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December 7, 2006

Vol 4 • No 47

Sobering up

Northwest Arkansas has grown faster than anyone could have anticipated. Sleepy pastureland overnight became subdivisions, office parks and strip malls. Now, the hangover from the big party has set in. Despite a steady population increase of about 1,100 people a month, there’s a serious oversupply of residential and commercial property.

Sobering up

Northwest Arkansas has grown faster than anyone could have anticipated. Sleepy pastureland overnight became subdivisions, office parks and strip malls. Now, the hangover from the big party has set in. Despite a steady population increase of about 1,100 people a month, there’s a serious oversupply of residential and commercial property.

'In pursuit of hot women, hard living and insane fame'

The headline is taken from the NY Times and its review on a new MTV  reality show, "Twentyfourseven." It's about a crew of guys, pictured in MTV photo, trying to make it in Hollywood.

Notes from the Northwest

This lecture announcement popped into our in-box just now: Mike Masterson will discuss the commercializing of Christmas at 7 p.m.

The week that was Nov. 29-Dec. 5

It was a good week for … PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Burned before by a foot-dragging legislature, the Arkansas Supreme Court voted 5-2 to consider a report on school progress after the legislature meets in 2007, rather than dismiss the school finance case now.

Orval

Mike Beebe, lone populist

I’m trying to get a handle on how Mike Beebe, champion of the business establishment and a budgeting pragmatist nonpareil, came to be the brave lone champion of taking the regressive sales tax off working people’s groceries. Here’s what I think happe

High living

You’ll notice in the real estate transactions list in our classified section that sales are closing on 300 Third, the Moses-Tucker high-rise condo nearing completion at Third and Cumberland. Campbell Ranch LLC scores the top sale, $2.4 million, this week

Words

What would Grisly Adams say?

Court needs a report

If the justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court were half as power hungry as the governor, his successor and a few legislative leaders say they are, this state would be a far better place. Its schools, anyway, would be doing a better job of serving th

Ask Assmunch

Q. Uh, Assmunch, what do you want for Christmas? I was fixing to bring you some deer meat but it went bad on me and I was about to just throw it out when Grover told me his bunch wouldn’t mind those little crawling things as long as he cooked it well done

Smart Talk

This week: A prize winning photograph and news of the Searcy-born large lesbian rocker who's a hit in England.

The Observer

It was quite a T-day at the old homestead off Mack Street in White Hall (The Observer’s correspondent writes). “What in the heck happened to the old junior high? All those ramps where I used to do my death-defying stunts on my Honda Spree are gone ..

Nog-Off and running

Bill Worthen, director of the Historic Arkansas Museum, says his family recipe for eggnog did not win last year’s First Ever Nog-Off competition at the museum. But he’s trying again at this Friday’s “Second Ever Nog-Off.”

A little kindness, please

Some say the Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation has no heart. We’re not prepared to concede the point. No, we continue to hope that the Bureau will relent, abandon its previously unyielding opposition, and allow the Arkansas legislature to enact a meani

Dangerous wildlife

My family and I have enjoyed camping in Arkansas and places west for over 20 years. For many campers, a main draw is encountering wildlife: we’ve been fortunate to see armadillo, big horn sheep, bison, black bears, a bobcat, deer, elk, moose, mountain lio

The fun begins

Legislators have begun “pre-filing” bills for the 2007 legislative session. It’s the usual mix of trivia, attention-grabbing and even the occasional important piece of legislation. The really tricky stuff generally gets slipped in later in the s

No petunia paintings

By April 1, Santa Fe art collector and former Little Rock investment adviser Sandy Besser says, he’ll have collected 500 pieces of significant contemporary art for inclusion in the Art Across Arkansas program of the William J. Clinton and Thea foundations

Mike Gauldin

Too much information

Mass marketing techniques are finding their way into the hands of political strategists, who are applying them to voter identification and outreach. While that sounds logical and inevitable, it has consequences that already are altering our democracy in f

This Modern World

‘Race Beat’ reporters get their due

Nutcracker: A holiday tradition

Guest dancers from throughout the U.S., local dancers and musicians from the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will help Ballet Arkansas put on the holiday favorite “The Nutcracker” this weekend at Robinson Center Music Hall.

Rogers’ peak came in final years

If Will Rogers means anything to you, and he should, you’ll want to get hold of “The Papers of Will Rogers: Volume 5, The Final Years.”

Green school bus

Though you might think of aerodynamic little econocars when the term “hybrid” is mentioned, an Arkansas company will soon be bringing a much bigger gas/electric vehicle to the market — and to a bus stop near you. IC Corporation (formerly Ward Bus Co

What we’re reading, Dec. 7

Here are the top 10 bestsellers from three local bookstores. Data is most recent available.

What’s Happening in December

Book readings, signings and other events.

The economy

Despite still-rosy state revenue, Brummett envisions a coming slowdown for Arkansas. And thinks it might be good in a way for a legislature addicted to pork barrel spending.

Working man blues

When a cop shot in the line of duty and left with bullet fragments in his leg can't win a claim for benefits from the state Workers Comp Commission, do you think it might mean the system is a little out of balance?

Inspirational speaker

Pearl Harbor Day will be noted at the Clinton School of Public Service today with a program at 10:30 a.m. this morning featuring a conversation with the oldest living Arkansas -- Ruth Lincoln, 109.

Chickenbleep

We linked Harry King's column yesterday about "Year of the Dog," a book on the Springdale High championship football season by Kurt Voigt, an editor for the Morning News of Northwest Arkansas.

