← Back to issues

October 5, 2011

Vol 38 • No 6

Read the print version

Say McIntosh: The lion in winter

Robert "Say" McIntosh is older, quieter and calmer these days, but he's lived a life full of personal and political drama.

The Says of our lives

Highlights from the colorful public history of Robert McIntosh.

Democrats link Kochs, Rep. Tim Griffin

Can't quarrel with this linkage — the Kochs and U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin. They've funneled more than $160,000 into efforts to elect him.

Parallels in panics

A bunch of times the past 150 years we were right here — the country in economic distress, millions disillusioned and the political order mesmerized by a paranoid minority convinced that government is in the hands of sinister forces and the social fabric threatened by demons from rum and foreign agents to immigrants and alien religions.

Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?

Talking points

I don't know who invented talking points. Probably some Socialist.

Eye on Arkansas Oct. 5, 2011

Former President Bill Clinton greets the crowd Saturday as he arrives at a celebration of the 20th anniversary of his announcement to run for president.

Sheffield Nelson: cooking with gas

Sheffield Nelson, the former gas company executive and Republican gubernatorial candidate, is pushing a petition to put a natural gas severance tax increase on the 2012 election ballot.

Perry's way

Andy Warhol predicted that everyone would get to be famous for 15 minutes. In the Republican presidential race, everyone gets to be the media's darling for 15 minutes.

Churches teaching teachers how to teach religion

Nonbelievers see the program as inappropriate if not illegal.

The rest of the shale story

"I doubt folks realize that around the U.S. natural gas resources are being sold to foreign interests."

It's out of touch

Class warfare foreplay

More than beer at Flying Saucer

There's plenty to like on the dining menu at the River Market pub.

Top Republicans consult with the brilliant Dr. Von Philbert

Hogs wake up against Aggies

Second half comeback augurs well for the future.

Happy birthday, Will Barnet

Arts Center exhibits 85 works by the artist and friend of Townsend Wolfe.

Tommy Emmanuel, 'Pippin', Dala and Buckethead

Plus, 'Marathon Boy', R.I.O.T.S., Harvest and more

Pop-Up Video returns

Legislators curb expenses

Legislators filed claims Monday for monthly expenses for the first time since a lawsuit was filed by the Arkansas Public Law Center challenging the flat monthly reimbursement scheme as an unconstitutional salary supplement.

Golf course blues

The inaugural ZooJam was a bust.

Friendly transaction

A recent mortgage transaction showed that a state agency head has increased substantially the real estate business his department is doing with a friend and fellow supporter of Gov. Mike Beebe.

Bill Walker's defense

Walker was rankled by Anne Laidlaw's suggestion that anything had ever been amiss in his agency's choice of buildings.

Get a spot on the Times Blues Bus

Plus, a new project from HooHum's Rod Bryan and lineup details for Harvestfest.

It's King Biscuit time

Blues brings the throngs to Helena.

A handful of nails

The lesson of fall

Fall is why we all stay in Arkansas. Yes, it's among the prettiest places in the country for the season, but let's face it, if summer lasted another month, we would all go mad.

Staring down death in '50-50'

Pathos, humor fill Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's new film.

October book events

Festival of Wines, "Dixie Swim Club," Big Smith and Bill Hastings

Plus, The Bellamy Brothers, MC Chris, Opiate and more

Observations on 'Last Shot with Judge Gunn'

We watched the show so you don't have to.

Festival of Wines returns to Dickey-Stephens

Taylor Swift at Verizon

Taylor Swift played Verizon Arena last night and Brian Chilson sent a photo from the show.

Occupy Wall Street — a movement

Sure enough, Arlo was right. You get 50 people singing the same chorus of a song and you've got a movement.

Pedestrian killed at Markham and Pearl

Michael Rogers, 49, of 132 Booker Street, was killed about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday when he was struck in the middle of Markham Street at Pearl Avenue in front of the E-Z Mart.

Chamber cheerleading the charter movement

Propaganda party touted here by the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, which has served for some time as an enabler of messaging about the alleged waste of money that is the Little Rock School District.

The Razorbacks are Lando

Further proof that no one is geekier than sportswriters:'s Andy Staples compares the top college football teams to "Star Wars" characters.

Veteran reporter calling it quits

When I went to work at the Arkansas Gazette in 1973, one of many welcoming staff members was a hip, sassy state desk reporter named Ginger Shiras, who turned heads all over Arkansas shortly after I arrived with a spicy profile of Jim Dandy and the then-hot Black Oak Arkansas.

