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November 4, 2010

Vol 37 • No 9

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Where's the human touch?

Bruised and battered by his first political race, a congressional candidate laments the loss of personal connection.

Prime time

One of the best prime ribs in the steak can only be found on the weekend, and only if you're willing to travel way outta town.

It WAS as bad as all that

Except for Gov. Mike Beebe's runaway re-election victory, election day was a disaster for Democrats, with historic losses at every level of government.

Lt. Gov.: It's Darr

Vote totals from news organizations so far don't include any votes from Crawford, Searcy and Cleveland counties.

Enter the 2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase

It's that time again. We're looking for local acts to enter our annual battle of the bands to be held in January, February and March of next year.

You want change? You got it

A former legislative staffer says that the Arkansas House will have 40 freshmen members this year thanks to term limits, incumbent losses and people seeking other office.

'AETN Presents: On the Front Row' back tonight

AETN's twist on "Austin City Limits" kicks off its Fall 2010 season tonight at 6:30 p.m. with their Damn Bullets installment and continues for the next three Wednesdays with performances by Go Fast; Bonnie Montgomery and Montgomery Trucking; and Wayland Holyfield and Friends.

What happens now

Elections done, the fallout becomes the story. * Republicans are raring to investigate the Obama administration.

Drown Your Sorrows in Art: Justus Gallery

A stop along the Gallery Walk way in Hot Springs.

Drown Your Sorrows: Gallery Central

Another show to hit in Hot Springs on Friday night: "Form," abstract works by V.L. Cox.

Party time

The Republican Party of Arkansas held a press conference this afternoon to celebrate their electoral victories and talk about the state's political future. Party Chairman Doyle Webb said he expected Republican gains to continue in future elections. Lt. Gov.-elect Mark Darr said he would file a suit to keep Arkansas from participating in "nationalized health care."

The line is open

I'm leaving it with you.

Woop woop! ICP's back!

The ridiculous, controversial Insane Clown Posse returns to Little Rock this December.

Clint McCance and gays

Dead men walking

AMC launches a TV landmark.

The Observer, Nov. 4

Those radical pinko ladies that Tim Griffin is so afraid of--those crazies who support such wild ideas as "peace" and "nuclear disarmament"--held their own Rally to Restore Sanity where they foisted their radical pinko agendas off on the public.

Orval, Nov. 4, 2010


Here's some stimulus spending even Republicans like Walter Hussman can love. eStem--heavily supported by a number of financiers with Republican leanings--announced that it got almost $120,000 in federal stimulus money from the Obama administration.

Hogs winning at Vandy, losing at life

The Hogs may have beaten Vandy on the field, but in the classroom there's no competition. Arkansas' GSR (55 percent) trails Vandy by 34 percentage points. That's the scholastic equivalent of about a bazillion touchdowns.


Oct. 30, Arkansas Repertory Theater

There's a new pub in town

Lift a pint to Dugan's, a solid River Market option.


You can get beef--you can even get a salad, if you want--but pork is king here. A good eating place in a town that has more than its share.

Message failure

The Democratic Party got along fine most of the time without a controlling message and much discipline, but it paid a dear price this week. Both parties were reminded it's not what you do or stand for, but the quality of your public relations.


It's the kind of election year when a state legislative candidate with a bribery conviction in his past says if that's all his opponents can use against him, he's pretty much of a model citizen.

Eye on Arkansas, Nov. 4

In Memory of Lisa Blount

We treat our days as something to pass through to get somewhere else, and when we do that, we lose them. Death can at least be a reminder of that. That is death's only consolation.

This Modern World, Nov. 4, 2010

In Brief, Nov. 4-6

Rocky Votolato plays Juanita's, 'Hamlet' returns to The Rep, DJs Raydar and Shaolin spin for Revolution's 'Zodiac Party.'

The To-Do List, Nov. 4-10

Ozark Folk Festival in Eureka Springs, David Kimbrough Jr., "Dog Sees God," Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame, Ben Kweller, "The Godfather," "Independent for Governor: An Idealist's Grueling Run"

The Week That Was, Oct. 27-Nov. 2.

