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September 21, 2006

Vol 4 • No 36

Life in Iraq

The LA Times offers a riveting first-hand look at life in Baghdad. The writer writes anonymously for fear for being identified, found and killed.

Swing voters shop Target

Business Week reports on how political consultants are turning to data mining companies like Little Rock's Acxiom to use consumer spending patterns in political campaigns.

Ear to the ground

So has anybody else heard about a major construction project to be announced in the downtown area within the next week?

Executive clemency

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Executive clemency

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Chasing money

Joey Lauren Adams, the North Little Rock native and Hollywood actress (she was in "Chasing Amy," which explains the headline), will headline a fundraiser for Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, who is running for re-election.

Jekyll and Huck

It is time to acknowledge that Gov. Huckabee’s longshot race for the presidency has actually gathered a puff of steam. The notion that he could seriously contend for the Republican nomination is no longer laughable, just a mighty stretch.

Words Sept. 21

The given name “Tequila” apppeared in the paper the other day, about the same time as a correction regarding another article: “Madison County Clerk Faron Ledbetter is a man. A story in Thursday’s editions on a proposal for the state to hire county electio

Car for stars

Folks in the Jonesboro area are buzzing about a recent auto trade on eBay.

The unseen debate

The first TV debate between the two major candidates for governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Beebe, was televised in Jonesboro Monday, and most Arkansans like me couldn’t see it because the station’s programs can’t be seen in most of Ark

Orval Sept. 21

Another Lagroner

When Jim Lagrone, the former Baptist preacher and Republican candidate for secretary of state, announced he’d be seeking statewide office this year, he opened with a hysterical fund-raising letter. It said a vote for Republicans was vital because Democrat

The debate mistake

When the story of the 2006 Arkansas governor’s race is written, the turning point will probably be traced to Aug. 18. That’s the day Democrat Mike Beebe and Republican Asa Hutchinson announced a joint agreement on the terms of their debates.

Don’t cry over spilt show

The long anticipated Built to Spill show happens at Vino’s Brewpub on Friday, Sept. 22.

Blue meat at the fair

I decided to go all out in the ribbon competition at the county fair this year. In recent years I’ve been limited by chronic fatigue syndrome, which has as its main symptom that you want to just lie around watching TV all the time and gradually lose all i

What now?

Now that voters have turned down a sales tax to restore staff for the County Jail, county officials must decide what comes next. Another reduction in jail beds seems the likeliest immediate fallout and release of more people better held in jail.

Focus on: Bill Walker

Q&A with Bill Walker.

The Observer

Joe van den Heuvel and Ted Holder are like any couple. They met at an event — Ted was the bold one, asking if he could call — and followed it up with lunch at the Spaghetti Warehouse. It was 1991. They had a chaperone, a friend who knew them both.

Editorial cartoon Sept. 21

The week that was Sept. 13-19

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK FOR … MIKE BEEBE. The Democratic candidate for governor told the Democrat-Gazette he would make clemency records public, unlike Gov. Mike Huckabee. Republican Asa Hutchinson equivocated on opening this vital process to public inspec

Smart Talk Sept. 21

This week: Farming for tourists; a Madeleine Albright visit; gala for LR Nine.

Charlie did his duty

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels, in my opinion, was not AWOL when it came to a protecting the rights of service members to vote. When it came to the soldiers of the 39th Infantry Brigade of the Arkansas Army National Guard serving in Iraq, Charlie Dani

This Modern World Sept. 21

Blues fest loses its director

Wayne Andrews, who was in Little Rock three weeks ago touting Helena-West Helena’s Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival as its director and pushing its fund-raising efforts, has left the festival two weeks before it begins.

Focus on: Barbara Graves

Our Q&A with Barbara Graves.

First rate improv

Chicago’s The Second City returns to The Rep.

Focus on: Jesse Mason

Q&A with Jesse Mason.

Brown brings new soul sound

Teen-ager Chris Brown’s voice is already being compared to Michael Jackson’s in Jacko’s early, not-weird days, and Brown is also being called by some critics as the next Usher. He’s already caught attention with his hit “Run It.”

Brown brings new soul sound

Teen-ager Chris Brown’s voice is already being compared to Michael Jackson’s in Jacko’s early, not-weird days, and Brown is also being called by some critics as the next Usher. He’s already caught attention with his hit “Run It.”

Focus on: Mark Stodola

Q&A with Mark Stodola.

Bill Walker's busy month

Bill Walker has been in the news twice recently for reasons unrelated to his mayoral candidacy.

Toughen high school

Stephens coverage of something on which I unequivcally agree with Gov. Huckabee and his education officials: Every child in Arkansas should take the "Smart Core" college-prep curriculum and there should NOT be an opt-out for any student.

A draw

That's Brummett's call on the first gubernatorial debate. Each candidate scores.

Over the Moon --- UPDATE

Thanks to GM for this link to The Nation, which has a long, interesting -- even disturbing -- article on leadership transition at the Washington Times.

Pitt, Jolie put money where it counts

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has each donated $1 million to two philanthropic organizations.  The benficiaries are Global Action for Children and Medecins sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.Good work.

Flags of Our Fathers

The N.Y. Times has an interesting story on the latest from Clint Eastwood and Paul Haggis.

Dallas & AFI partner for film fest

The American Film Institute announced the creation of the AFI Dallas International Film Festival.  The AFI Dallas International Film Festival is scheduled for March 22 to April 1 and is expected to feature dozens of international films, documentaries and shorts.

