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November 16, 2006

Vol 4 • No 44

Let me say this about Mike Huckabee's rant

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today has, as expected, a story on Gov. Mike Huckabee's outburst yesterday about reporting on "wedding" gift registries to stock his new private-sector house, a story first reported here last Friday.

New hogs at the trough

There's a troubling quote in this AP story that confirms our reporting today on at least $7,500 worth of china and crystal given to Janet Huckabee from funds raised to improve the Governor's Mansion.

This Modern World

Electoral rewrite

It doesn’t take a pundit long to misinterpret election results. As soon as it became evident the Democrats had smashed the Republicans, the chatterers announced that the clear meaning of the elections was that Democrats should continue Republican policies

The Observer

If you’ve ever been camping, you have stories of animals — big and small — approaching uncomfortably close to your tent in the middle of the night or rummaging through the package of Twinkies you left in the open. The Observer remembers several years ago

Words

An exceptionally egregious case.

A word for Mike -- audacity

This is an open letter to Mike Beebe, also known as the “Happy Hugger” for his sudden and euphoric embraces last week of recoiling newspapermen who are unaccustomed to affection, demonstrated or otherwise.

Smart Talk

This week: A portrait of the governor; gay candidates make history; a living wage in Pine Bluff.

TV highlights, Nov. 16

BARBARA WALTERS: 30 YEARS, 30 MISTAKES; EVEREST: BEYOND THE LIMIT; NATURE: CHRISTMAS IN YELLOWSTONE.

The week that was Nov. 8-14

It was a good week for ... DEMOCRATS. They spent the week gloating over an electoral sweep in Arkansas and retaking the U.S. House and Senate. Democrats even picked up seats in the Arkansas legislature, already overwhelmingly Democratic.

Gifts for the Huckabees

Did it strike you as odd that the only china Mike and Janet Huckabee put on their Dillard’s wedding registry (see our Arkansas Reporter) is a Christmas pattern? Here’s why:

From dust to dust

Have you seen the Borat movie, where the “Kazakh” newsman gets instruction from a comedy consultant in a “not” joke? As in: Gov. Mike Huckabee believes it’s more blessed to give than receive — Not!

Arkansas values

A reader is troubled about coaches.

Guest writer: Rick Martin

Ernest Dumas is on vacation this week. In his place, Rick Martin writes about the late Paul Blair.

Hillary can win

Even before this year’s elections were decided, speculation about the 2008 presidential sweepstakes was well underway. Forget about the impending Democratic takeover of both houses of Congress. The Oct. 23 edition of Time magazine ran a cover story tit

On the winning side

There were a lot of interesting things that happened all over in the country and in Arkansas at last week’s voting. For the first time I had more winners than losers, and...

Orval

While the getting's good

Here in the throes of geezery I’ve been pondering retirement, and to make the thing easier on both of us, I’ve signed on to the gift registries at several of the familiar upscale department stores.

Editorial cartoon

Styling at 300 Third

Joel Galloway, owner of Joel’s hair salon and known as one of Little Rock’s top hairdressers, will open a second operation in the lobby of the 300 Third building.

Soprano sings her favorites

A rising star in the opera world, soprano Monica Yunus’ 2006-07 schedule includes singing the role of Papagena in “Die Zauberflote” at the Metropolitan Opera — and giving a solo concert at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Nov. 16, at the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall

The coming 18-story River Market Tower

In a couple of years, a squarely hit tennis ball will thonk within earshot of the River Market. Basketballs will bounce, hoops will swish. The sounds will be coming from the rooftop over the parking garage for Moses Tucker’s newest venture: River Mar

Airport dreams of bigger terminal

Little Rock may be the largest city in the country whose airport is within five miles of downtown. That puts airport officials in a unique position as they plan for the airport’s future, Airport Commission member Larry Lichty said. “We’ve felt for s

George Wittenberg: downtown visionary

When George Wittenberg sent me his address I didn’t look at it closely. It wasn’t until the morning of our interview that I read it and thought, “Huh? This isn’t near the River Market.” I was so certain that was where he lived. I plugged the address into

Gimmegate: One more day

Fun is fun. We're ready to move on.