Fatal wreck at Cantrell and Reservoir UPDATE

Fox 16 says police are reporting a death in a three-car wreck at Cantrell and Reservoir.

Thursday To-Do: Tommy Emmanuel

Tommy Emmanuel plays at the University of Central Arkansas Thursday night.

What is a meeting under FOI law?

Sebastian County Circuit Judge James Cox delivered a disappointing decision for open government advocates yesterday.

Why does Little Rock hate pedestrians?

I mentioned recently a new blog MoveArkansas, which promises to focus on smarter design and city planning and policies friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.

Ark. Republican leaders back Romney

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin has announced he will be Mitt Romney's campaign manager in Arkansas.

Thursday: Kevin Kerby, The Bellamy Brothers and more

You know him, you love him, Kevin Kerby plays Music in the Garden at Dunbar Community Garden, 5:30 p.m., $3-$5.

How the rich buy elections

Columbia Journalism Review has a good summary of new reporting by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker about Art Pope, a North Carolina multi-millionaire — aided by the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and careful manipulation of rules governing nonprofits — has all but taken control of that important swing state's politics.

Last night: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift played Verizon Arena last night.

Chef Tory McPhail comes to NWA to share great vittles

A good piece of Louisiana is coming to Northwest Arkansas this weekend, and you should go check it out.

UPDATE: Ark. Tech president defends theater closure

Dr. Robert Brown, president of Arkansas Tech, defends his decision to close a theater workshop as a safety hazard. He says the decision was motivated only by safety concerns, not philosophical disagreements.

Call the Hogs in Nashville with Cody Belew

Cody Belew & The Mercers play Nashville's Whiskey Bent Saloon Oct. 28.

Adios y hola: Jimenez sculpture to CBMAA

Sculpture on loan to El Paso Museum headed to Bentonville.

The Wednesday line

The line is open. Final words: * ANOTHER LAW AND ORDER REPUBLICAN: James Ward of Alexander is running for Saline County sheriff as a Republican.

Coming Friday: Will Barnet, to the Arts Center

And more, in Art Notes.

Ark. Republicans play cynical game on health plan

John Brummett lays out competing political interests that pit the Arkansas Republican Party against Gov. Mike Beebe, Blue Cross and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce on planning for health insurance exchanges to be set up under federal health care legislation, presuming the right-wing Supreme Court doesn't go to legislating and strike it down.

Democrats to fight Republican vote suppression

The Democratic Party plans a campaign against Republican vote suppression laws nationwide after a report that the laws could deter 5 million voters (from Democratic-leaning sectors, particularly).

Oh, Texas

The Texas State Fair is the largest state fair around. What crazy foods from the Dallas wonder will make it to Arkansas? And what will we come up with at our own state fair this year?

What would you do for a chicken sandwich?

What would you do for free combo meals for a year? How about spend 24 hours camped out in a parking lot?

Darr, Griffin support Romney — Romney?

Has anybody been more critical of Obamacare than U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin and Lt. Gov. Mark Darr?

Burger joint of the week: Greenhouse Grille

Fayetteville's got some good burgers, and you can find one of those at the Greenhouse Grille on the south side of town.

Ernestine Middleton fired at Arkansas Lottery

The last of the three top lottery officials who came from South Carolina to get the Arkansas Lottery off the ground apparently has left the building.

Niehues at the WAC

Reception tonight for Arkansas's innovative basketmaker.

FU: A reception, and an appeal

Fayetteville Underground appeals for donations to help its upcoming move.

Weekend To-Do: MusicFest El Dorado

Boyz II Men plays MusicFest El Dorado Friday night.

F***, no, Mike Huckabee didn't curse

Remember the item about the Bono-sponsored ad by celebrities including Mike Huckabee seemingly using the F-word to make a point about famine?

Weekend: Mayday by Midnight, MC Chris, Big Smith and more

MC Chris plays Juanitas Saturday night.

Thieves hit Little Rock Apple store

Here's the report on last night's burglary of the new Apple store in The Promenade at Chenal.

I hear seven, who'll go eight on their Arkie roots?

Gotta love candidate Arkie root nurturing. A political observer notes from various news releases: 2nd District Republican: The youngest son of a minister and teacher, Tim Griffin is a fifth generation Arkansan, veteran, attorney and former small business owner who lives in Little Rock with his wife Elizabeth and their two children.

Weekend To-Do: Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival

Ben Nichols, of Lucero, headlines the Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival Friday night.

Mo' Witherspoon pics from set of "Mud"

Photos from the set of Jeff Nichols' new film "Mud" continue to trickle out of Dumas, where the Arkansas filmmaker is shooting his third feature — his follow up to the critically-acclaimed "Take Shelter," which won big at Cannes and is getting some early awards buzz.

