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November 23, 2006

Vol 4 • No 45

Advice for the Republic Party

Amen to Ruth Marcus of Washington Post: If he wanted to, President Bush could change the tone in Washington with a single syllable: He could just say "ic."

Mike Huckabee: Fair or unfair?

The Texarkana Gazette editorializes on the complaint by former Texarkanan, Gov. Mike Huckabee, that it was unfair for media to report on his family's "wedding" registries (never mind the $7,500 worth of dishes purchased by a nonprofit charity established to improve the Governor's Mansion.)

The bossman's car

The Democrat-Gazette (not currently linkable) continues to dog the story about a sweetheart deal to give a city-purchased Chevy Malibu to outgoing Advertising and Promotion Commission director Barry Travis. The deal was financed by public money and contributions from people who did business with the commission.

Memories are made of this

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

Open line -- AND A WARNING

Time for chores. Franke's for the pies.

Thanks again

There’s a move on by liberals and Democrats and their heathen running dogs to take the Thanks out of Thanksgiving. They say it violates the rights of those who don’t believe there’s Anyone Out There for us to be grateful to. The annual holiday upraised ch

This Modern World

Parting thoughts

This column is kind of a difficult one for me, and I will tell you why at the end. I have written some things that I believe would make Arkansas a better and more prosperous state.

WM3 wedding

Mara Leveritt has reported on her website,, that Jason Baldwin, the youngest of the Arkansas inmates known as the West Memphis Three, has announced that he plans to be married in January. Baldwin, currently imprisoned at Tucker, is servin

The Observer

A bench on a street downtown — one of those nice new wood and wrought-iron numbers — had a sign fixed to it last week, giving figures on how many hungry people there are in the world

Guest writer: Betsey Wright

Ernest Dumas is on vacation this week. In his place, Betsey Wright offers some clemency advice for Gov.-elect Mike Beebe.

First man standing

Any bill that will cause more people to shoot each other more times will be endorsed by the National Rifle Association, because the legislation will generate more guns-and-ammo sales for the weapons manufacturers who uphold the NRA. Eventually there will

The week that was Nov. 15-21

It was a good week for ... The HOGS. The division champs in the SEC, with a win over Mississippi State, move to a climactic Little Rock showdown this week with the LSU Tigers.

Editorial cartoon

UCA's manifest destiny

University of Central Arkansas president Lu Hardin has explored more formal partnerships with Pulaski Technical College and the Arkansas Educational Television Network to enhance academic opportunities and expand his university’s reach.

Giving thanks

I generally avoid Thanksgiving-themed columns, but because of a coincidence of timing, it’s in order this week. First is a warm thanks to Bob McCord, who this week writes the last of almost 15 years of weekly columns for the Arkansas Times.

In poor taste

The idea of a “wedding gift registry” for someone who has been married since 1974 is in very poor taste.


What you get when you combine dogs and slots.

Last man standing

Starting in January, John Boozman will be the new top dog in the Arkansas Republican Party. Like the king of a desert island, the mild-mannered congressman from Northwest Arkansas inherits his new status mainly by surviving. But as the only Republican


Smart Talk

This week: Good marks for Huckabee, a good recipe and a good lawman remembered in Fort Smith.

Winging it to Stuttgart

The Bud Light World’s Best Duck Gumbo cook-off, which over 26 years has become one of the state’s biggest parties, will draw 48 competing teams and more than a thousand onlookers and gumbo tasters to Stuttgart on Saturday, Nov. 25.

An investor's opinion

When asked what legal changes distressed neighborhoods need, Paul Dodds submitted this essay Whose private property rights deserve more protection? Deadbeats’? Or their taxpaying neighbors’? Today, the deck is stacked for the deadbeats.

Happy Thanksgiving

For the time being, and it may be short, I appear to be in business.

Beebe's weakness

Brummett today eschews the I'm-thankful-for-format to do a little commentating on the transition of the coming Mike Beebe administration.

Thanksgiving movies

Taking it easy over the holiday?  Here are some Thanksgiving movies worth watching. Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Hannah and Her Sisters, Pieces of April, The Ice Storm, Scent of a Woman, and Home for the Holidays.

