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July 15, 2010

Vol 36 • No 45

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The cheap and delicious world of taco trucks

A survey of the southwest Little Rock delicacy.

I ate at 13 taco trucks in five days and lived to tell about it

I love my job as photographer for the Arkansas Times, particularly when I get a dream assignment like shooting and eating at 13 taco trucks.

Taco truck glossary

A guide for negotiating the world of taco trucks.

Lincoln files estate tax bill

News release this morning from Sen. Lincoln's office on jump. She says it's time to protect farmers.

City workers accept pay freeze

AFSCME wants note for the record that the Little Rock employees it represents, notably including sanitation workers, have agreed to give up a 3 percent pay raise this year and take 40 hours of additional time off instead.

Arsonist's photo released

Police release picture of suspect in arson at Phil Delta Gamma fraternity house.

UA search firm hired

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees today hired William Funk and Associates of Dallas to conduct the search for a new president of the University of Arkansas.

The line is open

Readers, start your writing engines. (PS — I'm still in New York, but checking in as I'm able.

New columnist: Graham Gordy

This week's A&E section marks the debut of a bi-weekly column by local screenwriter/man of wide knowledge Graham Gordy.

More than the food

Benson's Grill in Fort Smith is one of those places that you go to for the experience. Being open 24 hours a day doesn't hurt.

Plant revives Joy

Led Zeppelin vocalist performs at Robinson on Thursday.

Beebe mayor has God's back

Won't apologize for giving Creator his due.

River Market rumblings

Police stepping it up, but say crime is down.

Different strokes

'Go Hawaiian,' 'Fish,' 'Bad Girl' in watercolor show at ASI.

Loose ends

This week, I found myself removed from the daily news business and reading stories from afar, wishing I could pursue some more answers to questions raised by some of the big news stories of the day.

Seeking attention, Keet gets some

Thirst n' Howl won't leave you stranded

'Gilligan' themed bar is sturdy.

McDaniel flounders

Dustin McDaniel seems to believe that the attorney general is supposed to blunder around talking nonsense. He's misguided. The state's top lawyer should be a level-headed sort.

Eye on Arkansas, July 15

Nostalgia's creeping hold on pop culture

Nietzsche said, "Nostalgia is the blank check issued to a weak mind," and if he were alive, based solely on that quotation, I think he would be really pissed that Hollywood remade "The A-Team" as a film this summer.

Pay for health care Reagan's way

"A fiscal Frankenstein"; so said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) about the health care bill passed by the Congress. Soulmate Republicans echoed his warning, predicting budgetary doom.

In Brief, July 15

Corey Smith, Brian Frazier, Benjamin Del Shreve and more.


Secure Arkansas's poor arithmetic apparently will not be penalized.


Another q-and-a with the moonbat guru Assmunch.

This is green?

Please explain exactly how an industry that would clear the woods of southern Arkansas by the square mile (cover story July 1) and dump the product in a blender could be considered "green."

Bloody good fun

'Predators' reinvigorates the franchise.

The Observer, July 15

It's a good thing this column is written anonymously, because what The Observer has to say is going to make some people real mad.

Orval, July 15

Smart Talk, July 15

AOL caught up last week with Jessie Lunderby, the 21-year-old Washington County jailer suspended from her Fayetteville job because she posed nude on in June. She told AOL she'd take off all over again. "My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner."

This Modern World, July 15

Taco Truck Guide

A survey of the southwest Little Rock delicacy.

To-Do List, July 15-21

HSDFI Summer Film Series, 'Voices at the River II,' 'Hair,' Little Rock Fashion Week, Jeff Dunham, WWE Smackdown, James McMurtry and Malcolm Holcombe.

The Week That Was, July 7-13, 2010

Good week: Pulaski County Teachers, Arkansas students, Arkansas motorists, compromise. Bad week: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, the unemployed, the anti-alien movement, Helena-West Helena city government.

What's Cookin', July 15

If you have a lot of disposable income and appreciate a good heirloom tomato, it doesn't get much better than this: At his Garden Home Retreat outside of Little Rock, P. Allen Smith hosts the second annual Tale of Two Farms Heirloom Tomato Festival on Saturday, July 24.

Words, July 15

How much off the Chairman Mao shirts?

