← Back to issues

October 7, 2010

Vol 37 • No 5

Read the print version

Queso addiction

An Arkie staple takes center stage thanks to a true devotee.

The passion of the cheese dip

Nothing like cheese dip for stirring up an Arkansas conversation.

Survival Guide

Tips on making it through a nine-hour cheese dip festival.

Counting blessings

Fantastic news on the dessert front: the best fried pies in Arkansas are coming back.

That was quick

Momma Dean's in Fayetteville reopens with a Good Samaritan's donation covering sales taxes owed by the restaurant.

Rally for the bishop? UPDATES

E-mail this morning says supporters of Bishop Steven Arnold, who resigned Sunday as senior pastor of megachurch St. Mark Baptist, are organizing a rally in his support this week.

Game and Fish moves to reduce fleet

The state Game and Fish Commission may be independent, but it knows it is interdependent on the executive and legislative branch.

Photos in Fayetteville

The U of A Fine Arts Center opens "Black and White in America" today; Fayetteville Underground debuts shows tomorrow.

Harding races for a cure

Harding University, which found itself yesterday in the eye of worldwide attention (and those of not a few unhappy women) for removing Race for the Cure items from the campus bookstore, has reversed itself.

Can emotional distress trump free speech?

Supreme Court arguments were held today in the case of the damage verdict awarded, then overturned, against Westboro Church protesters who display hateful signs at military funerals (in this case outside a 1000-foot buffer zone).

The line is open

We're on the downhill. LATE NEWS NOTE: The Log Cabin Democrat reports that Faulkner County authorities have charged two men with first degree murder in an apparent road rage incident Sept. 12 that led to a crash that killed four people on U.S. 64 near Vilonia.

I can see the BCS from here

That was the kind of weekend that just messes your metaphors all up: The SEC is suddenly a blank slate, waiting for some errant team to come along and shape the landscape to their will. The stars are aligning for the Razorbacks, but can they connect the dots?

Fair thee well

The Arkansas State Fair kicks off.

Chamber of Commerce at work

Promoting more bond issues, higher interest rates.

Original intent

Former lawmaker says law favors new trial.

LR Visitors Bureau commissions sculpture

'Ebrahimifar' opens at Boswell-Mourot.

Facedown in Florida

Paul Reyes delves into the human side of the housing crisis; C.D. Wright peels back bygone racial turmoil.

The year of the man

Many voters are hard-wired to believe that tough times--as if the economy was a cage wrestling match--call for men. Sadly, many of these voters will be women.

Is it racist? Is it forever?

You needn't go far in Arkansas to find still-blatant racist attitudes among whites toward blacks.

Kinks a-plenty

Taj Mahal shows promise, but no consistency.

The scholars of Clinton

What are the chances that a little town of 2,300 would produce two scholars with Ph.D.s from a university in the Islamic kingdom of the United Arab Emirates?


It's a bleak election year nationwide, rife with unworthy candidates, some of whom are likely to be chosen by an electorate that is confused, angry and frightened, and egged on to error by media hatemongers.

Eye on Arkansas, Oct. 7

Best face forward

Navel-gazing on Facebook.

In Brief, Oct. 7-9

Randy Rogers at Revolution, Amy Grant at Walton Arts Center, The Legendary Shack Shakers at Maxine's, Sub Kulture 4 at Revolution, Festival of Wines 2010 at Dickey-Stevens Park, "Thunder at the Rock" Airshow at LRAFB

Parris Towers suspect

Friends of George Allen, a suspect in the pellet sniper case, say that Allen has disappeared into the local hospital system and they can't find him.

Stupid talk

Are the American people stupider than they used to be? Yep. And getting stupider by the day. By choice.

Pink mania

"In the midst of 'pink mania,' our yearly celebration of female cancer survivors, it's hard to deny that the fight against breast cancer has become fashionable, trendy--popular if you will."

Doesn't suck

'Let Me In' keeps the killer in the vampire thriller.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra's 'New World'

Oct. 2, Robinson Center Music Hall

The Observer, Oct. 7

We're happy to report that we received quite a bit of interest in the painting we wrote about last week. When the dust cleared, it was adopted by quick-on-the-keyboard Hester Criswell, an assistant attorney general for the state.

