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November 5, 2009

Vol 7 • No 43

Population – and cost – explosion

Jailhouse blues

Perry County Sheriff Scott Montgomery currently presides over one of the worst jails in Arkansas.

Vance trial, day 3 UPDATE

UPDATE: Opening statements got underway at about 2:05 p.m.  Prosecuting attorney Larry Jegley began by giving a very detailed description of the horrific nature of the crime, describing the crime scene.  He said an emergency room physician would later testify to the extent of Pressly's injuries.  Jegley said the first doctor to see Pressly initially thought she was a redhead (she was blonde), and that her face had been very badly beaten. The prosecution also told the jury they would hear from a medical examiner who would testify Pressly was struck 13 hard blows, and died from craniocerebral trauma.

Night-night

Before we shut it down for the night (though David Koon may post again later), here's a press release from the Baxter County sheriff about the sentencing today of the woman who fled Arkansas after officials found 500 dogs in miserable condition on her property in Gameliel (see picture above of one of them).

Vance Trial: UPDATE

There are horrors in this world, and one of them was sitting in a clean, well-lit courtroom, listening to a veteran emergency room doctor and a sexual assault examination nurse describe the injuries of KATV anchorwoman Anne Pressly.

Netlore

Things I wouldn’t have known if Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet.

Run of the mill

Central Arkansas has Mexican restaurants of all stripes. Some upscale, some mind-blowingly cheap.

To-Do List, Nov. 5

Ozark Folk Festival, Tech N9E, 'Little House On The Prairie,' Dirt Daubers, 'A Dark, Dark House,' 'Beethovern's Fifth,' Royal Bangs, Trevor Hall and Deadmau5 are this week's top picks.

What's Cooking, Nov.5

After closing for a few days last week, The House restaurant in Hillcrest has reopened with a massively expanded beer and wine selection and a new menu.

A boy and his flag

Will Phillips isn’t like other boys his age.

Orval, Nov. 5

Smart Talk, Nov. 5

Does Walmart’s latest business news threaten to take the funeral industry under?

Praise for guest

Kudos to the editors of the Arkansas Times for running the guest column penned by Gila Svirsky (“A Letter to the President,” Oct. 15, 2009), the Israeli peace activist.

To be young and a thespian

In preparation for the Rep's annual young performers showcase, Nicole Capri Bauer became an expert on holidays. Not just on the big ones, but on the ins-and-outs of more obscure--yet very real, Bauer insists--celebrations like Dress Up Your Pet Day and Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Day.

Eye On Arkansas, Nov. 5

Civility and other vices

It was nearly a decade ago, time flying as it’s prone. I was in Springdale in the lobby of the convention center, watching hundreds of Washington County Republicans file in for the annual dinner.

Single mothers, black brothers

In so many ways our society has changed. Two out of three black children are living in a single-parent household.

Mood men

There was a moment in the middle of the Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” when I realized I’d synched up with the film in a most intimate fashion.

Tweets in contempt

Last February, the use of Twitter in the courtroom was ruled legal by U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten of Wichita, Kan. “Twitter is on,” he told attorneys in the case.

More preachin’ in school

Two weeks ago, it was North Little Rock High School, which promoted a Christian event in that city with posters and banners on the east campus.

Single mothers, black brothers

In so many ways our society has changed. Two out of three black children are living in a single-parent household.

OCT. 28 – NOV. 3, 2009

It was a GOOD week for … FLU SHOTS. Mass influenza-vaccination clinics operated by the state Health Department opened around Arkansas. Vaccinations for both seasonal flu and — in smaller numbers — swine flu (H1N1) were given to thousands of Arkansans.

In Brief, Nov. 5

Prolific local singer/songwriter Adam Faucett stops in at White Water, with a full band, amidst a national tour; Pete Stein, the lead singer of Florida rock act Truckstop Coffee opens, 9:30 p.m., $5.

Words, Nov. 5

Not only a lawyer but a lawyer who consorts with Antonin Scalia, Bryan A. Garner sounds like a person I’d stay well clear of, if I didn’t write a column on language.

