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December 14, 2006

Vol 4 • No 48


Rogers teachers are split on a merit pay project and no wonder. Apply for the money now, find out later how it's structured, if there's a rational system to the reward mechanism, if there's even a meaningful way to judge relative student outcomes.

As Mustain Turns -- UPDATE

Mustainia seems headed to a boffo season-ending finale based on a fine story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today by Bob Holt.

One down -- UPDATE

Everyone is reporting Razorback freshman receiver Damian Williams has been given permission to transfer. UPDATE: Morning News says Mustain and Cleveland will stay.

Good ’hood

I read with delight your story on Paul Dodds and his efforts to help the Central High neighborhood. Having rehabbed a nearby property myself, I can identify with the obstacles Mr. Dodds faced and overcame.

Sakura shoots high, hits

There’s a lot on the menu at Sakura that we won’t be able to tell you about. It’s simply too huge, even with the multiple trips our staff has made there recently.

Taylor’s fans step up

After a little worry among promoters and a little pleading from some sectors of the media to support Jermain Taylor, Central Arkansas showed up nicely for Taylor’s middleweight title defense against Kassim Ouma on Saturday at Alltel Arena, to the tune of

The week that was Dec. 6-12, 2006

It was a good week for … CORPORATE WELFARE. Arkansas officials seem all too ready to fork over $1 billion worth of corporate welfare to lure a German steelmaker that is auctioning itself to the highest bidder among poor Southern states.

This Modern World

No cheatin’ here

Amid the Christmas lights and mass consumer spending, let’s take a moment to appreciate the “roots” of things in the local clubs this week. For example, traditions that convinced a 25-year-old from Columbus, Ga., to sing like and stylistically imitate cou


Don't gibe me, turkey.


Up With Art benefit is Friday.


Let's play spend the surplus

Let’s take 20 or so column inches and see if we can’t spend $840 million. In rounded terms, that is what the state government budget surplus is projected to total when the legislature gathers in January to begin abusing it. Such unencumbered bou

What's cooking/Capsule reviews, Dec. 14

What's cooking: New coffees at Sufficient Grounds; Pia's beer and wine permit. Capsule reviews: Lucchesi's Ravioli and Pasta Company, The Olive Branch.

A healthier Delta

During my more than nine years of working in the governor’s office, one thing that became particularly irksome was hearing comments in the state Capitol along these lines about eastern Arkansas: “If only we could saw off about 20 counties, we would be so

Gimmegate I

Our Arkansas Blog reported last week a story developed further Tuesday by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. It was that Gov. Mike Huckabee is using his Hope for America PAC — registered in Virginia, which has no limits on contributions to such committee

The Observer

The Observer did a double take driving past the bronzes of the Little Rock Nine on the northern side of the state Capitol last week. Each of the nine, who are shown walking with school books in hand, was wearing a Santa Claus hat with “Happy Holidays” kni

On staying the course

David Brooks, the collegial conservative in The New York Times’ stable of op-ed columnists, wrote a piece Sunday that is worth reading because it spells out more compellingly than anyone else has done the case for staying the course in Iraq until final vi

Editorial cartoon

Who's responsible?

People who are responsible for the Iraq war deserve blame and punishment for their actions.

Smart Talk

This week it's all about shopping: Too much sex at Wal-Mart; a reduction in retail space at University Mall.

TV highlights, Dec. 14


Why does Walker sue?

I was happy to hear second-hand that a Little Rock School Board retreat last weekend was viewed as a generally fruitful discussion of a number of issues, including race relations, programs for disadvantaged kids, district goals and others.

Kinder, gentler Huck

Until now, we’d never considered the possibility that Mike Huckabee is too nice a guy to succeed in politics. But the politics of the Religious Right are particularly nasty.

A new talent dawns

“Come Early Morning,” the filmmaking debut of North Little Rock native Joey Lauren Adams, returns Ashley Judd to a familiar place: the heart of the Southern working class.

All over again

I don’t like re-runs, either TV shows or newspaper columns. They suggest laziness and a certain presumptuousness, and they’re always at least a little bit stale. You haven’t seen any of them in this space in 20-odd years of Arkansas Times column-writing,

Millie Jackson leads bluesy All Star parade

Legendary R&B singer Millie Jackson will headline a mega-lineup of singers in the All Star Blues Revue on Saturday, Dec. 16, at Barton Coliseum.


