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September 16, 2010

Vol 37 • No 2

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There went the neighborhood

Airport expansion, empty lots and Little Rock's fading East End.

Party labeling on the ballot

Jason Tolbert reports on the effort by candidates for non-partisan offices in Saline County to add "Republican" to their names on the election ballot.

2nd Friday: ASI

"Making Pictures," ALA show tonight.

Republicans would swell deficit

We've long known that deficits only count for Republicans when they occur under Democratic administrations.

BBQ sets house on fire

A fire heavily damaged a house at Lee and Van Buren in Hillcrest early this morning.

Lucinda Williams' two-night stand in the Fay

Lucinda Williams is set to play a last-minute show this Sunday at George's Majestic

Development in church burglaries

Police today arrested a man driving a stolen car believed to have been involved in the rash of church burglaries Sunday night.

Republicans party like it's 1865

Many thanks to blog reader any*mouse who alerted me to news out of South Carolina about some costumed entertainment staged for the National Federation of Republican Women meeting in Charleston, S.C., where the war of northern aggression began and where old times have clearly not been forgotten.

The political hall of shame

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has added Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell to its list of America's Most Crooked Candidates.

Judge nixes party label for ballot

The Saline Courier tweets that a candidate for Bryant mayor has lost her goofy court bid to have "Republican" as part of her name on the ballot for the non-partisan office.

Facts? State GOP doesn't need them

Talk about a pre-emptive strike. On news that the AFL-CIO is sending out mailers to its members around the country urging support for Democratic congressional candidates, including Joyce Elliott in Arkansas's 2nd District, the Arkansas Republican Party has issued a news release blasting the mailer though it apparently hasn't seen it.

Those hot summer nights

Here's an interesting announcement of a news conference by an environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, about the hot summer.

The line is open

Anything good to report?

Crossing the Crystal Bridges

Photos of construction at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville.

Eye on Arkansas, Sept. 16

ERA: Three states more

When you're competing against the clock for the Grand Prize, you may not win, but at least you're entitled to your previous winnings.

In Brief, Sept. 16-18

Cowboy Mouth, Deborah Norville, Hwy. 5, Maya Blue, "Evita," Red Collar and more.

Follow the charter money

We took a look at for spending by the wealthy businessmen leading charter school promotion in Arkansas.

451 F.

I'm thinking I might want to get in on some of this book-burning business. I've got a lot of books. Too many books.

Chamber blows it

It is a shame that a state as rich in natural resources as Arkansas has to succumb to the will of a few powerful industries.

Easy streaming

Twitter is so last year., a live-streaming smartphone app, allows users to broadcast instantly from anywhere.

A deadly, determined dame

It's not everyone's cup of tea, but if all you're expecting is keister-kicking ladies delivering shotgun blasts to zombie noggins, you'll probably have a good time.

The Observer, Sept. 16

The Observer has developed a new obsession of late: searching for videos tagged "Arkansas" on Youtube. You'd be surprised what folks out there in the hinterlands can get up to in just a week.

Orval, Sept. 16, 2010

Porn video meets community standards

A jury recently acquitted two men and a corporation of obscenity charges for selling sexually explicit videos at the Adult World store in Widener.

The trial period is over for the Hogs

You can't feel good about the season if the Razorbacks stumble to the finish line on Saturday. Arkansas can and should beat Georgia, but it would help me sleep at night if they'd do so with some authority.

This Modern World, Sept. 16, 2010

The To-Do List, Sept. 16-19

Harlem, Afiara String Quartet, Murder by Death/Samantha Crain, Root Cafe's 'Dinner and a Movie,' Japanther, Hot Springs Jazz Fest and The Small Ponds.

The Televisionist, Sept. 16

On "Boardwalk Empire."

The Week That Was, Sept. 8-14, 2010

Good week: Main Street music, college enrollment, reality TV, slimy politics, LRSD. Bad week: Rep. John Boozman, Mike Huckabee, Chihuahuas.

What's Cookin, Sept. 16

Lewis Curtis, Lulav's executive chef, will face the fires of Hades when he appears on Fox's reality cooking show, "Hell's Kitchen," this fall.

Rock n' roll homecoming

Ho-Hum, Big Boss Line, many more reunite for Vino's 20th anniversary celebration on Saturday.

Keeping the fire lit

Neighborhood presses city to rebuild Leisure Center.

Disfarmer flip side

Massengills' portraits, 'Three for a Dime.'

Clinton beholds our angry amnesia

One advantage Clinton holds in analyzing political mistakes is that he probably has made them, perhaps famously.