My Thanksgiving

Made a trip north yesterday to spend the evening with my grandfather and my 108-year-old great-grandmother.  Up early today to enjoy another Thanksgiving.    My day consists of the following: catch Bobby at 1:00, clean, catch a quarter of the Cowboys game, convince my sister to watch Hannah and Her Sisters, forget about the Razorbacks, at least until 7:00 a.m tomorrow, blog, send e-mail greetings to friends far away, avoid shopping, avoid the use of the word shopping, read The Lay of the Land, meet up with family for lots of good food, wish my baby sister a Happy Birthday!, she's 23, drink wine, and to be thankful for it all, both near (my family, my work, my friendships, the people I love, my good memories, my passions, and the ArkTimes guys who made this blog happen) and far (Vermont, that Woody Allen still makes movies, that Robert Altman made one last great one, that Richard Ford, Philip Roth, Zadie Smith, Colson Whitehead, Ian McEwan, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Michael Chabon, and John Banville still write; that Nadine Gordimer, Richard Yates, Andre Dubus, Eudora Welty and Walker Percy will always remain in print;  Michael Mann, Todd Field, Martin Scorsese, Terence Malick, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu, Ang Lee, Wes Anderson, and Spike Lee, the best in the film directing business; Patrick Marber, William Monhan, and Guillermo Arriaga for the sharpest scripts of 2006; and P. Martin, A.O. Scott, David Edelstein, Anthony Lane and Manohla Dargis for their criticism.)

Peter Travers raves about 'Dreamgirls'

Here's the first review released about this film from Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.

A barely open line

I can barely stay awake. But those of you who can, enjoy.

The Decider

Loyalty is a one-way street for Bush, Robert Novak writes in a column suggesting deep fissures in the Republic Party and castigating Bush for firing Donald Rumsfeld.

Paddling school kids

We heard an interesting interview on KUAR yesterday with the Murfreesboro school superintendent about the buttocks-bruising paddling of a 12-year-old there.

Short of heaven

Gabriel’s has variety in its menu and in the quality of its food, some of which is very good and some less so. Eating there can be a pleasant, if uneven, experience.


UALR retired professor Bill Wiggins’ first-rate collection of contemporary Native American art at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock hangs from floor to ceiling in Gallery I in the Fine Arts Center, a riotously overwhelming presentation.

The crisis around Central High

In 2003, Paul Dodds, a Harvard-trained attorney, came to Little Rock from Berlin. He had never been here before. He did not plan to stay. But today, Dodds, who one friend here describes as a “world citizen,” lives in the city’s core, in a house at 17

Dark on Skid Row

The mention of “skid row” brings to mind the famous black-and-white images of the “Bowery Bums” in endless bread lines amidst vast urban structures and smoky, filthy streets. But the phrase “skid row” can have very different connotations. For anyone who i

TV highlights, Nov. 23


Hootie plays hard

Darius Rucker and the gang proved they can still attract a sizable crowd and they keep them on their feet for two hours.

And they’re off

Three hundred and sixty four days out of the year, I hate crowds. I don’t go near Riverfest or the Fourth of July fireworks on the river. I need my elbow room. But set me loose on the day after Thanksgiving and I’m swimming upstream like a salmon on crack

Jazzing it up at Acoustic Sounds

Pianist Leslie Maclean got her start in Chicago, and her trio appeared in many of the Windy City’s top jazz clubs before she relocated the group to Branson, Mo. From there, they’ve played in St. Louis, Kansas City, Wichita and other Midwest stops.

Hamilton calls on another great friend

We’ve got so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend: family, friends, good health, lots of local entertainment to write about and those of you willing to read about it, and a magical Razorback football season, which for me and others has meant

From Russia, with toeshoes

Thanksgiving weekend means the annual return to Little Rock of the “Great Russian Nutcracker,” performed in traditional fashion by the Moscow Ballet and featuring local children in some roles, on Saturday, Nov. 25. Showtime is 2 p.m. at Robinson Center Mu

Bruce James Calls the Hogs, Nov. 23

I don’t have a great feeling about Arkansas winning the football game.