Taking another look at the NBR Top 10

Perhaps I am the only one, but I am quite surprised that "Letters from Iwo Jima" was selected as the Best Film by the National Board of Review yesterday.  Buzz has been growing for this film since Clint's "Flags of Our Fathers" tanked at the box office (although "Flags" made the NBR Top 10).  The studio instantly began a strong whisper campaign that "Letters" was the better film anyway.  Maybe they're actually right.  Still, I thought the release of the film in 2006 as opposed to the intended 2007 was so transparent.  What, Clint can't deal with one of his movies actually being skipped over come awards time?  He's not that far removed from his pitiful string of films from 1993 - 2002 which included: "Blood Work," "Space Cowboys," "True Crime," "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," "Absolute Power," "The Bridges of Madison County," and "A Perfect World," which were all made consecutively after the great "Unforgiven".  I already noted my surprise that "Dreamgirls" and "The Queen" were omitted.  "Dreamgirls" because it seems to be a better film than "Chicago" and "Moulin Rouge," and both of those films made previous NBR Top Ten's.  "The Queen" because it meets all of the perceived NBR criteria: dialogue-driven, political, damn good.   It shouldn't have much impact on either one as the awards season continues.  If both slip off the radar of some of the key critics groups, then we can start talking.

What's next for Cate Blanchett

the Oscar-winning actress and star of "Babel," "The Good German," and "Notes on a Scandal" talks to The Guardian about her upcoming plans (roles in the sequel to "Elizabeth," and the Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There") and her soon-to-be three year sabattical from film to serve as co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company with her husband screenwriter Andrew Upton. 

Friday

    

Oxford American's 'Come Early Morning' benefit

From the OA website The editors at The Oxford American are proud to announce that we've teamed up with Arkansas filmmaker Joey Lauren Adams's for the premiere of her film, Come Early Morning, which will make its statewide debut on December 14th as part of a fundraiser for The Oxford American Literary Project.

2nd Friday Art Night launches "Reel Evenings"

The folks who put on 2nd Friday Art Night have launched "Reel Evenings" a film series focusing on art in film.  They put together an eclectic line-up.  If you remember, I'll be doing the intro for "Vincent and Theo" in December 2007.  Until then, check out these fine films at CALS at 8:00.  It's FREE!

Credit where due

Yes, Gov. Mike Huckabee has redeeming qualities. An illustration yesterday was his continued refusal to demagogue immigrants and to urge brotherly treatment of the Hispanic influx.

J. B. Hunt dies

The J.B. Hunt trucking company has announced the death of founder J.B. Hunt, who has been hospitalized since a fall.

To Do Thursday: River City Men's Chorus' "Holiday"

The good news for seasonal music fans in Little Rock is that David Glaze and his River City Men's Chorus expanded their "Holiday" show held every December to THREE performances, all free, and the last one is tonight at 7 at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Jim Harris: on guard!

             G.D. Spradlin         vs      Chelcie RossArk Times Entertainment Editor Jim Harris and I got into a spirited discussion about the stronger actor between these two.  Spradlin is best known for playing Senator Pat Geary in "The Godfather Part II".  Ross is known for so roles such as Dan Devine in "Rudy, Eddie Harris in "Major League," and George in "Hoosiers."

University Mall plans

I had a pleasant chat today with two representatives of Simon Property Group, in town to unveil a concept for redevelopment of University Mall, which Simon manages under a ground lease with 20 years to run.

Poor Jermain

One of our sources was out on a Markham Street stroll this afternoon, coinciding with the time Jermain Taylor was having a news conference at the Peabody Hotel.

Get down!

The Republican Party is distributing this invite to the after-party following Gov. Mike Huckabee's Dec. 16 presidential exploratory effort fund-raiser.

JT on ESPN2'S "Quite Frankly" tonight

Generally, I wouldn't listen to Stephen A. Smith if he were standing outside our building, but I think I might catch his "Quite Frankly" show on ESPN2 tonight when he interviews Arkansas boxing star.

Art: Thursday: Leading local artists for the holidays

Our art source tells us that T. Lamarr store in West Little Rock will be holding a Fine Art Holiday Small Work show today from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  The show will feature smaller-sized works by such Arkansas artists as Arden Boyce, Ashley Saer, Virginia McKimmey, Robyn Horn, Andy Reed and Kurt Meer.

Too sexy for Wal-Mart -- UPDATE

That brand-new ad agency that Wal-Mart brought in? Or we should say was brought in by the suddenly-departed top ad exec at Wal-Mart Julie Roehm?

Open line

OK. It's open line Thursday. But here's an idea, inspired by Keith Olbermann tonight, who said George Clooney had listed Keith's show and the Daily Show as the shows he always Tivo'ed.

Will Santa Sue?

Santa Sacked for Being Naughty, Not Nice(AP) - LONDON-The famous British department store Harrods said Wednesday it had fired a Santa Claus who made "inappropriate" comments to adult visitors.Harrods said it was able to identify the rude Santa - known in Britain as Father Christmas - and terminated his seasonal contract.J2 Global Ad Banner"There is no excuse for causing any level of complaint amongst our customers, and even if the remarks were made in good humor, we cannot condone behavior that offends our customers," Harrods said in a statement."It's also very sad that these incidents may ruin the enchantment of the grotto for our younger customers who still hold dear the fantasy that there is only one Father Christmas."

