There was the summer from hell ... and then things got worse
Vol 37 • No 17
The New Year brings activation of some significant portions of the new health care legislation.
I repeat my call for reader contributions to our list of notable Arkansans in our Arkansan of the Year issue scheduled Jan. 20.
The New York Times today says at least six states will consider legislation this year that mirrors the Arizona effort to crack down on undocumented immigrants.
The state Game and Fish Commission reports dozens of blackbirds falling dead from the sky over Beebe on New Year's Eve.
Fire away b
Jason Tolbert rounds up a little local dispute in Saline County, where Circuit Judge Grisham Phillips refused to swear in the new circuit clerk, Dennis Milligan..
Leslie Peacock's Eye Candy blog reported recently on a piece of public art that emerged recently on the piers of the former suspension bridge that once spanned the forested depths of Hillcrest's Allsopp Park.
Sheffield Nelson, who jump-started the legislation that increased the state severance tax on natural gas, talks to Rob Moritz of Stephens Media about his growing inclination to start an initiative campaign to increase the tax so that it will at least cover the cost of damage drilling rigs are doing to state roads.
If John Brummett's predictions for 2011 hold true, it will be something of a momentous year, if not necessarily one to celebrate.
News comes from the Downtown Neighborhood Association that the feds are proposing a new site for what sounds like a halfway house for federal convicts.
The line is open.
A pro-gun group is up in arms so to speak because some Arkansas colleges prohibit students from carrying concealed weapons on campus.
Republicans are spoiling to begin holding House votes to repeal or cripple the landmark health legislation.
Want something to read? Try Peter Maass' reconstruction in the New Yorker of the most famous image of the war in Iraq — the toppling of a massive statue of Saddam Hussein after troopers rolled into Baghdad.
The Little Rock Board of Directors will meet at 6 p.m. tonight rather than Tuesday so as not to conflict with the Sugar Bowl.
The city planning staff opposes conversion of a building at 615 W. Markham Street a block west of City Hall, for use as a halfway house for federal convicts making a transition back to the free world.
Of course they are, but you can get work by women cheaper.
Tim Griffin has been tweeting regularly about his ascension to Congress representing the 2nd District.
From NBC: Ark birds died mid-air due to "multiple blunt trauma to their vital organs," preliminary autopsy results show, state veterinarian tells NBC Some 5,000 redwing blackbirds fell dead from the sky over Beebe New Year's Eve.
Little Rock police report a rash of paintball shootings, two from a light-colored SUV. A 59-year-old woman was struck in the eye by a paintball fired along Baseline Road about 6 p.m.
I pose the question because the Celtic Tiger is pretty much a bedraggled pussy cat now.
The results of a year of study of the Arkansas correction system and recommendations from a working group will be announced at 10 a.m. tomorrow by Gov. Mike Beebe and others.
The line is open. How'd your working year start?
Ear Fear start the New Year out right with another high concept, low budget video.
Does Mike Beebe give a crap about the political shape of Arkansas in the future after his governorship? Some.
The umpteenth semi-annual Argenta Restaurant Week kicks off next Monday and runs through the 22nd (which makes it more than a week, but who's complaining?).
The head of the National Audubon Society explains why international attention has turned to the dropping dead blackbirds of Beebe, as well as the oil-soaked birds of the Gulf of Mexico.
Today's reading: Charles Portis fans old and new should enjoy this extensive biography/critical analysis, including healthy references from some of his lesser-known work.
Thanks to Scott Faldon for directing me to this webcam of Bourbon Street (rain-wet and quiet at this hour).
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cDead Birds Drop From Arkansas Skywww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook Jon Stewart and the Daily Show returned from holiday hiatus last night and first up was Arkansas, as this year's "leading exporter of bat-bleep crazy."
David Barton, the bogus Texas historian who makes a living giving speeches about our Christian nation, has a return engagement in Arkansas.