It's at least about film

Entourage, the best show on television, will be back for a fourth season according to Hollywood Reporter.  12 episodes have been ordered and the show will begin airing early next year. 

More trouble for the Catholic Church?

Lionsgate films is releasing Deliver Us From Evil, a documentary about the child molestation scandals in the Catholic Church.  The film, which rattled the MPAA ratings boards, was given a redband rating by the MPAA, thus limiting the number of commercial theatres that can show the film.  Because Lionsgate is not a MPAA signatory, it is allowed to release the film, but it is up to independent movie theatre owners as to whether they will screen the film.

Interesting piece on All the King's Men

in Newsweek.  The film opens tomorrow.

Q & A with BSR IT GIRL Maggie Gyllenhaal

Not with me, but with Newsweek.  Here's the link. 

Clooney to direct Leatherheads

George Clooney will direct and star in Leatherheads, a romantic comedy that chronicles the beginnings of professional football in the 1920s.

Crime all the time

Bill Walker doesn't intend to let fellow Little Rock mayoral candidate Jesse Mason get ahead of him on the crime issue.

Crime all the time

Bill Walker doesn't intend to let fellow Little Rock mayoral candidate Jesse Mason get ahead of him on the crime issue.

Eureka!

Regular readers will know I'm no fan of Washington Post columnist David Broder, most recently on account of his obtuseness on the Plame case and his misunderstanding the (lack of) significance of Richard Armitage saying he was one of many White House people outing a CIA agent as political retribution.

Up North

I have been remiss in not plugging the arrival of another new community blog, Up North.

Up North

I have been remiss in not plugging the arrival of another new community blog, Up North.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: Hogs vs. Bama

J.R. and Henry: Feeding the monster It’s another Thursday as we sit out over the Arkansas River and contemplate the events of the past few days.

Sports, literary figures talk politics

The guest segment on tomorrow night's edition of Unconventional Wisdom will feature Arkansas Democrat-Gazette sports editor Wally Hall and Oxford American magazine editor and publisher Marc Smirnoff.

Doesn't charity begin at home?

Reuters: Reports that Wal-Mart is going to provide nearly 300 generic drugs for $4 prescription starting in Tampa, with its large retirement community, and expanding to the rest of Florida by January.

Public broadcasting

There's a big controversy about a Bush nominee -- an outspoken conservative -- to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Animal abuse

PETA is derided by many for its single-minded devotion to better treatment of animal and for some of its publicity stunts.

The question for Hog fans

J.R. and Henry, who write about sports twice a week over at our Little Rocking blog, pose the question of the day in their first paragraph -- should Houston Dale Nutt still be head coach of the Hog football team?

Plant closure -- UPDATE

It's official. DeLuxe Media Services, the North Little Rock facility that began business as Rank Video, has told employees that it would be shutting the plant down in a phased process that will result in complete closure by the end of March.

To do: Big Downtown Thursday with a hot new Texas band

What a great day to just hang out at the River Market. We were in the district for a late lunch at Flying Burrito, but unfortunately for us we had to get back to the office for a few more hours.

Cat's Club Corner: Getting out Thursday

We welcome Catherine Gilbert to the Arkansas Times fold as our new club crawler and girl about town in the late night.

Get out tonight

The Little Rocking blog is up with some stuff to do at the clubs tonight.

Imagine this on the Pig Screen

A story in the Rocky Mountain News yesterday talks about the Washington Redskins being sued by advocates of deaf people to have closed-captioning put on the big screen and other TVs at FedEx Field in Greenbelt, Md. We were wondering when this might eventually be felt in Fayetteville and the UA, with its mammoth football scoreboard TV screen:

The unknown supergroup

Can the term supergroup be applied to a band that rarely gigged, whose records are impossible to find and no one’s ever heard of?

The latest Walton purchase: charter schools

Last year it was fine-art credibility in the form of an elaborate museum to be built in Northwest Arkansas; this year, the big-news Walton family purchase is 20 potential new charter schools in Arkansas.

My kind of town

Chicago gets better with each visit. We spent the past weekend there, coinciding with a spectacular early fall weather front that made it difficult to leave for home on Sunday. Our visit coincided with the best game the Cubs have played all year, not that

Capeo is the perfect splurge

Despite its upscale reputation, it is possible to dine on the cheap at Ristorante Capeo. We just wouldn’t recommend it.

What's cooking/Capsule reviews Sept. 21

What's cooking: New chef at Mt. Magazine State Park lodge restaurant. Capsule reviews: Argenta Coffee Co. and Hanaroo Sushi Bar.

Small position, big personalities.

When the filing period closed Sept. 8, four candidates emerged to be the next mayor of Little Rock: Barbara Graves, Jesse Mason, Mark Stodola and Bill Walker. We'll introduce you to each in separate articles with Q&As on important city issues.

Big bluegrass names appear at Mulberry Mountain

Sam Bush, Drew Emmitt and Big Smith are just some of the big names in national and regional bluegrass and “newgrass” music who will appear at the two-day Mulberry Mountain Harvest Music Festival near Ozark on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22-23.

StoryCorps makes a LR stop

If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that Arkansas is full of great yarns. Given that, the good folks with StoryCorps — an NPR-sponsored project seeking true American stories — should be swamped when they pull into Little Rock on Sept. 28 for a

New blood for the ARTERY

The big art event this weekend is Eureka Springs’ 2006 Arts Eye View set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 22 through Sept. 24, and featuring new public art panels at the ARTERY.

