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December 24, 2009

Vol 7 • No 50

Jesus on his back

No matter what you might have heard on TV, there was nothing fancy about it.

Banned journalists

Sensitive Republicans have given a cold-shoulder to select members of media. * Veteran Texas Monthly political writer Paul Burka was banned by Kay Bailey Hutchison's campaign from participating in a televised gubernatorial debate (link fixed) co-sponsored by -- Texas Monthly.

Twittering with Lincoln

The re-elect Blanche Lincoln campaign machinery is spinning nonstop on the senator's achievements in the health debate and other areas.

Letting the slack out

The long holiday weekend has begun. Readers take over.

Blanche Lincoln, a minority view

Democrats, mad at her over health care, bemoan that Blanche Lincoln is no real Democrat.

Health bill winners

We won’t know who in the political firmament are the winners and losers in the health-care wars until the 2010 election, but it is easy to identify the logical winners: the Arkansas Democrats who will vote for the final bill in late winter.

Mosaic Templars to unveil art collection

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center will unveil on New Year’s Eve the first pieces in its collection of art by African Americans, 19 works purchased with grant funds from the state Natural and Cultural Resources Council.

Blow to health care?

A ruling this week by a Lee County Circuit Court judge has left in question whether a clinic founded in Marianna 40 years ago that serves Lee, Phillips and St. Francis counties will survive.

Dec. 16-22, 2009

It was a GOOD week for: AMERICA. The tyranny of the teabaggers and angry just-say-no Republicans failed to derail health legislation.

Sushi survey

Like many urban areas, Central Arkansas sees an upswing in certain dining options from time to time.

Orval, Dec. 24

What's Cookin', Dec. 24

Sue Khoo, the longtime owner of Unique Furniture in Jacksonville, has opened an Asian grocery in the Broadmoor Shopping Center at 3002 S. University.

EPA ruling could make coal costly

On Dec. 7, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a final ruling that greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) are harmful to public health and the environment, and therefore subject to EPA regulation.

Words, Dec. 24

Steve Taylor asks whether or not we need whether or not:

Letter to Santa

Season’s greetings, right jolly little old elf dude.

Harping and some bullet points

I let a number of stories fall by the wayside last week in order to give the space over to something far more pressing than any immediate condition of our football program.

Smart Talk, Dec. 24

Help. We’re looking for ideas for a feature in our Best Restaurants issue in February.

EPA ruling could make coal costly

On Dec. 7, the federal Environmental Protection Agency issued a final ruling that greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) are harmful to public health and the environment, and therefore subject to EPA regulation.

Cut the Chamber subsidy

A hearty second to Robert Johnston’s suggestion to end the city of Little Rock’s subsidy of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.

This Modern World, Dec. 24

To-Do List, Dec. 24

Holidays at the Social Lounge, American Princes / Love Ghost / the See, the Listening, Fair to Midland, the Big Cats / the Reds and Arkansas vs. Baylor are this week's top picks.

DAUGHTRY

Chris Daughtry has been a much bigger winner than almost all of the real winners of “American Idol.”

I’m the king of cartoons!

I know my little review of “Avatar” ain’t gonna make for a hill of beans in this world.

The Observer, Dec. 24

Though The Observer usually avoids the mall around this time of year like it’s a swine flu convalescence ward, the need for a gift card that we could only get there drew us to the church of consumerism last week.

Editorial Cartoon, Dec. 24

The Televisionist, Dec. 24

Other than Bill and Hillary, it’s hard to think of a Clinton administration figure that inspired more controversy than Dr. Joycelyn Elders.

Season of sacrifice

The Little Rock Board of Directors finished a painful round of budget cutting last week in response to a drop in tax revenue.

Unblue Christmas

The final vote has not been taken as we write, but it appears the historic health-care reform bill will be approved by the Senate.

Five things to anticipate in 2010

1. Lil Wayne at Verizon. After canceling a scheduled March gig at Verizon due to “scheduling conflicts,” Wayne’s back on the books at Verizon.

Truckers stranded

Here's a sad Christmas story with at least some scattered Arkansas connections. Tulsa-based Arrow Trucking suspended operations suddenly, leaving truckers stranded all across the country.

Health care passes

It's done. The Senate has passed legislation to expand health care coverage for millions of Americans.

