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August 31, 2006

Vol 4 • No 33

The prince of New Orleans

You're not likely to see it in the D-G, so here's a blog with today's Maureen Dowd on the failed president's trip to New Orleans, in between bouts of reading Shakespeare and Camus and histories of the Battle of New Orleans (or maybe he just spun Johnny Horton's 45).

Lunchtime -- UPDATE

The president is at the fund-raiser in WLR. He was greeted on arrival at Little Rock by the governor and the Republican nominee for same.

Who foots the bill?

A reader wondered who pays when Bush campaigns in LR or anywhere else. Thanks to blog reader for answer.

No one Photoshopped that toothy smirk

You read on the Internet news portals about how CBS Photoshopped about 30 pounds off Couric in a publicity shot.Here's a look at before and after.

Local politics

We got curious after talking with school board candidate Melanie Fox last week about her support of Republican Asa Hutchinson, to whom she and her husband both contributed $2,000. Fox, who’s running in Zone 3 — which includes Little Rock’s most liberal ne

The Observer Aug. 31

Problems with the Mobile Observatory and an early-morn appointment at the Hospital de Automobile occasioned The Observer to undertake something we haven’t had the pleasure of in a long time: an a.m. stroll in downtown Little Rock.

Editorial cartoon Aug. 31

The week that was Aug. 23-29, 2006

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … SCOTT ROOK. The Little Rock fisherman landed more than 15 pounds of bass and the $250,000 first prize in the Bassmaster Legends tournament, held on the Arkansas River in his hometown.

For the jail tax

As long as there are criminals, there’ll be a need for jails. There’ll always be criminals. In Pulaski County, the supply of criminals exceeds the jail space available to hold them.

This Modern World Aug. 31

Are you better off?

When a Republican congressman slumped into his committee chair last month after a sojourn home, a colleague asked him what it was like back in the precincts. Terrible, came the weary reply. “I feel like a free-market economist in Cuba.”

Nine out of 10 sheriffs agree

The biggest recent development in the governor’s race is not polling or Asa Hutchinson’s trying to make something of the Paron High School closing. It’s that there are 75 county sheriffs in Arkansas, and 68 of them endorsed Mike Beebe.

It will or it won't

The end of August is always a big relief, a moral victory, but in it also there’s a note of melancholy.

Strings attached

Last Thursday, the Little Rock School Board approved expanding a merit pay program to three elementary schools. As part of the deal, the Walton Family Foundation would pay for researchers from the University of Arkansas to evaluate the results.

Consensus solution

Should we arm foster parents?

Orval Aug. 31

Smart Talk Aug. 31

This week: Huckabee doubletalk; the attack ads on Mike Beebe; death of a pioneer church-state separatist.

The old mallgame

“It’s an investment in our community that we need to be receptive to.” The words were those of City Director Barbara Graves in April 2001 shortly before she and a majority of the Little Rock Board approved Simon Property Group’s zoning plan for the $1

Words Aug. 31

About that Kool-Aid ...

Start with guns

On August 22, a man was shot and killed in the street a half-block from his house in south central Little Rock. This was the 43rd homicide in the city this year, ahead of the 1993 record pace.

Goodbye, Ray Winder

The Arkansas Travelers, heading to the north side of the Arkansas River and a new stadium in 2007, will wrap up 74 years at Ray Winder Field with games this weekend.

A loss for words

When does a debate stop being a debate and become a “candidate forum”? Answering that question may be the difference between whether or not this election season will see statewide-televised debates between the two major-party gubernatorial candidates, D

Beebe on schools

Stephens Media, covering Mike!, in NW Ark. yesterday, dips back into the rural school/consolidation issue.

Beebe on schools

Stephens Media, covering Mike!, in NW Ark. yesterday, dips back into the rural school/consolidation issue.

Woo pig

Not much of an admirer of Houston Dale Nutt? You'll love Brummett today, though he's otherwise fairly high on the football Hogs.

Woo pig

Not much of an admirer of Houston Dale Nutt? You'll love Brummett today, though he's otherwise fairly high on the football Hogs.

Baseball battle

The deal to bring minor league baseball in Springdale is getting contentious. Some council members apparently don't understand that the owner of the baseball team expects to call the shots on lease of the publicly financed stadium, not them.

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys

The Washington Post outlines how the Bush administration is trotting out the Democrats-hate-America election theme. Will voters buy?

King George, MIA -- UPDATE

The Doonesbury comic yesterday and today has continued a story line that depicts a presidential news conference with Bush advancing the notion that he might have a hereditary right to be king and that daughter Jenna would succeed him.

