The 2011 Express is soon to wheeze into the station, so it's time once again for our annual Best and Worst issue, the Arkansas Times' roundup of all the news that was fit to print (and some that probably wasn't) in the Sovereign Asylum of Arkansas this year.
Vol 38 • No 17
And The Body at White Water Tavern, Lucero at Revolution, The Evelyns at Pizza D, Fair to Midland at Downtown, The Big Cats at White Water Tavern and Christmas with Pamela at Porter's.
Everywhere I go, people ask me less often about politics than about Layla.
Also for Gus Malzahn and stupid resolutions. It was a bad week for campaign disclosure and new ideas to feed the hungry.
Despite having a car crash through its dining room last Thursday morning, Pizza D'Action remains open for business. By the time you read this, there likely won't be any sign of the crash.
He's more to be censured than pitied.
As the Dec. 31 deadline approaches, your trusty Times staff will continue to beat the old showcase drum.
Mixed bag at the confoundingly-named new Quapaw Tower restaurant.
The story line in the Republican presidential sweepstakes is that, unlike the ephemeral pack leaders who preceded him, Newt Gingrich has staying power because people already know all his warts and transgressions and have either accepted or forgiven them.
The Pulaski Tech Board of Trustees has voted to build a new facility for its growing culinary and hotel management curriculum on its South Campus on Interstate 30 near the Saline County line.
Occupy Little Rock protestors march on the State Capitol building Saturday in Little Rock.
There seems to be a growing consensus out there that the End of Men is upon us.
Plus Free Micah and Whale Fire at Stickyz and more.
The Pulaski Tech Board of Trustees Tuesday decided they couldn't afford to locate a new facility for its culinary and hospitality school downtown. But some talk immediately emerged of another potential Pulaski Tech project
The ACLU of Arkansas is paying close attention to a move by Jonesboro high school patrons to remove "The Kite Runner" from a senior English class curriculum because of its "presentation of Islam as a viable and genuine religion."
Fresh off starring in Jeff Nichols' Arkansas-set film "Mud," Reese Witherspoon is tied to another Arkansas-connected role.
No child uncoerced ever said "All I want for Christmas is my two front teefe." Waste a rare and precious Christmas wish by asking for an unessential body part that'll inevitably be arriving soon anyway? Not likely. Kids aren't stupid. Songwriters, though ...
The only thing more worthless, false and wrong than global warming is this article. Why do liberals always believe the evidence for global warming but as soon as one of their leftist scientist claims it's a hoax, they are the crazy ones not to be believed?
The Arkansas arts and entertainment year in-review.
The state Ethics Commission last week voted 4-0 to dismiss my complaint that the Committee for Little Rock's Future, which spent more than $200,000 in support of Little Rock's recent sales tax proposal, hadn't adequately reported how it spent the money.
Carroll County co-op board bad actor, lawsuit says.
It's Christmas this week — can't you hear all the little kiddies yelling "AT LAST!" all over town? — and this time of year always gets The Observer thinking about Christmases past.
David Fincher's 'Dragon Tattoo' adaptation titillates.
I have a friend who has uttered this mantra, or some semblance thereof, for years: If the Hogs are winning on the football field, then no one will care about the basketball team.
Reason number 1,918 the Internet is great: Capitol Words, a project from the transparency group the Sunlight Foundation, scrapes the Congressional Record so users can search the most-used words and phrases in Congress.
* THE LR CITY BOARD'S WORD IS DIRT: The Little Rock City Board of Directors last night repealed a 1993 city resolution not to put any more money into improving Chenal Parkway for the benefit of developers.
I believe we mentioned in coverage yesterday and in an editorial on the decision that the push to get Pulaski Tech to put its culinary school downtown likely wouldn't be the last you'd hear about downtown sites for Tech programs.
This is sad news that merits more reporting, but following is a letter received by members of the Westside YMCA: Dear YMCA Members:After operating the Westside YMCA facility for over 35 years, the Y Board has decided to close the facility.
The Hot Springs Taliban strikes again. Mayor Ruth Carney, the conservative preacher's wife who believes there's no such constitutional doctrine as separation of church and state, continues to work to impose her outlook on the Spa City.
The Body plays White Water Tavern Wednesday.
Lalah Hathaway plays Cajun's Wharf Wednesday.
Lucero plays Revolution Wednesday night.
With help from local investors, The City Wire continues to expand as an on-line-only source of news for Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas.
Sen. Mark Pryor issues a statement on the Army's decision to provide a $100,000 death benefit and funeral expenses for the family of an Arkansas soldier, Capt. Samson Luke, who died at his home during National Guard service at Fort Chaffee.
Framing Hanley plays Juanita's Wednesday night.
Experienced some traffic slowdowns on Interstate 40 lately? Sure you have if you've been on the freeway west of Brinkley.
Gov. Mike Beebe will announce this afternoon that he's found money to meet the January payroll for trial court assistants.
The Poultry Federation is planning a new Chicken House. Chicken House is the term of affection for the headquarters building at 2nd and Victory for the poultry lobby, once known as the Arkansas Poultry Federation but renamed after merger with organizations in Oklahoma and Missouri.
