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November 9, 2011

Vol 38 • No 11

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'Dearest Letty'

Veteran newspaperman Leland Duvall's wartime love letters, excerpted from a new book from the University of Arkansas Press.

Pieday: Caramel Apple Nut at Mama Max's

Pecans. Apples. Caramel sauce. Salty crust. This is an excellent pie at a place that brings what real southwest Arkansas home cooking is supposed to taste like, back to the table. Go head to Prescott.

Hunka Pie moves back to North Little Rock

Here he goes again. Chris Monroe has packed up shop and is heading back to North Little Rock after a year in the old location for The Hop on Cantrell Road.

Arkansas approves road bonds; NLR taxes go down

Post election thoughts, if you have them, right here. I'll check as spirit moves.

Ferneau sells to Fletcher

Ferneau Restaurant has been sold to Frank Fletcher.

Fall colors

A few bits of Arkiana

A few bits of Arkiana, definitions and elaborations, alphabetically arranged for your convenience, to pass a few minutes of a slow week.

'Artistry of the Guitar'

Ken Bonfield, Steve Davison and Micky Rigby present "Artistry of the Guitar." The three will perform a wide range of styles for the monthly concert series at Laman Library, 7 p.m., free.

Walking it off

A visitor to Heber Springs was surprised to see a woman walking up and down the sidewalk in front of the Cleburne County District Court building wearing a sandwich board sign with the message, "I am a thief." Turns out, the sight is not so unusual for Heber Springs.

'Tower Heist' plays it safe

The ensemble comedy from schlock-master Brett Ratner is slick and occasionally funny.

The Oxford American expands beyond print

In its new Main Street home in Little Rock, the magazine and non-profit plans to continue the type of programming and events it has hosted throughout the South in recent years.

Money talks

So here's my question: If the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 effectively caused the Wall Street meltdown of 2007 by forcing banks to make bad home loans to improvident poor people (and we all know exactly who I mean), how come it took 30 years for the housing bubble to burst?

Hogs get by on sheer will

There are two emerging constants in Bobby Petrino's tenure as Arkansas coach.

Luxora the Divine Possum Head visits Rep. Justin Harris' preschool

Fazed by tase

The verb became semi-famous a few years back, when national media reported on a college student, pursued by campus police for disrupting a political gathering, who pled with an officer, "Don't tase me, bro." Not feeling brotherly, the cop went ahead and tased.

'Bellflower' comes to Argenta Film Series

Plus Jucifer, the Brasil Guitar Duo, the Dirty Guv'nahs, A.A. Bondy, 'Beethoven and Blue Jeans' and Chuck Ragan.

Ships, ahoy

Slow Friday around the newsroom at the Fortress of Employment last week, so The Observer decided to take an afternoon stroll down to the Arkansas riverfront and check out the Nina and the Pinta, exact replicas of two of the three ships that brought that Patron Saint of all Men Who Refuse to Stop and Ask for Directions 'cross the ocean blue in 1492.

Tax elections are bunching up in Pulaski County

And asking a lot of voters.

Clear Channel layoffs

Perhaps you've already readabout the dozens of DJs that Clear Channel laid off recently at radio stations around the country.

Burlesque makes comeback

Central Arkansas's striptease scene is booming.

Ready for another Taste of India

North Little Rock's first Indian restaurant a standout.

State-paid Bible school

Church-state disputes arise frequently in Arkansas because we are a state dominated by conservative Christians who believe in evangelism.

For a dirty USA

I was a lucky boy. You could catch a string of bream for dinner in the spring-fed creek below the house on Champagnolle Road, swim in its frigid "blue hole" below the bridge and not get sick from either activity.

Praying for dollars

There is no record of a non-Christian state legislator ever receiving state and federal tax dollars to run a school openly promoting atheism. Or Buddhism, for that matter. Or Islam, or any other of the off-brand beliefs. If ever such a thing happens, we'll begin to pay attention to the Religious Right's complaints, voiced loudly at a recent Washington convention, that Christians are persecuted in this country.

A streetcar not many desire

Last week, officials with Central Arkansas Transit Authority met with community leaders in Little Rock to discuss ways to attract more riders to the River Rail trolley and combat the widely-held impression the trolley is more of a rolling tourist trap than a viable commuting option.