PTL -- and pass the football

On Christmas Eve, Brummett ponders the South, a place with more church goers, more race problems and better football than just about anywhere.

Elvis is in the building

Here's something to look forward to -- "Elvis at 21." It's a traveling exhibition of photos taken by Al Wertheimer of a young Elvis Presley.

Mike Huckabee's quote book

Adds this one, which I'd missed: Yesterday, in another sign of the deranged, irrational state of Republican “criticism” of health care reform, “aw shucks” theocrat Mike Huckabee compared Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson to Judas Iscariot.

Spin cycle: Health care reform

I don't intend to maintain a comprehensive compendium of the spin issuing from various positions on health care.

Build me an ark

One of my favorite Christmas Eve traditions, a family walk after the streets have quieted, seems likely to be a rainout this year.

Helping the uninsured

President Obama made symbolic phone calls today to illustrate the value of new health legislation -- such as an end to arbitrary denial of insurance coverage to healthy people who made errors in filling out application forms, never mind pre-existing medical conditons.

White Flag.

After reading my last blog, my dad emailed me and noted two short words: Red flag.

Flood follies

Brian Chilson, in this photo from Arch Street Pike at I-30, shows how people get in trouble.

Meanwhile, the campaign

JasonTolbert has a report that Republican senatorial candidate Kim Hendren has cooked up a survey -- and I think cooked is a pretty good word for the methodology -- that says he could be a contender in the Republican primary, neck and neck with Gilbert Baker.

Christmas Orphans Unite.

By request, I've been searching out restaurants that plan to be open on Christmas Day.  So far, very few local operations plan to serve up food, opting instead to allow employees to spend time with their families.  The main exceptions:  Oriental variety restaurants, such as Panda Garden at Shackleford Crossing and Shogun on Cantrell.  Capital Bar and Grill plans to be open, but Ashley's will be closed.  Of course, there are chains such as IHOP and Waffle House...

Christmas Orphans Unite.

By request, I've been searching out restaurants that plan to be open on Christmas Day.  So far, very few local operations plan to serve up food, opting instead to allow employees to spend time with their families.  The main exceptions:  Oriental variety restaurants, such as Panda Garden at Shackleford Crossing and Shogun on Cantrell.  Capital Bar and Grill plans to be open, but Ashley's will be closed.  Of course, there are chains such as IHOP and Waffle House...

Can you hear the bell?

I think I can. MCTAATAAGN

I'm sorry, but this is awful

David Goins of Fox 16 reports that a Salvation Army captain was shot to death while dropping off bell-ringers at a North Little Rock Army facility today.

2009, A to Z

ARKANSAS MUSIC It was a banner year for Arkansas music, as a number of these entries will hopefully demonstrate.

Jesus on his back

No matter what you might have heard on TV, there was nothing fancy about it. In fact, the only Jesus-y thing I can think of about that night is that my boyfriend, Honey Patterson, has this lighted statue of the Virgin Mary hot glued to the dashboard of his Chevelle.

In Brief, Dec. 24

Local nightlife perks up post-Santa on Saturday, with Times Showcase winner Velvet Kente turning White Water into a dance club, 9:30 p.m., $5.

Remembering the New Deal

Have time to read? This NY Times feature on Eleanor, W.Va., is worth the time.

Judges: Elect or appoint?

An effort led by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra O'Connor to end election of judges has received some news attention lately.

No arrests in Salvation Army slaying

Bill Lawson of Stephens Media provides coverage of yesterday's slaying of Salvation Army Maj. Philip Wise, 40, during an attempted robbery.

No arrests in Salvation Army slaying

Bill Lawson of Stephens Media provides coverage of yesterday's slaying of Salvation Army Maj. Philip Wise, 40, during an attempted robbery.

Merry Christmas

I leave the line open for those who'll be on the computer now and then today.

The Christmas line

Well. Heckuva day here.

Sushi survey

Top picks from Little Rock’s top Japanese restaurants.

Courtesy of the Cornhusker

John Brummett explains how Sen. Ben Nelson's special deal on a new Medicaid expansion might eventually lift all states.

Holiday rules

I'm guessing activity will be light here as family events take precedence. Fire at will.

Love Your Leftovers.

