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August 3, 2011

Vol 37 • No 49

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Murder, fraud, $2.2 million somewhere

Son seeks restitution; not our problem, say Arkansas kin.

'Duped again'

A Little Rock connection.

Chipotle to open in Little Rock in August

Chipotle Mexican Grill, the popular Denver-based fast-casual chain, will open Aug. 16 in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center, according to developer Lou Schickel.

The view from afar

The Observer remembers Jennings Osborne

The Observer was saddened to hear about the passing last week of Jennings Osborne: businessman, philanthropist, Republican and all-around round mound of goodwill toward men.

Thomas Friedman, Private Eye

Little Chicago

Anthonee's Kitchen brings Windy City favorites to the Ozarks.

Browning's Mexican Grill finally open

Also, Redbone's Downtown to open in River Market and Chipotle comes to Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center.

Art Porter Week, Lamanpalooza and Rev. Mark Kiyimba

Plus, Reverend Horton Heat, Ringling Bros., Montgomery Trucking, and Jawbone & Jolene.

Ear Fear and E-Dubb play Downtown Music Hall

Plus, Joe Sundell, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Underclaire and more.

So it begins

With the Big Sellout over the weekend, the Great Crash has commenced, and I've just been wondering which of the amenities of civilization I'll miss most when we re-enter the dark age presently.

Class Warfare, the hot new gameshow

Draining Medicaid

"In your July 20 issue, John Brummett wrote a commentary on the personal nature of the Washington discussions about the nation's debt ceiling. In that column he made a statement regarding Arkansas Medicaid that is so factually inaccurate that it begs a correction."

Bringing up the house

Stars come to ASU for Johnny Cash Music Festival.

A date movie that's not terrible

Steve Carell and co. elevate 'Crazy, Stupid, Love.'

When is it appropriate to use race in crime reporting?

The Arkansas-Democrat Gazette uses racial information in its crime reporting. According to deputy editor Frank Fellone, the newspaper has used race in its "Police Beat" column "for years and years." The newsroom standard, according to Fellone, is "to use all available information provided by the police."

Watch out for lint

"The Dignity-Al Karama is escorted to the port of Ashdod, Israel, by an Israeli navel ship after it tried to break through the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday."

'God Zeus?'

Was it really Zeus in that photo being auctioned last week on the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration website? No, just disgraced former Land Commissioner Mark Wilcox.

Mark Martin can't help himself

Something tells us the Republican Party of Arkansas isn't going to be quite as concerned about Mark Martin's political office tweeting as they were about Blue Hog's, whose authors, it turned out, never used state time to do their blogging and tweeting.

Quotable Arkansans

Long before Arnold Schwarzenegger said "I'll be back," Douglas MacArthur said "I shall return." And he said it for real, not in a movie.

Ice Cream Natives Guide

Want to escape the heat with a cool treat? Here are a dozen of the best places to pick up a cone, shake or sundae in Central Arkansas.

A peaceful meeting in Gould

Banned group meets despite ordinance.

It was a good week for averting collapse

It was a good week for averting collapse and cash-strapped art lovers. It was a bad week for Little Rock's proposed sales tax increase, fans of barbecue, Christmas lights and fireworks, the City of Gould and Judge Mary Ann Gunn's TV career.

A nation ready for Perot 2.0?

The implications of the deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling remain murky.

Dolf and Tom

Adolf Hitler and Thomas Jefferson both said a lot of memorable things, and they both didn't say a lot of memorable things that get attributed to them.

Worse than Womack?

Tim Griffin has been called a lot of bad names, and deservedly so. This is the unkindest cut of all.

Eye on Arkansas, Aug. 3

Filling Webb's shoes

It's never too early for political speculators to start talking about 2012. One contest of interest in Little Rock will be the race to replace term-limited Rep. Kathy Webb.

Not like APERS

Stung by the APERS scandal last year, in which three county officials resigned improperly so they could collect retirement and a paycheck at the same time, Garland County residents have raised questions about two coaches who retired from Lake Hamilton High School July 1 and have reapplied for their jobs.

Money trumps facts

It will take years to sift out all the losers in the great debt battle of 2011 while the certain winners — the nation's richest people, who will bear no burden — can already celebrate.

It's a crafty deal — good, too

Remember what that old guy with the silver hair - Clinton, I think was his name - always said. It was not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

No evidence to support GOP allegations

Jason Tolbert looks at an FOI request picked up by the Republican Party of Arkansas and finds no evidence to support their claims that Blue Hog blogger Jeff Woodmansee was blogging on state time.