Friday To-Do: "Marathon Boy"

"Marathon Boy" screens at Argenta Community Theater Friday night.

Weekend: ASO presents "Music of John Williams"

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents "Music of John Williams" this weekend.

Friday To-Do: "Pippin"

The Weekend Theater's production of the musical "Pippin" opens Friday night.

Occupy Little Rock organizing

An organizer for Occupy Little Rock, an outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street effort, says the group will hold an organizational meeting from 6 to 8 p.m.

Former Philander employee charged with sexual assault

The Little Rock police have released details on a sexual assault complaint filed in 2010 against a Philander Smith College employee by a 16-year-old student.

Open late tonight: Gallery 26

Bristow, Linn, Miles.

Fatal shooting

Charles Kevin Jackson, 48, of 9811 Reck Road, was fatally shot about 8:25 p.m. Wednesday at 7516 Sandra Drive, in the Wakefield neighborhood of Southwest Little Rock.

PETA campaigns against Yellville turkey drop

PETA is right about this one. The turkey drop at the Yellville Turkey Trot (Friday and Saturday) is ghastly.

Scott Brown is worried about Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown should be worried. But attacking an opponent on her looks?

WM3 to attend 'Paradise Lost: Purgatory' debut in NYC

The New York Times reports that Jessie Misskelley, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin will be in attendance when the latest version of "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" debuts at the 49th annual New York Film Festival on Monday night.

Ark. Tech's drama drama UPDATED

I reported some tough remarks yesterday by Arkansas Tech president Robert Brown in defense of the university's closure of a theater workshop.

Saturday To-Do: Dala

Dala plays Argenta Community Theater Saturday night.

Arkansas Republicans back Rick Perry

I have my direct answer from state Rep. David Sanders. He still backs Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the Republican presidential nomination and he sends along a Perry news release that lists other Arkansans who are standing tall with him, including 19 of the 20 legislators who originally signed Sanders letter of support.

Harvest at Wildwood this weekend

Harvest at Wildwood Park is this weekend. It’ll be a weekend of pickin’ and grinnin’ — literally, with the Arkansas Pickin’ and Grinnin’ Championships.

Thursday night line

Open for your comments. Close-outs: * CHARTER SCHOOL PANEL EXPANDED: The Walton- and Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce-sponsored program Oct. 25 to further demonize conventional public schools in the name of advancing "choice" will include a voice from the Little Rock School District.

John Brummett moves to Democrat-Gazette — again

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette front page this morning has a story about the return of the prodigal — columnist John Brummett is joining the newspaper as an op-ed page columnist.

Lottery departures add up to real money

Mulling this morning the end of the South Carolina triumvirate at the Arkansas Lottery, I realized the departure of Ernie P., David Barden and Ernestine Middleton saves, on an annual basis, more than $750,000, or 150 one-year lottery scholarships.

FAA to watch for turkey droppers

A Federal Aviation Administration official tells the Democrat-Gazette's Debra Hale-Shelton in an article today that the agency will be on the lookout for the rogue pilot who drops live turkeys over the Yellville Turkey Trot festival, scheduled today and tomorrow.

The Nobel's year of the woman

New York Times The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality.

Krugman cheers Occupy Wall Street

The NY Times' Paul Krugman cheers the Occupy Wall Street movement. He offers some caveats, but his core explanation of the justification for demonstrations is worth noting: In the first act, bankers took advantage of deregulation to run wild (and pay themselves princely sums), inflating huge bubbles through reckless lending.

The N-word: A fact of geography in the U.S.

The New York Times has a useful feature today on the frequent appearance of racially-based names of places and geographic features throughout the United States.

Again with the sales tax for a bridge

I can't believe it. Wait.

Weekend To-Do: Harvest

Wildwood Park for the Arts hosts Harvest this weekend.

Guilty plea in Horatio clerk slaying

Quick work was made of the abduction and slaying of Wendy Hernandez, a Horatio store clerk, reported here not long ago.

King Biscuit Blues Festival photos

Tireless Times photographer Brian Chilson sent in some dispatches from the King Biscuit Blues Festival, which got started yesterday.

Daughter of migrant workers wins Milken award

What a coincidence of timing. I'd just read another story on the flight of undocumented immigrants from Alabama because of draconian new law by which that state will cut off its nose to spite the employment needs it will frace by jerking a welcome mat.

Saturday To-Do: R.I.O.T.S., LR Cream

R.I.O.T.S. and LR Cream play White Water Tavern Saturday night.