The website of Little Rock NBC affiliate KARK Channel 4 has undergone a ground-up revamp. If Channel 4 can put its modem where its mouth is, it may soon have a big jump on the competition, not to mention one of the more innovative and user-friendly websit

Joey Lauren Adams: actress

When she was 19, Joey Lauren Adams says, couldn’t wait to leave Arkansas. She told friends she was heading to Hollywood and sure enough, she did.

Joyce Elliott: lawmaker

Joyce Elliott was 5 years old when she and her mother and two sisters got off the bus from Kalamazoo, Mich., in front of what would be her new home on Hwy. 9 south of Willisville, Ark. The yard was swept dirt; no grass grew there.

Vote early, vote often

Pulaski County election officials for months have been aware of a gaping hole in voting procedures that could be exploited for fraud, but they kept silent until the elections were complete, hoping no one would take advantage of it. Now they are calli

Arkansas Black Film Festival returns

Using films to promote literacy and encourage dialogue about the motion picture industry’s role in socializing black communities is the main focus of the second annual Arkansas Black Film Festival, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16-17, at Market

Ken Hatfield: coach

When Ken Hatfield moved into the house where he and his brother would grow up, he was captivated by the balcony on the second floor. At the first opportunity, he went out on the balcony, looked down over the rail, and fell into a tree. Extricating himself

John Grisham: author

John Grisham, the author known for his best-selling legal thrillers, spent the first seven years of his life on a farm outside of Black Oak, Ark., which “was — and is — a very small town in Craighead County, about 30 miles from Jonesboro.”

Amy Lee: rock star

Amy Lee, the lead singer of the modern rock band Evanescence, was born in California and spent her early childhood in Florida, before her disc jockey father, John Lee, took a radio job in Central Arkansas and moved to Maumelle. Those teen years produced f

Blanche Lambert Lincoln: U.S. senator

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln has only one home to recall, the house her parents, the late Jordan and Martha Lambert, built the year she was born in Helena. Her mother lives there today.

Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty: businessman

Mack McLarty was born and raised in Hope, Ark., where he attended kindergarten with a future U.S. president, Bill Clinton. McLarty went on to a successful business career and served as Clinton’s first White House chief of staff. Now he advises corporat

Mary Steenburgen: actress

North Little Rock is definitely home, and that’s where my mother and my sister and my aunt still live. I’m very connected to it. When I was 18 months old we moved from Newport, where I was born, to a small brick house on Idlewild Drive in Park Hill.

The political center

Are East Arkansas farmers the center of Arkansas's political gravity? Brummett, writing from Memphis in the company of big planters, thinks so.

For the history books

The NY Times today has an interesting feature about one of the most important collections of African-American historical artifacts.

The Senate update

NY Times has little to offer on the condition of South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, on whose health control of the Senate might rest.


Those are the favorites in latest Washington Post polling. It seems dogged war support is hurting McCain.

More on 'Come Early Morning'

in this week's Arkansas Times.  I tried to find Philip Martin's piece in the Arkansas Dem Gaz online, but you cannot access past articles without cost (what?).  Anyway, hopefully PM will post it on his blog.

The morning's outrage -- UPDATE II

We had a spirited office discussion yesterday about ideas to redevelop War Memorial  Park. Some favor more green space.

Black Film Festival this weekend

Organizers Wayne and Angela Burt are back with the second Black Film Festival at several venues around Little Rock.  Here's a preview of the festival.

Golden Globe Nominations!

The nominations for the 64th Golden Globes were announced Thursday morning in Los Angeles, California.

Golden Globes - what to think?

Knee jerk reactions . . . Well, "Little Children" is alive and well despite a curious marketing and release strategy in the US.  "Bobby" for Best Drama!  No Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls") for Best Director.  BSR IT girl Maggie Gyllenhaal swiped a nomination for best actress - drama.  "For Your Consideration" was shut out all around as was "United 93" and "Half Nelson."  Very surprised that Ryan Gosling ("Half Nelson") didn't get a nomination; somewhat surprised Ken Wantanable ("Letters from Iwo Jima") didn't either.  Djimon Housou ("Blood Diamond") didn't pick up a supporting nomination either, but Mark Wahlberg ("The Departed") and Ben Affleck ("Hollywoodland") did.  Nothing for Alan Arkin or Abagail Breslin from "Little Miss Sunshine."  Emily Blunt from "The Devil Wears Prada?"  Which one was she?  "Borat" was a big winner.  It's hard to imagine Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat") not winning the Best Actor-  Musical/Comedy prize.  Imagine the acceptance speech.