Good week: voting, homophobia, State Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell, A Bridge for the 21st Century, Dr. Charles Welch, Utility bills. Bad week: Arkansas schools, Little Rock Board of Directors.

What's Cookin', Nov. 4

Troy Deal, co-owner of Zin Urban Wine and Beer Bar, 300 River Market Ave., said he and his partner Michael Puckett plan to open next week after a soft opening this weekend

Words, Nov. 4

Max Brantley has won this year's William Safire Memorial Award for his description of the state Game and Fish commissioners who schemed to evade the Freedom of Information law.

New digs at lottery HQ

The Arkansas Lottery spent $15,901 on a construction project in late August that included a new and expanded office for Ernestine Middleton, the lottery's vice president of administration.

Guess what

If you did the right thing in the election this week, I hope you've made a will and got your affairs in order. It's not lead pipe they'll be coming for you but I'm just saying.

'Witchy' women

'Wicked' rides a buzz into Little Rock.

Les Wyatt lies low

No response to questions about former ASU president's business dealings with ASU.

The big picture

Homeowner, CZDC spar over zoning.

Book Notes, Nov. 4

Sedaris, birding and all the month's book events.

Your tax dollars at work

Arkansas Community Organizations asked Little Rock City Board candidates how they felt about the city giving $200,000 each year to the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. Meanwhile, the chamber spits on accountability. They won't name who gets our money.

We're sorry, world

Speaking as the state, we are sorry about those ghastly and evil ravings of that person who tragically sat on the board of one of our small rural districts. But there are a few things you must understand.

'Alabama happened'

That's Brummett's headline take on election day. Well, we don't have Supreme Court judges erecting the Ten Commandments in the Justice Building — yet.

Still dark out there

Nope, no good news out there. Right-wing independent groups with limited or no financial disclosure rules had a huge impact on the election.

New hearings ordered in W. Memphis 3 case

The state Supreme Court has ordered a new circuit court evidentiary hearing on Damien Echols' appeal of his conviction and death sentence in the West Memphis Three case.

Thursday: Rocky Votolato, Andy Warr, The Delta Breed

Brother Andy Warr leaves his big damn mouth behind for a solo show at White Water Tavern, 10 p.m.

Weekend To-Do: Ozark Folk Festival

The nation's longest-running folk music festival is back for another three-day pick 'n' grin, drawing in folkies the world over for its 63rd year.

Crystal Bridges to get Stieglitz share: Update 2

Judge allows Fisk deal, with a caveat.

Phelps clan targets Midland

The Westboro "Baptist Church" has notified the Independence County sheriff's office that they'll have a "public demonstration/outdoor religious service" at 2 p.m.

How the Republicans won

Pretty good roundup in New York Times of the successful two-year effort by Republicans to retake the House, an effort that combined huge outside money controlled by Karl Rove, making a positive of being negative and far better planning and messaging than the Democrats could muster.

What would you do?

This is a great story. A retired couple of modest means won $11 million in a lottery and gave it all away to good causes.

Mayor Stodola's secrets

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola crushed token opposition in Tuesday's election. You'd think he'd be cheery. But not when the subject is carryover campaign money, his China trip or the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

WM3 supporters laud ruling

West Memphis Three supporters hold a press conference to publicly laud the state Supreme Court's decision to order new circuit court evidentiary hearings for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley.

Police warned on right-wing extremists

The slayings of two West Memphis police officers after a traffic stop of a right-wing extremist has given rise to an instructional video for police by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Senate takes shape

Inside legislative baseballers can click on the Arkansas Senate Twitter link to get up to date on committee chairs and committee memberships for the 2011 session.

State car fleet being cut

The state Department of Finance and Administration reported today on reductions in the state car fleet, particularly among state officials once provided state cars to commute to and from work.

Megan Chapman, Dana Idlet, Duane Gardner, Cheri Bohn

Four new exhibits open at Fayetteville Underground tonight.

And away I go

The line is open. Noted: * Nate Silver is Twittering about polling assessments.

