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July 2, 2009

Vol 7 • No 25

Wind dies down

Wind power was all the thing in Arkansas last year, manufacturers announcing new wind power-related plants with startling frequency.


Technically, a wind turbine is a rotating machine that converts wind energy into mechanical energy.

Putting wind to work

Texas got the oil and Arkansas didn’t, and now Texas is hogging the wind too. We see again that life is not entirely equitable.

Roadblock in Bentonville's fast lane

-- Fast Company A thanks to Roby Brock at Talk Business for a link to an interesting article in Fast Company magazine on Julie Roehm, the hotshot blonde ad woman who was brought in to rev up Wal-Mart marketing to bring Target-style glitz to the discounter.

UA rebrands

The University of Arkansas (at Fayetteville) has a new logo. You can get an explanation and a look at the old one, with the name over the Old Main image, right here.

Broken by health debts

Another of the Arkansas Blog's wise readers calls attention to a New York Times article today on how even health insurance isn't a safety net.

A word from our sponsors

Yes, it's true. Without advertising this blog most likely wouldn't exist.

Powerball watch

The state Lottery Commission is meeting. Powerball is on the agenda.

Open line

It's on. Rock Candy reminds that it's Movies in the Park tonight, "When Harry Met Sally."

Smart talk, July 2

The story about South Carolina Republican Gov. Mark Sanford’s sexcapade in Buenos Aires — he had a long-running affair with an Argentine woman — recalled for pundits nationwide another “Argentine Firecracker.”

That was him, this is me

When Bill Clinton was president and Mark Sanford was in Congress, the South Carolina representative and moralist was unforgiving of Clinton’s marital misconduct.

Get Stout and happy

Home cooking restaurants may seem to be a dime a dozen. But Stout’s Diner, up past Gravel Ridge in the Jacksonville area, is nothing like the norm.

This modern world, July 2

In frame

Writer David Margolick has spent a good bit of the last 10 years looking at a photograph.

June 24-30, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … The ENVIRONMENT. The state Court of Appeals ruled that SWEPCO shouldn’t have been issued a construction permit for a coal-fired generating plant in Hempstead County.

A man for the Times

Bill Terry, 78, one of the founders of the Arkansas Times and its editor for many years, died last week in St. Louis of complications from cancer.

Eye on Arkansas, July 2

What's cooking, July 2

Joe St. Ana, the owner of Crush Wine Bar at 115 E. Markham, has a new venture: a wine and martini bar he’s calling Diversion.

Patriotic gore

On the Fourth of July we’ll push aside cobwebs and torn plastic and take up brief dusty residence again in the family Homeland Security bunker, our way of harking back to a more patriotic time.

In brief, July 2

With Friday a holiday for a lot of folks, the weekend starts early.

A&E news, July 2

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.

Book notes, July 2

This year’s selection for the statewide reading program “If All Arkansas Read the Same Book” is “A Long, Hard Road to Freedom” (Gibsons, $11.95, paperback), a memoir by Arkansas co-authors Petrus Lai Nguyen of Fort Smith and Derlyne Gibson of Berryville.

Eat local

The Fourth of July is traditionally the biggest harvest day of the year, according to farmer and local foods advocate Jody Hardin.

The observer, July 2

An acquaintance of The Observer’s sent us an e-mail that we are forwarding along. It was titled “If You See Barry, Please Help.”

Thank court, again

It is time to raise a toast to the much-maligned courts, which have once again saved us, if only momentarily, from the folly of that most frequent and dangerous marriage in Arkansas, thriftless industry and pliant government.

Love adrift

“Away We Go” announces in its first scene that it’s aiming to be a different sort of romantic flick.

A Patty wagon?

I enjoyed Bob Lancaster’s latest take on Southern words, especially ones with the added “t.”

Words, July 2

Gary DeJarnatt writes that he and his wife were having lunch at a local restaurant when eight U.S. Postal Service employees walked through, “each decked out in the official summer uniform, shorts with black socks. My question is, what do you call a group of U.S. postal employees? A clutch? A bag? A covey?”

