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Music Issue

Music Issue

November 14, 2013

Vol 40 • No 11

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The Cruz family way

Cuban band's best tune might be their shared story of familial love.

Al Bell can't quit music

Stax legend will take new talent there, the future.

Pryor hits Cotton on Social Security, Medicare, retirement

[embed-1] If Extremist Republican Rep. Tom Cotton's campaign against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is going to be Obamascare all the time, Pryor's can be expected to be a healthy dose of Mediscare, plus the threat Cotton poses to Social Security benefits and retirement before decreptitu8de.

Police arrest robbery suspect in daycare

Little Rock police today used a K-9 dog to make an arrest of a robbery suspect in a daycare center on West Tenth Street near Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Gun found at Little Rock airport security check

The Little Rock police said Michael Davidson, 44, was charged with carrying a weapon after a TSA officer found a weapon inside his carry-on bag

Tonight: 'Boots, Bourbon and Baseball' at Stephano's

Benefit opens the annual "100 for under $100 Art Show."

Under the dome: Capitol refurbishing complete

Look up the next time you walk into the rotunda of the Capitol and you'll see what Brian Chilson did today, the spruced-up interior.

Friday event honors civil rights icon Bayard Rustin at Templars Center

Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington and one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement of the 1950's and '60's — largely whitewashed from history because he was openly gay — will be celebrated at a free event on Friday evening at Little Rock's Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, "Champions of Justice: Celebrating the Life and Times of Bayard Rustin."

North Little Rock successfully opposes charter school application

The North Little Rock School District today testified against an application for an open enrollment charter school in North Little Rock.

The midweek open line: Tim Griffin endorses; the Tech Park grinds on

The Wednesday night line is open. Final notes:

Late-night Capitol visit becomes issue in Republican primary race

Some late-night socializing in the state Capitol has created a controversy in at least one race on the election ballot next year.

Obamacare in Arkansas: "private option" going swimmingly, rest of Health Insurance Marketplace hasn't gotten going

For the first time, the Obama administration released numbers today on enrollment in plans on the new marketplaces created by the healthcare law.

First tech park space: Old Stephens Media building on Main


It was a good week for Jeff Long

It was also a good week for a tax request the state can't afford and Tommy Moll. It was a bad week for Exxon and the Northwoods subdivision.

Hogs fight for first SEC win

We've reached that dreaded stage of the college football season where Arkansas fans can actually, officially and conclusively write off postseason aspirations with 120 minutes of tangible game action left to play. And thanks to another defeat where just enough glimmers of hope were evident to engender frustration when the team faltered, Arkansas now stands right on the brink of its first-ever winless SEC campaign.


The Observer strolled down to the River Market the other day with the Cuban band CruzWay, a great bunch of folks who — under the guidance of their pater familias, Dr. Anibal Cruz II — made a daring, musical, slow-motion evacuation from that Communist island nation, staying over in Mexico for a few years before winding up shipwrecked here in Arkansas with the rest of us yokels.

'Thor' swings, misses


He who is without sin

There was a very public scene in the Bible where Christ is asked to approve the stoning of an adulteress. He averts the punishment by saying, "let him who is without sin, cast the first stone." In a similar position, Msgr. Francis Malone was presented Tippi McCullough, who offended the scribes and priests by getting married to a partner of 14 years.

Snookered again by Arkansas lawmakers

It's a rare Arkansas legislature that can't be lured into a new tax giveaway in the name of job creation.

To govern or not, that is 2014 Arkansas elections issue

The emerging story line of the 2014 Arkansas elections is a high-minded debate over whether government, even effective government, is a good thing.

Arkansas politicians' musical taste

For this week's music issue, we surveyed candidates and presumptive candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Arkansas governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general on a few basic music-related questions.

Play before demolition

Two young boys play in the street in front of the home at 44 N. Starlite in Mayflower. An ExxonMobil spokesman said oil remained beneath the home's foundation after a March 29 pipeline rupture. The house was demolished Tuesday.

Blind Pig dishes out good bar food

Speakeasy-style eatery trucks in tasty hot dogs from New York.

CBS blows it on Beghazi

The comic figure of the braggart soldier first appears in Plautus's play "Miles Gloriosus" in roughly 200 BC, although the Roman dramatist acknowledged a now-lost Greek model. So it's surprising that somebody who's spent as much time in war zones as "60 Minutes' " Lara Logan failed to recognize the type: a swaggering, self-anointed hero describing military feats nobody witnessed but him.

Baauer comes to Juanita's

Also, Bryant Huddleston at Philander Smith, The Hot Sardines at Wildwood, Peter Case at White Water Tavern, Pink, Steve Vai, B.B. King and Built to Spill.