Huckabee cashes in on 9-11

Just in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Mike Huckabee is hawking a new "history" DVD on the terror attacks as part of his "Learn Our History" series.

To Do: Art Porter Week

Art Porter Week includes concerts from Jeff Lorber and Lalah Hathaway.

Thursday To-Do: Reverend Horton Heat

Reverend Horton Heat plays Georges Majestic Lounge Thursday night.

Filling Kathy Webb's shoes

Who will run for Kathy Webb's District 33 seat?

Not like APERS

Garland County residents have raised questions about two coaches who retired from Lake Hamilton High School July 1 and have reapplied for their jobs.

To Do: Ringling Bros. presents "Zing, Zang, Zoom"

Ringling Bros. presents "Zing, Zang, Zoom" at Verizon Arena.

Debt deal's impact on kids

Rich Huddleston of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families discusses the debt ceiling deal's likely impact on children and families.

Thursday: The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Lusitania, Virgin Wolves

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The Lusitania, Virgin Wolves and more are playing in Central Arkansas Thursday night.

'Obama favors powerful over poor'

That's what Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen, who also serves as pastor of New Millennium Church, writes on Ethics Daily today.

Tax pep rally

Mayor Mark Stodola and speakers from The Committee for Little Rock's Future — including the fire and police chiefs, businessman Gary Smith, black community activist Annie Abrams and others — presented their case for the city's 3/8ths and 5/8ths cent tax increases to a packed (with city employees) room at the Willie Hinton Resource Center at noon today.

It's hot

Little Rock breaks temperature record at 114 degrees.

Lewis pleads guilty to bank fraud scheme

Former Little Rock attorney Kevin Lewis pleaded guilty to a $47,000,000 bank fraud scheme

Hot outside, cool inside

What better way to "celebrate" (if that's what you want to call it) the hottest day on record in Arkansas, than with some ice cold creamy treats?

Fayetteville Underground tomorrow night

Four artists open shows on the Fayetteville square.

Over the hump

It's that time of day again, when we open it up to you, loyal reader, and provide a space to put all your hopes and aspirations, your thoughts and musings, your good-natured ribbings and baseless ad hominem attacks.

Opening night at Porter's Jazz Cafe didn't happen

Fifty well-dressed people gathered in front of 315 Main Street this evening, waiting in the 105 degree heat for the long-awaited grand opening of Porter's Jazz Cafe in downtown Little Rock.

Powerless in Benton

Yeah, it got up to 114 in Little Rock today, but it could always be worse.

Lincoln shills for "sensible regulation" group

Blanche Lincoln appeared on CNBC as a spokesman for a consulting firm heading a project for the NFIB.

Friday To-Do: Lamanpalooza

Trout Fishing in America plays this year's Lamanpalooza.

Send Stephano to Michigan!

Pizza parlor has fund-raising plans to get Stephano to Cedar Rapids.

Google Streetview car in LR

Driving to work this morning through the teeth gnashing hordes of the damned anticipating another 100+ day in Arkansas, I fell in behind the Google Streetview car — a sporty compact festooned with Google logos and with one of these atop a mast on the roof.

Rick Perry's assault on public universities

Rick Perry's plan to make public universities run more like businesses

Goner Fest 8 to explode your ears, mind, liver

Goner Fest is right around the corner.

Shop 'n Sweat

That's what Gallery 26 , 2601 Kavanaugh, is calling Hillcrest's monthly first Thursday outing tonight.

Tonight: Johnny Cash Music Festival

Tickets are still available for the inaugural Johnny Cash Music Festival in Jonesboro.

Burger joint of the week: The Chopping Block Steakhouse

The burgers offered at Mena staple The Chopping Block Steakhouse come deliciously grill-charred, fat on grilled buns with an ample supply of fries.

Big money and influence behind ALEC

State legislators attend ALEC's annual conference in New Orleans

Damgoode makes darn good in Food Network Magazine

The Stuffy Underdog represents Arkansas in Food Network Magazine's 50 States, 50 Pizzas story coming out in September.

Walmart, Ticketmaster team up

Walmart and Ticketmaster form a partnership.

Q&A tonight with LRSD superintendent

Superintendent Morris Holmes will hold an Open Mic discussion with parents and community tonight at Philander Smith College.