Classic Americana

Frontier Diner a traditional roadside place to dine and dash.

Politics, tax policy converge

In the fight to extend Bush tax cuts, some Democrats just go on and join the Republicans rather than correct them. It's easier, at least in Arkansas.

A great debate

Little Rock's choice

Thursday To-Do: Afiara String Quartet

AFIARA STRING QUARTET7:30 p.m., St. Mark's Episcopal Church. $10-$25.

Thursday To-Do: Harlem

HARLEM9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $5.

Thursday To-Do: Murder by Death-Samantha Crain

MURDER BY DEATH / SAMANTHA CRAIN8 p.m., Downtown Music. $14.

Poll: Boozman leads Lincoln by 17

A Mason-Dixon poll finds it 51-34 for John Boozman over Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Only 51?

An angle for Democrats?

A raft of new polling in recent days ratifies the Republican Party's obvious advantage in 2010 at every level.

Beebe's big lead

Nate Silver's political analysis gives Mike Beebe a 96 percent likelihood of being re-elected governor.

Limbaugh stung by Internet prank

The Florida federal judge hearing the challenge of the health care law is a bear slayer and taxidermist with mounted critters in his courtroom.

A state car in every garage

A Democrat-Gazette story this morning says the count at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is now 658 vehicles and 613 employees.

House Republicans wrangling

It was inevitable. With growing strength comes growing potential for division.

Thank you, sir, may I have another tax cut?

Have the Bush tax cuts been great, or what? The percentage in poverty in the U.S. is now 1 in 7, the highest rate since 1994.

Caution kids: CCTV in operation

The Hope School District has spent $540,000 in federal stimulus money to install surveillance cameras in most classrooms — special ed is among some exempted areas.

Opening tonight: 3 Women Who Paint

At the Heights Gallery.

Ozark artists open up

Some 60 North Arkansas artists are opening their studios this weekend.

Beebe names two judges

Gov. Mike Beebe filled two judicial vacancies today. He appointed Susan Hickey of El Dorado to succeed the late Circuit Judge Carol Anthony.

Gambling with abused kids' money

Police beat news from Saline County: The woman in a charge of a program intended to provide court advocates for abused and neglected children has been accused of diverting money from the program to run a gambling house masquerading as a charity bingo game.

Believe it or not ....

Sen. Mitch McConnell said small businesses making more than $250,000 in profits per year were "hardest hit by the recession."

Patriotism never goes out of style

Taken from inside Big Whiskey's in the River Market a few hours ago.

Game and Fish kills 15 deer

The state Game and Fish Commission has announced it killed 15 red and fallow deer being kept illegally in White County to remove any chance they might carry a disease that could spread to native deer.

Spinnin' wheel got to go 'round

Today's edition of "Whistling Past the Graveyard," by Blanche Lincoln's campaign manager Steve Patterson.

Sartain named archbishop

J. Peter Sartain, the former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock, has been named archbishop of Seattle.

What Entergy giveth ....

Entergy taketh away after a recent rate reduction. Or at least a bit of it.

NLR's Drake hired in Little Rock

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola confirms that Michael Drake, who has directed the office of sustainability for North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays and worked on federal grant programs, has been hired for $100,000 a year to be the city's chief services officer to oversee efforts to enlist volunteers and other organizations in providing local services.

Time is on your side

The line is open. I'm outta here.

The strange nature of barbecue joint names

Does anyone really have a plain name for a barbecue restaurant? And how far would you travel, just to check out one with a weird name?

Party loyalty in Arkansas

New poll shows Arkansans feel closer to Republicans than Democrats in national elections, but still slightly lean Democratic in state and local elections.

UA to honor Silas Hunt

The University of Arkansas is planning to build an outdoor monument to Silas Hunt, the first black to attend the UA Law School.

Early release of D-G endorsement

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette apparently favors candidates it supports with early viewing of endorsement editorials. Or it did for Charlie Wood, candidate for re-election to the Pulaski County School Board.

Joyce Elliott live

The Blue Arkansas blog will have a live blogging sessions with Joyce Elliott, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, at 2 p.m. today.

Don't cry for Argentina

Some more development is necessary on this before I provide more details, but I received an interesting e-mail last night from a former North Little Rock resident who said he was married last month in Buenos Aires under Argentina's new law allowing people of the same sex to marry.

Friday To-Do: Root Cafe's 'Dinner and a Movie'

ROOT CAFE'S DINNER AND A MOVIE6:30 p.m., Christ Episcopal Church. $15.