KISS

Torrential rain wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of three generations of Kiss fans —10,453 in all — who celebrated through an 18-song concert in an atmosphere that resembled some unholy combination of Halloween and the Fourth of July.

To be young and a thespian

In preparation for the Rep's annual young performers showcase, Nicole Capri Bauer became an expert on holidays. Not just on the big ones, but on the ins-and-outs of more obscure--yet very real, Bauer insists--celebrations like Dress Up Your Pet Day and Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Day.

This Modern World, Nov. 5

Lincoln’s lifeline

As the crucial roll call on health-care reform approaches, Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s course has been made clear for her.

The Observer, Nov. 5

Make no mistake, this is an observation and not a complaint.

Falling for the PR

When the national interest starts to trump private greed, it’s time to crank up the public-relations machine.

Books Calendar, Nov. 5

What’s happening in November.

Busy day...

at the state legislature yesterday.  For all you open-government buffs, the House Management Committee decided to stream all House proceedings on the internet starting in February of 2010.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out logistically.  Roby Brock has more at Talk Business.  Also, Brock notes that a recent Talk Business poll shows that 57 percent of Arkansans have a favorable view of the state legislature (27 percent unfavorable).  You can also check out Speaker Robbie Wills' blog for his side of the story. 

Huck on top

Susan Page of USA Today cites a recent poll that puts former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee at the top of a list of prospective GOP presidential candidates (with 40 percent saying they would "seriously consider supporting"), just edging out Mitt Romney (39 percent).  Sarah Palin came in third at 33 percent.  Of course, it's a little early for this to really mean anything.  Page says, "None of the GOP prospects has announced he or she will join the race, but all are making the sort of appearances and speeches that would keep the option open." 

Some perspective

E.J. Dionne Jr. offers some perspective on Tuesday's elections.  Democrats should take warning, he says, and President Obama needs to use his much-celebrated grass-roots political organization to start making people feel hopeful again.  But the night's big loser?

Just not interested

While Blanche Lincoln's vulnerability in the 2010 Senate election has been covered like the dew in the press, most of Arkansas isn't listening, the University of Arkansas's 2009 Arkansas Poll, released today, says.

Thursday To-Do: Dirt Daubers

DIRT DAUBERS9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $7.Just a few weeks after he made his directorial debut at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Legendary Shackshakers front man J.D. Wilkes returns to Central Arkansas with a new band he's calling Dirt Daubers.

Jumper

LRPD officers surrounded a house and arrested an armed burglary suspect Wednesday after he jumped from a second-floor window trying to escape.

Thursday To-Do: Tech 9ne

TECH N9E8 p.m., The Village. $18-$22.If there's anything I've learned from eight years of constantly going to concerts, it's that you can't predict a crowd.

Weekend To-Do: Ozark Folk Festival

Loudon Wainwright III with Lucy Roche. OZARK FOLK FESTIVAL7 p.m., Downtown Eureka Springs.

A challenger

Sen. Tracy Steele (D-North Little Rock) announced that he will challenge Green-turned-Democrat Richard Carroll in the Democratic primary for the House seat in District 39.  It's an office Steele has held before.  Before being elected to the State Senate in 2002, Steele served two terms as a representative for District 39.  When asked about the challenge, Carroll said there wasn't much of a difference policy-wise between the two candidates and that he didn't really understand Steele's reason for opposing him, other than simply wanting to stay in the political arena. 

Judge off the bench

L.T. Simes, the East Arkansas judge who made money from a law practice on the side, has been suspended from the bench until the end of his term next year by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

GOP health bill is awful

But don't take my word for it.  Ask the Congressional Budget Office.  The CBO says the bill would only extend coverage to 3 million people by 2019, leaving 52 million uninsured by the same year.  It would, however, reduce insurance premium costs.  The Democrats' bill, by contrast, would extend coverage to 36 million.  From the NYT blog "Prescriptions": 

Last Night: The Meat Puppets

Photo by Robert Bell. Once upon a time, two blue-blooded, musically gifted brothers from Arizona started a band.

Vance trial, day 4 UPDATE

From David Koon: The murder trial of Curtis Vance in the slaying of KATV news anchor Anne Pressly continued this morning with testimony by LRPD crime scene specialist Stuart Bartlett, who showed the jury grisly photographs taken at Pressly's home Oct. 20, 2008, the day of the slaying.

