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August 31, 2011

Vol 38 • No 1

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Atheists in Arkansas

The godless find a voice.

An Arkansas Baptist discusses atheism

Ray Higgins, executive director of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas, offers his opinions.

When Clarence Darrow debated in Little Rock

In 1930, the famous lawyer and agnostic debated Rabbi Ira E. Sanders of Temple B'Nai Israel.

Chapter 7 for Yarnell's; buyers looming

Yarnell's has filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, and buyers are aimed to purchase the company's property, trade name and recipes.

SeaArk ending Monticello boat production

News of an increase in bauxite mining employment in Arkansas — once a very big deal in Saline County — is balanced in the wrong direction by closure of a long-standing Arkansas enterprise, the SeaArk boat plant in Monticello.

The line is open

It's Tuesday and your on. Close-outs: * HE LIKES MIKE: Columnist Mark Shields writes warmly of Mike Huckabee and recounts how Huckabee thinks he could beat Barack Obama in 2012, if only he could survive the Republican primary first.

Tipping: Yes, No, Maybe, How Much?

There’s been a lot of talk out here and there about tipping. I’ve been asked about it a lot and I figured it’s time for us to talk abut these things.

The days of the Razorbacks' inevitable meltdown are gone

The Petrino era spells stability for Arkansas.

Media coverage of wrongful convictions shows distinct pattern

West Memphis Three reporting just one example.

America's Bold New Future

Racism in 'Front Porch'

"When I saw the cover of the latest issue of 'Front Porch,' the official magazine of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, I thought it was a bad joke."

Little monsters

'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' is fun, but low on scares.

Voracious insects on rise in Arkansas

Drought likely to blame

Arkansas' child hunger among highest in nation

The national non-profit Feeding America, with support from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and The Nielsen Company, recently released an interactive map of food insecurity — a lack of or limited access to adequate nutrition — across the country.

A new civil rights struggle in LR?

Perfidious poor

Republicans — well, everyone else, too — ought to be alarmed about the course of the Republican presidential race, where the goofiest whim quickly becomes party orthodoxy.

Skosh and soda, mud in your eye ...

Good Week: Arkansas Arts Center

It was a good week for The Arkansas Arts Center, The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, geeks and those interested in the WM3 case. It was a bad week for the environment and freedom of information.

Toby Keith coming to Little Rock

Plus, Iron & Wine to play UCA, the inaugural Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival and more.

Observer gets a lesson in child rearing

Plus, The Observer on the recent West Memphis Three panel discussion.

For progress

It's said that money can't buy happiness, but it's at least as true that lack of money can bring discontent. Whether one wants lunch or a first-class city, one must pay.

City Hall's bias

Elsewhere on this week's editorial page, you'll learn that the editorial board of the Arkansas Times decided after some debate to support the full penny worth of sales tax being sought by Little Rock City Hall. I'm not likely to go so far, though I understand the sentiment for the full penny.

Apple store opens at Promenade at Chenal

Apple store employees greet customers Saturday during the store's grand opening.

Meet me there

Producer talks 'Devil's Knot' film adaptation

Mara Leveritt's book headed to the big screen.

Nom nom nom

This Mexican Grill and Chill in Hot Springs is all about the ice cream.

Main Street Food Truck Festival scheduled for Oct. 1

The festival aims to bring as many area food trucks to downtown Little Rock as possible.

A message from the year 2011

Mutants of the Monster Music Festival, 38 Special and more

Plus, David Allan Coe, The Hot Springs Blues Festival, En Vogue, SWV and Silk, Set The Controls and Tim Kasher.

The Moaners, Rising Lion and Year of the Tiger

Plus, Free Micah, The Gettys, Josh the Devil, Nikki Parish and more.

What's in a name?

Effort seeks to 'brand' the Quapaw Quarter.

The Times' new look

After nearly two decades, a design change.

A one-on-one with Johnny?