TV highlights, Sept. 21

CANNIBALISM: EXTREME SURVIVAL 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 The History Channel (Comcast Ch. 70) CUBA: WILD ISLAND OF THE CARIBBEAN 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 AETN (Comcast Ch. 3, Broadcast Ch. 2) MARIE ANTOINETTE 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 AETN (

Going old school

In Central Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 23, the Old School Bluegrass Band reprises its “Evening of Bluegrass” show from last year at Reynolds Performance Hall on the University of Central Arkansas campus, with fiddler Timmy Crouch and Arkansas fiddle champ

Not quite royalty

paunchy-looking Sean Penn still won’t measure up to Oscar winner Broderick Crawford in his portrayal of Willie Stark in a new version of the Robert Penn Warren novel “All the King’s Men.” But give credit to Penn for capturing the oratory style that’s req

Bruce James Calls the Hogs, Sept. 21

In Awe of the Power of Journalism--oh, OK; Blogdom.

And wishing I could take the credit, but it was Lindsay who got this ball rolling.  I would like to hug her right now.  See the previous post, and note that a tiny victory for the self-respect of tiny girls has been won, in that the website "Total Nockouts" (yes, that is how they spell it, despite my mistakenly spelling it correctly in the last post, really) is DOWN.  Admittedly, it's only "down for construction," and obviously, it will be back in the same or a similar incarnation, because there's too darn much money to be made from these little glamor-gals to think otherwise.

Pryor coasts

Former Sen. David Pryor's nomination to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a lovefest. He's a welcome addition to a board that needs just what he'll bring -- likability but plenty of toughness on the issues that threaten public broadcasting.

Prescription plan is mostly PR

That Wal-Mart low-cost drug plan announced yesterday? Doesn't amount to all that much, according to NYT analysis. Particularly in Florida, where plan begins.

More duty for National Guard

Here's a sobering story for National Guardsmen. Because of woeful underestimates of troop needs for Bush's foreign expeditions, it's growing more likely that the regular forces are going to have to look to the Guard for still more help.

The company you keep

The lefty blogs are beating the drums today about the "family values" summit up in D.C., where some of the leading purveyors of bigotry are gathering to cheer the likes of Ann Coulter and national political wannabes like The Huckster.

What they're saying about . . .

All the King's Men:I don't quite believe the film is a good one, but it has some good qualities.  Maybe I think that way because I am a fan of monumental Robert Penn Warren novel the film seeks to interpret, and I because I am deeply interested in Huey P. Long, the Kingfish upon whom Warren based the character Willie Stark.  While Robert Rossen's 1949 movie is superior to the present one, Zaillian's film is closer to the spirit of the novel that the earlier film.   - Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat Gazette .

Latest Paul Haggis project

From Hollywood Reporter: Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Tommy Lee Jones are in discussions to topline Paul Haggis' next feature film, an untitled mystery thriller that is serving as his directorial follow-up to his Academy Award-winning hit "Crash."

Jack Nicholson. Enough said.

Here's the story.

The Mind of Matt: Movies and more

Matt Smith checks in on clubbing, the latest movies, dining and whatever else is on his mind:

USA Today launches Oscar Watch

and lists it's 10 contenders here.I'm not sure about a few of these, particularly World Trade Center and The Pursuit of Happyness.  They list All the King's Men, which means they slept through the Toronto International Film Festival.  No mention of  Venus, Bobby, Little Children or The Last King of Scotland.  Maybe these folks don't know anything after all.

This is funny

Radaronline.com polled 15 Hollywood insiders about a slew of categories including biggest hack in Hollywood and most dysfunctional director.  Here's more

Tom O'Neil forecasts NY Film Critics

Writing in today's LA Times, Tom O'Neil forecasts how the NY Film Critics Circle would vote if the vote were held today.Best Picture: VolverBest Director: Pedro Almodovar, VolverBest Actor: (a three way toss up) between Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Peter O'Toole (Venus) and Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson).Best Actress: Penelope Cruz, Volver

Hollywood gets involved in Clinton Global Initiative

Harvey Weinstein, Barbra Streisand, Anne Hathaway, Michael Douglas, Chris Tucker, Jeffery Wright, Don Cheadle and others step up in New York for former President Bill Clinton's second Clinton Global Initiative.Here's more.

Defending the trolley

We'd written several days ago that a Washington-based foundation would be stopping in Little Rock yesterday (Thursday) as part of a national tour against "earmarks," the appropriations added, sometimes  mysteriously, to federal legislation.

Who wants to be a millionaire?

A million is just chump change these days. The 400 richest Americans, as tallied by Forbes, are all billionaires this year for the first time.

C'mon Little Rock, enjoy what you have

I must have missed the memo that said all of Little Rock would be staying at home or leaving town, but not getting out ON the town on Thursday.

C'mon Little Rock, enjoy what you have

I must have missed the memo that said all of Little Rock would be staying at home or leaving town, but not getting out ON the town on Thursday.

The vote hunter

A$a’s campaign announced today that Gov. Huckabee would sponsor a fund-raiser for the Republican gubernatorial candidate Sept. 29 preceding the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet at the Peabody Hotel.

Dam them!

The environmental community got rolled today. After months of haggling, and promised opposition to a weakening of the rule on damming "extraordinary resource waters," the laughingly named Department of Environmental Quality abruptly changed course yesterday afternoon.