And one more sputter

I can tell you from my overheated phone line that other airport commissioners (Larry Lichty was quoted in the paper) aren't happy about Carl Johnson grabbing for airport business from his commission seat.

Lobby buzz

Interesting rumor this morning. It concerns State Rep. Marvin Childers of Blytheville,  term limited, who moved to Little Rock some months ago to work in the Friday Law Firm and do some lobbying along with his legal practice.

UPDATE: Huckabee posse has 'vagizzle'

Gov. Mike Huckabee is raising his national profile as he explores a presidential candidacy, so naturally the Beltway media is paying more attention to his actions.

UPDATE: Huckabee posse has 'vagizzle'

Gov. Mike Huckabee is raising his national profile as he explores a presidential candidacy, so naturally the Beltway media is paying more attention to his actions.

Some cheese with that wine?

I walked over to Firehouse Subs for a salad today and learned the handy place in the Block 2 development will be closing Saturday and its owners moving to Florida.

Pork turns rancid

The Arkanass Supreme Court ruled today that The Great Pork Grab of 2005, orchestrated by The Brotherhood Inc., was essentially unconstitutional, at least when it came to taking state surpluses to do $400,000 worth of street work in Sen. Bob Johnson's home of Bigelow.

Great column by ESPN's Pat Forde on UA mess

Pat Forde, the terrific sports columnist from Louisville and its paper, the Courier-Journal, also covers college football for ESPN, and he writes about the University of Arkansas-Springdale High football mess of the past two days like he lives here.

New movie gets Koon's kudos

Times reporter/reviewer David Koon attended a screening today of "Miss Potter," a film coming to local theaters in a few days, and hints as a good time at the theater:

'Little League Parents Gone Wild'

That's how an ESPN columnist characterizes the sturm and drang at Fayetteville around the Springdale Fab Four and the rest of the football melodrama from coach Houston Nutt on down. A pox on all of them, he suggests:

Chasing Joey

Two interviews with Joey Lauren Adams are available on this website. My interview with her, which I conducted about 10 days ago, is here and in this week's print edition.

Molly Ringwald headed to Memphis for "Sweet Charity"

Molly Ringwald, whose best days apparently were her "Brat Pack" teen years in "Sixteen Candles" and "The Breakfast Club," nevertheless is doing the national Broadway musical tour scene, starring in "Sweet Charity," which will be playing The Orpheum in Memphis Jan. 16-21.

Inaugural events announced

Governor-elect Mike Beebe's inaugural committee, headed by public relations executive Stacy Sells Pittman, today announced the schedule of events surrounding his swearing-in next month.

Inaugural events announced

Governor-elect Mike Beebe's inaugural committee, headed by public relations executive Stacy Sells Pittman, today announced the schedule of events surrounding his swearing-in next month.

Mad about art -- UPDATE

Alice Walton's purchase of the Thomas Eakins' masterpiece, "The Gross Clinic," from a Philadelphia medical school is stirring a huge controversy.

LR cynics please check

I wrote extensively this morning about the embedded cynicism toward LR goverment, sometimes justified on the record, sometimes merely a product of suspicion at every official action on account of history.

Movie mania

Actress/screenwriter/director Joey Lauren Adams returns to Central Arkansas this week for the local premiere of her film "Come Early Morning” at Market Street Cinema.

Home sweet home

Former Sen. John Edwards, John Kerry’s running mate for vice president in the last presidential election, has published a memoir, “Home,” inspired by a visit to the three-room Seneca, S.C., house he lived in as a baby. It made us think ... what abou

Counting the furniture

Remember the $70,000-plus in furnishings sent to the Governor’s Mansion that Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed in 1998 was his property until his lawyer said it wasn’t? The Arkansas Times can’t find the furniture on a Department of Finance and Administratio

UAMS surgeon to present breast cancer findings

V. Suzanne Klimberg, M.D., director of the breast cancer program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), will present the results of an innovative breast cancer treatment study at the 29th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium Dec.

Wedding bell blues

The U.S. is fatter, taller and drinking more bottled water, says the NY Times in describing the 2007 statistical abstract of the country by the Census Bureau.

Changing education

A bipartisan study group yesterday recommended sweeping changes in the U.S. system of education. Check out the Washington Post's summary.

'Come Early Morning'

Is out in theatres today.  The premiere last night at Market Street Cinema was nice.  I went to an early party and then the film, which occupied three theatres.  The post-party at Cornerstone was an added touch.  The was even better the second time.