Gunner fires

Short of money (and good sense) Republican attorney general candidate Gunner DeLay has to seek attention through unconventional means -- tapping the gun nut network, for example -- and issuing incendiary news releases.

Another poll; another Beebe lead

In this one, Beebe leads by only 17 -- 55-38. The link is to a political blog that says a new Survey USA poll shows Beebe's margin widening and a sweep for other Democrats, though tighter in the lieutenant governor's race we understand.

The campaign opens

I've been trying to round up a little information about the opening of the real political season this weekend.

Mighty ducky

A blog reader says the latest issue of Ducks Unlimited magazine lists Gov. Mike Huckabee as a president's council member for giving $10,000 to the organization this year.

Citizens, arrest this man

Andy Mayberry, the congressional candidate, has scheduled some Labor Day weekend gimmick events in hopes a bored TV crew or two will give him some free air time.

Citizens, arrest this man

Andy Mayberry, the congressional candidate, has scheduled some Labor Day weekend gimmick events in hopes a bored TV crew or two will give him some free air time.

More poll numbers -- UPDATED

Here's Survey USA on the race for lt. gov. -- Halter, 48; Holt, 39; undecided, 12.

More poll numbers -- UPDATED

Here's Survey USA on the race for lt. gov. -- Halter, 48; Holt, 39; undecided, 12.

Wag that dog

Reuters: WASHINGTON - The U.S. military is operating on the assumption that Tehran is five to eight years away from being able to build a nuclear bomb, The Washington Times reported in its Thursday edition.

Woody buys TV

It looks like Democratic congressional candidate Woody Anderson is going to launch a campaign ad this week, and it may even air during the Razorback football game on Saturday night.

JR and Henry's Sports Column: A look ahead

J.R. and Henry: A Look Ahead It’s here. Football season is upon us.

Fourth and rising

Hotline, the blogs say, put The Huckster fourth in the GOP sweepstakes behind, in order, McCain, Romney and Guiliani.

Hog trivia

LA Times offers this trivia question in its encyclopedic coverage of the UA-USC game: Trivia time: Who served as a ball boy for the 1974 Arkansas football team?

Hog trivia

LA Times offers this trivia question in its encyclopedic coverage of the UA-USC game: Trivia time: Who served as a ball boy for the 1974 Arkansas football team?

Bush's LR visit: the media coverage

Driving home from work this afternoon, I caught a segment on National Public Radio about how the local Arkansas media covered President George W. Bush's visit to Little Rock yesterday.

Clean performance

Poison is the true definition of clean and sober rock ’n’ roll. The set the band played Sunday at Riverfest Amphitheatre in headlining “20 Years of Rock ’n’ Roll” with Cinderella, is EXACTLY the same each and every gig.

Free Spa City festival features Coco Montoya

Coco Montoya is this year’s headliner as Hot Springs celebrates the blues Saturday, Sept. 2, with free blues music all day on two stages at the downtown Transportation Depot.

Bruce James calls the Hogs

Spike Lee accuses

Spike Lee’s extraordinary HBO documentary, “When the Levee Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts,” reveals the human effects of one the biggest disasters in American history: Hurricane Katrina.

St. Joseph’s names Ed. Department co-manager

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center recently named Dana Gardner, RN, BSN, Co-Manager of its Education Services Department.

Go for the ride, not the food

Initially, we thought maybe it was a little unfair to judge a place by its food when food isn’t really supposed to be the focal point. But then we figured out how much of our $24.50 ticket for the Arkansas Queen riverboat’s Sunday brunch cruise went t

Please, no parkas yet

Whoever decided Labor Day was the official end of summer clearly didn’t live anywhere near here. Usually I can’t stomach even looking at any fall clothing for another six weeks, much less actually buying anything. Summer ends around Halloween as far as I’

BMI results ballyhooed

The results of the 2005-06 school year body mass index for Arkansas’s public schoolchildren, the third year of the program that assesses students’ body fat, showed no increase in obese or overweight students. In 2003, BMI testing found that 20.9 percent o

New Orleans reggae band reunites at Cornerstone

Hurricane Katrina a year ago sent the members of the New Orleans reggae band Higher Heights in different directions, and only one group member returned to the Crescent City. Friday’s show by the band at Cornerstone Pub in North Little Rock will be one of

What's cooking/Capsule review Aug. 31

What's cooking: New Starbucks, "steak night" at the Sports Page. Capsule review: The Italian Couple.