Who will have the last laugh?

I love reading about high-profile, bonehead lawsuit. Here is a great one.

Growl power; Reese reaches; Hold holds

Cheetah Girls left tween-agers screaming for more; Della Reese inspires; Hold Steady not average indies.

Crew shows off a hustling team

We can’t remember EVER getting better service than we received at the new Crew Restaurant and Bar in the Pleasant Ridge Towne Center on Highway 10.

Cat’s-eye cuff links

This week I’ll share the results of a gift-scouting trip through the Heights, Hillcrest and Riverdale. (Next time around I’ll hit the west side — saving gas and all.) First stop: Soho Modern.

'Shut Up' stands up

In 2003, the Dixie Chicks managed to stumble into the red, white and blue quagmire of nationlism; this documentary of their struggle will inspire those who love freedom of speech.

What's cooking/Capsule reviews, Dec. 7

What's cooking: Blue Agave, Rumba Capsule reviews: Crew, Ameca de Canaveral

TV highlights, Dec. 7

BACKSTORY: MIRACLE ON 34th STREET; FRONTLINE: IS WAL-MART GOOD FOR AMERICA? MYTHBUSTERS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

Monarchs, viceroys and regal moths

As Carl Hunter is to Arkansas wildflowers, Lori Spencer is to Arkansas’s Lepidoptera, and then some.

Russian reeds

The Little Rock Wind Symphony presents “A Russian Christmas” on Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Second Presbyterian Church, 600 Pleasant Valley Drive.

Black Sheep returns

Hip-hop masters Black Sheep bring their modern version of their jazz-influenced sound to the Revolution Room on Wednesday.

Adams coming home; Israel get big break

Joey Lauren Adams told us Monday she’s still in the process of lining up all the details for a local premiere of her film, “Come Early Morning,” starring Ashley Judd, but as we were writing this it seemed the devil was in those details.

Near perfect 'King'; 'Daughter' hard to raise

Lush and lavish, the Rep’s “The King and I” is a fantastic holiday play. "American Daughter," however, has aged a bit and the Weekend Theater crew may not have been completely prepared to take it on just yet.

A knockout PARTY

Jermain Taylor has wanted to fight before his hometown fans since winning all four versions of the middleweight championship of the world from Bernard Hopkins 17 months ago. Now he gets to, at Alltel Arena on Saturday.

Ka-ching

The slot machines -- excuse me, electronic games of skill -- at Southland and Oaklawn are a big hit, Stephens Media reports. I was particularly interested to read that Oaklawn has 130 machines jingling, because the last time Eric Jackson was quoted in the Democrat-Gazette (Aug. 30) on the subject he said he didn't expect to add the machines to the track until after the 2007 live horse racing season.

No preaching

Interesting lawsuit in Fayetteville. Person sentenced to a 12-step program for drug abuse as a result of a criminal case claims the program has a religious component, including required prayer, and says that amounts to unconstitutional government mandated religion.

Voting news: three cheers

From the NY Times: By the 2008 presidential election, voters around the country are likely to see sweeping changes in how they cast their ballots and how those ballots are counted, including an end to the use of most electronic voting machines without a paper trail, federal voting officials and legislators say.

No Costco

The Democrat-Gazette's article this morning about the Simon Property Group proposal to raze University Mall and build a mixed-use project mentioned Costco as a possible anchor tenant.

No Costco

The Democrat-Gazette's article this morning about the Simon Property Group proposal to raze University Mall and build a mixed-use project mentioned Costco as a possible anchor tenant.

2008 polling

Two polls have the preferred nominees as Clinton and Giuliani (though both are well below majority preference.)

She's got game

The NY Daily News, in town for the Jermain Taylor title bout, has a colorful account of yesterday's pre-fight hoopla, including a nod to Taylor fan Janet Huckabee (file photo).

In praise of courage

Paul Krugman today, inspired by Walter Pincus' Washington Post story, looks back at many of the people who got it right in questioning the war in Iraq.

UPDATED: The concept for University Mall

Here's the concept drawing released today by Simon Property for its proposal to raze University Mall and redevelop it for mixed use, including perhaps a Target, offices, restaurants and residential high-rises.

UPDATED: The concept for University Mall

Here's the concept drawing released today by Simon Property for its proposal to raze University Mall and redevelop it for mixed use, including perhaps a Target, offices, restaurants and residential high-rises.

Who needs Florida or California?

The myth of a Disney-style theme park in the Ozarks has floated around Arkansas for years.

UPDATED: Tis better to ...

... receive if you're a certain someone. Gov. Mike Huckabee is a gift to political writers that just keeps on giving.

UPDATED: Tis better to ...

... receive if you're a certain someone. Gov. Mike Huckabee is a gift to political writers that just keeps on giving.

Five more Beebe keepers

These state agency heads will stay -- Dr. John Ahlen, president of the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority; Claire Bailey, director of the Department of Information Systems; Jessica Caldwell, executive director of the Arkansas Transitional Employment Board; Richard Davies, executive director of Parks and Tourism; and Randy Young, executive director of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission News release on jump.

Forbidden Fruits

So this friend of mine is totally in love with this woman, who is in a long term relationship with someone else who she loves, etc. and he is still holding out hope that she'll come to her senses and fall for him instead.  What do I tell him: "Don't be trashy, that's trashy, you're above trashy."  Because intentionally breaking couples up to get a person you think will love you back is insane.  If they wanted you, they wouldn't be dating that other person, hello.  And I refuse to interpret anymore innocent messages, "What do you think, "see you tonight at Dan's house means?"  That we are all going over there tonight for a party to which she'll be bringing her boyfriend of five years... no it is not an invitation for a tryst...