What's cooking/Capsule review, Nov. 23

What's cooking: Crew Restaurant and Bar, Blue Coast Burrito. Capsule review: Abe's Old Feedhouse.

Wanted: Trustworthy elections

We don't have them yet. There's Benton County -- four counts, four results.

He's everywhere

James Boulder, a regular contributor here, pops up on a 2008 presidential blog with a ringing defense of, who else, Gov. Mike Huckabee in Gimmegate.

Shopping or football?

I say football. On the other: I'm not sure I saw correctly, but I looked out my window before 7 a.m. this morning and it looked like people were walking into Office Depot.


Another open line. Too many obligations this week, not enough time.

Don't cry for appointees

Brummett reminds that it is the natural order of thing for new governors (and new presidents) to replace the heads of major administrative agencies.

The missing Republican base

Doug Thompson of Stephens Media offers another election analysis. Key point: The "business Republican" deserted Republican candidates for Democrats like Mike Beebe.

Hillary v. Huck

Thanks to The Raven for noting Survey USA's running polling on potential matchups in the 2008 presidential race.

Catching up

After an eventful three days of Thanksgiving, I am slowly recovering from too much food and a tough Razorback loss.  I saw Bobby on Thursday and I thought it was a very good film.  I'm off to see For Your Consideration today at noon and then I'll wind down with the Notre Dame - USC football game tonight.

USA Today's Oscar 8 Ball

Check out this story in USA Today about the Oscar race. 

'Marie Antionette'

Daniel Mendelsohn writes about this film in The New York Review of Books. 

LSU writer asks the big question of Nutt

Why try a pass on fourth-and-3 to a double-covered Marcus Monk, against a tiring LSU defense?

In the name of speech

The Clinton School of Public Service announced today a $500,000 gift from the Kumpuris family to support the school's lecture series.

Home schooling: the next phase

It's "unschooling." And they're doing it in Siloam Springs, according to NY Times.

Saturday night open line

And your thoughts are ... (Mine are that USC is pretty good.)

Ups and downs

Brummett fires his arrows today (up Beebe, down Huckabee for example.) That up arrow for Houston Dale was, of course, awarded earlier in the week.

Voting problems

The NY Times today highlights the reliability and accountability problems that persist in voting despite a massive infusion of federal money.

Two from the Times

One of my great luxuries is a subscription to the Sunday New York Times. Picking slowly through it is more convenient than searching the website, plus the web blocks some features to nonsubscribers.

The fabled 'Arkie Connection'?

You can't ever be too sure whether Sacha Baron Cohen's stuff is staged or real.

Garrison Keillor on Robert Altman

This is a must read for Altman fans. 

More and more

I saw For Your Consideration this weekend as well as Deja Vu.  While I enjoyed the latest from Christopher Guest, I didn't find the film nearly as funny or nearly as interesting as much of his previous work (A Mighty Wind excluded, perhaps).  I don't know what it was, because I expected the film to be very funny.  Maybe that was the problem.  Guest, himself playing a director of a very bad film with Oscar buzz is good and so is Catherine O'Hara, but the rest of the troupe doesn't seem to find it.  Too much time is spent acting out this terrible movie (first titled Home for Purim and later re-written as Home for Thanksgiving so as to appeal to mainstream Oscar voters) and not enough time is spent in the doucmentary-styled testimonials which have made Guest's films so funny in the past.  Don't count out O'Hara for a best supporting nod, but don't necessarily count her in either.

The name game

The Arkansas Leader recently noted a classy act by a public servant who declined having a facility named in his behalf -- though he richly deserves accolades for his work.

Shut up

Some sound advice from Brummett for Michael Richards. I saw another clip of Richards last night, maybe from the Jesse Jackson show.

In our blog world

Have you checked the Arkansas Times blog family lately? You should.

Why we love Barney Frank

He takes no guff from the Republican shills on Fox News.

