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July 6, 2006

Vol 4 • No 25

Bill collectors get tough

NY Times: The rise in American consumer debt has been accompanied by a sharp increase in complaints about aggressive and sometimes unscrupulous tactics by debt collection agencies, a phenomenon that has government regulators increasingly concerned.

Democratic redistricting

A close analysis in the Washington Post says Democrats have few opportunities to do DeLay-style redistricting of state congressional districts -- permissible at any time under a recent Supreme Court decision - and likely won't act on on the few that exist.

There are limits

Yet another court has rejected Wal-Mart's claim that its constitutional rights were violated by a California city's ordinance barring a super center on account of traffic and environmental concerns.

No gifts, please

Make plans to celebrate Bush's 60th birthday Thursday by trooping down to the Clinton Library.

Breaking news

Ken Lay, the former Enron chief, has died in Colorado, CNN reports.

We're in the money -- UPDATE

The state revenue report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006 is in. Highlights: Surplus: $402 million over appropriations for the year.

Put children first

The National Conference for Community and Justice (once known as the National Conference of Christians and Jews) has issued a statement urging politicians to examine their motives in recent statements concerning the state Supreme Court ruling overturning a state ban on gay foster parents.

Again with the illegals

I'm not sure how I did this, but I screwed up. I got a news release from Gunner DeLay on immigrants.

Huckabode II

There's nothing to do but scoop ourselves. This week's print edition of the Arkansas Times, now in distribution, has an Insider on rumors that Gov. and Janet Huckabee were preparing for post-gubernatorial days by buying a large home on Silverwood Trail in North Little Rock's Shady Valley.

No killing tonight

Don Davis won't be executed tonight, the Supreme Court has decided. Betsey, are you out there?

Smart Talk

This week: Dale Bumpers on constitutional amendments; the state of kids in Arkansas; a birder offers a big reward.

Jail and the crime rate

There’s a lot of talk blaming the closed jail for the Little Rock murder rate since January, but let’s look closer. None of those accused of murder was out on a citation because the jail was closed. Almost all have a significant criminal felony record, ho

This Modern World

Editorial cartoon

Jordan tribute at Cornerstone

Enjoy music and stories about one of the state’s treasures at the 10th annual Louis Jordan Tribute on Thursday, July 6, at Cornerstone Pub in North Little Rock. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. A donation of $6 is requested. The tribute funds go to a Jordan m

Experience the Greenhouse effect

The food culture of Fayetteville, it seems to us at least, puts a higher value on organic groceries than we do in Little Rock. The Greenhouse Grille at 318 Archibald Yell — a shopping center in the U.S. Highway 71 curve at Locust — is the latest eatery to

Guts and Gore

At one point in Al Gore’s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” he shows an illustration of a scale with a stack of gold bars on one side and the Earth on the other.

Orval July 6

The Observer

The Observer had just parked our landfill on wheels in an open lot downtown when a passing young man, slight, studded and limbs colorfully tattooed, asked us, not even looking our way, “You going to leave your car like that?”

War on the press

Recently the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial writers have written thousands of words to say that the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times should not have printed stories about the United States forcing a Belgian b

Sweety pie

Located in a former art gallery, the new Iriana’s is a step up from the dark hole in the wall the place used to call home a block and a half up Markham.

Words

According to the Oxford University Press, the 10 most commonly used nouns in the English language are, in order: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life and hand.

Court quashes bias

Disputing an Arkansas Supreme Court decision that invalidated a state regulation preventing gays from being foster parents, the spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services made a curious statement:

Law trumps bigotry

It must have come as a surprise to many that five men and two women whose careers rest to a high degree on the whims and prejudices of voters would agree down to the last one of them that the government had no business steering neglected children away f

How low can they go?

The answer to the headline question: As low as voters allow. What I mean is this: Republicans wouldn’t exploit fear and emotion with cheap political tricks so often if it didn’t work. The perennial question is whether voters will wise up.