"Dreamgirls" is out

and the reviews are generally favorable.  It's got an 83% Cream of the Crop rating on

'A Confederacy of Dunces'

check out this piece in Slate about the development of hell of the film adaptation of the John Kennedy Toole novel.  The article references Little Rock, Arkansas native David Gordon Green as the film's director.  Green previously directed "All the Real Girls" and "Undertow" and has just completed a film titled "Snow Angels." 


I'll be on KARN (920 am radio) at 9:30 this morning to talk movies and who knows what else.  Have a listen and call in.

Mike Huckabee: Pluses and minuses

CBS takes a look at the lesser-known candidates in the 2008 presidential race, including Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Would Jesus shop at Wal-Mart?

Wake Up Wal-Mart brings its "faith-based" campaign to improve Wal-Mart practices to LR and dozens of other cities today.

Next for Iraq: A do not call list

Unbelievable. Robocalling in Iraq. Why do I think this is another example of the Bush administration at work.

Peter Travers' Top 10

Ten Best of 20061.  The Departed2.  Dreamgirls3.  Letters From Iwo Jima/Flags of Our Fathers4.  Volver5.  Babel6.  United 937.  The Queen8.  Borat9.  Little Miss Sunshine10.

Beebe keepers: three more

The biggie is that rising Gov. Mike Beebe will keep John Selig as head of the tough Department of Health and Human Services.

Fabac leaving KLRT for Austin station

A report out of Austin, Texas, says that KLRT's news director, Michael Fabac, who created the Fox affiliate's hourlong weekday newscast, will be taking over as news director at KXAN, Austin's NBC affiliate, starting in January.

Red Octopus' Pagans spike the holiday eggnog this weekend

Red Octopus' 15th annual "Pagan's on Bobsleds" sketch comedy show continues through this weekend. This year, it's titled "The Snowman Cometh."

Have they no shame?

Great piece today by NPR's Juan Williams on the sub-rosa claque of Republican ghouls and graverobbers who are secretly plotting to try to change the Senate rules to allow them to force ailing Senator Tim Johnson out of office if the Repuglicans determine he's unfit to serve after leaving the hospital.This from the party that allowed mummified zombie Strom Thurmond to sit there for decades propped up and pretending to be alive and allowed old troglodyte Karl Mundt to keep his seat despite the fact he was brain-dead for years.Understandably, Williams reported, these bloodthirsty ghouls don't want the world to know what they're plotting with poor Senator Johnson still in the hospital and his family and friends praying for his recovery.You'd think the thugs who wanted to force Terry Schiavo's family to keep her alive and whose leader, Bill (I'm a Doctor) Frist, conducted a video diagnosis from 2,000 miles away that he said showed Schiavo was alert and acting just fine might show the same degree of sensitivity for one of their fellow senators who appears to be recovering from his surgery.

The 'pecker woods

A sighting?

We don't need no stinkin' Constitution -- UPDATE

UPDATE: As we said earlier, your heard it here first. PS -- This is crummy treatment of Bud Cummins, a good guy who has been a good and fair US attorney and who is being moved out to reward a political hatchet man. Griffin has a lot to live up to.

We don't need no stinkin' Constitution -- UPDATE

UPDATE: As we said earlier, your heard it here first. PS -- This is crummy treatment of Bud Cummins, a good guy who has been a good and fair US attorney and who is being moved out to reward a political hatchet man. Griffin has a lot to live up to.

Airport addenda

I've added some info to an earlier item about the disclosure that Airport Commissioner Carl Johnson was seeking to land a minority contractor portion of the airport's concession contract.


Changes at the state Ethics Commission. Theories, anyone?


"Humane" execution procedures? Not so much.

Punching lunch ticket in Conway

The columnist faces an ethical dilemma -- and eats it.

Details, details -- UPDATE

Here, from Stephens Media, is the straight news account of the Bush administration's Friday evening recess appointment of political hatchet man Tim Griffin to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Details, details -- UPDATE

Here, from Stephens Media, is the straight news account of the Bush administration's Friday evening recess appointment of political hatchet man Tim Griffin to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Folkways report

It is a pity when you can't slaughter your pig for a cookout in your own backyard.

What you can do today

1) Haunt the stores for the hot toys, maddeningly out of stock until Sunday, when campers will line up at 4 a.m., if not earlier, so they may buy them and resell them on eBay at a premium.

Can't wait for the Daily Show

Until then, we have Maureen Dowd to chronicle the amazing sight of a massive ceremonial salute to Donald Rumsfeld as the greatest secretary of defense ever by Darth Cheney and his subordinate George W.

