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August 10, 2006

Vol 4 • No 30

Them medias

Here's an interesting look at one more brouhaha in the media.

Back to bonds? (UPDATE: Yes)

The Arkansas News Bureau obtained a draft of a news release announcing a joint commitment by UofA System President Alan Sugg and UCA President Lu Hardin to lead a $250 million public bond campaign to benefit higher education.

LR board seat to open

Little Rock city board member Barbara Graves announced several weeks ago that she is running for mayor, and the law requires her to resign her board seat when she files her candidacy.

Week-long sports celebration set for LR

Central Arkansas civic leaders and athletic organizations teamed up today to announce the first-ever "GameWeek in The Rock," a week-long celebration of football and baseball that begins Aug. 27.

GOP absolutely, positively against anything gay

The state Republican Party today criticized Democratic candidates Mike Beebe and Bill Halter for being evasive on the subject of whether homosexuals should be allowed to be foster parents.

325 schools miss progress benchmarks

The Arkansas Department of Education today announced that 325 out of the state's 1,100 public schools did not achieve adequate yearly progress this year under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

New Arkansas Times online

The new edition of the Arkansas Times is available at This week's cover story looks at the battle over Paron High School and whether its outcome will determine if other small rural schools can remain open.

Bill Clinton coming for Beebe fundraiser

Bill Clinton will headline a "Fish and Frog Leg" fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe on Sept. 7 at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock.


“The Nashville Christian Academy, located as 415 N. Main St., is now excepting enrollment for the 2006-2007 School Year.” And looking for acceptional students.

Editorial cartoon

Science, religion and Bush

I am all for church and religion, I enjoy church very much, but I don’t understand how the president allows such religious extremists to have so much control over him.

Minimum wage ‘finagle’

The U. S. Congress created the minimum wage in 1938, saying that anyone who got a job had to be paid at least 25 cents an hour. For years it was increased every three or four years, but the last raise was in 1997 when the Congress raised it 45 cents, maki

Give ’til it hurts

There is something about an Arkansas politician that does not want to be questioned too closely about ethics and the unending private perquisites of holding an elective office.

Gazette Building goes chic

J. Stewart Development has formally secured the right to buy the original Arkansas Gazette building in downtown Little Rock. If the deal goes through, the old newspaper offices at Third and Louisiana will be transformed into luxurious accommodations.

Tale of two cities

Strong divisions exist between downtown and West Little Rock, where policy perspectives are shaped by lifestyle choices. To downtown loyalists who live east of University Avenue, West Little Rock is an abomination of sprawl. On the other hand, residents o

Paron’s long and winding road

The battle over Paron High captures the anguish felt by many of the parents, students, teachers and communities that support Arkansas’s rural schools, schools that face closing because of the drive to improve education in the state. Its outcome will likel

The Observer

The Observer was raised by wolves. Walked 20 miles in the snow each way to school, lived on leaves and berries scavenged in the dark forbidding forest in which we lived, etc.

Blanche, Mark just being themselves

It almost seems as if Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor take turns. One behaves as the typical Democrat for a while and the other as the DINO, meaning Democrat in Name Only. Then they switch.

Needed: black colleges

Philander Smith College President Walter Kimbrough writes in place of Max Brantley, who is on vacation.

This Modern World

Party man

Asa Hutchinson is passionately partisan, but hates to admit it.

The fast and the furious

Those working to bring the Offshore Super Series to Arkansas for the Ozark Roar Powerboat Races in April say it will be unlike anything ever seen in the state, an adrenaline-fueled show that will bring tens of thousands of spectators to the shores of slee

Smart Talk

This week: Eureka Springs publisher moves on; University of Arkansas researchers study Mars; Hillary Clinton rakes in lobbyist cash.

This Wheel’s on Fire

It’s a pageant that anyone can appreciate: No bathing suits, no ballgowns, and the kind of beauty required to win comes from within.


The week that was Aug. 2-8

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … THE STATE TREASURY. General revenue for July totaled $401.1 million, an increase of $44 million, or 12.3 percent, over July 2005.

A turned-out 2nd Friday Art Night

One of Arkansas’s most well-known dentists and woodturners, Bob Miller, will be on hand for the opening reception of “Tree Tales: The Turned Wood Art of Dr. Bob Miller” at River Market ArtSpace during 2nd Friday Art Night, Aug. 11.

Airline terrorism plot foiled

A terrorist plot discovered in Britain is affecting air travel in the U.S. and around the world.

Wal-Mart agrees to unions in China

Wal-Mart today announced it will allow employee unions in China, which is a major departure from its long-standing policy of resisting union organizing efforts.