Moon Taxi plays Revolution

Also, events celebrating the life of Bayard Rustin.

Attorney seems nicer

The old Arkansas Gazette observed a distinction between lawyer and attorney, and if you worked there, you were expected to remember it. I did and still do, but I think that it's largely ignored in general usage today.

Jacob Lofland is on his way

Answering a casting call for 'Mud' was a lark for Briggsville teen, but now he sees a career.

A different Catholicism

San Damiano offers an alternative for those troubled by Rome's inflexibility on social issues.

University of Arkansas gang can't shoot straight

A University of Arkansas employee put it simply: "Why can't they tell the truth?"

Curtis Coleman gunning for voters

Republican gubernaborial candidate is giving away a Palmetto PA-15

UA evasive on emails with a columnist

E-mails between Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contract columnist Mike Masterson and University of Arkansas Chancellor David Gearhart reveal mutual admiration but also a bit of insight on Arkansas media and public relations.

Mugs Cafe has much to offer

Though it’s still a relative newcomer to Argenta, Mugs Café fits this part of town like a glove. Get up to Mugs for breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner (they close at 6 pm). Service is warm and you’ll be eager to return after just one visit.

Duncan Baird says opponent Milligan 'dishonest' about talk of Capitol visit

State Rep. Duncan Baird, a Republican candidate for state treasurer, has responded fully and forcefully to comments made yesterday by opponent Dennis Milligan concerning a late-night visit by Baird and several other Republican representatives to the Capitol during the Oct. 17-19

Marjorie Williams-Smith talks about 'Nocturne' at UALR

[embed-1] UALR's 

Judgeship for Jay Moody clears Senate committee

Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who follows the federal judiciary, sends word that the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning approved the nomination of Circuit Judge Jay Moody to a seat on the federal bench in Little Rock.

Charter school express continues; middle school approved for West Little Rock

I was too busy with other matters to watch, but the Walton-financed lobbyist working to build a white flight middle school in western Little Rock reports that the state charter advisory panel approved the application for the Quest Middle School (which has plans for a high school expansion) by a unanimous vote.

State can't issue moratorium on hog farm permit

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion today, requested by Rep. David Branscum, that trhe director of  Arkansas law, may the director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) impose a moratorium or suspension of the processing of a permit for a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO)?

Friday To-Do: The Hot Sardines

The Hot Sardines play at Wildwood Park Friday.

Friday: 'Champions of Justice,' Rouxster and more

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center hosts "Champions of Justice — Celebrating the Life and Work of Bayard Rustin" Friday.

Obama gives "grandfather" status to existing health insurance plans for one year

President Barack Obama announced today that the administration is extending "grandfather" status for one year to any health insurance plans sold to customers through October of 2013.

Art exhibit TONIGHT: Matt McLeod & Co., for scholarship fund

In Lafayette Square lobby.

Insurance commissioner: Arkansas will not use new "grandfather" rules to allow plans to continue past 2014

As we explained, President Barack Obama this morning announced that the administration would extend "grandfather" status to existing insurance plans, potentially allowing them to continue for existing customers until October 2015 even if they were not compliant with the new health care law.

The Duncan Baird-Dennis Milligan saga continues: Milligan doubles down, Baird produces recordings of conversations

Rep. Duncan Baird has provided recordings of conversations between Baird and Dennis Milligan, his opponent in the race for treasurer, which call into question Milligan's contention that he never pressured Baird to get out of the race over a video of (non-scandalous) late-night shenanigans at the Capitol.

UPDATE: School desegregation settlement proposed; John Walker not on board

A  1:30 p.m.

Judge denies injunction for doctor denied Medicaid patients by state law targeting him

Federal Judge Bill Wilson today denied an injunction for Dr. Lonnie Joseph Parker, a Hope phyisician targeted by a new state law prohibiting participation in the Medicaid program by anyone who's been convicted of a child sex crime.

The worn-out open line

Whew. Day is about done.

Friday: Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights at Revolution

Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights play at Revolution Friday.

The bizarre media blitz of Dennis Milligan

[embed-1] Just in case anyone can't get enough of the Dennis Milligan train wreck, his appearance on the Paul Harrell radio show today is almost indescribably bizarre.

Food Feedback Friday: waffles, pies, turkey, and whiskey

And let’s not forget about Food Feedback Friday! Go.

Police statement on shooting of man in home

The Little Rock police issued the following account of the fatal shooting of man with a rifle in a home.

Florida man indicted for fraudulent loan scheme at Little Rock bank

The U.S. attorney's office announced this morning the indictment of Alberto Solaroli, 59, of Jacksonville, Fla., LITTLE ROCK, AR – Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas; Christopher A. Henry, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Nashville Field Office; Howard S. Marshall, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Christy Romero, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP) announced that an Indictment charging Alberto Solaroli, age 59, of Jacksonville, Florida, with one count of bank fraud was unsealed November 14, 2013.

