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Bar guide

Bar guide

June 27, 2013

Vol 39 • No 43

Read the print version

Booze cruise: Central Arkansas bar guide

The Times surveys the area's finest watering holes.

U.S. Supreme Court strikes down federal Defense of Marriage Act

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

U.S. Supreme Court rejects Prop. 8 appeal based on jurisdiction; same sex marriage stands in California

The Prop. 8 decision hasn't been announced, but a dissenting opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts in the invalidation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act tips the court's hand. Prop. 8 remains invalid, but on jurisdictional grounds.

Gay-bashing Arkansas Republicans lick their chops; but first, some questions for them

Does an Arkansas Republican miss a chance to play the homophonia and strum out a demagoguic political appeal based on disapproval of homosexuality?

Who says traditional marriage is dead? Remember the 'covenant marriage'?

Opponents say gay marriage will kill the institution of marriage. But hold on a minute.

UPDATE: Paula Deen loses Walmart; stripped from Tunica buffet

I'd think that if there was any place it would still be safe to use Paula Deen as a promotional tool it would be an all-you-can-stuff buffet at a casino in the Mississippi Delta.

Wes Clark endorses Mike Ross

I guess Mike Ross is the first gubernatorial candidate, Democratic or otherwise, to draw support of a former NATO commander.

Pay raise for Arkansas lottery staff

The Arkansas Lottery Commission today voted 2 percent pay raises to 82 employees and a 3 percent merit pay bump to director Bishop Woosley, now up to $165,000 with $2,832 more to come next year.

Secret Sisters at White Water Tavern tonight!

This is a big deal. Make plans.

The Centennial Bank merger deal, as described, shouldn't fall under Carter's tax cut

Noted, because someone asked: HomeBancshares, the parent for Centennial Bank, announced yesterday that it was acquiring Liberty Bancshares for $250 million in Home stock and $30 million in cash.

UPDATE: State agencies jumping ship on White River Blueway proposal

Legislative committees are hearing this afternoon about the White River Blueway, a thoroughly establishmentarian and voluntary conservation program that enjoyed widespread support, even among many Republicans, until conspiracy conspiracists got hold of it.

The gay rights and Wendy Davis open line

The line is open. Finishing up a historic day: * WHY TODAY'S RULINGS HAPPENED: I highly recommend this analysis in New York Times of today's Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage, less a product of the gay liberation movement than legal necessity and almost inconceivable not very long ago.

Far East Cuisine falls a little short

Far East Cuisine felt like a restaurant with potential but was simply unable to deliver anything particularly special. But a few tweaks probably could have greatly improved our meal, and I’d not be opposed to going again if need be.

Thursday To-Do: Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Sanjay Gupta will speak at Robinson Center Music Hall Thursday.

Thursday To-Do: Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre: 'King Lear'

Rachael Fox and Henson Keys in Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre's production of "King Lear."

Thursday: Adam Faucett, Love and Theft, 'Loyalty' and more

Adam Faucett plays at Maxine's Thursday.

How much benzene is too much in oil spills?

Absence of clear federal guidelines and long-term studies make oil fume threats hard to determine. But Arkansas's safety level far exceeds one national measure.

Still untruthful

Or to put it another way, as Rep. Noern might have said, "Regardless of your personal belief, I would hope that you shutting up about your personal belief and letting me decide these things is something we can all agree to."

The original Cheers

Homey bistro continues to impress.


On reflection, we may have overstated the case in describing the Arkansas delegation of the House of Representatives as looking like a synchronized swimming team in its enthusiastic yet precise support of bad bills.

A summer blockbuster

If spurned, throw the gauntlet

"The sky over Stuttgart was ominous Monday with what appeared to be a tornado, but it was something different. What was seen was a tropical-air funnel. The National Weather Service says these are very similar to what forms water spouts over the Gulf of Mexico."

Open letter to Rick Crawford

First of all, I find it rather telling that the only health or women's concern that you have an issue category for on your contact page is abortion. That says a lot about your focus.


The Observer spent the entirety of last week — seven days straight — dug in at the Pulaski County Courthouse, stationed there for the manslaughter trial of a Little Rock police officer who stands accused of killing a boy he didn't have to. You can read all about it in this issue, in fact, and make your own decisions. As some talking heads of questionable repute once said: We report, you decide.