The week that was June 28-July 3

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … The ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT. It ruled unanimously that a state panel had no power (or evidence) on which to base its rule barring gay people from being foster parents.

UA grad's little stories explode on the page

Wrasslin' on TV

The Little Rock city map that Mike Wilson and Len Pitcock unrolled on the carpet looked like it had the chicken pox: dozens of red dots, each representing a newly-installed, refrigerator-sized “node” from which their rival AT&T hopes to start sending out

Buble: Pronounce it ‘boo-blay’

It’s OK if a few Arkansans are wondering who this “Michael Bubble” guy is. Michael Buble (pronounced boo-blay) is just getting to Central Arkansas after making a name for himself on the East and West coasts as the next swing-style crooner in the vein of F

Some books of note:

In the Footsteps of Davy Crockett

What we’re reading July 7

The top 10 bestsellers from three local bookstores.

What’s Happening in July

Readings, signings and other bookstore events.

To rebate or not to rebate

Stephens Media rounds up legislative response to Gov. Huckabee's mention of a special legislative session to rebate some of the mounting state surplus.

Warming to Gore

Add John Brummett to the admirers of Al Gore and his movie "An Inconvenient Truth."  Warwick Sabin this week in the Times has some similar thoughts, but takes them farther, to another Gore presidential campaign.

And in movie news ...

... says here that David Duchovny has acquired the movie rights to the story of Linda Brewer, an Arkansas woman who holds Tupperware-style parties to sell sex toys.

Gay marriage

An important decision today by a New York appellate court on the issue of same-sex marriage: It said the state's constitution doesn't guarantee a right to marriage and that the issue was best decided by the legislature.

'24,' 'Grey's Anatomy' top Emmy noms

See, if you're not watching Keifer Sutherland on "24" or the horny docs on "Grey's Anatomy," you're missing some great TV drama, based on the Emmy nominations handed out today: 12 to "24" and 11 to "Grey's." As for "Grey's," any show with Sandra Oh in it is gonna be good.

'24,' 'Grey's Anatomy' top Emmy noms

See, if you're not watching Keifer Sutherland on "24" or the horny docs on "Grey's Anatomy," you're missing some great TV drama, based on the Emmy nominations handed out today: 12 to "24" and 11 to "Grey's." As for "Grey's," any show with Sandra Oh in it is gonna be good.

Birds of a feather ... fly together

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney keynotes tonight's GOP Governor's Dinner in Little Rock, a fundraiser for the state Republican Party that will be emceed by Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Bang for the buck

Thanks to the Downtown Neighborhood Association's e-mail newsletter for a TV viewing tip. Little Rock and, specifically the Abeles Condos on Louisiana Street, will be featured in the HGTV series "What You Get for the Money," at 9:30 p.m.

The rich get richer: Live Nation gobbles up House of Blues

Pollstar is reporting that Live Nation, the Clear Channel spinoff that does concert business in this market and all over the country, has acquired House of Blues Entertainment, the music venue company.

To do Thursday: Louis Jordan night

Louis Jordan's birthday would have been Saturday (he'd have been 98 years old), but the R&B pioneer from Brinkley is going to be celebrated tonight at the Cornerstone Pub in North Little Rock (at 314 Main St., down from the trolley stop, easy to get to).

Fighting the casino

DBI, covering Fort Smith like the dew covers Dixie, points us to local TV coverage of the mayor's effort to rally church folks against the Indian casino proposed there.

Divine inspiration

A Fayetteville reader wants to gauge interest in the Fayetteville council's discussion tonight of the Divinity Building.

Welcome to LR

Massachusetts Gov. and presidential aspirant Mitt Romney speaks at an Arkansas Republican Party fund-raiser at the Statehouse Convention Center tonight.

Gore to visit Bentonville

With the debate still raging on this morning's blog post concerning Al Gore's movie about climate change, we learn via the Wall Street Journal that Gore will be in Arkansas next week.

Pryor stands by Lieberman

A Baltimore blog claims it ascertained that U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor will support U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman's re-election effort in Connecticut -- even if Lieberman does not win the Democratic primary next month.

