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September 10, 2009

Vol 7 • No 35

2009 Fall Arts Calendar

A guide to cultural events this fall across the state.

A colossus of a show

There’s something special about mummies. We love mummies, or most of us do, anyway, a fact that old movies and Anne Rice books attest to.

Young at art

Evan Marks, the new director of marketing at the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, hasn’t been on the job a month, but has a good sense of who dominates his new employer’s audience base: “The industry term is ‘the blue-hairs,’ ” he said recently.

Mass appeal

An American economy held together by Popsicle sticks and gum has left everybody shaky and the theater companies, which struggle even in robust times, are understandably looking to put sure-fire crowd pleasers on the boards.

Fall Arts Guide

It’s time to step out again, people. Your summer of languor — of dips in the pool, jaunts to the lake and air-conditioning overdoses — is a thing of the past.

Back to health

The noise machine's talking point of the day yesterday -- outrage over a black Islamic foreign-born terrorist being allowed to address public school students -- is over.

Ghost writers in the sky

Ex-governor Sarah Palin has penned a guest editorial . . . hahahahaha . . .

No charges in UA rape complaint UPDATE

Three University of Arkansas basketball players were questioned in a reported campus rape at a frat house Aug. 27.

Almost here

The lottery rolls on.  The lottery commission is meeting this afternoon to discuss, among other things, getting a problem gambling program up and running by the Sept. 28 start date.  Representatives from the Department of Human Services were on hand to discuss how that program is coming along.  DHS officials said they will use the national hotline when the games begin.  Problem gamblers can call a number found on the back of each ticket.  Those calls will then be rolled over to a call center in Louisiana where staff will connect that person to the appropriate treatment center in Arkansas.  $200,000 was set aside for such a program in the lottery bill passed by the state legislature.  DHS said there were other plans under development, including establishing a problem gambling website, developing evaluation tools to measure outcomes and institute an education and prevention curriculum.  In other news, the commission had some sample scratch-off tickets on hand today.  One of the games is pictured above.  Sorry for the quality, but all I had was the video camera.  What you see is a still.  Capsearch is a-Twitter.  

Cry the beloved Arkansas

Cass Sunstein, a universally respected Harvard law professor who happens to harbor some liberal views, is the latest punching bag of the nut right.

Open line and Obama

Here's your thread. UPDATE: Well?

Sept. 2-9, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … FOOTBALL. The opposition wasn’t much, but fans loved the Hogs’ season opener, a high-octane 48-10 blowout of Missouri State.

Boomers on Facebook

Facebook is great. It allows you to keep up with old college friends, post inside jokes on your friend’s wall or share pictures of the huge keg party you went to last weekend.

What's Cooking, Sept. 10

Tap dancers and filet mignon will recapture the supper club era of yore at The SpeakEasy, which opened last week at 412 Louisiana St., former home to The Factory and neighbor to the Sports Bar restaurant.

Boyfriend found

I met my best boyfriend ever from your newspaper — indulge me and let me tell you a little about us.

A real health care story

Political opinions seldom get formed or changed by mere preaching or substantive policy debate.

The Televisionist, Sept. 10

Unless you were a muscle-headed jock back in junior high and high school, chances are that you’ve experienced bullying in some form or another.

Good and then some

If you’ve eaten at Lilly’s Dim Sum Then Some, you know that owner Kathy Webb and crew turn out some great food.

This Modern World, Sept. 10

Going viral

While it looks like a feared pandemic of the H1N1 “Swine Flu” virus has fizzled, the sometimes-deadly disease is still out there, soon to be joined by other flu viruses.

Editorial cartoon, Sept. 10

Forever and always

The jukebox musical has brought to theatrical stages the songs of Frank Sinatra, Janis Joplin and even Appalachian coal miners.

Hogs hold back for now

Never play poker with Bobby Petrino.

Smart Talk, Sept. 10

Economics Arkansas is a nonprofit that exists to promote better teaching of economics in Arkansas schools.