It was a good week for a mistrial

It was also a good week for Ken Duke and lottery expansion talk. It was a bad week for transparency, Ellie Mae, Bill James and U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton.

Adam Faucett at Maxine's

Also, Lightnin' Malcolm at White Water Tavern.

Cotton and ilk: Let lazy kids starve

The Sermon on the Mount, or at least the part about the meek inheriting the earth, is so utterly out of fashion.

The Arkansas Times and InsideClimate News crowdfund to pay for on-the-ground reporting on Mayflower oil spill

The Arkansas Times is excited to announce a new partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning InsideClimate News to undertake a deep reporting project on the ExxonMobil oil spill in Mayflower.


Former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings walks into the Pulaski County Courthouse on Sunday. A circuit court jury was unable to reach a verdict in the manslaughter trial of Hastings for his fatal shooting of Bobby Moore, 15, last August.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta at Robinson

Also, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre's "King Lear" at Reynolds Performance Hall in UCA, Rwake at Revolution, the Arkansas Times Farm to Table Dinner at the Scott Plantation Settlement, "Spank" at Walton Arts, Arkansans for Equality Benefit Show at Revolution and Spa Blast at Oaklawn.

Taking no position in Syria

Sometimes it appears that everybody in Washington yearns for an action-hero president to make them feel important. That's never more apparent than during a crisis like the Syrian civil war President Obama stands accused of "dithering" about.

A heady zombie plague flick

Brad Pitt vehicle 'World War Z' takes walking dead down new path.

Singer-songwriter Adam Faucett is on his way

To describe Faucett for newcomers, think Mark Kozelek or Gordon Lightfoot, but with the voice of an angel that's been set on fire and the look and soul of a feral biker. Think brilliant lyrics sung by a voice that's ever-so-slightly smoky, yet shakes the heavens like Gabriel's trumpet.

When a cop kills

A Pulaski circuit court jury hung 10-2 in favor of a negligent homicide conviction for former Little Rock Police Officer Josh Hastings, who gunned down the driver of a car on an apartment complex parking lot last August while investigating car burglaries.

Letter: Jason Rapert blocked appointment of political foe

A former state legislator who passed the letter to me noted that Spinks has been active in the Faulkner County Democratic Party and speculates that this made her ineligible to serve in government in the view of Sen. Jason Rapert, one of the Republican bullies who believe the party's narrow legislative majority usurps the executive branch on everything from participation in state contracting to voluntary conservation efforts to executive appointment.

Conservation: Who needs facts when there's the White River Blueway to oppose?

I'd urge thinking Arkansans to go back and read: * Leslie Newell Peacock's elaboration on yesterday's post (on the jump) abut the legislative hearing on the White River Blueway designation, at which multiple state and private agencies caved to conspiracy theorist pressure and said they'd back off supporting the voluntary federal program which likely would help bring federal onservation aid to the state, including promoting such projects as trout hatcheries.

Friday: Lightnin' Malcolm, Starroy and more

Lightnin' Malcolm returns to White Water Tavern Friday night.

Martha Shoffner pleads not guilty, trial date set

Former state Treasurer Martha Shoffner will be arraigned before a federal magistrate at 10 this morning on an expanded set of charges filed after she backed out of a plea bargain on the original charge in the case that she took money from a securities dealer in return for state business.

Body found in fire

Channels 4 and 16 are reporting that the body of a white female has been found at the scene of a fire on Young Road., which runs along I-30 between Scott Hamilton and Geyer Springs in Southwest Little Rock.

Partne Daugherty denied costs on successful appeal of speeding conviction

Remember Partne Kiesling-Daugherty? The Jacksonville resident has made a number of appearances here.

Friday To-Do: Rwake

Rwake performs at Revolution Friday night.

Supreme Court reduced in gas cases

Legal observers note that there's a growing body of case law in Arkansas related to gas drilling and production related to the boom in exploration in the Fayetteville Shale play.

Jack Meriwether dies at 79

I've just received word that Jack Meriweather, 79, died this morning at St. Vincent Hospice.