Killed him a b'ar when he was only 44

Since I've received multiple copies, there seems to be popular demand to post Rep. Nate Bell of Menua posing with his kill this week on a bear hunt.

Saturday: Ce Ce Peniston, Wes Jeans and more

Ce Ce Peniston performs at Discovery Saturday night.

Bryant Huddleston gives the speech Imboden didn't want to hear

I wish more people could have heard TV producer Bryant Huddleston's speech at Philander Smith College last night.

UPDATE: Pulaski desegregation settlement still lacks John Walker's support

The Arkansas legislature today is considering a settlement of the Pulaski County desegregation lawsuit. It appears that the black families represented by state Rep. John Walker may be willing to go along.

Hear Clinton, Gov. Beebe read the Gettysburg Address

[embed-1] From a soaring-oratory standpoint, it just doesn't get much better than The Gettysburg Address, the 269-word masterpiece delivered on Nov. 19, 1863, in which President Abraham Lincoln showed that blowhard who talked at your high school graduation how it's done.

Sunday To-Do: Pink

Pink performs at Verizon Arena Sunday night.

Sunday To-Do: Steve Vai

Steve Vai performs Sunday night at Juanita's.

Celebrating Bayard Rustin tonight at Mosaic Templars

Mandy Carter and Ernest Green will speak; Sabrina Zarco will exhibit her "Social Justice" series.

UPDATE: Legislative Council endorses school settlement, even without Walker

Things got interesting in Legislative Council this morning when state Rep. John Walker, who's a council member, asked Attorney General Dustin McDaniel if he had told legislators what the black families he represents in the desegregation case wanted to settle the issue.

A catchup roundup: Cell phones, coon suppers, conservatives, cinema

Some odds and ends that floated in while I spent the morning with the Legislative Council:

Living history tomorrow at Old State House

Civil War theme for families.

Reception tonight: Bork and Dahl at Thea

First in Thea's The Art Department series.

Crystal Bridges' Hartley turns out to be two paintings

Curator uncovers painting on the back of work in the Stieglitz Collection.

Police identify officers in fatal shooting of man in home

The police issued an updated release today on the shooting of a man in his Mabelvale home who didn't put down a rifle when officers entered to attempt to check a report that a man had attempted suicide by

FOCC on Sunday: Hunt Clark, plus McClary on Monday

Wood carver, sculptor are UALR visiting artists.

Donald Roller Wilson at Greg Thompson

And more to see up and down Argenta's Main Street tonight.

The eagle flies and the turkey is getting ready to go too

Live, it's the Friday night open line. I'll be packing for a trip.

The Krispy Kreme and Sun Shades Edition

Lindsey's out so I filled in again this week. Max and I spend way too long cackling over the Dennis Milligan Blunder Dome Scandal, then move on to more serious topics: 

Saturday To-Do: Peter Case, Kevin Kerby

Peter Case plays at White Water Tavern Saturday.

Vote suppression laws: Another angle of attack

A law professor writes in an op-ed in the New York Times today about a potentially stronger approach to challenge the proliferation of laws being passed by Republican legislatures to suppress Democratic-leaning voters.

Video cameras and audit papers: Will legislature move to make them secret?

A politico 

Monday To-Do: B.B. King

B.B. King plays at The Auditorium in Eureka Springs Monday night.

Mr. Walker, settle this lawsuit

I leave today for an extended trip. I won't be on the ground for news including potential momentous developments in the Pulaski County desegregation case.

Saturday night line

It's the boat drinks open line. I'm at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and if all goes well I'll begin a winding journey that winds up someplace where it's warm.

Morning Notes: Hutchinson voodoo, Milligan keeps creeping

Top of the morning.  ASA'S VOODOO: At a speech at the Jonesboro Political Animals meeting last Friday, according to the Jonesboro Sun's report (paywall), Mike Ross "scoffed at [Asa Hutchinson's tax plan] saying the state's current budget surplus of almost $300 million might not exist in 2015 when Hutchinson said he'll enact the cut."

Monday: 'Addams Family Musical' at UCA

UCA hosts "The Addams Family Musical" Monday.

Green and Libertarian parties in 2014

Will third parties have an impact on the 2014 elections in Arkansas? Well, probably not.

Open Line

Over to you...

Conservatives love to scapegoat Medicaid, even though it costs less

The graph above comes from a Brookings Institue paper on healthcare spending and one of the paper's authors, Harvard economist Amitabh Chandra, notes that it might suggest that "fiscal conservatives should be very careful before trashing Medicaid."