What the critics are saying

The HolidayEvery holiday season, a feel-good movie comes along that is just a bit warmer, more romantic and intelligent than the others.  Last year, it was the wise, incandescent and criminally underrated The Family Stone.  This December, it’s The Holiday, a movie so loaded with charm that it makes you glow all over and puts a smile in your heart.

Upcoming votes

The Los Angeles Film Critcs Circle votes on Sunday.  On Monday, the New York Film Critics Circle weighs in.

Robert DeNiro

talks to Time Magazine about his upcoming film "The Good Shepherd."

Tis the season for Theater!

Pagans on Bobsleds XV: The Snowman Cometh!Easy Street Cabaret307 W 7th Streetr, downtown Little RockDecember 11-16 at 8:00PM 501-372-3530 for more information Everyone's favorite Cephalopodan Sketch Comedy Troupe is celebrating fifteen years of Holiday Funniness with it’s new show at the Easy Street Cabaret Room.  Red Octopus continues with long time holiday favorites like Mr. Santa and promises to keep everyone jolly as old St. Nick.  Adult language, situations, subject matter and just about everything else.

An open line

Plenty of news coming in tomorrow's papers. The Foley study may not have produced formal charges , but it found negligence, coverup and plenty of evidence that people who said they had no idea had an idea about his suspicious conduct with pages.

An open line

Plenty of news coming in tomorrow's papers. The Foley study may not have produced formal charges , but it found negligence, coverup and plenty of evidence that people who said they had no idea had an idea about his suspicious conduct with pages.

Fair's fair

I finally found a blog with a report on the subscriber-only National Journal's insider polls on presidential prospects.

Republicans elect a chairman -- UPDATE

Brummett muses on some of the contradictions that attend the Republican Party's likely re-election Saturday of Sen. Gil Baker to another term as state party chairman.

UAMS breaking 'protein code'

Molecular biologists at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) recently uncovered some of the first evidence for proteins that can read and write a “protein code,” providing a possible pathway to new treatments for diseases such as cancer

UAMS Head Start Preschool Carolers sing in downtown offices

Preschool students enrolled in the Head Start program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) will entertain employees and visitors at two downtown office buildings with Christmas carols and holiday cheer.

Gilbert Baker and other oddities

It appears that Gilbert Baker will be re-elected today as chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party. That’s weird all the way around.

Maureen Dowd: The Bush tragicomedy

Love her/hate her, you'll have to admit that the material is rich for columns such as these.

Kicking the dog

There's a Maureen Dowd metaphor in this news story somewhere. Mike Ross and the Blue Dog Caucus have been busting their buttons on getting an Oval Office meeting yesterday with George Bush and Dickey Cheney. We all know people like Bush -- dysfunctional bullies who take their unhappiness out on others, sometimes even by kicking the dog when things don't go their way.

No good deed goes unpunished

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who in 1994 wrote a conciliatory letter to Republican gay activists, is now getting hammered on that letter both for being soft on gays and for being hypocritical in his current flogging of the gay marriage issue, NY Times reports.

The yellow peril

LULAC gets it right. In opposing Rogers Mayor Steve Womack's idea to create an undocumented worker SWAT team, it says Womack hasn't produced convincing stats.

School board in retreat

I can't make the LR School Board retreat today and my repeated efforts to get copies of data to be filed for consideration there have failed.

Up in lights

I'm reminded that the Big Dam Bridge lighting ceremony is tonight. I think I'll stay home.

Government-financed religion

A big feature in the NY Times Sunday on the proliferation of government-financed programs where religion is a part of the program.

Open line anyone?

It's here. FYI:: I heard on KUAR that Gil Baker was unopposed for election to another term as GOP chair and that Jim Lagrone will be vice chair.

Let's spend the surplus

By jimmy, I think Brummett's done it -- conceived a thoroughly sensible plan for spending the state surplus.

The decider

In case you're interested, San Antonio paper reviews the battle among Texas cities for the Bush library and indicates Dallas remains the front-runnner.

Clean water

In today's e-mail: A copy of a letter from the Coalition of Little Rock Neighborhoods to Central Arkansas Water on the approaching decisions on watershed management for Lake Maumelle.

'Mixed bag'

That headline descriptive puts it kindly in the Washington Post as it assesses 12 years of Republican control of Congress, backed with six years of White House control.

And speaking of water

Doug Thompson of Stephens Media takes an in-depth look at the ongoing battle over parceling out White River water for competing interests of recreation, farming, water supply, etc. The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission apparently will be seeking money for a comprehensive water study this session.

Frequent flyers

The Democrat-Gazette today followed up on Air Huckabee and reported that the use of the State Police plane by Gov. Mike Huckabee and his wife dropped some in 2006, though it's still huge.

Anybody out there?

My apologies for a lack of activity. I had a bunch of stuff to do, including the usual purchase and erection of a Christmas tree that my kids will hoot at for its poor conformation for years to come.

New York Film Critics Online

not the New York Film Critics Circle, but still worth mentioning.  They name "The Queen" as the best film of the year.  New York Film Critics Online is composed of major reviewersin the New York area who work exclusively for onlinepublications or for print/broadcast media with a strong onlinepresence.