A&E News, Sept. 10

Though Verizon hasn’t yet announced it, the arena is penciled in for KISS’ “Alive/35” tour on the band’s website for Oct. 29.

‘Extract’ pure vanilla

Last year I wrote an open letter to Mike Myers about “The Love Guru,” telling him that he essentially made a half-assed copy of a Mike Myers movie, gave him some slack for perhaps being a bit rusty, and making some suggestions for how he could avoid such a disaster in the future.

Slackers

Remember school assemblies? No, they weren’t very memorable.

To-Do List, Sept. 10

Bennett Ryel Benefit, 'Our Town,' Frown Pow'r, Lucero / Cross Canadian Ragweed, 'Opening Night and Tchaikovsky, Charlie Robison and Astral Project are this week's top picks.

Fall fun

Mummies are ready for viewing at the Arkansas Arts Center. The Dave Matthews band is part of a busy music schedule. Patsy Cline tunes entertain at The Rep. It's our Fall Arts Guide, in this week's Times.

In Brief, Sept. 10

From east Tennessee, Cutthroat Shamrock plays bluegrass-influenced folk with the fervor of punk rock at White Water Tavern, 9 p.m., $5.

Sweet on Bentonville

Art, architecture and design students at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville now have dedicated exhibit space all their own, a gallery run for and by students.

Words, Sept. 10

“If going to a Travs game is a late-summer idyll, seeing the Hogs open its season at War Memorial is a debauched monument to a life-altering obsession”:

Orval, Sept. 10

Fair riff

Some of them on our county fair special-events committee wanted to start off this year’s fair with an old-fashioned greased-pig chase.

Ignorance unbound

Among the most persistent and far-fetched of modern myths is the one that says government is always wasteful and inefficient, and the private sector never is.

Bye ‘by’

We reported in last week’s Insider that the Arkansas-Democrat Gazette is now a little narrower than it used to be.

The commie scare

Joe Klein, the Time magazine columnist who ghosted the best-selling novel on the Clinton presidential campaign 15 years ago, drifted down to Russellville one night last week to catch Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s forum on health care.

The Observer, Sept. 10

A careful reader sent The Observer a classified advertisement from a recent issue of the Greenwood Democrat. Maybe you want to take advantage of this deal.

Q&A with ...

Arthur Post, the first candidate for Arkansas Symphony Orchestra conductor, leads the ASO in its opening program this weekend at Robinson Center Music Hall.

Late to the party

There's peril in being a late adopter. In today's New York Times, less than three weeks before the new state lottery begins pouring riches on Arkansas:

'baggers on display

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, my frat brother from South Carolina (shown above shakily defending his fiction-based slur of the president), was the star of boorish behavior, but he was by no means alone in the uncivil Republican mob at President Obama's speech last night.

A word from our sponsors

Consider this commercial message news you can use: The Arkansas Times has teamed up with a website, halfoffdepot.com, for a deal you'll be seeing advertised here in days ahead.

A word from our sponsors

Consider this commercial message news you can use: The Arkansas Times has teamed up with a website, halfoffdepot.com, for a deal you'll be seeing advertised here in days ahead.

Hope in real estate?

Here's the summary of July home sales in Arkansas. Total sales were up slightly statewide compared with the same month a year ago.

Thursday To-Do: Bennett Ryel Benefit

The Munk's, with Ryel on the back right on fiddle. BENNETT RYEL BENEFIT9 p.m., Revolution.

Lying down with dogs

So it turns out that Rep. Mike Ross has been parleying with Rep. Charles Boustany, the Republican from Louisiana who led yesterday's attack against President Obama's speech.

Damage control in Hogland

ESPN reports that UA basketball coach John Pelphrey is on the road recruiting and putting out fires from players' role in what was, at best, a group sexual grope of a drunk freshman in a late-night frat house bacchanal.

Calling Mike Ross

New data: 1 in 6 Arkansans lacks health insurance. The percentage of people covered by employer-provided health insurance in Arkansas is declining.