Bob Robbins leaving KSSN, going to sister station The Wolf 105.1

Talk about the end of an era. Bob Robbins, the perennially-behatted morning DJ who has ruled the Arkansas radio ratings from atop his throne at KSSN 96 since joining the station in 1979, will be moving to a morning show on Clear Channel sister station KMJX 105.1 The Wolf, Clear Channel Little Rock announced today.

Steve Barnes on Fulbright, sartorial advice and the strangest political gossip he's ever heard

Steve Barnes is surely the most familiar face in Arkansas political news. He's been on television in Arkansas since 1968, with stints at KTHV, KATV, KARK and, currently, AETN. He gamely answered the summons of the second edition of the Inquizator.

Man smashes Walmart case with pickaxe, flees with jewelry

Benton police are looking for a man who went into the Walmart store there just after 5 a.m. this morning, brandished a pickaxe and then smashed jewelry cases before making off with an unspecified amount of loot. 

The politics of Medicaid expansion tricky for Republicans While some thought the all-Republican runoff would be marked by each candidate running to the far right of every issue, McAllister took leave of the usual party line during a debate last week by coming out in support of optional Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act.

Bayou Teche hits Arkansas shelves

Tasty South Louisiana brewery makes its Natural State debut.

Cover photo goes way back

Brian Chilson used a circa 1960s Crown Graphic camera to take our latest cover shot. Check the process.

MOD staffer moves to Argenta tech hub

Joel Gordon to head The Launch Pad.

Police: Heights Starbucks, Mablevale Applebee's robbed yesterday morning

The Little Rock Police Department just released the incident reports on two armed robberies that happened yesterday, one at the Heights Starbucks at 5719 Kavanaugh, and another at the Mablevale Applebee's restaurant at 6 Mablevale Plaza Ln.

Sheriff Holladay: PuCo Jail in overcrowding 'crisis,' may soon have to turn away all but most violent

Pulaski County Doc Holladay said today that the overcrowding situation at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Center is at a "crisis" level, with the spiraling population — spurred on by changes in the parole system — spreading employees too thin, blowing budgets and putting his officers in danger.

Open line

Talk, talk.

Alexander Group presents $220,000 report on state welfare programs

Little Rock South Main St. bike lanes coming soon

Main Street, from 7th to Roosevelt, should be repaved and re-striped to include bike lanes and a center turning lane by the end of the week.

Here are some photos of Pink at Verizon Arena

Pink performed at Verizon Arena Sunday night.

Walker-Joshua agree to school settlement

All parties to the 32-year Pulaski County desegregation case have tentatively agreed to a settlement.

School settlement: Comment from afar

I signed on a balky Internet from a ship off the Spanish coast this morning to — hope against hope — my rare optimism had been warranted and that the Pulaski desegregation case had been settled.

Wednesday To-Do: Built to Spill

Built to Spill plays at Revolution Wednesday.

Judge sets hearing on settlement for today

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, declaring today a "great day for Arkansas," announced formally that all parties to the Pulaski County school desegregation case had signed on to the terms of a settlement agreement.

Dennis Milligan contacted House Speaker Davy Carter's employers; Carter considering legal action

Following a tip, we contacted House Speaker Davy Carter about certain aspects of the Dennis Milligan scandal (see here, here, here, and here for the goofy saga).

Travelers like the LR airport, they really do

Poll taken in November finds four out of five passengers satisfied.

Sen. Harry Reid leaning toward "nuclear option" on court vacancies

Remember when Rep. Tom Cotton ludicrously said that President Barack Obama was "court packing" by fulfilling his constitutional obligation to nominate judges to fill vacancies on the federal bench, in this case the three vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit?

Thursday at Hearne Fine Art: "Evo- lu- tion"

Exhibition of work by 14 artists, including Samella Lewis, Lawrence Finney, Paul Goodnight and others.

50-50-50: Charles Burchfield UPDATE

A 1935 watercolor, donated to the Arts Center by Hope Aldrich.

Will Interstate 40, between North Little Rock and West Memphis, be under construction forever?

Pretty much. According to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department’s Danny Straessle, that entire stretch of interstate is due for rehabilitation or replacement in projects scheduled to run through 2027.

Legislature to take up death penalty and arming teachers in fiscal session?

At his Nightwriter blog, Arkansas Legislative Digest's Benji Hardy reports on today's joint Judiciary committee meeting at the Capitol:

Open line

Over to you.

Thursday To-Do: Argenta Film Series: 'Smokey and the Bandit'

"Smokey and the Bandit" screens at Argenta Community Theater Thursday night.

Thursday: Ha Ha Tonka at Stickyz and more

Ha Ha Tonka plays at Stickyz Thursday night.

Friday To-Do: Steve Howell and The Mighty Men

Steve Howell performs at The Afterthought Friday.