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September 28, 2011

Vol 38 • No 5

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When Louis Armstrong blew his top

Satchmo's reaction to the iconic photo of Elizabeth Eckford may have changed the course of the Central High Crisis.

"Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock"

Vanity Fair contributing editor David Margolick offers a comprehensive study of Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery, the two women in Will Counts' iconic photo of the Central High Crisis.

Little Rock's 'gutless' moderates

David Margolick's reporting on the famous Will Counts photo went much farther than the drama at Central High School and the homes of the key actors.

Tonight's line

Lu Hardin can't have a gun anymore — if he ever did.

Black helicopters over Lake Maumelle UPDATE

The diehard my-pigs-can-crap-in-my-stream-that-feeds-your-water-supply crowd — pumped by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity — turned out in good number for the hearing tonight at Winfield United Methoidst Church on the Deltic-watered-down land use rules the county is proposing for the Lake Maumelle watershed.

Klappenbach Bakery to close

Terrible news with the imminent closing of Fordyce mainstay Klappenbach Bakery. According to Rex Nelson on his Southern Fried Blog, Norman and Lee Klappenbach (at ages 80 and 77, respectively) are tired.

Fair days

Can't wait for the state fair? Head to Fort Smith's Kay Rogers Park for a dose of fun and some fried fair foods at the Arkansas Oklahoma State Fair, running through Saturday.

Proposed Little Rock Wards

See the city of Little Rock's proposal for new city ward boundaries based on the 2010 Census.

The Clinton Bridge opens

The span will close the loop of the 14-mile River Trail.

Gay Arkansas GIs talk end of DADT

Scars linger from "Witch Hunt" era.

The biggest movie production in Arkansas ever

On Monday, production began on "MUD," Little Rock director Jeff Nichols' third film.

Judging the candidate

Update on the extended process to find a replacement for federal District Judge James Moody, who took senior status, a form of retirement, several years ago: Multiple sources report that background checks have begun on Kris Baker, a partner in the Quattlebaum law firm in Little rock.

Public interest law

A lawsuit was filed Monday by the Arkansas Public Law Center, with civic activist Kathy Wells of Little Rock as plaintiff, challenging the general Arkansas legislative practice of submitting undocumented requests for monthly expense reimbursements.

War on smokers escalates

After Oct. 1, White County Medical Center in Searcy will no longer hire new employees who smoke, becoming one of the first hospitals in Arkansas to adopt such a policy.

'Moneyball' a genre curveball

An Aaron Sorkin-penned script and a Brad Pitt-led cast could spell Best Pic nominee.

Helping the big boys

While there's much concern about bullying these days, few people other than Sen. Mark Pryor see a need to protect the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers from being picked on.

Showing who's boss

It may be legal for the White County Medical Center in Searcy to refuse to hire anyone who smokes, but it is not right.

Lu Hardin's aberration

Lu Hardin was cut a huge break Monday by federal Judge Jim Moody. He gave Hardin probation for the fraudulent scheme by which he got University of Central Arkansas trustees to hurry up a $300,000 bonus so he could pay gambling debts at Tunica.

Eye on Arkansas Sept. 28, 2011

BIG DAM DEAL: More than 2,000 cyclists rolled out Saturday for the sixth annual Big Dam Bridge 100, the largest bike tour in Arkansas.

'True Grit' being remade as a porno

Plus, CALS and Laman add Kindle, John Oates heads to Fayetteville and the Arkansas State Fair announces its musical acts.

The end of Democrats

"It has been a long time coming, but Red State Arkansans finally got what they wanted."

Richard Buckner, The Meat Puppets and Taylor Swift

Plus, Grand Serenade's record release show, The Lemonheads, Toby Keith and the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Finding Fiction, Feed Turkana and Family Fun Fest

Plus, "101 Years of Broadway," Nick Charles, Tyrannosaurus Chicken and more.

GOP still lying, but 'Obamacare' reality makes it harder

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare," always suffered from lies, distortions and simple ignorance, and the Republican presidential debates continue the tradition.

A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.


Porter's Jazz Cafe off to a good start.

Dickey-Stephens gears up for Taste of the Town

Plus, winners of World Cheese Dip Championship.

Like jelly on a plate

Good week: Lu Hardin

It was a good week for: Lu Hardin, a moon discovery and transparent pay in the legislature. It was a bad week for: The Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas trial courts and Andrew Rhew.