Boston Film Critics go for "The Departed"

Best Picture: The Departed (United 93, runner-up)   Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed (Paul Greengrass, United 93, runner-up)   Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland (Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson, runner-up)   Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen (Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal, runner-up)   Best Supporting Actor: Mark Wahlberg, The Departed (TIE: Michael Sheen, The Queen; Alec Baldwin, The Departed/Running with Scissors/The Good Shepherd, runners-up)   Best Supporting Actress: Shareeka Epps, Half Nelson (Meryl Streep, The Devil Wore Prada, runner-up)

The AFI Top 10

The American  Film Institute jury is full of morons.  Ok, not really.  I dig most of the selections, but "Borat" and "The Devil Wears Prada?"  Come on.  AFI MOVIES OF THE YEAR—OFFICIAL SELECTIONS BABELBORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTANTHE DEVIL WEARS PRADADREAMGIRLSHALF NELSONHAPPY FEETINSIDE MANLETTERS FROM IWO JIMALITTLE MISS SUNSHINEUNITED 93

LA Film Critics: as I predicted

They went with "Letters from Iwo Jima" as the best film of the year.  Interestingly, they did not select CLINT as best director (he was the runner up).  Furthermore, they did not distinguish themselves by naming both Sacha Baron Cohen and Forest Whitaker as best actor (don't get me wrong, "Borat" was funny as hell, but Cohen had years on HBO to refine the character; oh, and I can name 15 more deserving).  Michael Sheen's on a roll.  BEST PICTURE Letters from Iwo JimaRunner Up: The QueenDIRECTORPaul Greengrass, United 93Runner-up: Clint Eastwood, Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima ACTRESSHelen Mirren, The Queen Runner-up: Penelope Cruz, Volver ACTOR: Tie - Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat and Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland SCREENPLAYThe Queen by Peter Morgan Runner-up: Little Miss Sunshine by Michael Arndt SUPPORTING ACTRESSLuminita Gheorghiu, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Runner-up: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls SUPPORTING ACTORMichael Sheen, The Queen Runner-up: Sergi Lopez, Pan's Labyrinth FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMThe Lives of Others directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Runner-up: Volver directed by Pedro Almodovar DOCUMENTARY/NON-FICTION FILMAn Inconvenient Truth directed by Davis Guggenheim Runner-up: Darwin's Nightmare directed by Hubert Sauper PRODUCTION DESIGNEugenio Caballero, Pan's Labyrinth Runner-up: Jim Clay, Veronica Falzon, Geoffrey Kirkland, Children of Men ANIMATIONHappy Feet (George Miller)Runner-up: Cars (John Lasseter, Joe Ranft) MUSICAlexandre Desplat, The Painted Veil and The Queen Runner-up: Thomas Newman, The Good German and Little Children CINEMATOGRAPHYEmmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men Runner-up: Tom Stern, Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima NEW GENERATIONMichael Arndt, Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris - Little Miss Sunshine CAREER ACHIEVEMENTRobert Mulligan (previously announced) INDEPENDENT/EXPERIMENTALTie - Old Joy directed by Kelly Reichardt and In Between Days directed by So Yong Kim SPECIAL CITATIONSTo Jean-Pierre Melville's 1969 film Army of Shadows which had its U.S. premiere this year, and to Jonas Mekas for his career as a critic and filmmaker.

Memo to Max Brantley, Jim Harris, Warwick Sabin, David Koon

Here's a great conversation by movie critics Lou Leminick and Kyle Smith of the New York Post about the best films of the year.  A great idea . . .

The morning e-mail

It brings: 1) A link to Paul Krugman, scoffing at Bush's line that he doesn't intend to follow the Iraq study group's report because it amounts to "outsourcing the presidency."

The issue in 2008

Brummett thinks security will take center stage again in 2008 in the race for president.

DC Film Crtics vote "United 93" best in show

Best Film: "United 93" Best Director: Martin Scorsese, "The Departed" Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, "The Last King of Scotland" Best Actress: Helen Mirren, "The Queen" Best Supporting Actor: Djimon Hounsou, "Blood Diamond" Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls" Best Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt, "Little Miss Sunshine" Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman, "Thank You for Smoking" Best Documentary: "An Inconvenient Truth" Best Foreign-Language Film: "Pan's Labyrinth" Best Acting Ensemble: "Little Miss Sunshine" Best Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls" Here's a link. 

For the record: LRSD legal fees

I mentioned earlier that a report on Little Rock School District legal fees was on the agenda for Saturday's School Board retreat.

For the record: LRSD legal fees

I mentioned earlier that a report on Little Rock School District legal fees was on the agenda for Saturday's School Board retreat.

Called up to the Big Show...

I'm sure someone has blogged this, but just incase, I was flipping through channels the other day and low and behold, what, or rather, who did I see co-anchoring on CNN?  Former weekend anchorman and reporter for KTHV Channel 11, T.J. Holmes.

Tis the season

Inevitably, great needs that exist year-round get greater attention at Christmastime. Gov. Mike Huckabee, for example, needs money so badly that he included a cash solicitation in his Christmas cards.

Correction

On Nov. 20, a tipster reported that Gov. Mike Huckabee and Miss Gov. Haley Barbour were going to be at a private fund-raising event at the Marriott Courtyard.

Correction

On Nov. 20, a tipster reported that Gov. Mike Huckabee and Miss Gov. Haley Barbour were going to be at a private fund-raising event at the Marriott Courtyard.