Pryor backs Lieberman; Lincoln won't say

An interesting report this morning by Aaron Sadler at the Arkansas News Bureau. He not only tracks down U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor for their views on Joe Lieberman's switch from a Democratic to an independent Senate re-election bid -- he also talks to former U.S. Sen. David Pryor.

Steve Clark sets example

About a month ago, we had an item here about a Miami New Times profile of former Arkansas attorney general Steve Clark, who is now teaching at St. Thomas University School of Law in South Florida.

Local travel update

Per the domestic terror alert we reported here earlier this morning, Arkansas officials are responding with updates about local travel and security measures.

A sorry law

State Rep. David Evans of Searcy says he plans to introduce a tort-reform bill during the 2007 legislative session that would allow doctors to apologize for errors without admitting negligence.

Barone named UAMS nursing dean

UAMS today announced that Claudia Barone will replace Linda Hodges as dean of the College of Nursing.

Quayle, Albright among Clinton School speakers

The Clinton School of Public Service today announced that former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos are among the guest lecturers scheduled to visit the school this fall.

Halter to Holt: Is Asa! a socialist?

On Tuesday, Republican lieutenant governor candidate Jim Holt put his Democratic opponent, Bill Halter, on the spot to clarify his position on gay foster parenting.

Beebe proposes expanded homestead credit (UPDATE)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe today proposed increasing the state homestead tax credit by $50 in a speech to the Association of Arkansas Counties convention in Springdale.

Custom polling

John Brummett digs deeper into Republican intimations that one of their internal polls shows the governor's race is neck-and-neck, with 41 percent for Democrat Mike Beebe, 40 percent for Republican Asa Hutchinson and 19 percent undecided.

Huckabee wastes no time politicizing terror plot

Gov. Mike Huckabee doesn't miss an opportunity to politicize a straightforward security incident. Only hours after the airline bombing plot was announced, he's trying to score points in the New Hampshire press.

Huckabee wastes no time politicizing terror plot

Gov. Mike Huckabee doesn't miss an opportunity to politicize a straightforward security incident. Only hours after the airline bombing plot was announced, he's trying to score points in the New Hampshire press.

Review: Don't miss Gridiron

I've seen four Gridiron performances, starting in 2000, and this year's tops them all. The musical send up of Arkansas and national politicians and personalities by the Pulaski County Bar Association is spot on in hammering Gov. Mike Huckabee, vice president Dick Cheney, Laura Bush and state first lady Janet Huckabee, Mike Beebe and Asa Hutchinson, Wally Hall and Bill Valentine, county clerk Pat O'Brien's apparent finicky office dress policy, UA coach Houston Nutt and quarterback Mitch Mustain and plenty more.

Fire at Cabot junior high school

A fire at Cabot Junior High-North this afternoon caused severe damage, and one injury was reported.

TV Highlights for Aug. 10-16

"JAWS" MARATHON 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 American Movie Classics (Comcast Ch. 31) CELEBRITY FIT CLUB 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13 VH-1 (Comcast Ch. 56) WIDE ANGLE: 1-800-INDIA 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15 AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2)

Legendary folk poet, guitarist returns to Acoustic Sounds Cafe

It would be fair to call contemporary acoustic finger-style guitarist Jack Williams a bona-fide beatnik, considering he was playing trumpet and speaking words at a Seattle coffeehouse in the late 1950s. But Williams, who is headlining the show Friday, Aug

Picks for Aug. 10-16

Little Rock and North Little Rock will be having gallery walks on Friday, Aug. 11. Little Rock’s 2nd Friday Art Night will route art lovers via the River Rail to galleries and museums from the River Market district to the Arkansas Arts Center on 9th Stree

Bad words

In the past couple of weeks, a number of obvious lollygaggers, loafers and/or non-team-players from the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services have written in, complaining how they couldn’t reach the Arkansas Times blog from their at-work accoun

Plink, plod, plunk, pound

MEMPHIS — There was scarcely room for another porkpie hat or vintage dress in the gilded sold-out Orpheum Theatre when Tom Waits returned to Memphis last Friday night.