Sex shop arrest

Last night, Pulaski County Sheriff's deputies visited The Silo — a sex-shop apparently operating out of a trailer on Pratt Road south of Little Rock — and cited clerk Baleka Stubbs, a clerk working there, on a misdemeanor charge of operating a sexually-oriented business within 1000 feet of a residence.

Death at Tyson Foods plant

A Tyson Foods employee was killed Wednesday after being pinned between two truck trailers.

Ceramics, paintings, wire art, mixed media ... Friday night

Galleries are open tonight along Central Ave.

Friday To-Do: Montgomery Trucking

Montgomery Trucking plays White Water Tavern Friday night.

Why are the markets down?

The Dow closed down 500 points today. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post explains the crisis.

FAA deal reached

A deal was reached to end the FAA shutdown

PETA sideshow

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are over on Broadway in North Little Rock, protesting

Cargill to recall 36 million pounds of turkey

Meat giant Cargill is recalling ground turkey due to a salmonella outbreak.

What Barack could learn from Bill

Chris Cillizza looks at what Barack Obama could learn from Bill Clinton.

He looks like a million bucks

Because Randy Wagner of Grubbs won last night's Powerball drawing, a prize of $1 million.

Arkansas "bad" according to Amazon

A Wall Street Journal report details efforts by Amazon to avoid collecting state sales taxes.

Take it away

Here's your open line.

Good morning. Isn't it?

Greetings from La Rochelle, France, where I'm trying to avoid headlines about the crashing markets (though I was happy to read polling shows even a majority of Republicans believe that reducing government in the face of a recession without including a tax increase to get books balanced makes sense only to Tea Party and billionaire enablers like Tim Griffin, Rick Crawford and Steve Womack.)

Best of the Worst?

Little Rock winds up on CNBC's list of "20 Cities You Don't Want To Live In...

Pieday: Coconut meringue at Lewis Family Restaurant

Restaurants don’t have to make everything from scratch. Very few even come close.

Saturday To-Do: Jawbone & Jolene

Jawbone & Jolene play Cornerstone Pub & Grill Saturday night.

Sherwood PD: card machines hacked for gambling

Sherwood police and Pulaski County Sheriff's Office served a search warrant on a convenience store off Kiehl Ave. yesterday and seized a pre-paid phone card machine that had been reconfigured to make it work like a casino slot machine.

Wanna be in pictures?

Jeff Nichols, the Arkansas-born filmmaker whose sophomore effort "Take Shelter" won the Critics' Week grand prize at Cannes this year, is bringing the production of his third film home, and producers are looking to cast a teenage boy and girl from Arkansas for the film, along with around 400 extras, actors and stand-ins.

Last chance to see "Southern Journeys"

Mosaic Templar's exhibit of works by significant Southern artists ends Saturday.

Ready for another D+ prez?

Jesus might love Texas governor and would-be Republican presidential nominee Rick Perry, but his college profs thought he was an idiot.

Weekend: Joe Sundell, Top of the Rock Chorus, Sara Evans and more

Sara Evans plays Magic Springs Timberwood Amphitheater Saturday night.

Lottery commission update

The lottery commission's audit and legal committee met today to discuss lottery audits and the hiring of a new chief financial officer.

Review: Johnny Cash Music Festival

There is probably no other American musician more beloved than Johnny Cash, who has essentially attained something akin to sainthood.

Sunday To-Do: Rev. Mark Kiyimba

Rev. Mark Kiyimba, founder of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda will discuss LGBT persecution in his home country.

Huckabee's rewriting of 9-11

TPM takes apart Mike Huckabee's latest Learn Our History video.

Last chance to see Virginia McKimmey

Saturday is the final day for Boswell-Mourot Fine Art's exhibit.

DCCC targets Crawford, Griffin

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is kicking off a campaign against Rep. Rick Crawford and other Republicans for "choosing millionaires over medicare."

Gucci Mane to Little Rock Aug. 19

Gucci Mane plays Clear Channel Metroplex Aug. 19.

Mark Martin calls in more help UPDATE

Curtis Coleman will head up a committee to advise Sec. of State Mark Martin.

Weekly podcast: Sales tax and Johnny Cash

In this week's podcast we talk about the Little Rock sales tax proposal and the Johnny Cash Music Festival

Thank God It's Friday

You got anything interesting to say?

I'd rather see them paint

Brummett has a funny column today about the Razorbacks' absurd move to trademark the phrase "We didn't come to paint."

Saturday night line

Pretty lazy day on this end. Hope you had a good one.