A reversal in Lonoke case

The state Supreme Court has tossed out the conviction of former police chief of Lonoke on corruption charges, saying the admission into evidence of his wife's sexual shenanigans was improper and testimony backing up the charge was hearsay.

Beth Ditto talks fashion

"Punk would've been nothing without fashion."

Lincoln calling

Sen. Blanche Lincoln held a conference call with reporters late this morning.  Most questions revolved around health care reform although the senator did spend a good deal of time talking about climate change.  More about that on the jump.  On health care, Lincoln stressed the importance of being more efficient with health care spending.  She said that we need to make sure insurers understand they cannot withhold insurance because of a pre-existing condition or drop people just because they become ill.  When asked about all the third party groups getting involved in the debate, Lincoln said hearing from various constituencies was very important but everyone needed to "keep our eye on the ball," and provide needed reforms.

Thursday: Adam Faucett, Matt Joyce, Mandy McBryde, more

Prolific local singer/songwriter Adam Faucett stops in at White Water, with a full band, amidst a national tour; Pete Stein, the lead singer of Florida rock act Truckstop Coffee opens, 9:30 p.m., $5.

Shooting at Fort Hood UPDATE

Grim news from MSNBC: At least seven people are dead and 12 20 31 wounded in a shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, the base's public affairs office told NBC News on Thursday.

Charles Wyrick stages a cock fight between Elizabeth Bishop and Ludacris

In a new mix, Lucky Dog Audio's Charles Wyrick pairs Elizabeth Bishop reading her poem "Rooster" (“At four o’clock / in the gun-metal blue dark / we hear the first crow of the first cock") with Ludacris' "Money Maker" ("let me give you some swimming lessons on the penis / Backstroke, breast stroke, stroke of a genius").

Change we can believe in

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has released a districty-by-district analysis of the impact of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (or H.R. 3962).  The results are incredibly interesting to look at.  Take Rep. Mike Ross' 4th Congressional District.  According to the assessment, the house health care reform bill would:

Yeah, about that...

Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic picks up on a bit of political back-peddling involving our very own Sen. Gilbert Baker. 

It's about that time

Consider this your open line.

Vance Trial -- UPDATE

In the classic story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe, a prisoner is slowly bricked up alive inside a vault.

One more time around

You may remember the huge Freedom From Religion Foundation-sponsored billboard that stood over the Main Street Bridge in North Little Rock last winter.

Gossip

Early in the Gossip concert last Friday night, Beth Ditto asked her family and close family friends to raise their hands. Half the arms in the club shot up.

I’m from Arkansaw, what about it?

If you ask outsiders what they know about the state of Arkansas, they’re probably going to tell you Central High, Bill Clinton and the Razorbacks.

Loudon up now

Loudon Wainwright III, famous for his 1973 hit “Dead Skunk” (“Take a whiff on me, that ain't no rose/Roll up your window and hold your nose”), which he brags in his bio held the number 1 spot in Little Rock for six weeks, headlines the Ozark Folk Festival with a concert at noon Friday in the Auditorium.

GOP health plan: Not much

Republicans, at long last, have cobbled together some health legislation to give the appearance that they stand for something besides NO in the debate.

The pizza trek continues

I continue to indulge myself both by eating and by preserving the memories of my trip to Italy in a few photos.

Friday To-Do: 'A Dark, Dark House'

Jeremy Estill and Jason Plumb star. ‘A DARK, DARK HOUSE'7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater.

Qualified?

The number of people who, according to a Gallup poll, believe that Mike Huckabee is qualified to be president?  50.  What about Sarah Palin?  Only 31 percent believe she is qualified to hold the highest office in the land. 

No more buses

Roby Brock reports on some sweet and sour news from Conway.  Although the town will be home to an Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield data center that will employ roughly 15 to 20 workers, the bus manufacturing plant owned by IC Corporation will consolidate operations with another plant and close to 477 jobs could be lost. 

Stewart takes on Beck

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c The 11/3 Project

The party of hate?