‘Rock and Rabbi’ starts fall shows

Unless you’ve been to Orlando, Fla., or Tulsa, or maybe to West Texas recently, you probably haven’t heard of “The Rock and the Rabbi.” It’s not “Mamma Mia,” and it didn’t take Broadway by a storm.

Lots of ‘reasons’ to see Nickelback

Nickelback and vocalist Chad Kroeger have been churning out the hits for the past five years, and that’s continued with their latest record, “All the Right Reasons.” The quartet is headlining a major modern rock show, the first in that genre for Alltel Ar

TV highlights Aug. 31-Sept. 6

SAND SCULPTING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2 The Travel Channel (Comcast Ch. 71) INSIDE THE TWIN TOWERS 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 The Discovery Channel (Comcast Ch. 53) DESIGN STAR 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 HGTV (Comcast Ch. 4

Fear of flying

Should bird flu spread to North American birds or mutate to a strain that will infect people, Arkansas is peculiarly vulnerable. It’s on the Mississippi flyway, which could bring infected birds our way, and the home of the largest poultry industry in the

TV highlights Aug. 31-Sept. 6

SAND SCULPTING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2 The Travel Channel (Comcast Ch. 71) INSIDE THE TWIN TOWERS 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 The Discovery Channel (Comcast Ch. 53) DESIGN STAR 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 HGTV (Comcast Ch. 4

Take a seat on the Southside

Main Street south of Interstate 630 refuses to take a back seat to other downtown redevelopment. In fact, sidewalks between 12th and 17th streets will be dotted with 16 artist-created chairs next Sunday, the day after Southside Main Street’s “Places, Spac

‘Sunshine’ brightens the screen

“Try to act normal,” dad Richard Hoover tells the rest of his New Mexico-based clan when their beat-up yellow VW van with an incessant honking horn is pulled over by a cop on their 900-mile journey to the Little Miss Sunshine contest in California.

Bush's gal

Katherine Harris' implosion in Florida is worth a chuckle on an otherwise slow day.

The poor get poorer

E.J. Dionne in Washington Post on the most recent poverty numbers from the Census Bureau:

Official secrets

A$a did his school thing in Pea Ridge yesterday and Doug Thompson of Stephens Media was there.

Other days

A friend compiles a calendar of significant -- and quirky -- events in Arkansas history.

Other days

A friend compiles a calendar of significant -- and quirky -- events in Arkansas history.

Ouch!

Little Rock's Amy Lee feels the lash of Heather and Jessica, two of the cattiest bloggers on the Net.

Ignore the photo of Keith

Blind Lemongello, Hempwallace's greatest living blues guitarist, forwards this nifty look at why the guitar is the greatest instrument on earth.

Be afraid, be very afraid

Citizens For Safe Neighborhoods, the group pushing the sales tax for the County Jail, is taking a page from the Bush playbook, judging by the cover, shown here, and other pages in a new mailer.

Circle the wagons

Arkansas State University plays Oklahoma State in football Sept. 9 at War Memorial Stadium. Indians v. Cowboys.

Another run

Little Rock City Director Johnnie Pugh is announcing a run for re-election today.

Video: Bush at Asa's fundraiser

Two short video clips have been posted on YouTube showing President George W. Bush's remarks at Wednesday's private Little Rock fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson.

Boob exposed

OK then. If the FCC really is going to get tough on bad words on TV, will it fine TV stations that aired clips of the prez saying "shit" at the G-8 meeting.

Judge denies additional early voting sites

U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Eisele today denied attorney John Walker's request for an injunction that would have forced additional early voting locations in the current Little Rock School Board elections.

Terror in the skies

Seven miles from LR, on final approach from Charlotte, USAirways 2275 sent word of a suspicious liquid (liquids now being no-nos) in possession of two passengers on the flight.

Do sheriffs matter

Brummett wrote this week about the importance of Mike Beebe lining up the support of 68 of the 75 county sheriffs in the race for sheriffs.

The Mind of Matt: At the Nickelback show

I start getting calls about noon Thursday all saying, “Matt get us some good tickets and let's go to the show!” This is for a show that is reportedly sold out with about 14,000 tickets purchased (EDITOR'S NOTE: The actual count was 12,751).

St. Joseph expands vascular center

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center recently broke ground on a $16 million expansion project that will add 40,386 square feet to its Emergency Department (ED) and the Mercy Heart and Vascular Center.

Breast health education set

“Give Yourself a Hand,” an informative and interactive demonstration for monthly self-breast exams, will be presented by the Washington Regional Cancer Support Home as the October installment of the Breast Health Education Series.