Meet Mosi

Thanks to zookeeper Daphne Brock for the photo of the Little Rock Zoo's baby gorilla, who has now officially been named Mosi, Swahili for first born.

Free for all

Your comments on all subjects here. Woo pig would not be one, I presume, based on Texas Tech's 71-56 victory for the disagreeable Bobby Knight.

Gov. Mike Huckabee's party is on

Sorry. A typically genial Huckabee press secretary (I presume Alice Stewart, but I"m only going by a description) denied our photographer access to the fund-raising gala tonight.

Virginia is for politicians

A Virginia columnist laments Virginia's easy use by politician like Mike Huckabee to sidestep more restrictive PAC and electioneering laws elsewhere to raise boodle to further their ambitions.

Arkansas is for speed traps

The Municipal League, already on my ashes-for-Christmas list on account of its dogged support of the developer-friendly, school-unfriendly Tax Increment Finance law, adds another reason for Santa to stay away: It wants to amend the speed trap law to make it easier for small towns to prey on motorists for revenue.

King Mike: I and II

Brummett detects an interest in royal trappings on the part of the incoming governor Mike Beebe as well as the outgoing, but mostly focuses on the abuse of 527 committees by Gov. Mike Huckabee and others.

Dawn patrol

You should have seen the lines at Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, Circuit City, etc. about 4:30 a.m. this morning.


Readers are already grumpy this morning about the first of a two-part series in the Democrat-Gazette by C.S. Murphy that details LR Advertising and Promotion Commission expenditures, without bids, with commission members.

More Top 10's

Kenneth Turan, Los Angles Times 1.Letters From Iwo Jima and Flags Of Our Fathers 2.

50 Forgotten Films

From The Guardian. 

Movies matter

so writes Philip Martin in today's Democrat-Gazette.  He's right.  They do.

P. Martin's SEFCA ballot

Everything but Best Picture, which you can read about in the Dem-Gaz on Christmas Eve.  From his blog.


Here are a few as a result of the past week:  Come Early Morning Premiere.  The "Come Early Morning" premiere was a good event.  Several hundred people, including actor Ray McKinnon, author Kevin Brockmeier, and Ms. Adams herself attended, among others.  Hopefully the OA raised some cash for their upcoming "Movie" issue and compendium DVD.  The movie is very good.  Ahsley Judd is great.

J.R. and Henry: Just make it stop

Just make it stop.  This is beyond ridiculous.

Corporate welfare

This may have been reported elsewhere, but checking in with my hometown newspaper I just noted tha Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, though she got very little of what she wanted from the legislature, did get her $300 million to lure a German steelmaking plant that Arkansas is also apparently seeking.

The gay wedge issue

Between fallen preachers, Mary Cheney's baby, decline in voter enthusiasm and other signals, the NY Times' Frank Rich, available free here, thinks the Karl Rove gay political card may be worn out.

Here's a dilemma

Can Democrats do something about the alternative minimum tax's increasing burden on the middle income and still promise more fiscal responsibility than Republicans have delivered?


A lack of financial controls and accountability is the focus of today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette installment of a review of the LR Advertising and Promotion Commission.

Parking: an alternative

Here's another article in today's Democrat-Gazette worthy of comment, though it's not available on their free site.

Parking: an alternative

Here's another article in today's Democrat-Gazette worthy of comment, though it's not available on their free site.

Interview with Clive Owen


'The Departed,' 'Dreamgirls' take Satellites

From Hollywood Reporter, "The Departed" and "Dreamgirls" were named best motion picture, drama and best motion picture, comedy or musical at the 11th annual Satellite Awards, which were announced Sunday by the International Press Academy."Dreamgirls" also earned awards for best director Bill Condon -- who tied for that honor with Clint Eastwood for "Flags of our Fathers" -- as well as supporting actor Jennifer Hudson, and sound (editing and mixing)."The Departed" also earned best actor in a supporting role for Leonard DiCaprio, best adapted screenplay for William Monahan and best ensemble.

Half an amen for the Rev. Gov.

KUAR headline this morning: Gov. Mike Huckabee says people should read the Bible more and blogs less.

About that grocery tax

In an interview with Roby Brock's Talk Business, House Speaker Benny Petrus sounds opposed to removal of the tax on groceries.

The Mind of Matt: Shinedown shines

Matt Smith checks in about the wicked rock concert from last Thursday at the Metroplex, featuring Shinedown, and a few more items.