Orval, Oct. 7, 2010

Sold everywhere: except Walmart

It's probably no surprise, considering the fact that Stewart's first book, "America: The Book," was banned from Walmart, that its sequel, "Earth: The Book," isn't carried at the store, either.

Bye-week bullets

Anybody else think this has so far been one of the sloppiest seasons of college football in recent memory?

This Modern World, Oct. 7, 2010

The To-Do List, Oct. 7-12

Adam Hambrick, Ted Leo and Pharmacists, Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival, Red Octopus, 'Chicago,'True Soul Revue, Nickelback, The Sword, Carrie Underwood, 'Tales of the Crypt'

The Week That Was, Sept. 29-Oct. 5

Good week: college education, Ernie Passailaigue. Bad week: Pulaski Assessor Janet Troutman Ward, Bishop Steven Arnold, Rep. John Boozman, Aaron Jones, State Republican Party

What's Cookin, Oct. 7

Brothers Jason and Tyler Rogers and chef Jeffrey Palsa have started serving meals out of TheFoodTruck, a mobile restaurant akin to the slew of gourmet, Twitter-happy food trucks popping up in bigger cities all over the country.

Words, Oct. 7

In military usage, "troops" means a body of soldiers. We could call the individual members of the body "troopers," but that word has acquired specialized meanings.

Mack's Fish House

You'd think there isn't much to a good hushpuppy, but looks can be deceiving. Though they could have used a bit more onion, these were some of the best we've had in awhile.

Thursday: Randy Rogers Band, Amy Grant, Festival of Wines 2010

Revolution goes Red Dirt when big-time Texas country acts Randy Rogers Band (left) and Wade Bowen come to town, 8 p.m., $15 adv., $20.

Thursday To-Do: Adam Hambrick

ADAM HAMBRICK9:30 p.m., Juanita's. $7.

Thursday To-Do: Ted Leo and Pharmacists

TED LEO AND PHARMACISTS7 p.m., Vino's. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s. Ted Leo is just one of those guys who was born with the touch.

Thursday To-Do: Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival

ARKANSAS BLUES AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL11:30 a.m., Downtown Helena-West Helena. $25 weekend pass.

Thursday To-Do: Red Octopus presents 'Night of the Living Pagans'


Abortion: a rallying point some places

The New York Times reports that further loss of abortion rights is being used as a campaign tool by Democratic candidates in some populous states.

Hey, pumpkin

Pumpkin will be the star at this fall's Tale of Two Farms event out at P. Allen Smith's Moss Mountain Farm Octobrer 16th.

Fish stories

Here's a story about how a Republican ad producer put out a call for actors to adopt a "hicky" West Virginia look to play roles trashing the Democratic candidate for Senate there as out of touch with the average West Virginian.

Corn competition

Show your stuff, win a prize at Wildwood Park for the Art's HARVEST! Festival's cooking competition.

Behind the liberal media billboards

Billboards have gone up in the Little Rock area warning motorists about the liberal media.

Finding SoLost

NPR discovers Dave Anderson and his "SoLost" series.

At the Supreme Court

A couple of items of interest at the Arkansas Supreme Court today: * The court denied a petition by lawyers in a taxpayer's suit seeking to strike a usury amendment from the ballot that would have allowed a lower court judge to consider a motion blocking the secretary of state from putting the measure on the ballot.

Heart for Art

Stephano's Fine Art Gallery is hosting a fund-raiser tonight for the Children's Protection Center, a Little Rock group that advocates for abused children.

"Images of the South"

V.L. Cox's exhibit opens tonight at Thea.

The wedgie for America

Talking Points Memo takes a look at what the Republican Party's Pledge to America would devastate.

Sculpture for the Statehouse

Kathleen Caricof has been commissioned to create a sculpture for the rotunda of the Statehouse Convention Center.

GOP can't hold the center

OK, the rabid right may carry the day for Republicans in 2010. But 2012?