Friday To-Do: Japanther

JAPANTHER8 p.m., Low Key Arts, Hot Springs. $5.

UA to commission sculpture

The U of A will commission an artist to sculpt a memorial to Silas Hunt.

ArtWalking in Argenta tonight

Barry Thomas, Rene Hein, Lynn Sudderth and more.

New businesses in River Market district

A news release announces a bakery and a wine bar are to open in the Tuf-Nut Shops at Third and River Market Avenue, a little more commerce for the nearby condo dwellers.

The rifleman: Chad Causey

Whatever else happens, Chad Causey won't lose the race for 1st District Congress on account of gun nuts.

Keet after cars, again

Badly needing a change of subject from his poor tax bookkeeping, Repubican gubernatorial candidate Jim Keet will have a news conference this morning to talk about the state car fleet and raise questions about whether some car use is in violation of Amendment 70, which stripped elected officials of their public relations account and limited compensation to statutorily fixed salaries.

Mike Huckabee, 'family values' on parade

That great family value, fear and loathing, is on display today at the so-called Values Summit.

Take this, Glenn Beck

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cRally to Restore Sanitywww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party Yes, this is definitely what's needed.

Historic marriage in Argentina

Former Arkansan Edward Pope married Ruben Tanoira in Buenos Aires on Aug. 20. Pope may be the first American man to marry in Argentina after Argentina reformed its marriage laws July 14 to allow people of the same sex to marry.

The Weekend: 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' As I Lay Dying, Cody Belew and more

FRIDAY 9/17 The Children's Theatre opens its stage adaptation of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," 7 p.m., $10-$14.

Words have meaning

Oh, why not broaden the debate begun by Republican candidate Jim Keet and GOP chairman Doyle "Where there's a will there's a" Webb about free cars for constitutional officers.

Settlement in Marble Falls sewer case

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has announced settlement of a lawsuit against the Marble Falls sewer improvement district whose leaky sewer system has threatened a Buffalo River tributary with pollution.

Weekend To-Do: Vino's 20th Anniversary Celebration

You can ask anyone who grew up spending weekends at Vino's: It's easy to get nostalgic about Seventh and Chester.

Focus on Saturday

Gallery 26 brings three photographers together for the fourth time when it opens "95% in the Moment" tomorrow.

Proud to be Americans

A naturalization ceremony at the Clinton Library today was as uplifting as ever. Smiling faces.

Crain Media hires Gladner

A little news from the world of radio. Neal Gladner, whose radio experience includes stints as general manager of KARN and the Arkansas Radio Network, will start work Oct. 1 as general manager of Crain Media, which has three stations in Little Rock, three in Searcy and one in Conway.

Elliott and Griffin mix it up

A good report by Jason Tolbert, with plenty of video, from a joint appearance before the Pulaski Bar today by 2nd District congressional candidates Joyce Elliott and Tim Griffin.

Tim Griffin flipflops on Fair Tax UPDATE

This is interesting. The Elliott campaign says Tim Griffin has done a 180 on the Fair Tax, the punishing 30 percent sales tax that would be a gift to billionaires, a devastating lick to the poor and middle class.

Take it away

The Friday open line begins.

Likes and dislikes

Shocking: Mason-Dixon polling for Stephens Media shows President Obama is viewed unfavorably by 55 percent of Arkansans.

Cutting future pensioners

This New York Times story requires some further study. It says, to deal with actuarial shortfalls caused by plummeting investment values, state pension funds around the country have been cutting pension benefits expected to be paid for people not yet fired and booking the savings now to shore up the perceived soundness of the retirement systems.

Blame aplenty in judgeship mess

New reporting in the Democrat-Gazette today says there are now no candidates for one federal judgeship in the western district of Arkansas.

Rhymes with glitch

How about this? Christine O'Donnell, the Tea Party candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware, has dabbled in witchcraft and it's all on tape from many appearances on Bill Maher's show.

This week in Arkantube

David Koon has begun a weekly project of rounding up video of interest to Arkansas on YouTube.

Farewell Charlie Johnston

It'd be wrong not say a word of farewell to my friend, neighbor and fellow political traveler Charlie Johnston, the retired savings and loan executive who died this week at 84.

Rappin' for Keet UPDATE

Better starting bringing it Beebe. Jim Keet has a rap video up on Facebook.

Saturday sale at the Scene

Work by Jon Shannon Rogers.

Saturday slate

It's clean. Start writing.