Middle Man: Our story so far

Arkansas Muck Zone

Tuba blues

Instead of pads and cleats, the Observer's son has taken up an instrument: the tuba.

Alabama might've ruined Hogs season

Unless we can summon a victory against A&M

Post-collegiate hijinks

And a plot you will not be able to follow.

Going to the dark side

Local journalists move to PR, naturally.

Cheese dip guide

Our state's contribution to the culinary world is diversely represented in Greater Little Rock. Here are some of our favorite cheese dips, presented in alphabetical order and according to type: white, yellow, or non-traditional.

Fall falls

Creating jobs in New York

Report in New York Times on state spending in New York to create jobs. They're spending big — $400 million.

Extremism in pursuit of presidency no plus

Democrats apparently have decided to make something of the ugly tone that appears to be a standard part of Republican debates.

Missing: Straight talk at City Hall

Why won't Mayor Mark Stodola and members of the City Board simply tell the truth?

I'll take two Glocks, a dozen roses and a bottle of Tylenol

"Fall has arrived in Vilonia," says the note with a snapshot from an Arkansas Blog reader.

This week's Times: Louis Armstrong and more

Just in case you don't click the teasers on the page, I want to tout some items in this week's Arkansas Times.

The Main Street Food Truck Festival is Saturday

Banana Leaf is one of the vendors that will be at the Main Street Food Truck Festival this Saturday.

Schueck rebuffed; Mathieu to control airport hiring

Airport Commissioner Tom Schueck got a rough ride this morning at the commission’s personnel committee meeting, unable to persuade fellow commissioners that commissioners should have a say in whoever is hired as the spokesman for Little Rock National Airport.

James O'Keefe speaking in LR; sued in federal court

The Koch operation seems to be a key factor in an appearance in Little Rock today by James O'Keefe, the right-wing filmmaker who's produced misleading videos about ACORN and a black public employee and who got arrested for an attempted sting of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.

Thursday To-Do: Grand Serenade record release show

Grand Serenade plays a release show at White Water Tavern Thursday night.

Thursday To-Do: Meat Puppets

The Meat Puppets play Stickyz Thursday night.

Rick Perry caves to heartless immigrant haters

Tough guy Rick Perry folded to the Tea Party base of the Republican Party. He's apologized to those he said didn't have a heart if they opposed in-state college tuition for children who arrived in the country with undocumented parents.

Green Forest men sentenced for hate crime

Federal Judge Jimm Hendren, sitting in Harrison, today sentenced Frankie Maybee and Sean Popejoy to years in prison for their conviction of federal hate crime.

City director says mixed use still coming on Park Avenue

Thursday: The Movement, 100 Mile Meal, "101 Years of Broadway" and more

The Movement plays Revolution Thursday night.

Little Rock resists releasing new ward information

Mayor Mark Stodola objected strenuously today to my suggestion that he's not interested in transparency.

Volunteers! Up against the wall, please!

Artist V.L. Cox and a volunteer crew are still looking for help at the North Little Rock seawall.

Wednesday night line

Metroplan talks about a Broadway bridge traffic circle; Deltic is revealed (surprise!) as driving force behind more intensive development in Lake Maumelle watershed; dentist arrested in Polk County for kidnapping.

Sculpture honors Bill Clark

A life-sized sculpture of William "Bill" Clark with his duck dog is being installed in the Bill Clark Wetlands at the Clinton Presidential Park tomorrow.

2nd annual ReStore and After says: Get Hammered!

Auction of artist-rehabbed furniture to benefit Habitat for Humanity is tomorrow night.

Little Rock City Hall secrecy continues

Mayor Mark Stodola's "transparent" city government remains opaque. Two days after an FOI for accumulated city data on ward redistricting, none has been provided.

Small landowners: Pawns in Maumelle basin fight

I wrote on last night's open line about how I dragged out of the county planning director the admission of the obvious — an 11th hour change in a proposed Lake Maumelle watershed land use plan to dramatically increase potential residential housing in the watershed was inserted at the instigation of Deltic Timber, the dominant landowner in the area.

Tim Griffin laments gridlock in Washington. Really.

Really. U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin did lament gridlock in Washington in an interview wiith Stephens Media.

Combs talked to U.S. attorney in UCA probe

The Democrat-Gazette's Debra Hale-Shelton provided a little more insight this morning into past Grand Jury investigations into the University of Central Arkansas during the era of President Lu Hardin.

McDonald's: Offers money to cure past mistake, create another

Friday To-Do: The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads play Revolution Friday night.