The last round for a while, at least in the turkey department.  A reminder -- even refrigerated, you have about a two day span on your cooked turkey life.  After that, you're opening yourself up for trouble.  No worries -- if you think or know you're going to have leftovers longer, you can freeze them now and keep them for up to four months.  Just tightly wrap your turkey bits in aluminum foil and place them in an airtight freezer bag.  Get as much of the air out of the bag as you can before you seal it.

Candidate Sanders?

Hot rumor for a slow day: David Sanders, the former Stephens Media columnist who had a week's employment as Stanley Reed's campaign manager for a U.S. Senate race before Reed dropped out, may be a candidate himself.

The unfriendly skies

A federal charge was filed today against the Nigerian who apparently tried to destroy a plane landing in Detroit yesterday.

SAY WHAT? . . .

It’s been so Christmassy these past few weeks I’m pretty much beyond blessed and party-pooped.

Up in the air

I've been Clooney watching. I really liked it.

2009, A to Z

All the bright spots (and a few low lights) in the year of Arkansas pop-culture, including Kris Allen's unparalleled rise.

More from Jim Holt

The former state senator continues his senatorial fan dance with John Brummett. Sounds like if he could raise $200,000 or so early, he'll certainly be in.

The cost of Medicaid expansion

Republican candidates and even Gov. Mike Beebe have been moaning about how expansion of Medicaid coverage could cost Arkansas.

Unfriendly skies, cont.

Now travelers headed to the U.S. from abroad are getting patdowns and closer scrutiny of carry-on bags.

Attack on free speech

A so-called conservative political candidate -- one of the many who don't believe in free speech with which they disagree -- stirred some noise in Illinois this week by trying to remove a sign posted by the Freedom From Religion organization.

Another open line

The family movie marathon continues. "Invictus" was another good one.

Saving the estate tax

If Congress fails to retroactively reinstate the estate tax in 2010 -- a measure so far blocked by Republicans in the Senate -- the odd effect will be a punishing imposition of capital gains taxes on heirs to smaller estates with potentially damaging consequences for small businesses.

Charging for information

The New York Times today reports on movement by beleaguered publishers to begin charging for content on the Internet.

Farewell, Leftovers.

Blog reader Lu Lu Belle posted this picture on my Facebook page of Turkey & File Gumbo... another good idea for Christmas leftovers.  In fact, she's inspired me.  I got my turkey broth done yesterday and will finish assembling my roux and ingredients for my own potfull today.

WM3 judge shoots from lip

Retired Circuit Judge David Burnett, an announced candidate for state Senate next year, has given an interview to the Jonesboro Sun (link changed to reflect a Sun website update) about the West Memphis Three murder case.

Watch: 'The Bloodstone Diaries' teaser

Dig it.So I’m not accused of burying the lede: This is a teaser for a new web series that stars Katy Allen, wife of Kris Allen, and there’s a good chance that — ZOMG!

A heart for Christmas

George Schroeder, an Oregon sports writer who once worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, writes about a Christmas wish for a heart for his month-old son, in the care of Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Al Qaeda claims responsibility UPDATE

The pants bomber was its work, Al Qaeda claims. Retaliation for Yemen strikes.

Van Buren lands new industry

Announced today: Houston-based Oxane will build a plant in Van Buren to make products used in exploration for gas in shale zones.

Hot off the app assembly line

OK, it's mostly your lobbyist who's likely to be in the market for a phone app for the Arkansas Code.

Reward fund in slaying grows

The reward is now $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the killers of Philip Wise, the Salvation Army major slain during an apparent robbery attempt at a Salvation Army facility in the Baring Cross neighborhood of North Little Rock.

Monday, Monday

Another slow day and, I suspect, more lie ahead this week. A significant number of people in my neighborhood are shut down this week.

NLR by the numbers

Another way of looking at the 2010 North Little Rock budget, approved yesterday by the City Council, 6-1.

Oxymoron: Judicial ethics

Retired Circuit Judge David Burnett, who's done a persuasive job of demonstrating how tiresome he finds efforts of the West Memphis Three to receive justice, is running for state Senate.

The future of health reform

This is a dispiriting article. Whatever happens at the federal level, a fight is shaping up at the state level to cripple reform efforts in state legislatures.

Court restrains Taser use

In what some are calling a landmark decision, a federal appeals court has put limits on police use of Tasers.