What's cookin' for Aug. 10

Sufficient Grounds owners selling

Koto is so-so

There’s fusion, and then there’s con-fusion. As soon as we walked into the new Koto Bistro-Teppanyaki-Sushi restaurant on a recent Friday evening, we were forced to make a decision: in which of those three areas did we want to sit? You can’t order from th

Watermelons are right on time

Two festivals on opposite ends of the state celebrate the arrival of the ripe watermelon this weekend. Hope will be hopping for its 30th annual festival in Southwest Arkansas, while Cave City in North Arkansas parties for the 27th straight year with free

Stones, others 'got' Carter

Bill Carter is not a musician. But the Rector native, author of the 2006 autobiography “Get Carter,” has had a hand in the careers of Tanya Tucker, Reba McEntire and others, most notably the Rolling Stones for many years. Before that, Carter served in the

Hot August shows coming

Before getting to back to the entertainment happenings, a final word on a week of mourning over the death of Paul Eells, the voice of the Razorbacks and KATV sportscaster: If you didn’t attend last Friday’s memorial service at Robinson Center, which turne

Calling all cults

You really can’t argue with the fact that “A Scanner Darkly” is a beautiful film to look at. Swimming with muted colors, the film has been rendered — through the magic of computer technology — into a living, moving comic book. I’m not even being metaphori

DeLay's 'untouchable' proposal

The Searcy Daily Citizen today reports on a squabble in the attorney general's race over Republican candidate Gunner DeLay's proposal to create an "untouchables" unit to investigate public corruption.

Huckabee 'rocked'

Gov. Mike Huckabee's weekend campaign swing through New Hampshire began last night when his band, Capitol Offense, headlined a fundraiser for a Republican executive council candidate.

New FERC could impact Entergy case

The appointment this month of three new members to the five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may impact whether the commission decides to act on a complaint against Entergy filed by the Arkansas Public Service Commission.

Carnahan punished for refusing responsibility

The U.S. magistrate in Fort Smith yesterday overruled a plea agreement and imposed a harsher $2,000 fine on former U.S. Marshal Ray Carnahan because she was disgusted with his unwillingness to admit his guilt in an altercation with a Game and Fish officer last year.

Shed a tear for the KKK

It's not exactly clear how the rights of the KKK are being violated here, but Democrat-Gazette columnist Dana Kelley gets emotionally indignant at those who would organize a counter-protest or encourage others not to attend the white supremacist group's rally against illegal immigrants.

Lagrone calls Daniels 'AWOL'

Republican secretary of state candidate Jim Lagrone today called the Democratic incumbent Charlie Daniels "AWOL" on ensuring that overseas military personnel are able to vote in Arkansas elections.

(Royal) court stenography

For those who think the NYTimes is a house organ of the Democratic Party, please read this article in today's edition.

Huck yuks it up

Gov. Mike Huckabee talked health care at a political forum in New Hampshire today. One account noted Huckabee joking about a campaign event last night.

LR teachers group issues school board endorsements

The Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association today announced its endorsements for next month's Little Rock School Board elections: Zone 3: Carol Roddy Zone 6: Charles Armstrong Zone 7: Diane Curry "All three candidates are strong and articulate advocates for students and learning," said association president Katherine Wright Knight in a press release.

Coughlin spared prison

A U.S. District Court judge in Ft. Smith today sentenced former Wal-Mart executive Tom Coughlin to 27 months of home detention because he is too "fragile" to serve time in prison.

You talk about 'speed'y headache relief

The Personal Health column in Science Times on Tuesday, about treatments and prevention of migraines, misidentified a drug sometimes used for headache relief with medications like a triptan or an opiate.

Pryor to deliver national radio address

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor will deliver the national Democratic radio address tomorrow morning at 10:06 a.m. local time.

Out, out damp spot

There's an in-depth look in the Saturday NY Times (one of my colleagues is going to have to insert the link.

Pryor shifting toward Iraq withdrawal?

John Brummett thinks he has detected a policy shift on Iraq from U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's recent comments on the issue.

Pryor urges focus on terrorism

In his national radio address this morning, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor said, "My fellow Democrats and I believe our government must do more to protect Americans at home and around the world.  We also understand there is no time to waste.   Five years after 9/11, our country is not as safe as it needs to be, or should be.  More needs to be done."

Beebe, Asa gliding left?

Mike Beebe and Asa Hutchinson yesterday disagreed over state capital gains taxes in their appearances at the Arkansas Bankers Association meeting in Rogers.

The Villa changes hands

Word is that Kathy McFarland, owner of the up-market The Villa shops on upper Central Avenue in Hot Springs, has sold to buyers from Pine Bluff and will depart Hot Springs.

How low can he go?

Sometimes, it really is better not to read the newspaper. But I choose to torture myself after checking in on e-mail in Stockholm this morning.

How low can he go?

Sometimes, it really is better not to read the newspaper. But I choose to torture myself after checking in on e-mail in Stockholm this morning.

