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July 29, 2010

Vol 36 • No 47

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Best of Arkansas 2010

Readers have spoken in our annual Best of Arkansas contest.

A rock for the ages

Sissy's can sell you one.

Zowie!

ZaZa is the new salad champ.

Editor's choice

Some bests of our own choosing, from flan to funeral homes.

Food fight

At least in the locavore world, the idea that vendors in the Little Rock Farmer's Market — this year's readers' choice for the best place to find fresh vegetables — sell produce that's not grown in Arkansas makes folks fighting mad.

Clean breaks

Fox and Hound is a winner for pool.

Start your engines

And head to The Pit Stop.

Is there such a thing as a good conservative?

If so, our readers say it's Bill Vickery.

Toggery: A constant

But keeping up with the times.

Painting it softly

Pistols give Galusha shot at top.

More to like at Sushi Cafe

An expansion's in the offing for triple winner.

New dance club coming to Louisiana St.

Marcus Pinkney, former owner of The Factory and pharmaceutical rep by day, is returning to familiar real estate.

It's an end of an era: Browning's is closed

Hope you savored that last Saltillo Plate, Brownings fanatics. Because last night the Heights Tex-Mex standby shut its doors, possibly for good.

Calling all (toy) artists

Playtime approaches: "Toys Designed by Artists."

Here's looking at you ...

... for contributions. In news today, Dr. Trent Pierce, the West Memphis bombing victim, took the stand today as a witness against the accused bombing mastermind, Dr. Randeep Mann.

To-Do List, July 29-August 3

Justin Bieber, Curren$y, Pronoia, Sweet Eagle, The See, Wicked Good, Dax Riggs, Randy Travis, Chuck Ragan

The Televisionist, July 29

While AMC used to be known mostly for dusting off movies that anyone under 70 years old hadn't seen in decades, the network's created quite a name for itself in recent years with groundbreaking, wholly unique original dramas.

The Week That Was, July 21-27, 2010

Good week: careful spending, vehicle inspection, the Green Party, Little Rock School Board, Little National Airport, prayer. Bad week: comfort, North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hayes.

What's Cookin', July 29

Taj Mahal Mediterranean and Indian Cuisine plans to open on Aug. 10 or soon thereafter at 1520 Market Street in Little Rock.

Words, July 29

Brain food, wimwams and more.

French find

'Amelie' director returns with charming 'Micmacs.'

Nashville's new outlaw

Eric Church bucks Music City's current trends.

Report warns of water shortage

Is Arkansas drying up?

Little worlds, big impact

Coming up: "The Art Show."

Here we go again

A Little Rock School Board election this September again could figure in the fate of the school superintendent.

Enforce the law

I keep hearing folks calling for immigration reform. What I don't get is why those folks are not calling for strong enforcement of existing laws on that issue.

Answering pesky critics

Not to make a habit of it, but let's do one of those columns responding to critics.

Slam dunk

Alley Oops does casual food right.

The real Tim Griffin

Republican candidate last week dodged deserved damage.

Serial hurter

Was Jack the Ripper a Republican? Some historians say "no," pointing out that Jack's crimes — all those we know of — were committed in London, suggesting that the perpetrator was an Englishman, and unlikely to be affiliated with an American political party.

Don Draper, reborn

There's a part of every great film and television show that is wish fulfillment for the viewer. We love mob movies and shows because the wish-fulfillment is instant justice.

Eye on Arkansas, July 29

In Brief, July 29

Willie Stradlin, Cool Shoes, a Jerry Garcia birthday bash and more.

Bridges of sighs

The trash cans are full to brimming and the bird droppings carpet the Junction Bridge in places, but you've got to climb five sets of stairs to see the sad state of affairs, because the south side elevator is broken.

Refutiating

You Betcha says what the country needs is more refutiating, and I think she might be right.

The Observer, July 29

If you haven't seen the video that got four folks fired at KARK awhile back, you should look it up online and watch it. In the video — apparently a fictionalized version of the life of an Arkansas TV reporter — one of that channel's now-former on-air folks cusses, talks ill of his co-workers, and gushes about how much he loathes the subjects of his interviews.