GOP Primary on Parallel Earth

'Those activist judges'

"Doug Smith's article ("Toxic judicial elections and how to avoid them," Nov. 2) did not scratch the surface of this important issue."

On 'Monster-in-laws'

Most folks who are married have a mother-in-law, and sometimes it works out well. That said, I know there are those mother-in-laws who seem like the spawn of Satan.

Being Paula Jones

Sexual harassment by a presidential candidate has been in the news of late and, as coincidence would have it, a famous name from bygone years popped up on our computer screen Tuesday with a delayed benefit from her days as a candidate accuser.

Political wild card

Americans Elect, a somewhat mysterious group that filed petitions last week to have its presidential candidate on the ballot in Arkansas, has been described as a "virtual third party," but its chief executive officer insists it's not a party at all.

Good week for the Duggar's ever-expanding brood

Also a good week for hypocrisy and the South Main Street District. It was a bad week for Houston Nutt and Lt. David Hudson.

Readers choice now open

Plus Hunka Pie owner Chris Monroe has bought Starlite.

Where the shale meets the road — money

A review panel heard the truth yesterday(sub. reqd.)

Setbacks for the right wing on election night

The defeat of the Mississippi anti-abortion measure and Ohio voters' reject of an anti-union law were the big political news of election night, but there was more heartening news.

Parallel drawn on Penn State-church scandals UPDATE

The New York Times continues to report confidently, though without named sources, that Joe Paterno's days as Penn State football coach are soon to be over.

Sherwood woman wins National Beef Cook-Off

Sheryl Little of Sherwood takes top honors and $25,000 and the "Best of Beef" grand prize in the 29th annual National Beef Cook-Off.

Cupids robbed again this morning

The Cupids Lingerie shop on W. 65th Street was robbed at 2:30 a.m. this morning, the second robbery in a week, Channel 4 reports.

More details on North Little Rock tax suit settlement

The North Little Rock School District today provided me a copy of a letter it sent North Little Rock City Attorney Jason Carter proposing a settlement of the district's lawsuit over the city's tax increment finance district set up in late 2008.

Wednesday To-Do: Jucifer

Jucifer plays Downtown Music Hall Wednesday night.

Wednesday To-Do: "Bellflower"

"Bellflower" screens Wednesday night at Argenta Community Theater.

Thursday To-Do: Brasil Guitar Duo

Brasil Guitar Duo plays St. Mark's Episcopal Church Thursday night.

Thursday To-Do: Dirty Guv'nahs

The Dirty Guv'nahs play Stickyz Thursday night.

Printmakers, unite! at Hendrix College

New collective's first show features Lindquist, Bruhl, Criswell, Cushman and more.

North Little Rock tax vote reflected city wide

You can peruse precinct results on special election issues in Pulaski County here. Road bonds enjoyed support everywhere, of course.

Senators try again on Internet sales tax

A bipartisan group of senators — Sens. Mark Pryor and John "Dr. No" Boozman are among the sponsors — has again introduced legislation to allow that local sales taxes be collected on Internet sales.

Thursday: "Artistry of the Guitar," Hellbender, Designer Drugs and more

Designer Drugs plays Revolution Thursday night.

Kevin and Gus Kerby on AETN

Good stuff here with much beloved local troubadour Kevin Kerby talking about his history of playing music in Little Rock and of him playing AETN's "On the Front Row" with his son, Gus, helping out on fiddle.

Tree farmers behind Christmas tree marketing fee

A Republican friend sent a link from the Fox Noise machine where the wingnuts are busily stirring up a war on Christmas charge against Barack Obama over an Agriculture Deaprtment plan to impose a 15-cent-a-tree charge on large sellers of Christmas trees.

What did Paterno know and when did he know it?

This should blow you away — and should silence all those thinking Joe Paterno is getting harsh treatment.

Art and Soul for Easter Seals

Fund-raiser is Thursday night at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church.

The readers take over

Gene Lyons column is posted. A research technology park authority had its organizational meeting.

"Windows and Mirrors" at Canvas Community

A collaborative mural by artists and children in Kabul.

Penn State students run wild after Paterno dismissal

Penn State students couldn't have provided a starker example of how big-time football is valued over just about everything, including the welfare of sexually abused children.