Interesting note in Baton Rouge newspaper's coverage of mass blackbird deaths Monday in Louisiana: USGS spokesman Paul Slota said Monday afternoon he was unaware of the mass deaths in Louisiana, but he expects bird samples taken from the Arkansas occurrence on New Year’s Eve to arrive Tuesday in Wisconsin.
House Republicans have created a budget czar in Paul Ryan and will use a procedural dodge to adopt a budget, a procedure Republicans decried when Democrats tried to use it last year.
Think again. Justice Antonin Scalia (no longer a right-wing outlier on the Supreme Court but now a frequent part of a ruling majority) thinks the Constitution's equal protection clause does not prohibit discrimination against women (or, by extension, any number of other abused classes to which it has been applied.)
The state revenue report for December showed income up over the same month last year, though below forecast because a drop in corporate income taxes and increase in corporate tax refunds.
Talking Points Memo speaks with friends of Mark Krause, accused of making a soda can bomb left at an Arkansas polling place, who's being held in the Washington County Jail in Fayetteville pending a federal court detention hearing Thursday.l
The Pew study on Arkansas's correction system was unveiled this morning by Gov. Mike Beebe and his working group.
Blanche Lincoln is giving her senatorial papers to the Butler Center for Arkansas Studiesat of the Central Arkansas Library System.
Lawyers for the West Memphis Three appeared before a judge in Jonesboro today to set a briefing schedule for the hearing ordered by the Arkansas Supreme Court on whether the three men deserve new trials in the killings of three West Memphis children in 1993.
Still time to buy tickets to Gov. Mike Beebe's second inaugural festivities next week. (But wait.
The breaking news is that Owen Honors, the commander of the carrier Enterprise, will permanently lose his job over the sophomoric videos he produced several years ago for showing to the 6,000 people on board the nuclear-powered vessel.
A good plate lunch can be the difference between a good afternoon and a strung-out, digestively rugged one.
A fourth person, a 95-year-old woman, has died from injuries in last Friday's tornado that ripped through the rural Washington County community of Cincinnati.
The heavy turn of independents to Republicans in 2010 was just a blip, not a movement, this polltaker indicates.
Gov. Mike Beebe's help couldn't get Sen. Shane Broadway elected lieutenant governor, but he ends up with a much more lucrative job and I doubt Beebe was a bad reference.
Kathy Wells of the Downtown Neighborhood Association has gotten some answers from the GEO Group about the private contractor's proposal to put a halfway house for federal convicts in a former office building on West Markham Street a block west of City Hall.
It's Tuesday and I presume computer time will be down some tonight. They tell me there's a football game in New Orleans.
Late news from the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock, two indicments: * Searcy banker Tom Mueller was indicted for possession of child pornography.
Republican sloganeering wins again. The Obama administration is caving on Medicare regulations that provide for coverage of end-of-life counseling as part of annual physical exams.
Dead birds falling from the sky. It happened again Tuesday, in Sweden.
A publisher is bringing out a version of Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" with the word "slave" replacing 219 uses of the word "nigger" and Indian replacing "Injun."
Jeannie Burlsworth, leader of Secure Arkansas and the Foil Hat Society, has requested an electronic copy of the names of all state employees, the agency where they work, their job titles and their pay.
Aviation Repair Technologies in Blytheville announced today its long-discussed expansion, said to be a $10 million investment that will employ an additional 300 people doing aicraft maintenance work.
I have been challenged... to find the best doughnut in Arkansas. This shouldn't be too hard, right?
Some nice shots, via Collider, of Jeff Nichols' new movie, "Take Shelter," which is set to debut at Sundance in a couple of weeks.
I trust you're all Xing out the days on the calendar in anticipation of "Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid," Helena native Mary Lambert's monster mash for SyFy.
Legislative leaders and Gov. Mike Beebe are meeting with reporters today. I'm hoping to go live with the Beebe session at 12:30 p.m., via Gerard's JustinTV link.