Smart Talk, July 29

The Arkansas Arts Center filed a report with Little Rock police last week accompanied by an audit of a former employee's credit card charges that suggested the card had been used improperly for personal expenses.

Dream a little dream

I'm as starry-eyed as the next person. I sometimes think an SEC championship is within reach. In my weaker moments, I start imagining that the Hogs might even put together a run at the national title.

This Modern World, July 29

Rick Crawford, then and now

The Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that deficit hawk Rick Crawford, the Republican candidate for 1st District Congress, declared personal bankruptcy in 1997 to dodge credit card and medical debts.

A modest proposal on freebie state cars UPDATE

The Democrat-Gazette today quotes Gov. Mike Beebe as saying he doesn't see broad abuses in the number of free cars provided to state employees or the extent to which they are used for personal purposes, particularly commuting.

Mark Pryor backs filibuster rule

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor says he doesn't support a change in Senate filibuster rules. He'd preserve the 60-vote requirement for getting anything done.

The push for Internet gambling

The push is on in Congress to legalize and tax Internet gambling. Budget deficits will help drive the debate.

Fair warning

A reader forwarded to us a letter circulated by the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce seeking interest on the part of private businesses in a new State Fair location near the Pulask-Lonoke county line.

Sway opens tonight

Sway, Marcus Pinkney's new dance club at 412 Louisiana, opens tonight at 8 p.m. That address is the former home of The Factory, which Pinkney owned, and, more recently, SpeakEasy.

Dana Falconberry on Daytrotter

Hendrix alum, former Little Rocker and frequent performer at White Water Dana Falconberry has a new live session up on Daytrotter.

Sherrod to sue Breitbart

Sympathetic though I am to Shirley Sherrod and her mistreatment by conservative provocateur Andrew Breitbart, I'd be interested to read more about the legal cause of action.

Rangel deal reported

A New York radio station is reporting that former Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel has cut a deal to avoid a public trial on ethics charges.

Thursday To-Do: Justin Bieber

The tween-pop Elvis is coming to Verizon for what is guaranteed to be the most frenzied concert Little Rock sees all year. Now, the Biebs has gotten more than his fair share of criticism since his astronomical ascent from YouTube scrubbery to international megafame, but we're not interested in calling out the omnipresent young pup for his fortunes, deserved or otherwise.

Thursday: Jim Mize, Willie Stradlin, Cavo

What's going on around Little Rock on Thursday, July 29.

Don Draper's death wish

New one from our culture columnist, Graham Gordy, who's thinking hard about "Mad Men"

Approval rising for health care law

Had to happen. Insuring the uninsured.

More free speech for judges UPDATE

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today expanded the free speech rights of judicial candidates in a 2-1 decision.

Stimulus money for ducks

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it has directed $660,000 in federal stimulus money to Ducks Unlimited to improve habitat for waterfowl at the Wapanocca Wildlife Refuge.

The Pulaski school disaster

Another "emergency" meeting tonight of the Pulaski County School Board. The ruling quartet is desperate to move the union out of the workplace picture.

Election interest at LR City Hall

We checked yesterday on early interest in filing for seats on the Little Rock City Board and the mayor's election, also on the ballot this year.

Missing in Senate action — big jobs

U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln today cheered Senate committee approval of Polk County Sheriff Mike Oglesby of Mena as U.S. marshal for the western district of Arkansas.

Almost 50 years later, Paul McCartney reveals the Little Rock connection to "Blackbird"

On Monday, Paul McCartney played a concert in Nashville, where he told the crowd that the Central High crisis inspired him to write "Blackbird."

Rove's candidate in the First

Blue Hog Report provides some background on a contributor to 1st District Republican congressional candidate Rick Crawford.

The line is open

Farewell to Thursday.

Hidden pie

So many places to have good pie in our state... you might think discovering the next great pie shop would be impossible. But great pie has been discovered near Fort Smith.

Wind turbines: Becalmed?