Open line -- UPDATE

Comments and news here: Fayetteville City Council Republican fund-raiser Etc. UPDATE, THANKS TO READER/REPORTERS: The Fayetteville Council approved the high-rise, our readers say.

Painful

The State Medical Board called out the cops Thursday on a doctor they'd disciplined previously for providing too much pain medication.

TV highlights July 6-12

THE STORY OF SUPERMAN 7 pm. Saturday, July 8 The History Channel (Comcast Ch. 70) M.A.S.H. (1970) 8:30 p.m. Sunday, July 11 AMC (Comcast Ch. 31) THE HUNT FOR THE LOST ARK 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 12 The History Channel (Comcast Ch. 7

What’s provocative?

So which is it? Can sex appeal be part of a woman’s professional wardrobe? Should it be? Does she have a choice, if she’s under 40 and wants to look remotely in style?

Playful ‘Horror’

Anything goes at the Weekend Theater’s production of the science-fiction, rock ’n’ roll comedy “The Rocky Horror Show” — well, almost anything.

Zombie can’t be stopped

It takes a bizarre mind to conjure up some of the stage frights that Rob Zombie is featuring in his “American Witch” tour, which hits North Little Rock’s North Shore Riverwalk on Friday, July 7.

Timberwood venue rocks

Anyone who has anything to do with Riverfest Amphitheatre, or anyone who dreams of bringing another amphitheater to Little Rock or North Little Rock, should check out a show at Timberwood Amphitheater, the music venue at Magic Springs and Crystal Falls Th

What's cooking July 6

What's cooking: Browning's Mexican Grill

Going Nuclear

Checking out the sound of Indianapolis-based Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s gave us the feeling that something was slightly askew, making us a little moody and bemused at the same time.

‘Superman’ soars

I didn’t have high hopes for this summer’s biggest blockbuster, “Superman Returns.” However, this is a Superman for a new era. Beneath the impenetrable skin and cocksure swagger, this Superman is vulnerable and tormented; a Superman who finally grapples w

Paris in perspective

Thanks to Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso began to see things in more than one direction. Georges Braque, Picasso’s cohort in Cubism, could draw in pencil a picture as devoid of representation as any contemporary artist, and did so in 1911. Juan Gris took Pic

Bill Bowen: In the middle of everything

Among Little Rock movers and shakers, not many moved or shook more than Bill Bowen did in the period between Orval Faubus and Jim Guy Tucker.

The Louis Jordan Tributes

But, despite being among the most important figures in American popular music, Louis Jordan isn’t a household name in Arkansas. In the 1990s, a group of music lovers gathered to better preserve Jordan’s legacy, at least in his home state.

'Dear Governor Huckabee'

In mid-April, I helped cook up a scheme with a convicted killer. My co-conspirator was Jason Baldwin, one of the three young men who became known as the “West Memphis Three” after their convictions in 1994 for murdering three 8-year-old boys in that c

Looking for loopholes

As activation of the state's smoking law nears, legislators are madly searching for loopholes. Prediction: civil disobedience is in the offing.

Governors who write

Stephens Media: The Huckster has another book in the works. Note that this book and details of the governor's coming Iowa trip were both reported earlier on the Huckabee for President blog with which the Huckabee camp disclaims connection.

Inconvenient truths

LA Times: Rising temperatures throughout the West have stoked an increase in large wildfires over the past 34 years as spring comes earlier, mountain snows melt sooner and forests dry to tinder, scientists reported Thursday.

Play ball

The Rogers School Board is looking at $13 million or so in athletic facility  costs.

Rod and gun club -- UPDATE

A new member of the state Game and Fish Commission will be announced this morning.  White?

Rod and gun club -- UPDATE

A new member of the state Game and Fish Commission will be announced this morning.  White?

Gag rule

NY Daily News reports that Hillary Clinton has put out the word to friends not to cooperate with Gail Sheehy, working on another profile of the senator for Vanity Fair.