A lesser candidate takes offense

One hesitates even to bother writing about Asa Hutchinson. He is doing so poorly in the polls that, like Rod Bryan and Jim Lendall, he probably ought to be excluded from the gubernatorial debates on account of a lack of viability.

Go all the way

A$a, who began campaigning with some caution about removing the sales tax on groceries then moved to endorsing the concept, has now gone all the way.

Personal attacks

Brummett is having none of A$a's complaint that Mike attacked him personally last week. Personal attacks?

Hard ball

The baseball team that would occupy a taxpayer-built stadium in Springdale seems to understand the city has nothing without a team.

Diversity at Wal-Mart

The usual nut groups are pounding Wal-Mart for welcoming gay shoppers, but Wal-Mart is standing firm.

Hillary!

LA Times finds in New York reason to think Hillary Clinton could make a formidable presidential candidate.

Reggie Herring's nightmare

LA Times gets the Hogs' defensive coordinator to relive last year's USC debacle, a 70-17 loss:

Paron lingers

The Paron high school may be gone, but its lawyers linger on. They filed a motion in circuit court Friday contending Circuit Judge Jay Moody had not resolved their constitutional claim in the case in dissolving a restraining order and holding that the state Board of Education had met the administrative procedures act in approving closure of the high school by the Bryant School Board.

The line is open

Fire away, but first more installments from "Mission Accomplished: The Sequel:: In Iraq, casualties are soaring.

Huck TV

He'll be on Fox tomorrow talking about some encouraging numbers of childhood weight problems. Though probably not that subsequent report that gave a gloomier report on Arkansas's excess fat.

No need to thank us

While you were busy watching the Texas Longhorns play the North Texas State Whatever-they-call-em-now and basting your brisket in advance of the bloodbath on The Hill later this evening the Hempwallace Aesthetic Union was doing the heavy lifting involved in keeping you at the forefront of pragmatic thinking.Former Ambassador Peter Galbraith (son of John Kenneth) spoke to The Middle East Institute on the topic of Iraq.The kernel at the core of a long and enlightening presentation was Mr. Galbraith's truth: America is investing lives, our gross domestic product and what's left of our tattered worldwide reputation in "staying the course" to preserve a nation that does not exist.

Feel good

Home movies are part of the feel-good advertising Hutchinson rolled out today. It aired during the Hog game against USC.

The season begins

Brummett marks the Labor Day start of the fall election campaign with an "arrows" column.

Bingo

There's a bingo amendment on the November ballot, Stephens Media reminds us. I know everyone's intentions are pure -- to let granny play a little bingo to benefit the church, etc. But if the unscrupulous don't ultimately find ways to exploit this little gambling expansion, I'll be surprised.

Mustain mania

Quarterback controversy is the story out of the Hogs' 50-14 loss. Starter Robert Johnson was booed early and often.

If only ..

Washington Post assessment of mid-term elections: Republicans in "growing danger" of losing the House. President Bush's low approval ratings, the sharp divisions over the war in Iraq, dissatisfaction with Congress, and economic anxiety caused by high gasoline prices and stagnant wages have alienated independent voters, energized the Democratic base and thrown once-safe Republican incumbents on the defensive.

Politics of food

Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza writes about food on the campaign trail. The Coon Supper is mentioned.

The impeachment manager

The Democrat-Gazette today assessed whether A$a's role as impeachment manager would help or hurt in the race for governor.

The impeachment manager

The Democrat-Gazette today assessed whether A$a's role as impeachment manager would help or hurt in the race for governor.

Who's the fascist?

Frank Rich eviscerates Rumsfeld.

Football news

I can't believe Channel 7 waited to reporte the real news until after news of the last game at Ray Winder (huge crowd); update on the discovery of the body of the teen missing near Dumas (no suspects); and LR police killing of a man who tossed a knife at officers near Boyle Park.

Traveling music

Arkansas Travelers GM Bill Valentine, with some ex-Travs, at the sellout Sunday for the last game at historic Ray Winder Field.

Sunday night open line

Here it is. What's up for Labor Day?

Take it back

Woody Anderson, Democratic candidate for Third District Congress, provides a little Labor Day fodder. Woody Anderson will unveil his "Plan to Take America Back from Special Interests" in a press conference this Tuesday, September 5, 2006 at Uncle Gaylord's Mountain Inn in Fayetteville.  Anderson's 4-Point Plan includes the American Energy Independence Act and the Re-Energize America Act, a bill that would put an end to corporate welfare for Big Oil.