You have to wonder if this report on the wind turbine industry has implications for Arkansas's young industry.

Obama's neglected base

Paul Krugman speaks for many, I'd guess, in writing of disappointment among progressives about President Obama.

Political trouble brewing in W. Memphis

The story is behind a registration wall, but the West Memphis newspaper yesterday began what apparently will be continuing articles about Fred Smith, Democratic nominee for state representative.

The Republican threat to Medicare

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee continues to use Medicare's 45th anniversary to highlight Republican control could mean to the popular program.

Weekend: Whiskey Myers, Lucky Bitch, Cool Shoes

FRIDAY 7/30 July's installment of Cool Shoes brings DJs Shawn Lee, Risky Biz and Deeter to Downtown Music Hall, 10 p.m., $5 regular, $8 under 21.

Weekend To-Do: 'Pronoia: The Full Spectrum Human'

The second annual installment of 'Pronoia,' a weekend camping and music festival returns to Ozark, AR, this weekend.

Friday To-Do: Sweet Eagle-The See-The Wicked Good

Sweet Eagle, The See and The Wicked Good round out a local rockin' triple bill at Sticky Fingerz.

Congressional antics

Gridlock in D.C. Republicans are filibustering a tax-cut bill meant to spur job creation. They want to pile on some non-germane hot button stuff.

Friday To-Do: Curren$y

Curren$y, underground rapper extraordinaire, visits The Village tonight.

Friday To-Do: Eric Church

Rising country star Eric Church hits the Rivermarket Amphitheatre tonight.

Democratic challenger in the 3rd District

Roby Brock's Talk Business offers a profile on David Whitaker, the Democratic challenger for Congress in the Third District, Republican since the dawn of time.

Saturday To-Do: Dax Riggs

Dax Riggs to Juanita's this Saturday.

Saturday To-Do: Randy Travis

Country superstar Randy Travis visits Timberwood Amphitheater this Saturday.

Last night: Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber's management didn't have any review tickets for us for last night's concert. But they did have room for our photographer, Brian Chilson.

LR angle in SEC case in Texas

Yes, there's an Arkansas angle in the SEC civil complaint alleging securities fraud against Texas billionaires Samuel and Charles Wyly. Stockbroker Louis Schaufele III, also named, is a Little Rock native.

Andy Griffith backs Obamacare

Andy Griffith has filmed a commercial for Medicare touting the benefits of new health legislation.

The smoking light is unlit

I'd forgotten this. An all-campus ban on smoking on all state university campuses takes effect Sunday.

GOP making money off W. Memphis shootings

First things first. Wildlife Officer Michael Neal is a hero. But should he be used as a draw for political fund-raising so soon after the West Memphis cop killings?

Justice Corbin released from hospital

Associate Justice Donald Corbin, 72, has been released from the hospital after emergency bypass surgery, the state Supreme Court.

Lincoln riles her base

Some think Sen. Blanche Lincoln can't win re-election period. She certainly can't win without a strong black vote.

TGIF

It has been a long week. Light up the open line.

Stomped

Kat Robinson experiences hot haze, cold iced tea and the art of grape stomping at Altus Grape Festival.

Beebe's responsibility

John Brummett is right, of course. Gov. Mike Beebe can't explain away the question of state vehicle oversupply — if there is one — by saying the bulk of the cars are in constitutionally independent agencies — highways, Game and Fish and colleges.

Scouting: Fighting for relevance

The National Scout Jamboree provides an occasion for the New York Times to review the Boy Scouts, whose numbers have declined sharply.

Cardboard boat races at Greers Ferry

Does Kat Robinson ever stop traveling? I don't think so.

Chelsea Clinton's wedding day UPDATE

Interesting. Nothing, after a number of catty runup articles, in the New York Times today on Chelsea Clinton's wedding to Marc Mezvinsky this evening at an estate within commuting distance from New York City.

Over to you

The line is open. I'll have to count on crowd sourcing for wedding reports, troll watch and related duites.