Taking down The Dean

The Daily Howler, who's long chronicled the Bush team's co-option of Washington pundits, is on a roll today.

My Television Knows No Bounds

Central Arkansas Confidential: Entry 09-06-003 Well, a ton has happened on the tube, and that's where my focus has been so let's get down to gravy.  Now I have been discussing everything that's on, but looking back that was just the caffeine induced ramblings of a madman whose been waiting for the season to start.  Damn you Starbucks©!

What a wuss -- UPDATE

Mike! is covering his rear on eminent domain.

The race for Congress

Channel 11 released a new poll on 2nd District Congress last night Incumbent Vic Snyder (D) 56 Andy Mayberry (R) 42 That's a four-point improvement for Mayberry, who takes great happiness from poll internals that show him with a lead among a sliver of the 468 people surveyed in the under 35 category.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Huckabee

Once again this week, the two faces of The Huckster are on display. The governor who went to libertarian New Hampshire in moderate New England and said he could find room in his heart for a union of two people of the same sex, though none dare call it marriage, threw out red meat today at the Religious Fuhrer Dobson's family values fest up in Washington today.

Volver wins Fipresci Prize

The Fipresci prize, awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics, was decided by a vote of about 350 critics in more than 60 countries.

Another spurioius complaint

The bipartisan state Ethics Commission voted 5-0 today to dismiss a complaint by gadfly Jim Parsons.

Why Arkansas Made Me Sigh Today...

Another sign Arkansas refuses to enter the 21st Century without kickin anda scremin!

Most popular candidate

Anybody else see Warwick and David Sanders on "Unconventional Wisdom" on AETN? I thought it was very interesting.

Open line

Your turn.

More layoffs

Roby Brock's Talk Business is reporting 400 to 500 layoffs at the Cooper Tire plant in Texarkana.

Local angle

Did the corrupt Bush Education Department foist an insider-favored reading program off on Arkansas? I can't find much of a trace in the clips.

Local angle

Did the corrupt Bush Education Department foist an insider-favored reading program off on Arkansas? I can't find much of a trace in the clips.

Campaign awards, round one

Let’s make an early assessment of the Arkansas political season by presenting a few interim awards: Most Defining Pronouncement So Far: “I was born in a tar paper shack.”

Second take -- Souljah moment?

Stephens Media coverage of Gov. Mike Huckabee at the Dobson/Wildmon/Coulter "values" fest in Washington causes me to reconsider a posting yesterday based on a couple of blog accounts.

Paying down debt

Gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe touched on this subject briefly during the first debate last week and now Stephens Media gets him and state officials to elaborate.

The statewide comedy tour

Still more good stuff on the Stephens Media website today: Doug Thompson analyzes Jim Holt's appeal and ponders a Republican Party of which he could be the effective head.

Investigative editorial

Credit where due. Somebody at the Arkanas Democrat-Gazette editorial department did some research on claims by Paron High School diehards.

Have ambition, will travel

The Huckster has added Oklahoma to the list of states -- generally not including Arkansas -- where he is raising money for Republican candidates.

Have ambition, will travel

The Huckster has added Oklahoma to the list of states -- generally not including Arkansas -- where he is raising money for Republican candidates.

Summer's over

What's your favorite movie of 2006 thus far?For me its Little Miss Sunshine.  The Illusionist, Miami Vice, A Praire Home Companion and Quinceañera are right behind. 

Dome scandal

Al Dentay writes concerning LR city government's nonsensical plan to reinstall an ugly dome atop City Hall that even the architect hated.

Heckuva game

Houston Nutt will send a thank-you gift to the Alabama kicker.

And besides football ...

... anything else to discuss?

Mission accomplished

NY Times: A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The two faces of Huck

John Brummett writes today about Mike Huckabee's contradictory nature. Altogether, it works.

Count me in this number

NY Times: A growing number of state and local officials are getting cold feet about electronic voting technology, and many are making last-minute efforts to limit or reverse the rollout of new machines in the November elections.

Read this story

It's about football. It's about how Christian charity lifted a profoundly disadvantaged giant from the streets of Memphis to an improbable high school diploma and a path to riches in the NFL.

Is God a Republican?

Back at the Dobson/Wildmon hate fest in Washington -- where Huckabee spoke Friday -- the LA Times caught Jerry Falwell saying a presidential candidacy by Hillary Clinton would excite this voting base more than a run by the devil himself.

The perfect candidate

Peter Carlson of the Washington Post has distilled ads for 122 candidates across the country and produced an amusing composite ad for the perfect candidate, along with the composite attack on the perfect candidate's sorry opponent.

Clinton in the Fox house

Death by Inches' blog is way ahead of me, with a post on Bill Clinton giving Chris Wallace what-for in an interview to be aired today on Fox News.

Got that Director

that you'll see no matter what film he or she directs?  I do.  Here's my list in no particular order:Terrence MalickMichael MannAng LeeMartin ScorseseWoody AllenAlexander PayneWes AndersonQuentin TarantinoRobert AltmanSteven SpielbergThe Coen BrothersSteven SoderbergPaul Thomas AndersonI'm not ready to put Perdro Almodovar or Sofia Coppola (I'm not at all interested in seeing Marie Antoinette) up there just yet.  Sydney Pollack should probably be on my list because three of him films (Three Days of the Condor, Out of Africa and The Way We Were) are some of my favorites and I did see Random Hearts because he directed it.  Todd Field, with only two films under his belt, doesn't qualify, but he'll be there soon.Peter Jackson's films are not any good.  After the miserable King Kong, I'm through with seeing his junk simply because he's behind the camera. 