Another poll, another Beebe lead

Roby Brock's Talk Business has done another poll of statewide political races and issues. The automated poll tabulates responses from 1,000 respondents (drawn from a sample of people who'd voted in at least two of the last four general elections).

Another poll, another Beebe lead

Roby Brock's Talk Business has done another poll of statewide political races and issues. The automated poll tabulates responses from 1,000 respondents (drawn from a sample of people who'd voted in at least two of the last four general elections).

Still his mother's son

Count Brummett unimpressed by Bush's Katrina anniversary trip. He's still clueless after all these years, worried more about Trent Lott's manse than people of the Lower Ninth Ward.

A Democratic victory?

Today it's the NY Times: WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 — After a year of political turmoil, Republicans enter the fall campaign with their control of the House in serious jeopardy, the possibility of major losses in the Senate, and a national mood so unsettled that districts once considered safely Republican are now competitive, analysts and strategists in both parties say.

Identity theft

NY Times writes today on a subject with some recent local relevance: Though most people think of identity theft as a financial crime, one of the most common forms involves illegal immigrants using fraudulent Social Security numbers to conduct their daily lives.

No labor on Labor Day, please

The LA Times offers this for the holiday. Sound like your workplace?

ACORN endorses

The Pulaski County ACORN PAC has endorsed Charles Armstrong in Zone 6 and Dianne Curry in Zone 7 for the Little Rock School Board.

Welcome to The MovieGoer

Welcome to The Moviegoer, an extended Blog of the Arkansas Times focused solely on film and all things film-related.  Here at The MovieGoer, we'll talk about as much Arkansas film as we can, but we're not going to ignore the national and international news either.  I hope you enjoy this blog and I look foreward to your comments.   - BSR

Top 20 to see

Labor Day is here and other than sitting here thinking about the dismal performance of the Razorbacks on Saturday (see Jim Harris' Little Rocking Blog for some interesting commentary), I thought I'd provide you with my Top 20 movies to see before year's end.  Many of these movies will be around come Oscar time, but some will not.  Nevertheless, if you're one of those poeple who can't tolerate seeing a bad movie, here are 20 not to miss. In order of national release date (some may not come to AR until later): 1.  The Black Dahlia (9/15) 2.

Is it Oscar time?

It's time to kick it into Oscar high gear.  I can't believe it.  I'm suffering from my 2005 Oscar hangover (not to mention my disappointment).  Neverthless, I recently posted my Top 20 movies to see this fall and many of the Oscar nominations will come from those films.  Nevertheless, there are a few early 2006 films that may hang around (a la "Crash") and make some noise come Oscar time.  We're at a disadvantage here in Little Rock because many of the good films haven't yet made it here, but thanks to Matt Smith at Market Street, they're on the way.  Here are some good dramatic feature films I've seen that I'd recommend that your throw in your Netflix queue.

Your Favorite Actress

Got one at the moment?  I do.  It's Maggie Gyllenhaal.  She recently appeared in "The Great New Wonderful" and "World Trade Center," and has "Sherrybaby," "Stranger than Fiction" and "Trust the Man," on the way.  Check out this profile in the LA Times.

Almodovar's 'Volver' on a roll

The International Federation of Film Critics has awarded Pedro Almodovar's film 'Volver' the Grand Prix for Best Film of the Year.  'Volver' was all the rave at May's Cannes Film Festival and is set to release in the U.S. in November.  If Matt Smith is out there and has any information about when it's coming to Market Street, I hope he'll blog it here.

Early Buzz from Venice

The Venice Film Festival is underway and there's early buzz about 'The Queen' starring Helen Mirren.  Variety critics had this to say, "The Queen" reigned over the weekend on the Lido, where Stephen Frears' depiction of friction between Tony Blair and Britain's monarch following the death of Princess Diana earned ovations and launched protag Helen Mirren as an early frontrunner not just for the fest's best actress prize, but also for Oscar gold.

Love those Musicals

The American Film Institute has named it's Top 25 musicals of all time. AFI's list for top 25 musicals of all time:  

What's in Your Queue?

Every Tuesday, I'll blog five films in my Netflix queue.  I'm on John Ford/John Wayne kick right now.  I've got Fort Apache She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Rio Grande As well as two Ingmar Bergman films Cries and Whispers and Smiles of a Summer Night Blog yours here.

Working stiffs get poorer

Another one for Labor Day -- the Detroit newspaper on the inflation-adjusted decline in median income the last six years, including a handy map that shows the decline state by state (7.2 percent in Arkansas.)