Little Rock police arrest suspect in two bank robberies

The Little Rock Police Department has announced the arrest of Roderick Shawn Wilbert, 42 , of Little Rock in two bank robberies this week.

Double machete slaying in Fort Smith

Here's one for the gun enthusiasts. Guns don't kill people, machetes kill people.

Mike Maggio announces for court of appeals

Another Republican-style judge is aiming to move up, as predicted here earlier. Circuit Judge Mike Maggio of Conway will be running for state Court of Appeals in a seat currently held by an appointee, Bill Walmsley.

Now independent money goes after Tom Cotton

Is there any doubt the 2014 race for U.S. Senate in Arkansas will be the most expensive ever?

UPDATE: Immigration bill passes Senate 68-32 with Pryor on board

The U.S. Senate voted 68-32 to end debate on the immigration reform bill, which ought to mean final passage at nearly that level.

UPDATE: Library Board moves toward naming library for Hillary Clinton

The Central Arkansas Library System Board is meeting during the noon hour to discuss the proposal to name the new children's library branch for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who devoted a significant portion of her career to advancing the interests of children.

Hot Springs hospital merger deal off

The proposed merger of the Catholic-affiliated Mercy Hospital in Hot Springs and Capella Healthcare's National Park Health Center is off.

UPDATE: A celebration for marriage equality; and action to change things in Arkansas

Arkansans staged a spontaneous demonstration to celebrate U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage. And one group has begun the process to change the constitution to repeal the state ban on same-sex marriages.

This week's "50 Works- 50 Weeks- 50 Years"

A photograph by Eric Freeman.

North Little Rock Mayor Smith makes Mike Davis police chief

North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith has announced that interim Police Chief Mike Davis will become the permanent chief July 8.

New mission for St. Joseph's: Organic farming

Jody Hardin is working with the St. Joseph Center of Arkansas on a plan to create a farm incubator at the historic property.

The activist court and pot-bellied pig open line

The line is open. Finishing up: * WHO YOU CALLING ACTIVIST JUDGES?: Richard Posner in Slate takes down the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling eviscerating the Voting Rights Act, with its weird jurisprudence of gradual constitutionality and all.

Wind energy manufacturer Nordex to end production in Jonesboro

More bad news in the alternative energy field, an announcement from German manufacturer Nordex of the end of U.S. production — wind turbine production in Jonesboro.

Morning roundup: Apartment fire, schools, Bobby Roberts

A roundup of news miscellany this morning: * FOREST PLACE ON FIRE AGAIN: Another fire of suspicious origin hit the Forest Place Apartments on North University last night, the seventh since February by the count of Channel 4.

'If it's got tits, you got problems': Maynard mayor in police dispute

KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports KAIT provides a report worth it's own special attention (warning: that video is a long clip and action is many minutes in): Connie Cline, a former female police officer in Maynard, recently terminated, talks about a video supplied to the station that shows the mayor making sexist remarks while talking to her husband, police chief, Lonnie Cline.

Saturday To-Do: Arkansas Times Farm to Table Dinner Party

The Arkansas Times Farm to Table Dinner Party is Saturday night.

Food Feedback Friday: brave, beer, and Biscuitgate

So where are you eating this week? We’d love to hear from you.

Saturday: Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Fiawna Forte and more

Creedence Clearwater Revisited plays at Magic Springs Saturday.

Saturday To-Do: 'Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody'

The Walton Arts Center hosts "Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody" Saturday night.

Shooting victim dies; fire victim identified

Little Rock Police Sgt. Cassandra Davis reports that Jaxson Guinn, 19, of Morrilton has died of gunshot wounds in a shooting near 27th and Battery about 12:40 p.m.

Tim Atkinson to lead Arkansas Science and Technology Authority

Tim Atkinson of North Little Rock, who's been assistant provost at UCA, will be the new president of the Arkansas Science and Technology authority.

Saturday To-Do: Arkansans for Equality Benefit Show

Revolution hosts a benefit show Saturday for Arkansans for Equality.

Saturday: Mya at Discovery

Mya performs at Discovery Nightclub Saturday.