Turrible Turrell

A Memphis TV station follows up on shenanigans in Turrell, where the putative police chief was arrested for drawing down on a city councilman and his wife at their home.

Let the sun shine in

Levi Johnston, in a custody fight with Bristol Palin, wins a court round over whether the proceedings should be secret.

Who's an enemy combatant?

The Republican talking point of the day is that the pants bomber should be tried in a military court.

With friends like these ...

Clint Reed, campaign consultant to Republican senatorial candidate Gilbert Baker, is bragging on Twitter that Karl Rove has sent a campaign contribution to Baker.

Tuesday To-Do: Big Cats - The Reds

THE BIG CATS / THE REDS10 p.m., White Water Tavern. Donations.It's a holiday tradition as old as any in the local scene.

Free Candy: New Big Cats

Today only, Max Recordings is giving away an unreleased Big Cats demo recorded earlier this year with Barry Poynter.

Ex-congressional aide in coma in Florida

Word comes that a man familiar to political insiders is in a coma in Florida following a Christmas Day aneurysm.

Stretch of Pig Trail closed

View Larger Map Ever tempted to take the Pig Trail, Highway 23, to Fayetteville for old time's sake?

$2 million bequest to Jones Eye Institute

The Jones Eye Institute at UAMS has received $2 million from the estate of Martha Wood Bentley of Fort Smith, who died in 2007.

'Systemic failure' in security, Obama says

The president minced no words today in assessing the letdowns in security that allowed a potential bomber on a U.S.-bound flight that almost ended in disaster.

Memorial for slain Salvation Army worker

A memorial service was held this afternoon in North Little Rock for Philip Wise, the Salvation Army major slain Christmas Eve in a robbery attempt as he returned to a Salvation Army center after a day of bell-ringing.

Last Hurrahs.

Crush Wine Bar is closing its Little Rock location with a celebration.  Wednesday night starting at five and going until late (or the wine is gone, I suppose) the popular imbing institute will offer all of its wines at the rate of $5 a glass.  This last raising of the glasses is not adieu; a new location is going in over in the Argenta District at 318 Main Street, former home to Cafe La Pace some time in February.  More information about the Crush "Fire Sale" -- call (501) 374-9463.

Women get $19 mil. from Outback

Outback Steakhouse will pay $19 million to settle a national sex discrimination lawsuit against corporate-owned restaurants.

Over to you

Let Tuesday topics commence.

Two $100,000 lottery winners

They were: Angela Boyce of Royal, who won $100,000 on a $5 Money Mania ticket purchased at Royal Shell. Larry Harris II of Grady, who won $100,000 on a $5 Cash Bonanza ticket purchased at Harding Street Valero in Pine Bluff.

Worsts get the best of us

Longtime followers of the Best & Worst of Arkansas might notice that there are considerably more worsts than bests in the 2009 installment, including the daycare operator in Scott who served poisonous wiper fluid thinking it was blue Kool-Aid.

Mike Huckabee's path to victory

Mike Huckabee has assembled a list of reasons -- health care, unemployment, cap-and-trade, etc. -- why Republicans will win in 2010.

Jim Holt passes the plate UPDATE

Roby Brock provides some intel on Jim Holt's dual fund-raisers last night to explore a Republican race for U.S. Senate.

Ark. senators: perfectly green

Environment America, an environmental advocacy group, today lauds Arkansas's senators -- Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln -- for 100 percent voting records on seven environmental votes this year (on climate, clean energy, offshore drilling, etc.).

Welcome to Dinerland.

Central Arkansas is blessed with a wide variety of eateries that fit the diner mold:  plate lunch specials, burgers or sandwiches and usually pie for dessert - all available during the lunch hour.  Some serve up their meals cafeteria style with a line; others feature a wipeboard and a friendly waitperson to take your order.  What they have in common are good service, good food and a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the noontime repast.

On the terror front

Eight Americans dead in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. A suspicious van prompts an evacuation in Times Square, soon to be the gathering spot for New Year's hordes.

Lincoln DID bring home the bacon

The Arkansas Leader is having none of the "fake piety" -- and hypocrisy -- with which the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorialists and other Republican symps are blasting U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln for not bringing home more pork for Arkansas, a la Ben Nelson, even as they castigate the pork barreling.

The State Fair search

Roby Brock's Talk Business has a map and spreadsheet on the 19 proposals for new sites for the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show.
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