Ex-con set for lecture

Walt Pavlo made crime pay. He stole millions as an MCI WorldComm executive.

GOP boss has money troubles

Thanks to Arkansas News' aggregator for this news tip: A Saline County business owned by state Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb and his wife is in foreclosure, court documents show.

Going after Joe Wilson

Wes Clark has joined Democratic forces using U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst last night to raise money for Rob Miller, a Marine vet who lost a 54-46 race to Wilson for Congress last year despite a paltry $300,000 treasury.

Thursday Round-up

Greenies Unite: Repower America will host an organizational meeting in Russellville tonight at 7:00.  [GreenAR by the Day].  Not-so Hot Air: Gov. Beebe says that while Arkansas might not be a big wind producer, the state will be a leader in supplying the wind industry with the parts it needs to harness that power.

LR acquires park land

The city of Little Rock just got a new soccer field. Central Arkansas Water commissioners OK'd the conveyance of approximately 80 acres behind the Lake Maumelle dam on state Hwy. 300 to the city.

The Supremes are back

The Arkansas Supreme Court resumed issuing opinions today after its summer recess, mostly housekeeping-type orders.

Channel 4 roster changes

Channel 4 has announced a slew of personnel changes on its daily newscasts. The full account on the jump.

Supreme Court opening

There is this news from the Arkansas Supreme Court. Gov. Mike Beebe has announced he's been informed by Justice Annabelle Imber that she plans to retire Jan. 1.

High on Cotton

Some supercharged Republican politicos (their number doesn't match their energy just yet), are touting Arkansas native Tom Cotton (pictured), a Washington-area lawyer currently on active military duty, as the great right's hope to oppose Sen. Blanche Lincoln next year, even though nobody much has ever heard of him.

Your turn

Thursday line is open. NEWS UPDATE: I wrote earlier today about the lingering issues from the closed investigation of a sexual assault complaint involving Razorback basketball players.

Weekend To-Do: 'Our Town'

‘OUR TOWN'7:30 p.m. Weekend Theater.A high school staple at the Weekend Theater, home of social justice dramas and outre musicals?

In A Pickle.

  Jonelle Doughty is sitting in over at GreenAR By The Day... with another great recipe.  Try out Fridge Pickles with your cucumbers and spices.

Take-Home Change.

Something I’ve noticed lately? “To-Go” cups.

Curling up with a good e-book

Sometime around the first of October, patrons of the Central Arkansas Library System will be able to check out books from CALS, read them and return them, without ever going to the library.

Friday To-Do: Frown Pow'r

FROWN POW'R9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $5.We've been here before, brethren.

Weekend To-Do: 'Always ... Patsy Cline'

'ALWAYS ... PATSY CLINE'8 p.m., Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

The Weekend: DJ Irene, Velvet Kente, Noelle Hampton, Boondogs and more

Noelle Hampton. FRIDAY 9/11Superstar DJ Irene headlines a big bill at Revolution, with the Funk Commission, Jared Lawler and Ewell, Sleepy Genius and Blake Taylor opening, 8 p.m., $10-$16 (all military, police and fire personnel get in free before 10:30 p.m.).

Saturday To-Do: Lucero - Cross Canadian Ragweed

LUCERO / CROSS CANADIAN RAGWEED6 p.m., Arkansas Music Pavilion. $25.This is the last, at least officially announced, chance to see Lucero before they head back out on tour.  Locals may have been a bit peeved when the Memphis rockers released tour dates that did not include stops in Little Rock or Memphis.

Saturday and Sunday To-Do: 'Opening Night and Tchaikovsky'

‘OPENING NIGHT AND TCHAIKOVSKY'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.Saturday marks the beginning of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's conductor candidate performances.

Saturday To-Do: Charlie Robison

CHARLIE ROBISON9 p.m., Revolution. $10 adv., $12 d.o.s.Charlie Robison is part of that Texas country royalty honored for its literate song-writing and, more often than not, broke-down voice.