Fulbright's wisdom

Documents released from Senate committee talks on Vietnam in 1964. Sen. J. William Fulbright's words are just as pertinent today.

Get free tickets to 'Dinner for Schmucks'

Rave is hosting a free screening of the new Jay Roach comedy starring Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, Jemaine Clement and Zach Galifianakis on July 27.

Lincoln's in the money UPDATE

Sen. Blanche Lincoln

Thursday To-Do: HSDFI Summer Film Series

HSDFI SUMMER FILM SERIES6 p.m., Malco Theater. Donations.

It's official

Jessie Lunderby, the 21-year-old Washington County jailer who was suspended from her job after she posed nude on, has been fired.

First look at Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn

That's Hailey Steinfeld as Mattie Ross with the braids. The Coens' "True Grit" is out Christmas Day.

Thursday: Corey Smith, Hector Faceplant, "Posh" and "In Too Deep"

Self-made country-flecked pop phenom Corey Smith plays Riverfest Amphitheatre, 8 p.m., $15-$25. The poppy country and western of the Aaron Owens Band heads to Electric Cowboy, 10 p.m., $5.

Thursday To-Do: Robert Plant

The legendary Led Zeppelin vocalist comes to town with a reconstituted Band of Joy on Thursday.

More Thursday: Six Threads

Tonight, the ACAC presents "Six Threads: A Fashion Exhibition," featuring the work of Kali Empl, Lilia Fernandez, Jennifer Perren, Rachel Tanner, Trisha Timmerman and Kalari Turner.

You are probably wondering ...

Why no posts here. We are having technical difficulties.

We're flowing again!

But the oil from the BP well in the Gulf is not! Video on CNN.

Conway shooting

Fatal shooting this afternoon in the Conway Police Department parking lot. Log Cabin Democrat details here.

Happy Lincoln

Sen. Blanche Lincoln had a right to crow, and did, after the Senate passed the Wall Street reform bill she helped write, on a party-line vote of 60 to 39:"Today, American families and small businesses are still managing the consequences of the reckless behavior that occurred on Wall Street and nearly led to our economic collapse.

So that's who it was

For several days, I'd been finding an improperly recorded message on my answering machine at home.

Illegal citizens

I haven't seen the Arkansas papers, so I don't know what attention this story has received in the land of Secure Arkansas just yet.

Another teacher-student sex case

A Van Buren High chemistry teacher has been arrested for having sex with a male student.

Beebe piles up the cash

Gov. Mike Beebe's monthly campaign report remains strong: The Mike Beebe for Governor campaign will file its monthly financial report with the Secretary of State’s Office today for the month of June.

Elliott trails Griffin in campaign cash

Quarterly reports today fom candidates for 2nd District Congress — Democrat Joyce Elliott and Republican Tim Griffin.

The line is open

Take it away. Sorry for the technical difficulties today.

Don't throw your butt on the ground

Today, the City of Little and Keep Little Rock Beautiful unveiled new trash containers designed to hold cigarette butts.

Hell of a sandwich

Sisters Gourmet Bistro in Van Buren has quite possibly the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever eaten.

Robert Plant's still got it

Robert Plant is 61. He's been singing and touring around internationally—and, presumably, enjoying the life style that comes with that—for more than 40 years.

John Daly's dungarees

Between his solid opening round and the loud pants, Arkansas golfer John Daly drew a lot of notice at the British Open yesterday.

Deep Voodoo is back

Good column by Paul Krugman this morning. It's about the blatant hypocrisy and dishonesty in Republicans' talk about deficit.

Equal treatment in Washington County?

Good editorial in Ozarks Unbound on the firing of the Washington County jail deputy who posed nude for Playboy. Compare with other disciplinary actions in the sheriff's ranks.

Crash ends cop chase on I-30

Local TV is all over a chase on I-30 eastbound that ended with the crash of what some are describing as a suspected stolen vehicle in southwest Little Rock, west of the I-430 interchange.

Weekend To-Do: 'Voices at the River'

If you've ever complained about the lack of contemporary drama at The Rep, this is your ticket.

Weekend To-Do: 'Hair'

Taking "Hair" for granted as a simple, cheesy holdover from the '60s might be a mistake.