Rick Perry's latest debate disaster

Surprised this didn't make the morning newspaper's wrapup on last night's presidential debate, but Rick Perry suffered another debate meltdown — forgetting the federal agencies he's vowing to eliminate.

Don't cry for North Little Rock just yet

An article in the morning paper quotes North Little Rock Mayor Pat Hays about cuts that will be necessary as a result of voters' failure to approve a couple of sales tax increases.

Can Martha Shoffner survive?

More great reporting by the Democrat-Gazette's Michael Wickline this morning (pay wall) on Treasurer Martha Shoffner (still I sit by a silent phone awaiting her return calls).

When Tom Cotton wanted journalists jailed

Tom Cotton, who left Arkansas years ago but decided to favor the state with a return this year so 4th District voters could elect him as a Tea Party Republican to Congress, gets some critical attention in Mother Jones this week.

Burger joint of the week: Ed & Kay's Restaurant

Order a Pony Burger at the Benton mainstay, and you may ask yourself "where's the beef?" Keep digging.

Lottery audit suggests travel abuses by former officials UPDATE

The Legislative Joint Auditing Committee is meeting this morning and fireworks are expected over the annual audit on the state Lottery Commission.

Friday To-Do: A.A. Bondy

A.A. Bondy plays Stickyz Friday night.

Mike Huckabee eyes Branson for variety show

Suzi Parker of U.S. News, who's always been chummy with Mike Huckabee, quotes sources as saying a coming Huckster trip to Branson, Mo., where he'll have Tony Orlando on his Fox News program for Nov. 12, is also about Huck checking out Branson as the site of a Huckabee country music variety show.

Weekend: Jimbo Mathus, Kate Voegele, Pat Green and more

Jimbo Mathus and The Tri-State Coalition play White Water Tavern Friday night.

Little Rock police statement on restaurant beating

The Little Rock Fraternal Order of Police has issued a statement on the beating Police Lt. David Hudson gave a Ferneau restaurant patron on Halloween weekend.

Fracking money pours into political campaigns

Common Cause has issued a report on how the explosion of fracking for gas has been accompanied by an explosion of political giving by the frackers.

Senate committee votes repeal of Defense of Marriage Act

It was a party line vote, with Republicans holding fast to discrimination on account of sexual orientation, but a U.S. Senate committee today approved legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Chukes at Hearne Fine Art

Ceramic artist inspired music at Friday reception.

Republicans 'super' plan for budget fix — tax poor

It is all too believable. The Republicans on the Super Committee have a revenue plan.

Web commenting glitch corrected

Thanks always for those who send a quick word about website glitches so I can get with our technical people to try to correct them.

RIP Walter Norris

Little Rock-born jazz pianist Walter Norris died in Berlin Oct. 29.

Can I get an amen — or photo?

An e-mail has arrived from West Fork. Can I get a confirmation — or better yet, a photo?

Thursday night line

North Little Rock City Attorney Jason Carter says he'll present a lawsuit settlement proposal to the City Council Monday night.

The Dad Rock Edition

A new Arkansas Times podcast.

Allen Meadors just thought he had troubles at UCA

Here's another Arkansas angle in the evolving story about Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach charged with sexually abusing children.

Pessimistic outlook on Lake Maumelle rules

Kathy Wells, president of the Coalition of Greater Little Rock Neighborhoods, reported to members yesterday after the Central Arkansas Water Commission meeting on proposed land use rules for the Lake Maumelle watershed.

Beebe won't commit on highway tax increase

Ever-cautious Gov. Mike Beebe tells Stephens Media he's not ready to commit on the half-cent sales tax increase put on the 2012 ballot to pay for a four-lane highway construction program.

Crystal Bridges opens today UPDATE

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens today in Bentonville and if you didn't have a timed ticket in advance, you won't be getting in today.

Michigan House passes compromise anti-bullying bill

The Michigan House has approved compromise legislation against school bullying. It is directed at all bullying and omits Senate-passed language that provided protection to, for example, people who bully because their religion says it's OK to hate and harass gay children.

Saturday To-Do: "Beethoven & Blue Jeans"

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents "Beethoven & Blue Jeans" with Daniel Bernard Roumain.

"Tesseract Dancing" with Galusha, Anderson

Historic Arkansas Museum's 2nd Friday Night offering.