Death on the mountain

The body found by rescuers on Mount Hood is apparently that of Kelly James of Dallas, whose mother, Lou Ann Cameron, lives in Bryant, Ark. The search continues for two other climbers trapped by snowstorms.

Spotted: Ted Danson at the Hog game

Our celebrity sleuth made this E!-style sighting at the Razorbacks' basketball game with Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon at Alltel Arena: Ted Danson, the star of "Cheers" and the current show "Help Me Help You" on ABC, was at the game.

Higher ground

Gov. Mike Huckabee's new book, "From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 STOPs to restoring America's greatness," was peddled to gala guests Saturday night.

Blogging and the Bible

Gov. Mike Huckabee probably had only specific blogs in mind -- and not, say, his Huckabee2008 blog -- when he urged readers to turn away from blogs and turn more often to the Bible.

Six more years for Nutt

University of Arkansas athletic director Frank Broyles today announced he extended head football coach Houston Nutt's contract through 2012.

Action at the Airport

The Little Rock Airport Commission meets tomorrow. Sounds like there may be a development on the controversy that arose last week when Commissioner Carl Johnson mentioned that he might be interested in seeking the minority contractor portion of the airport's concession business.

SEFCA weigh in

2006 Southeastern Film Critics Association Poll Results BEST PICTURE: The Departed TOP 10 (in order): 1.

Dallas Film Critics: 'United 93'

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association voted the true-life drama UNITED 93 as the best film of 2006, according to the results of its 13th annual critics’ poll released today.

Got a Top 10 yet?

If so, blog it here.  I'll be working on a community Top 10 full of random lists from friends of mine all over the country.  It'll most likely hit the blog on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.

Las Vegas Film Critics

Las Vegas Film Critics AwardsDecember 18, 2006Best Picture  The Departed  LVFCS Top Ten Films for 2006Letters From Iwo Jima  The Departed  Babel  United 93  Dreamgirls   Blood Diamond   Thank You For Smoking   Perfume   The Queen   Flags of Our Fathers The rest of the awards: 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 Director  Martin Scorsese, The Departed   Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted)Jason Reitman, Thank You For Smoking   Best CinematographyEmmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men   Best Film EditingThelma Schoonmaker, The Departed     Best ScoreThomas Newman, The Good German   Best SongOrdinary Miracle, David Stewart and Glen Ballard, Charlotte’s Web Performed by Sarah McLachlan   Best Family FilmCharlotte’s Web   Best DocumentaryAn Inconvenient Truth   Best Animated FilmMonster House  Best Foreign FilmPan’s Labyrinth   Best Costume DesignMarie Antoinette   Best Art DirectionMarie Antoinette Best Visual Effects  X-Men: The Last Stand" Youth in Film Award Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine  Best DVD (Packaging, Design and Content)Superman Ultimate Collectors Edition (Warner Home Entertainment)   William Holden Lifetime Achievement AwardPeter O’Toole

Black Reel Award nominations

The Black Reel AwardsNominations December 18, 2006 Theatrical Best ActorJamie Foxx - DreamgirlsDerek Luke - Catch a FireWill Smith - The Pursuit of HappynessDenzel Washington - Inside ManForest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland Best ActressBeyonce Knowles - DreamgirlsSanaa Lathan - Something NewKeke Palmer - Akeelah and the Bee Best Supporting ActorChiwetel Ejiofor - Kinky BootsChiwetel Ejiofor - Children of MenLaurence Fishburne - Akeelah and the BeeDjimon Hounsou - Blood DiamondEddie Murphy - Dreamgirls Best Supporting ActressAngela Bassett - Akeelah and the BeeShareeka Epps - Half NelsonClaire-Hope Ashitey - Children of Men Jennifer Hudson - DreamgirlsKerry Washington - The Last King of Scotland Best DirectorBryan Barber - IdlewildSanaa Hamri - Something NewClark Johnson - The SentinelSpike Lee - Inside ManChris Robinson - ATL Best Screenplay, Original or AdaptedBryan Barber - Idlewild Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois - Glory RoadTina Gordon Chism - ATLTyler Perry - Madea's Family Reunion Kriss Turner - Something New Best FilmAkeelah and the Bee/Lions Gae (Laurence Fishburne, Sidney Ganis, Nancy Hult, Daniel Llewelyn & Michael Romersa)Dreamgirls/DreamWorks (Laurence Mark & David Geffen)Inside Man/Universal (Brian Grazer & Jonathan Filley)The Pursuit of Happyness/Columbia (Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Will Smith, James Lassiter, Steve Tisch & Teddy Zee)Something New/Focus Features (Stephanie Allain) Best Breakthrough PerformanceShareeka Epps - Half NelsonJennifer Hudson - DreamgirlsKeke Palmer - Akeelah and the BeePaula Patton - Déjà VuJaden Smith - The Pursuit of Happyness Best Original ScoreAkeelah and the Bee/Aaron Zigman Dreamgirls/Harvey Mason, Jr. and Damon ThomasIdlewild/Antwan Andre PattonInside Man/Terrence BlanchardSomething New/Lisa Coleman & Wendy Melvoin Best Original SoundtrackDave Chappelle's Block Party/Geffen Records Dreamgirls/DreamWorks SKGIdlewild/LaFace RecordsSomething New/Lakeshore RecordsTake the Lead/Universal Records Best Song, Original or Adapted|And I'm Telling You - Dreamgirls (Jennifer Hudson)Idlewild Blues - Idlewild (Outkast)Listen - Dreamgirls (Beyonce Knowles)One Night Only - Dreamgirls (Jennifer Hudson)People Get Ready - Glory Road (Alicia Keys & Lyfe Jennings) Best DocumentaryThe Heart of the Game/MiramaxDave Chappelle’s Block Party/RogueJonestown: The Life and Death of People Temple/Seventh Arts Releasing