What did you see this weekend?

I saw Quinceañera (thumbs up) and Trust the Man (just ok).  I'm debating seeing All the King's Men here at noon.  Word on the street is that it's terrible, but I'm tempted to see how terrible it is.          

What about Iowa

According to the Des Moines Register's lastest Iowa Poll, Giuliani and McCain are the likeliest to carry the state and they'd whomp Hillary, Kerry and any other Dem.

I'd Like Three Representatives And Two Senators To Go Please

    Before you know it, it will be time for another session of the Arkansas General Assembly.

Empty rhetoric

That's the American Prospect blog's take on Mike Huckabee's speech at the Dobson/Falwell/etc. values fest in Washington.

Zoo reaccredited

The Little Rock Zoo has announced it's been reaccredited for another five years. News release on the jump.

Slacker Sunday

It was much too nice a day to hunker over the computer. Did some yard work, some cooking, some reading, some walking.

Fact-Checkers Apparently Needed in Hollywood. BADLY.

I've written ranted about this topic before, most recently by publicly (and repeatedly) venting my frustration over Steve Oedekerk's idiotic premise that  BULLS have udders--seriously, the whole "Barnyard" thing really drove me bug-nuts.

The Mind of Matt: Detroit Rock City

Rock fan a movie fan Matt Smith blogs from Detroit: Got into Detroit on Thursday.

In Which We Make an Appearance in the News of Our Neighbor

Our neighboring state, that is.  I just stumbled across the following item yesterday while following links in the ongoing debate over Glitz Pageants and their appropriateness for infants, toddlers, and little girls, which is based, presently, at Lindsay Ferrier's fantastic blog, Suburban Turmoil.  There is actually a very civil discussion going on over there right now, which I would encourage everyone who has questions about this topic to check out.Anyway, I got quite a kick out of seeing my own post, from right here at the Arkansas Times' blog, being referenced and quoted from in the post "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes," at "Nashville is Talking," which is the blog produced by Nashville, Tennessee's WKRN-TV News2.   I share this with you even though I'm not entirely sure that the description, "...a screed of a post..." is an entirely, er...flattering characterization.  Can't argue with the term's accuracy, however, where some of my writing is concerned.It's been less than a month, and so far being involved with the Times as a Community Blogger has returned some really interesting dividends!  I hope I can give back some of the same.

Merit pay

John Brummett writes a column for a national audience on Mondays. Today's is about the recent Little Rock school election, though not specifically.

The Huckabee presidency

A diarist on Daily Kos, not Kos himself, writes a long post with lots of related links on the proposition that Mike Huckabee could be the next president.

Paying the piper

LA Times The Army's top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.The decision by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army's chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officials.

Calling political junkies

An event for political junkies' calendar this week: Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times, who've written "One -Party Country: The Republican Plan for Dominance in the 21st Century," will speak at the library's Darragh Center at 6:30 p.m.

You may hydrate

The government  is going to ease the airplane carry-on restrictions today, allowing liquids and gels purchased in airports after passengers have passed security checkpoints.

Not good

That's my opinion of Steven Zaillian's All the King's Men.  The film, while true to the book (at least in telling it from Jack Burden's point of few), is a mess.  Jude Law's accent is horrendous and Sean Penn reminds me more of his character in I am Sam.  James Gandolfini is awful and the plot is underdeveloped unless you're intimately familiar with the novel and even then it just disappointing.  Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet (who are both on the screen for very little time) are ok as is Patricia Clarkson.  Zaillian directed another life long New Yorker, the very talented Mark Ruffalo, to use a southern/cajun/new orleans - hybrid accent for the 10 minutes of screen time he has.  Stupid.  And the ending is just plain weird.

The Queen

Stephen Frear's latest is getting headlines all over the place.  It was a hit in Toronto and opens the New York Film Festival on Friday.  Here's an interesting piece in the New York Times.

The blog community

Just a reminder that you can go here to peruse our list of community bloggers, which is to grow by one sometime today.

New Trailer for Casino Royale

Here

October 6th needs to hurry up and get here

If David Koon and Jim Harris aren't going to hook me up with a screener for The Departed, then I've got to see it in the theatre on Friday like everyone else.  I'm only half kidding, because even if I had a screener, I'd still want the big screen experience.  I hope I'm not over-hyping this movie, but I'm psyched about it.  Sadly, we have to sit through another poor weekend.  The Guardian and School for Scoundrels open nationally along with the animated Open Season.  Thankfully, Market Street Cinema has Half Nelson and The Science of Sleep.  Here's an article from New York Magazine about Nicholson and Scorsese.    Pimp.

Jesus Camp

Have you heard about Jesus Camp, the documentary the follows evangelican conservative children to religious summer camp?  I have heard a little bit about it, but have read more about in the past few days.  The film has won critical acclaim on the summer festival circuit, but has generated a storm of controversy this week.Here's an excerpt from the L.A. Times,The film's cherub-faced children cheer when asked if they'd be willing to give up their lives for Jesus, pray over a cardboard cutout of President Bush and sob as they plead for an end to abortion.

Monday Mornings, why?