Ross and the Blue Dogs

The LA Times features the rise of the Blue Dogs, the conservative Democratic caucus in the House, and its potentially pivotal role in election of the House Speaker.

But what about the Anglos?

Rogers Mayor Steve Womack has a bee in his bonnet about immigrants. He believes they are responsible for the city's crime woes.

River Market keeps the beat

The heart of downtown’s entertainment district has skipped a few beats and threatened to stop at times. But the muscle is young — born a decade ago with the debut of the River Market — and has proved resilient.

Important topic

Not gifts. Not football.

Downtown Partnership wants expansion

Sharon Priest sums up downtown development plans in two words: Main Street. “There is nothing left to do on Clinton Avenue,” said Priest, the executive director of the Downtown Partnership. “Main Street is the next frontier.”

Finalists for Best Documentary

The academy's Documentary Branch screening committee has declared 15 titles eligible to compete in the derby.

'Letters from Iwo Jima' eligible

Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers companion film Letters from Iwo Jima will compete in both the Globes and the Academy Awards this year.  Originally, Letters was going to be released in February 2007, but because of the poor reception for Flags, Letters is being pushed up.

'Dreamgirls' opens

Dreamgirls, the widely anticpated film from Bill Condon starring Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx opended to critics last night in L.A.  While they are not allowed to review the film yet, some reports of the screening have made their way out on the web.

The Rep still works on new theater

To say that Arkansas Repertory Theatre officials were shocked by the rejection of their grant request from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation would be an understatement.

Opening this weekend

        Friday

Polling recap

Lots of people are reviewing pollster's work now to see who did well and who didn't.

Polling recap

Lots of people are reviewing pollster's work now to see who did well and who didn't.

Is the demand there for the new downtown market?

As the old saying goes, there are three things to remember when buying real estate: Location, location, location. In Little Rock, locations don’t get much hotter right now than downtown — and that kind of heat costs money. After a 30-year trend that

Meet the neighbors downtown

We introduce you to some of the people migrating to new homes in the heart of the city.

Contract Negotiation

If only contract negotiation were so interesting.........

Go Hogs Go! On the Radio...

  Well, apparently the No. 5 team in the nation, with a Heisman contender in the backfield and whose only loss came to USC, doesn't garner much national media coverage if they're not playing a big time program on the skids.  This weeks game against Mississippi State will not be broadcast by any media outlet.  Of course the networks and ESPN passed, they're are big games out there this weekend.  But I have to say Lincoln Financial televising the Tennessee/ Vanderbilt game is ridiculous.  So Tennessee will be watching that one and .... no one else.  Alabama/ Auburn Iron Bowl, yeah, I get that, but Tenn./ Vandy, I guess to see if Vandy can pull off the upset on the lack luster Vols.  Whatever, we don't need your stinkin television coverage, it'll be on the radio, you people know where, usually I listen on 105.9, but do what you have to do.   

Theater, Theater, Theater

Central Arkansas Confidential is unfound rumors, rambling anecdotes and other nonsensical writings of one Mr. Ricky, who's identity, shrouded in mystery and superstition, is unknown. If you have things that need discussing, drop me a line at caconfidential@gmail.com. -I'm a good listener -People like to ask my advice -I'll have an opinion -I might make you laugh -Real identities are rarely used, unless it's the famous, then they're used, cause that's the price they pay. -If you figure out who I am, and some people will, please keep it confidential Much Luv, Mr. Ricky.

A passion for Argenta

I’ve lived on West Fifth Street in North Little Rock’s historic Argenta neighborhood since 2002, and I love it with the zealous heart of the converted. After spending my childhood in a drab post-World War II tract home in Southwest Little Rock, my only kn

Clear Channel cloudiness

Roby Brock's Talk Business blog is following sale of Clear Channel Communications and potential implications for a host of properties in Arkansas.

Million-dollar men

A million bucks just isn't that much money anymore. Not when it comes to paying football coaches.

New projects in NLR

A quick look on projects on the drawing board, or going up, in North Little Rock.