Toothless tiger

It's not linkable, but there's a good news story in the Dining section that the Democrat-Gazette puts out monthly.

Toothless tiger

It's not linkable, but there's a good news story in the Dining section that the Democrat-Gazette puts out monthly.

Something's brewing

A Times Insider this week reported (and the D-G followed up today) the news that Boulevard Bread Co.was moving into the River Market.

Something's brewing

A Times Insider this week reported (and the D-G followed up today) the news that Boulevard Bread Co.was moving into the River Market.

LR native author and his Atlanta digs

The Atlanta Journal Constitution does up author E. Lynn Harris right with a trip to his place in the Georgia capital.

Eye on Little Rock

A regular reader sends a note. Should others spot this car, please note the license number.

Cooler heads

At the Game and Fish announcement today, the governor was asked about a special session to deal with the state's growing surplus.

More Sean Rock on video

Our Times resident auteur, Roland Gladden, has done it again: He's produced a music video around singer-songwriter Sean Rock's "Let It Go."

Da mayor -- UPDATE

One reason we've been behind on blogging duties was a long visit with Bill Walker.

Da mayor -- UPDATE

One reason we've been behind on blogging duties was a long visit with Bill Walker.

Giuliani in Arkansas next week

We reported this about a month ago, but the Asa Hutchinson campaign today announced that former NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani will be in Arkansas on Tuesday to stump for the Republican gubernatorial nominee.

'Rocketboom' goes boom

If the truth be known, around here I haven't had time to discover all these interesting new video blogs springing up, and until today I didn't know the first thing about "Rocketboom," a little daily comedic news blog hosted by Amanda Congdon, a Manhattan-based actress who hired on in October 2004 with the startup vlog and has the requesite Internet video hotness to draw people (like me) back to Rocketboom.com daily.

To do Friday: Zombie

Gosh, I almost hate suggesting it as THE thing to do tonight in the Little Rock area.

Men on the street

I dropped by the world's largest convenience store tonight -- Harvest Foods in Riverdale. You can just about always count on finding a ripe avocado there and no lines at checkout.

Men on the street

I dropped by the world's largest convenience store tonight -- Harvest Foods in Riverdale. You can just about always count on finding a ripe avocado there and no lines at checkout.

Ground broken for senior

St. Bernards Medical Center officially broke ground Friday, July 7, for construction on a new Senior Life Center in Jonesboro.

Washington Regional taking nursing scholarship applications

Washington Regional is currently accepting applications for nursing student scholarships. Two (2) scholarships, both sponsored by the Harmon E. Lushbaugh Endowment, will be awarded through the Speaking of Women’s Health program.

Playing by the rules

In the 16th floor office of his securities consulting firm in a downtown Little Rock tower, Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson let me spend the better part of an hour challenging his ethics.

On cashing in

Brummett sits down with A$a to discuss the business of Hutchinson's trading his name and former federal government position for lobbyist/penny stock riches.

On cashing in

Brummett sits down with A$a to discuss the business of Hutchinson's trading his name and former federal government position for lobbyist/penny stock riches.

You think you have problems

The amusement of the day so far is a feature in the New York Times about archived letters of complaint to City Hall in New York about matters large and small.

Friends in high places

The next time Orrin Hatch goes sanctimonious (which should be any minute now), remember this.

Rockfeller back in Arkansas

Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller is back home in Little Rock. A release from his office:

Open line Saturday

Take it away.

Huckagoguing -- UPDATE

I see Huckabee's pontificating in Iowa on the Supreme Court ruling on gay foster parents.

The money rolls in

The federal treasury is getting a surge of tax revenue, which could mean a smaller budget deficit than originally predicted.

Yeah, but can they play football?

The "weaker sex" not only outnumbers men in college, it outperforms them as well. NY Times fodder for argument, surely.

Yeah, but can they play football?

The "weaker sex" not only outnumbers men in college, it outperforms them as well. NY Times fodder for argument, surely.