Well, it's Monday morning and I'm tired, sore and just not willing to work right now, so why not a quick blog, right?  Mr. Ricky, rebel!  So how was your weekend?  Mine was okay.  Hung with friends, saw some music and got nothing productive done.  I'm slowly realizing that 1) I'm far more concerned with my friendships than my friends are; meaning I'm always over analyzing everything, did I make this person mad, hurt this one's feelings, not pay enough attention to that one's story, etc.  I definitely think of what do to make someone feel special, then someone esle gets the credit cause I'm dealing with another friend's problem.  Jealous, maybe a little, I did the leg work.  2)  I don't have any close friends.  That's a lie, I do, I suppose, I think I just don't let them in on all of me.  Do any of us really let our friends in 100%, I hope you do, it's not much fun if you don't.

Responding to comments

Deathbyinches says, "I could be wrong and I mean no disrespect but in my opinion Maggie Gyllenhaal will wind up being a solid 2nd banana in the tradition of Iris Adrian, or Eve Arden......and now I am showing that I am 2000 years old."I could not disagree more.  I think Maggie Gyllenhaal is quietly increasing her profile by taking studio pics (Stranger than Fiction, World Trade Center) while continuing to do high profile Indy films when appropriate (Trust the Man, Sherrybaby, The Great New Wonderful).  She's already been nominated for a Golden Globe (Secretary) and has received stellar reviews for Sherrybaby.  We'll see how good Stranger than Fiction really is, but she is well on her way to being one of the most acclaimed female actors (perhaps the female equivalent of Ed Norton or Philip Seymour Hoffman) of our generation.  Armchair critic writes, "The only two summer movies worthy of inclusion on a potential "year end best" are the Indian movie "Water" and "Prairie Home Companion."

Wide world of sports

A news release from David Bazzel says an announcement is coming this week that eight Arkansas high schools are prepared to add wrestling to their varsity sports menus.

Bush fundraiser to benefit Ark. GOP

Today's edition of the NBC News blog "First Read" reports: The White House billed this week as Bush's first round of heavy-duty campaigning, even advancing it with an unusual press release touting the uptick in his job approval rating.  But most of Bush's events this week are closed to the media, starting with his appearances today on behalf of Connecticut Republicans and Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine.  His events for Iowa, Arkansas, and Wisconsin Republicans on Tuesday; for Tennessee Senate nominee Bob Corker on Wednesday; and for Rep. Deborah Pryce in Ohio on Thursday are all closed.  All of these events are at private homes, and under recent presidents, closing events at private homes has been SOP.  But why so many events at private homes for the Campaigner-in-Chief?  By comparison, the more popular Laura Bush campaigns openly this week for Republicans in top races in Ohio, New York, Iowa, Michigan.

Bush fundraiser to benefit Ark. GOP

Today's edition of the NBC News blog "First Read" reports: The White House billed this week as Bush's first round of heavy-duty campaigning, even advancing it with an unusual press release touting the uptick in his job approval rating.  But most of Bush's events this week are closed to the media, starting with his appearances today on behalf of Connecticut Republicans and Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine.  His events for Iowa, Arkansas, and Wisconsin Republicans on Tuesday; for Tennessee Senate nominee Bob Corker on Wednesday; and for Rep. Deborah Pryce in Ohio on Thursday are all closed.  All of these events are at private homes, and under recent presidents, closing events at private homes has been SOP.  But why so many events at private homes for the Campaigner-in-Chief?  By comparison, the more popular Laura Bush campaigns openly this week for Republicans in top races in Ohio, New York, Iowa, Michigan.

J.R. and Henry: Is Nutt now coach for life?

J.R. and Henry: Coach for life For any Arkansas Razorback fans who thought this year might be last for head coach Houston Nutt, forget about it.

J.R. and Henry: Is Nutt now coach for life?

J.R. and Henry: Coach for life For any Arkansas Razorback fans who thought this year might be last for head coach Houston Nutt, forget about it.

Silly season

"I'll show you mine if you show me yours." That's the sucker play A$a! offers to Mike!

Mondays will never be the same ...

Not with Cat on the Prowl, our latest house blog. Cat Gilbert tells you where the action is tonight after a hard day at the office.

49 years ago today ...

Federal troops escorted nine black students into Central High School. Slate has a slide show from the day.

St. Joseph’s fills two positions on Board of Directors

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center President/CEO Randy Fale has announced that Bruce Burton, M.D., J.D., and Mike Abram have accepted positions on the hospital’s Board of Directors.

Tailgating goes uptown -- UPDATE

War Memorial Stadium has announced a new plan to charge $120 per spot for 20 large reserved tailgating spots and for 400 smaller pots in the choicest areas on the golf course for the Little Rock football games.

Clinton and Fox, Part II -- UPDATE

Brummett reviews the Clinton blowup over unfair questioning on Fox News last week. A loss for journalism and statesmanship, he concludes.

Behind closed doors

NY Times notes that the Bush fund-raiser in D.C. today for races for governor in three states, including Arkansas, is one of a series of closed-door events.

Clooney for America?

Yesterday, George Clooney was in California with Governor Ah-nold for a bill signing aimed at helping stop genocidal violence in the Darfur region of Sudan.  If you recall, I posted here last week where Clooney appeared at the U.N. on the same topic.  When asked about whether he'd ever run for office, Clooney responded "Believe me, you don't want me in politics."   Really?

What's in your queue?