Morning has broken

"Come Early Morning," the Joey Lauren Adams movie filmed in Arkansas (starring Ashley Judd), is finally set to open here.

'I've suffered enough'

A great story this week in Arkansas Business on yet another white-collar criminal (like superthief Tom Coughlin) who seems to think he's suffered enough merely because he got caught embezzling big bucks from his employer.

Blue in the 'burbs

I'm not sure this trend holds true in Arkansas, but USA Today reports on national figures that indicate Republicans have lost their stranglehold on suburban voters.

JR and Henry: Poor coaching plagues Razorbacks

Poor coaching, yet again. Arkansas has failed yet again to win the big game.

Chicken-hearted regulators

Driving out Highway 10 the other night, I remarked to somebody that it was impossible to believe that the strip was part of an "overlay" district that  was supposed to provide for compatible, planned growth.

Girls gone wild

The Bush twins are asked to leave Argentina.

Good news on the voucher front

Bad news, as our correspondent puts it, for "UA tools." WASHINGTON - November 27 - Americans United for Separation of Church and State today applauded the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal of a case from Maine that sought to force local education officials to provide tax support for private religious schools.

Gold-plated library -- UPDATE

You thought $200 million was a lot for the Clinton Library in Little Rock? How about a half-a-BILLION bucks for the Bush library in Dallas.

Rapid response team moves into action at WRMC

Washington Regional’s T-REX (Team Response to Extremes) rapid response team is all about identifying potential patient problems before they become problems.

The Mind of Matt: Crue in Arizona

Now, we know the truth: Matt Smith wasn't just traipsing around Arizona for the dry air, the NHL and the woeful football Cardinals.

Game and Fish complains

Stephens Media, rooting through court filings, notes that the Game and Fish Commission is seeking the same autonomy over pay of its employees that the Highway and Transportation Department enjoys.

The Wal-Mart rule

Jim Holt's announcement that he plans to lobby the legislature next year prompts Brummett to remember that the outgoing senator once had a good idea.

The disaster in Iraq

The administration doesn't want to call it civil war. Now NBC and the LA Times do, as a matter of policy.

Phony tickets

Interesting article in today's Democrat-Gazette about a spate of counterfeit ticket sales to the LSU-Arkansas game.

Tough call

Should the state Supreme Court call an end to the Lake View case or should it keep it open for a special masters' report after the coming legislative session?

The 'cowards' were right -- UPDATE

Remember when the Bush administration wanted you to believe that everything was rosy in Iraq; that the problem was wimpy journalists hunkering in the Green Zone and refusing to tell the "real" story?

Jesse Jackson in town

Rev. Jackson will speak at the Statehouse Convention Center at 11 a.m. Thursday in an event sponsored by the Clinton School of Public Service and Philander Smith College.

Today is Election Day

The 2006 Arkansas elections are not finished yet. Runoffs are taking place in contests around the state.

Longtime Lincoln aide switches roles

Steve Patterson, who has been U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's chief of staff for almost eight years (first in her Washington, D.C. office, and now in Little Rock), today announced he is leaving her Senate office on Dec. 31 to be manager and treasurer of her political action committee, Leadership in the New Century (LINC).

The Christian agenda

A reader comments "wow" in providing this link and it does leave one speechless. With war over, the sick healed, the hungry fed, the poor clothed, and justice rolling down on us all like a mighty river, there are but two remaining problems left for Christians to combat:

Again: study impact fees

The Little Rock City Board will take up a sewer rate increase tonight. It likely will be approved.

Hoga: anchors aweigh

The Hoga, the World War II veteran Navy tug, began its journey today to a museum berth in North Little Rock, where it will be fleetmate to the sub Razorback.

Huckabee names DeLay prosecuting attorney

Gov. Mike Huckabee today appointed Gunner DeLay to be prosecuting attorney in Sebastian County. DeLay will fill the 12th Judicial District seat recently vacated by Stephen Tabor, who will serve out the unexpired term of Sebastian County Circuit Judge Jim Marchewski.