LRCVB reviewing applicants for River Market openings

The Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau is considering applicants for open spots in the River Market.

Zoo gets $4,000 Zoo Jam check

The Little Rock Zoo received a $4,000 check Thursday afternoon from the promoters of last Sunday's Zoo Jam, a Toby Keith-headlined concert on the War Memorial Golf Course that proved an attendance flop.

Hog football trailblazer Darrell Brown

Thanks to TAP for a link to a whale of a story. It's about the first black to play on the University of Arkansas football team.

David Rackley, Michael Ethridge, Jerri Hillis, Robert Zunick, Rene Hein

Hot Springs galleries open tonight for monthly Gallery Walk.

VIDEO: Occupy Little Rock planning meeting

Videographer Gabe Gentry caught some video of the Oct. 4 planning meeting of Occupy Little Rock — our home-grown offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City — as the local movement continues to gel.

2nd Traskwood body identified UPDATE

A second body found buried in the yard of Marissa Wright of Traskwood has been identified as Randal Anderson, about 53, of Mabelvale.

Billy Bob's daughter gets 20 years in prison

Amanda Brumfield, the daughter of Arkansas-born actor Billy Bob Thornton, was sentenced yesterday in Florida to 20 years in prison in the death of a one-year-old girl she was babysitting.

Reception tonight: UCA

Baum Gallery celebrates its 15th year.

Woman killed by falling limb in pumpkin patch UPDATE

A woman was killed about 1 p.m. Friday while picnicking at the Scott Pumpkin Patch, a visitor attraction on Craig Road in Scott in eastern Pulaski County.

The line is open

Sorry, but I have to quit early. You take it from here.

The Taking It To The Streets Edition

State Republicans' presidential endorsements, Occupy Wall Street, more job upheaval at the lottery and more are up for discussion this week.

Gouging banks: a good focus for Occupy Wall Street

Joe Nocera reviews Bank America's gouging decision to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee.

The Facebook push for 'signature' Broadway Bridge

I'm all for signature architectural works. But, as I wrote yesterday, I'm nowhere near ready for the three amigos — Mayors Stodola and Hays and County Judge Villines — to go to the sales tax (or property tax) well again to replace the Broadway Bridge with an artistic design that would cost a great deal more if it serves art as well as simple function.

Bus leaves at 10 for King Biscuit Blues Festival

I'm likely to have little to contribute today, because iPhone posting is incredibly laborious. I'm off at 10 a.m. to the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Times are tough all over

It's hard to keep a restaurant going sometimes. Three restaurants that went under before their time.

Saturday line comes early

The sun, the music and the food are hot on Cherry Street in Helena. I'm leaving it all up to you.

North Little Rock's midnight tax increase

The Democrat-Gazette this morning (pay wall) North Little Rock May Pat Hays this morning a crack at explaining the hurryup, almost secretive means by which the city wants to add another penny sales tax on that city's voters.

California offers college aid to immigrants

A new California law now allows college students without legal residency status to receive state financial assistance equal to that offered other California residents.

Monday To-Do: Buckethead

Buckethead plays Juanita's Monday night.

Sunday night comments

The line is open. I still haven't quite gotten over the 2:45 a.m. return from the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

No turkey drop in Yellville this year

The Baxter Bulletin reports that no live turkeys were dropped from an airplane during the Yellville Turkey Trot Festival.

An education film for the chamber to screen

The Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce is joining hands with a Walton-financed lobbyist to screen the pro-charter school propaganda film "Waiting for Superman" at a session Oct. 25 at Philander Smith.

Monday: Deas Vail, "Waiting for Superman," German composers

Deas Vail — Russellville's purveyors of overpoweringly earnest, heart-on-sleeve Christian indie-pop — play a record release show at Revolution.

Lifestyle of the rich and famous Mike Huckabee

Sheriff reports jail suicide

Lt. Carl Minden of the Pulaski sheriff's office said Antwon Williams, 29, of Little Rock was found hanged by a sheet from bars on his cell window about 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Lucinda Williams at Juanita's

Lucinda Williams plays Juanita's Tuesday night.

Here are some photos of the Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival

Big Smith played the Hot Water Hills Music & Arts Festival last weekend.

West Memphis 3 allowed joint appearance

Circuit Judge David Laser of Jonesboro last week amended his order releasing defendants in the West Memphis 3 case so that all three of them may appear together.

Going back to Jonesboro

Back in my Jonesboro days, back in the late 90s, I'd splurge on this great little Italian place called Lazzari's Italian Oven. It was reasonably priced, my friends worked there and I adored the asiago cream sauce and the salty crusted bread and the Mista salad and the... well, everything. It's good to know it's still there and still that good.