Weekend: Starroy, State Symphony Capella of Russia Chorus, American Aquarium

FRIDAY 11/5 Sticky Fingerz offers up honky-tonk/mod fusion from Starroy and freaky bluegrass from the trio of Mountain Sprout, 9:30 p.m., $5.

Weekend To-Do: "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead"

It's a concept that has churned up a bit of controversy during its off- and off-off-Broadway runs, not to mention one that's guaranteed to strike you as either perverse, hilarious, or, if you're like me, a bit of both.

Weekend To-Do: David Kimbrough Jr.

David Kimbrough Jr. plays two nights in Little Rock: Friday at the Parrot Beach Cafe and Saturday at the White Water Tavern

The DOG watch

A few thoughts on the morning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: * The won/loss record of candidates for whom Bill Clinton made appearances is a Page One story?

Block that 'focus' cliche

I'd just been muttering about the umpteenth column to write that health care — which has deeper support than many want to believe and which promises multi-generational benefits — was wholly a mistake for President Obama to undertake.

Remind you of anything?

No, this isn't another elections result map. It's a map of college degree rates.

Now it's the House's turn UPDATE

The House of Representatives will organize today. I'll pass along relevant info as it comes along.

Update: Um...Vincent Gallo's playing Juanita's tonight.

Wow. Cult musician/filmmaker Vincent Gallo is playing a last minute gig at Underground Pub tonight at 9:30 p.m. Wow.

Forget about President Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton gives what sounds like a firm statement that she won't run for president in 2012 or 2016.

Arkansas doc up for Gotham Independent Film Award

"Looking For Lurch," a documentary filmed in Gassville, is in the running for the Gotham Independent Film Award's "Festival Genius Audience Award."

Talking a tax increase

Welcome to reality, freshmen Republicans and Tea Partyers. Talk Business reports that Randy Zook, leader of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, told a Fort Smith group today an increase in the amount businesses pay for unemployment compensation (a tax), will have to go up because of accumulating deficts in the unemployment trust fund.

Car Mart can tote your note

I note an Arkansas Business item about a new $90 million credit line for America's Car Mart, the Arkansas-based used car outfit.

Tonight in Hot Springs: Michael Coulson

Four new shows (at least) open tonight in the Spa City.

McDaniel sides with Arizona

Hmmm. Without issuing a news release, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel yesterday joined 13 other states in a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court defending a 2007 Arizona immigration law that penalizes employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

Olbermann suspended from MSNBC

I'm surprised more people haven't sent along a link to news about MSNBC's suspension of Keith Olbermann for making political campaign contributions to three Democratic congressional candidates.

Deer on the loose in Food Giant

Channel 4 has great video of a four-point buck on the loose in the Food Giant at Cantrell and Mississippi yesterday afternoon about 6 p.m.

Delta dawning at Arkansas Arts Center

The Arts Center has announced the names of artists whose works were selected for the annual show of regional art, opening Dec. 17.

Let the weekend begin

The *&^*% Holiday House crowd means it will take about an hour to get out of the downtown parking deck.

Remembering Lisa Blount

Today comes word that Arkansas Take Action, the West Memphis 3 advocacy group that Blount supported, will be walking in memory of her Sunday at Just Communities of Arkansas rally.

The upside of defeat

The New York Times reports on a campaign finance loophole that lets former members of Congress take their PAC money and use it just about any old way.

Fox v. MSNBC

Rachel Maddow has illustrated sharply the reason why conservatives should mute themselves over Keith Olbermann's campaign contributions.

The right to hunt for free?

Does a right to hunt mean a right to hunt for free? We don't have to get a license to speak, after all?

Walmart: Unwelcome in India

Interesting story in Christian Science Monitor about President Obama's trip to India and Walmart's interest in breaking into the enormous market, plus the fear of many Indians about the negative effect Walmart could have on the country.Within India, meanwhile, a mass movement has so far thwarted foreign access to the country’s retail sector.

Hello out there

A glorious day and a family wedding kept me from the computer. And still.

The poor aren't blessed in Texas

Here's an idea I hope the newly robust Republican membership of the Arkansas legislature's Public Health committees won't adopt, but I think some of them might be inclined: Texas Republicans are talking about dropping out of Medicaid, the federally subsidized health coverage program for the poor.