Weekend To-Do: Little Rock Fashion Week

ast year, we wrote critically about the inaugural Little Rock Fashion Week. Organizer/founder Brandon Campbell seemed to be practicing the inverse of the Mike Beebe doctrine: He over-promised (celebrities, crowds, atmosphere) and under-delivered (on all those counts). But, to his credit, he's back for year two with a full slate of events.

Army suicides at record level

June was a record month for suicides among active duty, Guard and Reserve troops.

Eric Morris' tattoo legacy cemented

Local musician Eric Morris' new tattoo made it on Ugliest Tattoos, a website that's a fantastic way to pass the time on a slow Friday.

Matt Miller profile

Christopher Spencer of Ozarks Unbound has a story on Matt Miller, new gallery owner in Fayetteville.

School board filings begin

Filed so far at the Pulaski County Clerk's Office: Danny Gililland for re-election to Position 5 on the Pulaski County School Board (one of board members that a petition drive seeks to unseat), and Dorothy Williams, for re-election to Zone 1 on the North Little Rock School Board.

Boozman's ARRA error

Sen. Blanche Lincoln pounced on her Republican opponent Rep. John Boozman's demand for more stimulus money for water projects in a presentation he gave yesterday (see jump).

Weekend: Emotron, Brian Frazier and Action Figures, The See

FRIDAY 7/16 Local melodic songwriter Brian Frazier takes an outing to Sticky Fingerz, backed by Action Figures and supported by the California pop of Young the Giant and moody bedroom rockers This Holy House, 9 p.m., $6.

AT&T deal with Rainbow Media won't bring 'Mad Men' to UVerse subscribers in Arkansas

If you signed up for AT&T's cable platform, UVerse, without realizing that AMC, increasingly one of the finest cable channels, isn't available on the platform in Arkansas and have been cursing UVerse ever since, well, continue your cursing until further notice.

911 audio released from W. Memphis Shootings

Prosecutors have released tapes of the 911 calls made the day West Memphis police officers Bill Evans and Brandon Paudert were killed on a freeway exit by anti-government activists Jerry and Joe Kane.

Suck on this, Dick

Pat Lycnh posts a video clip of Dick "Toesucker" Morris during a teabagger rally at a Little Rock pizza joint yesterday.

Sunday To-Do: Jeff Dunham

Last year, Forbes listed ventriloquist Jeff Dunham as the third highest-earning comedian in the U.S., behind Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock.

Challenge filed on freebie cars

We're trying to get more details, but a lawsuit was filed today in Pulaski Circuit Court challenging apparently any personal use of state-provided vehicles.

Open line

I'm bowing out today with this photography by Brian Chilson of Gov. Beebe at this afternoon's ceremony to rename the state Democratic Headquarters for director Bill Gwatney, who was fatally shot there nearly two years ago.

Get your ink on

If you're feeling aimless this weekend, there's always the Immersed in Ink fest going on at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Let the weekend begin

The line is open. My plan is head to airport for a plane back home to LR about 5:30 a.m.

Man without a plan

John Brummett this morning takes Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Keet to task for Keet's charge that Gov. Beebe is a profligate spender who has wasted a $930 million state surplus.

Heil Tea Party

Washington Post columnist skewers the latest Tea Party-Palin-wingnut meme: That the Obama administration is the second coming of the Third Reich Hah.

Coleman convicted of Memphis murder

Remember Harry Ray Coleman? He's a Tennessee investor who's active in farm dealings in Arkansas who dropped out a fund-raiser for congressional candidate Chad Causey after we reported his appearance on the police blotter in the Memphis newspaper.

Medal of Honor recipient Nick Bacon dies

Nicky Bacon, the Arkansas native who received the Medal of Honor for action in Vietnam and later served as head of the state veterans affairs agency, died today.

The line is open

I finally made it home. All's well that ends well.

Remembering Mel Gibson

Not even Bill O'Reilly defends the brutish Mel Gibson nowadays. But Frank Rich usefully takes us back a few years when Gibson's anti-semitic "The Passion of the Christ" was riding high and the "war on Christianity" was a popular Fox theme of the day.

Lightning-sparked fire: Total loss

Cleaning up missed mail from my week in New York, I came across this photo from John Robinson of the National Weather Service.

There she is, Miss Arkansas

Alyse Eady of Fort Smith was crowned Miss Arkansas 2010 last night in Hot Springs.