LR school enrollment up

The enrollment number isn't official until October and the increase is tiny, but nonetheless preliminary numbers show enrollment in the Little Rock School District up by 59 students over last year, when enrollment took a tumble.

Not that it matters to Mike Ross ...

But a Daily Kos post referring to respected number cruncher Nate Silver indicates there's at least plurality support for a public health insurance option in Arkansas's 4th District.

Not that it matters to Mike Ross ...

But a Daily Kos post referring to respected number cruncher Nate Silver indicates there's at least plurality support for a public health insurance option in Arkansas's 4th District.

Alive!

A Paragould native wanted for bank fraud who faked his drowning in Mississippi five years ago has been found alive in Alabama, working as an airport manager.

9-11 'training exercise'

With the Obamas at a 9/11 event not far away, the Coast Guard undertook what was apparently an unannounced training exercise on the Potomac River in Washington.

Nuevo Mexican.

I’ve been watching with interest the installation of the new restaurant in the old Kettle location at Fair Park and I-630.

Where have you gone, Joe?

Public Policy Polling won't have final numbers until this afternoon, but its Twitter comments indicate Jivin' Joe Wilson apparently did President Obama a world of good by dishonestly calling the president a liar during his speech to Congress.

UA enrollment a record UPDATE

Nearly 20,000 students have enrolled this fall at the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, a record and an increase of more than 3 percent over last year.

Chancellor backs Pelphrey UPDATE

UA Chancellor David Gearhart backs basketball coach John Pelphrey. Players who misbehave?

Beebe picks new Education boss

Gov. Beebe has made his recommendation (it will be followed by the Board of Education) for a new leader of the state Education Department.

Fill your hand . . .

Variety is reporting that Jeff Bridges is in talks to play Rooster Cogburn in the Coen Brothers' movie remake of Arkansas writer Charles Portis' "True Grit."

Rove's boy

Tim Griffin (does the former Bush White House hit man need an introduction?) has talked about running for everything from state rep. in Magnolia to U.S. Senate.

News-Dump Friday

Shifting Deadline: Mother Jones says the deadline for passing the Waxman-Markey bill is shifting more than melting glaciers.  According to an article by Rachel Morris, "the Senate has jettisoned the deadline for the bill, and momentum to quickly pass legisltion appears to be vanishing."  [Mother Jones].

Torch, twang, laughs

Jessica Welch channels Patsy Cline, says Werner Trieschmann in his review of the Rep's new musical, "Always ...

GOP chief: Not to worry

State Republican Chairman Doyle Webb has sent a letter to the GOP State Committee regarding a foreclosure action over more than $600,000 owed on his family's florist shop in Benton.

Letter of the law UPDATE

Speaking of the GOP and that "Birth of a Nation"-size cast for the U.S. Senate nomination.

Lincoln lifts an Arkie

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, new chair of the Agri committee, has begun wielding the gavel.

Enough!

Over to y'all.

The release

Frown Pow'r headlines a CD release party at Sticky Fingerz tonight. Get there early to catch openers The See and Androids of Ex-Lovers.

E-books coming to LR library

Sometime around the first of October, patrons of the Central Arkansas Library System will be able to check out books from CALS, read them and return them, without ever going to the library. The convenient volumes will not be printed books, but e-books.

The great compromiser

John Brummett sends another valentine to U.S. Rep. Mike Ross for leading the way to health legislation most acceptable to insurance companies.

Will he fight?

President Obama told Congress he was ready to stand up to the liars and obstructionists.

Hanging onto the fair

Fox 16 has a report about LR officials meeting with State Fair officials on hanging onto the fair, which is seeking proposals for a new site within 35 miles of Little Rock.

Ark. death in Afghanistan

A Jonesboro Army lieutenant, West Point graduate Tyler Parten, has been killed in fighting in Afghanistan.