An issue for Republicans

Speaking of worthy topics for the robust Republican minority in the Arkansas legislature:John Brummett urges something today I've urged on the Republican Party for years — become the vanguard for tougher public ethics legislation.

Too much tolerance?

And why do I think this subject lies ahead for Arkansas? Efforts to prevent bullying of gay school children by better education is sparking protests that such education "promotes the homosexual agenda."

'Wicked' lives up to it's billing

Before the orchestra hits the first note in the musical “Wicked” at the Robinson Center Musical Hall, one wanted to pause and note the triumph for central Arkansas’ theater scene.

Sunday thoughts?

Post them here.

Monday: Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame 2010

The Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame inducts pianist Amina Claudine Myers and the late saxophonist/radio host Jerry Atkins with an evening ceremony and concert at The Afterthought.

Democrats won 2010

A friend in Louisiana (believe it or not, a couple of liberal Democrats still reside there) sent a link to a column by William Saletan in Slate making the case that politics aren't solely about the last election, they are also about achieving things for people.

Rockefeller backs college push

The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation today unveiled its annual report, "The Time Is Now," focused on increasing higher education attainment in Arkansas and, with that, increased prosperity.

Health law wins a challenge

The U.S. Supreme Court showed no interest today in bypassing lower courts to fast track a challenge to health legislation, specifically a challenge to the insurance mandate that takes effect in 2014.

What if Hillary had been president?

Dana Millbank considers what a President Hillary Clinton might have done differently and what impact that might have had on last week's election.

State Ed. board nixes charters

A rough ride before the state Board of Education today on new charter school applications.

A plea for the environment

Arkansas environmentalists are pleading with U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (D-duck) to preserve strict limits on offshore drilling until its safety can be established.

The Huck's good side

There Mike Huckabee goes again. Making sense.

Democrats hanging onto one — so far

Jason Tolbert reports that, after a recount in Yell County, Democrat John Catlett remained 19 votes ahead of Kelly Boyd in a race for a state House seat.

Voters' short memories

David Weigel writes in Slate that the race for 2nd District Congress in Arkansas — and the huge victory by a veteran Bush administration political henchman, Tim Griffin — is as good an illustration as any of why George W. Bush's record just doesn't matter.

The rich and political spending

The National Institute on Money in State Politics has analyzed the political spending of the 20 people identified by Forbes as the richest Americans in 2005-08.

The party of ethics

John Brummett offers some more specifics to back up his column Sunday suggesting the Republicans in the legislature go after ethics reform.

The line is open

I'm turning it over to you. But a recommendation, first posted by Silverback: * If you are interested in public education and the debate on school reform, read this article by Diane Ravitch on the "myth of the charter school."

More Hockney art

Crystal Bridges lets down its hair.

Last night: Vincent Gallo-RRIICCEE @ Juanita's

Vincent Gallo's unexpected night in Little Rock was received as divisively as the movies he makes. We, however, thought it was a reliably surreal night for the books.

Tuesday To-Do: Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller, the nebbish Texas singer/songwriter, returns to Little Rock for an engagement at Juanita's.

Tuesday To-Do: 'The Godfather'

KARN and Market Street Cinema's monthly classic movie series brings Francis Ford Coppola's epochal classic, "The Godfather," to Little Rock's local art-house.

Congressional redistricting

The Arkansas legislature will turn next year to adjusting congressional district lines to account for population changes.

Another victim of last week's vote

Open military service by gay people seems likely to be another victim of last week's election.

Dithering on tax cuts

Another pickle for Democrats in the lame-duck session is the question of extending Bush tax cuts, particularly those for the wealthy.

A trade for better ethics?

I've heard this morning from Rep. John Burris, the outgoing Republican House caucus leader, about developing ideas for an ethics package by the expanded GOP legislative contingent.

Fire in the Catfish Hole

Fire reported last night in Fayetteville's Catfish Hole, a popular joint and site of the weekly Bobby Petrino radio show.