The Nation's David Corn asks, "Is the tea party gang turning the GOP into a party of hate?" 

The Weekend: Hank III, Venus Mission, Kevin Kerby, San Antokyo, Jagged Edge, The Dempseys and more

Hank III. FRIDAY 11/6In case you missed the show last March, here's your chance at redemption.

Saturday To-Do: 'Beethoven's Fifth'

‘BEETHOVEN'S FIFTH'8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $20-$58.It's back to Beethoven at the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.

Sunday To-Do: Royal Bangs

ROYAL BANGS8 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $7.These rockers from Knoxville know how to get experimental.

Sunday To-Do: Trevor Hall

TREVOR HALL7 p.m., Juanita's. Free.What's not to love about a free show?

Vance Trial -- Friday

Photo by Brian Chilson This morning's testimony in the capital murder trial of Curtis Vance centered on evidence measured in microns, as attorneys questioned employees of the Arkansas State Crime Lab about fluids and hairs found during the investigation into the murder of KATV anchorwoman Anne Pressly.

Buses crash near Fordyce UPDATE

Local stations are reporting that three buses carrying Grambling State University band members were involvevd in a crash on Highway 167 near Fordyce.  Nine to twelve students were injured in the accident.  Injuries, according to reports, are minor.  The students were on their way to Little Rock to play at War Memorial Stadium tomorrow during the Grambling State, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff game.

UCA PR to CJRW

Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, the Little Rock communications firm, was awarded an advertising contract by the University of Central Arkansas.  The board approved the contract this afternoon.  After the infamous Lu Hardin era, the university could use some good P.R. - but it's going to cost them.  Sam Eifling at Arkansas Business has the details. 

Another one down

Photo from enjoyarkansas on flickr. This is an open line but I just wanted to tell all you Facebook fans out there that if you haven't checked out the State Parks of Arkansas fan page, you should.  Always lots of beautiful pictures and useful info.  The picture above is from Petit Jean.     

Teacher of the Year

Vandy Nash, a fourth grade teacher at Indian Hills Elementary in North Little Rock, has just been presented the 2010 Teacher of the Year award of the state Department of Education at the Governor's Mansion gala.

Run of the mill

Central Arkansas has Mexican restaurants of all stripes. Some upscale, some mind-blowingly cheap. Some lean towards TexMex, others to more authentic fare and still others draw influences from elsewhere in Latin America. And then there are some that bill themselves as one thing, but don't deliver.

Health impact question UPDATE

I'm shortly to board a plane for home, so I'm not readily able to investigate this question.

Bowl of Comfort.

I haven't eaten everywhere in this county yet, but I do like to try new places.  So I poked on over to Crazee's Cool Cafe for lunch the other day.  Yes, it's one of those that allows smoking and doesn't allow anyone under 21.  Yes, it has pool tables.

Big vote today

Any thoughts on how this is going to turn out?

Ciao, y'all UPDATE

I'm trying out American Airlines' wireless service aloft on a free trial and it's pretty speedy.

Knoxville throwbacks

Royal Bangs mixes fuzzboxed, synthesized, highly percussive instrumentation with spacey, warped vocals — a combination that would've been right at home in the mid-'80s. But beneath the strange layering lies quality songwriting and smart lyrics

2012 tea leaves

Between his book tour, busy website and TV show, Mike Huckabee's name stays current in political attention on future elections.

Health bill fine print

Let the rehashes -- and the Senate debate -- begin. Meanwhile, here are some details on fine print in the House bill, including some tax equality for those who enjoy domestic partnership insurance benefits through enlightened employers and new requirements for nutritional labeling on vending machines.

Seeking more from Obama

Frank Rich looks at the election results Tuesday and joins the list who thinks it says more about what President Obama has failed to do, rather than what he has done.

Undeck those halls

I was greeted on return to Little Rock last night by a Christmas decoration-festooned Little Rock National Airport.

The line is open

Anything to report?

Jailhouse blues

Perry County Sheriff Scott Montgomery currently presides over one of the worst jails in Arkansas.

Barnstorming with Huckabee

Politico's Ben Smith does a major piece on Mike Huckabee, busy on a national book tour.