Leslie Rutledge to make Republican run for attorney general

Leslie Rutledge, a Batesville native lawyer now practicing in Little Rock who has a long history of work with Republican politicians as well as the national Republican Party, will announce her candidacy for attorney general on Monday.

GOP hawks raise $100,000 for Tom Cotton

It's not exactly surprising (Politico) that Republican foreign policy hawks churned up $100,000 this week for the Club for Growth's Tom Cotton, temporary CFB emissary to the 4th District of Arkansas.

UPDATE: Jacksonville man killed by police

David Goins at Fox 16 provides the photo by Twitter and a brief report that a Jacksonville man was shot by police on a domestic call.

George Washington is everywhere

At the Clinton Presidential Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Geo. Wash postscript: Reception tonight

Curt Viebranz and Joseph Ellis will be special guests at tonight's reception.

Again a Republican disses the 1st Amendment

I've complained before and undoubtedly will again about Republican disrespect for the 1st Amendment. The 2nd?

Lyon College to add football in 2015

Funny. I was just trying to talk my wife this morning into planning a Hendrix College Warrior tailgate this fall for the school's inaugural football season.

The quality schools open line

It's Friday night and the line is open early because I have places to go.

The Black Helicopters Over the White River Edition

Three big U.S. Supreme Court cases and what they mean for Arkansas, controversy over Blueways, the immigration debate in Congress and the trial of former LRPD officer Josh Hastings—all covered on this week's edition.

Will Phillips to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance thanks to DOMA ruling

Remember Will Phillips? He's the West Fork fifith grader who got in a spot of trouble — but held his ground — for refusing to join Pledge of Allegiance exercises, as is his constitutional right.

Lawyer offers free help to gay couple seeking Arkansas marriage license

A ripple passed through the small but vibrant and growing community that supports marriage equality in Arkansas.

Cakes with a kick at Katie Connally Confections

The Connally family ask on their blog: "What makes our Whiskey Cakes so delicious? The chocolate or the whiskey?"

First Cherokee Purple and the perfect poached egg

The first heirloom tomatoes of the year find their way into the city's most perfect egg dish.

Sleepy Saturday open line

News? Not much.

Arkansas bounty made a fine dinner last night

I should report on the Arkansas Times' first farm-to-table dinner last night at the Scott Plantation Settlement: Good eating.

Saline County sheriff arrested on public intoxication charge

The Saline Courier was on the job late last night with a report of the arrest of Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington after a disagreement with Benton police attempting to prevent him from driving himself home from a local restaurant/nightspot.

Hillary Clinton: Republicans play the "Golden Girls" card

Jonathan Martin writes in the New York Times today about the latest Republican attack strategy against Hillary Rodham Clinton's potential presidential candidacy: She's a washed-up old lady.

Look who's leading Republican push to elect their kind of state court judges

I've written repeatedly about efforts overt and covert to establish a Republican judiciary in Arkansas along with the Republican-majority legislature.

Arkansas native Ron Binz nominated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

A friend notes an Arkansas angle in President Obama's nomination this week of Ron Binz, former chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, to the important Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Open line: John Burris gets a job — working for Tom Cotton

State Rep. John Burris, the Republican House leader of the legislation that implemented Obamacare in Arkansas, has a paying job in addition to his paying job as state legislator.

New work reported in Mayflower oil spill area

A Facebook page dedicated to the spill of Canadian tar sands oil from the ExxonMobil pipeline break in Mayflower has posted several photos taken Saturday of new excavation work in the Northwood subdivision where the rupture occurred.

American exceptionalism and child birth

Talk with any teabagger about the advantages of universal health care — considered a right in most western countries — and you'll get a litany of the imagined horrors of French, Canadian, British, German, etc. health care and ringing testimonials to the superiority of the U.S. system.

Arrest made in Battery Street fatal shooting

The police have arrested Edwin Warren, 21, and charged him with capital murder and robbery in the shooting death last Thursday, of Jaxson Guinn, 19, of Morrilton.

Republican Leslie Rutledge announces for attorney general

As previously announced, Republican Leslie Rutledge announced her candidacy today for attorney general. Her formal statement appears in full on the jump.