I was ridiculed by my friends last week for my Kurosawa picks.  Thanks to "Jack Twist" for calling me a show off.  I don't cave to peer pressure, but here's what I have this week:The InsiderThe Lake HouseThe Notorious Betty PageDown in the Valley is also out this week.  I saw it at Market Street and Jim Harris and I had a conversation about it on his blog.  While he's still not reading this blog for some reason, I still hype him up.  Down in the Valley is excellent.  Chilling, but excellent.Curious George, with a sweet soundtrack of Jack Johnson songs, is also out.Hey "Jack Twist"  enjoy The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift.Jimmy G is psyched for One Tree Hill: Season 3.You?

Cold medicine madness

We're in the tiny minority of people who think government has gone overboard in cracking down on cold medicine to deter meth cookers.

Bring it on

L.A. Times says the Oscar battle begins.  Release dates have long been considered one of the oldest of Hollywood chess matches.  Oh the drama.  Expect a big October, and not from your Razorbacks.  Here's a primer.

Cool Podcasts

The L.A. Times has a few.  Here's the link.  Kate Winslet talking about Little Children, Hollywoodland's Allen Coulter, and the buzz from Toronto. 

The candidates on-line

The UA has posted interviews of the gubernatorial candidates by the Office of Education Policy.

Ask and they'll tell

A national protest against the ban on military service by openly gay people comes to Conway Wednesday.

Bike route bonus

The North Shore Business Park (Gene Pfeifer, director) is donating 100 acres (50 of which already an easement for the north shore bike/hike trail) directly north of the Murray Lock and Dam and its new bike/pedestrian bridge to spur river trail development.

Blood sample

The curious handling of the blood sample taken from Channel 7 sportscaster Paul Eells after he was killed in a car crash returning from Fayetteville gets an extensive look in the Russellville newspaper. 

InContention.com's Oscar charts

Lots of attention given to Dreamgirls.  Some surprises on Kris Tapley's chart, including Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness, Meryl Streep ahead of Penelope Cruz (although barely),and Abigail Breslin, the delightful Olive in Little Miss Sunshine sneaking in for best supporting actress.Granted, there are predictions some 4 months before nominations are announced, but Tapley has access to early screeners and was all over the Toronto Festival.  Oscarwatch.com often sites to him and his predictions, from what I can tell, are relatively accurate.One thing is for sure, no one is going to be able to say it's a bad year for movies.  Both the best actor and best actress categories are absolutely loaded.  Just think, there's a possibility that Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, and Robin Williams, all former Oscar winners or nominees and all with very promising films out this year, could be shut out.  Right now, Peter O'Toole is the favorite!In the best actress category, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Renee Zellweger, and Nicole Kidman, all former Oscar winners and worthy of nomination by all estimation, could also be left out.And it's not a bunch of no-names filling up the ballot. 

Maybe Clinton was right after all -- UPDATE

His message that the Bush administration did nothing to go after Osama before 9/11 -- which, from the record is clear enough -- apparently pierced even the Washington press corps' Republican-spun brains today.

Guilty

Since someone asked: That former Greenwood teacher has been convicted of assault for having sex with a 14-year-old student.

New on our blogs

Adams Weeks' Arkansas RFD is up and running. He's mining overlooked news from towns all over Arkansas.

Attention Hog fans

A blog reader sends a link to a good piece by a CBS sportswriter who's traveling the country observing college football.

Lord Byron passes on

Golfing great Byron Nelson died today in Roanoke, Texas, at age 94 of natural causes.

Check out "Cat on the Prowl," our new club blog

Catherine Gilbert has the daily report, "Cat on the Prowl," on where to go and what to do in the music and club scene.

Poor, poor Condi

Flip D. Chanel, the Hempwallace TV authority, had this to say this morning at the Git 'n' Go coffee bar regarding Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview of Condolezza Rice by Katie Couric:What a slobber-fest.

Subtract one

Just received an e-mail from a Dallas PR firm that says the Tia's Mexican restaurant chain is going out of business.

St. Joseph’s names Liuzza new Director of Human Resources

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center recently named Jed Liuzza, SPHR, as its new Executive Director of Human Resources.

UAMS Holds Second Conference on Childhood Obesity

State leaders hope to provide a forum for schools to share with one another what they are doing to reduce childhood obesity at a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health conference on Monday for schools across the state.

Fat police

New York, which led the way in limiting smoking in restaurants, now is moving to limit the amount of trans fats in food served in restaurants.

'We will not be Swift-boated'

Hillary joins Bill in questioning what the Bush administration did to prevent 9/11. Answer is the same as it always has been: nothing.

More comments . . . and my responses

Belinda writes, The biggest obstacle for MG, in my opinion, would be her "late start" by Holllywood standards.

Oscar, round 2?

Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon are in final negotiations to star in New Line Cinema's "Rendition," Gavin Hood's follow-up to his Oscar-winning South African feature "Tsotsi."

More cops

Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national program to reduce gun crimes, will announce a grant to Little Rock Thursday.

More cops

Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national program to reduce gun crimes, will announce a grant to Little Rock Thursday.

Hollywood Film Fest names Forest Whittaker actor of the year

The Hollywood Film Festival will present Forest Whitaker with its actor of the year nod and Derek Luke and Lindsay Lohan with its breakthrough acting awards.Lindsay Lohan?

Scriptland

If you haven't heard of Allen Loeb, you will soon.  Here's the latest from L.A. Times.