Double-dipping: not in 2010

Rep. Allen Kerr, who's raised some worthwhile noise about too-easy and abused rules for on-the-job retirement payments to public officials and other public employees, says he wants to further tighten practices with legislation in 2010.

No we can't

Surprise. The unbridled hope of a transformative presidency by Barack Obama has run into political reality.

Bush-Clinton rumble off

There won't be a Clinton-Bush "debate." It was to be a moderated discussion in the first place, apparently, and a promoter's hype of the February event as a political rumble has caused its cancellation.

Donald Harington death reported

A reader brought news on the open thread last night of the death of Fayetteville author Donald Harington. He was 73 and had been ill for some time.

Ross explains vote

Here's Rep. Mike Ross' alibi for continuing to support a health system that leaves a quarter of the country with no coverage and bankrupting skimpy protection for many more.

Kris Allen's debut video set in really windy post-apocalypse

Who needs narrative when you've got a giant digital clock and a cool blowtorch? The album comes out on Nov. 17.

Pressly murder trial continues UPDATED

TRIAL CONTINUES: Curtis Vance enters courthouse today. The capital murder trial of Curtis Vance for the 2008 slaying of KATV anchor Anne Pressly continued this morning with testimony from Little Rock police detective J.C. White about a three-hour session with Vance after he was arrested Nov. 26.

A Challenge

It's been a shame that I haven't been able to keep a closer eye on the UCA Honor's College Challenge Week this year.  This year's focus is on local food.  Last week was quite hectic, what with Max out on vacation.  All of my blogging energy was spent on the Arkansas Blog.  Tonight, there will be a screening of the documentary Food Fight: Revolution Never Tasted So Good.  It will be screened at 7 p.m. in the McCastlain Hall Ballroom.  The film's creator, Chris Taylor, will be on hand to discuss his work and answer questions.  For more info on tonight's even, and to see what's happening the rest of this week, go here. 

HUCKABEE HAIKU CONTEST! . . .

“At last, the contest Razorbabies die to win Each Fall – hoarding nuts.” Contest's OVER!

Woots on the Western Wall.

A blog I've certainly been following lately, specifically geared for far out west... Fort Smith Eats just wrapped up a week's worth of diner reviews.

Beebe announces job effort

Gov. Mike Beebe's office today announced new job training initiatives, specifics including placement of 43 "career coaches" in high school and some financial aid for job training.

Last night: Royal Bangs

Royal BangsNov. 8, Sticky FingerzWhen you hear the album of an ambitious five-piece like Knoxville’s Royal Bangs, so beat-layered and synth-addled, it’s easy to respect the potency of their music, but you can’t help wondering if they’re going to capsize live.

Stock prices up

So the markets jumped up today -- best in a year for the Dow. Read the story and I don't think you'll pull out the champagne.

We're dead meat

That's my reaction on seeing the headline on Talking Points Memo -- "Do or die: The six senators who will decide the fate of health care reform."

Newspaper war end trims opinions

For those interested in what the end of daily newspaper competition means in Northwest Arkansas, I pass along on the jump some e-mail related to a paring of community columnists from the offerings of the surviving zoned local wrappers that will go around regional editions of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Huckabee hits the sauce

Says here that Mike Huckabee has turned to protein shakes to trim off "25 pounds" gained due to a foot problem.

Tempting Event.

Tuesday night's the night for something special at the Statehouse Convention Center.  Leading local chefs will be preparing their signature dishes for a good cause, the March of Dimes, at the Signature Chefs Auction.  Dr. Debra Fiser, the Dean of Medicine at UAMS, will be recognized as the March of Dimes 2009 Citizen of the Year.  After cocktails and tastings, there will be a live auction with unique, extraordinary items such as specially prepared chef dinners and travel packages.  Here's a chance to grab that unusual gift for the culinarily inclined person in your life.  Begins at 6 p.m.  Tickets are still on sale -- call (501) 663-3100. 

Republican field growing

Former Arkansas Farm Bureau President Stanley Reed, the Marianna farmer and lawyer, indicated a few weeks ago that he was still considering a Republican race for U.S. Senate.