As it has in years past, the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre takes a two-for-us, two-for-the-masses approach with its 2011 season.
John Boehner was elected House speaker today, as epxected, as the Republican majority took over.
The Little Rock Police Department issued a brief statement today on Jason Gilbert, a patrol officer indicted on a federal charge of conspiring with others, including a VA and UAMS officer, to rob an armored car service.
AETN hosts first stop for Arts Council's exhibit.
Mara Leveritt reports that a rising use of illicit cell phones in prisons has not bypassed Arkansas: In 2010, the Arkansas Department of Correction confiscated 277 contraband cellphones inside the state’s prisons.
The Old State House Museum has relaunched its podcasting/filmmaking competition for a second year, soliciting both Arkansas students in grades 5-12 as well as adults 18 and up for Arkancentric pieces about anything from 1836 to the present.
Police say Josef Alley, owner of Joe's Grocery at 1223 Col. Glenn Road, shot two men who tried to rob the store this morning.
... for another open line. Noted: * KHBS reports on a woman who got upset about her handling at the emergency room of a Siloam Springs hospital and drove off in an ambulance.
Ben Nichols set to release his "Blood Meridian"-inspired solo album, "The Last Pale Light in the West
At Gallery 26.
The House minority in Congress is pretty limited in power, but Republicans always managed to gin up attention with gimmicks.
The Columbia Journalism Review has offered a round up of the best coverage of dead birds falling in Beebe and elsewhere.
There's likely not much more I can expound upon when it comes to Feltner's Whatta-Burger... same flat burgers, same American cheese, same big bag of fries that you've been picking up for years when in Russellville for Wonderboy games.
The Afterthoughts treads an off-beaten path this Friday when the jazz bar hosts psychedelic hick-folk act Mockingbird Hillbilly Band and the hyper-melodic songcraft of Isaac Alexander.
Tis the season for horse racing. Oaklawn Racing Park begins its season on Friday, which means Saturday is corned beef sandwich day.
No kidding... imagine an event where you could walk in, pay $10 and consume all the chocolate you can put in your mouth over six hours time?
On a rainy day, there's nothing like savoring a latte and listening to the pop and sizzle of the coffee roaster.
The line is open. How slow was it today?
Patrick Sweany at White Water Tavern, '1.1.11' at Mediums Art Lounge, 'The Andy Warr Experience' at Ernie Biggs, Mockingbird Hillbilly Band and Isaac Alexander at The Afterthought, 'Arkansas Shorts' at the Malco Theater, Rodney Carrington at Robinson Center Music Hall, Danny Barnes at Juanita's.
The Little Rock Airport Commission signaled last week that Airport Director Ron Mathieu's job is safe. It adopted some window-dressing financial rules in response to reports in the Times of his egregious misspending, but otherwise sang his praises for cadging freely available federal dollars for airport expansion.
The Chamber of Commerce does not snuggle up only with public officials, though that is some of the dearest snuggling. The chamber fancies opinion-molders too.
Congratulations on asking our fellow Arkansans to Think Big! It is absolutely amazing what people can come up with when no limits are placed upon their thinking!
On a bright and blustery day week before last, The Observer got across the river for the opening of North Little Rock's new roundabout (or should that be "traffic circle"?), a $1-point-something million-dollar, two-lane European extravaganza at what was previously the not very extravaganza-ish intersection of Pike Avenue and Broadway. Speeches were made. Ribbons were cut.
I don't know whether it was Henry Kissinger who confused demonstratively with demonstrably, or the Washington Post, which quoted him. Probably the Post, although English was not Kissinger's first language, and after 70 years in this country, he still speaks with a German accent.
Tuckerman, Ark., amid the Delta row crops of Jackson County, isn't much known for high-society cotillions. Nonetheless, a son of Tuckerman, Bronson Van Wyck, has become the A-list party planner of choice in New York city and beyond.