The mood is ugly

CNN poll on the electorate. Angry and in the mood for change.

Testing The Waters

I'm really just dipping my toe in by running this post, which is a re-tread from an entry that I posted last summer on my main blog.  I'm trying to figure out the capabilities and limitations of both myself and this particular blogging software, which is totally new to me.  (I predict that the capabilities will be almost wholly those of the software, Moveable Type, and that the limitations will, for the most part, belong squarely to me.)The following was written in the form of a journal entry to my daughter, but as I look over it now, it reads as a bit of a love-letter to my home state, as well, and I hope to instill in my child an appreciation for the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feel, and above all the people of Arkansas.So let's see how this one comes through, and if all goes well, expect a "proper" introduction to follow soon after, as well as some monkeying around with template design and categories and fancy things such as that.  For now, I am Belinda Miller, and this is "Ninja Poodles: Local", my little corner of the Times' Blogosphere.  Thanks for visiting.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: Just the facts on Hogs' loss

JR and Henry: Game facts shed light on the state of the program It’s unfortunate for Arkansas head football coach Houston Nutt that he can’t close games to the public like he’s fond of doing for practices.

Mike, Asa choreograph their own number

If televised debates mattered, it’d be President Kerry, except that he wouldn’t have been running because President Gore would have been up for a second term. Perhaps, then, I’m making too much of this unprecedented debate-dictating conspiracy by the

The un-debate

The "debates" devised by the major party candidates for governor don't impress Brummett, who sees the structure of the events as a win for Beebe.

Updating the Capitol

The California legislature has voted to replace one of the state's statues in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol with one of Ronald Reagan.

Mortgage moms

Washington Post: Do declining wages, rising debt, rising interest rates and high gas prices create a political opportunity for Democrats?

Who Needs Zagat's When You Can Just Count Pickup Trucks?

My small family (well, small if you restrict yourself to counting just the humans; there are only three of us) just moved from the hinterlands barely outside Jacksonville to the hinterlands barely outside Cabot. We're still in that odd no-man's-land that is neither town, but technically, we reside in one now instead of technically residing in the other. And the same goes for counties: where we were previously just in Pulaski County, now we are just in Lonoke County, by the skin of our teeth. So it is that we are having to orient ourselves to new routines, new telephone prefixes (and the fact that, even though we've only moved 5 miles, now all of our cell phone numbers are LONG DISTANCE CALLS from our home) new routes to and from work--different ones at different times of the day, for maximum efficiency, as it turns out--different layouts of chain grocery and discount stores that really, by law, ought to have to be organized in precisely the same manner no matter where you find them, under severe penalty of some sort if you must walk more the a quarter of a mile to find for example, the aspirin or fish-food, and of course, different "good places t'eat."

Submarines on the Arkansas

Sidney Blumenthal's new book recalls Bush's remarks about the Clinton Library's vulnerability to submarine attack.

Revenue report

The August revenue report shows tax money still flowing ahead of last year and ahead of forecast.

Democrats of faith

There's never been any doubt that the Democratic tent includes millions of practicing Christians. But Republicans have done a good job of smearing the party as godless.

Where will you be on 9-11?

This 9/11, Huckster will be jockeying for TV time. First.

Where will you be on 9-11?

This 9/11, Huckster will be jockeying for TV time. First.

Op-ed: merit pay

Here's an op-ed by a former Washington Post writer who's examined merit pay at some depth.

More praise for Pedro Almodovar

Pedro Almodovar's "Volver" will receive the Fipresci Gran Prix for best film at the 54th San Sebastian International Film Festival, organizers announced Monday.

Telluride Film Festival wraps

Early Oscar favorites "Volver," "Babel," "Little Children," "The Last King of Scotland," and "Fur" all previewed to positive reviews at the festival which wrapped this weekend.  See this report from Reuters.http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/arts/entertainment-telluride.html

Has Affleck finally made a decent movie?

Anthony Lane, film critic and all-round funny man for The New Yorker seems to think so.  In his review (linked below) he finds room to praise Affleck and Diane Lane.