Political climate

Everyone may be left happy enough eventually by this climate bill debate.

Will fill job

Dan O’Byrne, informed by e-mails from City Director Ken Richardson that it was high time the CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau filled the director of diversity sales position, said Monday a national search will begin once the city’s human resources office approves the job description.

To-do list, July 2

Demi Lovato, Savoir Faire, Hellzapoppin: A Sideshow Review, Pops On The River, Scarface, Warren Chiasson, and Dora The Explorer Live are a handful of this week's entertainment options.

Orval, July 2

The televisionist, July 2

How do I love Looney Tunes? Let me count the ways.

Shake-up at Vino’s

It’s a new era at Vino’s. Earlier this week, Joey Lucas took over as talent buyer for the pizzeria and brewpub from Samantha Allen, who has handled booking for the club for the last two and a half years.

What’s happening in July

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


Brummett's review of the hearing on prison operations -- and the further evidence that the board that oversees prisons doesn't do much but ratify whatever management says -- suggests that an independent assessment of the system might be in order.

Open for Business.

I missed the little coffeeshop in Hillcrest where my peeps would gather on the odd Friday night to sit around and commiserate.  Sure, there are all sorts of places you can go to have coffee in the evenings, but finding a place open past 9pm that didn't care if you hung out on the furniture and took up space for hours at a time?  So I'm glad to see The House go into the old Sufficient Grounds/Laughing Moon Cafe slot on North Palm.  Sure, the location is plagued by a lack of decent parking (and believe me, I did notice the new fence put up across the side of the Kroger parking lot), but it has charm in the way only an old, beloved house can have.

Jobless rate climbs

The U.S. unemployment rate hit 9.5 percent in June, a 26-year high.

Thursday To-Do: Demi Lovato

DEMI LOVATO7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $14.99-$49.50.A week after she appeared on the cover of People locked arm and arm, giggling, with Selena Gomez (“The Disney stars open up about family, fun and being BFFs”), Demi Lovato goes into the books as the first to headline at newly christened Verizon Arena.

State income drops

Even allowing for a one-time accounting oddity, state revenue was way down in June compared with both the same month a year ago and the forecast.

Washington Post screws up

I predict by the end of the day the Washington Post will be falling all over itself to correct this monumental screwup, which has virtually every media website and blog on fire.

You know you've made it...

...when you're gigging in airport terminals and pools. Or maybe it's just in certain airports and pools.

Come feel my Savoir Faire

Shawn Lee, co-founder of Cool Shoes and co-host of Friday night's Savoir Faire at the Peabody, has been kind of enough to create a mix that's guaranteed, on this Thursday-as-Friday for most of us, to launch you into that weekend mindset.

Lottery fast track

Gerard Matthews will have a full report later, but it sounds like the legislature's lottery oversight committee signed off on Director Ernie Passailaigue's budget and pay proposals.

Q&A: Kenny Grand, visionary?

Photo by Paul Henry. Check out his Flickr set here.

Rush Harding feeds UCA trolls

Sage blogging advice, which I sometimes don't follow, is to resist the temptation to "feed the trolls."

Rush Harding feeds UCA trolls

Sage blogging advice, which I sometimes don't follow, is to resist the temptation to "feed the trolls."

Race and Young Repubs -- LOL

Those pesky Internet tubes. Take Audra Sigler Shay, a Fort Smith native and former UA student  who now lives in New Orleans and who is running this month to be elected national chairman of the Young Republicans.

Race and Young Repubs -- LOL

Those pesky Internet tubes. Take Audra Sigler Shay, a Fort Smith native and former UA student  who now lives in New Orleans and who is running this month to be elected national chairman of the Young Republicans.

Thursday: Isaac Alexander, Jeff Coleman, Kevin Kerby and more

I'm Paul Dellostritto's number one fan, but if Isaac Alexander got a little more prolific  in the poster game, we could have an old-fashioned battle.

We're lookin' for a phone

This is a TV ad for an example of one of the hotter things on the web of late, information services.