The Catholic Church's shame

When she's right, she's right. That would be Maureen Dowd, writing forcefully, directly and without a drop of her customary cutesiness, about the Catholic Church's wholly unacceptable response to the priest abuse crisis.

Might Shoffner get an opponent?

Mighty Martha Shoffner, the state treasurer, alone among incumbents escaped a challenger at the close of party filing for office this year. Might she have an opponent after all?

Sunday thoughts

Here's a place for them. Good string list night on puddling moments.

Poll: Boozman leads Lincoln 57-32

Roby Brock's Talk Business releases poll data in which John Boozman maintains a wide lead over Sen. Blanche Lincoln.

The real face of Republicanism

John Brummett writes that Sharron Angle, the Republican challenger to Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada, honestly reveals mainstream Republican thought.

It's still the economy, stupid

Ignore the pundits, Paul Krugman writes. Election success depends on how voters feel about the economy.

The tyranny of test scores

Read this. It's about the removal of an extraordinary Vermont school principal, her job traded for federal dollars.

UA expects almost 21,000 this fall

The Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas expects to enroll almost 21,000 students this fall, including a record number of freshmen.

Secret America

This investigative report by the Washington Post's Dana Priest should be the talker for many days to come.

Audubon, Sierra Club fight coal plant

Add Audubon Arkansas and the Sierra Club to those seeking a federal court order to halt construction of the American Electric Power coal-burning plant in Hempstead County.

Two farms, one dinner.

This weekend, enjoy a celebration of Arkansas heirloom tomatoes, California wines and the talents of the chef from America's first farm-to-table at the Tale of Two Farms Heirloom Tomato Festival.

Pulaski school race on

Dawn Jackson, the Pulaski School District blogger who's a font of information about the Pulaski School Board's ongoing dispute with the teachers union and reports now and then on questionable acts by certain School Board members, reports that there will be a contest for the District 4 seat on the board, held by anti-union board member Charlie Wood.

Arkansas faces potential water shortage

I'll try to remember to add a link later when the report is posted, but word comes of a news conference today on risks of water shortages in 14 states, including Arkansas.

Stone Ward acquires Allison Agency

News today of an acquisition in the ad world: Stone Ward has acquired The Allison Agency of Little Rock.

Hot Dog Mike

The local mobile food cart business goes beyond taco trucks, of course. For going on two months now, photographer Michael Juiliano has been serving up all-beef hot dogs all over town from his mobile stand.

Wally Cleaver, artist

Tony Dow, aka Wally Cleaver, is showing his bronzes through Stephano's Fine Art.

Saline Senate seat pricey

The Benton Courier notes that almost a half-million dollars was spent in primary races for the state Senate seat being vacated by term-limited Shane Broadway.

'True Blood': Sookie has the force

It's not rare for an episodic hour-long drama that's built up a lot mythology to take on six story lines in one epsido, but because 'True Blood' veers so often from slapstick to drama to horror to soap-opera-style romance, the tonal shifts often feel really, really jarring.

Do voters care about the unemployed?

With a vote tomorrow, President Obama is highlighting the Republican Party's opposition to extension of unemployment benefits.Locally, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is highlighting Rep. John Boozman's vote against helping the long-term unemployed.

Tullis aiming for Green Party spot

I mentioned Sunday that former legislator Bobby Tullis of Mineral Springs was exploring a race for state treasurer against currently unopposed incumbent Martha Shoffner, as a Green Party candidate.

Russellville cops settle death case

A Little Rock law firm has announced a proposed $562,000 settlement of a lawsuit by the estate of Bobby Joe Rylee, who died of injuries in an arrest by Russellville police in 2006.

Annals of gun nuttery

For today's consideration: * The video above shows how supporters of a Palin-backed candidate for U.S. Senate in Alaska come equipped for a political parade.

Former Newton County judge pleads to fraud

Clarence Harold Smith, a former Newton County judge, pleaded guilty in federal court in Harrison today to a charge of mail fraud.

Convictions for alien job schemes

The Justice Department has announced that five people have received prison sentences in western Arkansas and forfeited some $1.8 million in cash and property for employing undocumented immigrants as poultry industry labor.

The line is open

Your turn. This is late, but it's never too late to issue a reminder about the danger of using a cell phone while driving.

Battle of the sexes

Remember Sally Kern, the Arkansas native and Oklahoma legislator who's made headlines for some fairly outlandish comment on homosexuality and other social issues, has an election opponent this year.