How to help the poor

There are better ways to improve the lot of the working poor than removing the sales tax on groceries.

Is porkfest over?

The state Supreme Court ruled last that the appropriation to fix potholes in state Sen. Bob Johnson's hometown of Bigelow was illegal.

Wingnut cracks

Detailed coverage from NY Times: Sen. Sam Brownback has removed his hold on the nomination of a federal judge for the offense of attending the same-sex commitment ceremony of the daughter of her 26-year neighbor.

The Clinton conundrum

Better later than never: A link to a lengthy Washington Post feature last Sunday on the question of whether Bill Clinton in the background is a help or hindrance to Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy.

WFCC and Alliance of Women Film Journalists

WFCC names"Little Miss Sunshine" best film.  Check out the complete list here. The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (a break off faction of the WFCC) names "Pan's Labyrinth" best picture. 

'Children of Men'

more on the making of this film starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore by Alfonso Cuaron. 

Ricky Gervais

the very funny actor from the BBC version of "The Office" on NPR.  He's appeared most recently in "For Your Consideration" and is up next in "Night at the Museum."

David Lynch

the director of "Mullholland Drive" talks about his latest film "Inland Empire" on NPR.

What's in your queue?

I'm catching up on some movies I meant to see this year.  I've got "The Proposition," with Guy Pearce ("Memento," "LA Confidential"), "Heading South" starring Charlotte Rampling ("Swimming Pool") and "Water," which is sure to be up for a Best Foreign Film Oscar.  "Little Miss Sunshine" is also out today on DVD.  But Philip Martin asks in today's Democrat Gazette, "what's with all the hype?"  Check it out.

San Diego Film Critics

Best PictureLetters From Iwo JimaBest DirectorClint Eastwood, Letters From Iwo JimaBest ActorKen Takakura, Riding Alone for a Thousand MilesBest ActressHelen Mirren, The QueenBest Supporting ActorRay Winstone, The PropositionBest Supporting ActressLili Taylor, FactotumBest Original ScreenplayThe Dead Girl Best Adapted ScreenplayThank You For SmokingBest DocumentaryShut Up & SingBest Foreign Language Film Riding Alone for a Thousand MilesBest Animated Film Cars

About that grocery tax -- UPDATE

Talk about repeal of the grocery tax, or at least a partial repeal, is heating up.

Thin skin? Flippant? Unfunny? --- UPDATE

Not the Huckster. Any impression to the contrary, he says, is the result of work of unprofessional, unobjective journalists who lack a sense of humor.

Thin skin? Flippant? Unfunny? --- UPDATE

Not the Huckster. Any impression to the contrary, he says, is the result of work of unprofessional, unobjective journalists who lack a sense of humor.

Some of the Worst Christmas Presents That You Should Buy Someone

  Yes, you should buy these horrible gifts because they are hysterical and will provide years of great holiday stories amongst friends and family.


Newsweek poll indicates she can beat McCain. And she's in a statistical tie, but ahead of Giuliani.

Soft landing

The Little Rock Airport Commission met at some length today. As we indicated might happen, Commissioner Carl Johnson announced he intended to withdraw from seeking the minority contractor portion of the airport's concession contract.