Beth Ditto fundamentally unable to give a bad quote

A dress from her forthcoming collection for UK-based Evans Clothes. "Each time someone left it drew me closer and closer to realising that either I was going to move away and come out of the closet or I was going to stay in Arkansas, become a baby machine and never be true to myself.

Huckabee: A GOP Jesse Jackson?

Conservative columnist Michael Barone has prompted a number of web comments today about his suggestion that Mike Huckabee could be the Republicans Jesse Jackson.

Thursday Report

Pray for Wind: Read Doug Smith's cover story in this week's Times for a report on the viability of wind energy in AR. 

Wilbur objects

Just the other day, UA Chancellor David Gearhart said he wanted to make public art a priority on the Fayetteville campus.

What about Bubbles?

Bubbles lives! And provides a handy object lesson for not keeping chimps as pets Thanks for getting to the bottom of this, AC.Quincy Jones does not remember Bubbles fondly."Are you kidding me? He bit a hole in my daughter’s hand!

Murder suspect's momma tried

David Goins of Fox 16 lands an interview with the mother of the fourth teen, Antonio Terry, 16, (pictured in police mug shot) arrested  for killing a Southwest Little Rock man in a home intrusion burglary.

Let the holiday begin

With an open line. And perhaps a PBR or a 97-cent quart of Miller High Life, since Natty Bo isn't available in LR.

Thrown a bone

When the General Assembly passed a law earlier this year to make acts of aggravated animal cruelty a felony in Arkansas, Kay Simpson, director of the Humane Society of Pulaski County, cried.

Socks: In the garden

Well here's one I didn't see in the morning Democrat-Gazette: The ashes of Socks, the "First Cat" of both the Arkansas Governor's Mansion during the Clinton years and then the White House, were scattered at the Mansion in March.

Just a reminder...

While you're planning out your holiday weekend, don't forget to check out the first ever Argenta Foodie Festival... which will be held between 6th and 7th Streets off Main in North Little Rock tomorrow from 9am to 2pm (whew, that's a mouthful!).  14 area chefs will be demonstrating and offering foods created from produce and meat from around these parts (most of which comes from within a 50 mile radius of Argenta, imagine that!).  There will be plenty of family friendly entertainment, stuff for the kids to do, amusements, music (even a steel drum musician, cool!)

More stimulus needed

Want a holiday downer? Try Paul Krugman.

Huck and the law in Iowa

Interesting article here about a Republican candidate for governor in Iowa, Bob Vander Plaats. He was chairman of Mike Huckabee's Iowa presidential primary campaign.

Friday To-Do: Savoir Faire

SAVOIR FAIRE9 p.m., the Peabody. $5.The Peabody's RiverTop Party switches it up again on Friday.

The Weekend: The Moving Front, Frown Pow'r, Craig Morgan, Chris Denny and more

The Moving Front. Photo by Matthew Martin.

The case of the missing mayor

Arrests made of people suspected to have connection to the missing former Waldron mayor. He has not been found, however..

Barracuda jumps to another ocean

The New York Times says: Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska announced Thursday that she would step down by the end of the month and not seek a second term as governor, allowing her to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.

Light up Friday night ...

... with your open line comments. And easy on the fireworks, please. Friday Night Lights is on my mnd.

Church and state

Brummett tries again to explain how the U.S. isn't a Christian nation. The usual noise sure to follow.

Palin: Day 2

Nobody really has a clue, though the Repub zombies are rallying to her. Gail Collins in NY Times is as good as any:

Food Fun.

There's still time to make it out to the Argenta Foodie Festival... though it's hot, it's also packed with all sorts of neat foods, including Texas style beef ribs, boudin made from Arkansas pork and rice, corn salsa-topped burger sliders, fried green tomatoes, roasted corn, fried pies and lots of different sorbets, slushes, and smoothies.

Slow day open line

Talk among yourselves. Kat Robinson at Eat Arkansas visited the Arkansas Foodie Festival in Argenta, open until 2 p.m.