Help coming for the unemployed

The Senate, with Democrats again able to muster 60 votes, will pass an extension of unemployment benefits today.

Republicans and your tax money

Interesting to read that former Benton County Judge Dave Bisbee, conservative, tight-fisted Republican, has asked the Quorum Court to pay his attorney Asa Hutchinson — another putative tight-fisted conservative Republican — a whopping $73,000 for defending Bisbee against misdemeanor charges for serial unethical behavior as county judge.

Tuesday To-Do: 'WWE Smackdown!'

'WWE Smackdown!' comes to Verizon Arena.

Tuesday To-Do: James McMurtry

JAMES McMURTRY9 p.m., Juanita's. $13.

Muslim bigotry

Freedom of assembly and worship? Nice ideas in our Contitution.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists to Vino's

October 7

State unemployment rate drops

The unemployment rate in Arkansas dropped from 7.5 to 7.3 percent in June.

The rest of the story

The right-wing echo chamber has been beating the drums for a couple of days now about a supposedly racist (black) USDA worker, promptly sacked by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on the strength of Fox reporting of her supposedly offensive remarks.

Blanche Lincoln's silver lining

Talking Points Memo roughs up Sen. Blanche Lincoln for responding to a poll showing her down by 25 to John Boozman by releasing an internal poll that shows her ONLY down by nine.

Kagan clears Senate committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee today endorsed Elena Kagan's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. She got one Republican vote, Lindsey Graham's.

Graffiti patrol

Arts Center turns to LRPD

The Arkansas Arts Center has informed the Little Rock Police Department that an audit it performed indicated that Rocky Nickles, fired in February from his job as deputy director of operations, used the Arts Center's credit card for personal expenses.

Bank robbery suspect jumps in river

News as it happens from KATV's Angela Rachels on Twitter: US Bank Robbery. Man jumps in AR River.

Tuesday: Atomic Pink, Carl Mouton, Matt Lieblong

El Paso teenybop grrrl-rockers Atomic Pink take their shred-heavy trio sound to Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $4.

Senate passes unemployment bill

The U.S. Senate passed the extension of unemployment benefits today with the bare 60 votes required.

New health coverage starts Aug. 1

The state Insurance Department announced today that Arkansans can begin applying Aug. 1 for the new pre-existing condition insurance plan required by new federal health legislation.

The battle of the sleazeballs

Any Republican would be better than whore-hopping Sen. David Vitter right? Particularly if he's a former justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, right?

Conque: 'Inappropriate relationship'

This breaking news headline just out on Log Cabin Democrat in Conway: Football Coach Clint Conque admits to 'inappropriate relationship,' will remain as UCA coach

Open line and catchup

Sorry folks. More Internet connectivity problems at the Times today.

Adios, Michael Keck

Little Rock City Director Michael Keck distributed a statement today that he read at the City Board meeting.

The mad bomber trial

It's not smart to draw conclusions from newspaper coverage of criminal trials. You just don't see everything a jury sees or hear every bit of evidence.


Starlite Diner to return; Igibon still open; Taj Mahal on the way; Russellville has a new Italian place and Fort Smith sees the return of a local joint.

LR extends swim season

Little Rock will extend the summer swimming season at city pools.

Clarksville cracks down on smut

The city of Clarksville, unable so far to run an adult book and movie store out of town by zoning artifice, has sicced the cops on the X-Mart Adult Supercenter.

"The Art Show," $10

There will be a charge to see "The Art Show," and Michelle Renee explains why.

Wednesday To-Do: Malcolm Holcombe

When Malcolm Holcombe gets in his mesmerizing, stomping groove, a cavalcade of idiosyncrasies blasts out of him in full effect.

Obama signs financial reform

President Obama today signed financial reform legislation, another biggie to add to health reform. I don't see her in the NY Times photo, but it was reported elsewhere that the president gave a shout-out to Sen. Blanche Lincoln for her role in the legislation.

John Corbett set to marshal St. Pat's parade

John Corbett, star of "Northern Exposure" and "Sex and the City," is slated to act as next year's celebrity grand marshal for Hot Springs' annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Wednesday: 'Wedding Crashers,' Futurebirds, Keystone Kings

Movies in the Park returns with one of the funniest movies of the last few years, "Wedding Crashers."