Pieday: Caramel Pecan at Sweet Treats

Imagine a pecan pie and a burnt sugar pie. What would happen if they merged? You can find out at this little lunch dive in Lamar.

Check out a Lucero podcast

Gerard Matthews recently caught up with Lucero at Ardent Studios.

Fracking begins to rile hunters

The New York Times reports here on how the growth of fracking for gas in Pennsylvania has reduced the pleasure of deer hunting and other outdoor pursuits.

Sunday To-Do: Chuck Ragan

Chuck Ragan plays White Water Tavern Sunday night.

No charge in 'sexting' case, mom unhappy

Interesting item from Fox 16: A Faulkner County mom isn't happy that Prosecutor Cody Hiland has declined to press charges against a 17-year-old who sent her 12-year-old daughter text messages asking for nude pictures and urging her not to get caught.

Church joins with state in West Fork preschool

Thanks to degenerateduck.com for a photo of the Bible verse posted on Growing God's Kingdom, the preschool operated primarily with tax dollars by Republican state Rep. Justin Harris of West Fork.

Get your patriotic Christmas pet portrait

Arkansas Flag & Banner offers a free patriotic Christmas pet portrait Saturday

Bring on the weekend

Lovely weather demands an early departure, doesn't it? Final words: * WE AREN'T PENN STATE: That assistant coach who says he witnessed the 2002 locker room rape and didn't report it to police has been placed on administrative leave.

The 11.11.11 Edition

It's Week in Review Podcast time.

Oh deer... recipes

It's the start of Modern Gun Deer Season here in Arkansas. So many hunters heading out into the woods... and some of them are going to be successful.

Crystal Bridges, a stunner

I know you've been hanging on waiting for the post that Max Brantley posted would come about 7 hours ago.

Member of Little Rock 9 lauds Occupy movement

Minnijean Brown Trickey, a member of the Little Rock Nine, knows something about paying a price for standing up for principle.

The cost of big-time football

Joe Nocera, writing in the New York Times about the sex abuse case rocking Penn State, is unstinting in his criticism of the school and Paterno for its failures, particularly in an area that had already been rocked by Catholic church sex abuse.

Why not Sunday alcohol sales in Little Rock?

Interesting story in the New York Times today about how cities across Georgia last week voted to approve Sunday package sales of alcohol.

Antidote to Crystal Bridges snobbery

Public radio today had piece with some effete eastern art snobs complaining about a rich Arkie name of Walton acquiring a bunch of art and putting it in a building in her hometown.

This line's for you

Football or an open line. Your choice

Alice Stewart continues fight for Bachmann

Is Michele Bachmann still running for president? Guess so.

Proposal made for Easter Seals property

I'm in receipt of more details about an alternate proposal for the former Easter Seals training center property at the east end of Lee Avenue across a ravine from the owner of the land underneath the building, the Arkansas School for the Blind.

School tests illustrate NCLB failure

A number of correspondents have written to call attention to a short followup story in the Democrat-Gazette (pay wall) today that gives a full recitation of how Arkansas charter schools fared in meeting standards on state benchmark tests.

Sleepy Sunday

Over to you.

The postoffice fight

Sometimes it doesn't seem a week goes by without a story in the Democrat-Gazette about the effort to prevent closure of a small crossroads postoffice.

Felons regaining gun rights

More to thank the National Rifle Association for: The ease with which an increasing number of felons are able to regain rights to carry guns.

Chelsea Clinton lands NBC job

Chelsea Clinton has been hired by NBC News to be a special correspondent on its "Making a Difference" series, which tells stories about volunteers working to improve their communities.

Vote suppression truth teller

It's self-evident that Republican legislation to suppress voting — required photo IDs, limitations on hours and alternate ballot methods — is about depressing turnout among traditional Democratic constituencies, including black people, students, the elderly and the poor.

John McClellan's doors could be yours

You never know what might turn up on eBay. Thanks to Gabe Holmstrom for alerting me to this piece of Arkansas history — doors to law offices that housed, among others, U.S. Sen John L. McClellan and Hamilton Moses, the former head of Arkansas Power and Light Company.

Musick musings

The artist writes about her work and visit to Crystal Bridges.

U.S. Supreme Court takes health care appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court today announced it would hear appeals of lower court rulings on the health care reform law.