Huckabee names DeLay prosecuting attorney

Gov. Mike Huckabee today appointed Gunner DeLay to be prosecuting attorney in Sebastian County. DeLay will fill the 12th Judicial District seat recently vacated by Stephen Tabor, who will serve out the unexpired term of Sebastian County Circuit Judge Jim Marchewski.

Happy days are here again

What would Huey Long say if he could read about the Mike Beebe inaugural. Every man might be a king, but only those with cash will get near the crown.

Pay raise time

The Little Rock Board tonight spent more than an hour in special session evaluating City Manager Bruce Moore and City Attorney Tom Carpenter.

JP election

Available returns put Allen Kerr, the Republican, ahead of Democratic incumbent Kathy Lewison (178-127) in the race for JP District 3 from western LR.  I'm not sure I can sweat this one in, but that could be a final tally. Final tally: Kerr 920, Lewison 779.

Broyles Award finalists include UA's Herring

Reggie Herring, Arkansas's defensive coordinator, is one of the five finalists for the Broyles Award, given each year to the nation's top assistant football coach.

Broyles Award finalists include UA's Herring

Reggie Herring, Arkansas's defensive coordinator, is one of the five finalists for the Broyles Award, given each year to the nation's top assistant football coach.

Here comes the judge

Yes, Gunner DeLay confirms, he hopes to use his appointment as prosecutor for the next two years to catapult him to a judgeship.

Too much of a good thing

Economist and a banker discuss the oversupply of high-end houses in Northwest Arkansas. Continued growth in the region should work out the surplus in time, they say.

The DVD edges toward extinction

Wal-Mart plans to get into selling movie downloads. And sort of related: YouTube is coming to cell phones on a limited basis..

Independent Spirit Award Nominations

Apologies.  I was away yesterday. 2007 INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS

The last king of Brinkley

The Hill picks up on Congo's reported hiring of the head-banging, tall-talking, check-kiting, toga party-crashing, fist-throwing, dead-beating, check-bouncing , inmate-chaining Tommy Robinson as a lobbyist.

Mark your calendar for Friday

You'll find full details in our print edition, but we thought we'd issue a reminder of a concert worth attending Friday night.

Handicapping 2008

Charlie Cook, a respected national analyst, does some early forecasting on the race for the Republican presidential nomination, giving most of his attention to Giuliani, McCain and Romney.

He builds an A-bomb; we bust his iPod

In retaliation for his building atom bombs, the U.S. kicks the North Korean tyrant in the cojones.

GOP finger-pointing

An article in The Hill highlights Republican bickering about whether national organizations, such as the Republican Governors Association, did enough to help candidates for governor in red states (meaning red presidentially) such as Arkansas.

Happy Days Are Here Again II

Simmer down, populists. Those prices we listed yesterday for "sponsorships" at the Mike Beebe inaugural ball were just for "sponsorships."

The field is clear for Huckabee

Sen. Bill Frist announced today he wouldn't seek the presidency in 2008. A midday report by Republican sympathizer Mara Liasson on NPR said this left the Republican Party without a Southern candidate or one friendly with the Religious Right.

Poor Snoop: Perform on Leno, get arrested

Just musing here: This is weird, seeing Snoop Dogg on Leno last night at the guest performer, the reading today that he was arrested outside the studio after the show for various law infractions.

Poor Snoop: Perform on Leno, get arrested

Just musing here: This is weird, seeing Snoop Dogg on Leno last night at the guest performer, the reading today that he was arrested outside the studio after the show for various law infractions.

Stephanopoulos speech delayed

News release: The Clinton School program featuring George Stephanopoulos has been moved from Tuesday, December 5 to Monday, December 11 at 12:30 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Saliva coming on Dec. 14

Hadn't heard about this until today when the PR firm called about Saliva, but the great Memphis power rock group will be playing the Clear Channel Metroplex on Thursday, Dec. 14.

Boxing champion Jermain Taylor to promote UAMS-UALR Stuttering Clinic

World middleweight boxing champion Jermain Taylor will visit the UAMS/ UALR Stuttering Clinic to encourage patients by speaking about his own fight against stuttering.