Careful, now, on the surplus

Brummett explains why the state surplus isn't necessarily so shocking and why the legislature should move carefully in response.

Will Springdale play ball?

Morning News advances Tuesday's election in Springdale to extend a sales tax to build a minor league ballpark.

Thoughts on Korea

The Des Moines Register passed up The Huckster's misleading comments on gay foster parents yesterday to focus on his take on North Korea's missile launches.

A look back at Edgefest

Halestorm, a band whose music seems primed for modern rock radio and whose female vocalist has the potential of setting them apart, kicked off Edge Fest in a good way on Friday evening.

Down Mexico way

Everybody needs a break. For me, it's searching Little Rock for the best taco truck.

Down Mexico way

Everybody needs a break. For me, it's searching Little Rock for the best taco truck.

Viva Italia and other minor sports

Italy wins the World Cup, beating France in a shootout. And speaking of minor sports, this happens to interest us because we're big Tour de France fans.

How about a Sunday open line?

It's slow. Maybe readers can speed things up.

How about a Sunday open line?

It's slow. Maybe readers can speed things up.

Political future

She disclaims interest now, but we've heard from others that 9/11 widow Deena Burnett of LR is positioning for a future political career in Arkansas.

Channeling Carville

Brummett takes off on a James Carville op-ed in which he observes that the Clintons don't get Swift-boated.

Speaking of football

Yesterday, we posted the first in a NY Times series on the rising dominance of women in the nation's colleges -- both in enrollment and performance.

Speaking of football

Yesterday, we posted the first in a NY Times series on the rising dominance of women in the nation's colleges -- both in enrollment and performance.

Public access channels

Whatever the merits or demerits of AT&T's proposal to supply TV channels by broadband lines in Little Rock, there's one point that needs clarifying in an article on the subject in the D-G today.

OK, I'm a World Cup soccer convert

I'm sorry it's over now. I could watch another month of it.

"Aquaman's" box-office record is short-lived

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" did an incredible (estimated) $132 million weekend box office, beating the fictional ("Entourage") "Aquaman" mark of $116 million set a couple of weeks ago on the HBO series, and in reality carved up the previous mark set by "Spiderman" at $114 million.

Zell Miller to visit Arkansas

The state Republican Party today announced that former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller will headline an unspecified event in Arkansas on August 25.

Zell Miller to visit Arkansas

The state Republican Party today announced that former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller will headline an unspecified event in Arkansas on August 25.

The helpful LRSD

The summer Little Rock School District newsletter contains the following helpful article. It was in response to several inquiries from teachers, a spokesman said, and thus no indication of any animus toward the Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association on the part of the administration.

Charter school gets OK

The Academics Plus Charter School in Maumelle, which has been troubled by financial and personnel issues, has convinced the state Board of Education that it's righted itself and is ready to operate another year.

WR's health

Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller's staff has provided no updates on his condition following his return to Little Rock Saturday from Seattle where two bone marrow transplants  failed to correct a cancer-causing blood condition.

WR's health

Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller's staff has provided no updates on his condition following his return to Little Rock Saturday from Seattle where two bone marrow transplants  failed to correct a cancer-causing blood condition.

Getting the gays, quietly

Our governor was in Iowa the other day trying to make presidential caucus points for 2008 and talking about the sorry state of affairs back in his province.

All that glitters

If you grew up in Arkansas, chances are you know that diamonds are one of the Natural State’s claims to fame. Discovered by hog farmer John Wesley Huddleston in 1906 on his spread near Murfreesboro — land that just happened to lie over an ancient volcano

Rules vs. reality

Brummett notes Huckabee's comments in the NY Times over the weekend about stamping out gay people in the ranks of foster parents.

Meth madness

There's an Arkansas angle here, needless to say, even if not explicitly stated. An NY Times feature on how some of the biggest identity thieves are not sophisticated Internet crime rings but meth users desperate for the means to buy drugs.

Washington whispers

The Reliable Source gossip column in the Washington Post references a Little Rock law school teacher:

What about Ark. kids?