U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer will have a news conference this afternoon to discuss a plea bargain filed in federal court today concerning Sedrick "Binky" Trice, one of the defendants swept up the Delta Blues bust of drug rings in eastern Arkansas, particularly centered in Helena-West Helena.
Which acts would you like to see come to Verizon Arena?
I expect to be back. But it's that happy time of the year when my kids are coming home for Christmas and I have airport duty.
Something vaguely unsettling in the report that drone use is increasing in the skies of the United States, used in one notable case of North Dakota cattle rustling.
Cory Branan plays White Water Tavern Thursday.
Bloomberg Views writer's attack on Alice Walton gets more blowback.
The Evelyns play Pizza D'Action Thursday night.
You don’t usually go to an Irish pub for a burger. You’d expect more to dine on bangers and mash or fish and chips, right?
Doesn't much matter nationally. When Bro.
Fair to Midland plays Downtown Music Hall Thursday night.
Taking a page from the Mike Huckabee playbook (how could you forget the image above, with the "accidental" cross image?), Newt Gingrich and his third wife, Calista, go all feel-good Christmasy in an ad in Iowa to lift themselves above the carnage of the bunker buster bombs Mitt Romney has unleashed on the Gingrich campaign.
The Sierra Club and Audubon Arkansas have announced a settlement with SWEPCO, the utility building the Turk coal-fired power plant in Hempstead County.
I heard last night and a Facebook post from Jason Willett this morning now confirms that a misdemeanor charge brought against Willett in 2010 at a Hyatt hotel in Washington, D.C. had been dropped.
The Big Cats play White Water Tavern Friday.
Pamela Smith hosts the Christmas with Pamela benefit at Porter's Jazz Cafe Friday.
So, you’ve waited until the last minute to get something for the culinarily included member of your family... why not send them on a culinary mission to the great wilds of western Pulaski County, where they can explore P. Allen Smith's Garden Retreat and enjoy some of Smith's great home cooking?
Lots of news coverage of a Navy ritual yesterday in Virginia, the sharing of a "first kiss" after a sailor returned home from an extended deployment.
OK, I confess. I usually don't open the e-mail containing Gov. Mike Beebe's weekly radio address.
The SWEPCO settlement, Pulaski Tech and downtown Little Rock, UCA’s new president, Lake Maumelle, campaign disclosure, the LR Technology Park and more are covered in this week's early edition podcast.
Lucero's Wednesday night show at the Rev Room in Little Rock was a raucous, but jovial, one.
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford has posted on his website encouragement for House Speaker John Boehner to compromise on the payroll tax cut, as Senate Republicans have asked ..... immediately above a news release decrying this "irresponsible" deal.
The Thursday line commences. Final words: * MERRY CHRISTMAS: We were happy to see that Aaron Reddin, featured in the Times for his service to homeless through The Van, had received a $10,000 grant from Walmart for his program, The One, to help homeless people.
There's plenty of philanthropy at there at Christmas time, but I've always had a soft spot for those who labor each year to line up a Christmas for children in protective custody of the state Division of Child and Family Services.
40/29 reports that two Van Buren teens are on ventilators, but in stable condition, at Arkansas Children's Hospital after suffering severe burns in a bonfire Thursday night.
Stephens Media reports on the purchase of the Pines Mall in Pine Bluff by a Houston, Texas real estate firm.
Analysis is that the payroll tax compromise was a victory for the president and loss for Congressional Republicans.
Today's smirk, from Talking Points Memo: Perhaps you've read about Minnnesota Sen. Amy Koch, the Republican majority leader, who recently gave up her leadership position because of an "inappropriate relationship" with a Senate staff member.
We reported earlier about the hit-and-run driver who, last Thursday, mashed into the front window of Pizza D'Action on West Markham Street at Kavanaugh in Stifft Station.
Our item yesterday about a Naval custom — "first kiss" after deployment — celebrated by a same-sex couple was the most commented of the day.
The Bull Shoals restaurant makes its own desserts, including this family reunion mint and chocolate throwback that's a perfect meal-ender.
Carol Denice Burton, 30, was charged with first-degree murder this morning for fatally stabbing the father of one of her children in the chest at 6819 W. 33rd Street about 2:20 a.m. this morning.
Lottery officials are keeping a close watch on Georgia. The person who bought a $77 million Powerball ticket at a Georgia truck stop June 29 has until Monday night before the 180-day window closes to claim the prize.
Begging your pardon for my obsession with this topic. It is partly engendered by my long affection for Iowa (father, mother, sister, uncle all spent college time there; have had great friends there; even spent a vacation there once, in August, believe it or not.)
Summit Bank is where you'll find copies of Festivities, Too — the CARTI cookbook packed with recipes from more than 170 famous folks in Arkansas. Check out a Bûche de Noël recipe from Chef Andre Poirot of the Peabody Little Rock.
Sorry. Things to do.
Here's a short version from the Russellville Courier on the City Council's 7-1 vote Friday to censure member Paul Northcut for comments he made in an e-mail opposing appointments to the Planning Conmission.