Maritime Museum fleet to grow

Bringing the USS Hoga tug used to rescue sailors after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, which North Little Rock won custody of from the U.S. Navy last year, to an Arkansas River port hadn’t been smooth sailing. Too fragile to be towed through the ocean, the t

Skyboxes cap new ballpark

There was a big smile on Bill Valentine’s face when he noted that hardly had his Arkansas Travelers made the skyboxes in their new stadium available when most of them were leased.

New bridge creates river trail loop

Do you know how long it takes a city to build one trail? Longer than you might think. It’s taken nearly 30 years for the concept of a multipurpose urban trail to make its way out of the imaginations of a handful of city leaders and onto the pavement

Clinton Library still draws crowd

The dispute over how many football games the Arkansas Razorbacks should play at Little Rock was settled before Dr. David Alsobrook came to town to direct the Clinton Presidential Library. But he knows which side he would have been on.

Payday lending

The long-running legal saga of payday lending grinds on. The state Supreme Court today sent a pending case back to Circuit Judge Barry Sims for a third try at issuing a ruling on whether the check casher's law is constitutional or not.

Payday lending

The long-running legal saga of payday lending grinds on. The state Supreme Court today sent a pending case back to Circuit Judge Barry Sims for a third try at issuing a ruling on whether the check casher's law is constitutional or not.

A move from library to Clinton School

The Clinton School of Public Service came into existence contemporaneously with the Clinton Presidential Library and is housed in a former railroad station next door to the center. The school graduated its first class in 2005. A part of the University of

It ain't called Walton College for nothin'

Jeff Collins recently announced his resignation as director of the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

The Mind of Matt: Enjoying the Phoenix scene

Matt Smith is kicking butt in Phoenix, checking out everything from NASCAR to football to the general scene:

Non-profit corridor takes shape

It may be several years before CareLink and Lions World Services for the Blind, two locally based non-profits, are ready open their new doors to the public, but efforts to bring their respective headquarters to the burgeoning non-profit corridor east of I

Could Inman be getting the "Voice" tryout?

I was browsing through the new Arkansas Razorback basketball brochure and noticed that , the KATV Channel 7 news anchor alongside Christina Munoz, was lined up to be the play-by-play announcer for all of the ARSN TV broadcasts of Hog basketball in December.

Heifer International building, a vision of green

Heifer Project International headquarters is as futuristic as the organization’s bovine name — and the people it helps — are down to earth. It curves. It appears to be built mostly of air, boxes of air framed by steel. It sits softly on the land, as it ou

Bloody Benton County

Our source reports. Details don't really matter.

Lafayette Hotel reborn as condo project

It might seem odd that a family-owned real estate company from Northern California would end up mounting one of the largest redevelopment projects in downtown Little Rock. But take a closer look at Tower Investments, aka Stephen Marks, his wife and

Warren Stephens: Moving carefully on downtown holdings

Stephens Inc. CEO Warren Stephens thinks Little Rock needs to be “more aggressive” about committing tax dollars to downtown development projects, and he has shied away from dictating the future of his own downtown properties, lest he provoke a “backlash.”

Making the Donaghey Building a home

Investors hope the Donaghey Building at Seventh and Main will soon house more than just a handful of businesses. Though progress has been slower than hoped, plans proceed to convert upper floors of the historic building into condos. Stephanie Smith o

Capital Hotel gets a makeover

To look at the stack of blueprints on file with the city for the new renovation of the Capital Hotel — a tree-trunk-sized roll that easily weighs 50 pounds, barely restrained by three industrial-strength rubber bands — you’d think that the owners were bui

Courthouse nears completion

Federal judges will begin a move to the $65 million glass and concrete Richard Sheppard Arnold courthouse by the end of the year, and when they do, they’ll be surrounded by a crash wall to keep booby-trapped vehicles from ramming the building.

New homes in Capitol View

Moses Tucker Real Estate, which led the commercial and residential revitalization of downtown Little Rock, is expanding its reach to the Capitol View neighborhood just west of the city center.

Library adds Arkansas Studies Institute

The first significant amount of public money committed to the River Market district was for construction of a new Main Library of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), for which voters had approved a property tax increase. Skeptics doubted that a ne

What about Capitol Avenue?