Another health care issue where we rank poorly. Arkansas is at the bottom of states in testing newborns for treatable genetic disorders, the LA Times reports.

What about Ark. kids?

Another health care issue where we rank poorly. Arkansas is at the bottom of states in testing newborns for treatable genetic disorders, the LA Times reports.

River Market rumble

Shannon Light, manager of the River Market, says things were squared away today in the problem we told you about last week.

Pip, pip

The Huckster's trip to Asia? "A job well done."

Call for correspondents

OK, if the Republicans can take a break from the Zell Miller thread, how about a report from one of youse guys on the private Giuliani fund-raiser this morning?

Where all the kids are above average

State Education Czar Ken James reported state scores on standardized tests today. They're getting better and better.

Where all the kids are above average

State Education Czar Ken James reported state scores on standardized tests today. They're getting better and better.

Former Pink Floyd singer Syd Barrett dies

Syd Barrett, the former lead singer of Pink Floyd and one of the key figures of the 1960s, died last Friday from cancer at the Cambridgeshire home to which he retreated as a recluse more than 30 years ago.

Former Pink Floyd singer Syd Barrett dies

Syd Barrett, the former lead singer of Pink Floyd and one of the key figures of the 1960s, died last Friday from cancer at the Cambridgeshire home to which he retreated as a recluse more than 30 years ago.

About that surplus

Presidents of the state's colleges and universities have some ideas on spending some of the surplus. See Higher Education Department news release on the jump.

Mason joins LR mayor race (UPDATE)

Former Little Rock city board member Jesse Mason today announced he will run for mayor.

Mason joins LR mayor race (UPDATE)

Former Little Rock city board member Jesse Mason today announced he will run for mayor.

Democracy in action

I can't promise that I'll stay awake to the end. I'm theoretically on vacation and flying out of here at 5:40 a.m.

Adams movie coming this fall

"Come Early Morning," the directorial debut of North Little Rock native Joey Lauren Adams, will open November 17 in major U.S. cities.

Sports Column: J.R. and Henry on MLB at mid-season

J.R. and Henry: Major League Baseball Mid-Season Awards   The dog days of summer are here. Temperatures are in the mid to upper 90s consistently and football season is still more than six weeks away. The World Cup just ended, Wimbledon is over and we’re midway through the Major League Baseball season. Did we mention that we’re still six weeks away from football season?

To do Wednesday: Michael Buble at Alltel

Young crooner Michael Buble, the next Harry Connick Jr. if not the next Sinatra, brings the old standards and contemporary smooth-sounding hits to Alltel Arena for a 8 p.m. show.

Now, can you imagine: The I-40-540 series?

OK, it's 2007 in the Texas League. Arkansas (North Little Rock) has one the first half of the TL East Division, and Springdale/Fayetteville ("Wranglers"?)

The citizens (reporting) brigade

Two Arkansas blog readers report some gubernatorial campaign action. First, an anonymous contributor files these observations from a Mike Beebe campaign fundraiser last night:

More Wednesday to do list: Sister Hazel, Movies in the Park

If you haven't had a chance to check out the new Rev Room (Club Revolution, next door to the Rumba restaurant at 300 President Clinton Ave.), tonight offers a great opportunity with the Florida-based rock-pop band Sister Hazel.

Too good to be true

But apparently, it is true: A CNBC anchorman actually reported Monday that "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" beat the boxoffice record set by "Aquaman" in the weekend totals this past week.

Too good to be true

But apparently, it is true: A CNBC anchorman actually reported Monday that "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" beat the boxoffice record set by "Aquaman" in the weekend totals this past week.

Rocky Mountain high

Max here in beautiful Durango, Colo., just catching up on news from home. I swore this was going to be a few real days off.

Fitness Challenge winners announced

Gold medals were awarded and the ceremonial cauldron was “extinguished” today at the State Capitol to commemorate the end of the 2006 Arkansas Fitness Challenge.
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