Republican 'character'

Great column by Ernest Dumas this week that takes off with the wonderful coincidence of two mail-order Ph.d. holders in Clinton, Ark. — one the English builldog Dr. Maxwell Sniffingwell, the other the Republican Party committeeman who's the plaintiff in the Republican lawsuit over state constitutional officers' cars.

Leave town

The blues fest is on in Helena-West Helena and the Times Brian Chilson is on the scene.

Fair food: A glossary

From apple dumplings to Tater Dogs, there are all sorts of crazy foods at the Arkansas State Fair. A glossary would be helpful.

Mike Ross: Poetic justice?

A Republican political consulting firm has a poll that it claims shows Republican 4th District candidate Beth Anne Rankin closing to within 3 points, or virtually a dead, with incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Ross.

Over to you

The Thursday night line is open. NEWS NOTE: The U.S. attorney in Little Rock has announced the indictment of Forrest City attorney Michael Easley for Social Security fraud for structuring a $100,000 bonus to an employee in a way that wouldn't prevent her from drawing Social Security disability payments.

Taj Mahal responds

Taj Mahal's Jay Riaz writes in response to this week's review of his new Indian restaurant, which noted a number of service glitches.

Big news from the blues fest: King Biscuit name returning next year

That's the word from Helena-West Helena from our man on the scene, Brian Chilson. Hooray for the return of cool T-shirts!

Weekend: The Legendary Shack Shakers,"Jamaica Me Crazy," Sub Kulture 4,

FRIDAY 10/8 The Legendary Shack Shakers (above), rockabilly revivalists with an extra dash of chic grit, return to Hot Springs alongside the banjo-driven, hard country rock of Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies at Maxine's, 8 p.m., $8 adv., $10 d.o.s. Juanita's hosts a reggae night, "Jamaica Me Crazy," with music from Ras Levi, DJ Apples and Butterfly feat.

Friday To-Do: 'Chicago'

'CHICAGO'7:30 p.m., The Weekend Theater. $14-$18Although it debuted in 1975, was revived on Broadway in 1996 and was adapted for the big screen in what would become the Oscar-winning Best Picture of 2002, "Chicago" never really went away.

Friday To-Do: True Soul Revue

TRUE SOUL REVUE10 p.m., White Water Tavern. If you're not into unbelievable music, feel free to disregard this one.

Rick Crawford: nailed

Rick Crawford, the Republican candidate for 1st District Congress, is a liar. He was caught on videotape saying he supported private retirement accounts for people who wanted them in place of conventional Social Security.

The gusher of secret money

It's wrong and it's poisonous and it isn't likely to be fixed soon. A deluge of secretly sourced money is pouring into political races as never before as the ruling business class sees an opportunity to install a permanent corporate government in Washington.

Helena gets its biscuit back

The Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival underway now in Helena-West Helena will once again be the King Biscuit Blues Festival in 2011.

Saturday art outing: Artworks XXIII

Annual benefit for the Rep.

Saturday art outing: "Ebrahimifar"

Siblings Hamid, Masoud, Saeed and Ferdos Ebrahimifar show their work at Boswell-Mourot.

Saturday art outing: "Thea Paves the Way"

The Thea Foundation's fifth annual free sidewalk chalk art event on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Park kicks off at 8:30 tomorrow morning.

Lincoln plays war vets' card

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is sending around a fund-raising letter from an Iraq war veteran who cites a John Boozman vote on a spending bill that included money for body armor.

Arkansas Lottery goes mobile

Yes, there's now a mobile app for Arkansas Lottery players.

Tonight: 2nd Friday Art Night

On track with trains at HAM, paintings at ASI and Art in the Park.

Snoop D Oh Double G to Fayetteville

The Doggfather's headed to the Barnhill Arena stage on Sunday, Oct. 24. There's a limited number of free tickets for UA students.

Bank of America halts foreclosures

Bank of America is stopping foreclosure sales in all 50 states until it can review sufficiency of documents used in the proceedings.

Another bankrupt clown

A Republican congressional candidate who's running against federal deficits and bailouts turns out to have a bankruptcy on his record.