With approximately 20 seconds left on the tape, Circuit Judge David Laser, addressing his daughter Laura, who was in court, seems to say: "Laura, he's serious. Soury says he thinks he can get Mom a short one-on-one with Johnny in Santa Fe."

No more Lynch

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently dropped Pat Lynch from its op-ed columnists lineup. His last weekly contribution appeared on Monday.

Arkansas No. 1 in D-I-V-O-R-C-E

The state's divorce rate for men is the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau, and the rate for women is well above the national average.

Record stores guide

Listening to vinyl has long since gone past the point of being perceived as a quirky, Wes-Andersonian retro affectation. The good old LP is on its way to once again being the primary physical format for music.

Beware of caterers bearing gifts UPDATE

The Democrat-Gazette's Debra Hale-Shelton does it again — unearthed a most salient fact missing from a University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees discussion.

Who stole my country?

Don't know about you, but my scan of morning headlines was disheartening this morning. * LOATHING THE POOR: There's New York Times commentary on the Republican war on the poor.

The Times gets a facelift

Our new-look print edition hits newsstands beginning today. It's the first substantial redesign of the Times in 20 years.

T.I. doesn't live in Arkansas anymore

This morning, rapper T.I. was released from the federal clink in Forrest City. He's out one month early after being sentenced to 11 months in prison in October for breaking his probation after he was arrested in L.A. on drug charges.

Fair foods: Heaven help me

State Fairs. Yeah, I am an addict... professionally, that is. Doesn't make what gets served at them each year any less weird.

Thursday To-Do: David Allan Coe

David Allan Coe plays Electric Cowboy Thursday night.

140 jobs predicted for new plant in Bauxite

The official announcement today of an expanded manufacturing facility in Bauxite says it could put 140 people to work.

Gunn's actions draw editorial rebuke

The Northwest Arkansas Times editorialized today on a topic it reported last week — then-Circuit Judge Mary Ann Gunn's abusive treatment of a drug court defendant who didn't want to be on TV.

Police catch burglary suspects after chase, gunfire

The Little Rock police report the arrest of three burglary suspects yesterday afternoon in Boyle Park after a car chase in which shots were reportedly fired at pursuing officers.

The GOP war on voting

Good article in Rolling Stone on a subject near and dear to the heart of 2nd District U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin: As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008.

Weekend To-Do: Hot Springs Blues Festival

Lee Oskar headlines Saturday night at the Hot Springs Blues Festival.

Thursday: The Moaners, Free Micah and more

The Moaners play White Water Tavern Thursday night.

Pulaski jail going on-line with inmate roster

Sheriff Doc Holladay announces that, beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, you can go to the Pulaski County sheriff's website for current information on people currently in the county jail.

The line is open

Three days done. Your turn.

Laman Library: "Expressing Ourselves"

Birch Tree, State Hospital open joint exhibition tomorrow.

'Paranormal State' star's doc to LR

Get your spooky pants on! Two of the stars behind A&E's hit paranormal "reality" show "Paranormal State" are coming to Little Rock's Robinson Center September 12 to screen the new documentary "American Ghosthunter" (watch the trailer above).

Hang onto your pants, Jonesboro

The new super-secret location of the soon-to-open Wimpy's Burger & Fries in Jonesboro is revealed.

Stickyz goes non-smoking tomorrow

Smoke up, smokers who like to smoke in Stickyz. Tonight's your last chance.

Judge Gunn gets another shot

TV court judge Mary Ann Gunn grants a rare interview to John Brummett. Same story.

California moves to help immigrants

California soon will pass legislation to allow so-called illegal immigrants to receive college financial aid.

Huntsman floats a tax plan

It seems unlikely that Jon Huntsman will be going anywhere in the Republican presidential race, but he has made an interesting tax proposal.

FU tonight: Chapman, Molina, Heaton, Sheets

First Thursday in Fayetteville, Underground.

More GOP vote suppression

Republicans just don't much like voting by groups they tend to see as trending Democratic.