Oscar predictions from Rolling Stone

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone drops a few bombshells in his early Oscar predictions.  Jack Nicholson for best ACTOR?  The Departed sneaking in for best picture.  Leonardo DiCaprio for Blood Diamond, a film not really on my radar and the same for Will Smith for The Pursuit of Happyness.  I finally saw the trailer for this film and I have to admit that it has Oscar nomination written all over it.What's wild is that he has both Penelope Cruz and Meryl Streep getting into the Best Actress category.  That means that he doesn't have faith in Annette Bening (there's rumblings that she'll go in supporting) and Judi Dench, who seems to always get a nomination these days.Biggest buzz of the day is for Sienna Miller for her role in the Andy Warhol bio pic Factory Girl starring Guy Pearce.  Harvey Weinstein is behind the film, so you can imagine the intensity if the marketing campaign if he settles on Miller as his best shot (Renee Zellweger has Miss Potter, also from The Weinstein Company).While these predictions may be way too early, Peter Travers has a ton of street credit on this issue and knows the scene and the buzz well according to the L.A. Times.BEST PICTURE "Dreamgirls" "Flags of Our Fathers" "Babel" "The Departed" "The Queen" BEST ACTOR Forest Whitaker, "Last King of Scotland" Peter O'Toole, "Venus" Jack Nicholson, "The Departed" Leonardo DiCaprio, "Blood Diamond" Will Smith, "The Pursuit of Happyness" BEST ACTRESS Helen Mirren, "The Queen" Meryl Streep, "The Devil Wears Prada" Penelope Cruz, "Volver" Kate Winslet, "Little Children" Sienna Miller, "Factory Girl"

New York Post's Oscar Predictions

A very different list from Lou Lumenick at the New York Post.  I don't know much about The Good German, except that it stars Clooney and is directed by Steven Soderberg.

The Envelope, Hollywood-Elsewhere.com weigh in

with their predictions.  Man, this is intense.  I thought we'd have a few more weeks at least before people started shooting out their predictions.  But with most major films having debued at film festivals or before select critics, the horse race (and the high powered marketing campaigns) can begin.Big surprise here, Little Miss Sunshine for Best Picture.  The Best Actress category seems to be coming together.Seriously, someone needs to get me some screeners.Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood-Elsewhere.com BEST PICTURE 1.

Last King of Scotland opens in New York

Here's Manohla Dargis' very favorable review in today's New York Times.  No word on when this film is coming to Arkansas, but Forest Whitaker seems assured of an Oscar nomination and it's on the fringe for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.

Confidential Ramblings on NPR

     Well, I’m riding in to work this morning, listening to the NPR, and hear again how the press keeps asking George Clooney if he’ll be running for President.  Apparently someone out there has made some shirts up and one thing led to another.  America is just not going to be happy until we elect one of the celebrities to office.  I swear, it’s the most ridiculous concept I’ve heard.  Does Clooney know thing one about running this country, no, he doesn’t and he’s said that.  He has his political causes, mostly international aid, etc.  He doesn’t want to think about taxes, economic indicators, the conservative right, the extreme left, prison reform, the war on drugs, the war on terror, the war on obesity… we sure have a lot of wars on things… and Clooney shouldn’t.  Why would you take a huge pay cut to do a job that is a million times more stressful?  Idiots.  Clooney is not running for President, at least not yet, he’ll have to become Governor of California first, duh….  Just in case though:   Clooney isn’t the only one being pressured into public service, Oprah Winfrey has her own grassroots efforts to contend with.  Some retired teacher in Kansas City has started an Oprah for President website.  He even wrote a song about it.  I know, a song, I don’t know where these people get their ideas.

10 great dark comedies

MSNBC.com has the list here.   I'd put Harold & Maude ahead of Dr. Strangelove and Heathers, but it's hard to complain with their top 3.

Stuart Levine says "bow down to Helen Mirren"

He thinks she deserves this Oscar this year for The Queen.

'All Hail The Queen' says David Edelstein

New York Magazine film critic David Edelstein calls The Queen "the wonderful film about  cool, clueless Elizabeth in the days after Diana."  Here's the full review.

Gotcha -- and backatcha

Republican Gunner Delay catches attorney general opponent Democrat Dustin McDaniel in a misstatement on the bill to reduce maximum sentences for meth offenders.

This is how the nation sees the Hogs and Nutt

We love this irreverant site about College Football, called Every Day Should Be Saturday. If you're a fan, bookmark it, because it's worth your time every week.

Q & A with James Carville

James Carville, political expert and now Hollywood producer, talks about his experience with All the King's Men to Entertainment Weekly. 

Hypocrite of the day

That would be wacky Republican Jim Holt, or one of his advisers. Yesterday they were unhappy because the Democratic candidate for lt. gov., Bill Halter, was spending a lot of money on polling.

The company Huck keeps

The Dobson/Falwell/etc. summit that Gov. Mike Huckabee attended last week was ground zero of the Christofascist Republican base.

Tax and condemn

By popular demand we note that the Republican Party-financed "independent" 527 -- the Coalition for Arkanas' Future -- is touting new ads scoring Mike Beebe for voting for tax increases and for saying Arkansas's constitutional protection of private property is sufficient despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed limited private-to-private condemnations in Connecticut.

Colo. school crisis over

CNN says gunman who took hostages is dead.

St. Joseph’s offers quit-smoking program

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center, which on Jan. 3 became one of the state’s first hospitals to provide a smoke-free environment inside and outside all of its campus buildings and affiliated properties, has introduced a new smoking cessation program for ar
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