Big news here and the fallout should be significant, particularly for gambling halls. The Justice Department has significantly softened its position on the legality of Internet gambling.
The payroll tax deal inevitably means the Obama administration won't approve the Keystone pipeline in the two-month window provided.
The next time a teabagger blames the financial crisis on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government insurance agencies, you might refer them to Joe Nocera's column in New York Times today.
By midday, all should be peaceful across the land, if not before. We'll be cooking for tonight and tomorrow.
The State Police says a black woman was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Interstate 30 near the Geyer Springs exit about 2:30 a.m. this morning.
Richard Ratley, 35, was fatally shot about 2:30 a.m. this morning when he and his brother were attacked by two men outside Discovery, the nightclub on Cottondale Lane in the warehouse district in Riverdale, police said.
Still hear the bells?
For those who observe the day, I hope Santa wish lists were fulfilled. For all, I wish warmth, security and companionship.
Stephens Media takes an advance look at the 2012 campaign to raise the state sales tax a half-cent to pay for an almost $2 billion four-lane road construction program.
The New York Times today editorializes on the failure of U.S. law to provide a minimum wage for home care aides.
Indiana U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, nobody's liberal but also nobody's wackjob, is in a tough primary race against a Tea Party candidate and he's gone on the offensive against the lunatic fringe.
It had to happen, I guess, but I'm still sorry that closer examination of Newt Gingrich's record has put his polling numbers in sharp decline.
Grapevine, Texas, police say the man believed to have killed six family members and then himself on Christmas Day was wearing a Santa Claus suit.
Still no claims on a $77 million Powerball ticket sold in a Georgia truck stop six months ago.
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is the subject of another article and slide show in the New York Times today.
And the January schedule at the Bentonville museum.
Max has an item on his Arkansas Blog about the New York Times' rave review of Crystal Bridges, which it describes as a "a big, serious, confident, new institution."
Check out a NSFW X-mas tune from Brother Andy.
Slow day and it's now over to you. Final words: * TEACH FOR AMERICA CRITICISM: For education reformers': a takedown of Teach for America.
The New York Times examines the rolls of concealed carry permit holders in North Carolina — one of the few states where carry records remain fully open — and finds this in a five-year review of records: More than 2,400 permit holders were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, excluding traffic-related crimes, over the five-year period, The Times found when it compared databases of recent criminal court cases and licensees.
The Wall Street Journal has published a previously unpublished essay by Christopher Hitchens on Christmas.
Ernest Dumas explains this week how U.S. House Republicans, including the Three Mouseketeers from Arkansas — Tim Griffin, Steve Womack and Rick Crawford — finally found an issue they couldn't have both ways and were forced to capitulate on a payroll tax cut for working people.
A New York Times editorial targets the growing Republican effort to suppress voting among target groups believed unfriendly to Republican causes.
This little shop on Markham is a great place to find a variety of dumplings.
The company that owns Sears and Kmart says it will close 100 to 120 stores following a disappointing Christmas sales season.
Says here that nobody claimed the $77 million Powerball ticket sold at a Georgia highway stop six months ago, so the money will be distributed to participating states based on percentage of tickets sold on that drawing in each state (about .8 percent in Arkansas.)
The ACLU announced today that the Central Arkansas Transit Authority agrees that citizens have at least some First Amendment rights — such as leafleting and gathering petition signatures — at the River City Travel Center.
Thomas Nast, Al Capp, Walt Kelly and more.
Last day is Dec. 31.
The abstract expressionist stain painter died today.
The nation's debt limit apparently will be going up. And that tricky President Obama may have done it in such a way to make it harder for the Republicans to make a political show out of it.
Tyrannosaurus Chicken is but one of many bands playing Nightflying's 31st Anniversary Party.
Ginsu Wives play the Ugly Sweater Party at Revolution Wednesday night.
The State Police said today that they have new information in seeking a suspect in the hit-and-run death of Lakevia Jiles, 35, early Christmas Eve on Interstate 30 near Geyer Springs.
The Coalition to Save the Geese of Burns Park has announced that the city of North Little Rock has agreed to a non-lethal method of controlling the Canada geese problem in the city's Burns Park.
To the Laman Library in North Little Rock.
Channel 7's Angela Rachels Twitters a report of a shooting in the Park Plaza parking deck.
Take it away. A final note: * DON'T MAKE FUN OF JESUS — OR TIM TEBOW: Bill Maher revels in a Tim Tebow loss and naturally Fox and friends are piling on the irreverent comedian for bringing Jesus and Hitler into it.
Sunday Valley plays Maxine's Thursday night.
607 plays with other past Musicians Showcase winners at Stickyz Thursday.
Mojo Depot plays The Afterthought Friday night.
The Cool Shoes End of the Year Party is Friday at Downtown Music Hall.
Dash Rip Rock plays Stickyz Friday night.
The First Smackdown of 2012 takes place Tuesday, Jan. 3 at Verizon Arena.
The Frontier Circus plays Stickyz Tuesday night.
The Argenta Film Series presents Robert Walden Thursday at Argenta Community Theater.
Hosty Duo plays Stickyz Friday.
Zoso plays Revolution Saturday night.