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December 26, 2013

Vol 40 • No 17

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Best and worst 2013

It's our annual roundup of the year's dumbest, weirdest, oddest, strangest and all-around Arkansasiest

Those un-American Republicans in the Darr case

I join with many others, including members of the Arkansas Republican delegation in Congress, that admission of multiple ethical violations involving expenditure of campaign and tax money for personal expenses demands Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's resignation.

The Pryor strategy against Tom Cotton — all Arkansas all the time

[embed-1] The ad above, attacking Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton in his effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, is one of a torrent of advertising by the candidates, pil

Kearney family patriarch dies at 107

Say the name Kearney and you've said a synonym for family values. The family's remarkable history has been written about often.

Thursday To-Do: Shen Yun

SHEN YUN 7:30 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall.

New Year's reading: Gun control, college cheating, single-payer insurance

I commend several articles after a quick flip through today's New York Times: * GUN CONTROL: The gun nuts of Arkansas would have you believe the 2nd Amendment prohibits in manner of regulation of firearms.

Kiyen's "Kathy Lee" roll is a beautiful disaster

When it arrives at the table, the Kathy Lee roll looks like an utter disaster. But looks, in this case, were deceiving.

Open line: a quiet start to the New Year

The line is open. Finishing up:

Race and class in America: There is NOT a shared experience

Wonkblog is a regular source of fresh ways of looking at big political themes of the day.

Will House Republicans relent on immigration policy?

The New York Times today reports that House Speaker John Boehner will back incremental changes in immigration policy.

Friday To-Do: Lil Flip

Lil Flip performs at Revolution Friday.

Weekend: Dangerous Idiots, Matthew Huff and more

Matthew Huff performs at Revolution Saturday night.

Friday To-Do: Color Club

Color Club plays at White Water Tavern Friday.

Florida court strikes down drug-testing law for welfare recipients

This was a certainty, but it happened: A Florida federal judge has struck down the Florida law requiring drug testing for welfare 

Wakarusa 2014 lineup announcement part the first: STS9, Umphrey's McGee, Michael Franti, Dr. Dog and more

Wakarusa announced the first part of its 2014 lineup this morning.

Little Rock Marathon medal is biggest yet

Channel 4 caught my attention with a question for viewers about what they think of the medal to be awarded all finishers in the Little Rock Marathon on March 2.

Humanist group objects to Nativity scene at Baxter County courthouse in Mountain Home

The American Humanist Association has written official in Mountain Home to object to the Christian nativity scene on the lawn of the Baxter County Courthouse.

Rats abandoning the S.S. Mark Darr

David Goins of Fox 16 tweeks that Republican state Rep. Andy Mayberry, a candidate for lieutenant governor, has joined others in calling for Lt. Gov. Mark Darr to resign for ethics violations.

Pryor wins rule changes on school lunch program

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor said today that as a result efforts by him and other senators that the 

Thursday night line: Charter school in a nutshell

Here's your Thursday night line. Some final words:

Gallery 26 open tonight for 1st Thurs

It's Shop 'n' Sip and look at art night in the Hillcrest neighborhood.

Here are some songs that were 2013 favorites at Rock Candy HQ

Seeing as how another span of 365.25 days (also referred to as a "year") has ended, and it's kind of a slow week, I thought I'd post some tunes from some of my favorite albums that were released in that span of time. 

Last in 50-50-50

The final installment in the anniversary exhibition at the Arts Center.

Artists to Face Off at Arts Center

An artists portraiture competition, Final Four-style.

Coconut is king at Charlotte's Eats and Sweets

Keo is a tiny town just outside of Little Rock. It’s a short drive away, a very small sacrifice for such special pie.

Make way for Gov. Mark Darr

Best news of the day was tucked down toward the end of developments in the Democrat-Gazette's account of the saga of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and the question of whether he'll resign from office on account of misspending of taxpayer and campaign money.

Baby it's cold outside, but the planet is still slowly roasting

With a massive snowfall in the Northeast and temps heading to single digits in Arkansas, it shouldn't be long before the climate deniers pop up on the letters pages of local newspapers.

Actress Traci Law deals Sen. Rapert a smackdown on Twitter

If somebody has a bad health care outcome, Sen. Jason Rapert blames it on Obamacare.

Saturday: The Cantrells

The Cantrells perform Saturday at Thomson Hall.

Baxter County nativity scene coming down — as is customary

I wrote yesterday about a humanist group's letter objecting to the Nativity scene on the Baxter County courthouse lawn, a tradition of some 40 years.

State revenue continues ahead of last year, near forecast target

The state report on tax revenue in December shows gross and net revenue for the month just about on target with the forecast, up about 3 percent over last year.

Record art sales for 2013

Mutual Art rounds up 2013 sales of Rockwell, etc.

Food Feedback Friday: The first of the year

So what are you eating in 2014? What are you filling your faces with? It’s your turn to sound off on this week’s Food Feedback Friday.