Rainy day funds

The state could benefit from a rainy day fund, suggests a report issued today by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.

Adios, 11 -- UPDATE

A tip of the hat to Briefing Notebook, which had it first, but KTHV anchor Andy Pearson cleaned out his desk last night, we've confirmed independently.

More boots on the ground

George Bush tells the Washington Post that he wants to increase the size of the military.

Arkansas Heart Hospital ranked among nation’s best for clinical outcomes

Arkansas Heart Hospital ranks among the top five percent in the nation for Cardiology Services and Coronary Interventional Procedures and top ten percent nationally for Overall Cardiac Services, according to a comprehensive study released by HealthGrades, the nation’s leading healthcare ratings company.

UAMS Orthopaedics Department receives $40,000 grant

The Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has received a $40,000 educational grant from Memphis-based medical device company Smith & Nephew.

School funding

A legislative committee yesterday set per-pupil school funding only a half-percent above current levels for next year, though several legislators said this number could change when the legislature meets.

College status: at what cost?

You've read this before. But today it's from the NY Times.

Phoenix Film Critics pick 'United 93'

Best Picture United 93 Top Ten Films (In Alphabetical Order) Babel Bobby Borat Children of Men The Departed The Last King of Scotland Letters From Iwo Jima Little Miss Sunshine The Queen United 93 Best Director Martin Scorsese - The Departed Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Helen Mirren - The Queen Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Jack Nicholson - The Departed Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Cate Blanchett - Notes On A Scandal Best Ensemble Acting Little Miss Sunshine Best Screenplay written directly for the screen Little Miss Sunshine Best Screenplay adapted from another medium The Departed Best Live Action Family Film Charlotte's Web Best Foreign Language FilmLetters From Iwo Jima Best Documentary An Inconvenient Truth

Chicago Film Critics nominations announced

Chicago Film Critics Nominations (from Movie City News) BEST PICTURE Babel The Departed Little Miss Sunshine The Queen United 93 BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Apocalypto Letters From Iwo Jima Pan’s Labyrinth Tsotsi Volver BEST DIRECTOR Clint Eastwood for "Letters From Iwo Jima" Stephen Frears for "The Queen" Paul Greengrass for "United 93" Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for "Babel" Martin Scorsese for "The Departed" BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY"Babel" — Guillermo Arriaga"Letters From Iwo Jima" — Iris Yamashita"Little Miss Sunshine" — Michael Arndt"The Queen" — Peter Morgan"United 93" — Paul Greengrass BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:"The Departed" — William Monahan"Little Children" — Todd Field & Tom Perrotta"Notes On A Scandal" — Patrick Marber"A Prairie Home Companion" — Garrison Keillor"Thank You For Smoking" — Jason Reitman

From the "We told you so" dept.: Journey has a new lead singer

Journey yesterday officially named Jeff Scott Soto as its new lead singer, following Steve Augeri, who had replaced Steve Perry.

LR Advertising and Promotion

City Director Dean Kumpuris, we understand, defended the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission and budgeting of the LR Convention and Visitors Bureau at the City Board meeting last night This was a prelude to an A&P Commission meeting today, the first opportunity for the group to respond to the fusillade of allegations of poor financial management and self-dealing in a series of recent articles and editorials in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Going to be a slow day

We just noticed that an Illinois newspaper, tired of the litany of critical comments from readers on its website, has decreed that Wednesday will be Peace and Goodwill Reader Comments Day.

The payday bloodsuckers

Could there be a legislative solution to the glacial, frustrating pace of court efforts to get a final state Supreme Court ruling that payday lending fees are interest and so wildly beyond the Constitution's usury limit to be almost criminal?

As a favor to friends

We post here a link to a page to vote on the 2006 Arkansas GLBT Person of the Year.

John Lennon: Quite the leftist

Today the FBI announced that it had released the last of its survelliance documents on John Lennon to a university historian who has fought for a quarter-century to get the secret files.

Almost forgot...

This is something I tripped over while looking for terrible Christmas Gifts and it struck me as funny:

Setback on the River Market open-container law

Some River Market District clubowners would like an open-container law, but with special considerations that aren't in any of the proposals they've heard so far.

For the record

1) We've been out of pocket for an airport run. 2) If you plan to drive to or from downtown on Cantrell Road/LaHarpe, don't.

But wait ...

... clearing out my e-mail I notice that the Little Rock Zoo has announced the birth of a couple of sloth bear cubs.

Wait just a minute longer

AP has a report on the first income figures from video poker, etc., gambling at Southland and Oaklawn.