J.R. and Henry: More off-the-field nonsense

What’s it going to take? Not one week removed from a heartbreaking loss to the Florida Gators in the SEC Championship game and we’re already reading about grumblings back up on the Hill.

Vacant no more -- UPDATE

The long-vacant Little Rock library building at Seventh and Louisiana has been sold and will be renovated for business use.

Drivetime sports -- UPDATE

I couldn't help myself. I had a crosstown errand so I listed to As Mustain Turns for 30 minutes or son on The Buzz this afternoon.

Going vertical

I don't have a photo yet, but here's a news release on the state's new "vertical" format driver's license for under-21 drivers.

Paron: no decision

Fox 16 reports that the state Board of Education wants the Bryant School District to come up with another plan short of deannexing the controversial former Paron school district.

A-State fails to land on Hogs' 2007 schedule

No shock that the Tribe and Hogs won't play football (or any sport) in 2007, or ever, as long as Frank Broyles is running the UA athletic fortunes.

UAMS Head Start to Offer Adopt-a-Classroom Program

A new initiative of the Pulaski County Head Start/Early Head Start program operated by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) offers an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local preschool children.

Backlash

Brummett writes today about the "independent" Republican group that spent nearly a million bucks targeting a slate of Democratic candidates and failed to unseat any of them.

Heresy

Harry King offers a few bits of historic evidence to caution Hog fans not to chalk up a Heisman next year for runnerup McFadden just yet.

Hey big spender

Blog readers already know the particulars of  this story I'm about to mention in today's daily newspaper.

NY Film Critics Circle

Best Picture: United 93(This took five ballots.)The QueenThe Departed Best Director: Martin Scorsese, THE DEPARTED(Runners-up: Stephen Frears, THE QUEENClint Eastwood, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA) Best First Film: Half Nelson(Runners-up: Little Miss SunshineA Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) Best Actress: Helen Mirren, THE QUEEN(Runners-up: Judi Dench, NOTES ON A SCANDALMeryl Streep, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA) Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND (Runners-up:Ryan Gosling, HALF NELSONSacha Baron Cohen, BORAT) Best Foreign Film: Army of Shadows(Runners-up: Volver, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) Best Non-Fiction Film Deliver Us From Evil(Runners-up: 49 Up, Borat,  An Inconvenient Truth) Best Animated Film: Happy Feet(Runners-up:A Scanner Darkly, Cars) Best Supporting Actor: Jackie Earle Haley, LITTLE CHILDREN(Runners-up: Eddie Murphy, DREAMGIRLSSteve Carell, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, DREAMGIRLS(Runners-up: Shareeka Epps, HALF NELSONCatherine O'Hara, FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION) Best Screenplay: The Queen(Runners-up: The Departed, Little Miss Sunshine) Best Cinematography: Pan's Labyrinth(Runners-up: Curse of the Golden Flower, Children of Men)

Broadcast Film Critics Nominations

NOMINEES FOR THE 12TH ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDSBEST PICTURE:BabelBlood DiamondThe DepartedDreamgirlsLetters from Iwo JimaLittle ChildrenLittle Miss SunshineNotes on a ScandalThe QueenUnited 93BEST ACTOR:Leonardo DiCaprio – “Blood Diamond”Leonardo DiCaprio – “The Departed”Ryan Gosling – “Half Nelson”Peter O’Toole – “Venus”Will Smith – “The Pursuit of Happyness”Forest Whitaker – “The Last King of Scotland”BEST ACTRESS:Penelope Cruz – “Volver”Judi Dench – “Notes on a Scandal”Helen Mirren – “The Queen”Meryl Streep – “The Devil Wears Prada”Kate Winslet – “Little Children”BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:Ben Affleck – “Hollywoodland”Alan Arkin – “Little Miss Sunshine”Adam Beach – “Flags of Our Fathers”Djimon Hounsou – “Blood Diamond”Eddie Murphy – “Dreamgirls”Jack Nicholson – “The Departed”BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Adriana Barraza – “Babel”Cate Blanchett – “Notes on a Scandal”Jennifer Hudson – “Dreamgirls”Rinko Kikuchi – “Babel”Catherine O’Hara – “For Your Consideration”Emma Thompson – “Stranger Than Fiction”BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE:BabelBobbyThe DepartedDreamgirlsLittle Miss SunshineA Prairie Home CompanionBEST DIRECTOR:Bill Condon – “Dreamgirls”Clint Eastwood – “Letters from Iwo Jima”Stephen Frears – “The Queen”Paul Greengrass – “United 93”Martin Scorsese – “The Departed”

Taking a look at the winners and nominess thus far

It's apparent that the critics are all over Martin Scorsese.  He won both the NYFCC and the Boston Film Critics Circle.   This race is still between Scorsese and Clint Eastwood ("Letters from Iwo Jima"), but Paul Greengrass is making a late surge with a win in LA and several runners-up finishes.  Stephen Frears ("The Queen") should get in as should Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls").  Pedro Almomdovar ("Volver") is well liked by the Academy so he could spoil someone's trip to big dance.  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel") will also be in the mix.  Best Picture is boiling down, it seems, to three films: "The Departed," "Letters from Iwo Jima," and "The Queen."  "Dreamgirls" is all but assured of the 4th spot, which leaves the fifth to following: "Babel," "Little Miss Sunshine," "United 93," "Notes on a Scandal," "Little Children," and perhaps "Blood Diamond."

Next

Golden Globe nominations are announced on December 14th at 5:00 PST.  