Lincoln can't quit the millionaires

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is speaking to the Bar Association today. Reports from Jason Tolbert via Twitter indicate she just can't quit the wealthy.

Last night: Ted Leo and Pharmacists @ Vino's

What happened last night at Vino's for the much-awaited Ted Leo and Pharmacists show?

Live from King Biscuit: Valerie June

The "$5 Cover" star was on the scene yesterday and today at the blues festival in Helena-West Helena.

Irish Pub open in River Market

Don Dugan's new Irish joint, Dugan's Pub, opened yesterday at 403 E 3rd St.

Steamy! We've tied a record

Jeff Baskin of Fox 16 reports that the temperature hit 90 today, the 115th day of 90-degree or higher temperature in the city.

More on Castleberry's at White Water Tavern

Hadn't been to White Water Tavern since the '70s? You're about to be pulled back even if you don't care anything about, say, True Soul Revue. Because Nick Castleberry, the hot shot young chef back in Little Rock after 15 years of cooking in Seattle, seems primed to make the Tavern just as much of a destination for food as it is for music (and cheap drinks).

THIS WEEK IN ARKTUBE: Toast mustaches, grade school Rambo, and Gran Pricks smokes.

Has it been a week already? Unless I'm caught in an inter-dimensional time rift, it's Friday, and that means it's time for Arktube, our weekly roundup of the best, dumbest and most head-scratchingly weird Arkansas-related videos posted the previous week to

City candidates, live! UPDATE

The Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods invites the public to City Hall Saturday for a forum of candidates for Little Rock Board of Directors and mayor.

Ear Candy: Sonny Boy Williamson says what?!

Sonny Boy Williamson II, the renowned identity thief, now claims he's the former host of"All Things Considered."

Clinton campaign stop

Bill Clinton will fly into Jonesboro next Wednesday to campaign for Chad Causey, Blanche Lincoln and the rest of the Democratic ticket.

Rolling into the weekend

What a weekend. Football in Dallas.

A facelift for Browning's

The Saltillo Plate lives! But this might be a Pyrrhic victory for Browning's adherents who've been supping on nostalgia all these years: The new Browning's, scheduled to open in 60 days, is decidedly not going to be the old Browning's.

Last night: True Soul Revue @ WWT

Actually, they're still gettin' it. For another 45 minutes or so.

More on a Little Rock sales tax

I mentioned last night a survey underway by source unknown about voters' feelings about a Little Rock sales tax increase.

Beebe's bully pulpit

John Brummett writes that there are ways — as was demonstrated by Game and Fish action last week — to encourage even independent agencies to reduce the fleets of vehicles provided employees for non-work purposes.

Who's paying Justice Thomas' family?

Further reporting in the New York Times today on the huge sums from anonymous sources being funneled to a right-wing political organization headed by Justice Clarence Thomas' wife.

World championship cheese dip

Cheese dip festival is underway at dickey-Stephens park. Looking food. (I meant good, but it also looked like food.)

Open line

Sorry. I've been pot of pocket.

It's over!

A larger than expected crowd shows that Arkansas is really ready to host more competition over our indigenous cuisine — cheese dip.

Elsewhere around the world: food

Food is the universal experience, the one connecting factor that requires no translation. Check out words from world travelers about their own food experiences.

Food for thought

Please note that: * Kat Robinson posted the cheese dip championship winners over on Eat Arkansas.

Sympathy for Jim Keet

John Brummett expresses sympathy for Republican gubernatorial nominee Jim Keet, particularly the attention given by Democrats to Keet's multiple tax payment foulups.

Tea Party, ja wohl!

Read about the Tea Party-backed congressional candidate in Ohio (Republican, of course) who is a Nazi re-enactor in his spare time?

Sunday To-Do: The Sword cancelled

THE SWORD8 p.m., Juanita's. $10.

Sunday To-Do: Nickelback

NICKELBACK6 p.m., Verizon Arena. $55.95-$80.35 All right, let's not mince words here.

Ken Stringfellow to LR

Power-pop/college rock superhero

Sunday line

The line is open. A slow day for me. I got to finish watching the Facebook movie, interrupted at Breckenridge yesterday by a power failure.