The missing endorsement

How about that. Pulaski County School Board member Charlie Wood himself wrote the editorial that was posted for a time on his Facebook page last week and which was described as the Democrat-Gazette's endorsement of his candidacy, though not yet published.

Calling Commodore Hays

It appears they're having a hard time finding a home for the decommissioned aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy.

Judicial candidate still alive?

Contrary to reports yesterday, I've received indications from two sources that the federal review process has been continuing for Susan Hickey of El Dorado, the long-time clerk to federal Judge Harry Barnes, as a candidate for nomination to succeed him as a federal district judge.

Those poor Republicans

President Clinton recently said that voters were suffering from amnesia, but it looks like the pundits have a case of it themselves.

Sunday thoughts here

BP's well is dead. That's good news.

Sunday To-Do: The Small Ponds

THE SMALL PONDS7 p.m., White Water Tavern. Steadily, Travis Hill is turning his Little Rock label Last Chance Records into a national player.

Lincoln, issues poll poorly

A new Talk Business poll has it 56-29, John Boozman over Blanche Lincoln. The poll also sampled some issues.

Obama looks for excitement

Can the White House exploit Tea Party successes by making them a sign that the Republican Party is being taken over by extremists?

The poor, poor rich folks

Paul Krugman explains why the Republican Party and some Democrats are pushing so hard to keep the angry and mewling rich people from having to pay 3 to 4 percent more on income taxes: You see, the rich are different from you and me: they have more influence.

Ole Miss shelving Col. Reb

In light of the vigorous discussion here the other day about the continuation of Rebel flag-waving, a Rebel mascot and other Old South trappings at Highland High School in North Arkansas, you might be interested in the New York Times' story on the last year of the Col. Reb mascot (much like a plantation-era figure used by Highland.)

Janet Huckabee in wreck UPDATE

To the caller who reported seeing former Arkansas First Lady Janet Huckabee standing alongside Interstate 30 near an accident this morning, your eyes did not deceive you. State Police say she caused the multiple-car crash.

Happy days are here again

Many headlines this morning on the official finding that the recession, which began in December 2007, ended in June 2009 and the economy, though not back to normal, is recovering.

Tuf-Nut Shops lands Brown Sugar Bakeshop, new bar

The Tuf-Nut Shops, on the corner of River Market Avenue and Third Street, is getting two new tenants on November 1.


If the news bubble ever bursts, Times associate editor Gerard Matthews will be prepared. He and his buddies have started a cake making operation (for friends only so far) that I think has legs.

Purged U.S. attorneys in LR

Former former U.S. attorneys are talking about the Bush political purge of the Justice Department during their tenures.

Pity the 'small businesses'

Republicans are pulling out the old "small business" card to fight an end to Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy — generally people with TAXABLE income (after deductions) of more than $250,000.

World art

Heifer Village hosting show by artists from around the world.

Name that Arkansas artist

This week's mystery artist works in 3 dimensions.

Hurry the elections

It's growing a little wearisome. * More debate debates: Republican Jim Keet complains that Gov. Mike Beebe won't agree to an additional TV debate on a network affiliate beyond the debate already scheduled on AETN.

Former U.S. attorney rips Tim Griffin

Paul Charlton, one of the ousted U.S. attorneys who spoke at the UALR Bowen School of Law this afternoon, had more to say about second congressional district candidate Tim Griffin's role in the scandal than did Bud Cummins, a lot more. Character matters and Griffin lacks it.

Twiztid want to know your secrets

Possibly because of our warm coverage of the Insane Clown Posse in the past, I get PR packets from Psychopathic Records fairly regularly.

Ho-Hum - "Ordinary People" at Vino's 20th anniversary

Saturday night, even the steeliest of regular show-goers were crammed towards the front of the stage,dancing and singing—nope— screaming along for the entirety of Ho-Hum's set.

The line is open

Put your comments here. Or not.

The gender gap

More evidence for that big book, "Men Are Sorry." From the New York Times: Men say they will vote for the Republican candidate rather than the Democratic candidate in their districts by a margin of 45 percent to 32 percent.

Bill Clinton's third way

Always Be Converting your enemies. That ABC of politics worked well for Bill Clinton and he's still at it.

School election day

Some critical school elections today. In Little Rock, the future of Superintendent Linda Watson could be on the line in the contest between incumbent Micheal Daugherty, who supports Watson, and Michael Nellums, the Mills High principal who is being supported by people who think Watson should be in her last year as superintendent.

Blue Dogs and billionaires

If the Republicans have their way, and force a single vote on extension of all Bush tax cuts — rather than a separate vote on continuing the economically useless bonanza for the wealthy — they'll have Blue Dog Democrats to thank, Talking Points Memo notes.