The Zoo snuffs out cigarettes

Breaking news from the Little Rock Zoo, through spokeswoman Susan Altrui:The Zoo Board of Governors unanimously passed a ban on smoking in the Zoo last night.

Stifft Station catnapper UPDATE

The Capitol View/Stifft Station neighborhood is up in arms about an apparent catnapper. Many cats are missing and one neighbor reports a violent encounter with a man trying to stuff a cat into a cooler.

El Dorado and now Yale

Yale University is financing a program to pay for any high school graduate in its home of New Haven to go to any public college or university in Connecticut and it will provide $2,500 a year for students attending private universities.

Beebe to continue tax paring

Gov. Mike Beebe will submit a state budget Wednesday that includes another half-cent reduction in the two-cent tax on groceries, down from 6 cents when Beebe started reducing it.

Advice sought on House election

Gov. Mike Beebe has asked Attorney General Dustin McDaniel for an opinion on what to do about House District 24 in Hot Springs, where the winner, Keith Crass, died shortly before the election.

Ark. State U. picks Welch as president

Dr. Chuck Welch, currently president of Henderson State University, has been chosen to be the new president of Arkansas State University, KAIT has reported.

Takes one to know one

Says here that George W. Bush thinks Barack Obama is a failed president and that Sarah Palin is unqualified to be president.

Arts Center update

Rush Harding has made a “six-figure” donation to help the AAC pay off its $1.34 million loan.

Hearne makes history

Hearne Fine Art celebrates its new gallery with an exhibit of four African-American artists from the 19th century.

So much for ethics reform now

I was pleased, and indicated as much, to get this note this morning from House Republican leader John Burris about the minority party's interest in good government.

The line is open

I'm off to laud Ernie Dumas at a benefit for Arkansas Community Organizations. 5:30 at the Darragh Center of the library, if you've a mind to join in.

Dems whistle past graveyard

So the Democratic congressional campaign has found a silver lining: Had it not cut off money to obvious losers to shore up some other candidates, the seat loss would have been even greater.

Who was that Hog?

An item from the daily e-mail compiled by Politico's Mike Allen: SPOTTED: Leader Boehner at La Lomita on Capitol Hill, singing to an Arkansas Razorback birthday girl.

Daniel Coston, Barry Lindley, LeeNora Parlor

What do they have in common? They and dozens of other artists are included in Cantrell Gallery's 40th anniversary show.

Death follows home robbery

The Little Rock police are reporting the death Calvin Watson, 38, who was shot during a home robbery early this morning on W. 31st Street.

Wednesday To-Do: 'Independent for Governor'

Huixia Lu's long-awaited documentary about Rod Bryan's unconventional, one-liner-packed summer of politics finally sees its debut.

'Billy Blythe' preview coming soon

Mark your calendars, people. A preview of Bonnie Montgomery and Brit Barber’s self-described “modern, folk” opera about Bill Clinton’s boyhood, “Billy Blythe,” is just around the corner.

Mediums reemerges

Mediums Art Lounge, a venue once located in Hillcrest, has reemerged downtown at 512 Center, next to EJ’s.

Budget session underway

Legislators are hearing Gov. Mike Beebe's budget presentation this morning. The projection calls for an increase in revenue of $155 million in the next fiscal year over this year, ample to absorb the $15 million that another half-cent reduction in the sales tax could cost.

More ethics ideas

A former political candidate has a couple of more ideas to kick around if the legislature actually does get serious about ethics legislation (which I'll believe when I see.)

Date night at Bruno's

Pasta, Sinatra, fresh hot bread and Zabaglione. Add candlelight and a dining companion for instant romance.

Send in the clowns

Get a load of the press secretary hired by new Florida Congressman Allen West. Armed rebellion anyone?

Juanita's overhauls concert booking approach and personnel

Erin Hurley is out as the talent buyer for Juanita's. James Snyder, Mike Z and Blake Sandifer replace him with an eye towards booking more mainstream, country and rock.

Republicans promise short tenures

Tim Griffin is featured by Politico among incoming Republican members of Congress who campaigned on self-imposed term limits (12 years in Griffin's case.)