the Paragould Daily News, forced to sue a local school board over its refusal to release records indicating why it had given several assistant football coaches paid suspensions after a Greene County Tech high school football playoff trip to Monticello.

BP agrees to $20 billion fund

BP has agreed to an independently overseen $20 billion fund to pay damages from the Gulf oil disaster.

Too much info from another fallen pol

Former Rep. Mark Souder has gone the confessional route, somewhat as Mark Sanford did, about his affair with an aide.