Saturday in the Park: Chicago to play Clinton anniversary event

Chicago, the hugely popular FM baby boomer staple, will play a short set during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Gov. Bill Clinton's announcement to run for president at the Old State House on Saturday, according to our sources.

Huckabee to interview Mitt Romney on Fox show

I'm not saying you should rush home and program your Tivo, but note that Mike Huckabee has scheduled an interview with Mitt Romney on his Fox talk show this weekend.

Burger joint of the week: Front Porch Family Diner

I have to say, I am a sucker for a well cooked burger. I don’t mean to well done… I mean, when you order a burger and you get it exactly the doneness you want. That's one thing this Springdale restaurant does well.

Walmart closes on Riverdale site for market

The deed was done Monday on Walmart Realty taking over the lease and mortgage to the former Harvest Foods store in the Razorback Square shopping center at Cantrell and Riverdale.

Little Rock releases new ward proposal

City Manager Bruce Moore called this morning to say he would release the proposed new ward boundary map this morning in response to three days of complaints by me that the city was violating the FOI in withholding the information.

NY museum picks up Wittenberg book

"Postcards of Harlem" available at the Museum of the City of New York.

Erin Harmon at ASU

"Midnight Garden" is a "beautiful but sterile Eden."

Legislators praise Passailaigue, audit issues loom

Arkansas Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue made his final appearance before the Arkansas Lottery Legislative Oversight Committee this morning. The lottery's internal auditor, Michael Hyde, hinted at more legislative audit troubles ahead.

Dan Hampton snubs White House invitation

Dan Hampton, the former Razorback and Chicago Bear star, has declined an invitation from President Obama to a White House reception for the 1985 Super Bowl champions.

Weekend: Nick Charles, Feed Turkana benefit, Family Fun Fest and more

Guitarist Nick Charles plays in Hot Springs and Little Rock this weekend.

Carjacking suspect arrested after police chase

The Little Rock police report that a carjacking unfolded shortly before midnight last night on Lamar Street, on the north side of the Mills Freeway near UAMS.

Last night: Richard Buckner

A review of Richard Buckner's show last night at Stickyz in Little Rock.

Hillary Clinton to speak in Little Rock Friday

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak in Little Rock Friday as part of the Kumpuris lecture series, but the event is by invitation only.

Statue honoring Bill Clark unveiled

At the Bill Clark Wetlands, at the Clinton Presidential Park.

Political allies in state agency expansion on Capitol Avenue

A key figure in the ownership of the building, Little Rock lawyer Richard Mays, happens to be an old political ally of the state agency occupying the building, the Career Services Department, headed by former Sen. Bill Walker.

The Thursday line

Another educator realizes charter schools are a failure. Justice Stephens predicts court will uphold health care reform.

Agency kills rezoning for Capitol office building

Little Rock businessman John Burkhalter, a Beebe appointee to the state Hiighway Commission, arrived at the Capitol Zoning District Commission meeting this evening with a compromise for the office building he wants to build at Sixth and Woodlane across from the Capitol.

Charter school failures in St. Louis

Another day, another report on failing charter schools, these in St. Louis. But wait.

Is Chris Christie the answer?

And if he is, what was the question? Anyway, the latest reporting detects presidential movement by the obnoxious New Jersey governor.

Facebook hacker posts nude photos

Strange story from Baxter County. Perv computer hacker got into a Mountain Home teen's Facebook page and posted photoshopped pix of her face atop nude bodies.

Truck sticks under Broadway bridge in NLR

I'd like to see a count of the number of times trucks have failed to pass under this railroad bridge on Broadway in North Little Rock.

Pieday: Egg Custard at Dew-Baby's

I think I have found the best egg custard pie that exists. Well, maybe that's asking a lot... but the egg custard pie served up at Dew-Baby's in Stuttgart is the finest example I have ever encountered.

Saturday: Main Street Food Truck Festival

The Main Street Food Truck Festival is Saturday.

Paranoia runs deep: Dustin McDaniel edition

Can't link it because it's behind a pay wall, but the Hot Spring Sentinel Record carried an interesting report today on remarks by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

State Police Commission rapped for reinstating Rhew

A tough column this week by Steve Barnes on the case of Andrew Rhew, the trooper who resigned after a DWI in Missouri last weekend.

Saturday To-Do: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra kicks off its season Saturday night, led by Conductor Philip Mann.