Checking out for the night

Over to you. (But the hotel lingo reminds me that the Forbes Travel Guide, formerly the Mobil Travel Guide, has given a four-star rating to the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, the first in Arkansas.)

Pressly murder trial -- Monday wrap-up

The capital murder trial of Curtis Vance in the slaying of KATV anchor Anne Pressly ran past 7 p.m. tonight as jurors were shown a sometimes rambling 4-hours-plus videotaped statement Vance provided police on Feb. 24.As seen on the tape: After asking to talk to detectives yet again, Vance initially told them that he'd been in MacArthur Park the night of the Pressly murder, and saw a white person -- he couldn't tell whether the person was male or female, he said -- get out of a blue or black car and dump Pressly's purse and laptop in a trash can.

Deadmau5

You say it like "dead mouse." He's the latest superstar in electro-house, a dance subset built on four to the floor beats and endless blips and bleep, and he's at the Village after just being named the sixth best DJ in the world in DJ Mag's influential Top 100 poll.

Assessing charter schools

The  state Board of Education yesterday approved a new KIPP charter school in Blytheville, but turned down or delayed other charter applications.

Assessing charter schools

The  state Board of Education yesterday approved a new KIPP charter school in Blytheville, but turned down or delayed other charter applications.

The abortion battle

NY Times editorial explains why the anti-abortion amendment on House health legislation is so objectionable.

Lunch Special.

Went by Frontier Diner out on I-30 at Baseline yesterday.  I was looking for comfort food, and knew I'd found it when I saw "purple hull peas" listed as the vegetable of the day.  Can't go wrong with that.

Where the action is

Want to party with Republican Congressional hopeful Tim Griffin and chip some money into his campaign against Scott Wallace etc. for the right to oppose Rep. Vic Snyder?

What To Do, What To Do

A couple of things worth checking out today and throughout the rest of the week. 

Celebrity sidewalk

A new plan is in the works to put some star power on the streets of Little Rock.

State completes Pressly case

The state completed presenting its case this morning in the capital murder trial of Curtis Vance for the 2008 slaying of KATV anchor Anne Pressly.

Lottery? What lottery?

Gambling on electronic games at both Oaklawn and Southland Parks was up sharply in October over September.

Honoring veterans

Newspaper articles about military heroism are good things. Better still would be to be sure all vets had health care.

Standing small

Who? None other than Prescott's Mike Ross.

No moderates need apply to GOP

Polling reported here suggests to me less and less room for moderates in the Republican Party.

Acxiom makes bid -- NOT

A Reuters report earlier today, quoting unnamed sources, said Little Rock-based Acxiom was bidding to acquire Info Group, a major data marketing firm.

Free medical clinic coming

An announcement from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter indicates a full roster of health care and government officials are on board for the free health clinic to be held in Little Rock Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Tuesday To-Do: Deadmau5

DEADMAU58 p.m., The Village. $20 adv., $25 d.o.s.No matter how many times I see the proper pronunciation, I can't read Deadmau5 anyway but “dead-mao-five.” Probably because I don't do “leet,” a mostly web language that substitutes numbers and characters for letters.

Tuesday: Joe Buck, Austin Lucas, Dead Sea Choir

Joe Buck. Hellbilly hero Joe Buck looks like a deranged version of Jon Voight and usually spends his time on stage hollerin' about being strung out on "hillbilly junk" or being evil.

Rose City teacher honored

Rose City Middle School math teacher Telise Hadley was named this afternoon as a Milken Family Foundation National Educator award winner this year in Arkansas.

Four dead in I-30 crash

State Police say four people were killed and two injured early this morning in a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 30 in a construction zone near Texarkana.

Pressly case nearing jury

David Koon reports from Circuit Judge Chris Piazza's courtroom that the defense has apparently completed its case in the trial of Curtis Vance for the fatal 2008 beating of KATV's Anne Pressly.

Pay cuts at UAMS

A round of pay cuts was announced at UAMS today. They roll back -- for 3,300 employees -- merit pay raises granted at the beginning of the fiscal year July 1 or expected this year on employees' anniversary dates.

5 UA basketball players suspended

Five University of Arkansas basketball players have been suspended for violation of team rules. The link takes you to a university news release on coach John Pelphrey's announcement.