September 11th at the movies

Daniel Mendelsohn has an interesting piece in the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books about Paul Greengrass' "United 93" and Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center."  http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19292

Toronto Film Fest opens Thursday

We're still waiting to hear about the winners from the Venice Film Festival, but arguably the largest international film festival opens on Thursday, with several early Oscar contenders on the bill.  352 films from 61 countries.  That's a lot of film.Anthony Minghella's "Breaking and Entering," starring Jude Law, Juliette Binoche & Robin Wright Penn; Steven Zaillian's "All the King's Men," starring Sean Penn, Jude Law, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson and James GandolfiniAlejandro Gonzalez Innaritu's "Babel," starring Brad PittEmilio Estevez's "Bobby," with an all-star cast of Laurence Fishburne, Heather Graham, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Elijah WoodChristopher Guest's "For Your Consideration"; Ridley Scott's "A Good Year," with Russell Crowe; Douglas McGrath's take on Truman Capote, "Infamous"; Pedro Almodovar's "Volver," which is sweeping up international awards; Philip Noyce's "Catch a Fire," with Derek Luke and Tim Robbins; Kevin Macdonald's "The Last King of Scotland," Todd Field's "Little Children," Marc Forester's "Stranger than Fiction," with Annette Bening, and hundreds of other international films will all preview.http://www.e.bell.ca/filmfest/2006/home/default.asp

The money pit

Gunner DeLay digs into Dustin McDaniel's contributions today and finds something we noted months ago -- Jonesboro developer Bruce Burrow's multiple contributions to McDaniel through family and corporate entitiies.

"The Illusionist" is worth seeing

I caught a Labor Day showing of "The Illusionist" starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti and Jessica Biel.  David Edelstein, film critic for New York Magazine opines,"Edward Norton has the perfect smirky elegance to play a turn-of-the-century magician in the seductive melodrama The ­Illusionist, set in Vienna in that marvelous era when electricity was newly harnessed and stage machinery had a whiff of the supernatural.

When's my "Sherrybaby" coming to Arkansas?

"Sherrybaby," starring my IT Girl Maggie Gyllenhaal opens this weekend in limited areas (New York and L.A.).  If there's any word on when it's coming to Arkansas, I hope someone will blog it here.  Early reviews from industry mags Variety and Hollywood Reporter are very positive.

The first 9-11 film hits DVD

A big push is being made for the DVD release of Paul Greengrass' 9/11 film "United 93."  The DVD hit strores Tuesday, September 5th.  The film received very positive reviews and appears to be a sleeping in the upcoming awards race.  Will the fact that it's on DVD cause those not ready to see it in theatres take a second look.  My guess is no, but then again, I'm one of those people.

Pirates 3 has a title

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.  Doesn't sound to promising for Jack Sparrow, but we'll see when it arrives in theatres in May 2007.

Banker indicted

We left the office before this news release from Bud Cummins rolled across the fax, but Arkansas Business is on top of it with a report on the indictment of Hot Springs banker Richard Smith for involvement in the shady financial dealings of the late M. David Howell.

Cleaning out the mailbox

People mistake me for John Madden or John Candy, so this could be one of those things.

ACRC offers discount card

More than 150 stores in central Arkansas and more than 50 stores in Northwest Arkansas will offer discounts and on their merchandise Oct. 28 through Nov. 5 as part of the Partners Card fund raiser to benefit the Arkansas Cancer Research Center (ACRC) Auxiliary at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

New test for acetaminophen poisoning

A new test for acetaminophen poisoning is effective with children as well as adults, according to a study published this month by researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI)

Springdale plays ball

Unsurprisingly, the Springdale City Council did what was necessary to bribe a baseball team owner to move from Wichita to occupy the new taxpayer-financed stadium.

Expanding our blogosphere

It's been slower than I'd have liked (all my fault), but the Times today finally adds a couple of new reader blogs to our blog page.

Expanding our blogosphere

It's been slower than I'd have liked (all my fault), but the Times today finally adds a couple of new reader blogs to our blog page.

I just can't NOT mention it

Pictures of baby Suri are finally here.  No word yet on upcoming projects for either actor, although Cruise has several in development.

Give it up for Indie Films

Box office reports over the Labor Day weekend show that The Illusionist and Little Miss Sunshine earned more per-theatre at the box office than any other films around, including Mark Wahlberg's Invincible, which has been a top the box office charts for two consecutive weeks.The Illusionist earned $8 million despite playing in only 971 theaters.

We'll be watching

A North Carolina newspaper has filed suit over a practice of white supremacists  that is familiar here.

We'll be watching

A North Carolina newspaper has filed suit over a practice of white supremacists  that is familiar here.