Andy Allison to head Ark. Medicaid program

Andy Allison, a Ouachita Baptist University graduate who's been running Kansas' Medicaid program, has been named to run the Arkansas Medicaid program.

Tonight: Adelita's Way, The Rocketboys, "The Tillman Story" and "We Still Live Here"

Adelita's Way plays Juanita's tonight.

New evidence of fracking dangers

Another piece of evidence is in that suggests it's best not to take gas industry assurances about environmental risks of fracking with a grain of salt.

Submit your Big Idea for Arkansas

At the end of the month, we’ll unveil the third edition of our annual Big Ideas for Arkansas edition and, as usual, we’re taking nominations for ideas that would make Arkansas a better place to live.

Priest suspended for child abuse allegation

Arkansas Catholic reports that Bishop AnthonyTaylor has suspended a Cherokee Village priest, Father Laurent Demets, for slapping a child at St. Michael Church in Cherokee Village.

Review: A.A. Bondy

A.A. Bondy played Stickyz Friday night.

Hillcrest Artisan Meats is open

The much-anticipated butcher shop Hillcrest Artisan Meats (H.A.M.) has opened at 2807 Kavanaugh, adjacent to Kroger.

54th Delta Exhibition artists announced

54th Delta Exhibition, Arkansas Arts Center

Downtown Deli has closed

Downtown Deli has closed for good, according to the restaurant's Facebook page. More when I've got it.

Monday, Monday

Funky day. Warm.

Arkie Wes Bentley in new 'Hunger Games' trailer

Bookgeeks rejoice: the new trailer for "The Hunger Games" film debuted today, and includes a few quick clips of Arkie Wes Bentley, who plays the diabolical Seneca Crane.

Police move in on Occupy Wall Street

New York has joined the cities that believe there's a time limit on the First Amendment.

The morning report: Demagogue Dustin, Hillcrest dispute, Penn State, health care

Some odds and ends from mail and elsewhere this morning: * HILLCREST PROPERTY DISPUTE: The Hillcrest Residents Association heard competing proposals last night to redevelop the former Easter Seals training center building at the eastern end of Lee Avenue.

Dishonest ads for Tim Griffin explained

See that big ad in the Sunday paper that seemed to laud U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin's work to protect medical care for seniors?

The Canadian pipeline jobs swindle

Dishonesty and U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin just seem to go hand in hand. It's been announced that Griffin will be the point man on a Republican publicity push today to beat up President Obama for withholding approval of a new pipeline from Canad in part because of environmental concerns that the pipeline could damage an important aquifer in Nebraska.

Tip: State closing Rehab hospital beds in Hot Springs

A tipster tells me Bill Walker, head of the Arkansas Workforce Education Deparment, and Robert Trevino, head of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, were on hand in Hot Springs for an announcement that the state will be closing the hospital portion of the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center in February, a move said to mean the loss of 30 jobs.

Legislator has second thoughts on Rick Perry

Republican state Rep. Justin Harris, who operates state-subsidized preschool Bible classes in West Fork, apparently is having second thoughts about joining the Perry Posse, the 20 state legislators who signed a letter endorsing Rick Perry's presidential candidacy.

Review: Iron & Wine

Iron & Wine played at UCA Sunday night.

Tuesday: Moises Kaufman, Adam Faucett, ASO and more

Adam Faucette & The Tall Grass play White Water Tavern with Gum Creek Killers.

Rock art with Dito Morales

A flyer with the details.

Juanita's loses late-night drinks application

The state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board today upheld the director's rejection of an application by Juanita's restaurant for a private club permit that would have allowed it to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. at its River Market location.

Nominate the next Living Treasure

Nominations are due Dec. 2.

Walton Foundation putting more money in KIPP schools

The Walton Family Foundation announced today that it will put another $25.5 million in KIPP charter schools over the next five years to expand the number of children they can enroll.

The race to the bottom: Romney in the lead

How bad is Mitt Romney? New polling shows President Obama ahead of Mitt Romney.

Tuesday night line

The line is open. Final words: * MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS: The state Board of Education today continued review of charter school applications.

Beth Anne Rankin: 'I might be packing!'

Republican congressional Beth Anne Rankin proudly announced today that she's obtained a concealed handgun carry permit. I say she and opponent Tom Cotton, military vet, should have a shoot-off.
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