Blame the media game

Andrew DeMilllo's weekly political analysis is about Ernie Passailaigue and his complaints about media emphasis on "negative" things in his startup of the Arkansas lottery.

Leroy Donald dies at 73

Leroy Donald, 73, the veteran Arkansas journalist who wrote a weekly business column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, died Thursday.

Finale on the Fourth

Brian Chilson caught a nice shot of fireworks at the Democrat-Gazette's annual Pops on the River.

Look out Mike Ross

Well, probably not. But, for the record, an e-mail alerts to a union card-carrying Republican who plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Ross.

When up is down

John Brummett, assessing current political fortunes, gives a strong up to Mike Huckabee, the likely Republican nominee in 2012.

The modified hangout route

Washington Post publisher apologizes, but hardly clears up, the disastrous plan to sell private access to members of their staff and politicians to lobbyists at high-priced "salons."

Palin: Day 3

Even Republicans are having a hard time obeying the commandment not to speak ill of other Republicans.


"You must remember this, /A diss is still a diss, /A lie is still a lie.

Just a little more...

For those who might not have caught yesterday's Argenta Foodie Festival, a little bit more, including my own little sojourn at 6th and Main, at Tie Dye Travels. 

The line is open

Perhaps you can dig up more than I've found.

Downpours in LR

Flashing flood has been reported at various spots downtown (and probably elsewhere) thanks to the persistent showers.

Obama's dilemma

Go for broke -- that is the better plan -- for health care? Or go for a shred of bipartisanship?

Palin: Day 4

Perfect. The NY Times' conservative standardbearer can find nothing good to say about Sarah Palin's resignation speech or any of her time on the national stage.

Young Repub flap goes national

The Arkansas Blog broke an internal Republican political story last week about racial remarks on the Facebook page of an Arkansas native, Audra Shay, who's running for leadership of the National Young Republicans.

Old Haunts.

FuLin Chinese Restaurant used to be that fancy place we'd dress up and go to on special nights when I was in high school.  The food was good, the prices (at the time) were a little high, but it all seemed so formal.

Old Haunts.

FuLin Chinese Restaurant used to be that fancy place we'd dress up and go to on special nights when I was in high school.  The food was good, the prices (at the time) were a little high, but it all seemed so formal.

Death at the prison

A Varner prison inmate died shortly after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest about 12:45 p.m.

R.I.P. Socks

An item last week mentioned, belatedly, the small ceremony at the Governor's Mansion in which some ashes of First Cat Socks were scattered on the grounds as his final keeper, Clinton presidential secretary Betty Currie, had requested.

Monday To-Do: Warren Chiasson

WARREN CHIASSON8 p.m., the Afterthought. $10.International jazz vibraphonist Warren Chiasson recalls hosting weekly jam sessions in the 1960s: “While playing a blazing fast tempo and being totally immersed, my mind became completely detached from my body and I was overhead looking down from another plane at my hands.

Huckabee: Gun nut of the day

Thus spake The Huckster: “Some of us fail to understand that our 1st Amendment right to speak and assemble is meaningless without our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.” Only personal armament gives you the power to speak?

Hired hands

Passailaigue speaks before the Arkansas Lottery Commission The lottery could have two vice president positions filled by the end of the week.

A Cloar for Crystal Bridges?

Leslie Peacock suggests this Carroll Cloar is heading to Bentonville.

Morrilton lawyer to Ethics Commission

Sen.Bob Johnson has appointed Paul Dumas, a Morrilton lawyer, to the state Ethics Commission to fill a seat vacated by a commissioner running for office.

Kris Allen is on the road

The "Idols Live" tour debuted in Portland last night and if its set list is any indication, we're going to have to sit through a lot of tedium.

Rave to broadcast the Michael Jackson memorial...