While the taller buildings along Capitol Avenue in downtown Little Rock surely help make for a more picturesque skyline at sunset, recent decades have been hard on the street that features most of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. Filling the largest buildi

Stick with the steak

We kept thinking of all these sports analogies after trying to digest our recent experience at Capriccio Italian Steakhouse in the Peabody Hotel. We could almost hear Marlon Brando’s Terry Malloy crying to Rod Steiger, “I coulda been a contender …”

‘The Lost Year’ to screen at UCA

A new documentary called “The Lost Year” explores the effect the 1958-59 school closure had on a community already divided by the integration crisis.

Arty toys return

The Arkansas Arts Center’s 34th annual “Toys Designed by Artists” offers up the fruits of the artists in playful — or at times, sarcastic — moods.

What's cooking/Capsule reviews

Six appeal

I wouldn’t have believed it back when I heard it a couple months ago, but KTHV general manager Larry Audas is apparently going ahead with his plan to keep a full house on the news anchor desk at Channel 11.

Bruce James calls the Hogs, Nov. 16

Last Saturday's game against Tennessee was the most consistent offensively and defensively that Arkansas has played in at least 15 years.

Heavenly performance

If you missed either of the Arkansas Symphony’s Masterworks concerts this weekend, you missed this ensemble at its best, not to mention two incredible solo performances, by ASO principal harpist Elisabeth Chardonnet and mezzo-soprano Lynnette Ellen Chambe

Paris exceeds all expectations

‘Stranger’ is welcomed

“Stranger Than Fiction” turns out to be a lot more than a one-trick pony. It’s a film with a lot of heart, one that really delivers.

A winner in the bunch?

Many times I find myself saying, “Well it’s good, but …” This week you’ll find several of those “good” shows around Little Rock. The music, with a determinedly “gonna make it” mindset, includes several bands that hover at the “decent” or “amazing” crossro

Hold their hand

They released a live album in August, and tonight Hootie and the Blowfish bring the real thing to Alltel Arena as part of the Junior League of Little Rock’s annual Holiday House shopping and fund-raising event.

Mike Huckabee talks politics

The governor spoke at a church and did a book signing in NW Ark. yesterday.

Good news for Dillard's

NY Times reports that, nationwide, department store shopping is coming back. The big stores are regaining ground from niche retailers.

O.J.

More despicable than O.J. Simpson? Not possible, except maybe Dick Morris.

Family planning, Bush-style

Or should we say Duggar style? From the Washington Post:

Heavenly performance

If you missed either of the Arkansas Symphony’s Masterworks concerts this weekend, you missed this ensemble at its best, not to mention two incredible solo performances, by ASO principal harpist Elisabeth Chardonnet and mezzo-soprano Lynnette Ellen Chambe

'Shortbus' is also here

is also at Market Street Cinema.  Apologies for the omission. P. Martin writes, While there are a lot of good things about Shortbus - including John Blair's wonderful animation sequences, which depict New York as a whimsical three-dimensional toy city - the overall effect is of a failed experiment in communal filmmaking.

'Casino Royale' reviewed

Manohla Dargis, NY Times . . . If Mr. Campbell and his team haven’t reinvented the Bond film with this 21st edition, they have shaken (and stirred) it a little, chipping away some of the ritualized gentility that turned it into a waxworks.

'The Queen' reviewed

David Edelstein, NY Magazine There’s something perverse—delightfully perverse—about a film in which the suspense is in whether a woman can bring herself to make a grudging statement of grief, and when she acquiesces, it’s not exactly a stand-up-and-cheer kind of climax.

'Fast Food Nation' reviewed

Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter The great expose of the meat-packing industry was Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," his 1906 muckraking novel that shocked a nation and led to stricter federal controls over food safety.

P. Martin likes 'Casino Royale,' 'The Queen'

On Casino Royale, . . . While [Sean] Connery is still the Bond, Daniel Criag is probably the best actor ever to take on the role, and the thuggish, athletic 007 he portrays in Casino Royale is the perfect device to reboot the series.  It's a terrific animalistic portrayal - more Steve McQueen than Cary Grant, closer to the bone.