No mas

Over to you guys. I had kind of planned to ease slowly back into the workaday world.

Pressly Trial -- Tuesday Wrap-up

It was a productive day in the capital murder trial of Curtis Vance, with prosecutors resting their case and the defense getting close enough that they will more than likely rest theirs first thing in the morning.

A boy and his flag

Why 10-year-old Will Phillips of Washington County won’t say the pledge of allegiance.

For Our Vets.

It's Veteran's Day, which means veterans from World War II through the Persian Gulf conflict will be gathering at Ed's Custom Bakery in Conway to reminisce and share.  If you get a chance, drop by and give them your thanks.

Wal-Mart plans for Black Friday

The New York Times says Wal-Mart and other retailers have new crowd control plans to prevent repeats of deadly crushes as shoppers mass for Christmas season-opening sales the day after Thanksgiving.

Beebe on charters

Gov. Mike Beebe thinks it's perfectly appropriate to consider whether racial impact of charter school decisions in the Little Rock School District might run afoul of the long-running federal desegregation lawsuit.

Arkansas blogosphere

The morning mail is full of tips on interesting Arkansas info. Among them: * A progressive blog has set up a page to encourage campaign contributions to U.S. Reps. Marion Berry and Vic Snyder for their critical votes in favor of House health legislation.

Clinton upbeat on health debate

-- Brian Chilson photo of Clinton at 2004 library opening. You've probably seen news coverage of former President Bill Clinton's visit to Capitol Hill yesterday to buck up the Democratic caucus on health legislation.

Benton Eatin'.

  I get a lot of recommendations in this job, and sometimes it takes me a while to get out and try them all.

Jay Russell gets "Sole"

The North Little Rock born director ("My Dog Skip," "The Water Horse") has signed on to direct "Whole Lotta Sole," a new comedy starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Kevin Bacon.

Lincoln: Too far on abortion

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln seems to have reiterated today what she said yesterday. That new limits on abortion coverage in House-passed health legislation go too far.

Clark Duke, soon to own stoner comic nerd demographic

  Here's the new trailer for "Kick-Ass," Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of Mark Millar's comic series.

A Taste of Red.

Tomorrow night, delve into a round of reds at Lilly's DimSum Then Some.   Expert Nancy Tesmer will be evaluating and sharing the nine red wines on the restaurant's menu. Kathy Webb chose each of those wines for a special reason.  For $10, that's a hard bargain to beat.  Give Nancy a call if you are interested -- (501) 258-2504.  That's Thursday, 7-9 p.m.       

The Vader clan backs Tim Griffin

More D.C. fund-raising for Republican congressional hopeful Tim Griffin. Get a load of the host list: Elliot Berke, Bob Brooks, Liz Cheney, Cathy & Ed Gillespie, Ken Mehlman, Secretary Jim Nicholson, Matt Rhoades, Alex & Senator Jill Vogel Cordially invite you to a Reception in support ofTIM GRIFFINRepublican Candidate (AR-2)Tuesday, November 17, 20096:00 to 7:30 PMAt the home of Ron Kaufman401 6th Street, SE ●Washington, DCHost: Raise/Give $5,000Attend: $1,000 per PAC / $500 per individualRSVP to Margo Tennison: 202-737-9091 or rsvp@bellwethergroup.net

Dwight David Honeycutt has the biggest dreams and strongest hands in this g-d state!

UPDATE: IE users have had trouble playing the embed. If what's above doesn't work for you, follow this link to the clip on Funny or Die.You won't find their names on the credits, but I've got it on good authority that Graham Gordy ("War Eagle") and Ray McKinnon ("The Accountant," "Randy and the Mob") are behind this new short on Funny or Die.

Remembering Anne Pressly

After the verdict was returned in the beating death of Anne Pressly, her colleagues at Channel 7 paid tribute to her memory in several ways, beginning with an eight-minute special on her life during the newscast.

Arguing the death penalty for Vance

WEDNESDAY WRAPUP: EMOTIONAL: Anne Pressly's mother, Patti Cannady, is comforted following her testimony in penalty phase of the trial of her daughter's killer.
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