Tragic Accident In Newport

Details are still sketchy, but I thought I'd share what I know so far, since Newport is the hometown of both my husband and my father, and these victims are/were family friends and longtime local teachers in the Newport school system.An AP news release via the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today reports that two of the seven people injured in a bizarre and tragic accident at a Newport restaurant yesterday have died, and that two more are still in critical condition.  All of the victims were current or retired Newport teachers, and were injured yesterday evening when a truck driven by Gary Nicholson Jr. crossed several lanes of traffic and crashed into the Hardee's restaurant where the victimes were eating dinner, a weekly get-together for the longtime friends, who had a love of teaching in common.The two retired teachers whose injuries proved fatal were Beverly  Tapp and  Jane  Wright.  The other five, who were injured, were Levi Anders, Carol Brand, Pat Brown, Jane Parnell, and Velma Johnson.  Word-of-mouth from Newport reports that Brand and Brown are listed in critical condition in a Memphis hospital, and that one other victim is in a Little Rock hospital, with the remaining two victims having been treated for their injuries and released.  Nicholson, who, last we heard, is still being held by police, received minor injuries in the accident, and was arrested on suspicion of drug violations and Driving While Intoxicated.  More charges may follow.Our prayers and well wishes go out to the families ravaged by this terrible and senseless tragedy.

Mike Huckabee (R.-Iowa)

He's not only capitalizing on the 9/11-Iraq conflation Sunday in Iowa, he's got a long weekend planned in the Hawkeye state, starting Friday.

We didn't ....

... but did anybody else catch Katie Couric's debut? Reviews?

Hogs make a poll: the 'Bottom Ten'

Ouch. Apparently only being down 13-7 late in the second quarter in spite of two turnovers didn't impress anyone around the country, nor did the 34-7 second half by USC that was helped by three more turnovers.

McCain, Part III

We just got a callback from Sen. John McCain's press office. Yes, he was indeed in Little Rock, Arkansas on Monday.

Charlie on the job

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels floats a proposal on voting procedure. Release on the jump.

Death star

This week's Arkansas Times has an interesting insider about Death Star -- AKA Sen. Bob Johnson of Bigelow -- who wants to prevent Central Arkansas Water from protecting Lake Maumelle.

School for rent

The Walton University School of Education Reform has hired what sounds like an anti-teachers-union expert and a  pro-voucher expert.

Speaking of Walton money

A correspondent reports on telephone political activity. Our guess:  this is the Alltel/Hussman/Walton-backed candidate for LR School Board, Melanie Fox, spending some of her comparatively big loot to identify voters for callbacks in the LR School Board election.

Speaking of Walton money

A correspondent reports on telephone political activity. Our guess:  this is the Alltel/Hussman/Walton-backed candidate for LR School Board, Melanie Fox, spending some of her comparatively big loot to identify voters for callbacks in the LR School Board election.

The bipolar Huckster

Soft on immigrants; soft on rich folks' taxes. Of course, being soft on immigrants means you're also soft on the low-pay workforce of major corporations, not to mention the people who cut the grass, pour the drinks and wash the dishes of the fat cats.(Sorry about bad link last night.)

The bipolar Huckster

Soft on immigrants; soft on rich folks' taxes. Of course, being soft on immigrants means you're also soft on the low-pay workforce of major corporations, not to mention the people who cut the grass, pour the drinks and wash the dishes of the fat cats.(Sorry about bad link last night.)

West Nile Hits HOME

As my husband left for work early Wednesday morning, he felt compelled to call me from his cell before he'd even made it out of the driveway.  It had already been determined that the day was going to be a Bad One for me, pain-wise, so I'd loaded up on medication, sent Bella to preschool with Daddy, and settled in for the duration.  When I answered the phone, Alex said, after making his apologies for even having to bother me, knowing how bad I felt, that he didn't like the look of the way Magic, our sweet little Shetland pony mare, was lying down in the pasture.  "I think you'd better go out and check on her," he said.  "Maybe call the vet."  Now, my husband has only known horses as long as he's known me (about 6 years), but he has always shown good instinct with animals and a sharp eye for what Arkansas horsepeople refer to as "ADR (Ain't Doin' Right)  Syndrome."  He may not know everything about horses, but he knows "ADR" when he sees it, and has twice before made what turned out to be lifesaving calls of this nature, so when  he speaks in this vein, I listen, and I dragged myself out to the pasture to see what was up with Little Miss Magic.And that is when I saw something horrible; something I'd never seen before in all my years with horses.

Good for Gore

Al Gore is practicing what he preaches.  According to Reuters, "the DVD packaging consists entirely of waste products that have been recycled, including paper, inks and coatings formulated to emit virtually no volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere.
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