Gene Lyons, call your agent

This is a book, maybe a movie, too. Call it "The Last King of Brinkley."

Gene Lyons, call your agent

This is a book, maybe a movie, too. Call it "The Last King of Brinkley."

JR and Henry: One Game Away

JR and HENRY: One Game Away With just two regular season conference games to play, Arkansas stands just one game away from winning the SEC West and claiming a spot in the SEC championship game against Florida.

At least they don't break your kneecaps anymore

I hate payday lending. Its one of those things like gambling - a victimless crime - in that the customers know what they are doing, know its bad for them, but do it anyway.

David Koon goes web-surfing

Our resident media critic/reporter/movie reviewer David Koon occasionally stumbles into some interesting websites that are worth wasting a few minutes of your time.

Jesus Camp or religious boot camp?

I saw the movie "Jesus Camp" the other day. It was disturbing.

The Mind of Matt: Sedona, Ariz., and copter rides

Matt Smith makes his way through Arizona: Sedona Arizona is about 130 miles north of Phoenix.

Follow the rules

Apologies to all our faithful readers for the inactivity today. It happens that we sometimes have real work to do.

Remember Lake View?

Lake View being the long-running case over constitutionality of public schools. This is the case thought settled until, following legislative default, the state Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of recalling its mandate and, after a report by special masters, ordering more work.

Clinton Center turns 2

The Clinton Presidential Center will offer free admission tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate its second anniversary, and the first 500 visitors will receive a coupon for a free collectible gift at the Clinton Museum Store.

John Daly joins in at the Hootie show

Our music aficiando who attended the Hootie and the Blowfish performance at the Junior League's Holiday House party at Alltel Arena  last night reports that Darius Rucker, the band's lead singer, gave way to John Daly for a brief period last night.

Just for Bond fanatics

Every trailer for all the Bond movies, even the "unofficial" Bond movies, during the past 44 years is here at the site, which we offer in honor of the opening of "Casino Royale."

The line is open

Maybe y'all can do better than I have.

The line is open

Maybe y'all can do better than I have.

Memory Awareness Day to be hosted by Memory Center

Memory Awareness Day will be hel Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.

Mr. Moses’ neighborhood (and Tucker’s too)

Maybe they’re sentimental souls whose warm memories of the bustling downtown of their youth drives their work today. Maybe they’re just well-connected homeys who saw a niche and capitalized on it. Or maybe they’re savvy civic-minded businessmen who saw a

Mike Ross, model Democrat

Mike Ross speaks with more clarity and confidence than before. Or maybe it's that I’m listening more respectfully.

Talking politics

One of our community journalists provides these notes from the America Votes conference Friday sponsored by the State Legislative Leaders Foundation and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

Don't ever say ...

... we always disagree with Gov. Mike Huckabee. We do don't here -- keeping the beer tax that pays for pre-school programs.

Don't ever say ...

... we always disagree with Gov. Mike Huckabee. We do don't here -- keeping the beer tax that pays for pre-school programs.

Our leader -- Mike Ross

Brummett looks upon U.S. Rep. Mike Ross and beholds very nearly the model of an Arkansas Democrat, the wondrous savior of the state for the Democratic Party.

High on this Hog

Darren McFadden is featured in today's New York Times, article by stringer Rainer Sabin. Former Auburn coach Pat Dye compares McFadden favorably to Bo Jackson.

Responding to comments

In response to Golden Globe predictions, amydancingfish writes, I can't believe that Annette Benning is not on that list for Running With Scissors.... seriously the most convincing crazy I've ever seen.

Will prejudice strike twice?

Anyone with any sense knows that Brokeback Mountain was the best film of 2005 and deserved the Oscar over Crash.  But we also know that because of the subject matter in Brokeback (oh no, watch out, here they come, gay cowboys!), it lost.

Lots of 007 on NPR

check it out.  David Edelstein, Kenneth Turan, Bob Mondello all weigh in.  Also the Harry Belefonte interview about the upcoming Bobby is there as well.

My favorite tree

  My picture doesn't do it justice.

My favorite tree

  My picture doesn't do it justice.