Just who is Arkansans for Common Sense? The independent political group popped up in the Democratic primary, spending a ton on ads blasting Bill Halter, Sen. Blanche Lincoln's opponent.
'Howl' and the myth of Ginsberg.
"True Grit" opened last week to much fanfare and acclaim. A couple of friends I've spoken to about the film have said it's one of the best movies of the year, but not one of the Coen brothers' best, and I think I would agree with that.
The deck headline on last week's Art Notes referred to copy that ended up on the cutting room floor, in case you were wondering. The review of the Delta Exhibition ran so long, the review of the 37th annual "Toys Designed by Artists" exhibit was cut.
Here are some predictions for 2011.
Does county plan go far enough to protect watershed?
Starting Nov. 12, the Arkansas Times has been publishing articles on-line and in print on spending practices at Little Rock National Airport, revelations that have prompted the city commission that oversees the airport to make wrist-slapping changes in policy.
But it's not just another Mexican restaurant.
Rosalia's Family Bakery is now open next door to sister-restaurant Cafe Bossa Nova in a space that formerly housed Movie Gallery.
Good week for: Arkansas, Maumelle. Bad week for: Little Rock Airport Commission, State Highway and Transportation Department, Highway Commissioner Madison Murphy, State Correction and Community Correction Departments, P.K. Holmes, Aerospace Education Center, Welspun
Until Sunday, Madison Murphy, oil scion from El Dorado, was thought of as a small-government conservative.
It will not be long before the big new conservative cohort in the Arkansas legislature — old-line Republicans, Tea Partiers and reactionary Democrats — will be at loose ends and looking for fresh conservative causes.
Cindy Woolf at The Afterthought, Magic Hassle at Sticky Fingerz, mojo Depot at Cregeen's, Montgomery Trucking at White Water Tavern, Hungrytown at the Faulkner County Library
A survey of the best bets for ringing in the New Year.
For another slow day: I've lived just downhill from the Ozark Point water treatment plant for more than 20 years, but never had a clue what it might look like inside.
An op-ed writer in the Times writes about the black-eyed pea's place as a food item of good fortune at the opening of the New Year.
Consistently good, the pizzaria-salad-shop-gelato-haven packs in the crowds every lunchtime.
Fox 16 is reporting that a man was fatally shot by North Little Rock police this morning at a Valero station at 9600 Highway 165, the England Highway.
There's been quite a bit of reporting lately on errors found in the textbooks used to teach state and U.S. history in Virginia.
Dangit. One of the best burgers in Little Rock is gone.
Judith Miller and Newsmax. They make Fox like middle-of-the-road.
No decision yet, but words were uttered at the Capitol today about trimming back the amount of lottery scholarships.
Kodachrome, the legendary color film, has sure enough been taken away — from Paul Simon and everyone else.
The Thursday line begins now. But, first, could we agree that the elusive Fred Smith, the former Harlem Globetrotter of questionable residency and currently facing a theft charge, would do us all a service by declining to take his seat in the legislature?
1/3 pound burgers and chips made on-site — a great pair to enjoy at this always-packed-at-lunch eatery.
The New York Times today weighs the approach of a variety of new governors to their coming inaugural festivities.
The warm, moist air this morning doesn't bode well as a cold front approaches. Already, a report of a tornado in rural Washington County that hit three homes.
Paul Krugman predicts disaster from the new Republican thinking, to be embodied in Republican House rules: Deficits created by tax cuts don't count.
For this quiet government holiday awaiting the New Year, I'd encourage you to take a look at a few things in the Times this week if you haven't already.
Find out about everything that's happening tonight here.
One crazy idea turned out to be Kat's mission throughout the year. Wonder what next year's mission will be.
Chris Thyer, the former Jonesboro legislator, was sworn in today as U.S. attorney in a private ceremony by Judge Leon Holmes.
It's 2011 somewhere. Kiss somebody.