Castle in the Ozarks

That re-creation of a medieval castle under construction in the Ozarks as a tourist attraction is the subject of a feature in today's New York Times travel section.

Clinton wedding photos

As readers noted last night, the Clinton family released five photos and a statement following Chelsea Clinton's marriage to Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, N.Y., Saturday evening.

Who came to the Tea Party?

Talking Points Memo covered a Tea Party rally yesterday in Philadelphia, an event advertised as a demonstration of the diversity in the ranks of the movement.

The Bush tax cuts: To extend or not

William Gale of the Brookings Institution writes in the Washington Post today about five "myths" related to the Bush tax cuts, their extension now at the center of congressional debate.

Sunday open line

Too hot to move here. Record heat in progress this summer in Little Rock, worse than 1980.

Welcome to the blogosphere Hillcrest

The Hillcrest Residents Association joins a growing list of local neighborhood groups with a website to roundup neighborhood events, interests and concerns.

Gas drilling's toll on roads

Doesn't sound from this account that the increased gas severance tax is getting the job done on repairs to roads damaged by drilling equipment.

Next up for Nate Powell

Last week, Comic Book Resources offered a dispatch from Top Shelf's Comic-Con 2011 preview panel.

Enter the winner

John Bridges' photo won the top award at the South Arkansas Arts Center.

Who is the Tea Party?

The Republican Party has been moving aggressively to co-opt and incorporate the Tea Party movement.

The coal plant: Courtroom drama

Audubon Arkansas and the Sierra Club will be in court Wednesday morning before federal Judge Bill Wilson seeking a temporary restraining order to stop construction of American Electric Power's coal-fired Tuirk generating station in Hempstead County.

Houston Nutt takes a licking

The haters will love this column by a Sports Illustrated writer on "dirty" coach Houston Nutt.

BREAKING: Republican tells truth

From Talking Points Memo:At least one member of GOP leadership in Washington is willing to admit that extending the Bush tax cuts will increase deficits.

Chelsea Clinton's wedding: The program

The Poughkeepsie Journal scored a copy of the wedding program for Saturday's marriage of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky.

True Blood: Sookie is the queen of fairies

Or something like that. Right?

Triforce of '90s R&B set for Riverfest Amphitheatre

Keith Sweat, Next, Montell Jordan

Poll: Better numbers for Senate Democrats

New polling shows improved numbers for Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in eight states. No, Arkansas wasn't among those tested.

A 2nd House Dem faces ethics charges

As expected, Rep. Maxine Waters has officially joined Rep. Charles Rangel as a target of the House Ethics Committee.

UCA won't seek smoking waiver UPDATE

UCA officials may seek an exemption from the brand-new smoking ban on all Arkansas public college property for the UCA president's residence.

Georgia on our mind

Georgia lottery ticket sales are stagnating. You know what that means.

Over to you

Mad dogs and Arkies. Fox 16 says it hit a record 106 today.

Fire at Meadowcliff

My overnight mail indicates there was a small electrical fire at Meadowcliff Elementary yesterday afternoon.

Tracking a Globetrotter

Where does Fred Smith, the former Harlem Globetrotter, really live? The question has been the subject of a series of articles in the West Memphis Evening Times because Smith, listing a Crawfordsville address, won the Democratic nomination for state House.

Cleaning up the D.C. swamp

The NY Times writes that coming ethics trials of Reps. Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel are signs of a heightened sensitivity to ethical issues in Congress.

Paul Ryan's 'Roadmap'

Yes, I think it would be a fine idea for candidates for Congress this year — and current members, such as Rep. John Boozman, the wannabe Senator — to declare where they stand on the budget "Roadmap" prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House budget committee.

Burn a Confederate Flag Day

Talking Points Memo calls attention to a blog put-on that, if I know my unreconstructed Southerners and other angry old white men, could go terribly awry.

Tuesday To-Do: Chuck Ragan

Former Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan plays Sticky Fingerz tonight.

"To the pain"

The Inferno Burger at Lewis' Family Restaurant is so intensely, painfully hot - it has its own survivors club. Don't worry, you can always ask for a glass of milk.