Another slow day

Another open line.

Just say no to gifts

Brummett saved for Sunday his commentary on Gov. Mike Huckabee's Gimmegate. 1) "Clinton did it, too," is not a sufficient excuse (though, goodness knows, it's a Republican favorite).

A lunch bucket agenda

Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now will hold a news conference Monday to announce a legislative agenda that Democrats would do well to consider as they assume power in Congress and continue rock-solid control of the Arkansas legislature.  Laugh, if you will. Acorn has been a key player in the leading the minimum wage revolution nationwide when congressional Republicans stymied further increases.

Bird watchers note

Rob Fisher of the Ecological Conservation Organization asks that I pass along to blog readers notice of an event of interest in LR Monday evening.

Eyes on the Democrats

Democrats will attempt to do something about ethics reform in Congress next year. But they are split on how far to go.

Sour notes

The Barber Group of Springdale, a high-profile developer in NW Ark., is stirring controversy in Nashville, Tenn., as part of a group seeking to redevelop a historic strip of country-flavored businesses near Ryman Auditorium to a high-rise hotel and condo project.

Gloatathon

TheNY Times is full of happy subjects for Democrats today. The sorry state of Karl Rove.

Electoral math

The LA Times ponders whether the mid-term election holds clues to chances for Democrats to advance in electoral college math in 2008.

But wait just a minute

Gov. Mike Huckabee's gentle gibe at U.S. Sen. John McCain -- that he can transfer federal money into a presidential exploratory committee -- has drawn a ton of blog attention.

Attn. Mike Ross

Frank Rich of NY Times today addresses a couple of growing myths useful to Republicans.

Get one for YOUR car

Simmy Kemmons, the Hempwallace poet laureate, nominates this bit of blank verse for the Old Man From Nantucket Prize for 2006:   JANUARY 2009

Henry the K

You supply the appropriate headline: Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a television interview broadcast Sunday.

Pop quiz

We frequently get questions from readers. We always try to answer the easy ones.

Catching up

I finally found some time to catch up on what I've missed.  I saw Casino Royale, A Good Year and Babel.

Wong Kar-Wai

Has a new film in the making - his first feature film in English.  My Blueberry Nights, starring Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, and David Strathairn.  Here's a story in the New York Times.

It's open

It's all yours. Like my junker car, rifled again last night as it sat on the street.

It's open

It's all yours. Like my junker car, rifled again last night as it sat on the street.

None dare call it scalping

Would you pay $275 for a Razorback football schedule, "custom-trimmed" to fit in your wallet?

Thanks John Brummett

For providing a little critical context on the re-ascension of Strom Thurmond's defender as Republican leader of the U.S. Senate.

The achievement gap

The achievement gap between white and minority students shows no sign of improvement nationwide. This is important to remember as debates about school change emerge in the 2007 legislative session.

The achievement gap

The achievement gap between white and minority students shows no sign of improvement nationwide. This is important to remember as debates about school change emerge in the 2007 legislative session.

Racial profiling

The Northwest edition of the Democrat-Gazette did an extensive bit of reporting that I didn't see in the LR paper (I now have seen it in Monday paper) on Rogers' Mayor Steve Womack's desire to target the Latino community for police enforcement.

'The Queen'

I caught the 7:15 screening of the The Queen last night at Market Street Cinema.   Helen Mirren is fantastic as is newcomer Michael Sheen.  The film, at a modest 97 minutes, is too short.  I wanted to see more.

'Dreamgirls' on Oprah

The entire cast is on Oprah today.  Check it out.

Chat with Maggie Gyllenhaal

The LA Times is hosting an online chat with BSR IT girl Maggie Gyllenhaal today at 6:00 CST.  Here's the link.

Interview with Alfonso Cuaron

with Jeffery Wells of hollywood-elsewhere.com.  Cuaron is the director of the upcoming Children of Men.  You will remember Cuaron from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban an Y Tu Mama Tambien.

'Bobby'

David Denby, the less-skillful of the two New Yorker film critics weighs in on Bobby in this week's issue.  I have not seen the film, rumored to arrive here on Thanksgiving, but this review bugged me.  Denby writes, . . .