Fill 'er up

The Red Oak Fillin Station near Carpenter Dam is something else — not quite full-scale restaurant, not quite convenient store. But tasty, nonetheless.

Do tell

The U.S. Senate votes about 1 p.m. today on whether to break a filibuster on a defense bill including repeal of don't-ask-don't-tell not to mention the Dream Act to give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship through the military or college.

Unemployment rate up in August

Arkansas's unemployment rate rose from 7.4 in July to 7.5 percent in August, the state reports.

We're No. 44! And other silliness

The Beebe campaign touts new per capita income figures that put Arkansas at 44th in 2009, highest evuh.

Don't ask, don't vote UPDATE II

Looks like Susan Collins will stymie at least for today efforts to end the ban on open gay military service.

What's to debate on tax cuts

The polling couldn't be clearer. American people want to keep the middle class tax cuts but make the wealthy pay a little more.

Teacher merit pay doesn't work

Vanderbilt University has released results of the first scientific assessment of merit pay — or bonuses to teachers based on students' performance. Student performance was unaffected.

Architecture lecture tonight

The UA-designed home in Pettaway Park is the subject.

Justice Corbin leaves hospital

Associate Justice Donald Corbin of the Arkansas Supreme Court has left the hospital after removal of a portion of his lung where a cancerous tumor was found.

ASO pulls out all stops in welcome video for new music director

Do you like puns? How bout rapid fire clip-videos meant to represent Arkansas? If you answered yes twice, you're in luck. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra put together the video above to welcome new music director Philip Mann, who makes his debut as conductor next weekend at Robinson Music Hall.

It's true, though, that Boozman's worse

Sen. Blanche Lincoln calls John Boozman a liar. He's feeling a little heat from attacks on his record in support of privatizing Social Security and sponsoring a 30 percent national sales tax.

LRCVB CEO headed to Florida

Thanks to an Arkansas Business heads-up: Dan O'Byrne, chief executive officer of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been chosen to head the tourism and convention effort in Jacksonville, Fla. That would appear to be a step up, not to mention a step away from an agency with growing revenue that is under steady pressure for bailout help from the beleaguered city government.

Over to you

The Tuesday line is open. I'll be back later with school election results.

Pulaski school election results

Here are results from early voting in the contested races for seats on the Little Rock and Pulaski County School Boards.

McDaniel continues sex campaign

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and 20 other attorney generals, fresh off getting Craiglist to shut down its on-line advertising categories for sexual services, has written another Internet-based classified service,, to shut down its "adult services" section.

Parting shot

Little Rock School Board member Micheal Daugherty, defeated by Michael Nellums last night in a bid for re-election, sent an e-mail response to reporters early this morning.

John Boozman: Stupid or dishonest?

Rep. John Boozman, who hopes to succeed Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Senate, said he would have opposed the military spending bill Tuesday because of amendments paving the way for gays to serve openly in the military and to open citizenship to certain immigrants.

The grim job reaper

On the trail of multiple reports about Arkansas job cutbacks in an industry near and dear.

Wanted in Kavanaugh robbery

Know him? Police are circulating this photo of Branten Lavell Smith, 23, of Conway, a suspect in a Sept. 13 strong-armed robbery in the 2700 block of Kavanaugh.

Up in smoke

There's a Cheech and Chong bit in here somewhere. From the LRPD: At 11:50 p.m. last night (9-21-2010), Officers responded to 7520 N. Chicot Rd. to assist the fire department on a structure fire.

Benton County: Who needs a Constitution?

The Iconoclast is all over the latest un-American activity in Benton County. It's an effort afoot in Bella Vista to ban the construction of mosques there and to ban the practice of Sharia law.

Fla. court strikes gay adoption ban

A Florida appeals court has ruled that state's gay adoption ban is unconstitutional. It's a state ruling with no application in Arkansas, where an appeal pends of a lower court ruling striking down an Arkansas law aimed at gays but banning adoptions and foster parenting by all unmarried couples.

Country time

Ask anyone who's been around Little Rock for a while where to go for breakfast, and chances are they'll send you to the Ozark Country Restaurant. Kat Robinson goes to see whether it's stood the test of time.

Lincoln: The comeback kid?

Reuters says its latest polling shows John Boozman up a mere 14 points over Blanche Lincoln, 53-39.

Six-year-old Tanner Edwards, from Magnolia, can dance waaaay better than you can

From yesterday's "Ellen." Definitely stick around for the dancing.