AntiSec posts police info

I'm not computer savvy or foolhardy enough to do much clicking around on the hacker download site The Pirate Bay — probably a good way to get the Hantavirus of computer bugs — but it's being reported online that AntiSec, the collective made up of members of the groups Anonymous and LulzSec, has posted a file containing 7.39 gigabytes of information which they stole last week by hacking into the websites of several U.S. police agencies, including the Arkansas State Police and other law enforcement agencies around the state.

Arkansas in the black

While the South has long been seen as something of a fiscal parasite on the rest of the country, hogging more federal tax dollars than states collect, it turns out Arkansas did pretty well in that regard over the past two decades.

S&P: GOP owns the rating downgrade

We don't have to speculate how much Congressional Republicans' taxes-over-our-dead-bodies obstructionism had to do with Standard and Poor's downgrade of United States credit rating from AAA to AA+.

Slow Sunday

If you've got anything to say, here's the place to say it.

Rick Perry isn't George Bush UPDATE

That's one of Paul Burka's "Eight Points to Keep in Mind When Writing About Rick Perry" in this month's Texas Monthly.

Wynne bank prez arrested in NWArk prostitution sting

The small Cross County town of Wynne is buzzing this weekend with the news that Cross County Bank president David Dowd was one of five men scooped up by police in Rogers last week as cops cracked down on an online prostitution ring there.

Bachmann: the new Palin

A piece in the New Yorker describes the views of Republican presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann and includes a reference to former Secretary of State spokeswoman Alice Stewart

Chain Link: Great Wraps

Great Wraps offers big fat wraps of varying fillings, plus huge amounts of fries you can self-augment with six free spice options. For a chain, that's not a bad deal.

Trump for Treasury Secretary

Mike Huckabee suggests replacing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner with Donald Trump

Public art dedicated on the River Trail

Ribbon cut on V.L. Cox's trail mural.

Lincoln: Yay for fewer regulations!

Blanche Lincoln pens an op-ed calling for fewer environmental regulations.

En Vogue, SWV, Silk to Riverfest Amphitheater

En Vogue, SWV and Silk are coming to the Riverfest Amphitheater on Sept. 2.

Another banner day for stock market

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down again today.

Should Stickyz go non-smoking?

That's the question the River Market venue is posing on Twitter and Facebook. Chime in if you feel strongly.

Gould City Council to meet tomorrow night

The Gould City Council will meet at their regularly scheduled time, tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the city hall.

About face from pension board

The Little Rock Police Pension Board, which held a press conference last week to propose a sales tax that would raise more money for the board than the initiative that will appear on the ballot Sept. 13, voted today to endorse the city sales tax.

Beebe releases funds to aid in wildfire fight

Gov. Mike Beebe releases funds that will help the Arkansas National guard fight wildfires in the state.

Highway Dept. worker run over by grader

A young highway department worker was run over by a road grader this afternoon near Barling.

Talk amongst yourself and your Facebook friends

Facebook friend us and consider how racial descriptions feed stereotypes.

The streets are quiet

Rioting continues in London

Cantor: Ignore S&P, American people

Eric Cantor suggests that GOP members should ignore the S&P and the American people when it comes to budgetary decisions.

Frontier to Denver, Vision to Orlando

Word comes today that Frontier Airlines will add non-stop service six days a week between Denver and Little Rock starting Nov. 17, and to kick things off, Frontier is offering $99 one-way fares if you reserve before Aug. 22 for travel Dec. 1-15 and Jan. 6-Feb. 15.

Patrick Dougherty to Fayetteville

Stick artist commissioned to create sculpture at Walton Arts Center.

LRPD looking for robbery suspects

The LRPD is looking for robbery suspects from two robberies that occurred last night in Little Rock.

Head of SOS committee endorses Rapert

Curtis Coleman, recently appointed by Secretary of State Mark Martin to head up an advisory committee within his office, has endorsed a Republican candidate for office.

Appeals Court rules against Greens

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a previous ruling that Arkansas ballot access laws are constitutional.

A "widow's" web UPDATE

U.S. attorneys have asked a federal court in Seattle to issue a restraining order to freeze the assets of Mark and Rosemary Lumpkin of Ratio, Ark., relatives of Shea Saenger, “to prohibit transfer or disposal of the assets the Lumpkins purchased using the approximately $1,121,000 of proceeds from [Shea] Saenger’s mail fraud scheme.”

Dow closes up 430 points

Can we blame Obama for the 430 point rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average today?