Stop coddling the rich

Sen. Bernie Sanders makes the case for a reasonable estate tax. Part of his pitch: The United States has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country.

Burglar hits Clinton store

An apparent burglary of the Clinton Museum Store on Clinton Avenue was reported to LRPD early this morning.

Blue America targets Tim Griffin

Blue America, a liberal political group is raising money for ads opposing particularly terrible Republican candidates by asking contributors which they'd like to see their money used against.

News today in Hogville

UA Athletic Director Jeff Long is going to give a state of the athletic department talk this afternoon, sources say.

Arkansas tax revenue looking up

Was that a sight of relief I heard from Gov. Mike Beebe's office? It would be understandable.

City board races taking shape

We checked in again today with the Little Rock city clerk on who's been picking up petitions to file for City Board or mayor.

Lincoln fights for earmarks

News release arrives from Sen. Blanche Lincoln. It notes that her opponent.

Barnes withdraws from U.S. attorney consideration

You've read my carping about the slow pace of judicial and U.S. attorney appointments by the Obama administration. Now Michael Barnes has withdrawn from consideration for a U.S. attorney slot.

Gulf well kill begins

This news release just in from BP: HOUSTON - Based on the results of the injectivity test, BP started pumping drilling mud today at 21:00 (UK) and 15:00 (CDT) as part of the static kill operations.

Riverfest Amphitheater now Heart-less

The Point 94.1 FM-sponsored Heart concert, scheduled for August 21 at the Riverfest Amphitheater, has been canceled.

Lincoln-Boozman 'debate' set

Sen. Blanche Lincoln face Rep. John Boozman Aug. 13 in an appearance before the Association of Arkansas Counties.

Beebe: No fee increases on my watch

Gov. Mike Beebe is attempting to put the kibosh on proposals to increase fees at state parks.

Defense rests in bombing trial

The defense rested today in the trial of Dr. Randeep Mann, accused of orchestrating the bombing of state Medical Board Chairman Trent Pierce of West Memphis.

Art on the cheap

Art under $1,000 in Memphis.

KABF in peril

KABF, the rough-cut public radio station founded by ACORN, is in financial difficulty and has an emergency board meeting tonight about its future.

The line is open

And you have the floor.

Huckabee show slow to catch on

After a week of testing Mike Huckabee's new syndicated TV show, his ratings numbers remain soft in the text markets.

Wooldridge: Some Democrat

What a shock. Putative Democrat Tim Wooldridge's campaign advisers have gone to work for Rick "Bankrupt Deficit Hawk" Crawford, the Republican candidate for 1st District Congress against Democrat Chad Causey.

State Chamber attacks LR schools

Deja 1957 vu all over again. The Arkansas establishment, in the person of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, has organized to beat up on the Little Rock School District.

Sens. Lincoln, Pryor to vote for Kagan UPDATE

Here's another case where you have to wonder why Sen. Blanche Lincoln dithered — well after sufficient Republican support was on the record — to say she'd support the Supreme Court nomination of the presiident from a party of which she is a nominal member.

Wednesday: Ace Spade and TWOB, 'Twilight,' Dirty Penny

The summer's "Movies in the Park" series wraps up with the "people's choice" winner, "Twilight."

The Chamber's attack on LRSD: Response

I went to a couple of Little Rock School Board members today for reactions to the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce assasult — on behalf of the Billionaire Boysl Club — on the Little Rock School District.

Uphill battle for KABF

Judging by last night's emergency board meeting, KABF has a long way to go before the public radio station can dig its way out of financial dire straits.

Billionaires pledge giving

Some 40 billionaires, led by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, have pledged to give at least half their fortunes to charity.No Arkies on the list so far.

A dish of pork for Mike Ross

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross has landed almost $1 milllion in federal dough to improve the roadway of a commercial strip along I-30 in his hometown of Prescott.

Stodola announces for re-election

We live in paradise, those of us lucky enough to call Little Rock home. Don't believe it?

Pat Lynch is 60 today

Is that all?
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