Keet may skip forum

Easy pickings for Jim Keet. He's announced he won't participate in a candidate forum in Fort Smith because a white supremacist write-in candidate for governor will participate.

The tyranny of test scores

Here a conservative columnist confronts the flavor of the day in education — "Waiting for Superman" and the presumed superiority of school choice programs.

The big government myth

Neither government jobs nor spending has surged in the Obama years, Paul Krugman writes. What?

Robber shot at IHOP

KAIT is reporting that an ASU police officer shot at least one, and maybe both, of two men who tried to rob an IHOP in Jonesboro about 4 a.m. this morning.

An endorsement for Joyce Elliott

The Leader in Jacksonville endorses Joyce Elliott for 2nd District Congress

Car suit delayed until after election

The Republican lawsuit over state vehicle use by statewide elected officials and House Speaker Robbie Wills was due for an injunction hearing this morning.

Advice for Beth Anne Rankin

Keep your shoes on, hon.

AIDS grant stirs controversy

So far, Jason Tolbert is the vanguard, but I suspect the Republican Party will get wider coverage before long of an HIV?AIDS prevention grant that drew attention in a legislative committee last week.

Sweet Eagle sets CD release date

More to look forward to courtesy, in part, of Thick Syrup Records and Travis McElroy: The CD release party for hard rockin' Little Rock super group Sweet Eagle is set for Dec. 7.

The debates begin

Taping of AETN debates has begun and I've been following the first one — 1st District Congress — through Twitter comments of partisans on both sides.

Blues fest street scene

Courtesy of Times photographer Brian Chilson. More on the jump.

Arkansas AP scores move up

Gov. Mike Beebe's office has announced that Arkansas led the nation in score improvement on Advanced Placement tests for English, math and science.

Thursday in Jonesboro

The Bradbury Gallery hosts printmakers.

Blues fest slideshow

Times photographer Brian Chilson was on the scene in Helena all weekend. Check out his slideshow from the festival on the jump.

Firefighters endorse

Little Rock firefighters have announced endorsements for city board and mayoral seats — all incumbents where possible except Ward 1, where challenger Kevin Dedner picked up another endorsement over incumbent Director Erma Hendrix.

Monday: Arkansas State Fair

Local rockers Canvas play at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Babboons abound when "Wild About Monkeys," the live animal attraction, starts up at 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

A Boy Name Sooie sees the BCS on the horizon

From A Boy Named Sooie: With the Hogs one game removed from our most crushing loss since 1998, the SEC-West is as ill-defined as ever, and three opponents left on our schedule rank in the top 10 nationally. At a glance, all of those games are more winnable than they are losable.

Shale, rattle and roll

Is it just me? Or do we seem to be having an extraordinary amount of seismic activity in the prime drilling area of the Fayetteville shale zone?

Conway ZaZa is open

The Heights standby for wood oven pizza, fancy salads and addictive gelato has opened a much larger outlet in Conway, in the new Village at Hendrix mixed-use development across from Hendrix's campus.

The readers take over

The line is open. NOTE: Batesville Guard says it will broadcast live on its websiteformer President Bill Clinton's appearance in town at 3:15 p.m.

A radical view of Arkansas

A mural painted by a socialist artist in 1935 — "The Struggle of the South" — has been stored at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 1984, when the university purchased it — in 29 pieces on masonite salvaged from an old house in Fort Smith.

Shale, rattle and roll II

The Log Cabin Democrat reports that geologists are studying the recent earthquake activity in the heart of the Fayetteville shale gas exploration zone.

Stealth money at work

The New York Times continues its reporting on the stealth corporate money that threatens to upend the democratic system in America.

Tuesday To-Do: 'Tales of the Crypt'

TALES OF THE CRYPT5:30 p.m., Mount Holly Cemetery. Donations encouraged.

Tuesday To-Do: Carrie Underwood

CARRIE UNDERWOOD7 p.m., Verizon Arena. $35.50-$55.50 No one epitomizes the goodness to be found in "American Idol" quite like the small-town girl from Checotah, Okla. — just a bike ride away from Fort Smith — who drove to "Idol" auditions in St. Louis on a whim, became a hometown hero after making the cut, and authoritatively won the season, becoming, arguably, the biggest female country star around today.