Huckabee's low job growth rate

John Brummett ponders an Arkansas Policy Foundation study we highlighted here a few days ago, which showed the state's job growth rates under each governor in the modern era.

Will Lendall make the ballot?

The American Civil Liberties Union on Friday filed another court brief in behalf of the Green Party's right to have Jim Lendall on the November general election ballot as its gubernatorial nominee.

Slater pondering Arkansas return

Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater is firmly settled in Washington, D.C. -- he even recently bought an ownership stake in the major league baseball team there -- but the Marianna native still wants to leave open the door to someday running for political office in Arkansas.

Fear itself

NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman today indicts the Bush administration's political exploitation of fear. We now know that from the very beginning, the Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited.

Slate philanthropy conference to feature Clinton, Turner

Little Rock has just landed another major conference, and this one may be the biggest yet, in terms of the city punching above its weight.

Military recruitment violations increasing

U.S. Reps. Vic Snyder and Pete Stark today released a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office showing "significant increases in the number of alleged, substantiated, and criminal violations by military recruiters."

Today in the governor's race (UPDATE)

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe launched television advertisements this morning. Campaign spokesman Zac Wright confirmed the new ads began their broadcast rotation today.

Beebe: Law prohibits teaching intelligent design

Based on the substantial interest among blog readers in Mike Beebe's position on teaching intelligent design (as articulated in an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article yesterday), we asked Beebe's campaign to elaborate.

Be afraid, be very afraid . . .

Last week it was Connecticut traitors voting against the patriot Joe Lieberman, followed by a possible terrorist plot.

The Mind of Matt: Blogging from Denver

We gotta give Matt Smith credit. He's in Denver partying and rocking and playing on vacation and still has time to file his "Mind of Matt" blog column for Little Rocking.

Acxiom buying back shares

Acxiom shareholders today received an offer from the company to buy back up to 11,111,111 shares of the company's stock at a price between $25 and $27 a share.The offer is good until September 12, according to the Offer to Purchase for Cash by Acxiom Corporation.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: Quarterback merry-go-round

J.R. and Henry: Quarterback merry-go-round Casey Dick. Robert Johnson. Mitch Mustain. One of these three athletes will start at quarterback in the Arkansas Razorbacks’ season opening game against Southern Cal in Fayetteville on Sept. 2.

'Don't ask, don't tell' to be challenged in LR

Little Rock is among 30 U.S. cities targeted for protests against the U.S. military's ban on homosexuals.

Halter says Holt would eliminate Social Security (UPDATE)

Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Bill Halter, who was acting head of the Social Security Administration at the end of the Clinton administration, says his Republican opponent, Jim Holt, wants to do away with Social Security.

Al Green concert postponed

The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau just announced that the Aug. 19 Al Green concert at the River Market Amphitheater will be postponed until Oct. 27 "due to high summer heat."

Al Green's show moved to October

The Al Green concert scheduled for Saturday at the Riverfest Amphitheatre has been moved to Oct. 27.

Asa! disputes Beebe's new ads (UPDATE)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson is already attacking Mike Beebe's new campaign advertisement, which hit the airwaves this morning.

Bush coming to LR for Asa!

We hear that President George W. Bush is coming to Little Rock on Aug. 30 to attend a fundraising lunch in behalf of Asa Hutchinson's gubernatorial campaign.

Barry Switzer kicks off LR Touchdown Club lineup

Former Oklahoma Sooner and Dallas Cowboy coach Barry Switzer, one of the few coaches to win both a national college football championship and the Super Bowl, will be the first speaker for the Little Rock Touchdown Club when the series begins Monday, Aug. 28.

Don't forget Ted Nugent tonight at the Metroplex

Occasionally, we get a nice rocking show for a Monday night in town, and tonight it's Ted Nugent at the Clear Channel Metroplex, at I-430 and Col. Glenn Road.

The sinking ship

When George Will writes something like this about Bush administration's alibis for its incompetence in foreign policy, war, etc., you really wonder if somebody ought to set up a paper bag concesssion for those people heading to Big Joe's house for the Bush appearance for an A$a fund-raiser:

Huckabee defends states' rights

Last week we referred you to an account of the recent National Governors Association meeting in Charleston, at which Gov. Mike Huckabee led a rhetorical revolt against the federal government's intrusion into traditional realms of state authority.

Name that quarterback

Note to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: See what you're missing thanks to your headline policy?

Can't touch this

John Brummett isn't impressed with the substance or politics behind Republican attorney general candidate Gunner DeLay's proposal to create a unit to fight public corruption.