Birthers, 'baggers and other bozos

The Washington Post reports that the Republican Party has a strategy. It will embrace the idea of being the party of protest.

Just when your 401(k) stopped hemorrhaging

Lead story in today's New York Times -- Year After a Cataclysm Little Change on Wall Street -- casts a pall on the recent gains in the Dow.The article says, in essence, that the things that caused the financial meltdown remain standard operating procedure on Wall Street and that virtually zero meaningful reform has been imposed.The economist who forecast the bust of the dot-com era and the recent housing bubble bust says another Wall Street cataclysm is mere years away.Why has Obama shown absolutely no zeal to fix the financial mess?

Madame chairwoman UPDATE

Does Sen. Blanche Lincoln's rise to Senate Agri chair help her re-election bid? Doesn't hurt, DeMillo analysis says.

Over to you

The Saturday open line is on the air.

Content of our character

Former Judge Wendell Griffen has a knack for riling certain people -- particularly conservative Republicans and Arkansas Dixiecrats.

Love that dirty water

The New York Times today publishes a huge investigative piece on the country's failure to enforce clean water laws and the troubles that many endure from drinking chemically contaminated water.

Viva la France

Universal health coverage. Lower cost.

'Boy; Oh, Boy'

It's a mistake to put too much credence in much of what Maureen Dowd has to say.

Supreme Court candidate

Pulaski Circuit Judge Tim Fox will announce his candidacy tomorrow for the 2010 election to fill the four years that will be remaining on the term of Supreme Court Justice Annabelle Imber.

Sunday thread

Spin it.

Lies, damn lies and Repubs

John Brummett endeavors to explain the rules of decorum to the blind, deaf and intellectually dumb (defenders of Joe Wilson, Sarah Palin, etc.) In the matter of Joe Wilson:

China targets chicken

China is talking chicken meat tariffs. (But wait.

Stimulating the web

Roby Brock at Talk Business reports on efforts in Arkansas to get a share of federal stimulus money to improve broadband access in Arkansas.

Card check debate

Former Appeals Court Judge Wendell Griffen and Republican state Sen. Gilbert Baker, now a candidate for U.S. Senate, will debate the Employee Free Choice Act at 5:30 p.m. today at the UALR Law School.

Monday To-Do: Astral Project

ASTRAL PROJECT8 p.m., Afterthought. $12 adv., $15 d.o.s.If you consider yourself a jazz lover or admirer — hell, even if you're curious in the slightest — you must, repeat, must catch the Astral Project at the Afterthought at least once before you die.

Fayettevillians being 'dooped'

A hot election is coming in Fayetteville on a property tax for an expensive new high school.

Commercial break

I mentioned last week a new Arkansas Times promotion -- half-off gift certificates at local restaurants and a hotel.

Kimbrell confirmed

No surprise here. The state Board of Education recommended Tom Kimbrell to be the next Education Department director.

Kudos, and a check, for DHS

The state of Arkansas has received more than $800,000 for exceeding targets to find more adoptive homes for foster children, particularly some harder-to-place children.

Huckabee: Journalism dead

The Huckster blasts journalism. Media's chief sin: Writing unflattering stuff about The Huckster when he says dumb stuff and not enough about a minor White House operative who's said some stuff The Huckster thinks was dumb.

Let us at 'em

The first shipment of Arkansas lottery tickets arrived in Little Rock today and lotto boss Ernie Passailaigue (below in Brian Chilson photo) was among those on hand as the bundles rolled off a truck.

Here comes Target to University

I wrote recently of hints that the dormant Park Avenue shopping center on the site of the old University Mall was showing signs of life, particularly that a Target might soon be coming as an anchor tenant.

Remember the super collider?

Remember the Super Conducting Super Collider, which was to be a massive physics experiment on the plains of north Texas?

New poll: Lincoln lags

Here's the Daily Kos poll promised last week on Arkansas political feelings. U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln leads, but can't crack 50 percent, against any Republican challenger (the best any Repub can do is 37 percent but the crop is currently mostly unknown). Polling was done before her elevation to Agri chair, but I doubt that matters much with rank-and-file voters.