'The History Boys'

early reviews are excellent. David Edelstein, NY Magazine It's going to be impossible for me to write about the film of Alan Bennett's elegiac yet rambunctious schoolboy drama The History Boys without (a) burbling about the power of the arts (and their teachers) to enliven our coarse and dreary existence and (b) falling into wishful British cadences.

Memo to David Denby: A.O. Scott gets it

from his review of Bobby in the New York Times, . . . Nonetheless the ambition behind “Bobby” is large and serious.

Another good review for 'Come Early Morning'

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly As Lucy, who likes her Coors Light and her men but slinks away after drunken one-night stands as if she were a man, Ashley Judd (pictured) gives a performance in Come Early Morning that’s a full-on study of pride and pleasure built around a core of distress.

College CEOs -- UPDATE

The New York Times and others today are reporting on a new survey of college president pay by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The man in the middle

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor offers a statement today on "bipartisanship and progress." He'll be interesting to watch as we're now in his election cycle, albeit the very early part of it.

Too sleazy even for Murdoch

The News Corp. has decided, in the face of public outcry, to scrap O.J. Simpson's book and TV special.

Conflicts in city service

City Attorney Tom Carpenter has finally issued the opinion sought preceding the election concerning Mark Stodola's coming service as mayor if his law firm continued to hold the contract to represent the Airport Commission.

Surgery for Mrs. Huckabee

First Lady Janet Huckabee is in the hospital, recovering from surgery to both knees for treatment of osteoarthritis.

Getting ready to run?

Is Mike Huckabee using Miss. Gov. Haley Barbour to help raise a little money tonight at a secret soiree at the Courtyard by Marriott in the River Market. That's what a confidential information claims.

Free speech for bloggers

Thanks to Cato for an important California Supreme Court decision that reiterates libel immunity for bloggers and Internet forum users.

Today’s thanks, tomorrow’s wisdom

In honor of the week’s holiday, and to help get us in the mood for something beyond gluttony and football, I’ll relate a few of the things — people, mostly — for which and whom I am thankful.

Call us the doobie bros.

Arkansans favor reduced penalties on marijuana use, poll says. Just the same.

Good news

John Brummett puts politics and grumps aside to give thanks this week, including a touching update on his mentoring work with an elementary student.

Science and religion

The subject stirs high interest here. So I heartily recommend an article in the NY Times today on the subject.

NY Times, LA Times applaud 'The History Boys'

Stephen Holden writes, . . . Transferred to the screen with its language intact, “The History Boys” inevitably feels less like a movie than like an academic vaudeville show.

'Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix'

Here's the teaser trailer. 

What's in your queue?

I've got Wordplay, An Inconvenient Truth and A Place in the Sun.  You?

In the name of wildlife

An announcement is scheduled today for creation of a new wildlife management area in Calhoun County, 16,000 acres known as the Moro Big Pine project.

The Mind of Matt: Running with the Coyotes

Matt Smith's Arizona sojourn continues: After three hours in a helicopter above the desert and two hours in a jeep through the desert, it’s time to cool down.

Urban critters

Speaking of wildlife: I'm in need of some wildlife advice. I've discovered a huge hole in a flower bed up against the foundation of my house.

Urban critters

Speaking of wildlife: I'm in need of some wildlife advice. I've discovered a huge hole in a flower bed up against the foundation of my house.

J.R. and Henry's Sports Column: The BCS stinks

J.R. and Henry: The BCS stinks. You know it’s bad when it takes a trick play to beat Mississippi State.

Would you treat an animal this way?

A friend who works to end the use of corporal punishment in public schools sends us this link to a story about a paddling of a 12-year-old boy in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Ark., where they still believe in and practice corporal punishment.

UALR law prof's evaluations in news

The Washington (D.C.) Examiner yesterday published excerpts from student evaluations of UALR Law School professor Robert Steinbuch.

How you livin on Thanksgivin?

Odds and ends on this Thanksgiving week: Riverdale 10 Cinema will be showing Polar Express all day, Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, for FREE!  Now Mr. Ricky does not yet have the pleasure of little Rickys and Rickelettes pitter-pattering around the hizzie, but if he did, he would take them.  See their website by clicking the logo above.