Burger joint of the week: Big Orange

A big concept from the guys who brought us Za Za Fine Salad + Wood Fired Pizza Co. takes flight at the Promenade on Chenal. The burgers? Top to bottom good.

A Heights-to-River Trail connection

I received an e-mail from the Heights Neighborhood Association about plans to develop a route for an ADA-accessible bike/pedestrian trail from the Heights down to the River Trail.

Green Party announces candidate, petitions

The Green Party, its lawsuit for automatic ballot access denied in federal court despite strong performances for a number of offices in 2010, has announced the beginning of another petition drive to win a ballot slot for the party.

Weekend To-Do: Mutants of the Monster Music Festival

Deadbird headlines opening night of the inaugural Mutants of the Monster Music Festival, Friday at Downtown Music Hall.

State goes to Enterprise for all car rentals

The state now requires all state employees to use Enterprise when they rent cars. It's part of a national contract meant to save money, a state official says.

Last night: Cory Branan at WWT

Cory Branan played a nice, long set at White Water Tavern last night.

Friday To-Do: Delta Classic 4 Literacy 'Old Skool Concert'

En Vogue plays the Delta Classic 4 Literacy "Old Skool Concert" Friday night.

Tom Cotton learns value of Internet

I'm not ready to jump on the Democratic Party of Arkansas's bandwagon on this one, though it is kind of amusing.

Weekend: Rising Lion, John Paul Keith and The One Four Fives,, Nikki Parish and more

John Paul Keith and The One Four Fives play Maxine's Friday night.

New figures on congressional staff pay

Courtesy of Legistorm, here's the most recent quarterly filing on the salaries paid by members of Congress from Arkansas to staff members.

Loretta Lynn WAC performance rescheduled

The Loretta Lynn show scheduled for Sept. 23 in Fayetteville has been postponed.

Stickyz and Revolution have some sweet shows coming up

Family Force 5 plays Revolution Nov. 5.

Speciality butcher shop Hillcrest Artisan Meat coming soon

Carnivores who live in Hillcrest or anywhere even relatively close, this is the best news you'll hear all day: Former Boulevard chef Brandon Brown plans to open Hillcrest Artisan Meat — HAM for short — by Nov. 1 at 2807 Kavanaugh next to Kroger and the U.S. Post Office.

UCA president rejects Aramark money UPDATE III

UCA President Allen Meadors calls for rejection of $700,000 gift from food service vendor Aramark in return for 7-year contract extension. Contract should be put up for bids in May, he said.

CBS' to re-run WM3 episode

On Saturday, Sept. 10, CBS plans to re-air "48 Hours: A Cry for Innocence," their fairly extensive report on the West Memphis Three case.

Ear Fear talks class warfare, the importance of art in city development

The line is open

How celebrities freed the West Memphis Three. Little Rock talks about a new Broadway Bridge.

Highway spending: Detour possible?

Recent discussions about federal money for a Broadway Bridge replacement and to support Arkansas interstate highway reconstruction come to mind in this article about questions of whether Republicans in Congress will stand in the way of the highway bill.

Poll: LR voters favor sales tax proposals UPDATE

The Arkansas Times commissioned polling this week on the two-part Little Rock sales tax election. It shows broad support for the two tax measures.

State financial report ominous

The monthly state revenue report does not bring good news for state government.

Porter's Jazz Cafe is actually going to open this time

A month after the grand opening that wasn't, Porter's Jazz Cafe now says it really is ready to host patrons starting today.

Cammack cop collars crooks

A Cammack Village news group posts kudos for Cammack police officer Sammy Green, who reportedly busted a thief in Little Rock while working a security job near UAMS in Little Rock.

Pieday: Pineapple Delight at Red Oak Fillin Station

A pie worthy of summer, the Pineapple Delight at Red Oak Fillin Station will take you back to a great Sunday-go-to-meeting sensation in the days when the Southern dish of ambrosia was the king of the sweets table.