He ain't nothing but a hound dog

After yokking it up with Elvis imitations at one of America's most popular shrines -- Graceland -- in the company of G.W.B., Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi made another visit to a shrine yesterday -- this one a monument dedicated in part to the war criminals of World War II.Not everybody thinks it was such a great idea.

Dems get tough on national security

The Democratic Party is finally playing offense on national security issues: Seeking to counter White House efforts to turn the reported terrorist plot in Britain to Republican advantage, Democrats are using the arrests of the suspects to try to show Americans how the war in Iraq has fueled Islamic radicalism and distracted Mr. Bush and the Republican Congress from shoring up security at home.

George Allen can't help himself

With potential primary opponents like U.S. Sen. George Allen, Gov. Mike Huckabee might have a good shot at the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Pryor's DSCC role under fire

Bob Geiger at Huffington Post wonders how U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor squares his role as a vice-chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with his support for Joe Lieberman's independent Senate candidacy.

The Mind of Matt: The Denver Grand Prix

Movies, metal and more musings from Matt Smith while he's out in Rocky Mountain High country: The Grand Prix of Denver ran Friday through Sunday, Aug. 11-13.

Wal-Mart earnings decline

Wal-Mart today posted its first quarterly earnings decline in ten years, citing recent difficulties in Germany and South Korea that led the company to end operations there.

Deaf and Blind School acreage could sell

Leslie Newell Peacock of the Arkansas Times reports: Two doctors want to buy 10 acres owned by the state School for the Deaf and School for the Blind, which is set to consider the proposal today at 4 p.m. in the Gym of the school for the Deaf.

Entergy requests another rate increase (UPDATE)

Entergy Arkansas today filed an application with the Arkansas Public Service Commission to increase its base rates by 7.5 percent, effective Sept. 14.

Hannity headlines Harding lecture series

Harding University today announced the 2006-07 schedule for its annual American Studies Institute Distinguished Lecture Series, which will began on Sept. 21 with a speech by FOX News Channel host Sean Hannity.

Washington Regional Funds Elementary School Health Education

In its continuing commitment to improve the health of the communities it serves, Washington Regional recently donated $41,000 to purchase the Second Edition of the Kids for Health© curriculum for each elementary school in Washington County.

Just don't call me a Texan

From the Chicago Tribune: "Call a person from Indiana an `Indianan' or `Indianian' and you will be told in no uncertain terms that the proper form of address is `Hoosier,'" cautions Paul Dickson in "Labels for Locals: What to Call People from Abilene to Zimbabwe" (Collins, 288 pages, $14.95), which is being reissued this week (an earlier edition was published in 1997).

Twisters plan Listening Party for Saturday

The Arkansas Twisters management is inviting all the fans out to Julie's Place on Shackleford Road on Saturday night for a listening party.

Update: Easter Seal land deal

UPDATE on the proposal to buy the old Easter Seals facility and 10 acres at the east end of Lee Avenue from the state School for the Blind and School for the Deaf:  A straw vote taken by the schools' board Tuesday indicates the proposal is a no-go.

The Mind of Matt: More from Colorado

Matt Smith had a big Monday in Colorado to report on Little Rocking: Colorado Springs This place has incredible natural beauty.

To do Wednesday: Movies in the Park has 'Sixteen Candles'

It feels pretty good out there today, not much humidity as there's been. The heat wouldn't cause Movies in the Park to not screen "Sixteen Candles" with Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and Long Duck Dong (or whatever his name is) tonight at Riverfest Amphitheatre.

Hey, it's just your money

Travelerocity, the spicy local blog on Arkansas Travelers baseball, has some pithy words worth reading about the conduct of minor league baseball affairs in Springdale and North Little Rock. Both cities like public tax money, but both like to operate in secret. Up in Springdale, the chamber of commerce nabob who helped narrowly pass a tax to pay for a new ballyard up there, is meeting one-on-one with elected officials to avoid a Freedom of Information Act trigger that would allow the public to hear what's being discussed about the venue they're building.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: Why the Secrets at UA?

J.R. and Henry: Why the Secrets? Now that it’s finally been revealed that sophomore quarterback Casey Dick’s back really is injured, Arkansas Razorback fans everywhere have spent the week arguing the pros and cons of who the starting quarterback should be for the Southern Cal game.

September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month

September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month. On Saturday, September 30, Washington Regional Specialty Clinic and the Cancer Support Home will provide a free cervical cancer screening (PAP smear).

UAMS researchers receive cancer grants

Two researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) have received research grants for pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.