Coming Sunday: Cushman at AAC

A Friends of Contemporary Craft event.

Tonight: Trisha Holt at Good Weather Gallery

Work that is "in search of absurdities."

Monday: ASU's John Brady, Seis Puentes Awards Dinner

The Downtown Tip Off Club hosts Arkansas State University men's basketball head coach John Brady, 11:15 a.m., Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, $15-$20.

Tuesday-Wednesday To-Do: The Secret Sisters

The Secret Sisters perform at White Water Tavern Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Opening Friday: 2014 "Small Works on Paper"

The 27th annual show opens its 2014 tour at Pine Bluff.

Counting to four come 2014

With the clock ticking, Democrats are harmed by a failure to recruit candidates for two posts — land commissioner and state treasurer.

Liars and cheats

The year ends with a couple of issues that demand a little attention before the Times takes a week off from normal publication.

Don't need Darr, don't need the office, either

Mindful of the great injunction that Republicans not speak ill of one another, Arkansas GOP leaders embraced Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's own explanation for converting some $44,000 of public and campaign funds to his own use: He is not a crook, they said, but just a poor fellow who is in over his head. He didn't know it was against the law to convert public funds and political cash to his personal use.


The Observer, as you may have heard, teaches a course out at the college a few nights a week. Film in one case. It's a lovely thing, introducing folks to movies they may have never heard of, may have heard of but never watched, or watched but never watched in a way that helps them understand what the heck they're really about.

Make room for Huck

Bro. Huckabee is, as I have long suspected, beginning his warm-ups for 2016.

Benjamin del Shreve comes to Revolution

Dangerous Idiots come to Stickyz.

Silent corporate handout

The Little Rock City Board last week approved a tax increment finance district bond issue supported by property tax dollars from schools and local government to help developer Tommy Hodges build roads and other infrastructure for the already-built Bass Pro Shop and the coming Gateway Town Center.

The laughs occasionally continue in 'Anchorman' sequel

ince graduating from "Saturday Night Live" 11 years ago, Will Ferrell has built the sort of ubiquity that few, if any, other former sketch comedians have achieved, and he's done it by aiming at a low-to-middle brow audience that, unlike Adam Sandler's, has at least learned how to breath through its nostrils.

Bullish on Hog baskeball

It's getting a bit alarming, but Pearls is starting to be effusive about the state of men's basketball at U of A, and that's kind of a rarity of late. Finishing 2013 with optimism was something we all hoped would be in the form of an overachieving football team scrapping for a win in a low-end bowl game, or a flourish of late-season commits, but listen, we'll take what we can get.

Big Cats and Mulehead play White Water Tavern

Also, Bret Michaels comes to Juanita's, Shen Yun at Robinson Center Music Hall, Color Club at White Water Tavern, Lil Flip at Revolution and The Secret Sisters at White Water Tavern.


Now that I've actually seen a few episodes, "Duck Dynasty" is relatively harmless entertainment. Whatever "reality-TV" means, it's definitely not that. It's a semi-scripted sitcom, basically cornball self-parody. Think "Hee Haw" without the music. I find it utterly inane, but then I don't watch TV with children.

Most read stories on in 2013

What do people like to read about on the Arkansas Times' website?

Still the season

Paul Barrows submitted this photo of the state capitol dressed with LED Christmas lights to our Eye On Arkansas Flickr group.

It was a good year for health coverage in Arkansas

It was also a good year for a massive settlement, Leonard Cooper, competitive congressional races and hungry downtown workers. It was a bad year for corrupt politicians, Arkansas Razorbacks football, Mayflower, Arkansas women's right to choose, thoughtless tweeting and accountability at the University of Arkansas. It was the best and worst of years for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

New Year's Eve party guide

Where to greet 2014 in Central Arkansas.

Church, VA partner to help rural veterans

Tackle PTSD, other problems.

Vote in the 2014 Readers Choice Restaurant poll

It's time again to cast votes in the state's longest-running annual assessment of the best places to eat in Arkansas.

A look inside Cache, opening Jan. 7th

Look for Cache to open officially on January 7th for both dinner and lunch. If the food can deliver a performance as impressive as the restaurant surrounding it, Little Rock is surely in for a spectacular downtown dining experience.

Friday To-Do: The Big Cats, Mulehead

The Big Cats play at White Water Tavern Friday night.

Friday To-Do: Bret Michaels

Bret Michaels performs at Juanita's Friday night.

A.M. Report: Frank Broyles, pivotal 2014 elections, heavy armor

Christmas week seems likely to end with a whimper from a news angle, if not from the business of exchanging Christmas presents and fix

Police beat: Homicide arrest; DWI arrest after car hits Statehouse Convention Center

It's a slow day here in Little Rock, but the police beat never stops. Reports this morning:

Start the year with a clean slate: amnesty in Little Rock District Criminal Court

The city of Little Rock's district criminal court will have an amnesty program the five Frday in January to allow payment of past due fines and court costs without being arrested.