Charter schools: No better than real public schools

The Billionaire Boys Club, with leading press agentry by the Walton "education reform" propaganda machine, is already spinning it differently, but they are outliers in interpreting yet another Stanford study that was hoped to demonstrate the superiority of charter schools.

UPDATE: Community Correction director David Eberhard retires

Well, this pretty well cinches it, I guess, that David Eberhard won't be talking to the press about breakdowns in the parole system while he's been head of the Community Correction Department.

Saline sheriff speaks on intoxication arrest

KATV live streamed Saline County Sheriff Bruce Pennington's 2 p.m. news conference to address his public intoxication arrest Saturday night by Benton police outside a local restaurant.

Senate president names Health Marketplace board members

Senate President Pro Tem Michael Lamoureux has named his three appointees to the nine-member committee to the Board of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace.

Monday night line: the REALLY wrong side of history

The Monday night line commences. Final thoughts: * WRONG AND WRONGER: The measure is dead on arrival but a Kansas Republican filed a proposed U.S. constitutional amendment today to ban same-sex marriage.

Walton Arts Center 2013-2014 Season: Aaron Neville, Doobie Brothers, 'Chicago' and more

Aaron Neville will perform at the Walton Arts Center Oct. 5.

ALEC's role in tearing down traditional public schools

The Washington Post details the pivotal role of the American Legislative Exchange Council in shaping legislation in Virginia detrimental to conventional public schools — funneling state money to home schoolers through "virtual school" management corporations and giving tax credits (essentially vouchers) for children to attend private schools.

Freedom of Information lawsuit filed against Mark Martin

Here's a copy of the lawsuit filed under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain communications between Secretary of State Mark Martin and a law firm about defense of the office against suits filed by two fired Capitol police officers.

GOP's Hutchinson taps taxpayers for Tea Party sponsored fireworks

Two sources have now told me that the July 4 fireworks show at the Saline County Fairgrounds will be paid at least in part with state taxpayer money funneled from the $1 million in General Improvement Funds divvied up by Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.

The Buffalo River: What would the black helicopter crowd do?

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Mike Masterson today continued his laudable crusade against hog farming over the fractured earth of the Buffalo River watershed and recalled the work of his uncle, former Republican U.S. Rep. John Paul Hammerschmidt to save the river from a dam.

Wednesday To-Do: Spa Blast

Oaklawn hosts Spa Blast Wednesday evening.

McDaniel rejects another try at medical marijuana initiative

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected yet another attempt to rewrite a new medical marijuana initiative proposal.

State revenue finishes up for year ending June 30

Here's the year-end report for Arkansas's 2013 budget year, which ended June 30. There was a surplus of almost $300 million and net revenue was up 6.3 percent over the year before.

Chris Moses rises to president at Moses-Tucker

The torch passes at Moses Tucker Real Estate, a major player in real estate development and building management, particularly downtown.

Pizza and a Biblical response to the gay marriage ruling

I noticed on Twitter the picture above of Heavenly Pizza in Searcy. I spoke with Brandon Riley, manager of the pizza restaurant, who said it was posted in response to the U.S. Supreme Court rulings invaldating the Defense of Marriage Act and clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California.

Beebe appoints three to health marketplace board

Sen. Michael Lamoureux made the president pro tem's appointments yesterday. Today: Governor Mike Beebe today announced the following appointments to the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board of Directors: Mike Castleberry, Little Rock.

Republican politicking at taxpayer expense in Saline County

Here's an update on my item earlier today about how Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson had directed $5,000 in General Improvement Fund money from the state legislature to a July 4 fireworks show at the Saline County Fairgrounds to be promoted as an event co-sponsored by Hutchinson, the Saline County Tea Party and the Saline County Republican Committee.

Andrea Lea joins GOP race for state auditor

State Rep. Andrea Lea announced her Republican candidacy for state auditor today, Ken Yang was already in that primary race.

How much is enough to pay Mayor Mark Stodola

Little Rock City Attorney Tom Carpenter has released under the FOI another memo pertaining to Mayor Mark Stodola's salary.

Free on the Fourth: MOD for soldiers, Clinton for all

A chance to see George Washington, and not on the dollar bill.