New poll: Lincoln lags

Here's the Daily Kos poll promised last week on Arkansas political feelings. U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln leads, but can't crack 50 percent, against any Republican challenger (the best any Repub can do is 37 percent but the crop is currently mostly unknown). Polling was done before her elevation to Agri chair, but I doubt that matters much with rank-and-file voters.

Lamest?

It would be interesting to hear from historians or those with a long historical perspective on this topic:Has Arkansas ever had a lamer congressional delegation that its present one?Tom Dillard?

'Pants on fire'

The 'baggers wildly overestimated the crowd at their D.C. weekend protest, augmenting the lies with a phony photograph.

KISS coming

I told you it was an almost sure thing last week in the paper, now it's been confirmed.

UCA: Still cleaning up

Today, the Claims Review Subcommittee of the Arkansas Legislative Council voted unanimously to uphold an Arkansas State Claims Commission decision to award $150,000 in damages to SportsStarManagement.  The sports marketing compnay originally sought $1.5 million from the University of Central Arkansas, after its three-year contract with the university was cancelled.  UCA claims the company didn't bring in enough revenue and the commission they charged for athletic sponsorships was too high.

Monday, Monday

The line is open.

LRSD and charter schools UPDATE

Last week, Chris Heller, the attorney for the Little Rock School District, made a filing in federal court related to the state's ongoing push to end Pulaski County desegregation litigation.

Madame Chairwoman

I mentioned the other day that there's a political downside for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln to be hailed by the agri lobby as the new chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The death of journalism

More evidence for Mike Huckabee that journalism is dead -- another writer who says The Huckster has shoved his foot in his mouth.

And the Leno verdict is?

Now the important stuff. The Tonight Show is too late for me. But Jay Leno's new slot catches me still awake.

Nice Guy.

  Sam Choy is a nice guy. Got to meet the chef this morning at Pulaski Technical College’s south campus.

A place called Hope

Most-read story on the Hope Star website (link fixed) currently is a detailed account of a Saturday night disturbance in Hope that produced arrests, conflicting accounts on whether a Taser was used and suspension of a reserve officer for using a racial epithet while talking to his wife, unaware that his police radio mike was open.

Recession seems to be over

So says Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. But don't cue up "Happy Days Are Here Again."

Tuesday's News

In Focus: Green business will be one of the topics discussed at the Little Rock Sustainability Summit on Saturday, September 26.  [Arkansas Business].

Tuesday: Band of Heathens, Future Leaders of the World and Chris Denny

Band of Heathens. Austin-based country rockers Band of Heathens topped the Americana music charts last year with its Ray Wylie Hubbard-produced self-titled debut.

Retirement System eyes building sale

The Board of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System voted today to try to negotiate the sale of the Victory Building, built at Capitol and Woodlane 10 years ago for $44 million, to USA Drug, which has offered $16.9 million.

Meet you with the lobby

Paul Barton checks in from Washington with another follow-the-dots report on U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's personal ties to, and financial support by, the health industry lobby.

Sneak peak

This basalt sarcophagus lid was one of the Egyptian treasures Times photographer Brian Chilson got to shoot today when he previewed the Arkansas Arts Center's "World of the Pharaohs" exhibit.

Annals of gun nuttery

A fellow recently jailed on an assault charge packed a couple of pistols to a recent Obama health event in Minnesota.

UPDATE: House rebukes Wilson

UPDATE: After a lengthy debate -- rules of decorum are rules decorum (D) vs. he already apologized enough (R) -- the House of Representatives today passed a resolution disapproving the behavior of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson for shouting "you lie" at President Obama during his speech to Congress last week.

The Cheese Car Cometh.