...for free at noon tomorrow.As Vulture details, the service is bound to be a big mess.Here's slated to participate in a tribute:Ron Boyd (family friend); Kobe Bryant; Mariah Carey; Andrae Crouch Choir; Berry Gordy; Jennifer Hudson; Shaheen Jafargholi (finalist on "Britain’s Got Talent"); Magic Johnson; Martin Luther King III; Bernice A. King; John Mayer; Lionel Richie; Smokey Robinson; the Rev. Al Sharpton; Brooke Shields; Pastor Lucious Smith (family friend); Usher; and Stevie Wonder.

Tracking criminals

Pretty slick. A GPS device slipped in a bag of stolen cash led to the arrest of a suspect in the robbery Friday of a Rogers bank.

Tracking a serial killer

North Carolina police today gunned down a man who might turn out to be involved in the suspected South Carolina serial killings.

Fresh slate

Write your thoughts here. NEWS BREAK: State Sen. Jack Crumbly apparently is in hot water with a new state education ethics review panel Ethics Commission for meddling in a local court/school matter.

Fairness in highway funding

John Brummett today revisits the state's outmoded governance of highway construction, a system that favors rural areas to the detriment of major population centers in Northwest and Central Arkansas.

Palin: Words and deeds UPDATE

Sarah Palin says she's a fighter not a quitter. Her quitting of the governor's office doesn't count, apparently UPDATE: ABC grabbed an interview with Palin on her fishing trip.

Sometimes free isn't cheap UPDATE

Little Rock thinks a free hotel building on Interstate 30 (a former Job Corps center) is a great place to put a day center for the homeless.

Thriller at noon

I wouldn't want anyone to miss the news that Fox 16 will be live-streaming Michael Jackson's funeral.

Beautiful Food

It’s one thing to make food delicious. It’s another to make it gorgeous.

Suspected burglar shot

It wasn't the Gallic wars. But it was as devastating for a suspected burglar who ran into a real life Julius Caesar at a local motorcycle dealership early this morning and fell with critical injuries from a shotgun blast.

Candidate for Pulaski clerk

I think we've mentioned this previously. But lawyer Larry Crane, chief deputy state auditor, has formally announced his candidacy for Pulaski County clerk.

Equal pay for equal work

Lots of talk lately about gold-plated pay at the new state lottery commission. But here's a pay issue with much broader impact that, for many, is a matter of survival.  From Rep. Steve Harrelson's Under the Dome blog:

King of the Hill

The blog has been writing for some time about Republican operatives' whispers that Little Rock banker French Hill was being touted as a potential opponent for U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder in 2010.

Land of opportunity

Gov. Beebe, Entergy and the Arkansas Economic Development Committee today rolled out a new website, the Arkansas Site Selection Center, that is meant to help people in site selection for new business development.

It's all happening at the zoo UPDATES

A good day for news of an elephant birth at the Memphis Zoo. The long gestation for baby elephant's mama is nothing compared with Little Rock's long city nightmare -- what to do about the vacant ballpark across the street from the Little Rock Zoo in War Memorial Park.

Tuesday and Wednesday To-Do: Dora the Explorer Live!

DORA THE EXPLORER LIVE!7 p.m., Robinson Center Performance Hall. $15-$39.“Dora is to kids what the Rolling Stones are to parents — she's one of the biggest stars in the world,” says the vice president of the production company that's putting on the show.

Commission disputes Proctor

The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission has filed its response to Circuit Judge Willard Proctor's procedural objections to its action to remove him from the bench.

Saving money is expensive

The Obama administration is getting tough on the keep-busy ways of the Corps of Engineers.

Legislator lands consulting job

State Rep. David Rainey of Dumas has taken a job in which he'll be Arkansas state director for a Mississippi firm that does consulting work for school districts.

Body found near Jacksonville

Fox 16 is reporting discovery of a body off Valentine Road near Jacksonville and that Fort Smith police are at the scene.

The line is open

Proceed cautiously.

The big fizzle

It was the first week of the 2009 General Assembly, and the anti-illegal-immigration lobby - or the anti-immigrants-in-general lobby, depending on your perspective - had kicked off the session with a bang.