Dipped: Our Central Arkansas favorites

Did you miss our Native's Guide on Cheese Dip? Check it out — and find out what other great places around the state have memorable queso for you to try.

City moving on War Memorial land acquisition

Residents of Oak Forest and other neighborhoods have been buzzing with news of a land appraiser sending letters about the city of Little Rock's planned acquisition of property south of Interstate 630 near the Little Rock Zoo.

Why does Occupy Wall Street rage?

Maybe because of stories like this: Craig Dubow, CEO of Gannett Corp., who oversaw implosion of the stock's price, plummeting newspaper circulation, layoffs of thousands of workers, retires with a $37 million golden parachute on account of a bad back.

McDaniel seeks to intervene in Fort Smith FOI case

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says he will seek to intervene in a Fort Smith case in which criminal penalties in the state Freedom of Information Act were held unconstitutional.

ZooJam promoters claim payments in works

A news release arrived today from ZooJam Promotions, which staged the financially disastrous ZooJam concert Oct. 2 at War Memorial Park.

The Monday line is open

Partisanship, the Arkansas Lottery, political announcements and more.

Fact-checking Mark Darr

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr says Senate rules work against Republicans. Too bad he got the rule wrong.

Occupy LR picks time and locations for protest march

Around 100 were on hand for tonight's Occupy Little Rock planning meeting, the second since the group formed in Little Rock earlier this month.

Kochs plan election spending spree

The Koch brothers plan to spend $200 million on elections in 2012 to buy a majority for their anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-poor political agenda.

What is a MOINK?

This little item here is bound to get your attention the next few days, if you're interested in Arkansas State Fair food.

Tuesday: Mutemath, Blackberry Bushes Stringband, "Tales of the Crypt" and more

Mutemath plays Revolution Tuesday night.

Obama sought Romneycare guidance

Well of course President Obama went to the source — Romney people — for advice on his health care legislation modeled after the plan Mitt Romney pushed into law in Massachusetts while governor there.

Republican lies explained

Once again Ernest Dumas writes a column that need not wait until Wednesday publication date.

Shootings, dead horse on police blotter

It's dangerous out there, judging by morning cop reports. * DRUGS ARE DANGEROUS: Police say two men were shot after driving to 17th and Johnson Street about 12:45 a.m. today to buy drugs.

Huckabee helps Mormon basher Jeffress

David Wiegel in Slate notes that Mike Huckabee contributed the foreword to a new book, "Twilight's Last Gleaming," by Robert Jeffress, the preacher who infamously described the Mormon Church as a cult.

UCA: Laws, Luckett, Kupinsky and more

Anniversary show of conceptual and traditional art, ceramics exhibit in Conway.

Gene Jeffress announces 4th District bid

It is for real. Sen. Gene Jeffress indeed has made a formal announcement as the first Democrat to declare for the open 4th District congressional seat.

Delta Blues — a massive bust UPDATE

U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer has scheduled a news conference later today in Helena to announce a "significant" number of indictments and arrests.

Lawsuit planned in Little Rock police shooting

Mike Laux, a Chicago lawyer, says he'll file a promised civil rights lawsuit over the fatal shooting Dec. 9 of Eugene Ellison by off-duty Little Rock police working as security guards at his apartment complex.

VIDEO: Occupy LR planning meeting, part 2

Videographer Gabe Gentry with Mindful Media Productions made it out to the second planning meeting for Occupy Little Rock last night, and came back with some very enlightening video from the proceedings.

Another Walker-Mays state real estate deal

I wrote recently about a state agency head, Bill Walker of the Arkansas Department of Career Services, who'd picked a building for consolidation of the Arkansas Rehabilitation Services Division that happened to be owned by an LLC headed by his friend and fellow Mike Beebe supporter, Richard Mays, a Little Rock lawyer and former legislator.

Here's where I save your butt

Here's the one Arkansas State Fair food you need to watch out for, that could singe or even burn out your tastebuds.

The Tuesday line is open

Readers take over. Some final words: * HEALTH CARE REFORM: Insurance Commissioner Jay Bradford bravely tried again today to persuade the unpersuadable that the state should apply for federal money to set up and run health care exchanges contemplated by federal law.

Highlights from the premiere of 'Paradise Lost'

Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Damien Echols attended the premiere of "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.”

Evanescence has a new album out

Evanescence released its third album today.

Mark Pryor statement on Obama jobs bill

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor's office issued the following statement tonight: In order to reach better days, job creation should be the number one priority in Congress.