NLR Schools seek to reassure parents after rape

The North Little Rock School District has issued a statement to reassure everyone following the reported rape of a female student by a male West Campus high school student this week while they were alone in an office.

State costs increased in Capitol Ave. building deal

I wrote yesterday about a new state lease agreement by which a division of the Career Education Department, headed by Bill Walker, will occupy an expanded building at 525 W. Capitol Avenue owned by an LLC headed by his friend, political ally and fellow Beebe supporter, Richard Mays.

Motorcyclist killed in University Ave. crash

Robert Birdsong, 68, of Little Rock was fatally injured shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday when his motorycycle slid into a turning car in the 2100 block of North University Avenue.

Pine Bluff doctor gets probation in IUD case

Dr. Kelly Dean Shrum, who once practiced in Pine Bluff ob/gyn, has received a probationary sentence for providing women with a birth control device not approved for sale in the U.S. by the FDA but making claims for payment for the similar Mirena brand IUD.

The Arkansas Times Blues Bus is filling up...

Time's tickin' for those of you considering hopping on the Arkansas Times Blues Bus to the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena-West Helena.

Huckabee balloon floats, then pops

Undoubtedly encouraged by my remarks that he towers over the current field (of midgets), Mike Huckabee is reportedly telling unnamed confidantes that he might get in the presidential race after all.

Sunday To-Do: ZooJam

Toby Keith headlines ZooJam Sunday night.

Last night: Finding Fiction and Brass Bed at Vino's

Finding Fiction and Brass Bed played at Vino's Thursday night.

Inside Art: UALR video on restoration

After languishing on campus for several years, two sculptures are restored by Norton Arts.

Judges discuss funding shortage

Arkansas judges are meeting this afternoon to discuss a money shortage in the fund that pays their administrative assistants, the people who manage dockets, handle phones and do other duties.

Clinton family opens Little Rock footbridge

I can't remember the last time the entire Clinton family — the former president, the secretary of state and their daughter Chelsea — were together in Little Rock.

The Follow the Rules Edition

Lu Hardin’s light sentence, some juicy politics in commissions you don’t you usually here from, the new lawsuit aimed at the Arkansas legislative reimbursement scheme and more are up for discussion this week.

The Friday night line

Is Chris Christie too fat to be elected president.

Crystal Bridges slide show: UPDATE

From the Washington Post.

Republican leader wants to 'eradicate' unions

Once in a while Republicans are so blindingly honest about their beliefs, that you almost want to thank them, as chilling as those beliefs might be.

Health care politics: Obstructionism vs. moderation

Brummett asseses Gov. Mike Beebe's modest effort to nudge the state legislature toward implementing locally controlled health care exchanges and the Republican Party's all-in bet that obstruction of universal health care is the winning hand.

Food truck festival in Little Rock today

What a fine fall day. Don't forget the Food Truck Festival on Main Street, beginning at 11 a.m.

Chelsea Clinton remembers father's decision to run

SPEAKING OF BILL CLINTON: His daughter Chelsea has written an article for the Daily Beast (she's on the board of the corporation that is a co-owner the publication) about her father's decision to run.

Live, it's Saturday night

Here's an open line for you. Some odds and ends: * STATE POLICE COMMISSIONER HAS SAY: We linked earlier a tough column by Steve Barnes on the State Police Commission's decision to overrule two different agency directors and reinstate Andrew Rhew, despite violating rules on siren and light use during a high-speed patrol run that ended in a fatal crash with another driver.

Missing Bill

Little Rock got a taste of the days when the budget was balanced, the debt was being paid down and the U.S. was widely admired around the world.

Clinton schools the Tea Party

A friend sent a link to Politico coverage of a panel discussion and unscripted remarks by Bill Clinton Friday that were part of three days of events marking the 20th anniversary of his announcement of a run for the White House.

Legislature's pay supplement likely to see changes

John Brummett asks this morning if the legislative expense reimbursement scheme is a scam? I'm confident to answer that question in the affirmative and predict success for the illegal exaction lawsuit filed by the Arkansas Public Law Center, a nonprofit group of which I'm a board member.

Texas makes the case for immigrant student help

It's simple Tea Party Republican dogma that no candidate can get away with supporting in-state college tuition rates for "illegal aliens" — meaning state high school graduates who generally came to the country as children with parents who are working, paying taxes and contributing to a state's economy.

The Sunday night line

I was told this afternoon of the death of George Bentley, who retired more than 20 years ago as the county courthouse reporter for the Arkansas Gazette.