Doubletalk express

Since Arkansas seems likely to have a candidate in the race for president in 2008, it's worth noting developments from time to time.

The blue pencil deletes ...

... and then moves on. You perhaps noticed the story in today's Democrat-Gazette about the death of Alabama teens in a school bus accident.

The blue pencil deletes ...

... and then moves on. You perhaps noticed the story in today's Democrat-Gazette about the death of Alabama teens in a school bus accident.

Sadness

Robert Altman died last night in Los Angeles.  He was 81.  Altman was a brilliant director with a filmography as grand as any.  Pay tribute and watch one of his films tonight.  Your comments about his career, films, especially your favorites, are welcomed.  I adored his work.  Here's a story from the New York Times.BSR Robert Altman Top 101.  The Player2.  Gosford Park3.  M*A*S*H4.  Nashville5.  A Prairie Home Companion6.  Tanner '88/Tanner on Tanner7.  The Company8.  Short Cuts9.  McCabe and Mrs. Miller10.

Airport Commission defers action -- UPDATE

The Little Rock Airport Commission deferred action today on replacing Mark Stodola's law firm, Catlett and Stodola, as the airport's counsel since Stodola is soon to take office as Little Rock mayor.

The "N" Word

Well, by now, everyone is aware of the Michael Richards' (Kramer on Seinfeld) tirade of racial insensitivity the other night at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.

Robert Altman

Here's a lot more about the remarkable life of this director seen above on the set of Gosford Park, the film I watched with my moviegoing friend last night.

1957: A press watershed

There is, naturally, an Arkansas angle in a new book, "The Race Beat," by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff, that reviews press coverage of the civil rights struggle.

'We're screwed'

That's New York Bill's two-word summary of Maureen Dowd's column today that really neatly sums up the fine mess George Bush has gotten us into in Iraq.

'We're screwed'

That's New York Bill's two-word summary of Maureen Dowd's column today that really neatly sums up the fine mess George Bush has gotten us into in Iraq.

Memories are made of this

Thanksgiving week is upon us and I had to skip out early yesterday to get family at the airport.

Game and Fish money -- UPDATE

Sen. Steve Faris asked for an attorney general's opinion on whether proceeds of mineral exploration on Game and Fish Commission land belongs exclusively to the constitutional agency or if the state may benefit generally.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellows

Gov.-elect Mike Beebe has announced four existing state agency heads have made the cut so far for his administration -- Richard Weiss at DFA, Ken James at Education, Artee Willliams at Workforce Services and State Police Director Steve Dozier.

Majestic Hotel sold

We told you a while back that a deal was cooking to sell the historic Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs for a residental and commercial conversiion project.

New judges

Gov. Mike Huckabee got to pass out some goodies today – appointments to judicial vacancies.

Sewer impact

Clayton Johnson, president of the Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods, delivered a message to the Little Rock Board of Directors yesterday that's worth reading.

Campaign 2008

Yep, loose lips and sticky fingers could cause a would-be presidential candidate a spot of bother.

Blues great Robert Lockwood Jr. dies

Stephen Koch, the host of KUAR's "Arkansongs" and occasional columnist and contributor to the Times, passes along this news of the passing of Arkansas native Robert Lockwood Jr., a regular performer at the annual Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival (formerly King Biscuit) at Helena and one of the last surviving roots bluesman.

Who won the election?

Media Matters tries, but likely won't succeed, to debunk the Republican-fed narrative on the Democratic takeover of Congress.

J.R. and Henry Sports Column: Hogs vs. LSU

J.R. and Henry: Beat LSU for the BCS With a trip to Atlanta and the SEC Championship game already sewed up, this Friday’s game against LSU is about putting an exclamation point on a season that has already exceeded most everyone’s wildest dreams.

The 'L' word

The word is employed. Properly.

Center hosts Chloe’s Garden dedication

St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center recently held a dedication ceremony for Chloe’s Garden at the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center.

Eating disorder program at UAMS

An outpatient eating disorder treatment program is now available through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
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