Corporate welfare

Another interesting front-page story in the Democrat-Gazette today suggests Arkansas may be in the running for a huge steel mill, if we are willing to outbid Louisiana for the privilege.

Corporate welfare

Another interesting front-page story in the Democrat-Gazette today suggests Arkansas may be in the running for a huge steel mill, if we are willing to outbid Louisiana for the privilege.

Goings on behind the scenes at the NYFCC

Thanks to Sam . . .More ultra-secret exclusive low-down on what happened inside the hallowed halls of the New York Film Critics Circle this morning.

Toga!

The Huckster pledges a frat -- TKE. Forget Skull and Bones.

School rumble

All the school controversy isn't confined to the Little Rock School District. A Chenal Valley resident (that's in the Pulaski County Special School District, but still in the Little Rock city limits), sends the following note.

Steel mill update

Earlier in the day we commented on a story about efforts by Louisiana and Arkansas to lure a German steelmaker in return for $1 billion in corporate welfare and givebacks in easing of pollution control regulations.

Steel mill update

Earlier in the day we commented on a story about efforts by Louisiana and Arkansas to lure a German steelmaker in return for $1 billion in corporate welfare and givebacks in easing of pollution control regulations.

You heard it here first

The old Little Rock public library will indeed, as a tipster said here yesterday, become a data center for the Entergy Corp., operated by contractor SAIC.

'Convert or die'

Sell records with dirty words? Can't do that at Wal-Mart.

War is hell, ignorance is bliss

After the Democrats take control of the U.S. Congress in January, Rep. Silvestre Reyes will be the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

War is hell, ignorance is bliss

After the Democrats take control of the U.S. Congress in January, Rep. Silvestre Reyes will be the new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

When pricey is better

A feature in NY Times today says many private colleges are raising tuition so as to not appear too cheap against the competition.

Out of this world

Tony Poe of Little Rock-based Poe Travel today announced he is among 45 U.S. travel agents selected by Virgin Galactic to train to become an "Accredited Space Agent."

Conversing with Joey Lauren Adams

I had a nice conversation with North Little Rock native Joey Lauren Adams this morning.  She is the director of the upcoming film "Come Early Morning" starring Ashley Judd.  The movie was filmed in Arkansas and premieres at Market Street Cinema on Thursday night.  It opens wide on Friday.BSR:  I wanted to start by talking about the writing process you went through with this film.  You have commented several times that you were not happy with your career in Hollywood and that unhappiness motivated you, at least in part, to write this movie.JLA:  I'm not sure that I had a lot of other options at that point in my career.  I was being offered the same roles and it's no secret that there just aren't that many good roles for women in Hollywood.  I wanted to feel entitled to sit on my couch and gripe.  I wasn't extremely satisfied with acting.  It wasn't making me happy.  You have to be lucky and the odds of getting good roles are very slim.  In retrospect, being involved with this film from start to finish, I enjoyed the entire process: editing, pre-production, casting.  It's different than acting.  I was able to create something on my own.BSR: Do you see yourself writing and directing from hereon or would you like to get back into acting?JLA:  I would like to do both.  I just couldn't take LA anymore.  I've move to Oxford, Mississippi and I plan on spending a majority of my time here.  Part of being an actor means being around [LA].  If being in Mississippi means I pay a price then I pay a price.BSR:  Why Oxford?JLA:  Since I shot "Dazed and Confused" I wanted to come back to the South.  I fell in love with Austin but Austin has grown so much.  I just ended up coming down here with a friend of mine who went to school here.  Oxford is an artistic place and it's also full of artists.  It's really great not to have to fight traffic to get anywhere.  If there's something going on, I can hop on my bike and go.BSR:  I want to turn back to the film for a moment.  Ashley Judd plays the lead.  How important was she to this process?JLA:  I don't think I could have made this film with a different actress.  I worked on this project for five years.  We had $1 million when we went to her.  I learned after having actors attached to the script and then drop out before we had financing that I needed the money first.  And the fact that she agreed to do it allowed us to get a little more money.  Initially, I pictured myself in this role.  But I backed away from that.  When Ashley showed up, she went right to work and made the role her own.BSR:  If you would, talk a bit more about stepping back from this script.  You spent a considerable amount of time writing it.  Was it hard to back away and just direct the actors?JLA:  It's such a different process.  Making a movie is such a huge project.  I wanted the movie to feel honest.  It's not a traditional Hollywood movie in that it doesn't have a traditional Hollywood ending.  "Tender Mercies" and "Urban Cowboy" were templates for me.BSR:  I read that John Travolta offered you some advice about actors letting go of their roles.JLA:  He told me that actors needed to act the role.  They didn't need to comment about the characters the play.  Actors often try and make the role fresh or new, but my direction focused on the opposite of that.BSR:  You made this movie in Arkansas.  First, thanks.  Second, I know it was a challenge because Arkansas doesn't have the kind of incentives that other states like Louisiana and Tennessee do, which allows films to be made there.  What does Arkansas need to do?JLA:  They need to pass a tax incentive package.  I'm not sure I could shoot another movie in Arkansas.  Tennesse and Louisiana have packages in place who would have effectively allowed for extra week of shooting.  It would be helpful to look at what these states have done.  I believe that if you build it, they will come.BSR:  What's next for you?JLA:  I've been hired to write a screenplay based on a Texas Monthly article for Courtney Cox's production company.  I also have another love project , so I'll be putting my attention on that as well.BSR:  You're living in Oxford, a place where several great writers have lived.  As a southerner talking to another southerner, do you sense a mythical connection to your writing?  JLA:  I'm not sure that's the case.  I'm just happier in general.  I love life a little more.