Why do Republicans hate voting?

The New York Times takes a look at the Republican push to depress voter turnout.

Having fun with education reform

If reader TeaParty2012 wrote an education reform blog, I think it would read something like LastStand4Children.

Race and the Republican Party

Interesting convergence of articles this morning. * RACIAL EPITHET: Texas Gov. Rick Perry is on the defensive again — and the offense is led by a black Republican presidential candidate — over his Texas hunting camp, long known as "Niggerhead."

Tuesday To-Do: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift plays Verizon Arena Tuesday night.

Father faults Womack's response on missing son

An Arkansas man whose son has been missing from a Utah military base since May is unhappy with response by his congressmen, U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, to requests for help.

VP resigns from Arkansas Lottery

I was urged to send a reporter to the lottery personnel committee this morning. David Koon is there and will be back with a report.

Calling the Rick Perry 20

I sent e-mails this morning to the 20 Arkansas Republican legislators who wrote the letter that encouraged Rick Perry to run for the White House.

Complaint that justice was for sale in Illinois

Another case arises in which a judge voting to overturn a huge plaintiffs' verdict is accused of being improperly influenced by significant financial help from the party favored by his vote.

Democratic challenger for Tea Party's Hubbard

There may be others to come on the Democratic side, but a solid challenger has announced in Jonesboro to oppose Tea Party Republican Rep. Jon Hubbard, one of the most extreme members of a generally extremist GOP delegation, for re-election next year.

Some legislators change reimbursement practices

Legislative monthly expense reimbursements are processed the first business day of the month, which was today.

Wound fatal in Arch Street bar stabbing

The sheriff's office says Robert Cauley, 38, of Alexander, who was stabbed at the Rock City Lounge at 8115 Arch Street Pike early Sunday, Sept. 25, has died.

Arrests made in WLR robberies

Police say they arrested three males, two of them juveniles, after an attempted robbery on the parking lot of the Whole Foods at 10700 N. Rodney Parham Road about 9:15 this morning.

Explore proposed Little Rock wards in our new web app

Use our new map app to see the new proposed Little Rock Wards.

Monday, Monday

The week has begun. Slowly.

A not-so-good architectural review of CBMAA

By Philip Kennicott of the Wash Post.

Michele Bachmann shedding campaign staff

Short of money, hope and sound ideas, Michele Bachmann's campaign staff is seeing a departure of key aides, in some cases back to the taxpayers' payroll.

Will the plays go on at Arkansas Tech?

I continue to receive concerned letters from friends of the Arkansas Tech University theater program about the future of the program.

UPDATE: City board approves McDonald's at University-Markham

I said a few days ago that this deal smelled cooked. It was.

Zoo Jam has financial problems UPDATE

The Zoo Jam Sunday at War Memorial Golf Course, with headliner Toby Keith, to raise money for the Little Rock Zoo was an apparent flop.

Joe Nocera explains Solyndra

The NY Times columnist has been calmly explaining the Solyndra failure while Republicans try to whip it into the scam of the century.

Occupy Wall Street: The liberals' fall?

Is the Occupy Wall Street movement the leading edge of a Liberal Fall, the beginning of a moment when progressives coalesced into a Tea Party-style movement?

All over the place

Photographer Grav Weldon shares giant vegetation from the Alaska State Fair.

Scratch Chris Christie from presidential run UPDATE

If you can't believe National Review, who can you believe? That leaves Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, I figure.

State revenues looking up

The September state revenue report, even adjusted for results from the August sales tax holiday on school items, is encouraging.

The race is on for Hillcrest House seat

Small business owner Mark Robertson announced today as a Democrat for the House seat held by term-limited Rep. Kathy Webb.

No price too high for bigotry

House Republicans are tightwads when it comes to health care, Social Security, foreign aid, disaster aid, you name it.

Art of Architecture: Mid-century modern

Mark Wilcken's film on Arkansas's post-war architecture will be shown tonight.

Atheists' bus ads now on Little Rock streets

18 Central Arkansas Transit buses are now carrying the disputed ads bearing the legend: "Are You Good Without God?

Cursing for a cause — f*** famine

Politico reports here that a group of celebrities, including former Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee, shouted a four-letter obscenity for cameras in a promotion to speak up against famine.

These veggies make me happy

Don't eat at Green Cuisine because it's meat-free. Eat at Green Cuisine because it'll make your taste buds happy.

The open line

It's here. I think I'll catch David Margolick this evening at the Clinton School.