Mark your calendars

It's a worthy cause and a worthy honoree. And, since Ernie comes up this morning, read on for a special early reading of his column this week — a nice takedown of the double-speaking candidates for Congress this year.

Catch art at Ketz

Fall Art Show opens tonight.

That No. 2 business

The debate for lieutenant governor is underway. It's about as pointless as it is every four years.

Have collection, eat it too?

Is collection sharing an affront to a donor?

Sieg heil!

It gets better. Or worse.

Justice Dept. eyes Entergy

Entergy, the electric utility that serves a big portion of Arkansas, says it is cooperating with a Justice Department civil investigation of its competitive practices.

Womack seizes the third rail

David Whitaker, the Democratic candidate for Third District Congress, sent out a news release today meant to mobilize older voters.

Could Browning's spread the cheese dip gospel?

That's what the Dallas Observer wonders after reading our coverage of the World Cheese Dip Championship and our report on the new Browning's and the potential for Jast Partners, out of Dallas, to franchise it.

Twits galore — Governor debate

Now the Republican Twitter mavens are busy at the taping of the gubernatorial debate featuring Gov. Mike Beebe, Jim Keet and Green candidate Jim Lendall.

When's Billy Bob Thornton going to start making good movies again?

The red band trailer for "Faster" is a good occasion to talk about Arkansas' most famous actor. He made "The Man Who Wasn't There" in 2001, "Bad Santa" in 2003 and "Chrystal" in 2004. Since then? "Bad News Bears," "School for Scoundrels," "Mr. Woodcock," "The Informers" (which at least had some cred as a Bret Easton Ellis adaptation). What's the deal? Is Billy Bob done making movies we care about?

Judge enjoins military policy on gay service

It's not nearly over. But a federal judge today enjoined the military from enforcing the don't ask/don't tell policy for gays in the military.

Smile, you're on candid camera

God love the Downtown Partnership. They've been trying to "turn the corner" on Main Street redevelopment for better than a decade, with the thanks for their effort marked by, among others, a crooked developer, a failed major redevelopment, Warren Stephens' personal urban renewal program and lots more.

Beth Ditto drives a party bus in "Men in Love" video

Maybe the best Gossip video to date?

Slots jingle at racetracks

The slot-fed gambling machines and poker and black jack tables at Oaklawn and Southland parks have attracted a total of almost $95 miillion a month in wagering the first nine months of this year, or more than $1 billion in gambling on an annualized basis.

Capgate reporter gets Florida job

Channel 40/29 reports that Renee Gork, who lost a Fayetteville radio job after wearing a Florida cap to a Razorback football practice, has another job in radio — at a University of Florida station.

The line is open

Tuesday night thoughts here.

The silly season

The mailbag this morning brings extensive material from John Thurston, the Republican church minister who is running for state land commissioner.

New poll on 1st District

The Hill newspaper has extensive new polling on a number of close races for Congress, including the 1st District of Arkansas.

A modest proposal

Elwood strikes again, with a letter to the editor in the Democrat-Gazette this morning. It calls, ever so calmly, for an end to taxation on the richest people.

The mine drama

I presume the Chilean mine rescue has transfixed many people, as it has transfixed me.

Fiscal discipline is for others

Good story on a fight in South Carolina, where a Tea Party leader has supported a spending earmark because, well, he's a general contractor and the earmark would bring millions to Charleston for a huge port project.

Long weekend ahead

Just a note: I'm heading to San Francisco. I'll be checking in as I'm able.

Wednesday: Arkansas State Fair

Lounge jazz outfit Cody Belew and the Mercers play the Wendy's Main Stage at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

GOP complains in Conway

It's been a little confusing trying to straighten this out, but here's some news from Faulkner County.

Good morning, people

A sunrise rally with Bill Clinton for Joyce Elliott.

Obama 2.0

President Obama is already thinking about his re-election strategy, Peter Baker's article in the New York Times Magazine says, and here is where his aides are on the competition: Mike Huckabee is the one to beat.