Adios, Christina

A new anchor named Heather Crawford was added to the 5 p.m. newscast at KATV, Channel 7, Tuesday, replacing Christina Munoz.Munoz was at the anchor position for the 6 p.m. newscast.Crawford says she has Arkansas ties in Prescott, Hot Springs and Hot Springs Village and comes to Little Rock from Memphis.

No Bret Michaels show tonight

Bret Michaels canceled his gig at the Revolution Room tonight because of the flu, our rock sources tell us.

The book banners redux

Serendipitous timing. We told you Monday (and the columnist followed up with a column today) that Democrat-Gazette columnist Mike Masterson had married Laurie Taylor, the Fayetteville woman who led the charge against sex ed books and other books with content too explicit for her taste in the Fayetteville public schools.

San Francisco film critics vote for 'Little Children'

2006 San Francisco Film Critics Circle AwardsBest Picture     "Little Children"Best Director     Paul Greengrass for "United 93"Best Original Screenplay     "Brick"Best Adapted Screenplay     "Little Children"Best Actor     Sacha Baron Cohen for "Borat"Best Actress     Helen Mirren for "The Queen"Best Supporting Actor     Jackie Earle Haley for "Little Children"Best Supporting Actress     Adriana Barraza for "Babel"Best Foreign Language Film     "Pan's Labyrinth"Best Documentary     "An Inconvenient Truth"

Double secret probation -- UPDATE

There are down sides to joining a frat. I didn't figure it would take long for Gov. Mike Huckabee to catch a little good-natured heat in the blogosphere for following Elvis Presley into the unofficial honorary ranks of TKE, the rowdy frat his son joined at ASU.

Hot Springs stroke support group meets

The Hot Springs Stroke Support Group will hold its monthly meeting Wednesday, Dec. 20 in the Dublin Room, which is located on the first floor of the Mercy Heart & Vascular Center near the St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center cafeteria.

UAMS to demonstrate wireless transfer of heart data

UAMS will demonstrate CALL (Cardiac Action Life Link), a first-of-its-kind system in Arkansas that will wirelessly transmit heart monitor data directly from the ambulance to a cardiologist, improving treatment for heart attack victims.

Arkansas's finest

This is a sad account -- an inept, to put it mildly, school superintendent who's shortly to take office as state senator and who was called on the carpet for his district's poor stewardship by a legislative meeting yesterday. 

New Yorker film critics talk memorable movies of 2006

David Denby and Anthony Lane weigh in on 2006 at the movies.

David Edelstein looks back on 2006

In his New York Magazine piece on the year in movies.  He offers high praise for Helen Mirren, Ryan Gosling, Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Pursuit of Happyness," 9/11 films "United 93" and "World Trade Center" among others and names "The Queen" the best film of the year.

Robert Altman's last interview

ever.  It's with Peter Travers of Rolling Stone. 

Speaking of football

You probably have already read that the pride of Rose City, Jerry Jones,  revealed plans for the Dallas Cowboys' $1 billion stadium last night.

Can Hillary win Arkansas? (UPDATE)

Political science professor Tom Schaller says he asked James Carville yesterday if Hillary Clinton could win any Southern states if she becomes the Democratic nominee for president.

Hmmmmm

The Federal Election Commission has cracked down on some so-called 527 Political Action Committees, which may take in unlimited sums, for acting more like federal political committees, which have $5,000 contribution limits.

Well, they let Cheney hunt, so ...

On the hunting beat: A Texas lawmaker is aiming to allow the blind to hunt.

Newsweek's Top 10

Thanks to Sam2006's Top 10 Movies: 1. Army of Shadows 2.

Jobs for Jonesboro

Talk Business reports on 400 jobs coming to Jonesboro with a plant making Alberto Culver hair care and other products.

While Rome burns ...

A friend and football fan passes this along to the Little Rocking editor: His football program seems to be at the point of implosion over the Springdale trio and the offense they were promised to run and didn't, but do you know where UA coach Houston Nutt was last night?

TSO is a sellout

If you waited until now to buy your tickets to the Dec. 21 Trans Siberian Orchestra concert at Alltel Arena -- like somebody we know well who called yesterday hoping we had a couple laying around the office -- you're $#%& out of luck.

Here come the TIFs

NLR Mayor Pat Hays promised developer Bruce Burrow that the city would subsidize his shopping center and by golly he's going to subsidize it..

Here come the TIFs

NLR Mayor Pat Hays promised developer Bruce Burrow that the city would subsidize his shopping center and by golly he's going to subsidize it..

Hold the phone on that Cate Brothers retirement

You thought the last chance to see the Cate Brothers live  in Little Rock was last month?

Street people

Advocates for the homeless held a free breakfast this morning at City Hall -- unannounced so no city bureaucrats would spoil the event -- as a demonstration of unhappiness with the city's effort to deal with homeless issues.

Gimmegate the epic

This week's Arkansas Times is now on the web. I thought I'd call attention to a news article by Leslie Peacock.

Double voting

And here's another scoop in our paper this week: Pulaski County Election Commission officials are going public now with a flaw they've discovered in early voting procedures that makes it very easy for a voter to cast more than one ballot.

Is This Thing On?

Testing.  Testing, one, two...testing. Sibilance.  Sibilance.Am I back?
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