Your Mama's Good Food headed to 2nd Street

Your Mama's Good Food is moving, which means for the month of September during the transition downtown diners are going to have to do without fried chicken, brown gravy and those massive rolls.

Record Exchange to host in-store with folks from Two Cow Garage

Micah and Shane from Two Cow Garage play the Record Exchange at 3 p.m. Saturday.

'Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin' ' coming to Little Rock

A new documentary about wrestling in Memphis opens next week at Market Street Cinema

Vote in Toast of the Town 2011

Voting for Toast of the Town, our annual booze and bars poll is open now.

Saturday To-Do: Set The Controls

Pink Floyd tribute act Set The Controls plays Revolution Saturday night.

UCA Board buying out Meadors' contract for $525,000

The University of Central Arkansas Board of Trustees has scheduled a telephone meeting at 3 p.m. today and it is expected to move quickly into executive session.

Oskar in the Spa

Musician/artist Lee Oskar is at Blue Moon for tonight's Gallery Walk reception.

Vote for Green Cuisine

Vote for Little Rock's vegetarian food truck and show some local pride.

Boswell-Mourot in Miami

Boswell-Mourot opening Miami gallery.

Friday follies

The line is open. A fun day or what?

Two escape Pulaski jail

The Pulaski sheriff's office said two inmates escaped from the Regional Detention Facility late last night.

'Right, wrong and UCA'

John Brummett takes a crack today at analyzing fast-moving events at the University of Central Arkansas, which rid itself of another problem president yesterday by buying out Allen Meadors' contract.

Consider Costco

I've often sung the praises of Costco, the warehouse store chain that, regrettably, doesn't operate in Arkansas.

Sunday To-Do: 38 Special

38 Special plays Magic Springs' Timberwood Amphitheater Sunday night.

Sunday To-Do: Tim Kasher

Tim Kasher plays Stickyz Sunday night.

Remembering Rohwer

An exhibit of drawings, paintings and objects by WWII internees is coming to the Arkansas Studies Institute.

John Walker opposes Little Rock sales tax

State Rep. John Walker, who carries community clout however much the white business establishment may resent it, is distributing a letter announcing his opposition to the Little Rock proposal to raise the half-cent sales tax by 200 percent.

Sunday: Reggae on the Riverfront, DevilDriver, Sunset Jazz Cruise and more

Rodney Block plays The Labor Day Weekend Sunset Jazz Cruise and its after party Sunday.

Woo pig

The line is open.

Highways unite left and right

John Brummett notes the irony of Democratic and Republican support for a massive highway bond program.

Life after prison for West Memphis Three

Mara Leveritt shares a note she received from a New Jersey lawyer about the post-prison needs of Jessie Misskelley.

Two dead after parents quarrel

Sad report this morning from the Pulaski County sheriff's office: On September 3rd at about 06:00 p.m., Pulsar County Sheriff's deputies responded to 2408 Roderweis (north eastern Pulaski County) in reference to a domestic disturbance with a report of shots fired.

The campaign against the city sales tax

Their money is negligible against the corporate money that has been poured into the city campaign to raise the sales tax by 200 percent so City Hall spending can increase by 26 percent annually, but opponents have gotten some printed material together, as the photo of a campaign worker sent by organizer Jim Lynch shows.

Maybe Tom Cotton was right 13 years ago

Remember the little mini-flap the other day in which the Arkansas Democratic Party used the Internet to dig up a Harvard op-ed written 13 years ago by Republican congressional candidate Tom Cotton in which he blasted the educational benefits of the Internet.

Count on: Death, taxes ...

... and charring meat over charcoal on Labor Day weekend. Top sirloin, I believe, will be the burnt offering of choice.

Sheriff's office identifies dead Cabot couple

NEWS UPDATE: The sheriff's office has released a report on what appears to be a murder-suicide about 6 p.m.

Those miraculous TIF districts

Beware of promoters bearing taxpayer subsidies for private business. No, I'm not talking (except contextually) about the $38 million economic development slush fund that the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce demanded be included in the 200 percent sales tax increase facing Little Rock voters Sept. 10.