Millionaires: Lottery winner, Clinton Library visitor

In rapid succession, two e-mails arrived about big numbers containing six zeroes: * LOTTERY WINNER: Kenneth Beard, show above with his wife, Colleen, won $1 million with a $20 scratch off ticket purchase

The armed and dangerous Crimson Tide fan open line

It is so quiet I am reduced to SEC football humor and particularly

All is well with Duck Dynasty at A&E

Nothing to see here any longer. Move along.

Tom Cotton's double standard on disaster victims

The Democratic Party makes regular note of U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton's hypocrisy. For example:

Full University of Arkansas cast on agenda for review of Advancement controversy

Thanks to Rep. Nate Bell for bird-dogging the University of Arkansas Advancement Division accountability scandal that just won't go away no matter how hard the UA tries to shut it down.

Hogs vs. scenery and clean water on the Buffalo National River

Several readers last night sent along links to a report in the New York Times today on the hog feeding operation in Newton County close by a major tributary of the Buffalo River.

Conflicts of interest in academic research

I am tempted to put this in the dog bite category: An extensive report in the New York Times about whether college researchers who produce work valuable to moneyed interests are influenced by the financial rewards they get from these same interests.

Livable Little Rock: We're No. 1

By popular demand, a link to MSN Real Estate which put Little Rock No. 1 on a list of livable cities.

Matt Lowman shares a piece of his pie

Pastry chef, Matt Lowman, shares with us his recipe for chocolate cream pie. Make, eat, and enjoy.

Saturday night line: Mike Huckabee confronts big boobs — and more

Here's a place for comment. Since I was last here:

Arkansas government growth: As compared to what?

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today did its annual ritual review of state government employment. Non-college employment actually dropped.

Help for thousands on the line in unemployment debate

John Lyon at Stephens Media reports on the high stakes in the congressional debate over whether to renew the long-term unemployment benefits program.

The wintry mix open line

I stopped by a grocery store to buy a bag of frozen vegetables for soup.

Democrats turn to minimum wage in 2014

Jonathan Martin of the New York Times reports today on using the need for an increase in the minimum wage as a political tool.

Study: Arkansas a big winner from Obamacare

Here's a report from Wallet Hub which restates the obvious: The state's that take advantage of Obamacare — such as Arkansas — get a huge return.

Upworthy: Brilliant young scholar at University of Arkansas

Need some seasonal uplift: Read the UA News Service's account of Raymond Walter of Mountain, who'll graduate in May, at age 18, with a triple major in economics, physics and math.

The judge who ruled for same-sex marriage in Utah came highly praised by GOP

Nice profile in New York Times on the Utah federal judge who said the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Big cat on the prowl in Hillcrest

I've seen fox, coon possum, squirrel, chipmunk, coyote ad deer in the woods and verges that surround the water treatment plant at Ozark Point.

LRPD: Investigation open on robbery of governor's aide, new evidence cited

In response to a reader query, I again asked LRPD about progress on the investigation into the fall robbery of Lamar Davis, the governor's chief of staff.

Census estimate: Arkansas grows by almost 10,000

The Census Bureau today issued new population estimates for the states and the U.S. All but two states — West Virginia and — gained population according to the numbers.

Monday open line: Death at the zoo; testimony preview in pipeline case

For me, the snow was purely ornamental. I hope the rest can say the same.

UPDATE: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr accepts $11,000 fine for multiple ethics law violations; blames "recordkeeping"

Because Little Rock lawyer Matt Campbell brought the complaint that resulted in this action, he's received notice of the resolution of multiple ethics violations by Lt. Gov. Mark Darr.

The last morning of 2013: Ice not so nice; time for prosecutors to review Mark Darr

State Police reporting some icy spots on highways. One particular trouble spot Highway 67 ramp to I-440.

Ringing in the New Year in the country's "most livable" city

For some reason, this advisory from the Little Rock Police Department struck me ironic funny bone:

UPDATE: Beebe calls for resignation of Lt. Gov. Mark Darr

Well of course he did. Monday’s Ethics Commission meeting confirmed there was probable cause that Mark Darr broke 11 state campaign and ethics rules.

Find iPhone app solves a WLR burglary overnight

Lt. Sidney Allen of the Little Rock Police Department reports that a find iPhone app led to burglary arrests and recovery of electronic gear taken yesterday afternoon from a home in the St. Charles subdivision.

Nate Steel calls for Darr resignation: Republicans divided or silent on question

More responses to Lt. Gov. Mark Darr's admission of 11 ethical violations and acceptance of an $11,000 fine (a stiffer penalty than given Sen. Paul Bookout before he voluntarily resigned over similar ethical misdeeds): \ * REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE ASA HUTCHINSON: 

The New Year's Eve line; a past blast from the cheating Mark Darr

Take a cork out of it. The year is ending.