Hardin news travels

Thanks to Pat for a link to a Palm Beach newspaper article that indicates Lu Hardin's history at the University of Central Arkansas is not a non-issue at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where he was hired as the new president.

Sweet Splurge.

Wednesday... "Hump Day," the center of the week.

Screw clean air

  --Wikimedia I heard a news feature this morning by KUAR's Ron Breeding about compliance with the law prohibiting smoking in most public places.

Sacha Baron Cohen almost died in Arkansas

He was on Letterman last night and not in character, which might not be unprecedented but is pretty rare.

KIPP school expansion

The KIPP schools, which have had signal success with a charter school in Helena, is preparing to expand in the Arkansas Delta.

Route of the Rockets

The state Highway Commission indicates it may study a high-speed rail line from Texarkana to Little Rock and Memphis and J. Pat Lynch isn't on hand with blow-by-blow coverage?

Route of the Rockets

The state Highway Commission indicates it may study a high-speed rail line from Texarkana to Little Rock and Memphis and J. Pat Lynch isn't on hand with blow-by-blow coverage?

Battle for the GOP

I wrote a column this week about a blog topic -- Arkansas native Audra Shay's race forleadership of the National Federation of Young Republicans.

In the name of transparency

House Speaker Robbie Wills applauded the other day when the state lottery commission got a phone number.

Fewer smokers

The good news is that unpleasant tavern owner who thinks anti-smoking laws don't apply to him is catering to a declining number of customers.

Wednesday: 'Bourne Supremacy,' Kristy Kruger, Elise Davis and more

"The Bourne Supremacy," otherwise known as the second and arguably the finest of the Bourne movies, shows tonight at Movies in Park at the Riverfest Amphitheater, dusk, free.Texas singer/songwriter Kristy Kruger, who's built up a strong fan base her over the last year, stops in at Satellite, 9 p.m., free.At Juanita's, young local singer/songwriter Elise Davis shares the bill with Joy Whitlock and Carolina Story, 8 p.m., $7.Cool Shoes' DJ Shawn Lee drops indie electro beats at Deep, 9 p.m.Local jam band Chief Culprit is at White Water, 9 p.m., $5.And "Dora" wraps up at Robinson.

PSC wants Turk plant review

The state Public Service Commission has joined an American Electric Power subsidiary in asking for a state Supreme Court review of the Appeals Court ruling that invalidated the  permit for the coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County.

Lottery news

The lottery commission is working on vendor business and also talking about opening two regional offices.

Is Blanche moving left?

Tealeaf readers think they detect a movement by Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the direction of a meaningful public health insurance program.

Elusive thief

If I read this right, authorities on the northside have spent the day chasing a man who broke into a Sherwood home about 4:30 a.m. today.

Good Deal, Good Cause.

Lilly's DimSum Then Some is making a hard offer to refuse.  No, it's not free noodles or anything like that... but it will help out a good cause.  This coming Monday night, 15% of the proceeds from the day (both lunch and dinner) will be donated to the THEA Foundation, to help with the many neat programs THEA does each year.  Things like art classes and scholarships and teaching kids how to dance... the sort of things kids should have a chance to do that perhaps they can't accomplish just at school.  Give it a thought.  Or, if you want, check out the THEA Foundation website.

Nearby and Naturally.

Looking forward to a trek up to Petit Jean Mountain this weekend for Bountiful Arkansas Day at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institution.  Should be a full and interesting day.  In addition to local food and wine vendors, there will be horticulture workshops, tomato tastings, a lecture on how to eat locally (within a 100-mile radius, at that), and garden tours of Heritage Farmstand.  Sorry, the Second Saturday Chefs Series workshop is full, but there's so much more to do.  Starts at 9 a.m. -- check out the website for more information. 

Pressly suspect is lawyering

Fox 16 has an interesting story on a self-filed motion by Curtis Lavelle Vance, accused of slaying KATV anchor Anne Pressly.


  Meditating the other morning after Pilates, this hinky revelation filled my spiritual consciousness.   You guessed it: The whole like totally "Gay-in-Denial" subtext to the Sarah Palin story!