It's here... this jazzy little car o'cheese sitting outside the U.S. Pizza Company location on Rodney Parham.  It's full of T-shirts and such promoting what else, cheese.  The vehicle's out there, courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Council, to remind you about the power of cheese.  All sorts of neat things at the website, including the chance to win this Chevy HHR or $2500 in groceries.   Even if you don't see the Cheese Car and obtain your nifty difty T-shirt, you can go online, upload a photo involving cheese and be eligible for prizes that way.  It's all in the name of promoting local dairy farmers.  Have fun with it!  It'll be in town through Friday.

Open line UPDATE FOR ELECTIONS

The line is open. If I can, I'll check back on a couple of school issues -- one being the property tax increase for a new $100 million Fayetteville High School.

Back to low-tech

A number of records were set at the Arkansas high school swimming championships in February. There probably won't be so many record-breaking performances next year.

Pencils with hats

God banished us from Eden for cause, and one condition of our exile was that we had to work. We had to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow. That meant chopping cotton or chasing down and whomping woolly mammoths. For the televangelist it means having to fly dangerous missions into darkest Africa to check on his diamond mines. It's not supposed to be easy, in other words. It's supposed to be hard and unpleasant because it's punishment. But at the risk of misdemeanor blasphemy, I'm always on the lookout for tips and tricks and shortcuts to make my own work easier.

In the early morning rain

Catching up on odds and ends: * D-G reports 15 proposals responding to State Fair's search for a new site (or improving the existing LR location).

Going after Acorn

Guerilla filmmakers nailed some Acorn workers with a bit of video, enough to leverage congressional action (Rep. John Boozman, he of little record, has even jumped on the bandwagon with anti-Acorn legislation) against the community organization born in Arkansas.

ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS . . .

National Merit honors announced

Names were released today of the 147 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists in Arkansas. This link gives you the full explanation and list of all 147.

Five-alarm fire in Morrilton

Channel 4 has details on last night's downtown blaze.

Bush White House tell-all

I heard a mention on Olbermann last night of a new book by a former speech writer for George W. Bush and was intrigued because of Bush's reported comments about politics.

Chris Denny and the Natives

Denny in Prospect Park in New York last month with Deer Tick. Via Brooklyn Vegan.

Troubled bank loans

New reporting has produced a list of U.S. banks with the highest ratio of troubled loans to capital.

Enter the Baucus bill

Since discussion has already begun on other threads, let's give an opportunity for comment on Max Baucus' idea for health legislation, which appeared today.

Be the envy of every kid in your neighborhood

Max Recordings is selling limited edition skate decks designed by Isaac Alexander and made by Paige Hearn.

UCA celebrates 'Blood Car'

UCA continues its recent run of bringing in a smart, oddball mix of artists in residence by hosting Georgia filmmaker Mike Brune this week.

Paying for road construction

Rep. Mark Martin has compiled a running report on the committee discussing ways to produce more money for highway construction.

On whipping kids

Most of the civilized world -- that would include western democracies and most U.S. states (not Arkansas) -- accept the overwhelming evidence that argues against corporal punishment of children.

Suzi Parker launches zine about your mother-pastor-daughter-uncle getting it on

Legs. Local author Suzi Parker is launching a new zine next Thursday at Satellite called, appropriately enough, SuZine.

Wednesday: Bear Colony, Star and Micey, old dudes, more

Bear Colony. Local indie collective Bear Colony headlines at Juanita's with All the Day Holiday, 9 p.m., $7.

No politics, Beebe says

Uh huh. Not a bit of politics involved if George Hopkins at the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System pulls back from trying to reclaim possibly $10 million in retirement benefits paid improperly to veteran public school employees who took their retirement pensions to state colleges and universities that then paid them excessively for new jobs on top of pensions. Do you have any idea how big a howl these politically connected school people can make?

Mary Travers 1936-2009

She died today of cancer in a Connecticut hospital.

Beating the bushes

We've reported that George W. and Laura Bush were expected in town for a private dinner at retired Alltel exec Joe Ford's home, perhaps related to Bush's efforts to raise money for his presidential library.
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