Schools as jobs stimulus

John Brummett writes today of the expectation that President Obama will push for new stimulus spending in renovating and greening school facilities.

The Internet sales tax fight

Since Arkansas — at the behest of Walmart, other retailers and local government — joined in the movement to legislate a means to assess sales taxes on Internet sales, the Amazon war to overturn a similar law in California should be of interest.

Vote suppression fight continues

Talking Points Memo takes a long look today at developments in the surge of Republican legislative efforts to pass Vote ID laws transparently intended to suppress votes among Democratic constituencies.

Might there still be fall?

It would appear we haven't been totally deprived of fall yet. Nice day.

Comcast sucks

Two days running of malfunctioning Comcast On Demand. I noticed some reported trouble with Pay Per View last night.

Judge Griffen opposes Little Rock sales tax

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen is distributing a letter outlining his reasons for opposing the proposed Little Rock sales tax increase — a penny increase to produce almost $50 million a year — to be voted on Sept. 13.

Right-wing punk on parade

The Koch boys front group, Americans for Prosperity, and their local media mouthpiece, Dave Elswick are touting a Little Rock visit by right-wing provocateur James O'Keefe, whose dishonestly edited hit video led to the unraveling of ACORN and whose subsequent sneak videos, among others, won him a federal court conviction and national embarrassment for a "seduction" planned for a TV reporter.

The sales tax poll (1) is open

I should have mentioned in the earlier post that early voting has begun on the Little Rock sales tax increase proposal.

Know your presidents

Ernest Dumas once again contributes a column to good to delay until print publication. It's a simple list of questions about which of the recent presidents (back to Carter) created the most debt, cut taxes the most, oversaw the biggest government spending, etc. You can guess where this is heading and guess, too, that facts don't matter to the 'baggers and other Repubs.

Prescott's Broadway Railroad Cafe: Lost in time

Open since 1920, one of the oldest restaurants in the state is still serving up cooked to order breakfasts and lunches, right across from the railroad tracks.

Murphy money backs highway bond drive

Thanks to the Tolbert Report for noting filings in the campaign to get Arkansas voters to approve a new interstate highway repair bond issue.

Downtown Arvest Bank robbed

Police are reporting a robbery of the Arvest Bank at Capitol and Broadway. No one hurt or shots fired, according to initial reports.

Internet 'cafes': Another word for a casino?

Good article in this week's Arkansas Business by Mark Friedman about the arrival in Arkansas of so-called Internet cafes where the big revenue appears to be produced not by Internet access but by playing casino-style video games.

BREAKING: KARK's Cummins questioned in Labor Day death

KARK meterologist Brett Cummins was questioned by police and released yesterday in what appears to be either a drowning or drug overdose death in Maumelle in which the victim was found in a bathtub with a dog collar around his neck.

Sublime time to wine and dine

Looking for something to do Friday night? Food lovers — and wine lovers! — rejoice.

Report documents gas drilling violations

The Arkansas Public Policy Panel, a statewide progressive group, has released a report analyzing state inspection records of natural gas drilling and production sites that are compiled by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The report shows that violations of the state’s environmental regulations are frequent, that companies operating in the Fayetteville Shale are not following their own best management practices and that ADEQ is doing little to make sure corrective actions are taken by the violators.

Linda Sheets: Scratch-off success

Fayetteville artist's art kit to be sold by national retailers.

Cook SPAM, win money

Hey! Want to show off your creativity and perhaps win a little money, too?

LR tax supporters raise $112,000; hide expenses

It's a cheap outlay for $50 million a year (but it doesn't account all the free labor and exposure the city is contributing to the campaign.)

The city's sales tax secrets

Here's one possible indication why the Little Rock sales tax campaign is hiding specific campaign expenses by reporting only payments to Markham Group, the campaign manager.

Criswell, back then

For a good time, check in on the artist's website.

The Tuesday line

How about this. Two days through the work week after only one day of work for many of us.
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